CKNW: ‘People are suffering:’ Rally in Vancouver calls on government to increase disability assistance rate

Posted December 5, 2016

Residents living with disabilities in Vancouver are calling for the government to double the disability rate to keep up with the cost of living in the city.
Speaking at a rally downtown, BC Acorn Disability Rights spokesperson Tom Page says the rate stands at $980 per month right now.
But he says it needs to be doubled to cover transit passes, rent, utilities and other living expenses.
“People are suffering. Some people are homeless. A lot of people cannot find adequate housing or they have to pay so much for their housing that they are unable to afford food.”
The rally calling for the increase was held to mark the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Page says there’s a need for those with disabilities to be more visible in the community, and that often, people are surprised when they learn what the assistance rate is.
“The public is not getting the correct message… And we need to raise public awareness with the upcoming election so that people are aware we’re living on essentially $5 an hour, if you want to compare it.”
Page calls the current situation a human rights issue.
“People with disabilities and their families are entitled to an adequate standard of living which includes food, shelter and clothing. We don’t have that adequate amount to live and it’s becoming more and more difficult to be able to afford food.”
Article by Niamh Anderson for CKNW