Investing in Inclusion and Equity for All

Submission to BC’s Standing Committee on Finance


Inclusion BC has submitted its recommendations to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services for the 2021 B.C. Budget. We recommended that they invest in inclusion and equity to build resilience for all of BC. Specifically, we identified the most critical funding gaps that are preventing the full inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and their families in B.C.

See our full submission: Investing in Inclusion and Equity for All (PDF)

Here is an excerpt, listing the key recommendations.

COVID19 has exposed our vulnerabilities but also highlighted our strengths as a society, offering valuable insight on how to prioritize public investments to build strong, resilient communities. We’re proud of BC’s response to COVID-19. While the pandemic exposed critical vulnerabilities, it also evidenced the need for targeted investments that strengthen both formal and informal community inclusion supports for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Recommendations: Key Budget 2021 Priorities

Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

  • CLBC Budget: Increase CLBC’s annual budget to at least match costs (e.g. equitable sector wages/benefits) and to cover the expected 6% annual increase of adults needing support. (Increase Estimate: $94 Million)
  • Innovation Fund: Establish an Innovation Fund to help CLBC-funded agencies strengthen inclusion and resilience to address program vulnerabilities exposed by COVID-19. (Increase Estimate: $1.5 Million)
  • Inclusive Employment: More funding for inclusive employment supports to help employers safely re-hire people with disabilities who were disproportionately affected by layoffs due to COVID-19. (Increase Estimate: 2021: $5 Million)
  • PWD Supplement: Extend the temporary $300 Persons with Disabilities (PWD) supplement through 2020/21 and make it permanent. An increase is long overdue and only fair, given the $2,000/month CERB benchmark to support others facing employment barriers. (Increase Estimate: $380 Million)
  • Rental Supplements: Each year for the next 3 years, double the number of portable rental supplements available through community agencies and programs for people receiving PWD benefits who can’t find affordable market or social housing. (Increase Estimate: $8.5 Million)
  • Medical Health Director: Re-establish the office of the Medical Health Director and Constituency to provide specialized guidance on the complex interplay of medical and disability needs. (Increase Estimate: $500,000)
  • Mental Health Supports: An inclusive Mental Health strategy to boost inclusion and provide equitable access to mental health supports for people with disabilities. (Increase Estimate: $1 Million)
  • Technology Fund: Support public/private partnerships to ensure all BC adults who receive PWD benefits have affordable access to devices for virtual connectedness. (One-time investment of $750,000)

Families who support adults, youth and children with disabilities

  • Children & Youth with Special Needs (CYSN) Framework: Increase funding over the next 3 years for MCFD’s proposed new Children & Youth with Special Needs (CYSN) Framework to strengthen inclusion and equity while reducing barriers to access. Strong, resilient families need timely, universal access everywhere in BC to a core suite of early intervention therapies, family respite and other child and youth inclusion supports, such as more funding to allow youths with disabilities to have equitable access and be included in after-school programs. (Increase Estimate: $95 Million)

Inclusive Education

  • Provincial Inclusion Outreach Program: Expand the funding and mandate of the Provincial Inclusion Outreach Program to allow all parents and educators to initiate support requests. (Increase Estimate: $1.5 Million)
  • Provincial Advocacy for Vulnerable Students: Fund expansion of the mandate of the Representative for Children & Youth to include public education or create a similar legislated office. Vulnerable K-12 students have no voice at decision-making tables, and, like other vulnerable groups, they too need a formal provincial advocacy voice on their side. (Increase Estimate: $500,000)

There are an estimated 75,000 children, youth and adults
with intellectual disabilities in BC. We are asking the BC government
to invest through the 2021 budget in each of their futures. 

The needs are clear, the time for action is now

 

See Full Submission: Investing in Inclusion and Equity for All (PDF)

Inclusion BC