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Petition to raise PWD rates and end bus pass claw-back delivered to Minister Stilwell

Summary: 
Representatives from Inclusion BC and TAPS held a news conference yesterday on the steps of the BC Legislature before delivering the petition to Raise the Rates, Leave our Bus Pass Alone with over 15,000 signatures (online and hand-written) to the Hon. Minister Michelle Stilwell's office.

Raise the rates, leave our bus pass alone 

Petition delivered to Legislature

Representatives from Inclusion BC and TAPS (Together Against Poverty Society) held a news conference yesterday on the steps of the BC Legislature before delivering the petition to Raise the Rates, Leave our Bus Pass Alone with over 15,000 signatures (online and hand-written) to the Hon. Minister Michelle Stilwell's office. Copies of the petition were also delivered to Premier Christy Clark's constituency office in Kelowna and Minister Stilwell's constituency office in Parksville. View photos of the petition delivery here.

"We will continue to advance the interests of people with disabilities in B.C. who need a significant raise in rates," said Faith Bodnar, Inclusion BC Executive Director. "We want this to be the first step in bringing disability rates to respectful and livable levels for some of the more vulnerable people in B.C. I would like nothing better today than to be congratulating the Minister and Government on the steps of the legislature for giving everyone a $77 increase without any claw backs."

The petition was introduced in the Legislature by Michelle Mungall, NDP MLA for Nelson Creston and opposition critic for the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation. 

Introduction of the petition in the Legislature:
"M. Mungall: I rise to present a petition. This petition has over 15,000 people signing it. They are calling on the government to bring back the $45-per-year bus pass for people with disabilities, eliminate the new $52-per-month bus pass fee, let everyone receiving PWD benefits keep the $77-per-month increase and raise the PWD benefit rate to $12,000 [sic] per month by October 1, 2016, to reflect the cost of living." Read the full transcript here.

Next steps

Inclusion BC has been hearing from people and groups across the province who are committed to continuing public pressure, who want to mobilize and who are not willing to give up until the Minister reverses her decision. Many have already written letters or visited their MLA and Inclusion BC will ramp up efforts in mobilizing people to speak out to their MLA, the Premier and Minister Stilwell.

Minister to Meet with Disability Advocates

Minister Stilwell has requested a meeting in late March with disability advocates, including Inclusion BC, to "discuss the changes, and [her] concerns over some of the misinformation that is out in the public." Inclusion BC has accepted the meeting request and will continue demanding that the provincial government reverse their decision to claw back the bus pass from the benefit rate increase and come up with a serious plan to raise people out of poverty and increase and index the PWD rates to reflect the rising cost of living.