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Category "Social Development and Poverty Reduction"

16Sep

Join the conversation on accessibility and inclusion

by admin

Le gouvernement de la Colombie-Britannique demande aux Britanno-Colombiens de contribuer à la définition des futures dispositions législatives qui rendront la province plus accessible et plus inclusive.

« L’intégration de l’accessibilité à chaque domaine de la vie est au cœur de la création de communautés où il fait bon vivre, dont les milieux de travail, les immeubles, les quartiers et les entreprises, a déclaré Shane Simpson, ministre du Développement social et de la Réduction de la pauvreté. J’attends avec impatience cette consultation qui éclairera les efforts que nous déploierons pour élaborer des mesures législatives qui feront toute la différence pour les Britanno-Colombiens handicapés. »

Les Britanno-Colombiens pourront participer au processus de consultation de plusieurs façons. Nous les invitons à lire le cadre d’accessibilité, à remplir un questionnaire en ligne, à soumettre un mémoire écrit et à assister à une réunion.

Les groupes communautaires, les bibliothèques et autres organismes pourront solliciter une subvention de 2 000 dollars pour accueillir des séances de discussion ouverte dans leurs communautés et pour communiquer leurs commentaires.

Il sera possible de communiquer des commentaires du lundi 16 septembre au matin jusqu’au 29 novembre à 16 heures (heure du Pacifique). Ces commentaires aideront à l’élaboration des mesures législatives.

Ces mesures législatives permettront de créer une Colombie-Britannique sans obstacle. Elles promouvront l’inclusion et l’accessibilité en éliminant les obstacles (notamment physiques, technologiques et comportementaux) dans les domaines de compétence provinciale où ils empêchent la participation pleine et égale des personnes qui vivent avec un handicap dans les communautés de la Colombie-Britannique. Les domaines visés pourraient être la prestation de services, l’emploi, les édifices et les espaces publics, la technologie de l’information et les transports, entre autres.

Le gouvernement de la Colombie-Britannique s’engage à élaborer des mesures législatives en matière d’accessibilité selon le principe de « rien sur nous sans nous ». Il soutiendra la Convention des Nations Unies relative aux droits des personnes handicapées et son protocole facultatif qui ont pour objet l’amélioration de l’accessibilité et des possibilités offertes aux personnes handicapées, conformément aux valeurs de la dignité intrinsèque, de l’autonomie individuelle, de la non-discrimination, du respect de la différence, de l’égalité des sexes et du respect des droits des enfants handicapés.

Citations :

Val Litwin, président, Chambre de commerce de la Colombie-Britannique −

« Le moment est venu d’approfondir la conversation sur l’accessibilité en Colombie-Britannique. C’est un important “devoir à la maison” qui nous incombe à tous sur le plan humain, en tant que membres de la société civile, mais l’inclusion au sein du milieu de travail et la dynamisation des économies − et des communautés − sur la voie de l’avenir offrent de gigantesques possibilités économiques. »

Yat Li, gestionnaire des communications et de la commercialisation, Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility −

« Je suis ravi que les résidents handicapés de la Colombie-Britannique puissent jouer un rôle actif dans la mise en place des normes d’accessibilité de nos communautés locales. Tous ensemble, nous pourrons créer des possibilités d’emploi diversifiées, augmenter l’autonomie des personnes handicapées et renforcer leur participation à la communauté. »

Kya Bezanson, conseil d’administration d’Inclusion BC, auto-intervenante −

« Ce changement ouvrira la porte à de nombreuses possibilités, pas seulement pour moi, mais pour toutes les personnes handicapées de notre province. »

Faits en bref :

  • Plus de 926 000 Britanno-Colombiens âgés de plus de 15 ans vivent avec une forme de handicap, soit presque 25 p. cent de la population.
  • Avec le vieillissement de la population, le nombre de personnes handicapées et la gravité de leur handicap vont vraisemblablement augmenter.

En savoir plus :

Lisez le cadre, remplissez un questionnaire en ligne ou renseignez-vous sur les autres façons de participer : www.engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

Traductions :

Traduction en anglais: https://news.gov.bc.ca/20596

Traduction en chinois (simplifié) : https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR_Accessibility_Legislation_Consultation_Launch_16SEPT19_FINAL_SC.pdf

Traduction en chinois (traditionnel) : https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR_Accessibility_Legislation_Consultation_Launch_16SEPT19_FINAL_TC.pdf

Traduction en farsi : https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR_Accessibility_Legislation_Consultation_Launch_16SEPT19_FINAL_FA.pdf

Traduction en punjabi : https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR_Accessibility_Legislation_Consultation_Launch_16SEPT19_FINAL_PUN.pdf

Traduction en tagalog : https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/NR_Accessibility_Legislation_Consultation_Launch_16SEPT19_FINAL_TAG.pdf

13Sep

New Canadians getting opportunity for new job paths

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New Canadians in the Lower Mainland will get training opportunities that build on skills they have, while forging a path to rewarding work.

The government program, with funding of $451,436, will help people feel more included in their communities as they prepare for careers in the public-works sector.

Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS) will train up to 36 newcomers and immigrants in working for public utilities, building and grounds maintenance, water and waste treatment and fire protection in the Lower Mainland. The program will help new Canadians who have arrived here with similar or transferable skills.

“Working with organizations like PICS is a way to help people build the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the job market and take care of themselves and their families,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This employment program also supports the goals of TogetherBC, the first provincewide Poverty Reduction Strategy, to reduce the number of people impacted by poverty.”

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, said, “Finding meaningful employment can be a huge challenge for new Canadians. Creating opportunities for people to maximize their potential and build their careers will help them feel more at home and included in their new communities.”

Participants receive training over three full-time 12-week sessions and four weeks of on-the-job work experience placements. The second group is in progress and participants in the first group have found or are seeking employment. The final group begins Nov. 25, 2019.

“The program aims to engage new Canadians who earned skills and training in their native countries, but whose qualifications do not transfer to Canadian certification,” said Raj Hundal, director of employment programs and planning, PICS. “It’s helping immigrants work in their chosen field and develop skills to acquire the appropriate certifications and best utilize their skills.”

Quick Facts:

  • This project is funded by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction through the Project-Based Labour Market Training stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program. CEP’s goal is to increase employment and work experience opportunities in communities throughout B.C.
  • About $15 million will be invested in CEP projects around B.C. in 2019-20.

Learn More:

Learn how CEPs are helping local communities: www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships.aspx

Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society: https://pics.bc.ca/

1Sep

Minister’s statement on Disability Employment Month

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Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, has released the following statement in celebration of Disability Employment Month:

“September is Disability Employment Month in British Columbia. This is a time to celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities in the workforce and to recognize the many inclusive employers throughout B.C.

“Government is working with the disability and business communities to help ensure people with disabilities have the opportunity for meaningful employment, greater independence and full participation in society.

“Businesses throughout B.C. can receive support with inclusive hiring through the Presidents Group Community of Accessible Employers. It provides employer-focused tools, resources and access to training on how to effectively recruit, hire and retain employees with disabilities.

“WorkBC centres provide support and resources to employees with disabilities, including personalized job-search support and the Assistive Technology Service program, administered provincially through the Neil Squire Society.

“Job seekers and employers can contact their local WorkBC centres to learn more about the Disability Employment Month events held in their area and the resources and supports available to help people with disabilities gain good, worthwhile employment.

“Inclusive hiring helps businesses attract and retain employees with disabilities who make a valuable contribution to the workplace, while also expanding the range of customers and clients. British Columbia is facing a shortage of skilled workers and there are thousands of enthusiastic and motivated people in the disability community who can meet that demand. 

“Everyone plays a role in fostering a welcoming workplace culture. We all want B.C. to be an accessible and inclusive province, where people of all abilities can participate in every aspect of life. Working together, we can reach this goal.”

Quick Facts:

  • More than 926,100 British Columbians aged 15 to 64 years, almost 25% of the population, identify as having a disability.
  • Almost 90% of consumers prefer companies that employ people with disabilities, according to a study cited in a 2012 Conference Board of Canada report.
  • The provincial government offers services and programs that support job seekers and employees with disabilities and employers who want to build an inclusive workplace, including:
    • WorkBC centres
    • WorkBC Assistive Technology Services
    • Community Transition Employment Plan
  • There are 102 WorkBC locations throughout the province that serve British Columbians, including people with disabilities. WorkBC also offers 24/7 access through Online Employment Services.
  • The Presidents Group, a group of B.C. business leaders, are encouraging and supporting employers across different sectors to hire more people with disabilities: www.accessibleemployers.ca 

Learn More:

Resources for job seekers with disabilities: www.WorkBC.ca/Accessibility

WorkBC Assistive Technology Services: https://www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Assistive-Technology-Services.aspx

For employers wanting to learn more about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, visit: http://accessibleemployers.ca/

B.C. government services for people with disabilities in B.C.: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/services-for-people-with-disabilities/supports-services

Disability Employment Month 2019 proclamation: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/proclamations/proclamations/DisabilityEmplMnth2019

31Jul

Research program to help people in the DTES get jobs

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A new research program is looking at innovative approaches to support people with mental health and addictions issues in finding and keeping suitable jobs, with $364,235 in government funding.

“At its heart, this research project is about helping people find and keep meaningful employment by meeting them where they are and providing them with wraparound supports,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “We know that when people get jobs where they feel valued, it improves their quality of life, provides a sense of purpose and enhances self-esteem and social belonging.”

The Canadian Mental Health Association – Vancouver Fraser Branch, in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia, is conducting research to better understand the unique labour market issues of the Downtown Eastside and influence how care services are provided to at-risk people. The project concludes in February 2020.

The project team is examining individual placement and support (IPS) and peer support to increase access to employment. IPS has been extensively researched internationally and proven to be effective compared to standard employment services. This B.C.-based research will be groundbreaking, as it uses medical professionals as an entry point to service delivery. 

“Our vision is to embed social and health services in a one-stop integrated model of care for people living in the Downtown Eastside,” said Skye Barbic, lead scientist, University of British Columbia. “To date, little work has focused on the impact of employment as a health and social intervention. Our project aims to bring together systems that are traditionally difficult to navigate for people living in the Downtown Eastside.” 

“People with mental illness who choose to work deserve to have the support they need in order to be successful,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “When people are working, they feel connected. We all understand that meaningful employment is important to people’s lives.”

Doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and social workers at the Downtown Community Health Centre refer patients to the program, which is housed just across the street. Of the 72 participants, half will receive this approach and half will receive treatment in the form of traditional employment supports.

“To our knowledge, no study or project has examined individual placement and support embedded in primary care settings for complex populations and few have looked at the value of adding peer support to individual placement and support,” said Michael Anhorn, executive director, Canadian Mental Health Association – Vancouver Fraser Branch. “This project complements the redesign of downtown primary care services and is an expansion of the longstanding partnership between Vancouver Coastal Health and the Canadian Mental Health Association to provide individual placement and support services.”

Through IPS, participants receive supportive entry into the workforce based on their personal needs. Employers are also supported in navigating any challenges that arise. Wraparound services include housing support, help getting identification, filing taxes, support with social relationships, money management, financial planning, debt consolidation and mental health and substance-use support.

Quick Facts:

  • The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing $364,235 through the Research and Innovation stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program. CEP’s goal is to increase employment and work experience opportunities in communities throughout B.C.
  • Approximately $15 million will be invested in CEP projects around B.C. in 2019-20.

Learn More:

Learn how CEPs are helping local communities: www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships.aspx

Canadian Mental Health Association: https://cmha.ca/


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10Jul

Project breaks barriers, creates access to affordable menstrual products

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People will soon have easier, more affordable access to menstrual products with the launch of the United Way Period Promise research project.

Through a $95,000 B.C. government grant, the project will distribute menstrual products to 12 non-profit agencies that serve vulnerable populations throughout the province. The agencies will make them easily accessible to clients from July 2019 to July 2020.

The project will collect quarterly data on the number of people served and products used, how the lack of access to menstrual products because of financial limitations, known as “period poverty,” affects people’s lives and how addressing the issue can benefit communities.

“Period poverty creates barriers and stigma, and leaves people isolated,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The United Way’s project will use the knowledge and experience of local organizations already working closely with vulnerable people. This research will help us better understand how we can create solutions that will make a difference.”

Always and Tampax have partnered with the United Way to provide menstrual products at a significantly reduced rate, allowing the United Way to increase the amount of participating non-profit agencies. The increase will broaden the project’s reach and help the United Way create a more robust research report to assist in addressing period poverty in British Columbia. The report will be presented to government in December 2020.

The grant is part of a larger shift in government toward better supports and services for the people who need them most. It also aligns with TogetherBC, the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy, with guiding principles of affordability, opportunity, reconciliation and social inclusion. This project demonstrates how government, the non-profit sector and the business sector can work together to find local solutions to complex poverty issues.

Addressing poverty is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quotes:

Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity —

“Having a period is a part of life for more than half our population, and not being able to afford basic hygiene products can be devastating. Tackling period poverty closes the gap on gender inequality. By providing affordable menstrual products, those who menstruate will have the freedom to participate fully in life’s activities.”

Michael McKnight, president and CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland —

“United Way is all about making our communities more accessible for everybody, and we’re excited to work with the provincial government, community agencies and sponsors to help solve such a personal challenge that so many people face. The Period Promise research project is just one more way that we are working with a variety of partners to make where we live healthy, caring and inclusive.”

Nikki Hill, co-chair, Period Promise campaign —

“The simple truth is that people who can’t afford menstrual products are often going to community agencies to find them, and sometimes they just aren’t available. The government’s commitment to work with the United Way Period Promise campaign shows that they get it, and that they are looking for solutions that will make access to tampons and pads easier for everybody who needs them. Their leadership should be applauded.”

Sussanne Skidmore, co-chair, Period Promise campaign and secretary-treasurer, BC Federation of Labour —

“For the BC Federation of Labour and the labour movement, working with the United Way on Period Promise has just been an extension of the work we do to make our province better. Period Promise is only enhancing our commitment to helping vulnerable people live and work with dignity across B.C., and we’re proud to be involved.”

Barbara Wood, board president, Kiwassa Neighbourhood House —

“This initiative and the Period Promise campaign help reduce menstruation stigma and contribute toward greater equality for women, trans and non-binary people. We hope that facilitating access to free menstruation products will reduce barriers faced by community members needing to access support and live with dignity. Thanks to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and the United Way of the Lower Mainland for leadership. Kiwassa is proud to be a part of this important initiative and sharing our learning on its impact.”

Learn More:

Find out more about the United Way Period Promise campaign: https://www.periodpromise.ca/  

Read TogetherBC: B.C.’s Poverty Reduction Strategy: https://www.gov.bc.ca/TogetherBC

To read more about other poverty reduction grants this year, visit:


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8Jul

Training program helps people gain experience, secure forestry jobs

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More than 100 people will get training and work experience in the forest sector, giving them opportunities for job success and improved lives, through $3.3 million in provincial government funding.

“One key way to reduce poverty is to open doors for people to new jobs and careers,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This program, through training and work experience, will prepare people for a wide variety of forestry jobs, putting them on the path to better opportunities.”

On behalf of government, Stillwater Consulting is delivering the Advanced Forestry Training program in three communities: Cranbrook, Kamloops and Nanaimo. Students will earn 11 different industry certifications, including silviculture surveyor certification, occupational first aid – level 3 and basic chainsaw operator. The program includes a three-week job placement with local forestry employers.

“Our program gives participants knowledge, skills and certifications in different areas of forestry in just 19 weeks,” said Aaron Byng-Hall, project manager, Stillwater Consulting. “Our graduates become environmental technicians, recreational trail builders, silviculture surveyors and wildland firefighters. For someone looking for opportunities after a mill closure, the program provides a great way to expand on what they know and turn that into a new career.”

“In light of recent record-breaking wildfire seasons, there is an increased demand for people who can work in the woods,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

The Advanced Forestry Skills Training Program is recruiting students for a July 22, 2019, start date in Kamloops and an Aug. 12, 2019 start date in Cranbrook and Nanaimo. Overall, 36 students per city can participate, with a total of 108 spaces. People interested in applying can contact WorkBC Offices in Cranbrook, Kamloops or Nanaimo.

Quotes:

Brianna Henderson, Stillwater training program graduate —

“Taking this program definitely changed my life and propelled me into my career. I’m now a junior forestry technician with Atlas Information Management, and getting that job was 100% a result of the Stillwater training. It can be hard to get into forestry if you don’t come from the industry, but after the program I was so much more confident in going to apply for a position like that. Overall, I’m just really thankful that this program exists. It has opened up a world of opportunities for me.”

Tim LaRade, senior project manager, Nupqu Development Corporation —

“Stillwater Consulting’s Advanced Forestry Skills Training Program is completely unique in B.C.’s forest industry. It’s practical, it’s hands on and most importantly, it sets graduates up with the skills they need for immediate success once they join the working world. When our new employees come to us with these skills already, it saves us a lot of training time on our end.”

Shane Holley RFT, general manager, Maple Leaf Forestry Ltd. —

“We’ve hired several graduates of the Advanced Forestry Skills Training Program at Maple Leaf Forestry who initially completed the program’s three-week job placement with us. It’s a great way for both us and the student to get to know each other and make sure the fit is right. We find Stillwater graduates to be well-trained, confident and armed with the skills and certifications we’re looking for on our team.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing $3.3 million through the Project Based Labour Market Training stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program. CEP’s goal is to increase employment and work experience opportunities in communities throughout B.C.
  • Approximately $15 million will be invested in CEP projects around B.C. in 2019-20.
  • To be eligible to participate in the Advanced Forestry Training Program, students must meet employment insurance eligibility requirements and live in the city or surrounding areas of Cranbrook, Kamloops or Nanaimo.

Learn More:

Learn how Community Employer Partnerships are helping local communities: www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships.aspx

Learn more about project-based labour market training: https://www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships/Project-Based-Labour-Market-Training.aspx

Find out more about Stillwater Consulting: https://www.stillwaterconsultingltd.com/

Find out more about the Advanced Forestry Training Program and learn how to apply:

Learn more about WorkBC and employment insurance eligibility: https://www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/WorkBC-Centres/Who-Should-Visit-a-WorkBC-Centre.aspx

Connect with WorkBC:


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3Jul

Policy changes put people first

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For people struggling with poverty, small changes can make a big difference.

The first of a series of policy updates by the Government of British Columbia will remove barriers and make it easier for people to get help when they need it most.

The policy changes that came into effect on July 1, 2019, were the focus of a roundtable discussion that Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, hosted with poverty reduction stakeholders and advocates.

“Reducing poverty is about more than broad strokes and big system changes,” said Simpson. “It is also about looking closely at existing policies that, while smaller in scope, can make a lasting impact on the life of British Columbians. It’s about asking ourselves whether these often longstanding policies are helping or harming people. These policy changes, as well as additional changes we will make later this year, are a move away from the mean-spirited policies of the past and toward increasing respect, dignity and opportunity for everyone.”

The updated Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction policies include:

  • decreasing work searches from five weeks to three weeks;
  • ending penalties for families providing room and board to a family member;
  • expanding access to the identification supplement;
  • expanding access to and simplifying the application process for the Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers category;
  • eliminating the “transient” client category;
  • removing the $10,000 asset limit on a primary vehicle;
  • increasing asset limits for people on income assistance; and
  • expanding the moving supplement for people to move anywhere in B.C.

When people cannot afford to obtain personal identification or are required to sell their vehicle to get onto assistance, they face additional and unnecessary barriers. These types of harmful policies get in the way of accessing services like banking, health services, housing, food, school and/or completing daily tasks, like driving to school or work. These simple and supportive changes will allow people to access essential services and keep them from falling further and further behind.

The changes are part of TogetherBC, B.C.’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy. The name TogetherBC reflects the most effective way to reduce poverty in B.C.: strong partnerships with government, non-profits, businesses, First Nations and Indigenous organizations and communities will help reach the people who need assistance most. These changes came from conversations with non-profit organizations, advocates and people with lived experience that illustrated the harmful impact these policies had on the people they were supposed to support.

If people do not have their basic needs met, it is almost impossible to put together other pieces like health, education and employment. Breaking the cycle of poverty is about updating existing policies and creating new ones that rebuild a strong system of supports and services. These changes are part of a larger shift in government to a culture built on empathy and inclusion — one that puts people first.

Quotes:

Trish Garner, community organizer, BC Poverty Reduction Coalition (BCPRC) —

“Our income support system should be there when any one of us may need it, just like our public health care, so measures to reduce barriers to access are a move in the right direction. On behalf of the BCPRC, we congratulate the government for these small changes, which signal a culture shift at the ministry, and we hope to see more of these changes in the future to move from a punitive to a supportive approach. Increasing the asset limit, including for cars, will help people transition back off the system by not plunging them into a deep hole just to access support. We will continue to push for meaningful increases in the rates to complement these measures and rebuild our social safety net.”

Jonny Morris, chief executive officer, Canadian Mental Health Association of BC (CMHA BC) —

“CMHA BC welcomes the recently announced changes to B.C.’s Employment and Assistance Regulations that came into effect on July 1. Removing the financial penalty for adults living with parents will benefit people with mental health and substance use problems whose parents may be key sources of inclusion and support. The elimination of discriminatory eligibility criteria that barred people with substance use related health issues from accessing some benefits is a welcome change that ends a longstanding and harmful approach. These changes and others will provide people experiencing mental health and substance use related health issues with improved access to existing income and disability assistance benefits, which we know supports their well-being.”

Doug King, executive director, Together Against Poverty Society (TAPS) —

“On behalf of TAPS, this is an important first step in restoring the income and disability assistance process with dignity for all applicants. We’re very happy to see important changes to the moving supplement in the midst of a housing a crisis in British Columbia. It’s important for low-income British Columbians to have the support of the ministry when they find themselves in transition or without a home. We are looking forward to more changes in the future, so that this process can be made more fair and accessible.”

Learn More:

For a detailed description of each policy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019SDPR0047-001258

Read TogetherBC: British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/poverty-reduction-strategy


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27Jun

Supporting successful lives through independent communication

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Adults with severe communication disabilities will be supported in living with independence and as full participants in their communities through $9.3 million for augmentative communication technology and professional support.

The Province will provide the funding over three years to Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults (CAYA) to update aging equipment and client systems, and to continue helping people with severe communication disabilities.

“Speaking aids help people with communication disabilities to overcome barriers to full participation in their communities,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This funding supports CAYA’s important role in providing services and technologies that help hundreds of British Columbians to communicate and participate equally in all aspects of their own lives.”

CAYA gives a voice to people through a provincewide program that supports adults aged 19 years and older who require an augmentative alternative communication system due to speech that is not functional for daily communication. Over the past three years, CAYA has provided new or replacement communications technology to about 820 clients annually.

“This new funding ensures that adults in B.C. living with communication disabilities, as a result of conditions ranging from autism to ALS, will continue to have the supports and technology to communicate independently with their families, co-workers, friends and neighbours,” said Jeff Riley, program manager, CAYA.

“Communication assistance is more than just handing out devices,” said Glenda Hyatt Watson, a CAYA client. “It is also equipping people with specialized strategies and supports to deal with challenging situations, such as when you find yourself in a serious health-care situation without access to your communication system.”

The funding was announced at a CAYA demonstration and information session for alternative and augmentative communication technology, highlighting B.C.’s diversity and the importance of accessibility for everyone in the province.

Learn More:

B.C. government accessibility: www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults (CAYA): https://cayabc.org/

CAYA client stories: https://www.cayabc.org/client-stories/


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26Jun

Fire mitigation project extended to help more people

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Vulnerable homeowners in areas threatened by wildfire can access free FireSmart advice and support from a government-funded job creation project supported by the United Way. 

Sixteen people will work over the summer to help seniors and persons with disabilities become FireSmart by preparing and protecting their homes from the threat of wildfires in the communities of Ashcroft, Cache Creek, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, Clinton and Quesnel. This includes educating people about how to make their homes and property safer and removing vegetation that can fuel a wildfire.

To promote safety for people and communities, homeowners will also receive fire prevention materials and a resource list for assistance and support. The project, originally scheduled to end in April 2019, has been extended by four months to meet community need and to provide more job seekers with more opportunities.

“Connecting people with new skills and opportunities is part of our government’s focus on creating good jobs,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Community-driven projects like this one benefit participants, communities and the labour market, while creating a safer environment.”

The project provides extensive training in the formal FireSmart assessment process. The Thompson Nicola Cariboo United Way offers this service for free so people in wildfire-prone parts of the province have help protecting their home from potential fire threats. The crews also remove possible dangers, known as fire fuels, such as bushes, small trees or other organic matter, and provide information on how homeowners can further protect their property.

“There is a high demand for skilled workers to provide advice, support and labour in helping prevent the devastating loss of homes during the wildfire season,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “Training local people in fire mitigation will help meet the need for skilled workers in this and related fields.”

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction provided $729,498 through the Jobs Creation Program stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program. CEP funds projects that increase employability levels and share labour market information.  

“In being able to provide FireSmart activities at no charge to vulnerable people in communities impacted by wildfires, those homeowners feel better prepared and less stressed,” said Monica Johnson, fire mitigation project manager, United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo. “The training and experience we provide to the participants are relevant and definitely increases their employability. We’ve had several participants exit the program because they’ve gotten jobs.”

Quotes:

Clayton Flanders, participant, 100 Mile House Fire Mitigation Job Creation Program –

“This program brings quality changes to both your personal and your professional lives. Not only does it provide important courses needed by future employers, what you learn in the fire mitigation training provides greater safety not only for your own home and neighbourhood but your local community. Thank you for the opportunity to make a big difference not only in my life, but for the others who now feel safer in their own homes.”

Ken Wiebe, homeowner, 108 Mile House –

“We were evacuated 15 days in the 2017 fires. There are people out here who would be absolutely helpless if that happens again. The work is very necessary.”

Florence and Morris Gran, homeowners, Quesnel –

“We are two senior citizens who qualified for the fire mitigation program. Al and his crew of three came to our ranch yesterday and today. They cut limbs, cut junipers, raked and worked steadily. He did not just supervise but worked hard alongside the young men working with him. And we are so grateful. This program is a real asset for seniors.”

Quick Facts:

  • Approximately $15 million will be invested in CEP projects throughout B.C. in 2019-20.
  • Job Creation Partnerships are one of five Community Employer Partnership programs available throughout the province.
  • To date, since the start of the project in August 2018, 22 people have received training and work experience.
  • Project participants have completed 264 FireSmart assessments and 220 mitigations. The goal is to complete 100 more. 

Learn More:

Learn about how Community Employer Partnerships are helping local communities:  www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships.aspx

Learn more about Job Creation Partnerships: https://www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships/Job-Creation-Partnerships.aspx

Find out more about Thompson Nicola Cariboo United Way: https://www.unitedwaytnc.ca/

Learn more about FireSmart: https://www.firesmartbc.ca


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17Jun

Policy changes help break the cycle of poverty

by admin

On July 1, 2019, the following policy changes take effect to help build a better B.C. for vulnerable British Columbians, making life more affordable and supporting them to overcome social and economic barriers:

Reducing access times: The work-search period will be reduced from five weeks to three weeks, while returning applicants will continue to complete the three-week work search. These changes do not impact applicants who are already exempt from work search requirements.

Ending penalties for families providing room and board to a family member: Clients who pay room and board to a parent or child while on income assistance currently do not receive the same level of benefits as those in private room and board situations. Now, families will be allowed to receive up to the full room and board payments (i.e., support and shelter allowance) when providing room and board to an adult child or parent on assistance, without a financial penalty, similar to those living in a private room and board situation.

Expanding access to the ID supplement: The identification supplement is available to individuals, through hardship assistance, to ensure they can meet the ministry’s identification eligibility requirements when applying for assistance. The supplement is being extended to all income and disability assistance clients, in addition to hardship assistance clients, to ensure they can continue to meet ministry eligibility requirements and/or access other important services within British Columbia (e.g., BC Services Card, banking, community services and programs).

Expanding access and simplifying the application process for the persons with persistent multiple barriers (PPMB) category: Expanding access to the PPMB category by removing restrictions that required people first be on income assistance for 12 out of 15 months and prevented access for people with addictions. The application process has also been simplified for clients and staff.

Elimination of the “transient” category: Eliminating the “transient” category to ensure persons without a fixed address, no dependent children and who are not considered to be taking up permanent residence in the community, are eligible to receive the same supports as other people on income assistance.

Allowing people to keep their vehicles: The $10,000 asset exemption limit on a primary vehicle will be removed for people on income assistance, allowing all clients to keep their primary vehicle, regardless of value, without impact to their assistance.

Higher asset limits: Asset limits for people on income assistance will be increased from $2,000 to $5,000 for a single person and from $4,000 to $10,000 for couples and one or two parent families, allowing people on income assistance to keep more of their money and build their assets.

Making relocating easier: Expanding the moving supplement for moves anywhere in B.C. when clients are moving to lower-cost housing or are evicted for any reason (including lawful and unlawful evictions and the existing circumstances of rented accommodation being sold, demolished or condemned). The expanded supplement will also assist with storage costs, if necessary, to preserve the family’s personal belongings while they are moving. Clients will also be supported when they incur moving costs prior to receiving ministry approval in exceptional circumstances.

Expanding access to nutritional supplements: Registered dietitians, as well as medical doctors and nurse practitioners, will be able to submit documentation on behalf of their patients for all nutritional supplements, including all diet supplements (including the high-protein diet), the monthly nutritional supplement, short-term nutritional supplement, tube feed supplement and infant formula supplement.


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