Long Overdue Investments in People, Affordability Welcomed

NEWS RELEASE
From Inclusion BC & Disability Alliance BC
Victoria, BC – September 11, 2017: BC’s Budget Update and Throne Speech include initiatives that will make a real difference for people with intellectual disabilities, children with special needs and their families, along with an important message of hope that all British Columbians are valued.
Inclusion BC and Disability Alliance BC welcome several key announcements as a positive start.
These include an additional $200/month earnings exemption for Persons With Disabilities (PWD) monthly benefits. 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.
The Budget Update also confirms new dollars for a $100/month increase in PWD rates, which was announced shortly after the new government took office. The increase takes effect in September, bringing the monthly benefit to $1,133 for a single person. The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction will also receive an additional $16 million for 2017/18 to address social assistance caseload pressures for the current year, with further increases in future years.
“British Columbians with intellectual disabilities and their families have been struggling and falling further behind for many years,” said Inclusion BC Executive Director Faith Bodnar. “These initiatives, along the overall focus on putting people first, on tackling poverty and affordability and on building a better province where everyone belongs is a very welcome message for people who have been without hope for far too long.”
“This is a good start,” added Jane Dyson, Executive Director of Disability Alliance BC. “As Finance Minister Carole James said, these increases are long overdue and we look forward to working with government on a comprehensive poverty reduction plan.”
Inclusion BC notes that many challenges remain, such as the need for a comprehensive operational review of Community Living BC that will address its financial, program and policy challenges. CLBC’s budget does not address waitlists and still reflects expectations for lowered costs per adult, which conflicts with all the evidence.
“Our federation looks forward to working with government to confront these challenges,” Bodnar said. “But we can’t overstate how important it is for British Columbians with disabilities to hear their concerns acknowledged, with concrete commitments to start on immediate improvements.”
Not included in the Budget Update, but mentioned in Friday’s Throne Speech, was confirmation that BC would reinstate a transit pass for PWD recipients, effective January 2018. Minister James confirmed the January 2018 implementation date, with “no clawbacks” from PWD benefits to fund the new pass.
Inclusion BC and DABC also welcomed the commitment to restore the transit pass, and hope to see an equitable approach to providing access to transportation for all PWD recipients.

The Budget Update included additional funding for social policy initiatives, including initial planning for a poverty reduction strategy and a basic income pilot. Inclusion BC and DABC have emphasized that a comprehensive strategy is critical to addressing poverty as a structural barrier that excludes British Columbians with intellectual disabilities from accessing many of the benefits and opportunities of full citizenship.

Other new budget initiatives to address affordability, including reduced MSP premiums and investments in affordable housing, will bring welcome relief for people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

“With the affordable housing initiatives, we need to ensure there is a clear vision for inclusive housing,” Bodnar said. “We’re also looking for portable rental supplements for PWD recipients because the maximum $375 housing allowance is so out of synch with actual costs, especially in key regional markets.”

Other announcements included new investments in public schools, which are struggling to respond to the landmark 2016 Supreme Court ruling that restored former staffing ratios in teachers’ collective agreements.

“An entire generation of students with special needs and their families has suffered tremendously from cuts and underfunding of public education,” Bodnar said. “We have a real opportunity now to restore supports for inclusive education, with the commitment to reinvest in public schools and a new BC curriculum that supports teaching to diversity. We want to work with the Education Ministry, with teachers and parents to ensure that teachers have the support they need to offer quality learning opportunities for all students in inclusive classrooms. That includes restoring resources for student assessment, specialist supports, teacher training and collaboration and classroom aides”

http://www.inclusionbc.org/disability-supports/whats-new/news-release-long-overdue-investments-people-affordability-welcomed

Disability Employment Month Workshop

Guest Speaker: Joyce Carlson

Believe and Achieve

WHEN: September 12th, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

WHERE: New Powell River Public Library #100 6975 Alberni St.

Joyce is a board member of inclusion Powell River and was in the newspaper business for 45 years. She has faced and overcome challenges in her own life and has promoted opportunities within her business for people who faced barriers to employment. She is happy to share some stories with the attendees at this workshop and her belief that everyone has something of value to offer.

Sponsored by : Employment Services, inclusion Powell River

Why B.C. Needs a Disabilities Advocate

As inclusion Powell River constantly looks to create improvements in the lives of our clients and staff, inclusion will be seeking out information and new ideas. As part of this endeavour, inclusion Powell River will be perusing periodicals periodically and will be promptly posting these articles.
The following is an article entitled, “Why B.C. needs a disabilities advocate” By Chandar S. Sundaram, that appears in today’s Times Columnist newspaper.
Chandar S. Sundaram is a Victoria-based historian, teacher and author. He had a stroke in early infancy. http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/columnists/comment-why-b-c-needs-a-disabilities-advocate-1.22069827

inclusion Powell River Helps Celebrate Cranberry Lake 75 Anniversary!!

On Sunday, August 13th some of our fine folks from the Cranberry Preschool joined in the festivities celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Cranberry Lake! We at inclusion Powell River would like to congratulate everyone in Cranberry for 75 years of community spirit! To find out more about  the Cranberry Preschool check out our website http://inclusionpr.ca/?page_id=129
and to learn about Cranberry’s history follow this link from the Powell River Museum https://www.powellrivermuseum.ca/museum/facts/cranberry/cranberry.html

Summer Picnic!

On July 20th inclusion Powell River held the 2017 Summer Picnic! People from all over our community came to enjoy good food, great company and the refreshing sea air. We want to thank all those that came and helped out. A special thank you to Mark Brown and Carley Shelton for organizing and running the show. Also thank you to Safeway and Aaron Service and Supply for their generosity. This is the first year Safeway has helped sponsor our picnic and Aaron’s has been a long time partner. The Let’s Talk Trash Team helped us out with making it a Zero Waste event as well. We thank them all and hope to continue to work with them in the future.

Dave Harmer- Moving On

Thank you Dave Harmer. For over 18 years Dave Harmer has worked diligently crunching the numbers for inclusion Powell River. Dave has meant and done more for our organization than mere words can encapsulate. He has brought a warm, inviting and generous spirit that genuinely comes from someone who has a passion for their work and for those they work with and for. He has been more than just an accountant or manager. He has been an inspiration, mentor and friend. Often doing more than expected and earning the respect of his peers, Dave’s absence will be felt by all. To you Mr. Harmer, we thank you and wish all the best for you in this next chapter of your life.

Resolutions passed at inclusion BC Annual General Meeting

The Inclusion BC Federation passed six resolutions at our Annual General Meeting on June 16th. These resolutions will guide our work as we support and advocate for people with intellectual disabilities, their families and our member organizations.

Resolutions:
• Establishing a Task Force on Income Security in BC
• Kids Can’t Wait
• An Institution is not a Home
• Inclusive Affordable Housing for People with Intellectual Disabilities
• Restoring Quality Inclusive Education
• Home Share Rates

for more information follow the link below…

http://www.inclusionbc.org/disability-supports/whats-new/resolutions-passed-inclusion-bc-annual-general-meeting

Canada’s Nicest Person

CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, June 23, 2017

A Port Alberni woman who has made it her mission to sew blankets for sick kids has been named “Canada’s nicest person.”

Angel Magnussen created Hugginz By Angel, a registered charity that provides blankets and other items for kids with serious illnesses or other medical conditions.

Magnussen, who has Down syndrome, has sewn hundreds of blankets for hospitalized children around the world in countries like Australia, New Zealand and Scotland and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity.

Roots Canada announced last month it would be searching for the country’s nicest person in honour of Canada 150 anniversary celebrations.

Canadians were encouraged to nominate their friends and neighbours online who made a positive impact to their community or peers.

On Friday, it announced Magnussen would take home the honour – and a $10,000 donation to the charity of her choice, a $500 Roots gift card and a custom jacket.

“I am so happy to be named Canada’s Nicest Person,” she said in a statement. “$10,000 will help me to sew more blankets. I want to wrap sick kids in a warm hug to help them heal. Thank you for helping me to help sick kids.”

Magnussen made headlines last year when a long-distance runner Curtis Hargrove embarked on a 49-day journey to Los Angeles to deliver one of her blankets to Ellen.

Although the superstar, who is Magnussen’s hero, wasn’t there to receive the blanket, the stunt helped raise awareness and money for her Hugginz charity.

http://www.hugginzbyangel.com