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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.

Income Security

Our Vision

No person with a developmental disability lives in poverty.


PWD Income Benefit

Many British Columbians with intellectual disabilities live in poverty. Many are poor because they cannot find jobs, or can only find jobs that pay very low wages.

BC provides a monthly disability benefit to support some people with disabilities who are unable to support themselves through employment. Benefits for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) are paid by the provincial Ministry of Housing and Social Development. PWD recipients also get free access to very basic healthcare. Some, but not all, may also qualify for Community Living BC's supported employment or residential programs. 

Some 107,000 British Columbians are struggling to live on PWD benefits that are not enough to cover even basic needs for food, housing and transportation. A recent study by University of Victoria professor Michael Prince found that current PWD rates only cover about 60% of the basic cost of necessities in most BC communities. (Read the report here.)

Effective April 1, 2017, PWD rates increased by $50 to $1,033/month. While welcome, this very modest increase amounts to $1.61/day and did little to close the gap with actual living costs in our province. For example, the $375 maximum monthly allowance for housing is far below actual costs in many parts of the province. (Read Inclusion BC's statement on the increase.)

Making BC the best province by 2024

In 2014, BC Premier Christy Clark promised to make BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by 2024 (Read the Accessibility 2024 document here). This commitment included a promise to raise PWD benefit rates as government's fiscal situation allows. 

Inclusion BC has applauded the Accessibility 2024 vision and committed to working with the BC government to develop concrete plans to make that promise a reality.

In recent years, BC introduced some policy changes that were welcomed by people who rely on PWD benefits. These changes include new savings and earnings exemptions that allow people with disabilities to continue receiving PWD supports as they try to lift themselves out of poverty.

However those unable to work or save due to disability face increasing hardship as the basic PWD benefit rates have fallen so far below the actual cost of living in our province.  

When people lack sufficient income to cover basic needs, their health and well-being are affected and they become more vulnerable to a range of risks. Being poor means living in poor housing, not eating proper food, and often going without essential health and support services. It often means not having opportunities to meet other people or participate in community life. Poverty often leads to poor health, social isolation, and homelessness. 

Inclusion BC's position

Inclusion BC continues to urge the BC government to raise PWD rates immediately to $1,200/month, with future indexing to inflation, to reverse the negative effects of inflation after many years of no increases. Portable housing subsidies should also be provided to ensure access to quality accessible housing anywhere in BC. 

Questions for BC Election 2017

Visit our BC Election 2017 section for the questions we're asking electoral candidates about income security and more on how you can join, connect, discuss and vote to make a difference. 

What's New

May 5, 2017
British Columbians vote for a new government May 9. We asked the 3 main political parties how they would address key issues on inclusion and disability supports if elected....
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April 11, 2017
The writ dropped in BC today, marking the beginning of a 28-day election period. As political parties campaign across the province, seeking your vote, we're giving you the tools you need to put issues important to people with developmental disabilities and their families on the election agenda....
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Income Security
March 13, 2017
MySelfServe: The BC government's new online process for managing disability benefits fixes some old problems but also presents some new challenges, as with any new system. ...
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