VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Marking the United Nation’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a disability rights group here in Vancouver is sounding an alarm.
They say despite a recent increase in disability benefits, people across BC are still being left below the poverty line.
“The situation has worsened to the point of desperation for many, many people,” says Tom Page, chair of the ACORN disability rights group. “They are receiving about half of what they need to survive.”
He says even though benefits went up $77 a month back in September, it still only works out to about $5 an hour. This is leaving many without access to affordable housing and forcing them to rely on food banks.
“This is a human right that Canada has accepted and recognized in 2010 — it was ratified in Parliament, and it’s being violated,” says Page.
“What we’re asking for would just barely bring us up to the poverty line, in fact, a little bit below.”
The group is calling for an $1,800 per month disability rate, and for the province to restore their $45 annual bus pass which was eliminated this past fall.
A vigil at Granville Station this weekend urged the premier and her government to do more.