Province urged to increase disability benefit payments

Government seeks suggestions to improve accessibility for the disabled ahead of white paper, summit

Concerns about mobility access for people with disabilities includes access to transit and HandyDart custom transit service.

The provincial government is being urged to raise disability benefit rates that advocates say are far too low.

The call comes as community consultations get underway on issues facing people with disabilities to guide the drafting of a white paper on potential solutions that will be unveiled in June.

The disability benefit rate for a single person is currently $900 a month and the B.C. Coalition of People With Disabilities wants that raised to at least $1,200.

“That amount is for housing, food, clothing and all of life’s necessities and it is not enough to live with comfort and security in this province,” executive director Jane Dyson said.

She said the province deserves credit for increasing the amount that people on disability benefits can earn in wages without penalty to $800 about a year ago.

“That’s a positive step,” she said.

Dyson said a further improvement would be to calculate exempted earnings over the course of a year, rather than on a monthly basis.

She said that would allow people with episodic conditions who can work only a few months at a time to retain more of their wages.

Consultations are scheduled in the Lower Mainland from Jan. 28 to Feb. 13. Details can be found at, where comments are being collected until March 11.

Among the topics being considered are ways to improve accessibility to reduce barriers to mobility and employment.

Just 56 per cent of people of working age with disabilities are employed, compared to 74 per cent of people aged 15 to 64 who are not disabled.

“What would B.C. look like as the most progressive place in Canada for people and families living with disabilities?” asks the province’s terms of reference for the process, which was a BC Liberal election promise.

“What would make it easier for people with disabilities to work or contribute to the community? What needs to be in place?”

Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Don McRae has pledged to hold a summit on the white paper and its findings in early summer.

Dyson said she hopes the process leads to real solutions rather than a document that just ends up “sitting on a shelf collecting dust.”


Just Posted

Experts detect risk of rock avalanche above Bridal Falls near Chilliwack

Risk in the one-in-10,000-year is minimal but triggers FVRD to direct growth elsewhere

VIDEO: Olympic medalist teaches swimming in Hope

Brent Hayden fondly remembers local swim meet from his youth

Free parking not in the cards for Fraser Valley hospitals

Chair says board may look at ways to make parking easier, but not free

VIDEO: LEGO fundraiser builds playground purse

Inspired families built LEGO creations, helped Silver Creek build playground

PHOTOS: 100 years and counting for Boston Bar school

Boston Bar Elementary-Secondary School celebrates Centennial with a bang

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

UFV health fair focuses on taking back health

Health sciences program invites Dr. Cathy van Ingen to speak

New Liberal bill would tighten controls on sale, licensing of firearms in Canada

Measures are intended to assist police in investigating gun trafficking and other crimes

Murder charges upgraded for B.C. man accused of killing wife and daughters

Crown approved new information on Jacob Forman’s file

5 to start your day

Some puppies need naming, a police-involved death in South Surrey and more

Janet Austin announced as B.C.’s new lieutenant governor

Austin has served as YWCA Metro Vancouver CEO since 2003

Ex-French president Sarkozy in custody on Gadhafi claims

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was placed in custody as part of an investigation that he received millions of euros in illegal financing

Hockey pioneer Kwong dies at 94

Vernon’s Larry Kwong was the first player to break NHL colour barrier in 1948

Most Read