To the editor:
Since 2007, the last time government raised the income assistance rates to $906.42, for persons with disabilities (PWD), the cost of living has increased by 26 per cent. In February the government announced that they will increase the rate by $77 (approximately an 8.5 per cent increase).
Then to add insult to injury, government plans to take away their $45 a year transit pass! Government is asking PWD to use $52 of the $77 increase to purchase a monthly transit pass, amounting to $604 a year!
On top of that, many PWD who are fortunate enough to live in subsidized or supportive housing will have their rent increased by $20! Outside of $5, there goes the so-called increase.
Government attempt to justify themselves by using terms like “equity.” I respectfully submit that they know nothing about equity or the reality of those living with a disability. At the risk of a public outcry, and if it truly is about “equity” then attempt to take the $45 a year pass away from seniors living on low and fixed incomes of approximately $1,400 a month and ask them to pay $604 a year for their transit—then just maybe government will begin to understand.
As for the $45 a year transit pass, which provides affordable, accessible transportation for those living on low and fixed incomes, it encourages and promotes independence and community participation. The impact and hardships will be far reaching.
To deny PWD an “assured income,” that meets the cost of living, take away an essential tool of mobility, transit—the only words that come to my mind are: Shame on you Christy Clark for allowing this to happen.
Joyce Mainland, Kelowna