NEWS RELEASE- inclusion BC Welcomes Restored PWD Bus Pass

Victoria, BC – October 2, 2017: Inclusion BC’s Faith Bodnar and other disability advocates joined BC Minister Shane Simpson today to announce a new transportation supplement for people who live on Persons with Disabilities (PWD) benefits.

The new transportation supplement fulfills the BC government’s promise to restore the bus pass for PWD recipients effective January 2018 without any clawbacks.

The Ministry for Social Development and Poverty Reduction announced the new flexible transportation supplement, which can be used for a bus pass or other transportation options, at a press conference Monday morning.
•Read more in the Ministry’s press release.

Bodnar, Inclusion BC’s Executive Director, had urged government to restore the bus pass as soon as possible, noting that reliable and affordable access to transportation is critical to ensuring that people with disabilities can exercise their rights to community inclusion.

On Monday, Bodnar joined Minister Simpson for the announcement and applauded the move as a positive one.

“Almost 18 months ago. Inclusion BC and thousands of British Columbians called for the restoration of the bus pass,” Bodnar said. “We brought our call to this very legislature along with the support of 16,000 people who signed our petition.”
•More on the campaign to raise PWD rates & restore the bus pass

“I am very pleased that the new government has made transportation a priority for people on PWD. Not only for those who use a bus pass but for everyone on PWD,” Bodnar said.

Other advocates, including Disability Alliance BC and the BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) also joined the Minister for the announcement and applauded the move.

The provincial government has recently taken a number of steps to start addressing the poverty faced by people with disabilities (read more).
•In September, PWD rates were increased $100/month.
•In September, the BC government also increased the earnings exemption (the amount someone can earn from working before their PWD benefits are reduced) by $200 per month.

This raises the total annual earnings exemption for 2017 to $12,000 for a single person before any reduction in their monthly PWD benefits. BC now has the highest annualized earnings exemption for disability benefit recipients in Canada.

Inclusion BC is also participating in community consultations that Minister Simpson has launched to help shape a poverty reduction strategy for BC.

“The transportation supplement is a major improvement that acknowledges all British Columbians with disabilities on assistance should receive support to get around in their communities, wherever they live,” Bodnar said. “This, along with the increase in earnings exemptions, is an important step forward in providing people on disability assistance with the capacity to work, improve their quality of life without penalty and contribute economically to the province.”

Inclusion BC looks forward to working with government and community partners to ensure income security for people with intellectual disabilities. This includes PWD rates that reflect the true cost of living and that are indexed to inflation.

About Inclusion BC
We are a provincial federation of people with intellectual disabilities, families and community agencies that advocates for inclusion, rights and full citizenship. Since 1955, we have been working with communities, partners and governments to advance our vision of a world where we all belong.
More: inclusionbc.org

Contacts

Faith Bodnar
Executive Director
Inclusion BC
Cel: 604 764-2591
Email: fbodnar@inclusionbc.org

Dawn Steele
Communications
Cel: 604 374-1530
Email: dsteele@inclusionbc.org

October is Community Inclusion Month

from inclusion BC:
Vancouver, BC – September 29, 2017: Inclusion BC joins communities across BC to declare October Community Inclusion Month.
“This is an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and importance of inclusion and how communities hold the key to making it happen,” says Inclusion BC Executive Director Faith Bodnar. “We want to celebrate the gifts that people with disabilities bring to our communities and the strength that comes from valuing our diversity.”
The theme for this year’s Community Inclusion Month is “Everyone belongs in BC schools.” It is inspired by Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which gives students with disabilities the right to an inclusive education that supports each individual’s development to their fullest potential.
Our theme also honours the contributions of BC educators, parents and students who make our schools inclusive, welcoming places that support the diverse needs of all children.
Jackie Carpenter, parent and President of Inclusion BC, says: “it wasn’t that long ago that people with intellectual disabilities were denied the right to live in their community and excluded from all aspects of community life. We have come a long way in a short period of time. But many barriers still exist today and we all need to work together to address them. It’s important to take the time and reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go.”
Visit the Community Inclusion Month website for more information:
www.inclusionbc.org/communityinclusionmonth
Contact
Danielle Kelliher
Director of Communications
Inclusion BC
604-777-9100 ext. 511
dkelliher@inclusionbc.org

inclusion Powell River’s 2017 AGM!

inclusion Powell River had a very successful AGM last night in the refurbished ARC. Guest Speaker MLA Nicholas Simons talked about the different things the newly minted provincial government is working on regarding issues that directly pertain to those with disabilities, including a basic income pilot project, reinstating the previous transit pass program and the overall poverty reduction strategy. Afterwards the room got down to the business they were all there to do. All said and done, the evening went smoothly and now inclusion Powell River looks toward another bright and successful year.

Inclusion BC Participates in BC Budget Consultation

Summary:
Inclusion BC presented to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services today, making our priorities known as the BC Government forms its 2018 budget.
We focused on the following provincial budget portfolios:

Children and Family Development

Supports for Children and Youth with Special Needs
K-12 Education

Quality inclusive public education for all diverse learners
Housing

Inclusive solutions in affordable housing
Social Development and Poverty Reduction

Community Living BC services for adults with intellectual disabilities
Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Benefit
Poverty Reduction Strategy/Basic Income

http://www.inclusionbc.org/sites/default/files/Inclusion%20BC%20Budget%20Consultation%20Brief.pdf

Increase to the Annual Earnings Exemption (AEE)

News Release from the Disability Alliance BC:

Increase to the Annual Earnings Exemption (AEE)

September 19, 2017 by DABC

The BC Government has announced that beginning October 1st, 2017, the Annual Earnings Exemption (AEE) for people receiving the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) benefit will be increased by $2,400 a year. People receiving income assistance will be able to earn an additional $200 a month.

From the news release on the BC Government News’ website:

“We are very pleased to see an increase to earnings exemptions come in with the rate increase,” said Jane Dyson, executive director of Disability Alliance BC. “Work offers people dignity, independence and it connects them to their community. Increasing the earnings exemption is also a good step towards poverty reduction.”

For more details, download the news release here or visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017SDPR0057-001597

Annual Earnings Exemption for Provincial Disability Benefits Increased

Annual Earnings Exemption for Provincial Disability Benefits Increased

Effective October 1, 2017, the Annual Earnings Exemption (AEE) limit will increase by $2,400 for each person receiving Persons with Disabilities (PWD) benefits. This earnings exemption allows people receiving PWD benefits to make money from employment over the calendar year without a reduction of their benefits. The AEE does not apply to money received from most other sources such as Canada Pension Plan benefits or Old Age Security benefits. The new AEE limits will be:

1. Single person with a disability: $12,000
2. Couple, one person with a disability: $14,400
3. Couple, both people with a disability: $24,000

The increase in the AEE rate means that some people who previously exceeded their AEE limit earlier in 2017 may be eligible for a top-up of benefits. They are encouraged to contact the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction for further information.

Disability Alliance BC applauds these changes and the leadership taken by the Hon. Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction in recognizing the social and economic value of supporting people with disabilities in the workforce.

Additional Information

For further information, please contact Sam Turcott, Director of Advocacy Access at 604-872-1278 or toll free 1-800-663-1278.