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Posted: March 2, 2016

Largesse actually a mean-spirited claw-back

Letter to the Editor

In the budget recently presented to the B.C. legislature, Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced that those receiving disability assistance in B.C. will, as of Sept. 1, receive an increase of $77 per month. This was a modest, but welcome, bit of news for the 100,000 people receiving disability assistance which have been frozen at $906 a month since 2007.

But before we start congratulating the government for its largesse, it is important for the public to know that the increase will be partially cancelled for about 55,000 people who now receive free monthly transit passes. The government will soon stop paying for those passes, resulting in an additional cost to the disabled of $52 per month.

To date the government has felt that transportation subsidies were necessary to ensure easy access to public transit systems in our large urban centres, since for most people with disabilities these systems are their only method of mobility.

A reversal in this policy of transportation subsidy means that the current increase in disability benefits lauded by the government as generous and long overdue, becomes a mean-spirited claw-back of an essential service and results in a very modest increase in the disability pension of only $25 a month.

Coleen Pelletier,

President, Elk Valley Society for Community Living

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