Maple Ridge rally to preserve Community Living

Scheduled for Sunday, 10 a.m., in Memorial Peace Park in downtown

It’s not the first cut or the last cut that’s the deepest, but a series of non-monetary scaling back that’s bothering the B.C. Community Living Action Group. So it’s holding a series of rallies in B.C. Sunday, one of which is in Maple Ridge, in Memorial Peace Park at 11 a.m., to protest the cuts.

“Some of the things are not monetary that are happening,” says Verity Howarth, a speech pathologist.

For instance, there are no longer members of the Community Living B.C. board of directors who have family with developmental disabilities, she says.

As well, the use of IQ scores of 70 to determine those who receive benefits means some with disabilities don’t receive them.

CLBC drew attention last year after word that it was cutting funds to the supported work program and Ridge Meadows Recycling Society depot as part of an attempted reorganization at

Community Living B.C. recently told the recycling society it wasn’t renewing its contract and that the part-time jobs would end Sept. 30. But that decision was reversed and the $270,000 in funding was restored for a year.

“We wanted to show support because the funding is only for one year,” added Howarth.

The Community Living Action Group also wants an external review of CLBC and an independent advocate for people with disabilities.

Howarth, an NDP supporter, signed on via Facebook to organize the day because the community “can afford an inclusive society.”

Maple Ridge councillors were invited, but can’t attend, though all were supportive, Howarth added.

MLA Marc Dalton and MP Randy Kamp also were invited.

“Most of this rally is to say we’re still here,” added Bob Goos, who has a daughter with developmental delays.

He said there’s been no new programming in the last eight to 10 years, placing the burden on families once developmentally disabled teens graduate from school.

However, the government says it is making progress on its 12-point plan announced in January.

An inter-ministries team has been developing a plan to provide a long-term solution for individuals and their families.

The government also is giving an additional $179 million over the next three years to improve supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families, says a release.

Part of the new funding will be allocated to families with transitioning youth, providing a minimum of $2,800 annually for respite  services, or an equivalent amount of money where another service is preferred.

About 750 families are eligible for this new minimum  level of support, with additional funding and services available to young adults with higher needs.

CLBC is also increasing community inclusion supports, including employment-related services, for about 200 young adults as a direct result of increased funding.

CLBC recently distributed a call to action for the Community Action Employment Plan. Thirty community facilitators will help  lead consultations to strengthen employment supports for people with developmental disabilities in B.C. This will help CLBC to deliver on the recommendation to increase employment opportunities.

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