Provincial Election Accountability Assembly, April 4, 2017

Metro Vancouver Alliance is a broad-based alliance of 57 civil society institutions who work together for the common good. Our member and sponsoring organizations represent 200,000 people in Metropolitan Vancouver and over 700,000 people across the Province.  

At our Municipal Election Accountability Assembly October 19, 2014, we received commitments from local politicians on our civic agenda. On April 4th, we will be asking the provincial party leaders to support our efforts on Economic Justice, Affordable Housing, Accessible Transit and a Strong Foundation for Healthcare at the provincial level.

The province we want: A fair, equal and poverty-free place, with economic justice for all

BC has the second highest poverty rate in the country and is the only province without a plan to reduce poverty. A comprehensive poverty reduction plan will address social assistance rates, low wages, child care, education and health care.

Persons receiving provincial disability assistance currently have their Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits clawed back by the provincial government, despite having contributed to CPP in their working years. This traps people in poverty, unable to support their basic needs.

 We commit to:

  • Working with you to develop and build popular support for a poverty reduction plan and the elimination of the Canada Pension Plan Disability claw back.

We ask the candidates to:

  • Work with the Metro Vancouver Alliance and a broad range of advocates and organizations to develop and implement within one year of the election, a legislated, comprehensive poverty reduction plan for BC.
  • As a first step in addressing poverty, commit to the elimination of the claw back of Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits for people on provincial Persons With Disabilities assistance.

A better housed province

Failure to build new affordable housing units and repair existing housing stock over the past 30 years has led to a crisis in housing affordability. While attention has focused on the spectacular increases in real estate prices, there is also a serious crisis in the rental housing market. Rising land values have led to an epidemic of evictions as landlords have taken advantage of loopholes in the Residential Tenancy Act.

We commit to:

  • Working with our member institutions and partners to develop innovative solutions unique to each community to address the building crisis
  • Making available to BC Housing staff the personal testimony, community case studies and all information needed to identify weaknesses in the current Residential Tenancy Act

We are asking candidates to

  • Spend $3 billion per year, including matching all of the housing funds transferred from the federal government, to build 10,000 new affordable housing units per year for the next 5 year to meet the current need and to preserve and re-invest in existing affordable housing stock
  • Strengthen the Residential Tenancy Act to tie rent to the unit, instead of to the tenant, so that landlords cannot increase rents between tenancies, plus eliminate the parts of the Act that currently allow fixed lease contracts, renovictions, and unfair rent increases because of geography.

The province we want: Accessible transit for all

The population of people over 70 years old will continue to increase rapidly in BC over the next decade. There is already a chronic shortage of HandyDART service resulting in social isolation, missed medical appointments and other negative effects. And in 2014 the Government of British Columbia committed to become to “the most progressive jurisdiction in Canada for people with disabilities – where disabilities are no barrier to living full lives.”

We commit to:

  • Provide the Premier, ministers, and provincial government staff with political support, testimony, and case studies to bolster their funding decisions on HandyDART services

We are asking candidates to:

  • Commit to providing funding through a special grant to increase HandyDART service hours by 5% per year for the next four years, 2018 - 2021, for all TransLink and BC Transit HandyDART services. The funding for TransLink would be in addition to the service increases in 2018 and 2019 already supported through municipal property taxes.

A strong foundation for health care

Primary health care (PHC) is the foundation of Canada’s health care system, providing access to both health and social services. But services like physiotherapy, counselling, home support and home care are becoming harder to access because patients are confronting a growing number of barriers, including financial and geographic. We support the commitment of the Ministry of Health to increase access to coordinated primary, community and social care services so that patients can obtain the right service from the right provider at the right time.

We commit to:

  • Work with our member organizations in support of provincial and health authority efforts to increase access to primary health and social care by people across the province. Reach out to the medical profession to encourage dialogue with our member organizations which represent many hard-to-reach and under-served patients.   

We are asking candidates to:

  • Commit to establishing a primary health care partnership table, including representatives from Aboriginal and multicultural communities, to identify strategies to reform BC’s primary health care system.
  • Work with the Metro Vancouver Alliance and the BC Association of Community Health Centres to develop an annualized global funding model for Community Health Centres in British Columbia that encompasses the package of salaried, team-based primary care, health promotion, disease prevention, community development initiatives and social services.
  • Invest in 20 new community-governed, not-for-profit or cooperative Community Health Centres throughout British Columbia to provide more British Columbians access to primary health care when and where needed.

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