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Today in Question Period in BC Leg May 19th 2016

Michele Mungall opposition critic to Ministry OF Social Development and Social Innovation

DISABILITY BENEFITS AND
BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

M. Mungall: For four months now, advocates, people with disabilities and their families, have been begging and pleading with the B.C. Liberal government to end this bus pass clawback. For four months, the minister has used….

Interjections.

M. Mungall: Yes, actually I’m right that families around this province, thousands and thousands of people, have been calling on this government to do the right thing, and I would be right to say that this government has ignored them over and over and over again.

In fact, the minister has used every tactic to deflect from this issue. She’s been insulting British Columbians, sending out false infographics, dismissing people’s very real stories that we bring to the floor of this Legislature about how this policy is going to impact lives. She’s been changing her spin so often that nobody in British Columbia can actually keep up anymore.

Yesterday more than 150 organizations signed an open letter asking the minister to stop all this, to just listen, do the right thing and end this clawback. They are very clear they will not stop until she did this.

To the minister: please, no more insults, no more excuses, and no more spin-doctoring. Yes or no — are you going to end the bus pass clawback and do the right thing for British Columbians? Do it today.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: The fact of the matter is that every single person on disability assistance will now receive a transportation allowance to meet their transportation needs. Absolutely no one is losing anything. Absolutely every person on disability assistance is receiving more.

[1055]

They will receive an increase to the rate allowance, of $25. They will receive $52 on their transportation allowance in the form of cash or a bus pass if they choose. We have made a $170 million investment to raise the rates and help assist people with disabilities.

The member opposite likes to make it appear that we don’t do things for people with disabilities, that haven’t changed

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on their transportation allowance in the form of cash or a bus pass if they choose. We have made a $170 million investment to raise the rates and help assist people with disabilities.

The member opposite likes to make it appear that we don’t do things for people with disabilities, that things haven’t changed in the last nine years, but in fact we continue to make investments. We continue to change policies. We continue to put different reforms in place, like the single-parent employment initiative, the annualized earnings exemption and the exemptions to gifts and assets.

We continue to make changes to break down barriers, to help assist people who need the support from government the most.

 

 

 

 

Question Period in leg May 3rd 2016 still on bc bus pass donation bc liberal got

METRO VANCOUVER WASTE MANAGEMENT
BYLAW AND BFI CANADA
DONATIONS TO B.C. LIBERAL PARTY

M. Mungall: Well, people living on disability can’t afford $20,000 to sit next to the Premier. They barely have $10,000 to live on in a year. While BFI sees bylaws vetoed by this government, people with disabilities are now going to have to pay an extra $624 more a year for their bus pass. This is how the public sees it.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

M. Mungall: This is how the public sees it. It’s very clear to them. Favours to big companies

HSE – 20160503 AM 011/bmg/1050

have to pay an extra $624 more a year for their bus pass. This is how the public sees it.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

M. Mungall: This is how the public sees it. It’s very clear to them — favours to big companies with big money and money grabs from people with disabilities who can’t afford a cent to donate. That’s not okay. It’s not okay that the public is starting to see things that way.

Will the Minister of Social Development rectify this situation, end the bus pass clawback and join us in banning big money from B.C. politics?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: As I’ve said in the House before and I will clarify again today, the bus pass program is still available to people with disabilities around this province. In fact, people with disabilities now all have a transportation allowance, including 45,000 people who didn’t receive any transportation allowance prior to this change.

Now there is equity in the system. Everyone is provided with a transportation allowance. Everyone is receiving an increase to their income assistance rates, and it’s $170 million investment to make life better for people with disabilities.

Madame Speaker: Nelson-Creston on a supplemental.

M. Mungall: Thank you to the minister for showing us all that you’ve memorized your message box. But the reality is that too many people with disabilities are living in poverty in this province. That’s the reality.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Just wait a moment. Just wait.

Members.

Please continue.

M. Mungall: People living in poverty in this province don’t get to sit next to the Premier at a private dinner party because they can’t afford to pay the price tag. BFI can pay that price tag, and once they did, here’s what we saw. We saw a bylaw vetoed that directly ended up benefiting them. Again, scrapping democratically instituted bylaws by democratically elected local governments on one hand and hiking bus pass fees for people with disabilities on the other. That’s what’s going on.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

M. Mungall: So how on earth can this minister justify that kind of policy decision-making?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: My question is to the member opposite. How can she continue her “Create fear 2016” tour, coming to a bus stop near you, where she continues to create fear and anxiety for people with disabilities around this province? It is wrong.

Individuals with disabilities in this province all have a transportation allowance now that they will see on their income assistance cheques…

Interjection.

Madame Speaker: Member, Nelson-Creston.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: …along with an increase to their allowance rates.

 

 

 

Private Members’ Statements michelle mungall was doing introduction in bc leg may 2nd 2016

BUS PASSES OFFER FREEDOM

M. Mungall: It’s my pleasure to rise today to talk about the importance that bus passes have in our community. Many people with disabilities rely on their bus passes to get around. In fact, they say it gives them freedom. I’m able to talk about that today because I have been touring around the province, as well as hearing from a lot of people via social media — whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or people emailing my office, giving me a phone call as well.

Going out and talking to people face to face is incredibly valuable. I have been doing that around the province and, specifically, talking to people with disabilities at bus stops about why their bus pass is so incredibly valuable to them. What I hear over and over and over again, whether I’m talking face to face to people, as I said, or through various mediums, is that bus passes give people freedom. It gives them the opportunity to be included and involved in their community — to get to a volunteer position or to get to work a part-time job. That bus pass is what enables them to do that.

[1035]

A lot of the things that people who are fully able take for granted on a day-to-day basis — being able to go for a walk in the park, go to movies and so on…. People with disabilities require that bus pass to be able to get to that location to do that, to be involved in their community, to be seen, to be able to talk to strangers and new people, to enjoy all that being out and about has to offer. It’s that bus pass that gives them the opportunity to do that.

For those who are not able to get a bus pass here in B.C., what they have been able to access is called an alternative transportation subsidy. Unfortunately, right now that subsidy is only available in communities that have a transit system. It’s not available in rural communities, like half of my riding, in Creston. If we expanded that as a province, I think we would hear a lot more about accessibility for people with disabilities being able to be included in their communities.

That is not what has happened this year. The provincial government’s budget this year, on one hand, lifted rates for people with disabilities, which was well overdue after nine years. But at the same time, it took with the other hand and is increasing those bus pass fees by $52 a month.

As I’m talking to people around the province, this is what they have to tell me. They now have a choice, and it’s by no means the choice that they’ve been told they have from this government. Their choice is actually: do they keep the full $77, forgo their bus pass, stay at home and be able to afford the increased costs associated with food, associated with hydro? We all know that hydro rates have been going up under this government — 28 percent. We know that rents often go up, and they’re having to pay increased rent.

They now have an extra $77 a month that would help them to cover those costs. These are people who are living in poverty already, so every penny counts for them. Would they be able to cover those costs? That’s the question they’re asking themselves. Or should they continue to be involved in their communities and give up $52 of that $77 each month for their bus pass?

Right now they don’t pay that $52 a month. They pay a mere $45 a year, and that’s fair. It’s fair for people with disabilities, who have many barriers in their life, to reduce barriers to accessibility and inclusion in their communities by ensuring that bus passes are at a very low cost.

In the United Kingdom, for example, people with disabilities get a free bus pass. They get a free bus pass because that society values the importance of inclusion of people with disabilities in their communities.

Right now people with disabilities are faced with this choice, as I mentioned, and everywhere I go, this seems to be the case. I was talking to Cass Kennedy in Kamloops. She stopped me as she was transferring between her two buses to tell me that she’s really concerned. Does she keep her bus pass? She needs that bus pass to be able to get to her doctor’s appointments, to be able to go see her family and friends. Or does she give that bus pass up because she has a specialized diet, and she has that extra food cost?

I’ve been hearing that very story all over this province. I heard it in Coquitlam, and I heard it in Vernon and in Maple Ridge as well. This is very disconcerting, to hear that people who are living at the lowest income brackets in our province are being faced with this type of choice, of being included in their communities or having to pay those extra costs for basics, like food, rent and utilities. That’s the real choice that they are facing. Time and again, it’s frustrating to see that this government isn’t hearing that.

I’m hoping that today, with this exchange, they will hear that message. Thousands and thousands of people with disabilities are coming forward to share their personal stories of struggle, hoping that government will hear that and reverse this decision to increase bus pass fees that are going to put them into a difficult place of making very, very hard choices.

[1040]

We need to reverse this bus pass clawback. We need to reverse any type of clawback that is going to be associated with this rate increase. If we are truly committed to ensuring that every person with a disability in our province is able to access transportation, we need to start hearing from them what kind of transportation they need and what kind of subsidies and supports they need to be able to do that.

I know that in my riding, as I mentioned, half of my riding is not able to access transportation subsidies. Well, let’s expand the existing subsidies to those rural areas so that they can get out and be involved in the community.

L. Larson: I am pleased to respond to the member for Nelson-Creston on this important issue to all people in British Columbia living with a disability and receiving disability assistance.

British Columbia is a very large province and has a mostly rural and remote landscape. In many areas of my riding, there is no public transport system available for anyone, with or without a disability. Prior to the announcement by the minister of $77 being added to those eligible for disability assistance, only those living in areas where public transportation was available received a bus pass, valued at approximately $50.

The new legislation now allows all people receiving disability benefits to make their own choice of how they pay for transportation, depending on what their individual transportation needs are and regardless of where they live in the province of British Columbia. In my area, they may choose to pay for a friend’s fuel to take them to an appointment or get a taxi, if available.

Until this legislation, 45,000 people living outside of public transit availability received no transportation allowance at all. We are making every effort to make the lives of all British Columbians living with a disability better. Transportation needs and availability are different based on where you live. Now choices can be made by each individual.

This is only one of the many pieces of legislation that benefit all people, including in the riding of Nelson-Creston, receiving disability assistance. Budget 2016 provides an additional $170 million to raise assistance rates for people with disabilities in B.C. The subsidized annual bus pass program continues, and there is no change to the application or renewal process. This increase provides fairness in the system and more choice for people on disability assistance.

Now everyone on disability assistance will receive the same level of assistance no matter where they live. On September 1, all 100,000 people receiving disability assistance will receive an increase of up to $77 in their monthly rate, depending on the choice they make.

Those who have been receiving a subsidized bus pass and want to keep it will get an increase of $25. We will continue to provide an annual bus pass for those seniors who are eligible and persons with a disability who want one. The process will not change.

People receiving the special transportation subsidy worth $66 per month will still receive that support, plus an additional $11 per month. The 45,000 people who have not received any transportation support in the past will receive an increase of the full $77 in their monthly rates. While our government understands that people hope to see a larger increase in rates, these changes do ensure everyone receiving disability assistance will benefit.

Our government set a vision for B.C. to become the most progressive place for people with disabilities in Canada. To achieve this vision, we released Accessibility 2024 in June 2014, a ten-year action plan to increase accessibility and decrease barriers for people with disabilities.

Close to 100,000 British Columbians are designated persons with disabilities and receive disability assistance from the provincial government. This number has doubled since 2001. This year the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation will provide more than $1 billion in disability assistance for 2016-17, a 289 percent increase from 2001-2002.

[1045]

We will also provide $879 million in base funding to Community Living B.C., which supports more than 18,000 individuals with developmental disabilities. In 2013, Community Living B.C. launched a three-year community action employment plan to increase the number of people with developmental disabilities who are working. After two years, it has grown from 2,200 to 3,600 people.

Transportation assistance is essential for people with disabilities. The subsidized annual bus pass program continues, and there is no change to the application or renewal process. This increase provides fairness in the system across British Columbia and more choice for people on disability assistance.

M. Mungall: First, let me say that I’ve been hearing very loudly from my constituents about this bus pass clawback. Specifically, the people-with-disabilities community have met with me. They’ve written letters. I’m going to quote from their letter and their view of this new bus pass fee. They’re well aware that the application process hasn’t changed and that the bus pass is still available. What they’re talking about is the new fee, and that’s what I was talking about.

Here’s a quote from their letters of what they wrote me and what they think of this new fee: “Two thumbs down.” They were very, very clear on what they thought.

I hear what members opposite are saying when we talk about 45,000 people who haven’t had any transportation subsidy at all. We know that those numbers are there. How this government chose to address that is wrong. They failed to recognize the realities that people with disabilities have and the financial pressures that exist in their life and the increased financial pressures that this government has put on them. They’ve absolutely failed. As people with disabilities speak out to share those realities, this government has dug in and has shut them down over and over and over again. That is wrong.

Deputy Speaker: Member, private members’ statements should be non-partisan.

M. Mungall: Pardon me, hon. Speaker. I will bring it back.

The member opposite talked about Accessibility 2024, and I’m glad that she did because I would like to talk about it as well. Accessibility 2024 says this about transportation — that government will “continue to work with communities to support discussions on transit options for persons with disabilities.” To me, and to people across this province, that was a distinct commitment to expand B.C. Transit to more rural communities, to give the option of the bus pass.

More importantly, Accessibility 2024 was one of the largest consultations with people with disabilities that this government ever undertook, and I applaud them for that. They heard from thousands of people on what they needed for a more accessible community, for a more accessible province, and to reach that goal of the most accessible jurisdiction in Canada.

But no one talked about increasing bus pass fees in that process. They talked about increasing transit options to rural areas. That type of consultation, that type of discussion, is available for this government to undertake to have a better understanding of what the transportation needs are for people with disabilities in rural areas. We know that we could expand those transportation options so that everybody in this province is able to be included in their community, and I implore this government to do that.

 

 

April 13th in bc leg in Question Period

DISABILITY BENEFITS AND
BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

M. Mungall: Well, despite the minister’s long-standing spin job, people with disabilities are not giving up on their fight to end the bus pass clawback. Today they were on the steps of the Legislature again. Delphine Charmley was among them. She has two adult sons with disabilities who will now each be paying another $624 every year for their bus pass. If they choose not to get out into their community, however, and rather to take that money and buy the healthy food that they need but can’t afford now, they will not have to pay that extra money.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members. The Chair will hear the question.

M. Mungall: Delphine knows that this choice that the minister has forced onto her sons is plain wrong. It is mean spirited, and it needs to come to an end immediately. Why doesn’t the minister know that as well?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: The fact is everyone who receives persons-with-disabilities assistance will now receive a transportation allowance. Everyone, including the 45,000 people who were never receiving transportation support, will now receive it.

We have made a $170 million increase to investment to help raise the rates for people with disabilities. Everyone will see a $25 rate increase to their allowance, and they will see a $52 transportation allowance still providing everyone with transportation across this province, no matter where they live. Now the system will be fair and equitable for everyone.

M. Mungall: The minister has no idea why 45,000 people were not accessing the alternative transportation subsidy or the bus pass program because she consulted with absolutely no one on this bus pass clawback. It was something that they dreamed up to give people money with one hand and take away with the other, and that is just plain mean.

The minister ought to know by now that Ms. Charmley isn’t the only mother concerned for her children’s continued ability to be part of their community. There are thousands just like her. Clair Schuman writes about her son. He has autism, is not able to work and needs his bus pass to keep some independence. Getting enough healthy food is a challenge for him, and now he and his mom are trying to figure out whether he should buy more healthy food or if he should buy a bus pass, because with this policy, it just can’t be both.

When will the minister stop putting thousands of families like Delphine’s and Clair’s between a rock and a hard place and do the right thing? End the bus pass clawback. That’s the right thing, Minister. Let’s see it today.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: If the member opposite is having such a difficult time understanding what an investment of $170 million means to the people with disabilities around this province, she can come meet with me. It’s been months. She has never requested a meeting with me. She has never come to talk to me.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members, Members.

Interjection.

Madame Speaker: Nelson-Creston.

[End of question period.]

Thursday April 7th 2016 in question period  DISABILITY BENEFITS AND  BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

 

M. Mungall: It’s been a few weeks, and still we see the B.C. Liberals having said that the bus pass clawback is a communications problem. Well, Yuki Akawa doesn’t think so. Ms. Akawa is 20 years old, has autism and epilepsy, and she uses her bus pass to get to her volunteer job, find paid work and practise her socialization skills. She’s now faced with a choice to pay an extra $52 per month for a bus pass or to buy the specialized food that she needs for her diet.

For her, this isn’t a communications problem. This is a real-life problem. She’s tired of this minister’s spin job, and she doesn’t have $10,000 for a dinner with the Premier. So the question to the minister is: when…?

Interjections.

M. Mungall: In fact, she doesn’t even make $10,000 in a year.

Madame Speaker: Just take your seat now.

Members.

Please continue.

[1055]

M. Mungall: Madame Speaker, I see that after yesterday’s introduction of our legislation, we’ve touched a nerve with the opposition. But more importantly, for Ms. Akawa

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M. Mungall: I see that after yesterday’s introduction of our legislation, we’ve touched a nerve with the opposition. But more importantly, for Ms. Akawa — she wants to know when this minister is actually going to start listening to the hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who continually ask her to end the bus pass clawback. They’re not going to stop until she does, so she might as well do it today.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: I absolutely understand. We on this side of the House understand that affordable transportation is important to people around this province. That’s why we invested $170 million to raise the rates for people with disabilities, as well as still provide transportation for absolutely everyone who is on PWD. I can say it again: 45,000 people, including the ones who live in the member opposite’s riding, did not get any transportation supports. Today they will receive those supports, starting September 1.

M. Mungall: Clearly, the minister is still dedicated to this line of a far-fetched concept that this is all just a communications problem. Well, let me remind the members opposite….

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

M. Mungall: Let me remind the members opposite that the last time the B.C. Liberals thought something was just a communications problem, it was the HST. Oh, we all remember that. But just like five years ago, we see the Liberals on a failing communications spin job.

The same form letter that the Minister of Social Development has sent out to local media is the same form letter that the Minister of Transportation sends out and the same form letter that the member for Abbotsford South sends out. They’re all sending out this form letter that has this spin job that the minister delivered just now. But just like the HST, we don’t have a communications problem. We have a mean policy problem from this government.

Madame Speaker: Question.

M. Mungall: Thousands of people are affected by this mean policy. Thousands of people are speaking out about it. Thousands of people…

Madame Speaker: Question.

M. Mungall: …know exactly what’s happening in their lives, and they want this bus pass clawback to end. When is the minister going to get it and start listening to the people who live this reality every day?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: The fact is that the letters are going out to create the real information, the truth of the information, so that people understand that we are investing and that we are continuing to support people around this province who, we understand, need extra support. They will have transportation assistance if they choose. They have additional funds for their rates each and every month. We are able to make those investments because we continue to grow the economy. We are creating jobs. We are providing and investing in the people that we care about in this province.

 

Today March 14th  in BC Leg Question Period on Bus Pass changes and Disability Benefits

DISABILITY BENEFITS AND
BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

M. Mungall: Like the hundreds of thousands of people around British Columbia, the Mission Association for Community Living is concerned about this government’s bus pass clawback for people with disabilities. They are asking for the decision to be reversed. “The B.C. disability rate is among the lowest in the country, yet we live in one of the most expensive provinces.” They also noted: “To finally give people an increase, only to claw it back for something as essential as transportation, is mean-spirited and out of touch.”

Will the Minister of Social Development, if she’s not going to listen to the hundreds of thousands of other British Columbians who are voicing their concern on this issue, at least listen to the Mission Association for Community Living and reverse her decision, this government’s decision, to implement the bus pass clawback?

[1425]

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: We can continue to canvass this subject again and again here in the House. The investment is a $170 million investment to raise the rates and provide transportation to

HSE – 20160314 PM 012/alw/1425

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: We can continue to canvass this subject again and again here in the House.

The investment is a $170 million investment to raise the rates and provide transportation to 100,000 people who receive disability assistance in this province. Our government recognized there was an inequity in the system, with 45,000 people not receiving supports for transportation. By making this change, people still have the transportation subsidy. They also have the money to pay for the subsidy. Now the system is fair.

Madame Speaker: Member for Nelson-Creston on a supplemental.

M. Mungall: The minister has been on this line of spin for about a month. In this spin line, she’s been accusing people with disabilities and their advocates…

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

M. Mungall: …of misrepresenting the information, when in fact they are the very people….

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members, this House will come to order.

Interjection.

Madame Speaker: Minister.

Please continue.

M. Mungall: The best people to deliver the facts on this issue are the very people who are going to be living the results of these changes — people with disabilities. They are the best people to communicate what’s going on.

In fact, if anybody has been misrepresenting what’s been going on, the minister has, with falsely representing the position of an advocate in this very question period. Following the exchange, B.C. ACORN had to publicly correct the minister, saying that their quote was taken out of context and not accurate. B.C. ACORN also said, “Libs tried to make an insultingly tiny rate increase look better,” and directly told the minister: “You know our members are furious.”

Again to the minister: stop with the spin. Just stop with it already. There are hundreds of thousands of people around this province who are concerned, who are angry and who want to see this government do the right thing. Will you do that and end the bus pass clawback? And stop giggling while you’re at it.

Madame Speaker: Member for Nelson-Creston knows it’s never appropriate to impugn improper motive.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: What’s being taken out of context here are the facts. There is an increase. There still remains a subsidized bus pass. People still have transportation. They have choice on how they try to use that transportation.

The communication here is the problem, and it needs to stop from the members opposite. They are causing anxiety and stress for people with disabilities around this province. Only the NDP would see a $170 million investment as a cut.

Interjection.

M. Farnworth: George Abbott used to do that, and he was really funny. You’re no George Abbott.

 

 

Today in house BC leg March 9th in question period Micheal Mungall OF NDP

DISABILITY BENEFITS AND
BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

M. Mungall: Last week the Minister of Social Development tried to defend the indefensible once again when the people she impacted by raising bus pass fees showed up at her doorstep. Rather than listen to what people had to say or the concerns that they were bringing, she dismissed them, calling it all a photo op. I guess the minister didn’t appreciate what was going on. Neither she nor her colleagues had the decency to go out and speak with the hundreds of British Columbians with disabilities that were gathered here, in Vancouver, in Burnaby and in New Westminster.

To the minister: after another week of rallies, petitions and public outcry, is she still brushing off people with disabilities advocating for their well-being as nothing more than a photo op?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: On this side of the House, we understand the importance of affordable, accessible transportation, especially for seniors and people with disabilities. That is why we are the only province in Canada to provide a subsidized bus pass program as part of our provincial assistance program.

[1440]

As I’ve mentioned before, prior to these changes, 45,000 people in this province did not get any assistance with transportation subsidies, and that was not fair. What I’m curious about is the member opposite advocating for

HSE – 20160309 PM 015/hbw/1440

As I’ve mentioned before, prior to these changes, 45,000 people in this province did not get any assistance with transportation subsidies, and that was not fair. What I’m curious about is the member opposite advocating for basic inequality in the system — a two-tiered system. Is the member opposite for Nelson-Creston really advocating for people in her community to not get the increase?

Let’s just imagine for a moment if the members opposite had actually had the opportunity to have their 2013 election campaign platform come into play. People with disabilities would have gotten nothing. Nothing. They had promised a $20 increase — not $77, $20 over two years’ time.

We are removing barriers for people with disabilities. We are increasing their independence. We are helping them make meaningful contributions to their communities. It’s very important work, and we will continue to do it.

Madame Speaker: I recognize the member for Nelson-Creston on a supplemental.

M. Mungall: We’re on week 3 of this line from the minister, and what it shows, day in and day out, is that she has no idea what’s going on in her own ministry. She has no idea how her own programs work. She would have, if she had bothered to take a moment to actually consult with people with disabilities before she instituted this ridiculous change.

I guess when you work for a Premier who spent $130,000 flying a personal camera crew around the world, you think everything is a photo op. Freezing disability pensions for nine years is not a photo op; it is mean. Clawing back bus passes isn’t a photo op; it’s just mean.

Will the minister just stop with the rhetoric, start doing the right thing, and end this bus pass clawback today?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: I’m pretty sure the member opposite was around during our disability consultation, where we heard from many, many people around this province who wanted to see the inequity changed in that system.

What I can say right now is that the needs of British Columbians, especially those with disabilities, are not being served by the inaccurate information, the misinformation and, most importantly, the hypocrisy that we see from the opposition.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: The fear and the anxiety need to stop. It needs to stop, because the bus pass is still available. It has not been cancelled. People still have access to it the same way as they had it before. They are receiving an increase to their rates on top of that, and for those people — 45,000 people around this province — today they have the equality of the system.

PETITION

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

HSE – 20160309 PM 017/ebp/1450

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 per month by October 1, 2016, to reflect the cost of living.

 

 

Today march 2 2016  in BC leg in Question Period this time John Horgan official opposition leader of NDP questioning issue bus pass

cutback to minister Micheal Stillwell of Ministry of Social Development And Social Innovation and also to

ACCESS TO SKY TRAIN FARE GATES BY PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

AS OF APRIL 8TH FAR GATES BEING CLOSED BY TRANSLINK

AFFECTS PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Oral Questions

DISABILITY BENEFITS AND
BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

J. Horgan: For the past two weeks, we’ve been raising issues in this House about the callousness of the B.C. Liberal government — a government that, for nine years, refused to increase disability pensions for the most vulnerable in British Columbia. For nine years, a string of zeros. For nine years, the party on that side of the House said no to the most vulnerable in our community.

And this year they decided to give a modest increase. And then they clawed back the bulk of that increase to take away access to public transit here in British Columbia.

Today there was a rally on the front steps of the Legislature, and there was no murmuring from the peanut gallery there. There were people that are being affected by B.C. Liberal policies. Not apologists for B.C. Liberals, but people affected by their decision.

And those people want to know…. Rod, from the Action Committee for People with Disabilities, said to me: “Will you please ask the minister this question: ‘Why is it that this government is balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in British Columbia?'”

Can the minister answer that question?

Hon. M. Stilwell: What I can tell the Leader of the Opposition is that what we have done on this side of the House is created fairness and equity in the system for people with disabilities, as we have increased the rates — $170 million investment for people across the province — some receiving $77 and some receiving $25 and a subsidized bus pass.

And for those members who are here visiting us in the House who seem to be concerned about their subsidized bus pass, I want to clarify for them that they still have access to their subsidized bus pass program, and they will be receiving an increase to their rates.

Madame Speaker: Recognizing the Leader of the Official Opposition on a supplemental.

J. Horgan: Had the minister or anyone on that side of the House had the jam to go out and speak with the hundreds of people assembled on the steps of the Legislature, she may well have been able to try and spin that story for them.

But nine consecutive years of zeros while the minister of electricity has been jacking up hydro rates almost every single year except in the election year…. You’ll remember that everything was fixed then. Everything was perfect pre-election.

After the election, a torrent of increases for just about everything in British Columbia. And now the Minister of Social Development is giving with one hand and taking away with the other. Hundreds of people came to speak to the minister today, and she couldn’t make it outside.

[1400]

My question to the minister is: will you restore the bus pass — the $45 bus pass — that has been in existence for the past number of years? Will you do the right thing, restore the bus pass and give these people a break

Hon. M. Stilwell: And let me acknowledge to the members and those who were outside today my apologies for not being

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Hon. Michelle Stilwell: Let me acknowledge to the members and those who were outside today my apologies for not being available to be there today to speak with them on the front steps.

I was in Vancouver, meeting with the federal minister for persons with disabilities, speaking to her, meeting with her, in exactly the regards of how we create better opportunities for people with disabilities, how we create a more accessible British Columbia, how we continue to work on the programs and the services that we provide for people with disabilities in this province.

It is this government that has invested in people with disabilities. It’s this government that has put in policy reforms that have increased the opportunities for people with disabilities, whether it is the gifting for people with disabilities on income assistance — to not have that affect their income assistance rates — whether it’s the increase to asset limits from $5,000 to $100,000 for people with disabilities, the annualized earning exemptions or technology at work. Those are all things that this government has put in place.

Madame Speaker: The Leader of the Official Opposition on a supplemental.

J. Horgan: It’s a shame that the minister couldn’t be available, and it’s a bigger shame that not one single member on that side of the House could make themselves available to talk to some of their constituents on the front lawn of this Legislature. That’s a shame. Too bad for the minister. But where were the rest of you? Having lunch, I guess, having lunch.

The government talks about choices. The minister says that this is about choices. There was a choice the Premier made: to spend half a million dollars on private jets while we clawed back a bus pass from the disabled. We had $130,000, according to public accounts, to pay the camera crew, but we don’t have any money to protect the most vulnerable. We had $236 million last year….

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members, Members.

J. Horgan: We had 236 million bucks to give to the richest people in B.C. last year. The Minister of Health might have been here. He voted in favour of that, and he’s going to vote in favour of it again this year.

I want to ask…. I want to plead with the Minister of Social Development. Listen to the people you’re supposed to represent, not the spin doctors back at public affairs, and restore the bus pass for the most vulnerable people in B.C. It’s not a federal decision. It’s your decision. Do the right thing.

Madame Speaker: I’ll remind all members to direct their comments through the Chair.

Minister.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: I find it very difficult to understand how I restore something that hasn’t been cancelled. The members opposite….

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members will come to order.

Minister, we’ll just wait.

Please, proceed.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: As well, I’d like to point out that in the Georgia Straight today the member for Nelson-Creston was quoted as saying that she doesn’t want to make a commitment outside of the formal process for helping people with disabilities in their future election platform — also noting that in their 2013 election platform, they also didn’t have any solutions for people with disabilities.

Yet, today they bring everybody here for a photo op — a photo op — for their political gain, while they create anxiety and fear for people with disabilities around this province, when we are trying to assist them as best we can, when we can.

M. Mark: What the Minister of Social Development won’t admit is that her decisions are having real impacts on real people. Kyla lives in East Vancouver and is on disability pension. As you can imagine, she already has a pretty hard time making ends meet. Now she will have to choose between keeping her bus pass, something she relies on, or trying to keep up with the rising cost of putting food on the table.

What choice does the minister think that Kyla should make?

[1405]

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: I’d like to acknowledge the member opposite for her first question here in the House since becoming an MLA

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What choice does the minister think Kyla should make?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: I’d like to acknowledge the member opposite for her first question here in the House since becoming an MLA.

The fact of the matter is people with disabilities don’t have to make the choice between the bus pass. The bus pass is still there for them. They will still have their transportation needs met. In fact, 45,000 people who weren’t receiving supports for transportation are now receiving money in their pocket, in their hand, so they can make the right decisions.

Madame Speaker: Member on a supplemental.

M. Mark: Pasha lives here in Victoria. She has a hard time walking and uses a cane. Needless to say, she needs her bus pass if she wants to make it to her medical appointments. But like Kyla and the hundreds of people gathered out on the lawn and in the Lower Mainland, she will now have to choose between basic transportation and trying to keep up with rising costs.

Why does the minister think that the freedom of choice she offers people on disabilities really is any choice at all?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: I truly understand that people were hoping for more of an increase to their rates. As a person with a disability, I know exactly what they go through each and every day. I’ve lived it. I’ve been there. I’ve been on income assistance, so don’t tell me I don’t understand, because I do.

We are doing the best we can to support people with disabilities, on this side of the House. We are doing everything we can, whether it’s helping them with their health care, their prescription costs, their medical needs, wheelchairs, walkers, canes, transportation needs that they need to be met so that they can live in their communities, so they can get to school, so that they can get to their medical appointments.

Those are things that this side of the House has provided for them and will continue to provide for them.

S. Fraser: The real world in my constituency…. The Port Alberni Association for Community Living has written to the Premier, asking her to reverse this heartless decision. Association president Susan Waldie…. I trust that the association president, Susan Waldie, is pretty clear about what the effect of this minister’s changes are. According to her, people on disability pensions — and this is a quote — “will slide deeper into poverty.”

Does the Minister of Social Development really believe that Ms. Waldie, a respected disability advocate in this province and in my constituency, is fearmongerring?

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: We’ve canvassed the facts on this multiple times — last week, Monday, Tuesday, again today. I continue to support the $170 million that we’re investing to increase the rates for people with disabilities around this province.

I can’t speak to anyone’s unique circumstances. Everyone with a disability starts somewhere else in life. Everyone with a disability has their own level of function and ability. What we try to do on this side of the House is to ensure that we wrap supports around individuals so that they can be successful, so that they can reach their full potential and they can be a part of the community. That is our goal. That is our aim.

Madame Speaker: Alberni–Pacific Rim on a supplemental.

S. Fraser: In the real world, government’s decisions have effects, and it should get beyond the heckling and the rhetoric. Ms. Waldie’s only interest….

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members. The Chair will hear the question. Just wait.

[1410]

S. Fraser: Ms. Waldie’s only interest is in speaking out for those who government does not seem to be listening to. Her message to this government is simple: “On behalf of those we represent, Community Living B.C., I ask you to raise the rates and leave our bus

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Just wait.

S. Fraser: Ms. Waldie’s only interest is in speaking out for those who government do not seem to be listening to. Her message to this government is simple: “On behalf of those we represent, Community Living B.C., I ask you to raise the rates and leave our bus pass alone.”

Will the Minister of Social Development listen to Ms. Waldie, or will she just accuse her again of spreading fear?

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Order. This House will come to order.

Please continue.

S. Fraser: Will the Minister of Social Development listen to Ms. Waldie, who knows what she’s talking about, or will she just accuse her again of spreading fear?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: On top of the $170 million investment we’re making to increase the rates and provide a bus pass for people with disabilities around this province, CLBC is also receiving $36 million to help support.

The fact of the matter is, we are listening. On this side of the House, it is this government that went through the consultation for Accessibility 2024. It is this government that has made changes to the annualized earning exemptions to increase the earning exemptions to come up with technology at work to help support people so they have the tools to get back into the workforce, to help them in their training. It’s this government that continues to look forward progressively and innovatively so that we can find solutions to help support people with disabilities.

M. Mungall: I’d like to tell the minister about Tabitha Naismith. She’s a single mom with two children. One is just a baby. She lives on disability in Surrey, and she needs her bus pass to get around because she has epilepsy and she can’t drive, and she has no other choice, as she puts it.

So when she sees the new monthly cost of a B.C. bus pass…. And it is a new cost, period, full stop. The Liberals can try and spin it another way, but if we’re going to tell the truth in this House….

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

M. Mungall: It’s $52 a month, and that’s new. When she hears that, she thinks of her kids first and foremost and the choices she needs to make for them. What that means, $52 a month for her, is baby formula and diapers that she needs for her family.

Does the minister really think it’s fair to force Tabitha to choose between a bus pass that she needs to get around or the baby formula and diapers that she needs for her children?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: I can assure the member again today that she simply has it wrong, and I can assure the person that she’s speaking of will receive the bus pass in the same way, if she chooses, with a $25 rate increase to her income assistance. On top of that, the individual — I can’t speak to her specifics — receives child care subsidies, medical and optical and dental, prescription expenses covered as well. Those are all supports that we put in place to ensure that people with disabilities are supported in our province.

Madame Speaker: The member for Nelson-Creston on a supplemental.

M. Mungall: If Tabitha chooses not to get the bus pass that she needs, then she gets to keep $52 a month extra, and that is something that she would use to pay for the needs for her children.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members. The Chair will hear the answer and the question.

Please continue.

M. Mungall: If she chooses to get a bus pass, she will not see that $52 out of the $77. That’s the reality that she’s looking at.

[1415]

She’s also looking at the fact that she lives in B.C. Housing and her rent is based on her income. Her income is going to go up, and she’s concerned that so is her rent. So not only is she spending $52 a month now on a bus pass, but her rent’s going to go up, and she’s not going to see a dime of the increase that this government has

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Her income is going to go up, and she’s concerned that so is her rent. So not only is she spending $52 a month now on a bus pass, but her rent is going to go up, and she’s not going to see a dime of the increase that this government has claimed that they’ve put in place for her.

The minister can continue to get mad at those who aren’t buying her spin, or she can just do the right thing and end this bus pass clawback. Will she do that?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: As the member opposite continues to raise the anxiety levels and the stress levels for people with disabilities, I’d like to confirm with her that the person….

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: People with disabilities who are living in government housing will not see a rent increase based on this increase to people with disabilities income assistance rates.

I also want to recognize that the reality is that the member opposite…. Where was she when 45,000 people…?  Her Twitter handle actually says that she stands up for fairness and equity. Well, this is about fairness and equity across this province for people — 45,000 people who didn’t receive the supports that everybody else received.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Order.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: Where was she when she had the opportunity to advocate for her own constituents in Nelson-Creston who weren’t receiving any transportation subsidies? They now get the full $77 rate increase, and people around this province will be better off than they were yesterday.

ACCESS TO SKYTRAIN FARE GATES
BY PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

D. Eby: As if clawing back bus passes from people with disabilities wasn’t heartless enough, just yesterday we learned that this government is closing SkyTrain and Canada Line fare gates next month despite having no plan in place for people with whose disabilities mean they can’t tap in with a Compass card. On April 4, when the fare gates close, a simple trip for someone whose disability restricts the use of their hands will look like this: call TransLink, wait on hold, arrange a meeting time, hope you’re not delayed, meet the attendant who will open the gate for you, and then take the SkyTrain. Happy red-tape-reduction-awareness day, everyone.

Now, the minister responsible has been embarrassed into action by news reports on this, but this plan has been underway for nine years. Why has this government failed to address this problem until there were news stories about their failure to support people with disabilities?

Hon. P. Fassbender: You know, I find it very difficult when the members opposite are bringing a view of the facts and twisting them to create concern and fear on the part of people who don’t deserve that.

Persons with disabilities deserve access to all of the services that this province has to offer. I can assure the members of this House and those people in the gallery that this government has made it very clear to TransLink that before any gates are closed, solutions will be in place to ensure unfettered access for persons with disabilities. That is our commitment. That is the message. And the management in the operational side of TransLink is committed to making sure that that happens.

 

 

This is today in bc leg march 1st 2016 on bc bus pass program more on that with micheal mungall NDP critic to ministry social development and social inovation

GOVERNMENT SPENDING PRIORITIES
AND BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

M. Mungall: Sheenagh Morrison is here today. She receives disability and is an active self-advocate with Inclusion B.C. She is a swimmer and has a job at Thrifty’s.

To get to the pool and to get to work, Sheenagh needs to take a bus.

As she put it, she simply has no other choice. So she wants to know from the Premier why she has to pay an extra $624 each year for her bus pass, while the Premier gets to take a private jet.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: Well, the guest that the member opposite has brought here today deserves to know the truth.

And it is so disheartening for me to know that the member opposite is misleading this lovely young lady in her belief of what we have actually done to change and make the difference for people with disabilities.

She still has her bus pass. She will have an increase in the rates for $25 a month, as well as continue working at Thrifty’s, because it is the annualized earning exemption that this government put in place that allows for people to earn.

M. Mungall: The minister should just be ashamed of herself to suggest that Sheenagh doesn’t know what’s going on in her own life. Sheenagh most certainly does.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members. The Chair will hear the answer and the question.

M. Mungall: Madame Speaker, Sheenagh knows what’s going on in her own life.

She knows that she’s been paying more for B.C. Hydro, for food and other necessities these last nine years without an increase to her disability.

She thought she was going to get to keep the $77-a-month increase that this government proposed so she could pay for those extra costs.

[1040]

But then she found out that she was going to have to pay this new bus pass fee of $52 a month because of B.C. Liberal choices. She’s going to be paying more for rent, too.

Here’s what we have. The Liberals gave with one hand, and they are taking away with the other.

And that money is going straight into the coffers of the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Housing. Meanwhile, the Premier is

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because of B.C. Liberal choices. She’s going to be paying more for rent too.

So here’s what we have. The Liberals gave with one hand, and they are taking away with the other, and that money is going straight into the coffers of the Minister of Transportation and the Minister for Housing. Meanwhile, the Premier is on private jets. So can the Premier explain how this is fair to Sheenagh?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: Again, the fear and the anxiety that the member opposite is creating for people with disabilities around this province is wrong.

I understand that people would have liked to see a bigger increase in the income assistance rates.

We have done what we can, and we continue to invest — $170 million that we’re investing to help raise the rates and provide bus passes for individuals in this province while equalizing it for everyone in the province. Everyone receives the same amount of money no matter what their ability is.

 

 

Here more today February 29th 2016 in leg in Question Period on bus pass program NDP Opposition  leader John Horgan and Micheal Mungall 

asking question to Micheal Stillwell Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation

Oral Questions

GOVERNMENT SPENDING PRIORITIES
AND BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

J. Horgan: Every day that goes by, since the tabling of this year’s budget, more and more people are talking about just how callous this government has become. And we’ve got some fairly graphic examples of the choices that the Minister of Finance talked about on election day.

The Minister of Finance had a choice to give a meaningful increase to people on disability pensions for the first time in nine years. Instead of doing that, the Minister of Finance gave with one hand and took away with the other. And the government had the gall to say that this was about choices. I don’t know anyone else in this place who would agree that the choice between being shut in or using the most basic form of transportation is in fact a real choice.

The Premier, of course, has choices as well, and the Premier chose, rather than using WestJet, to spend $500,000 on private jets. My question is to the Minister of Social Development. Can she explain to the people in this House and, more importantly, to people on disability assistance why it’s okay for the Premier to find the highest-priced option and it’s okay for you and your government to take away the most basic of options for transportation for people with disabilities?

Madame Speaker: Through the Chair.

I’ll remind all members to direct their comments through the Chair.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: The member opposite seems offended that we would actually provide choice to people with disabilities, as if they’re not able to make choices for themselves.

We on this side of the House actually think that people are able to make their own choices. That’s why in our ministry here, in Social Development and Social Innovation, we continue to refine policies to increase the independence of people with disabilities so that they can attain their full potential.

Again, for clarification for the members opposite, who certainly don’t seem to understand — and as much as they continue to say it over and over again, it doesn’t make it right: the subsidized bus pass program is still available to those individuals with disabilities.

They can have it, and they will receive a $25 rate increase. That is what we are able to do, on this side of the House, to provide assistance for people with disabilities.

J. Horgan: The government was able to find 236 million bucks to give to the richest people in British Columbia, and they’re taking away bus passes from the most vulnerable.

It’s reprehensible. It’s reprehensible for the minister to talk about choice.

What’s the choice? The choice is to stay home…. “Or do I get a bus pass?”

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

J. Horgan: “Or do I buy food? Or do I keep the lights on?” — because hydro rates are going up again as well.

This is a government that is completely and utterly detached from reality, absolutely detached from reality.

To the Minister of Social Development: why is it okay for the Premier and her entourage to get private flights wherever they want to go, and it’s not good enough to give a basic bus pass to the most vulnerable people in our community? Why that choice?

[1400]

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: It’s just wrong, and the member opposite knows it. The investment is $170 million to increase the rates for people with disabilities across this province, giving 45,000 people money they didn’t have before, that they didn’t get and that other people did get. It’s about equity. It’s about fairness. From the members opposite,

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Hon. Michelle Stilwell: It’s just wrong, and the member opposite knows it. The investment is $170 million to increase the rates for people with disabilities across this province, giving 45,000 people money that they didn’t have before, that they didn’t get that other people did get.

It’s about equity. It’s about fairness. And for the members opposite who always say that’s what they’re all about — fairness and equity — this is what change is doing in our ministry: making sure that everybody is getting the same thing across the board, as well as keeping their subsidized bus pass if that’s what they choose.

It’s not just about the rates. It’s about the other things that…. We wrap supports around individuals: free MSP, free dental, optical, medical equipment, supplies and subsidized daycare. We wrap all those supports around people to ensure that they can reach their full potential.

Madame Speaker: The Leader of the Official Opposition on a supplemental.

J. Horgan: For the minister to recite programs that have been in place for decades is not credit due to this government — not at all. Quite the contrary. Now, if the Premier needs to fly to Whistler, the private jet is there. If she needs to go to Kelowna to remind the people there that she is their MLA, the private jet is there. But what do we do for the most vulnerable in society? Well, $52 a month from $77 a month isn’t a lot, and some of that’s going to go into the pocket of the minister responsible for B.C. Hydro so he can transfer it to the Minister of Finance to balance the books. This government is completely and utterly out of touch.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

J. Horgan: When you can stand and defend private jets to the tune of half a million bucks when there are multiple flights a day, if the Premier does like to visit the constituency she represents….

Interjection.

Madame Speaker: Minister of Health.

J. Horgan: Nine years and nothing from the bunch over there. But the rich got their piece last year.

The rich got their piece again, and the Premier gets to fly to her sometimes constituency in a private jet.

Unbelievable. To the most out-of-touch government I’ve ever seen in my life, will you do the right thing and restore bus passes to the most vulnerable people and shut the private jets down?

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: This House will come to order. Both sides of this House will come to order.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: If the member opposite wants to talk about reality, let’s talk about the reality that they provided in their 2013 election platform: $20 of an increase for couples and singles. Nothing for people with disabilities. Let’s talk about the reality that the members opposite cut income assistance rates when they were in government — cut them.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

Please continue.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: It was the members opposite that in their ten years of time in government, raised the rates a mere $10. It is this government that continues to make investments for people with disabilities. It’s this government that came up with the single-parent employment initiative. It’s this government that came up with technology at work to provide supports for individuals, to remove barriers and create opportunities so that they can get into the workforce. We know that the best thing for individuals is to get a job, become independent and take care of themselves and their families.

M. Mungall: You can only imagine the outrage that people with disabilities feel after hearing….

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

M. Mungall: You know, Madame Speaker, I’m getting tired of…. Every time I get up, this side of the House over here just has to get outraged, and they have to shut these questions down. These are the questions from people with disabilities in this province, and that attitude is wrong.

Madame Speaker: Members. This House will come to order.

Please continue.

M. Mungall: As I was trying to say, you can only imagine the outrage that people with disabilities feel after hearing about the Premier’s travel choices.

[1405]

One trip was over $16,000. Now, compare that with the $11,700 that people with disabilities get to live off in a single year, and now $624 of that is going to be clawed back for the Liberals’ new bus pass fee. And it is a new bus pass fee

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One trip was over $16,000. Compare that with the $11,700 that people with disabilities get to live off in a single year. Now $624 of that is going to be clawed back for the Liberals’ new bus pass fee. And it is a new bus pass fee.

The minister talks about choices, and it’s pretty clear that choices are being made — luxury travel for the Premier, and a bus pass clawback for people with disabilities. My question is to the Minister of Social Development. Clearly she doesn’t get it. Why does she not get that this is wrong, and when is she going to end the clawback of bus passes for people with disabilities?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: What needs to be shut down are the inaccuracies that the member opposite continues to spread across this province, for people with disabilities. What I truly don’t understand is how the member opposite wasn’t advocating for her constituents in her own community that weren’t getting any transportation subsidy and who are now getting a $77 increase.

On this side of the House, we have made investments across ministries: $3.2 billion in health care over the next three years. So $217 million in MCFD, $456 million in SDSI, too, not only provide the rate increase and the bus subsidy to individuals across this province with disabilities, but also for those who are CLBC clients — $36 million. Those are investments that are making a difference in people’s lives each and every day.

Madame Speaker: I recognize the member for Nelson-Creston on a supplemental.

M. Mungall: If anyone in this House is misleading the public, it’s that minister, right there, every time she says that people with disabilities did not pay $52 a month for their bus…. They did not pay $52 for their bus pass prior to this clawback instituted by this government. That’s the truth, and every time they suggest otherwise, they are the ones misleading people across this province.

And on one day — on one day — the Premier charters a flight for her and her entourage to Kelowna for a photo op. Now, she enjoyed that photo op so much that guess what. She went and did it the very next day again. Bills sent to the taxpayers.

But if Alex Carey, a young man with disabilities, needs to get to his classes so that he can get a job…. If he needs to get to his classes at Douglas College in New Westminster, guess what. He has to pay more, or he has to drop out, and that doesn’t sound like much of a choice at all.

So minister, here’s the reality. You’re forcing people with disabilities to choose between a bus pass, getting to classes, getting to work, getting to doctor’s appointments or food. That’s the reality. Why don’t you get it, and when are you going to end this bus pass clawback?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: It’s been about two weeks since the budget came out and we announced the $170 million investment that we’re making. The member opposite has yet to come to me to ask for information or a briefing on how to understand how this is affecting and benefiting people with disabilities around this province. I welcome her to come for information if she needs it, because obviously she doesn’t get it.

I’d like to help support her in that if she chooses, because my role as minister is to ensure that people with disabilities are supported. And these changes are supporting them more today than they were yesterday.

 

 

 

 

Here today in BC govt leg in Question Period debate Micheal Mungall NDP  Critic for Social Development

and M. Karagianis of NDP  Feb 24th 2016

hazard that said that to pubic record read below on issue of pwd benefits and bus pass program 45 dollar one being cancelled

 

 

GOVERNMENT SPENDING PRIORITIES
AND BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

M. Mungall: Well, we all know that government is about making choices and that people want their government to make choices that make their lives easier. So the Premier has decided that clawing back bus passes from people on disability was a wise choice. And we now know that she also decided to spend more than $100,000 to hold a photo op of yoga on the Burrard Street Bridge. She only backed down because the public cried out and asked her to stop doing that.

[1410]

So my question to the Premier is this. Does she really think that her PR needs are more important than providing a $45 annual bus pass to people with disabilities?

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does she really think that her PR needs are more important than providing a $45 annual bus pass to people with disabilities?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: The member is simply wrong. She was wrong last week. She was wrong yesterday, and she’s wrong again today. But for some reason she continues to misinform the public about the changes that have been made in my ministry.

Nobody is being denied the bus pass program. The subsidized bus pass program is still available to people with disabilities. The changes we’ve made are $170 million investment to help increase the rates for people with disabilities.

We are taking from the strength of our economy in order to build on the investments we can make in ministries across this government, whether it be $1.5 billion in health care over the next three years, or $1 2 billion in the social development ministries of Ministry of Children and Families, myself and Housing. These are investments we’re making in the future to help those who need it most.

Madame Speaker: Member for Nelson-Creston on a supplemental.

M. Mungall: Nobody is buying this truly Orwellian spin that the government is putting out about the bus passes, but best of luck continuing with that line.

My question was to the Premier. It’s because we recently got freedom-of-information documents that showed that she planned to spend more than $100,000 on her photo-op. She had her aides scope out the costs Om the Bridge, and, boy, did they cost — over $12,000 alone just to set up speakers. Keep in mind that $12,000 is more than what people with disabilities are getting each year.

Again, my question is to the Premier. Can she tell us who is in greater need of public support? Is it people with disabilities, or is it her PR team?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: What I can tell this House, and what I can inform the opposition, is that we continue to grow our economy so we can make investments in the welfare of people of our province who need it most.

Since 2001, there has been almost $5 billion in subsidized housing provided for individuals across this province who need assistance. There are child care subsidies that are provided, free dental and optical, free MSP payments, discounted bus passes, medical equipment and supplies — multiple ways that we wrap supports around people in this province that need it the most. We will continue to invest, and we will continue to support.

M. Karagianis: The freedom-of-information documents had some more interesting information in them —money that seemed to be no object for the Premier to spend on her failed Om the Bridge project. There was money for custom stages, money for a giant graphic wrap — and here’s my favourite — money for two super silent generators because, of course, you can’t do Om on the Bridge if the generators are making any noise.

Can the Premier tell the House why she was prepared to dedicate taxpayers’ dollars to her massive photo-op and yet not provide bus passes to people with disabilities?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: The $170 million that is being invested into people with disabilities is new money to help support increased rates.

[1415]

It is part of our continued progressive policy changes that we make in social development, and we have made in the last several years, to help make the lives of people with disabilities more independent, to help those people who rely on us each and every day — whether it be us increasing the asset limits, taking away the exemptions for gifting without it affecting their income assistance rates, whether it’s their ability to earn almost $10,000 in earning exemptions before it is being counted toward their income assistance, if it’s the single-parent employment initiative. These are all changes that we are doing to wrap supports around people

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taking away the exemptions for gifting without it affecting their income assistance rates, whether it’s their ability to earn almost $10,000 in earning exemptions before it is being counted toward their income assistance, if it’s the single-parent employment initiative. These are all changes that we are doing to wrap supports around people to make their lives better.

Madame Speaker: Esquimalt–Royal Roads on a supplemental.

M. Karagianis: Despite the minister’s comments here, she needs to get on top of that file, because the people in the disabilities community know exactly what happened with their bus pass.

It’s an interesting and sharp contrast with the kind of money the Premier was prepared to spend to om the bridge. She had planned…. You’ll have to just bear with me. There was no guarantee people would watch the Premier doing her yoga on the bridge. She also planned to spend nearly $25,000 of taxpayers’ money for a mobile TV and transmission facilities so that, of course, she could broadcast this great photo op to the world.

How can the Premier honestly tell this House that her photo op was more deserving of taxpayers’ dollars than the people in the disabilities community — for a bus pass so they can get around their communities every single day?

Hon. C. Clark: When they look up “scraping the bottom of the barrel,” they’re going to find this question period in the dictionary. There’s no question about it.

That member is talking about money that wasn’t spent and comparing it to one of the biggest lifts in rates for people on disabilities that’s happened in years in British Columbia — a rate increase that will benefit everyone, including people who will continue to use a bus pass and people who never had a bus pass. All of those individuals are going to benefit from this. Despite the fact that the member keeps saying that that won’t happen, it doesn’t make it true.

The truth is that this change in the budget, which we’ve been able to make because of a growing economy…. Because we make a priority of looking after vulnerable people in British Columbia, this change is going to make life a little bit better for all of the people who live with disabilities around the province. When you add that to the long list of changes that the minister has already talked about, changes we’ve been making to ensure that we’re wrapping services around people who need it the most…. When you add those together, it means that every year since I’ve become Premier life has gotten a little bit easier for people who are living with disabilities in British Columbia.

 

Here more Tuesday Feb 23rd in BC leg today in question period update on the DISABILITY BENEFITS AND
BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

NDP Micheal Mungall

 

DISABILITY BENEFITS AND
BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

M. Mungall: We’ve been canvassing in this House how people across B.C. are in an uproar about this government’s newly announced bus pass clawback, where they’ve raised disability rates only to take them away with a $624 annual jump in bus passes.

The minister only needs to look at her own email, her Facebook and her Twitter page to see what people are saying. Karen Fox writes: “No more trips to the library or the park. I’ll buy ten tickets and use the rest for food.” Pam Patterson…

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

Continue.

M. Mungall: …in Kelowna writes that her son with a disability struggles to pay rent and that “to raise his rate and then claw it back for the only thing that gives him freedom in his life is shameful.”

Everybody in British Columbia gets what’s going on. They know what’s happening in their lives, despite the confusing doublespeak ministry fact sheets and minister quotes and things that she’s posting. People know what’s happening in their lives. So the question to the Minister of Social Development: why doesn’t she get it?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: Really, the one who doesn’t get it is the member opposite. It’s disappointing, and it’s disrespectful and irresponsible that she keeps twisting the changes we’ve made.

What I want to know is: where was she when there were 45,000 people in this province who weren’t receiving any support for transportation? This is a $170 million investment in the rates for people with disabilities.

It really is the height of hypocrisy. Let me quote from the vision of the province for the NDP during their 2013 election platform. “An increase of income assistance rates for all singles and couples by $20 per month within two years.” No mention of people with disabilities. Where was she then when she wanted to help people with supports in our province?

[1055]

This is $170 million, a significant investment. If the members opposite would help us grow the economy and say yes to programs and yes to projects in this province, we would be able to be in a better position to support more.

HSE – 20160223 AM 012/pml/1055

in this province, we would be in a better position to support more.

M. Mungall: You know, on….

Interjections.

M. Mungall: I can’t even ask my question.

Madame Speaker: Order.

M. Mungall: On the one hand, it is shocking that no one in cabinet seems to understand the disability bus pass program and what this government has done with that program, especially the minister responsible. But when you consider the Premier’s statement yesterday, I guess it’s not all that shocking. When the Premier has more compassion for cats and dogs, who we all love…

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members. Members.

M. Mungall: …than she does for people, it says…

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Ministers.

Please continue.

M. Mungall: …quite a lot. It does say quite a lot when the Premier has more compassion for cats and dogs than she does for people with disabilities. That’s what we saw in her comments yesterday. And this isn’t about me. This is about 100,000 people that this government is playing a shell game with their lives. Here is what the advocates are saying.

Madame Speaker: Question, hon. Member.

M. Mungall: Jane Dyson of the Disability Alliance….

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: This House will come to order.

M. Mungall: Clearly, they’re not interested in hearing the truth, Madame Speaker.

Here’s what Jane Dyson of the Disability Alliance says — after calling the ministry, getting the information and putting it out on the Internet so everybody has the clear facts that this ministry refuses to provide — about the bus pass clawback. People are uniformly seeing it as a mean-spirited and very unkind measure.

Faith Bodner, who did the same thing as Jane Dyson to get information with Inclusion B.C., has 9,000 signatures on her petition and says: “It’s callous and it’s mean-spirited.” Everyone knows the cruel shell game that this government is playing. So will she just do the right thing and stop with the rhetoric and end this bus pass clawback?

Do that, Minister.

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: Madame Speaker, I’ll tell you what the right thing is. The right thing is to make a change that helps everyone. Everyone is benefiting from this increase.

Everyone is getting an increase from this benefit. The bus pass program is still available. It has not ended. It has not been taken away. The fact that the member opposite continues to put that out and say that there is misinformation is just disheartening to me, that she would make people in this province —fearmonger them — think they’re losing something when they’re actually gaining. It is only the NDP that would characterize an increase to everyone in the province as something less.

[End of question period.]

 

 

Here more from today’s proceeding in bc leg Micheal Mungall MONDAY FEB 22ND

DISABILITY BENEFITS AND
BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

M. Mungall: After all the chaos and all the confusion that the Liberals created with bus passes for people with disabilities, we now know for certain that they are charging an annual $45 administration fee plus an additional $52 a month for the actual bus pass. So that’s a $624 a year jump in costs for people with disabilities who are also living in poverty.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members.

M. Mungall: Those are the facts of the matter. The Liberals can try to say it’s something that it’s not, but that’s what it is. That’s the reality for people with disabilities.

The minister says that it’s all about freedom of choice. Just what kind of choice does the minister imagine people receiving disability have? Is it a choice between bus passes and limousines, walking or hitchhiking? Or is it a choice between going out or being home bound? What choice do they actually have?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: The member opposite is simply wrong. She’s the one spreading misinformation.

Let me try again, as I did last Thursday. Let me clarify and make things perfectly clear. The bus pass is still available to people with disabilities on assistance who choose to have it. Those who choose it will receive a $25 increase to their rates. The $45 administration fee was the same administration fee that was there prior. It’s the same administration fee that they will pay now if they choose a bus pass.

For 45,000 individuals with a disability receiving assistance in this province, they will receive a $77 increase to their rates. The change that we have made in this budget not only creates equity and fairness across the system to allow everybody in the system to receive the same amount of money no matter where they live. It also creates an opportunity for them to make their own choices. We believe people deserve to make their own choices.

Madame Speaker: Member for Nelson-Creston on a supplemental.

[1420]

M. Mungall: I just listened to what the minister had to say, and it sounds a lot like I was right. She just said exactly what I did. There’s a $45 annual administration fee. It has always been there, and it’s still there.

They had the audacity with this budget to add an extra $624 a year to the cost of a bus pass

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She just said exactly what I did. There’s a $45 annual administration fee. It has always been there, and it’s still there. And they had the audacity with this budget to add an extra $624 a year to the cost of a bus pass for people with disabilities. I don’t know why they refuse to admit to that.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: Members. All members will come to order.

Interjections.

Madame Speaker: All members will come to order.

Please continue.

M. Mungall: Those are the facts of the matter. I mean there’s really no dispute. I don’t know why the Liberals try to draw up that line. Maybe it’s because they’re still on the game of trying to make it look like they’re doing the right thing but refusing to do the right thing. That kind of shell game with people’s well-being is not okay. It is wrong.

No wonder advocates, groups and people with disabilities were stunned last week. This chaos and confusion that have been created by the government’s false announcement have left people in every corner of the province infuriated. If the minister doesn’t think they are, she only needs to look at her own social media accounts to know that that’s the case, because they get it. It’s cruel. It is cruel to increase the cost of bus passes for people with disabilities on assistance by $624 a year. They have enough barriers in life. Why is this minister adding more barriers to people with disabilities who rely on this government for supports?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: The member opposite is simply wrong with her facts. This policy change is an investment of $170 million of new money to disability assistance rates. The investment that we are making builds on the policy reforms and changes we’ve already made that are helping to break down barriers and increase independence for people with disabilities. This is providing choice to people with disabilities, providing them with an increase to their rates, as well as providing fairness across the system.

We are a government who continues to grow the economy so that we can make these investments: $1.2 billion in the next three years in social programs. That’s something to be proud of. That’s something I’m proud of.

 

Here is what was talked about in question period at BC leg Thursday Feb 18th, 2016

morning session regarding pwd benefits and bus pass change hanzard by ndp critic Micheal Mungell

DISABILITY BENEFITS AND
BUS PASS PROGRAM CHANGES

M. Mungall: This week the Liberal’s budget presented a lot of smoke and mirrors. Bad ideas were made to sound nice with words like “choice” and “increase to rates” But looking behind those words, here’s what we see: the tenth year with no increase to shelter or cost of living for people with disabilities and the cancellation of an annual bus pass program that cost $45 per year. Its replacement is $580 more expensive each year, at $52 a month.

While the government gives with one hand, it’s taking away with the other. My question is to the Minister of Social Development. Why is she playing a shell game with the province’s most vulnerable citizens and their well-being?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: There are, absolutely, people around this province who need our support, and that is why we continue to improve our policies and create some of the most progressive policies in the country. Budget 2016 provides $456 million to the Ministry of Social Development….

It’s unfortunate that the member opposite doesn’t seem to understand the changes that we’ve made and the significance of over $1 billion in new money for social programs in the next three years.

For the record, let me clarify: 40,000 individuals in British Columbia with the designation of persons with disabilities assistance were not eligible for the bus pass program because of where they live. That change that we have made makes it — creates an equity around the system for people with disability but also provides an increase in their rates and gives them the freedom to choose how they make their transportation decisions.

M. Mungall: Well, no surprise. We hear a lot more of this rhetoric from the minister. She’s talking about choice. She’s making grand claims that they’re doing everything they possibly can. But this is what they’ve done. They’ve cancelled a bus pass program that people around this province relied on. It cost them only $45 a year, and that has been confirmed. This cancellation has been confirmed by groups like Inclusion B.C. It was all over the media yesterday, and the minister should maybe check into that, then, if she’s saying otherwise.

The fact of the matter is that the $45-a-year program has been cancelled, and there are people who have no choice but to now shell out another $52, and they’re not getting an increase.

Many seniors who relied on the $45-a-year bus pass now get nothing, and it is shameful.

I want to know from the Minister of Social Development: why is she making life harder for seniors in this province?

Hon. Michelle Stilwell: Again, let me clarify for the member opposite, because she doesn’t seem to get it. The bus pass program will still be eligible for those people who choose to have it. They are receiving an increase, and people in her community are receiving the increase. The policy reforms that we are making are making life better for British Columbians.

 

This is the responds from the Disability alliance of British Columbia

on the BC Budget 2016

disability 1February 2016
Community Update

September 1st Increase to PWD benefit rates
and changes to the Bus Pass Program

Dear Community Partner,

The February 16th 2016 provincial budget contained some significant changes for people receiving the Persons with Disabilities benefit (PWD) which will start on September 1st 2016.

Below is a description of the changes taken from communications from the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (MSDSI):

• People with the PWD designation will receive a $77 per month increase to their support allowance.

PWD recipients will no longer be able to purchase an annual bus pass for a $45 annual fee.

• PWD recipients who want to continue receiving a subsidized bus pass through the Ministry will pay $52 per month, plus an annual $45 administration fee.

The $52 will be deducted from people’s monthly cheque.

• After September 1st, individuals who decide they don’t want to have the $52 a month bus pass can turn it in at any time and get the $77 increase for the following months.

• PWD clients who qualify for the Special Transportation Subsidy (STS) will longer receive an annual lump payment.

They will receive the $77 a month increase: $66 of this amount will replace the STS annual lump sum payment.

• PWD clients who have been receiving the STS annual payment will have a pro-rated amount in their April cheque.

It will be pro-rated for 5 months (April – August).

• There is no change to the BC Bus Pass Program for low-income seniors or for income assistance recipients aged 60-64.

The Ministry will continue to provide a subsidized pass to eligible seniors for the annual $45 administration fee.

Rate amounts after September 2016 (single person; we have no information about couples and family rates):

$983.42 (no bus pass or Special Transportation Subsidy)
$931.42 (with bus pass)
$983.42 (includes Special Transportation Subsidy)

This information is as we understand the September 1st 2016 changes.

We will update this as we receive more information.

Disability Alliance BC (DABC) is very disappointed with these changes.

This rate increase is clearly inadequate and we are concerned about the impact the elimination of the $45 annual bus pass program will have for PWD recipients.
Jane Dyson, Executive Director
Robin Loxton, Advocacy Access Program Director

 

 

 

This is Inclusion BC response to BC Budget 2016

Disability Benefit Rate Increase – Equalizing Poverty for BC’s Most Vulnerable Citizens

InclusionBC_logoThe BC Government tabled its 2016 budget yesterday, announcing changes to Persons with Disabilities benefits.

*Alert: Inclusion BC has confirmed that the $45/year annual bus pass program for people with disabilities will be cancelled,

to be replaced by a monthly bus pass. We expect more details to be announced soon.

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Westminster, B.C., February 17, 2016 – People with disabilities living in BC will receive a small increase to their disability benefits, but there’s a catch.

Having increased by only $120 since 2001, BC disability benefit rates of $906/month are among the lowest in the country.

As our provincial government today touted BC as having the best financial outlook in the country, it was finally ready to announce an increase in benefits.

Inclusion BC was incredibly disappointed to learn that the newly announced increase is both inadequate and comes with strings attached, tied to the transportation subsidy that an individual receives.

  • People receiving disability benefits who also receive a transportation subsidy of $52/month will receive a $25/month increase.
  • People receiving disability benefits who also receive a transportation subsidy of $66/month will receive a $11/month increase.
  • People receiving disability benefits who do not receive either a Bus Pass or a transportation subsidy will receive a $77/month increase.

Says Inclusion BC Executive Director Faith Bodnar, “this announcement simply equalizes the hopeless poverty of people dependent on PWD benefits.

Minister of Finance Mike de Jong indicated that the rate increase will level the playing field and provide choice for people with disabilities in how they use their transportation funding, with reference to those who sells their bus passes. This disparaging viewpoint and callous attitude is deeply offensive to the poorest and most vulnerable people in BC.

People on PWD struggle with impossible pressures including whether to get a bit of extra money to buy food or take the bus.”

Together with recent positive policy changes, this small rate increase means little to those facing a future on PWD Benefits. In fact the lack of real increases to PWD rates since 2001 have meant people with disabilities in BC continue to lose ground, year after year in their fight for even the most basic necessities of life.

Inclusion BC continues calling for a serious plan to raise people out of poverty and increase and index the PWD rates to reflect the rising cost of living.

Touted as the most prosperous province in the country and the most expensive, we have neglected people with disabilities for too long.

The consistent failure of our government to address the needs of our most vulnerable citizens is unacceptable.

The Minister is correct when he says, “The measure of any society is reflected in the degree to which it is willing to help the most vulnerable and create the kind of supports that will truly make a difference in their lives” (budget speech). By this measure, BC is failing our most vulnerable.

 

Quick links

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Living BC  getting funding increase

$36 million to Community Living BC

CLBC Logo

 

 

 

This from responds from Community Living British Columbia on today BC Budget

Province announces Budget 2016

February 16th, 2016

Community Living BC is pleased with the commitment made to the individuals and families it serves in the BC Government’s 2016 budget. The provincial government has approved an operating budget of $896.8 million for CLBC, which includes an increase of $44.8 million in provincial funding.

Learn more about the Provincial Budget 2016 here.

“I am grateful that the government is committed to increasing support for families, even in the face of challenging economic circumstances,” said CLBC CEO Seonag Macrae.

“We will support as many individuals with developmental disabilities as possible to improve their quality of life.”

The new funding will maintain services to 18,000 individuals and is expected to support increases or new services to 2,600 individuals in 2016/17.

For more information on how CLBC allocates funding to services, click here.

CLBC funds and monitors a range of services to help individuals live good lives in welcoming communities. These include employment, community inclusion, residential and respite supports. With increases in funding, and careful fiscal management, CLBC has been able to address the support needs of a growing number of eligible individuals – a number which has grown from 12,735 in 2010 to more than 18,000 this year.

During this time, CLBC has ensured 93 per cent of its budget goes to services for individuals.

The remaining seven per cent goes toward working with families to develop plans, arranging access to community supports, procuring and monitoring funded services and all administrative support functions.

“Individuals and families want to ensure supports are available for those who become eligible for services each year,” said Macrae.

“Even as we fund more services, CLBC is committed to engaging individuals, families, service providers, employers and community groups to find new ways to improve quality of life – seeking partnerships to increase employment, reduce social isolation and maximize independence.

We all have a role to play.”

 

 

 

Hi all this is today’s BC budget update  in this see full detail of the announcements

 

in this there two changes this from bc budget website full details

http://bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2016/default.htm

 

Budget Thaws Nine-year Freeze on Disability Assistance Payments – a maximum increase of $77/month
but it brings an end to the yearly bus pass. Those who rely on public transit, will have to pay more to use it.
According to artical on tyee newspaper bill Tillman reports saying the bus pass program is being cut for increase of 77 dollars
Monthly disability income assistance rates go up by $77 per month, but that replaces monthly transportation subsidy for the one-third of those on disability who get the benefit. Income assistance increase but except for only for those who already receive a bus pass or transit assistance
$286 million to address caseload pressures in temporary income
assistance, disability assistance and related supplementary benefits,
persons with disabilities,
Budget 2016 provides
$170 million over three
years to increase income
assistance rates for persons
with disabilities. Effective
Sept. 1, 2016, all persons
on disability assistance will
receive an increase — up to
$77 per month.
HOME RENOVATION TAX CREDIT:
Expanded to include persons with
disabilities. This tax credit provides up to $1,000 annually to help with the cost
of certain home renovations to improve accessibility, helping seniors and
persons with disabilities be more functional or mobile at home.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING:
$355 million by the BC Housing Management
Commission over five years to support more than 2,000 new units of affordable
housing for people with low-to-moderate incomes.
RENTAL HOUSING:
Continuing partnerships with municipalities and
community groups to create more affordable housing in B.C. For example, the
Community Partnership Initiatives program provides advice and low interest
financing to non-profits to help them develop affordable housing, contributing
to more than 3,300 new units of affordable housing.

highlights detailed if want pdf version of document
 Also news headlines on todays budget that more detail from media
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GLOBAL BC coverage
BC Local news coverage
Times Colonist Victoria
The Province Newspaper Coverage