To All Candidates in the 2017 BC Provincial Election: We are writing to you as a candidate in the provincial election on behalf of more than sixty undersigned organizations to collectively express our concerns regarding chronic and serious barriers British Columbians face when attempting to apply for income assistance. It is our hope that you will pursue this issue, as it affects British Columbians in all corners of the province.
BC Organizations are calling on the BC government and official opposition to step up for Women’s equality and “commit to implementing – fully and without delay – the UN’s recommendations to demonstrably improve the lives of women in our province”
Christopher Shay has won his human rights complaint against the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, with the Ministry agreeing to make a range of changes to improve accessibility and fairness for people who have communication barriers and need welfare.
Ombudsperson office denied request for systemic investigation into inaccessibility at BC’s welfare ministry
Ombudsperson, Kim Carter, denied the request of nine social service agencies from across the province for a systemic investigation into service reductions at the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.
Mr. Shay, who is deaf, applied to the province’s Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation for immediate income assistance. The urgency of his situation qualified him to receive – at minimum – a food voucher or shelter referral within one business day, according to the ministry’s policies.
Shay was a life skills worker and an educational assistant, and then began studying computer science at Douglas College in 2012. He withdrew two years later as his student loans were high and he wanted to work to pay down some of the debt incurred.
When Christopher Shay applied for income assistance in September, he was at his wit’s ends. Unlike hearing people, Shay is unable to pick up the phone and call the income assistance office. Shay struggled more than five weeks before getting any money and received eviction notices after receiving no government response to his application. He finally found help through local outreach programs.
We filed our complaint because the ministry has built a system that disregards the needs, abilities and resources of income assistance recipients. It makes no sense to require people who often lack reliable access to phones and the Internet to obtain services through a call centre and online. Yet this is exactly what the ministry has done and what it is planning to continue to do.
On May 12, 2015 BCPIAC filed a complaint to the BC Ombudsperson on behalf of nine community service agencies across the province, based on evidence that some of BC’s most vulnerable people are being denied access to basic welfare services.
Nine groups filed an official complaint with the B.C. ombudsperson Tuesday over allegations that the government has slashed access to welfare despite claiming enhanced services.
The B.C. government is making it harder for vulnerable people to access income-assistance according to nine community organizations who’ve filed a complaint with the BC Ombudsperson.
Nine social services agencies from across B.C. will file a joint complaint to the provincial ombudsperson today, alleging that changes to the welfare system make it nearly impossible for vulnerable people to access government assistance.
BCPIAC issued a report at a news conference on Tuesday morning and has asked B.C.’s Ombudsperson to investigate systemic issues it says are caused by the ministry’s “radical changes” over the past five years.
Community groups ask Auditor General to ensure welfare computer system has emergency back-up system in place
Eight social justice organizations and churches from across BC have asked the BC Auditor General to look into whether the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation has appropriate contingency plans in place should the computer system used to administer welfare crash again.
As one of the last two provinces without a poverty reduction strategy, BC has also had the highest rate of poverty in Canada for the last 13 years, and the highest rate of child poverty for the past ten years. This level of income inequality is unacceptable in a province as wealthy as British Columbia.