VICTORIA, B.C. - With nearly a quarter of people with disabilities living in poverty in British Columbia, the B.C. Green Caucus is calling on the BC NDP to raise the shamefully low disability rates to above the poverty line while waiting for federal funding.
“By some estimates, persons with disabilities (PWD) experience poverty at twice the rate of persons without disabilities,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley. “It’s time for the BC NDP to step up and support some of B.C.’s most vulnerable people.”
Annual PWD rates for single persons in B.C. is roughly $16,300. The poverty rate for Canada is approximately $26,000 for a single person. Federal Minister Qualtrough has asked her provincial counterparts to fill this gap in funding until the federal benefit comes through.
“With huge increases in rent, rising grocery costs, and other basic needs, how can we expect people to survive on just over $1,300 a month?” said Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands. “We need less talk and more action. The Green Caucus is calling on Premier Eby to immediately raise the rates to bring the approximately 140,000 people in B.C. who depend on disability assistance up to a minimum of $2,200 a month while waiting for the federal benefit to come through in the next year. This is the least this government can do.”
The B.C. Greens have been advocating for greater support for people with disabilities, most recently in November 2022, calling for purpose-built non-market housing for people with disabilities.
“Good governance ensures that the well-being of people and communities are at the centre of decision-making. In B.C., this means ensuring that persons with disabilities have secure housing and can afford to live,” said Furstenau.