What's New/General Information and Resources
This page was updated on: 5/16/2013
New Westminster, BC, May 14, 2013 - The mission statement of the Family Support Institute is: To strengthen and support families faced with the extraordinary circumstances that come with having a family member who has a disability". FSI is about Families. Our Celebration of Families awards are our way to celebrate families and thank and recognize those people and organizations across British Columbia that “strengthen and support ALL families, not just families with a member with a disability”. On April 20, 2013, during our Annual FSI Training Weekend at Naramata we presented Celebration of Families awards in the four categories of: FSI RP/RFM volunteer, non-FSI volunteer, Corporation and Organization. Read more, full copy in PDF click here
Exciting Research Opportunity on Future Planning (posted 03/12/13)
Researchers at the University of Victoria are interested in looking at how parents of adult children (i.e. 19 years of age and older) with intellectual disabilities plan for the future of their children.
If you are the parent of an adult child with an intellectual disability, you are eligible to participate. The information gained through this research could be used to better assist and support parents as they face the difficult task of planning for the future of their loved ones. Participation in this research involves completing a brief electronic questionnaire. In addition, if agreed to, there is the possibility that participants will be contacted at a later date for a follow-up audio-recorded phone interview. Participants are under no obligation to agree to follow-up contact.
If you are interested in participating or have further questions, please contact Megan at email@example.com or 250.858.5836.
If you have any questions about this research you may also contact my supervisor, Dr. Holly Tuokko, at 250.721.6350. This study has received ethics approval from the University of Victoria's Human Research Ethics office.
Megan Caines, M.Sc. Psychology Department University of Victoria.
Funding Increase from CLBC that applies to Microboards and IF contracts! (posted 01/25/13) CLBC has agreed to provide a retroactive one-time payment to non-unionized service providers to cover increased costs up to March 31, 2012.
The increased costs that will be covered are:
• employer premiums for EI effective January 1, 2011 and January 1, 2012;
• MSP premiums, effective January 1, 2011 and January 1, 2012; and
• minimum wage, effective May 1, 2011 and November 1, 2011, as may be applicable to any particular non-unionized service. (Minimum wage increased on May 1, 2011 to $8.75 / hour and on November 1, 2011 to $9.50/hour.
CLBC has agreed to fund these increases for all non-union contractors (including Microboards and IF contracts) to March 31, 2012. The third increase on May 1, 2012 was to $10.25/hour and CLAN is working with CLBC to confirm funding for that increase as well.)
Increased costs after March 31, 2012 will be addressed at a later date. What does this mean for you? If you provide a service in which you pay EI or MSP premiums and/or pay your staff under $9.50/hr you are eligible for an increase for the time periods mentioned above. How do you get the increase/payment?
Send an email to CLBC at firstname.lastname@example.org with your agency name (the name of your Microboard or the name of your IF Agent and the Individual’s name) and the name of your authorized representative (the person from CLBC who signs your contract). CLBC will send you a spreadsheet with some information already completed and additional fields requiring your input. Once completed, send this spreadsheet back to CLBC and a funding agreement will be sent back to you for signature. Payment will then be processed as quickly as possible.
Please call your Vela Facilitator or our office manger, Kim (604-575-2588) if you need support or have any questions.
Spectrum Press is a social enterprise: books and products by, for and about people you care about. They sell their products at conferences and workshops and through an online bookstore. The idea of a social enterprise has a long history, and they have a few intentions that are different. Check the storefront site to find information on anthologies and other opportunities. e email@example.com or t 604.323.1433. On twitter you can find them @101friendsbc and also on Facebook
The Community Futures Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP) The Community Futures EDP was established in 1997 in response to the 1996 Federal Task Force on Disabilities which identified employment as a major issue that can help alleviate the high incidences of poverty among persons with disabilities. Self employment was seen as a viable option for persons with disabilities with entrepreneurial aptitude, and the EDP was created to provide flexible repayable business loans for persons with disabilities starting or expanding businesses who are unable to secure financing from other sources. In 1998 an urban EDP initiative was created and in 2005 Western Economic Diversification (WD) consolidated funding for the two programs into a five year contract expiring March 31, 2011. Since March 2011, the EDP funding agreement has been extended twice for one year terms. The program has succeeded in financing business start-ups and expansions for clients that commercial lenders would not service. There are successful rural businesses created by entrepreneurs with disabilities that would not exist were it not for the Community Futures EDP. The program has evolved to provide pre and post loans business client care to help level the playing field for entrepreneurs with disabilities. Contact Garry Angus, Provincial Coordinator, Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program, Rural and Northern BC for information on this unique program. t 604.685.2332 ext 226 BC Toll Free: 1.877.685.2332 x 226 www.cf-edp.ca
FSI and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) invite you to a discussion about MSD supports and PWD benefits - (06/20/12)
Victoria - June 21, 2012 1-4pm, and Vancouver - June 27, 2012 1-4pm. Resource Parents and Resources Family Members of Regions 1, 2, 3 and 4: FSI and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) invite you to a discussion about MSD supports and PWD benefits. (Victoria - June 21, 2012 1-4pm and Vancouver - June 27, 2012 1-4pm) If you have questions you would like to submit ahead of time please send to Angela Clancy at firstname.lastname@example.org. For full details Click here for PDF
Community Action Employment Plan - (05/09/12)
Over the past four years, CLBC, service providers and families have all contributed to an employment agenda that has raised awareness about employment, built capacity across the sector and yielded some promising results. It is now time to plan our next steps to scale up this work and provide opportunities for all people with developmental disabilities who want to work.
Lead by a community/CLBC committee, we will be sponsoring conversations about work across B.C. Our purpose is to engage a broad range of community members in the development of a three (3) year Community Action Employment Plan. The Plan’s overarching goal is to co-create a future that realizes the aspirations of individuals with developmental disabilities to participate in the workforce.
Giving in Action Grant Update - Children & Youth with Special Needs Fund -(04/10/12) Giving in Action expects to be able to provide Children and Youth with Special Needs (CYSN) grants throughout 2012. However, due to a backlog of applications and depleting funds, they will not accept new CYSN Letters of Inquiry (LOI) after May 31, 2012. All LOIs received on or before May 31st will be reviewed in order of receipt and considered based on eligibility and availability of funds. Once they have reviewed all LOIs and applications in progress, and are able to assess our financial position, they will provide an update on remaining funds that may be available for new requests later in 2012.
Please check funding updates on their website at www.givinginaction.ca The Children and Youth with Special Needs Fund provides grants to families who have children or youth (under 19) with special needs living at home. Families requiring support for home renovations and/or wheelchair-accessible vehicles are invited to submit a letter of inquiry. Grant recipients will need to commence their home renovations and/or vehicle purchases within six months of receiving a grant from Giving in Action. All LOIs must include a Letter of Support Form, to be completed by an appropriate professional. This helps ensure families have consulted with a professional early on regarding their project plans. Click here for information on the application process. Click here for information on eligibility.
New Hotline for Air Travelers with Disabilities - (03/19/12) The Transportation Security Administration has a new toll-free hotline specifically for airline passengers with disabilities and special medical needs. TSA Cares is available weekdays from 12 pm to 12am (PST) by calling 855.787.2227
New Book - Meeting the Challenge: A Guide to Respectful, Effective Planning, Advocacy and Support With People Who Have Puzzling Behaviour, by Susannah Joyce
Meeting the Challenge is based on positive approaches that provide valuable information to support people who are struggling with behaviour. For more information on this 175 page book, and ordering information please click here for a pdf.
Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Persons with Disabilities (RRAP — Disabilities) - (11/09/11) Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers financial assistance to allow homeowners and landlords to pay for modifications to make their property more accessible to persons with disabilities. These modifications are intended to eliminate physical barriers, imminent safety risks and improve the ability to meet the demands of daily living within the home. Click here for more information and eligiblity requirements.
Invitation to Participate in an important research study - (10/23/11) BCACL Board Member and UBC School of Nursing professor Jennifer Baumbusch, along with former BCACL Board Member and UBC School of Social Work professor Tim Stainton and Rachelle Hole of UBC-Okanagan School of Social Work are conducting a study looking at healthcare for aging adults with Intellectual Disabilities in BC. BCACL is the community partner on this project, and we hope that member organization EDs can participate in supporting this important study. They are forming a Community Advisory Committee for the study and are looking for EDs across the province who would be interested in engaging in this project. Please see additional information click here for PDF, and, if you would like to participate, please contact Dr. Jennifer Baumbusch at email@example.com.
GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES REVIEW OF THE REGISTERED DISABILITY SAVINGS PLAN - (10/22/11) The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced the launch of the Government of Canada’s review of the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). Minister Flaherty made the announcement this morning at the Association pour l’intégration sociale d’Ottawa.
The Government is inviting stakeholders to comment on RDSPs to ensure that the plans are meeting the needs of Canadians with severe disabilities and their families. “It is important for those who benefit from these plans to give their input, so that RDSPs continue to accurately reflect and address their true needs,” said Minister Flaherty. The RDSP is widely regarded as a major policy innovation and positive development in helping to ensure the long-term financial security of children with severe disabilities.
The RDSP was introduced in Budget 2007 and became available in 2008. Budget 2008 announced that the program would be reviewed three years after plans became operational. The review will seek input on a number of important topics that are crucial to the success of the RDSP. These include issues related to establishing plans, accessing plan savings, plan termination, and the administration of the RDSP program.
Individuals, families, groups representing Canadians with disabilities, financial institutions and experts in the field are encouraged to share their views on these and other relevant issues. Comments can be sent to the Department of Finance at RDSP-REEI@fin.gc.ca or to the address below. The closing date for comments is December 16, 2011.
Tax Policy Branch Department of Finance
L’Esplanade Laurier 16th Floor, East Tower
140 O’Connor Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G5
Facsimile: 613.943.5597 For more information, http://www.fin.gc.ca/n11/11-103-eng.asp
BCACL - MLA Initiative (08/23/11) We believe that when an individual with disabilities and/or families who have a relative with a disability build meaningful and lasting relationships with their MLA, their representative understands what is important to them and their family. Their MLA will also make more informed decisions when setting policies and creating budgets. Download PDF for more information.
Criminal Record Check Policy: Service Delivery for IF and Microboards - (06/30/11) CLBC complies with the Criminal Records Review Act (CRRA) that sets out mandatory requirements for criminal record checks on persons working with vulnerable adults, which includes all individuals supported by CLBC, in order to help protect those vulnerable adults from financial, physical or sexual abuse. The CLBC Criminal Record Check Policy: Service Delivery supports CLBC’s compliance with the CRRA as it applies to service providers who work with individuals supported by CLBC. The CLBC policy also establishes CLBC’s requirement for driver’s abstracts to be completed on persons who may drive individuals supported by CLBC. Criminal record checks and driver’s abstract reviews are a formal safeguard which help ensure the safety and wellbeing of individuals and form part of CLBC’s comprehensive approach to safeguards. Click here to see the new documents from the CLBC website.
Sibling Jam - (05/24/11) every Thursday, 6:30pm to 8:30pm starting May 12th at the PLAN office - #260-3665 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC
Two very dynamic young women have arranged to meet with adults that have a brother or sister with a disability. They are keen and have some great ideas on how to embrace the differences all siblings experience when growing up with a special brother or sister. As well they will address the responsibilities of growing up and continuing a relationship with their brothers and sisters and how that may change overtime. Both Cat and Sylvie have lived this life themselves and met as a result of their sisters. They are both highly educated and plan to continue their education this fall, one in a form of art therapy and the other as an occupational therapist.
Please RSVP by May 11th, 2011 or for more information: call 604.346.1890 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Special Needs Summer Camp Subsidy - (05/09/11) The Cerebral Palsy Association of BC is excited to be able to offer a special needs camp subsidy to assist children, teens and adults with Cerebral Palsy, across BC, in attending a summer camp. Money is available to help pay the camp fee and/or transportation charges. Please advise parents and individuals of the availability of these funds. An application can be downloaded as a pdf by clicking here. It must be received, at our office, no later than June 13, 2011. Camp Subsidy Committee will review applications and recipients will be notified by July 18, 2011. For more information contact Feri at 604.408.9484 or toll free at 1.800.663.0004
GO4KIDDS: New study funded by CIHR - (02/04/11) looking at kids with severe developmental disabilities The Great Outcomes for Kids Impacted by Severe Developmental Disabilities project - GO4KIDDS - is a university based research study examining the health, wellbeing and social inclusion of Canadian children with severe developmental disabilities and their families. We are conducting a series of research projects including surveys, interviews, direct observation and case studies. The age range we are studying is school-aged children, approximately age 6 to 18 years, who have an intellectual/developmental disability in the moderate, severe or profound range. Children may also have a global developmental delay, developmental handicap, or mental retardation, as well as some physical disabilities, autism, and/or behaviour problems/mental health problems. There are currently two Surveys (a Basic Survey and an Extended Survey) intended for parents of children who have a severe DD. You can complete both Surveys by paper and pencil or online. To find the link to the Basic Survey, click here. You can also contact us by phone or email to request a paper copy, or if you have any questions (see website). For more information on our research projects and how to participate, visit us at our website: www.go4kidds.ca
Equipment and Assistive Technology Initiative (EATI) (02/05/11) is a program that provides a source of new funding for assessment, trialing, acquisition and/or training with equipment and assistive devices for BC residents with disabilities and seniors on their journey to reach their employment goa our help to get the word out about this very important initiative. EATI has helped people to acquire assistive technology to overcome their functional barriers, such as reading software, electric door openers, hearing aids, power wheelchairs/ scooters, van conversions, voice recognition software, speech aids, personal guidance systems (GPS), computers and phones with accessibility features. We know that having access to a piece of equipment will open doors for people and what may not have been possible before the technology is now very possible. If you are interested in learning more about the BC Personal Supports Network and EATI their website is:www.bcpsn.org and phone number is 1-877-333-7554.
In a related venture, they are trying to get feedback on whether there might be a future for an assistive te British Columbia. You can help by completing a short on-line survey at the following link: http://bcatcoop.wordpress.com
CanAssist at the University of Victoria is conducting a feasibility study for CLBC regarding the accessibility of social media platforms for their clients. One of the primary goals of the study is to determine how accessible social media platforms currently are to CLBC clients along with the ility, or lack thereof. (e.g. key barriers to use by these individuals) Input from CLBC stakeholders about their views regarding social media is crucial to the success of this project. To that end we have prepared two surveys: one for individuals with developmental disabilities to be completed independently or with assistance, and one for family members and caregivers. If you would like to complete the survey please click here. For more information contact Leo, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.canassist.ca
South Asian Family Support - (11/04/10) Group DDA and the Vancouver Pediatric Team are co-facilitating a new South Asian Family Support group. The group is composed of:
1. Parent Support in Punjabi focusing on topics related to education, health, housing etc. Two facilitators provide information to parents.
2. Sibling Support (age 6-12) is facilitated by a movement therapist who uses music and dance to open up communication. Child care workers assist with support.
The family support group meets every Tuesday from 3:15 to 4:15pm on Nov. 9, 16, 23, 30 Dec. 7, 14 at Henderson Annex gymnasium. For more information, please contact Jerid Stevenot, DDA Family Support Worker at 604.301.2831
What Works? Notes from the Vela Microboard Assn of BC Workshop - (07/07/10)
Summation document of the session is available, Download document in pdf format.
ADVOCATE FOR SERVICE QUALITY - (06/28/10) The role of the Advocate for Service Quality has been expanded to include youth with special needs and their families transitioning into adulthood. Jane Holland is the Advocate for Service Quality and the expansion of her role is part of the implementation of the Cross-Ministry Transition Planning Protocol for Youth with Special Needs. To find information about theAdvocate for Service Quality, please visit: http://www.hsd.gov.bc.ca/advocate/docs/brochure.pdf.
BC Family Residence Program - new BC provincial program that covers expenses related to travel and accommodation for families who attend BC Children’s Hospital. This program is for “British Columbians with children needing medical care or treatment at BC Children’s Hospital…” These families “now have increased access to travel and accommodation support”. Please see this link for the News Release. For more information on the BC Family Residence Program and a complete listing of eligibility criteria, please contact the Health and Seniors Information Line at 1-800-465-4911 or visit www.bcfamilyresidence.gov.bc.ca (05/30/10)
The BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry - (04/20/10) Important information about this new registry is available, click here to download information in pdf format.
Survey for Those Interested in Supporting People with Disabilities in the Workplace - (03/09/10) The Classroom and Community Supports Department, Douglas College is preparing a feasibility study for a new program (Employment Support Specialist). It is vitally important that we hear from as many folks who are interested and concerned with supporting people with disabilities in workforce. To complete the survey follow the link http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Employment_Supports_Specialist Contact Wendy Parry, Coordiantor Classroom and Community Support at Douglas College for more information e. email@example.com t. 604.527.5813
Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Persons with Disabilities (RRAP - Disabilities) (02/24/10) Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers financial assistance to allow homeowners and landlords to pay for modifications to make their property more accessible to persons with disabilities. These modifications are intended to eliminate physical barriers, imminent safety risks and improve the ability to meet the demands of daily living within the home. Assistance is in the form of a fully forgivable loan and does not have to be repaid if you adhere to the terms and conditions of the program. Click here for more info.
Call for projects - Self Advocates Seeding Innovation (SASI) - (12/27/09) What is SASI? The purpose of the SASI project is to support self advocates to do projects in their communities. BCACL is offering grants of up to $5000 and hopes to support 15 to 20 self advocacy projects across BC. What are the goals of SASI? We hope to bring people together for support and to share ideas, strengthen self advocacy networks, organize training and make positive change in community. What kinds of projects will get funded? We’re encouraging self advocates and self advocacy groups to look at the gifts and abilities of people and groups around them. This could mean working with existing community groups or coming up with a project that self advocates feel will make a positive change in their community.
When will the projects start? Applications will be accepted until January 29, 2010. Projects will be chosen by February 15, 2010.
Click on the links below to read the documents:
* application form - deadline January 29, 2010
* project agreement form - deadline January 29, 2010
* project completion form - deadline September 15, 2010
* guideline for getting started - a video version is coming soon
* graphic illustration (a picture) of what self advocacy looks like now in BC with a few project ideas
Questions: If you would like help filling out any of the forms or would like to ask questions, please contact Karla Verschoor, BCACL Coordinator of Self Advocacy Development. Here is Karla’s contact information: t: 604.777.9100 ext. 519 e:firstname.lastname@example.org
CLAN BC Update - Costing your wages and benefits (12/09/09) Please download the following documents starting with a summary report from Ernie Baatz on ongoing negotiations with CLBC on behalf of CLAN members summary document in pdf. CLAN wage equity template (spreadsheet),sample wage equity template in pdf
Federal Goverment Announces the Creation of Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) with Matching Grants/Bonds - (05/02/09) the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), and its matching Grant and income-tested Bond are now available to Canadians across the country. For more information on RDSPs, the Grant and Bond, please visit our website at: www.hrsdc.gc.ca/disability, or call 1 800 O-Canada 1.800.622.6232 TTY 1.800.926.9105.
BCACL has an ongoing scholarship fund to support people to attend public dialogues/conferences/seminars – essentially to support their personal and professional development. There is no deadline for the scholarship as they have an ongoing, continuous intake as events occur. Applicants are to complete a scholarship application form download form in PDF here – indicating the event, why they would like to attend, and a break down of the costs for registration, travel, accommodation, meals and/or respite. It is always good to have applicants demonstrate how much and sources of funds they are contributing. The application should be returned to me. In the past we have supported people to attend the Family Conference in Alberta, the Family Focus Conference in BC, the Autism conference, summer camps for kids, and a host of day long workshops, to name only a few.
Information on Equipment and Assistive Devices (Province of BC) - July 17, 2007
A new 1-800 service has been created to direct callers to BC Government programs that may provide equipment and assistive devices call 1.888.818.1211 or TTY 1.800.661.8773 or email PersonalSupportsInformation@gov.bc.ca Download update letter in pdf format for feedback on this service. Download flyer in pdf for distribution.
Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians - July 17, 2007
The B.C. government has provided the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians with a $355,000 one-time grant to help visually impaired British Columbians cover the cost of moderate, low-technology visual aids. The program is expected to start mid-July. To be eligible for the program, people must be residents of British Columbia, over 18 years of age and have severe vision loss that eyeglasses cannot correct. Click here
AFFORDABLE WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE VANS - July 17, 2007
World Accessibility has entered into a partnership with Accessible Transportation Sales and Services (ATSS), to sell good quality, used, wheelchair accessible vans from their Burnaby location. These vehicles will provide a reasonable alternative to expensive new van purchases. For details visit http://www.atsscanada.com t. 604.439.7742. Click here for the news release.
President's Choice Children's Charity -The President's Choice Children's Charity is dedicated to helping children and young adults who are physically or developmentally challenged. They do their own charity work by dealing directly with the families that contact them. They provide direct financial assistance in the purchase of expensive mobility equipment, environmental modifications, physical therapy and more. They want to try and remove some of the obstacles that make everyday living extremely difficult for these children. The need is endless. Thousands of families need help.
HOW TO APPLY FOR FUNDS: Do you have a child with a physical or developmental disability? Are they 18 years of age or under? Do they need help with mobility equipment, an environmental modification or therapy? Visit the link below for more information: http://www.presidentschoice.ca/ChildrensCharity/Default.aspx
WANT TO LEARN MORE? Contact us by mail: President's Choice Children's Charity For B.C., Alta., Sask., Man., Yukon, N.W.T. & Nunavut: 3225 - 12th St. N., Calgary, AB T2E 7S9 Phone: 1-866-996-9918 By Email: email@example.com
BC HealthGuide Programs - reliable health information and advise 24 hours per day. You can: Access the BC HealthGuide book, online or order your copy free of charge, Review over 180 health and safety tips in the BC HealthFiles, or Find information on the BC NurseLine a 24 hour confidential health advise line. A Registered Nurse will answer your questions and help identify health concerns, discuss treatment options, and advise you when to see a health professional. You can also get information on medical conditions, tests and procedures, and resources in your community as well as talk to a pharmacist. Link to lots of other Canadian health web sites. Web site: http://www.bchealthguide.org/kbaltindex.asp
Travel Power - Travel Power is a new web-based travel agency fully licensed and insured offering travel information and support to travellers with special needs. "Travel Power offers its long-term expertise in arranging travel, skilled support and assistance as needed, and effective cost cutting methods for those who seek travel and adventure.
They provide carefully selected and qualified Volunteer Support Workers, based on the needs of the participants, to accompany individuals who have difficulty traveling on their own and also investigates travel opportunities that may include sharing of various costs such as lodging, food and ground transportation. This cost sharing may provide opportunities to those who might otherwise be unable to enjoy travel due to financial constraints. website www.travelpower.ca contact Mike McMullen at: firstname.lastname@example.org phone 519.671.3653
People with Disabilities Welcome Changes to Home Support User Fee Rates - April 27, 2005-The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities and the North Shore Disability Resource Centre welcome the March 18, 2005 Cabinet decision to amend the Continuing Care Fees Regulation to reduce home support user fees for working people with disabilities who are between the ages of 19 and 64. This change will immediately benefit many working people who have been heavily burdened by daily user fees that can range from $800 to $2,000/month. It will also remove a major disincentive to employment that has discouraged people with disabilities from seeking employment or promotion. Download bulletin in pdf.
Companion Access to Some Movie Theatres - The Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada and the National Advisory Council of Disability Organizations have developed a program called Access 2 Entertainment. Effective March 1, 2005 the Access 2 Entertainment card will provide free or discounted admission (maximum $3.00) to the support person accompanying a person with a disability to participating movie theatres. The following is a summary of what is needed to apply for the Access 2 Entertainment card:
To apply for the Access 2 Entertainment card and for more information, go to click here.
Human Rights Tribunal decision on the issue of payment to family members - In a June 28, 2004 ruling, the BC Human Rights Tribunal upheld the complaint by Cheryl and Phillip Hutchinson that the Ministry of Health was discriminating against them in its policy prohibiting the hiring of direct family members through the Choice in Supports for Independent Living (CSIL) program.
Cheryl Hutchinson had requested that she be permitted to employ her father Phillip on the grounds that he had the best ability to assist her with her complex care needs. Ms Hutchinson had tried unsuccessfully to recruit and retain other support workers and argued that the Ministry of Health policy unfairly limited her choices. The Tribunal agreed with the Hutchinsons that a general prohibition on hiring family members was "a prima facie case of discrimination on the basis of disability".
The Tribunal's ruling includes the following remedies:
* An order that requires the Ministry of Health to cease and desist discriminating against the Hutchinsons and to refrain from committing the same or a similar contravention;
* An order that requires the Ministry of Health to permit exceptions to its payment to family members policy. This order gives the Ministry nine months to develop a set of criteria that allows for the hire of family members on a case by case basis, under CSIL. It also requires that the criteria that are developed be made known to CSIL users and potential users.
The Hutchinson's began their case in 2001. In the meantime, the government responded to the decision of the Deputy Chief Commissioner of Human Rights to intervene in the Hutchinson case (and two other cases that were going forward at the time) and amended its payment to family members policy in June 2002. However, while the amended policy allows for the hiring of distant relatives, it still prohibits the hiring of direct family members.
CSIL users and community organizations have persistently requested that the policy on payment to family members be a flexible one that is determined by the unique circumstances of the individual. The BC Human Rights Tribunal has confirmed their belief that an individualized approach is the right way to go.
You can find the Human Rights decision in its entirety at: www.bchrt.bc.ca.
NEW EXEMPTIONS FOR CAREGIVERS OF DISABLED CHILDREN - June 30, 2003 Ministry of Human Resources Children with disabilities in British Columbia will benefit from changes to vehicle and earnings exemptions being provided to their caregivers.
Persons with disabilities particularly children with disabilities are one of the highest priorities of the government of British Columbia. That is why the Ministry of Human Resources is making it easier for primary caregivers to look after children with disabilities.
Effective July 1, 2003, the Ministry of Human Resources is extending exemptions to primary caregivers of children with disabilities to include:
These changes will assist with the extra costs and special needs involved in caring for children with disabilities. The government also recognizes that although caregivers for children with disabilities are often unable to seek employment outside the home, some are able to work in their homes or earn income, for example by providing room and board.
These new exemptions are available to an income assistance client who is the primary caregiver of a child with disabilities. A child with disabilities may be a dependent child of the caregiver, a child in the home of a relative (caregiver receives funds under the ministry¹s Child in the Home of a Relative program), or a foster child. Single parents on income assistance who look after a child with disabilities are also exempt from time limits and the requirement to seek employment.
Contact Richard Chambers Director of Communications 250.387.6489, for more information
The B. C. Coalition for People with Disabilities - Has prepared a series of Help Sheets on the changes to Disability Benefits in BC. You are able to view these sheets online and/or download and print them. The Advocacy Access program have updated these sheets in 2005.
Help Sheets online include: