First Call provided this submission as part of the provincial government’s disability consultation, which informed the creation of the Disability Consultation Report: Moving Together Toward an Accessible B.C.
In this submission, First Call noted that the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act is discriminatory and undermines the health and development of children/ youth.
For example, parents, particularly single parents, raising children/youth with disabilities are often unable to work or are underemployed due to their family responsibilities, yet do not qualify for higher rates of income assistance as adults with disabilities do. Moreover, the medical and therapeutic costs for raising children/youth with disabilities are not recognized in income assistance rates as they are for adults with disabilities.
Earlier in the year, First Call partner Inclusion BC also took part in the province’s community consultations. The Inclusion BC submission offered recommendations addressing issues around:
- Innovation in disability services and more freedom for persons living with disabilities
- Personal supports, aids and devices
- Work and contributions
- Housing and accessibility
- Social networks
- Asset accumulation through the Registered Disability Savings Plan
The Disability without Poverty Network, a group including several First Call partners, also participated in the consultations. Their submission, entitled What Would It Take to Make British Columbia the Most Progressive Jurisdiction for People Living with Disabilities?, offered six recommendations:
- Provide disability supports using a person-centered approach
- Provide adequate disability- income supports
- Support access to safe, secure and accessible housing for people with disabilities
- Support employment and social inclusion in a meaningful way
- Do not eliminate current disability-based supports in an effort to simplify the system
- Allow vulnerable families to benefit from child-support payments