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Normand Boucher said, "I went to the
voting place, but I couldn't go in. They offered to carry my wheelchair up the
stairs and I said no. I wanted to exercise my right to
vote–and the location should have been accessible." Boucher, a researcher, told
this story at the launch of the DABC (formerly BCCPD) partnership with the Disability Rights Promotion International Project.
The Disability Rights Promotion International is an important human rights research project conducted by people
with disabilities. It gathers data about the human rights experiences of people
with disabilities in 5 Canadian cities and in 8 countries. DABC was pleased to partner with York University between May 2009 and February 2010 and the DRPI for a portion of this
Locally, DABC human rights monitors interviewed 48 people about their disability experiences in the Lower
Mainland and in the Penticton area. Globally, other sections of the DRPI
project monitor systemic human rights abuses. All of the DRPI work will be
used to establish a human rights monitoring system globally. This research can then be presented to
policymakers and politicians here and around the world. The principal investigator of the DRPI
is Dr. Marcia Rioux of York University.
In October 2011, DABC and DRPI held a forum to present the survey findings to the community. We were fortunate to have as our guest speakers: Susan O'Donnell Executive Director of the BC Human Rights Coalition, Normand Boucher of DRPI-Canada/Laval University, Jewelles Smith, DRPI monitor and Laura Mackenrot, DRPI interviewee. Normand presented the research findings and forum participants were invited to comment on the findings and respond to questions designed by BCCPD and DRPI. The forum participants' responses will be incorporated into the report's final recommendations.
Click here to see a PDF of the
first research results.
DRPI Publications on the York University Site
Abilities magazine article July 2010 by Chloe Krause and Jewelles Smith
In 2010, Disability Alliance BC (formerly BC Coalition of People with Disabilities), the Developmental Disabilities Association, BC FamilyNet, Moms on the Move, the BC Government Employees Union, Michael Prince of the University of Victoria, and other service proviers came together to form the BC Community Living Action Group (BC-CLAG). We formed in response to community concerns about Community Living BC.
Please go to the BC-CLAG website for the most current coverage of this important community issue.
April 27, 2011: Download the BC-CLAG Report here: "Reaching Out, Weighing In"
At a press conference today, BC-CLAG released its report Reaching Out, Weighing In which is the result of broad based community discussions, including two major public forums hosted in Victoria and Vancouver in the fall of 2010.
The BC-CLAG initiative was sparked by growing alarm over a "service redesign" launched by Community Living BC in 2010, with a stated goal of reducing costs by $22 million. Thirty-three group homes were closed in Victoria, Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, Surrey, Kamloops, Williams Lake, and Terrace between March 31 and December 31, 2010.
Reaching Out, Weighing In reflects an unprecedented consensus among major partners in the community: agencies, families, self-advocates, and employee groups. It warns that sweeping cuts to residential and other supports are violating the fundamental rights of people with disabilities to autonomy, independence, choice, and support. They also impose a crushing lifetime burden on families. Adults and their families are being denied a voice in individual and system redesign decisions that have major consequences, including potential safety risks.
The report also includes recommendations that emerged from the community dialogue last CLAG launched last fall:
Please visit the website of CLAG, our community partnership: www.communitylivingaction.org
photo: Anita Davidson of BC Family Net speaking at the BC-CLAG press conference.
May 3rd, 2011: The BC Association of Community Living (BCACL) has written to the Minister of Social Development, Hon. Harry Bloy, in response to his comments in the Legislature on May 3rd, 2011. BCACL representatives met with Minister Bloy in April to express concerns with insufficient funding for Community Living BC (CLBC). The BCACL letter below clarifies and reiterates the concerns about CLBC funding.
Read the letter and find background information here.
NEWS RELEASE December 2, 2010
See backgrounder below.
VANCOUVER -- A network of self-advocates, families, support workers, service providers, and community groups are marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities - December 3 - by releasing a number of preliminary recommendations for addressing the current crisis in the community living sector.
"These recommendations emerged through open dialogue between self-advocates, families, support workers and other key stakeholders in two major BC communities," said Jane Dyson, executive director of the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities. "Political leaders and decision-makers should be paying attention, and must act quickly to protect and improve supports for adults with developmental disabilities."
Dyson was one of several panelists who made presentations at recent community meetings in Vancouver and Victoria that brought together approximately 330 people to discuss issues and concerns relating to provincial government supports for adults with developmental disabilities. Other panelists included representatives from Moms on the Move, BC Government and Service Employees' Union, and BC Association for Community Living.
Despite projected increases in demand for supports provided by Community Living BC (CLBC), the Crown agency's provincial government funding is frozen until at least 2013. As a result, CLBC is seeking millions of dollars in cost savings by requiring its contracted agencies to reduce and redesign services, with a focus on reducing staffed residential resources ("group homes") and expanding other lower-cost options, including home sharing placements. Choice in support options is being eroded, and many individuals and families are not being consulted.
In response to these developments, community members attended the Vancouver and Victoria meetings to voice their concerns and develop recommendations for ensuring that adults with developmental disabilities have the options, services and supports they need in British Columbia.
A number of recommendations emerged during the meetings, including calls for increased funding for the community living sector, an independent advocate for adults with developmental disabilities, and stronger legislation governing community living supports. In addition, meeting participants called for an end to cost-driven group home closures and service reductions, better safeguards and monitoring for home sharing, and more consultation, transparency and accountability in the sector.
A list of many of the preliminary recommendations follows. A full report on the Vancouver and Victoria meetings will be released in early 2011.
December 2, 2010: At recent meetings in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbians have put forward various recommendations for addressing the current crisis in the community living sector, including the following:
Disability Alliance BC • Moms on the Move • BC Government and Service Employees' Union • BC FamilyNet Developmental Disabilities Association • BC Association for Community Living • Health Sciences Association of BC • Hospital Employees' Union • Canadian Union of Public Employees
Public forum on provincial budget cuts & service redesign in BC's community living sector. Panel presentations and small group dialogue for families, self-advocates, support workers, and concerned citizens.
Co-presented by: British Columbia Association for Community Living (BCACL); Disability Alliance BC (DABC); BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU); Developmental Disabilities Association (DDA); Moms on the Move (MOMS); United Community Services Co-op, BC FamilyNet
Moderator: Tim Beachy, United Community Services Co-op
August 27, 2003
BC PIAC Writes Letter on Tax Credit
Ms. Sherri Torjman and Mr. Robert Brown
C/o Mr. Charles Smyth
Technical Advisory Committee
Personal Income Tax Division
Department of Finance
140 O'Connor Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G5
Dear Ms. Torjman and Mr. Brown:
Re: Disability Tax Credit
We represent the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (the "Coalition"). The Coalition is the largest disability advocacy organization in BC; it works with a broad network of provincial and locally based organizations in communities across the province.
On behalf of the Coalition, we have reviewed the submissions of the Coalition for Disability Tax Credit Reform (the "CDTCR") dated June 8, 2003. In its submissions, the CDTCR calls for reforms to:
(a) the Income Tax Act;
(b) the T2201 form;
(c) the administration of the Disability Tax Credit ("DTC") program; and
(d) the appeal process for the DTC.
The Coalition fully supports the CDTCR's submissions on all of these matters.
We would like to take this opportunity to focus on a narrower problem of particular concern to the Coalition and its members: the fact that the Income Tax Act and the T2201 form define disability too restrictively for the purpose of the DTC. This makes it very difficult for many people with disabilities to qualify for the DTC, and this greatly impairs their ability to act independently.
In our opinion this concern breaks down into two issues:
1. The T2201 form is inconsistent with the purpose and provisions of the Income Tax Act.
2. The Income Tax Act itself is in conflict with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Issue 1: The T2201 Form is inconsistent with the Income Tax Act
The T2201 form is inconsistent with ss. 118.3 and 118.4 of the Income Tax Act because it describes the eligibility criteria for DTC more narrowly than is contemplated in the legislation.
First, the T2201 form is configured so an applicant cannot qualify as having a markedly restricted ability to walk unless a doctor certifies that he or she "cannot walk 50 meters on level ground or he or she takes an inordinate amount of time to do so." The language of the Income Tax Act does not support this extremely narrow interpretation of what it means to be unable to walk. It is arbitrary and inappropriate for the T2201 form to require that an applicant must be unable to walk "50 meters on level ground" to qualify for the DTC.
Second, the T2201 form purports to illustrate the meaning of "markedly restricted ability to perceive, think and remember" using the example of an applicant who "cannot manage or initiate personal care without constant supervision." By using this example, the form sets a very high threshold for what it means to be unable to perceive, think and remember. Physicians we have consulted about the T2201 form say they treat the examples as a baseline for their decisions on how to complete the T2201. Given the current wording on the form, most physicians will only certify that a patient is unable to perceive, think, and remember if their patient is at least disabled enough to require constant supervision to manage or initiate personal care. The T2201 form's use of an example to guide the interpretation of what it means to be unable to "perceive, think and remember" is arbitrary and inappropriate.
As far as we know, there is no regulation under the Income Tax Act that prescribes any version of the T2201 form, and the CCRA's only authority to create the T2201 derives from the authority to administer ss. 118.3 and 118.4 of the Income Tax Act. As a result, we submit that the form must immediately be amended to reflect the legislation.
Issue 2: The Income Tax Act infringes s. 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
In addition to the discrepancy between the provisions of the T2201 form and the wording of the Income Tax Act, we believe that the eligibility criteria in the Income Tax Act itself are too restrictive. They make it extremely difficult for those with mental health disabilities to qualify for the DTC. Indeed, we believe the criteria are restrictive in a discriminatory manner that infringes s. 15 of the Charter. S. 15 provides:
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Many people with disabilities have a combination of conditions that work in concert to cause a cumulative marked restriction in their ability to perform basic activities. Yet such individuals can only qualify for the DTC if there is at least one statutory "basic activity" which they are always or substantially always unable to do. This fails to reflect the reality that a person's ability to perform basic activities is often markedly restricted by a combination of conditions none of which is, in isolation, sufficient to cause a marked restriction. For example, if a person suffers from severe osteoarthritis and chronic severe depression, her conditions will seldom prevent her altogether from doing any one of the daily activities. However, the combined effect of her disabilities may well markedly restrict her ability to perform the class of statutory "basic activities" as a whole, by limiting (but not removing) her ability to walk, feed herself, dress herself, perceive, think, and remember. The current wording of the Income Tax Act discriminates against those who have a combination of disabling conditions that act together to create a marked restriction when viewed holistically. We call for a revision of the Income Tax Act to recognize that multiple impairments can combine to create a marked impairment.
Another major problem is that the Income Tax Act's approach to mental impairments is far narrower than its approach to physical impairments. In order to qualify for the DTC as a person with mental impairment, an applicant must be unable to perceive, think and remember. Yet most people with mental impairments retain some capacity to "think, perceive, and remember" even while these functions are severely impaired. The Income Tax Act sets an extremely high threshold, one that discriminates against people with impairments such as psychiatric illnesses, brain injuries, and learning disabilities by systemically excluding them from the DTC program. Accordingly, we call for a rewording of the Income Tax Act to provide a broader test that allows people with serious mental impairments to qualify for the DTC even where they retain some ability to think, perceive, and remember.
In conclusion, the Coalition's recommendations are as follows:
Amend the portion of the T2201 form headed "Can your patient walk?" to reflect the language of ss. 118.4 of the Income Tax Act. Specifically, remove the words "50 meters on level ground."
Amend the portion of the T2201 form headed "Can your patient perceive, think, and remember?" to reflect the language of ss. 118.4 of the Income Tax Act. Specifically, remove the example under this heading.
Amend s. 118.4 of the Income Tax Act to recognize that multiple impairments can combine to create a marked restriction in a person's ability to perform the basic activities of daily living.
Amend s. 118.4 of the Income Tax Act to provide a broader test that allows people with serious mental impairments to qualify for the DTC even where they retain some ability to think, perceive, and remember.
We thank the Technical Advisory Committee for its work consulting with the public about tax assistance for persons with disabilities.
BC PUBLIC INTEREST ADVOCACY CENTRE
Jessie Kate Hadley, Articled Student
cc. Carolyn Bennett, M.P.
Scott Brison, M.P. (Progressive Conservative finance critic)
Right Hon. Joe Clark, M.P.
Libby Davies, M.P. (New Democratic Party Human Resources critic)
Norman E. Doyle, M.P. (Progressive Conservative Human Resources critic)
Gilles Duceppe, M.P. (Bloc Quebecois leader)
Stephen Harper, M.P. (Canadian Alliance leader)
Jack Layton (New Democratic Party leader)
Wendy Lill, M.P.
Peter MacKay, M.P. (Progressive Conservative leader)
John Manley, M.P. (Minister of Finance)
Brian William Pallister, M.P. (Canadian Alliance Human Resources critic)
Pierre Paquette, M.P. (Bloc Québécois finance critic)
Monte Solberg, M.P. (Canadian Alliance finance critic)
Jane Stewart, M.P. (Minister of Human Resources)
Suzanne Tremblay, M.P. (Bloc Québécois Human Resources critic)
Judy Wasylcia-Leis, M.P. (New Democratic Party finance critic)
The funding for the Equipment and Assistive Technology Initiative (EATI) will expire on March 31, 2014. We have prepared a toolkit to help individuals and organizations speak out about:
DABC formed a working group in 2009 to urge the province to introduce a new
Guide and Assistance Dog Act.
For years, DABC and other disability organizations have been concerned about the shortcomings of the current Guide Animal Actand preparing a workable alternative. As the working group said in itsBriefing Note on the Act to the Minister:
"Our organizations and clients have experienced the impact of the inadequacy of [the current Act] for years. Guide dog and assistance dog users badly need new legislation to help ensure they are never turned away from a restaurant, mall, refused entry by taxi drivers, or challenged by Strata Councils. Certified dog trainers, instructors and licensed puppy raisers also need their right of access clearly enshrined in legislation."
DABC and its partners developed a proposed Act which was entitled the Guide and Assistance Dog Act which we presented to the government in 2010. Since that time, DABC and its community partners have met and worked with the Ministry of the Attorney General to reach consensus on new legislation.
We were delighted when on March 23rd, 2015, the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act (Bill 17) was introduced in the House. We believe that the new legislation, when passed, will greatly improve the access rights for people with disabilities who use guide dogs and assistance dogs.
Province's brief on the introduction of the Guide and Service Dog Act into the House:
Disability Alliance BC executive director Jane Dyson -
“We congratulate the Province for modernizing B.C.’s guide and service dog legislation. This is an important step towards ensuring that B.C. is the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities, a commitment made by the Province in Accessibility 2024. The new legislation, if passed, will give people who use guide and service dogs stronger access rights and more clearly defined certification supports.”
First reading of the Guide and Service Dog Act:
If you have any comments or questions about the Act please email Jane Dyson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BCCPD has been involved in efforts to improve custom transit services for many years. We've been part of the Coalition of handyDART Users (CHU) and the overall campaign to bring a better service model to BC. See media releases below, as well as our reports.
A joint letter written by BCCPD, BCACL, SPARC and the MS Society was published in the Vancouver Sun December 8th, 2009.
November 25th, 2009
The BC Association for Community Living (BCACL), BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) and the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC) are calling for an immediate end to the HandyDART strike in Metro Vancouver.
“We are extremely concerned about the impact that this service interruption is having on people with disabilities and their families in our communities,” said Faith Bodnar, Executive Director of BCACL.
The Lower Mainland’s HandyDART service is only available to people who need it for kidney dialysis or cancer treatment. The thousands of people with disabilities and seniors who rely on HandyDART to get to work, volunteer, attend medical appointments, go shopping, or visit family and friends have been stranded now for over four weeks.
“HandyDART is crucial for people with disabilities and seniors’ ability to live with independence in the community,” said Jane Dyson, Executive Director of the BCCPD. “Most people who use HandyDART live on very low incomes, cannot afford to take taxis and have very limited transportation options available to them.”
ATU, the HandyDART staff’s union, has asked MVT, the company that operates HandyDART, to agree to binding arbitration. MVT has rejected this proposal.
“This service interruption must be resolved as quickly as possible,” said SPARC BC Manager Emese Szucs. “We are urging MVT, ATU and TransLink to come together so that this very serious situation ends now.”
"People will become increasingly socially isolated and this is a great worry to us. With the service interruption having no end in sight, our organizations are concerned that it will drag on into the holiday season. This strike must end now,” said Dyson.
For more information please contact:
Faith Bodnar: BC Association for Community Living (BCACL) 604-777-9100, ext 527
Jane Dyson: BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) 604-875-0188
Emese Szucs: Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC) 604-718-7756
December 3, 2008
TransLink recently provided this update on the improvements that will soon be implemented to HandyDART. Stay posted for more updates and thank you again to the Coalition of HandyDART Users for all their hard work over the past few years that has resulted in this transformation of custom transit in Metro Vancouver.
August 5, 2008
A company that could provide all HandyDART services in Metro Vancouver through one seamless operation has been selected as the leading proponent to provide custom transit services for seniors and people with disabilities beginning next January 1st.
As a result of TransLink’s ‘Access Transit’ consultation with the disability community, providers of the HandyDART door-to-door transit services and others, the system was redesigned to reduce the number of operating areas from eight to three. The results of three requests for proposals seeking companies interested in providing the new services identified one company, MVT Canadian Bus, Inc (MVT), that rated highest in its proposals for all three service areas.
Today, TransLink’s Board of Directors has approved the start of negotiations to arrive at a contract agreement with MVT. In evaluating the proposals received, TransLink looked at a number of factors. These factors included the experience, knowledge and resources and the company’s plan to manage the operations and the transition of the region’s custom transit services as well as the costs involved.
TransLink Chair Dale Parker says that given the specific needs of HandyDART customers for an effective door-to-door transit service, costs did not weigh as heavily as the other factors when selecting the leading proposal. “These individuals are by far our most fragile customers, and our whole examination of the services we provide them focused on enhancing a system that has treated them with the utmost care and respect over more than 25 years,” Parker said.
“Our ‘Access Transit’ strategy concluded that TransLink needed a new structure that, from a users’ perspective, would operate as a single system. We were looking at achieving this by reducing the number of areas from eight to three and reducing the need to hand off riders from one service provider to the next. But MVT’s proposals were so strong for all three service areas, that we may have an even better result than we initially expected,” he added.
Parker said TransLink informed all of the companies that submitted proposals for the contracts that it was critical to address the issue of employment for the drivers currently providing HandyDART services.
“HandyDART clients and their drivers have forged strong relationships that have added immeasurably to the confidence and comfort of the passengers and the sense of job satisfaction for the drivers. We’ve advised every proposer that we expect them to take immediate steps to ensure that there is an absolute minimum amount of disruption to the continuity of those relationships,” he said.
Parker noted that TransLink will continue to set and control HandyDART fares, look after the process for qualifying and registering people applying to use the services and monitor the performance of the company operating the system.
In its proposals, MVT offered increased hours of dispatch services, an enhanced system to communicate more effectively with clients to ensure a minimum of uncertainty around schedules and pick-up times, and the use of its customized scheduling system to provide more trips with the fleet of HandyDART vehicles. MVT said it would introduce real time monitoring of schedules and drivers and a longer, more comprehensive training program for new drivers.
MVT is the Canadian subsidiary of MV Transportation Inc. of Fairfield California. MV Transportation Inc. currently has 185 passenger transportation contracts across the US and has established a reputation for strong customer service, innovative operations and on-time performance. They currently provide custom transit for people with disabilities in many locations across the United States, including Portland, OR; Los Angeles, CA; Orlando FL, and Denver, CO.
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BCCPD Note: TransLink has begun contract negotiations with MVT Canadian Bus, Inc., to provide the handyDART service for Metro Vancouver. The BCCPD and the Coalition of handyDART Users (CHU) has been advocating for a streamlined service model for over 4 years and we are very pleased with the direction TransLink has taken in working with a single company to provide customized transit across the region. We will be meeting with MVT representatives to discuss our vision and to listen to their ideas for customized transit.
Wed Sep 5, 2007
Although we did not achieve all of our goals, we believe that our campaign will result in significant improvements to the handyDART system. TransLink will be establishing an access office and an advisory committee. It will also implement a centralized system for registration, booking, dispatching and customer complaints. All of the 8 current jurisdictional boundaries will be removed. The GVRD will therefore consist of one transit zone. There will be 3 regional depots.
We would like to thank the 288 community organizations and agencies that supported our campaign to make systemic changes to the handyDART system in the GVRD.
Unfortunately, we were not able to achieve the creation of a wholly owned subsidiary for handyDART; however, there will be a formal request for proposals (RFP) process to supply the drivers for the 3 depots. The Coalition of HandyDART Users (CHU) has been very firm that the RFP process must be open to professional transportation companies.
We want to take this opportunity to recognize the respect that the community received from TransLink CEO Pat Jacobsen and Clive Rock, Director of Strategic Planning. They listened to our concerns and incorporated our solutions into their final report.
Again we want to thank our supporters for their endorsement of CHU's paper. Without broad-based community support we could not have won this victory for people with disabilities and seniors.
You can be guaranteed that we will be vigilant throughout the implementation process so watch this spot for updates.
Jeannette Andersen, Past President, BC Coalition of People with Disabilities
Rudy Lawrence, President, Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of BC (COSCO)
Serge Haber, President, Jewish Seniors Alliance
For Immediate Release
Seniors and people with disabilities throughout the GVRD are treated like second-class citizens when it comes to custom transit, says the Coalition of HandyDART Users (CHU). "You can't live with dignity and independence in the community if you can't rely on public transit the same as anyone else," says handyDART user Tom McGregor.
A recent report by the group highlights a litany of shortcomings in the service which is currently under TransLink review. CHU is recommending a complete revamping of the current system that would create a new TransLink subsidiary for handyDART.
HandyDART, which provides more than 1.1 million rides a year in the region, is currently run by several service providers in different municipalities. Riders say the system has many long-standing problems that make it unreliable and inadequate.
"If a person is lucky enough to get a trip and has to go from say Vancouver to Surrey, they'd have to arrange the trip with different service providers at least three days in advance... Imagine trying to live your life like that!"
"We are pleased that TransLink is undertaking a comprehensive review," said Margaret Birrell, Executive Director of the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities. "This is an opportunity to make a real shift and provide an integrated custom public transportation system. Our fears are that the solutions will be a compromise, a half measure for what really needs to be done."
Craig Langston of The Cerebral Palsy Association of BC agrees with McGregor. "You wouldn't get United Way to run the Skytrain or the West Coast Express, so why should not-for-profit societies and private contractors run a public transportation system?"
"We are tired of some elected officials and service providers telling us that there are only a few problems with the system. We would not have undertaken this campaign if the problems were not widespread and systemic," says McGregor.
And community support is growing daily. Currently 123 groups from across the GVRD have joined energies to persuade TransLink directors that now is the time to support users' long-term vision for a world-class custom transit system.
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The BCCPD is working with the Coalition of HandyDART Users (CHU) to improve HandyDART service for people with disabilities and seniors. In the past few months, CHU has produced resources on its proposal to change handyDART's governance structure. Please see the links below.
Position Paper [full]: Engaging the Future: Making handyDART a TransLink Subsidiary.
Position Paper: Executive Summary.
Questions & Answers-sheet for riders
If you think you may be eligible for compensation from the December 2006 Hepatitis C Settlement Agreement you should contact Crawford Class Action Services
Telephone: 1-866-334-3361 | e-mail: email@example.com | Fax: 1-888-842-1332
BCCPD Position Paper: National Home Support - Endorse BCCPD's campaign The Coalition has produced a paper entitled The Time for a National Home Support and Home Care Act is Now.
Support our campaign - Notice to community organizations
BCCPD will continue to advocate for a National Home Support and Home Care Act. For this campaign, we are focussing on getting endorsements from community organizations and agencies as this strengthens our campaign.
Thank you for supporting this work.
August 1st 2003
People with disabilities and seniors have already begun to have their Home Support cut because of new guidelines implemented in the Fraser North Health Region on July 1st. These guidelines, which are being applied in other regions as well, will affect all new and current Home Support clients.
The changes mean that most Home Support clients will get assistance to take a bath only once a week, and only when all other options- such as help from family or other informal caregivers- have been ruled out. There will be no more general housekeeping services- clients are expected to ask family or friends for help, or pay for private housekeeping services.
"People are calling our office because they have had their Home Support cut," said Jane Dyson of the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities.
This week the Coalition heard from Troy Hamilton, a 39 year old women who is almost blind, has epilepsy, and irritable bowel syndrome. Her Home Support has been cut from 6 to 2 hours a week. She has been told to buy frozen food and that Home Support workers can no longer help her to prepare her meals or to shop. "My doctor says my condition will worsen if I have to rely on frozen food," said Troy. "I am very worried about what these cuts will mean to my health."
Also this week, disability advocates were deeply saddened to hear about Harry Kierans who had paranoid schizophrenia and jumped to his death last week. "He had his Home Support cut completely," said his sister Kathleen. "He was in despair trying to get it reinstated. He did not tell me his Home Support had been cut, because all Harry wanted to do was to live independently with dignity," Kathleen said. "He would not have wanted to bother me with his personal issues."
Financially the cuts make no sense. Dr. Marcus Hollander, a recognized expert in the field, found in a recent study of Canada's healthcare that Home Support is "critical to keeping people out of more costly hospital care and long term residential care." [For more information, please see the website for Hollander Analytical Services Ltd. at http://www.hollanderanalytical.com/main.html.
"Home Support services have been consistently cut over the years," Dyson said. "There is nothing left to cut. We call on the provincial government to live up to its commitment to assist people with disabilities and seniors to live independently and with dignity in their community."
July 25th 2003
The Fraser North Health Region has implemented changes to Home Support that will have devastating consequences for people with disabilities, seniors, and their families.
Under the new rules, most Home Support clients will only be provided with assistance to take a bath once a week, and only when all other options- such as help from family or other caregivers - have been ruled out.
Advance meal preparation will no longer be provided. Only those who receive personal care assistance or who are incontinent will get any help with their laundry. The new guidelines say that clients must ask family or friends for help, or pay for private housekeeping services.
Home Support clients will not be given help with their shopping or banking.
The new guidelines will be applied to new Home Support clients and all current clients will be re-assessed for services.
"Home Support is crucial for people with disabilities and seniors trying to live independently in the community," said Jane Dyson of the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities. "We are extremely concerned about the cuts that we have seen made to Home Support over the last few years. This is more of the same."
Studies have shown that not only is Home Support a determinant of health. It also saves taxpayers' money.
In 2001, research on the value of Home Support services demonstrated a significant negative impact on healthcare costs when individuals' basic Home Support was cut. Eliminating basic housekeeping, laundry, and meal preparation was clearly shown to be a pennywise pound foolish policy," said Dyson.
Letter to the Honourable Corky Evans, Minister of Health
We are deeply concerned that the Health Action Plan-debated during last week's sitting of the Legislature-does not address the ongoing crisis in home support. Indeed, even as I write this letter, reassessments are underway that will result in the elimination or reduction of home support for hundreds of British Columbians who require the service. This is on top of the tens of thousands of British Columbians who are already suffering the consequences of unrelenting service cutbacks since 1994.
The home support crisis has profound ramifications for the health and wellbeing of all British Columbians. The consequences may not attract the same level of media attention as perceived crises in the acute care system, but the lack of adequate home support has terrible short and long term impacts for people with disabilities and seniors throughout British Columbia.
We have noted that the Health Action Plan calls for a total of $32.3 million over the next two years for unspecified Home Care services as part of Continuing Care Renewal. Also, we note that the plan highlights the promise of "enhanced home care support to help more than 1,800 British Columbians move from hospitals to supportive home environments." There are no details on exactly how the money will be spent.
However, one thing is clear: splitting $32.3 million over two years between "home support, home care nursing, community rehabilitation and other types of innovative home based services" does not leave much for home support. Since the plan also commits to moving 1,800 people from hospitals to home environments, and to improved palliative care, it seems that most, if not all, of the new money for home support has already been dedicated.
We very strongly applaud measures to move people from hospitals to their homes and to improve palliative care. However, these measures do not undo the damage caused by six years of devastating cutbacks to home support.
We are also concerned that nowhere in the Health Action Plan is there any acknowledgement that publicly-funded home support is necessary for enabling people with disabilities appear to be virtually unacknowledged throughout the entire Health Action Plan
We urge you to turn immediate attention to this problem. As you know, dozens of disability, seniors, and health-advocacy organizations across BC have identified home support as a priority issue, and supported our call for:
It is essential that you work with the disability community to respond to this crisis. We would appreciate any further details or clarification about exactly how $32.3 million will be spent. But more importantly, we need strong, clear measures to stop the cutbacks, restore homemaking services, and strengthen home support in BC.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your response.
Margaret J. Priestley Birrell
Executive Director, BCCPD
August 2000: Home Support is in critical condition
"Aptly described as the heart of British Columbia's continuing care system, Home Support was once a growing service that promoted health, independence and community participation for people with disabilities and seniors. Today, Home Support is a pale shadow of its former self. Wounded by steady, ongoing cutbacks since 1994, Home Support is no longer able to live up to its promise or potential for thousands of people who require the service. Instead, cutbacks are becoming a source of stress, health risks and isolation..."
To read the full document, please click here.
This section provides some resources and background on individualized funding (IF). Individualized funding seeks to give people with disabilities control over the funding for their support services, such as attendants.
There is a range of programs in British Columbia that offer either individualized or direct funding. None of them is perfectly aligned with the definition that was endorsed at the Provincial Conference in 1997. Each offers, at a minimum, direct funding and there is a great deal of variation between each of the programs in terms of eligibility, accountability and the degree of spending discretion allowed.
The following table outlines the programs that are currently available and the Ministry or Authority that administers them.
For more information on particular programs please see/download the Guide to Individualized Funding on this website.
Please also see/download theses PDFs:
Over the years 1997 to 2004, the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities sponsored an Individualized Funding Community Development Project. The idea for the Individualized Funding Project emerged after the group of families that had developed the Community Brokerage Services Society (CBSS) approached the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities. CBSS was a pilot project funded by the Ministry of Children and Families to test the concept of individualized funding and brokerage for people with developmental disabilities. The pilot project was terminated in 1995 after 3 years of operation.
The families that had been involved wanted to keep the idea of individualized funding and brokerage alive and they approached BCCPD because the Coalition had been consistently supportive of individualized funding and the Choices in Supports for Independent Living (CSIL) option that was available through the Ministry of Health.
The Individualized Funding project was conceived as a way to promote community development and enable families and people with disabilities to work together to articulate their needs and desires. The mission of the project was to keep the flickering flame of individualized funding alive. The British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development funded the project throughout its seven year history.
Over the project's lifespan all of the activities that were undertaken originated from grass roots initiatives. These initiatives included:
Each of these activities has in its own way contributed to building momentum and support for individualized funding.
Although government funding for the Individualized Funding project ended in 2004, the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities continues to make some of the educational resources available through this website.
In 1997 people with disabilities, family members, service providers and government representatives came together at a Provincial Conference on Individualized Funding. This conference endorsed a statement of principles and values that define individualized funding.
The Vision of Individualized Funding
Individuals who need support in order to participate in society will control the funding for the services that they choose in order to live their lives.
A Statement of Rights
The Principles of Individualized Funding
This definition of individualized funding has served as the measuring stick for evaluating how close any service or program that is called individualized funding comes to meeting the ideal. Many individualized funding programs are not really individualized because they are not based on the needs of the individual. These kind of programs are more properly called direct funding because although the funds are paid directly to the individual or family it is a fixed amount that is set by government without reference to individual need.
Two personal supports centres have recently opened, one in Victoria and one in Prince George, to demonstrate the Participation Model and to use it as the engine for change at local levels. Planning is currently underway in Greater Vancouver, Cranbrook and Nanaimo to create three more demonstration centres.
In Greater Vancouver, a number of service providers are looking at how they can link their organizations to create a personal supports network. The network’s goal will be to integrate the provision of equipment and assistive devices by network members (called network clusters) so that people with disabilities can obtain the information, support, and equipment and devices that they need through any point in the network.
In practical terms this might mean, for example, that a person with a hearing need who contacted the Provincial Respiratory Outreach Program could be instantly connected with all of the resources that exist and begin the process of securing the aid or device that would help meet their goal for participation. Building a personal supports network will also mean that community organizations will begin to share things like information, databases, funding and human resources so that they can use these precious resources more effectively.
The Trial Lawyers Association of BC (TLABC) continue to seek a new wrongful death act in British Columbia.
BC's current Family Compensation Act (FCA) governs in cases of wrongful death. The Act takes into account the direct financial losses resulting from death, however, it fails to acknowledge the multi-layered collective experience of affected families. Children, seniors and people with disabilities who may not represent a measurable financial loss, for example, are among the classes of people whose lives are not fully "valued" or respected after they die. The current legislation fails to provide for all the losses--emotional, financial and beyond--resulting from the wrongful death of a child, parent, sibling, spouse or another relative.
In 2007, DABC (formerly BCCPD) produced the report, In Their Name: The Call for a Wrongful Death Act in BC.
Click here to download the full report [30 pages].
Click here to see the Spring 2008 Transition on wrongful death.
For more information on this campaign, please visit the TLABC website.
Our 2012 CPP Series guides are now available in English, Punjabi and Traditional Chinese.
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