Raise the Rates Leave our Bus Pass Alone UPDATE

SelfAdvocatenet.Com Coverage 

As you all know Sept 1st 2016

BC Bus Pass changes in effect

A Recap as they unfold  so far that came out will be all on this page

as its unfolds is the place you will be updated on

reaction of  B.C. Govt decision to change way BC Bus Passes are issued.

Capture

 

hqdefault

  to Feb 2016 the BC Govt Budget Document

BC BUDGET 2

Then when go to changes to BC Bus Pass announcement changes made to bus pass way issued.
You can read about it here more detail in budget 2016 document.
transit-bus
Then you will see this announcement from Hon Mike Dejong Minister of Finance on this part you see on left side of document
dejong-Michael
INCREASED SOCIAL
ASSISTANCE DISABILITY
RATES: WHAT IT MEANS
To support our plan to make B.C. the most progressive province for 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
well that was announced.

They campaigned on this

                                                                                     Fiscal discipline and new investments support B.C. families, jobs and communities
14311229_1826145774297392_8435445494129295375_o
Now take you this part of what really means
Inclusion BC logo
Inclusion BC  its a provincial agency that represents those with developmental disabilities
their response to what means to all people on pwd benefits and changes announced to bus pass. In detail
This was bulletin Inclusion BC  did on March 2nd 2016
Summary:
Inclusion BC is disappointed by the provincial government’s lack of effective response to the many British Columbians who have opposed the recent decision to claw back the cost of transportation from a small $77 increase in disability benefit rates.

March 2, 2016, New Westminster, B.C. – Inclusion BC is disappointed by the provincial government’s lack of effective response to the many British Columbians who have opposed the recent decision to claw back the cost of transportation from a small $77 increase in disability benefit rates. Rallies are being held today at noon to protest the government’s decision in five different locations (Victoria, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster).

Inclusion BC and the over 12,000 people (and growing) who have signed the petition understand the facts. This increase in disability benefit rates is grossly deficient and does nothing but equalize the abject poverty that people living on disability benefits face every day.

On February 16th, the Government of British Columbia announced an increase of $77.00 for people in receipt of provincial persons with disabilities benefits. The first one in nine years. In the same breath, they also announced changes to the Annual Bus Pass program, cancelling the $45/year bus pass and replacing it with a new monthly fee of $52 plus a $45 ‘administration fee’.

Inclusion BC Executive Director Faith Bodnar says, “the changes do not provide more choice as the BC Government asserts. Through this offensive messaging, our government demonstrates they are out of touch with the experiences of people with disabilities. People with disabilities are living in extreme poverty and after a nine-year rate freeze need a benefit rate increase that will make a difference in their lives. BC needs a serious plan that addresses some of the lowest disability income rates in Canada.”

Despite the willingness of community and provincial organizations to consult with the government on disability policy, we are disappointed that this particular decision was made without any community consultation. Had government consulted, they would have learned that people with disabilities across this province are united in the need for a rate increase, not divided by the difference in transportation subsidies.

We call on the provincial government to listen to the people of BC and reverse their decision. Raise the rates and leave our bus pass alone. Click Here for further details

 

So leads to public protest on bus pass seen in headlines newspapers in

Here few headlines in april of protest about bus pass take look

From the Vancouver Sun in March

Disability advocates protest B.C.’s ‘bus pass clawback

CBC British Columbia  in June on Bus Pass

B.C. scraps annual bus pass fee for persons with disabilities

The Tyee Newspaper

BC Libs Ruin Disability Rates Increase with Insulting Transit Clawback

CKNW 98 Radio

Critics slam bus pass clawback as disability assistance rates set to rise

The province newspaper Micheal Smyth

Smyth: B.C. takes bus passes from disabled — where is Premier Clark’s heart?

Also our sans coverage in Feb 2016  we did

DABC-TaxAid

The Disability Alliance BC is another agency that represents people with disabilities

sent letter to Minister and Premiere in May here what they wrote

 

Disability Alliance BC and over 150 other organizations across BC have signed an Open Letter to the Premier in response to the PWD raise and bus pass clawback, see below.

Dear Premier Clark:

RE:     BC Budget 2016 – Disability Assistance Rates and Transportation Programs

We are writing in response to your government’s budget, tabled on February 16, 2016, which announced a modest increase of $77 to persons with disabilities benefits while also drastically changing important programs that improve access to transportation for many people with disabilities.

For the reasons set out in this letter, our organizations strongly oppose the changes to the BC Bus Pass Program and the Special Transportation Subsidy.

We call on the government to leave these programs in place, and to provide a meaningful rate increase for all income assistance and disability assistance recipients.

The BC Bus Pass Program currently offers an annual bus pass at a reduced cost of $45 per year for disability assistance recipients in areas where BC Transit and Translink operate.

The Special Transportation Subsidy provides a lump sum subsidy to people who reside in an area where the Bus Pass Program operates, but are unable to use public transit because of a disability, to help offset the cost of alternative transportation.  Approximately 55,000 of the 100,000 provincial disability assistance recipients rely on one of these two transportation programs.

Many of our organizations work directly with people with disabilities, and all are acutely aware of the importance of these programs to ensure people are able to move about their communities, whether that be to shop for basic necessities, attend medical appointments, go to school, or take part in social gatherings.

As you know, those who rely on these programs will now be charged $52/month for a bus pass, or $66/month for the Special Transportation Subsidy.

This means that for those recipients, the rate increase is actually only $25 or $11, respectively. Further, the government has said that it will still charge the $45 per year “administrative fee” on top of that.

Promoting the change as a $77 increase to disability rates is misleading and unfair.

While the government maintains that its aim is to make the system fairer for people with disabilities who do not currently receive support for transportation, the proposed changes are not the right approach.

It has been almost a decade since the government has increased income assistance and disability rates—and at $906 per month, disability assistance rates in BC are among the lowest in the country.

In Alberta, for example, the government increased the comparable disability benefit (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH)) to $1588 in 2012.

The recently announced $77 increase to BC’s disability assistance rates would be a welcome (if inadequate) change, if it were truly providing that increase to all.

When the change was announced, the Honourable Minister of Finance Michael de Jong spoke about how it would allow those on disability assistance “the freedom to make their own choice about how to meet their own unique transportation needs”.

For many living in poverty in BC, this is not a real choice.

While the $77 increase will undeniably help those living outside the areas where the Bus Pass Program and Special Transportation Subsidy operate, it creates an impossible choice for those that do rely on these transportation programs.

With disability assistance frozen at a paltry $906 per month—an amount clearly inadequate to meet basic needs—it will be difficult not to opt to put the $77 each month toward previously unmet needs like food or rent.

The Bus Pass Program and Special Transportation Subsidy allowed vulnerable members of our communities to make a $45 purchase once per year, and then have a reliable method of transportation year-round.

The proposed changes to these programs will result in social isolation for those who “choose” not to renew, particularly for those with disabilities that restrict their mobility.

Finally, we are concerned about implementation of the proposed changes, which will inevitably be fraught with practical problems for both disability assistance recipients and Ministry staff.

Over the last several years, there has been a radical shift from in-person services at local Ministry offices to services that are primarily delivered through a centralized phone line and over the internet.

Wait times on the phone line are long, and many users of Ministry services lack the reliable phone or computer access required to access the services—and may also lack the capacity to navigate the new systems.

It is difficult to reach Ministry staff at all, let alone the appropriate staff for a particular matter. Many that rely on the current transportation programs fear they will be unable to access Ministry staff in a timely way to resolve the issues that arise, and that staff will be ill-equipped to address the problems.

As our provincial government tabled its budget, it celebrated BC’s strong financial outlook. Minister de Jong emphasized that BC is in a position to “offer greater support to the most vulnerable among us.”

It is long past due for the government to make real commitments to do just that – and to share some of this province’s wealth with the members of our communities that need it most.

Our organizations collectively urge you to:

  • Bring back the $45 per year bus pass for people with disabilities;
  • Eliminate the new $52/month bus pass fee;
  • Allow everyone receiving PWD benefits to keep the $77/month increase;
  • Bring back the Special Transportation Subsidy, and introduce a rural transportation subsidy for those living outside the areas where the Bus Pass Program and Special Transportation Subsidy operate; and
  • Raise income and disability assistance significantly by October 1, 2016 to reflect the cost of living, and then index to inflation.

Sincerely,
Over 150 signatories from across BC

CC: Hon. Mike de Jong, MLA, Minister of Finance
Hon. Michelle Stilwell, MLA, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation
John Horgan, MLA, Leader of the Opposition
Michelle Mungall, MLA Nelson – Creston

Further Details go to Disability Alliance BC  website  for more here

 

Now like to take you today cause the bus pass takes affect Sept 1st

This was posted on BC Govt website about bus pass Sept 1

bc govt logo Transportation Support/BC Bus Pass for people receiving disability assistance

Beginning September 1, 2016, people receiving disability assistance who have the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) designation will receive a $25 rate increase and a Transportation Support Allowance.

You can receive the Transportation Support Allowance either as a bus pass or as $52 added to your monthly payment.

The ministry has eliminated the annual $45 BC Bus Pass administration fee and the annual renewal process for people receiving disability assistance who have the Persons with Disabilities designation.

The BC Bus Pass is a Compass Card. It is valid for travel anywhere within the TransLink and BC Transit service areas. It cannot be used on HandyDart.

If you have a bus pass:

You will have the choice to keep your bus pass OR receive your Transportation Support Allowance in the form of $52 added to your PWD payment.

The bus pass you hold will no longer have an expiry date of December 31, 2016.

At any time, you can decide to contact the ministry and cancel your BC Bus Pass and instead receive your $52 Transportation Support Allowance on your next assistance payment.

If you cancel your bus pass, you can still change your mind at a later date and ask for a new bus pass.

In addition, we are eliminating the $45 bus pass administration fee and the need for an annual renewal process.

Here are your options

Option 1: I want to keep my bus pass

  • You don’t need to do anything.
  • You can keep using your bus pass and continue using it after September 1.
  • Starting in September (payment date August 24), you will also automatically receive a $25 monthly increase to your PWD payment.

Note: If you change your mind in the future, you can call us before the 5th of any month. You will see the increases outlined in Option 2 on your payment the following month.

Option 2: I want to cancel my bus pass and receive my transportation support as a $52 payment

  • You must let us know by August 5, 2016 for this to be in effect for September 1.
  • Starting in September (payment date August 24), you will automatically receive $52 on your PWD payment for Transportation Support Allowance.
  • You can use the $52 in a way that works best for you.
  • Starting in September (payment date August 24), you will also automatically receive a $25 monthly increase on your PWD payment.
  • If you choose this option, please hold on to your bus pass until September. You can continue to use it until then. After September 1, you do not need to return it to us but it will no longer be valid.

Note: please remember, you can switch back to the bus pass at any time by letting us know by the 5th day of the month. A new bus pass will be issued to you.

To Apply for a BC Bus Pass

If you have the persons with disabilities designation and are on disability assistance, you can contact the ministry to apply for your BC Bus Pass.

The BC Bus Pass does not expire. At any time, you can contact the ministry to cancel your BC Bus Pass and receive your $52 Transportation Support Allowance on your next assistance payment instead.

If you cancel your bus pass, you can still change your mind at a later date and ask for a new bus pass.

Contact the ministry about the BC Bus Pass program:

By phone 1-866.866.0800

By email: SDSIBUSPA@gov.bc.ca 

In Person: Find your local ministry office here, Access Services

There were more media of today cuts to bus pass more on

First this what Minister of Social Development and Innovations Michelle Stilwell said today  on changes on cbc radio

lecWPuiI

Then just other day this what Jane Dyson executive Director of Disability Alliance BC  had say on bus pass issue

jane

Also here what Faith Bodnar of Inclusion BC also had say on cbc radio show on the coast

was interviewed on August 30, 2016 regarding the changes to the provincial disability benefits rates and the bus pass issue.

10165867

 

Take you now to more headlines in today protest in some communities. 

Like Kamloops Vancouver Richmond Victoria Maple Ridge etc.

Here video from Victoria BC about the BC BusPass what saying in video rally

                                                                                             

 

 

This one is a  video from protest in Richmond today  what they saying in video on bus pass

Here a concern from self advocate

Bus pass rally and my feelings towards the recent changes

unnamed-2by Sheenagh Morrison

On September 1st all the changes with the bus pass and Persons with Disabilities (PWD) assistance took place.

If you said “yes” to keep your bus pass then you get an extra $25 a month on your monthly PWD assistance.

If you decided to give up your bus pass, you get $77 a month increase on your PWD assistance.

I have no choice but to keep my bus pass and this is the case for thousands of others.

I need my bus pass to get around to see my friends, get to Special Olympics sporting events and to get to work and appointments.

Because I have a job, I am able to pay my rent, put food on my table, and go to Vancouver once in a while to see friends.

On September 1st there was a rally held in Victoria and in other communities across BC to protest the low PWD assistance rates and the way the bus pass issue has been handled.

At the Victoria rally my NDP MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) and friend Carole James spoke on behalf of NDP Leader John Horgan and Michelle Mungall, the NDP Critic for the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.

There was about 75 people at the rally – people with diversabilities and their supporters.

I still think the increase in the cost of a bus pass (from $45 a year to $52 a month plus a $45 annual fee) is wrong, shameful and it’s not fair, as this is the first increase in almost 10 years on our PWD assistance cheques.

I think and feel the bus pass should be free and they should have given us more money to keep up with the increasing cost of food, housing, and everything else we need

It’s hard enough living with a disability.

So why is BC Premier Christy Clark clawing back benefits for the disabled?

Clark’s BC Liberal government just made it harder for 55,000 British Columbians living with disabilities to get around – despite facing a greater likelihood of unemployment and poverty.

That’s because Clark’s government cut two programs helping disabled British Columbians cover transportation costs, presenting the changes as a net-increase in benefits even though they’re likely seeing a net-decrease in benefits.

The changes, which have led to 3,500 disabled British Columbians giving up their bus passes, is being described as “cold hearted.”

Previously, disabled British Columbians received bus passes at a reduced cost of $45 per year while others were eligible for a $66 per month Special Transportation Subsidy for those unable to use public transit due to their disability.

Now, Clark’s raising prices on bus passes from $45 per year to $624 per year (plus an annual $45 “administration fee”) and the Special Transportation Subsidy has been eliminated altogether.

Clark’s government claims they’re making up the difference by boosting assistance by $77 per month, except the BC Liberals haven’t increased that assistance since 2007 – after inflation, benefits for disabled British Columbians end up 14% lower than they were a decade ago.

Plus Clark increased the cost of a bus pass to $624 per year.

Clark’s Minister of Social Development claims the changes give disabled British Columbians more “choice,” but as one disability advocacy group points out:

“The rates are so shamefully low, we know what people will do with that money…They’ll pay their rent or they’ll eat. When you’re living on that kind of money, there’s no choice.”

And a new study published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy underlines why cuts to disability assistance only serve to create barriers for British Columbians with disabilities from participating in the labour market.

Currently 411,600 Canadians with either physical or mental disabilities find themselves unemployed despite actively looking for work, and the report identifies lack of access to transportation as a key barrier for reducing this unemployment gap:

“The employment gap between people with and without disabilities would greatly narrow and might effectively disappear … where investments have been made to enable people with disabilities to have better education, avoid local transportation difficulties and to receive the needed personal help in everyday activities and/or the aids/devices they require.”

Those additional barriers mean a greater number of people with disabilities will struggling with poverty.

Here are a few additional statistics showing what’s at stake.

Across all provinces, Canadians with disabilities are more likely to find themselves in poverty than those without disabilities – in BC alone, one-in-five British Columbians with disabilities live in poverty

disability-province

 

Poverty and insecurity cuts across all age groups and demographics, with 19.6% of working-age men and 21.3% of working-age women living in poverty.

However, poverty rates among visible minorities and Indigenous individuals with disabilities are disproportionately higher.

That includes nearly four-in-ten Aboriginal persons with disability find themselves in poverty:

disability-aboriginal

Here is Artical in Polibuzz Newspaper Sept30th 2016

Bus pass clawback legislates disabled to life of poverty in B.C.

Here another Artical Sept 22nd on bc local news website on bus pass

Here another artical SEPT 16 this one from B.C Disability Caucus

Is the BC Liberal government muzzling disability rights advocacy?

Here another artical  Sept 13 2016 this one from Press Progress newspaper

Bus passes for disabled British Columbians went up by $579 and things will only get worse

This one artical Sept 12th from Prince George Now Newspaper what saying on bus pass

BC NDP critic scolds Liberals over bus pass fee hike

This from Sept 11th Vancouver Sun what saying on bus pass

B.C. fee prompts 3,500 people with disabilities to give up bus passes

Thier 2  from Sept 13th and  Sept 11th Victoria Times Colonist they are saying on bus pass

This one from Sept 9th Richmond News Paper

This Artical  Sept 7th From Richmond Newspaper what saying today on bus issue

This 2 Articals from Kamloops BC protest what saying there

Small gathering to protest disability benefits

Disability changes hurt vulnerable, critics say

Here artical from Aug 26th taken from BC Disability Caucus website

What’s your take on service when accessing disability services with the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation?

Here what saying  in Maple Ridge Pit Meadows Newspaper  on what  they think about bus pass changes

2 stories in Maple Ridge

Province-wide protests mark day of increase in B.C. disability benefits

                             
                                    This from cknw 98 radio regarding bus pass what saying there Aug 31st posted

                                                                        Critics slam bus pass clawback as disability assistance rates set to rise

CTV Vancouver Island Video on bus pass changes 

Rallies held over B.C. bus pass increase

This one from Chek TV  2  from island on what saying in video

Sept 12 2016 Negative reaction to Liberal’s disability bus pass increase

                                                                                  People with disabilities rally to protest province’s bus pass policy

So the Opposition NDP  this what they have say regarding on change to bus pass 

B.C. Liberals’ disability bus pass clawback takes effect

Here 2 Artical in the 24 hr Vancouver newspaper on bus pass changes

Sept 12 2016 Programs unused for people with disabilities

Protests decry loss of subsidized bus passes

This from CBC TV what saying on bc bus changes

Disability increase amounts to $11 extra per month for 20,000 British Columbian

Here this taken from roundhouse radio 98.3 fm on what saying on bus pass posted Sept 1st

BC LIBERALS IMPLEMENT CHANGES TO THE PWD BUS PASS RATES

Here today September 2nd artical posted on Acorn Canada website what saying on bus pass

                                 Roundhouse Radio: BC Liberals implement changes to the PWD bus pass rates
            Here this one taken from Sooke Pocket News website posted Sept 1st what saying there on bus pass
                  
            http://sooke.pocketnews.ca/b-c-liberals-disability-bus-pass-clawback-takes-effect-september-1/
           
                      Gives you some hightlights that been going on about the changes to bc bus pass today sept 1st 

SO finally not lease some pictures that been posted today rallies

  • 14231862_10153600473467271_1947395986314513483_o
  • 14231414_10153600474547271_4130755297692260576_o
  • 14231389_10153600475092271_7038534229598996071_o
  • 14231232_10153600474502271_164715385425850507_o
  • 14231175_10153600474977271_6602633539943692812_o
  • 14231175_10153600473767271_2466943478382059620_o
  • 14231131_10153600472887271_1519339462947127401_o
  • 14207791_10153600474102271_4526031800394457569_o
  • 14207787_10153600473427271_6974825419694954087_o
  • 14207757_10153600474987271_7681731559912069524_o
  • 14207738_10153600472927271_362695490307681623_o
  • 14207617_10153600473337271_2567052483927379914_o
  • 14207617_10153600473167271_8154527470427376017_o
  • 14206115_10153600472892271_2470545190346702322_o
  • 14206063_10153600474912271_3710576460508906001_o
  • 14199498_10153600197522271_340437997540583689_n
  • 14196117_10153600474107271_6502839158481303349_o
  • 14195975_10153600474097271_2148540790264270339_o
  • 14195375_10153600474062271_8501851232889384955_o
  • 14195251_10153600473687271_5454909201800074684_o
  • 14191921_10153600475262271_258744552725066294_n
  • 14188330_10153600473477271_2010685856920529889_o
  • 14188288_10153600474187271_4250463155732234832_o
  • 14188117_10153600473442271_424150802620343850_o
  • 14138830_10153600473702271_2480432118771745676_o
  • 14138820_10153600474582271_2116409678627725905_o
  • 14138804_10153600473172271_7509062670793401958_o
  • 14138619_10153600473777271_5095174301990619279_o
  • 14138139_10153600473177271_3969275079533681251_o
  • 14138024_10153600473522271_4865472027402092068_o
  • 14125738_10153600475177271_3566738529695624234_o
  • 14125728_10153600474557271_3315283194871743808_o
  • 14125590_10153600472922271_4649176111435589835_o

 

 

 

Click to listen highlighted text!