Report: B.C. Liberals refuse to end heartless clawbacks for families on disability assistance

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The B.C. Liberals will not be ending their heartless clawbacks of child support according to a new disabilities report released Monday, say the New Democrats.

“The B.C. Liberals consult, consult and consult some more, then decide in a report that they won’t make any changes to their heartless income assistance clawbacks until there is more consultation,” said Michelle Mungall, New Democrat social development critic. “That is not acceptable.”

Mungall said the fact that the B.C. Liberals called the report a ten-year plan, yet offered no timeline on ending child support clawbacks showed that they have no real plan to improve the lives of families who depend on disability assistance.

“Promising nothing but more consultation after just finishing a consultation is an insult to those who just finished sharing their views with government,” said Mungall. “Urgent action is needed to improve the lives of B.C. children living in poverty – especially those whose poverty is being directly worsened by the B.C. Liberal government through child support clawbacks.”

Mungall noted that the consultation involved in creating the report was extensive, and calls for change were clear. The Liberal policy of taking money from B.C.’s poorest children needs to end, especially given a recent Auditor General’s report showing many families living on disability are unable to meet their most basic needs.

“It’s disgraceful for the Premier to say she will only do the right thing and ensure people living with disabilities have access to safe housing, healthy food and other basic necessities years from now, and only if the B.C. LNG industry succeeds,” said Mungall. “Children and families living in poverty need support today, not a decade from now, if ever.”

Mungall said that the report itself reflected the incredible strength and tenacity of people who live with disabilities, their families and their supporters, despite the lack of significant commitments from government stemming from the report, especially for people whose disabilities mean they cannot work.

“We need to support all people with disabilities by making B.C. more accessible,” said Mungall. “That means reducing poverty for both those who can work and those whose disability prevents them from doing so. Furthermore, we have to ensure that children of people with disabilities are not forced into poverty because of government policies.”