This month, Inclusion BC is proud to be featured as the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition’s Quarterly Member Spotlight. Every quarter, a coalition member is given the opportunity to highlight their work and contributions for a more equitable future. We are honoured that they’ve chosen us this quarter, and wanted to share with you the reasons why we are a member of the BC PRC.
As we advocate for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, we see the relationship between disability and poverty every day. We know that, according to a 2018 fact sheet published by Inclusion Canada, 73% of working-age Canadians with an intellectual disability who live on their own are living in poverty and less than 25% are employed. We also know that safe and affordable housing is a barrier for this population; a 2020 report by Inclusion BC and Community Living BC found that over 5,000 people with intellectual disabilities in British Columbia alone will be looking for a home in the next 5 years.
This cycle of disability poverty often starts young; a 2008 study by the Centre for Childhood Disability Research found that “children living in poverty are at greater risk for a disability or developmental delay, and caring for a child with disability increases the odds of a family living in poverty.” Parents of children with disabilities, particularly those already experiencing poverty, report “urgent and unmet support needs for respite care, caregiving support, household assistance and accessible child care.” There are often huge demands on the time and financial resources of families in which one or more members have a disability, which can contribute to families being stuck in cycles of poverty.
As adults, only one in four Canadians with an intellectual disability are employed. Through programs like MentorAbility and Ready, Willing and Able, Inclusion BC is working towards a future in which everyone has opportunities to find meaningful employment. As we continue to promote a National Disability Benefit and a Provincial Housing Supplement to allow people to thrive in their community.
For all these reasons and more, the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition’s advocacy aligns with our own, and our collaboration strengthens our ability to fight for change for those experiencing disability poverty. The BCPRC consistently works to includes and empower people through events like their Anti-Oppression Workshop Series, their support of the #BudgetTheBenefit campaign calling for the federal government to enact the Canada Disability Benefit this year, and their promotion of events like the National Discussion on Childhood Disability (Without) Poverty. We are grateful for the intersectional lens and collaborative solidarity that our membership in the BCPRC contributes to our work.
Lama Mugabo – BCPRC CAN Campaign Manager, Richard Han – BCPRC board member, David Lee – BCPRC board member.
This article was featured in the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, Inclusion in Action. Subscribe today to receive regular updates like this.