Text Size

 

Missed the Festival? View a selection of the films on the NFB Playlist!

A year long celebration including marches, parties, workshops, grants and film making. Join the conversation at disabilitypride.ca

Watch our 60th Anniversary video that honours and remembers the civil rights history of people with developmental disabilities in BC. Read more about our history here.

News Release: Raise the rates, leave our bus pass alone

Summary: 
Inclusion BC is disappointed by the provincial government’s lack of effective response to the many British Columbians who have opposed the recent decision to claw back the cost of transportation from a small $77 increase in disability benefit rates.

*update* Media coverage from rallies

Visit the Inclusion BC Twitter feed and Facebook page for more updates.

March 2, 2016, New Westminster, B.C. - Inclusion BC is disappointed by the provincial government’s lack of effective response to the many British Columbians who have opposed the recent decision to claw back the cost of transportation from a small $77 increase in disability benefit rates. Rallies are being held today at noon to protest the government's decision in five different locations (Victoria, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster).  

Inclusion BC and the over 12,000 people (and growing) who have signed the petition understand the facts. This increase in disability benefit rates is grossly deficient and does nothing but equalize the abject poverty that people living on disability benefits face every day.

On February 16th, the Government of British Columbia announced an increase of $77.00 for people in receipt of provincial persons with disabilities benefits. The first one in nine years. In the same breath, they also announced changes to the Annual Bus Pass program, cancelling the $45/year bus pass and replacing it with a new monthly fee of $52 plus a $45 ‘administration fee’.

Inclusion BC Executive Director Faith Bodnar says, "the changes do not provide more choice as the BC Government asserts. Through this offensive messaging, our government demonstrates they are out of touch with the experiences of people with disabilities. People with disabilities are living in extreme poverty and after a nine-year rate freeze need a benefit rate increase that will make a difference in their lives. BC needs a serious plan that addresses some of the lowest disability income rates in Canada."

Despite the willingness of community and provincial organizations to consult with the government on disability policy, we are disappointed that this particular decision was made without any community consultation. Had government consulted, they would have learned that people with disabilities across this province are united in the need for a rate increase, not divided by the difference in transportation subsidies.

We call on the provincial government to listen to the people of BC and reverse their decision. Raise the rates and leave our bus pass alone.

- 30 -

NOTICE OF RALLIES

Inclusion BC is teaming up with our members and community partner organizations to hold FIVE rallies: Four in the Lower Mainland and one in Victoria. All rallies will be held this Wednesday, March 2nd at noon. 

  1. VICTORIA on the grounds of the Legislature
  2. NEW WESTMINSTER at the New Westminster Skytrain Station
  3. VANCOUVER at the Broadway/Commercial Skytrain Station
  4. BURNABY at the Metrotown Skytrain Station
  5. NORTH VANCOUVER at the Sea Bus transit terminal

PLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT BY ATTENDING THE RALLIES AND/OR HELPING US SPREAD THE WORD. 

Background:

We are rallying against the recent decision by the BC Government to claw back the cost of transportation from a small $77 increase in disability benefit rates. Read our petition for more information or visit our website: www.inclusionbc.org. Disability Alliance BC has issued an informational notice about the changes. Read the DABC notice here.

View the poster for provincial rally locations
View the poster for Victoria rally

MEDIA COVERAGE FROM RALLIES

Bus users decry ‘mean’ rise in disability payments
Katherine Dedyna / Times Colonist March 2, 2016 09:58 PM
People using wheelchairs and walkers, leaning on canes and accompanied by caregivers made their way to the B.C. legislature on Wednesday to protest what they denounce as a puny increase in assistance once changes to B.C. Transit subsidies are factored in for many of them.

Disability advocates protest B.C.’s ‘bus pass clawback’
Minister calls rally at the legislature an NDP-organized political photo op
BY ROB SHAW, VANCOUVER SUN MARCH 2, 2016
VICTORIA — B.C.’s social assistance minister is refusing to back down from an unpopular change to a bus pass program for people with disabilities, calling a protest at the legislature Wednesday a “photo op” that created fear and anxiety.

Protesters call for more disability support
by  Tom Fletcher - BC Local News posted Mar 2, 2016 at 2:00 PM
Protesters gathered at the B.C. legislature Wednesday to call for an additional increase in provincial disability assistance payments, which are due to go up this year for the first time since 2007.

Disabled protesters say B.C. bus pass fee ‘mean’
By Dirk Meissner The Canadian Press
VICTORIA – A Victoria woman receiving monthly disability payments says she will struggle to make ends meet after British Columbia’s government introduced a fee for a bus pass that had been free.

Les Leyne: Bus-pass issue still torments Liberals
Times Colonist March 3, 2016 12:59 AM
The disabled-bus-pass rally on the front lawn of the legislature Wednesday keyed an intense debate inside the building later that exposed some raw nerves. 

Smyth: B.C. takes bus passes from disabled — where is premier Clark's heart?
BY MICHAEL SMYTH, THE PROVINCE MARCH 2, 2016
Disabled British Columbians are fighting back against the Christy Clark government’s cruel decision to claw back their bus passes.
Rallies were held in front of the B.C. legislature Wednesday and at multiple locations around the Lower Mainland, and their message was clear.

Protesters call B.C. government 'mean, shameful' over bus pass increase
The Canadian Press Published Wednesday, March 2, 2016 3:25PM PST 
Last Updated Wednesday, March 2, 2016 5:11PM PST
VICTORIA - About 300 people protesting on the steps of the British Columbia legislature cheered when an advocate called the government mean and shameful for introducing a fee for a bus pass that has been free.

Bus pass protesters blame Premier for cost hike
Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk
Last Updated: March 02, 2016 03:44 pm
Protesters are making their voices heard at commercial Broadway station over changes to their bus passes.

Protesters rally over clawbacks of disability rates surrounding transit
News 1130 by SONIA ASLAM Posted Mar 2, 2016 12:34 pm PST
METRO VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Rallies were being held at three Metro Vancouver SkyTrain stations over clawbacks by the provincial government from disabled transit riders.

Rallies Wednesday call for return of cheap bus passes for people with disabilities
BY STAFF REPORTER, THE PROVINCE MARCH 2, 2016
A B.C. non-profit organization has planned a series of rallies Wednesday at noon to press for the return of low-cost bus passes for people with disabilities.

Noon rally at the legislature to protest changes to bus passes for the disabled
March 02, 2016 08:20 from Ryan Price
Advocates for the disabled in BC will rally at the legislature today because of changes to bus passes for the disabled.