Sara Norman, 24 hours
A 10-year plan purported to address the needs of disabled people in the province is not going over well with advocates.
Monday, B.C. premier Christy Clark announced the creation of the Accessibility Secretariat as part of the plan following three months of public consultations.
Part of the twelve goals laid out in the blueprint is putting more disabled people to work.
Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson, appointed as the disabilities parliamentary secretary, will meet with businesses, non-profits and people with disabilities to develop inclusive practices.
“I also think we should, when we can afford it, raise rates for people living on disability. Now, it has to be affordable. No one benefits when British Columbia runs into deficit and runs out of money,” said Clark.
Clark said revenue from B.C.s proposed Liquefied Natural Gas industry will be the driving factor behind the provinces ability to increase payments and boost what she called a sluggish economy.
But getting more people jobs isn’t the answer, according to Jane Dyson with the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities, though Victoria should be commended for creating more employment support.
“Those who can’t work haven’t seen an increase in disability pay rates since 2007 and theres no mention in the plan of a commitment to affordable housing,” Dyson said.
Tom Page, Chair of the Disability Rights Group with ACORN Canada was among protesters gathered outside of the Vancouver Convention Centre where Clark made the announcement.
“Right now the rate is half of the poverty line, which is 1800 for an individual. Thats 900 for a person on disability,” Page said.
For months, ACORN has been urging Victoria to stop clawing back child support payments from disability cheques. Dyson said Victoria has only committed to further consultations on the issue.