Actions Speak Louder than Words
BC government still not engaging with BC-CLAG over crisis in community living
The BC Community Living Action Group (BC-CLAG) is an unprecedented coalition of family and advocacy groups, service agencies, support workers that represent every major stakeholder in our province's community living system working collaboratively to address the crisis faced by adults with developmental disabilities.
More than three months after announcing additional funding for the community living sector and the release of an internal review and audit of Community Living BC, the provincial government remains unwilling to collaborate with the BC-CLAG to develop concrete solutions to address BC's community living crisis.
The BC-CLAG sent a letter to the Premier and Minister of Social Development on March 16:
Dear Premier Clark and Minister Cadieux,
When the government released a series of reports on Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) on January 19, you both publicly acknowledged the crisis faced by adults with developmental disabilities in our province, and agreed that trust in CLBC – the Crown corporation that provides funding for services and supports for adults with developmental disabilities in BC—has been badly shaken. The onus is on government to restore that trust, you said. We agree.
The reply we received on April 26 fails to address any of our ongoing concerns. Minister Cadieux's response does not even acknowledge BC-CLAG's invitation to collaborate on finding solutions to the crisis in community living:
Read the reply from Stephanie Cadieux
The BC-CLAG sent a follow-up letter on May 1:
The BC‐CLAG partners have been working together and with the community at large for over 18 months to identify key challenges and develop consensus‐based recommendations to restore confidence in BC’s community living system. For over a year, we have repeatedly reached out in our effort to work together with your Ministry. [...] We respectfully request an urgent meeting with you so that we can be part of the development and implementation of a truly meaningful and robust community engagement process that will help your Ministry and the government shape solutions that are challenging BC’s community living sector.
Read the BC-CLAG's response to the Minister of Social Development
Grassroots Action - Rallies organized by "CLBC Stop the Cuts"
In recent months, an independent grassroots group called "CLBC Stop the Cuts" has formed. These advocates, who are not related to BC-CLAG, organize rallies and protests and other actions in response to the crisis in community living. Please consider attending and supporting these rallies or volunteer to host one of your own. For more information, please contact Kimberly Yanko (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
"CLBC Stop the Cuts" is organizing a series of rallies across the province on Sunday May 13 at 11am, including in:
VANCOUVER: Meet at Vancouver Public Library (350 West Georgia St.) - Host: Kimberly Yanko (email/RSVP: email@example.com)
Strong Municipal Support for Community Living Campaign
To date, nearly 40 municipalities in British Columbia have issued resolutions or otherwise publicly endorsed our community living campaign. Many have expressed continued concern about the fate of BC's staffed residential supports for adults with developmental disabilities—as a critical issue in its own right, and as part of a larger housing/homelessness and poverty problem plaguing communities throughout the province.
Click here to see the list of BC municipalities supporting our campaign
We can't be stopped... try as they might
BC-CLAG has had great success exposing the crisis in BC's community living sector, but there's still a lot of work to be done, including investigating suspicious reports, documenting changes in responses to CLBC requests for services and supports, and monitoring the government's implementation of its proposed plan.
We need your ongoing support and participation. We need the media to continue to be objective and discerning. We're still determined! But that doesn't mean that efforts won't be made to try to hinder or sabotage our efforts…
In recent months our website domain has been identified as SPAM, although our email distribution list is strictly limited to voluntary subscribers. Certain high-profile spokespersons from BC's disability sector, claiming a collegial relationship with the Minister of Social Development, are criticizing our public awareness campaign. They're actively discouraging families from lodging complaints with CLBC, with their MLAs, or writing letters to newspaper editors to share their experiences. These are well-documented tactics intended to undermine social movements. The media is often wise to them, and so are we.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
We will continue to expose and tell the truth about the crisis in community living; to collaborate and support one another; and help ensure that the current and future needs of British Columbians with developmental disabilities remain at the front and centre of our collective actions.
What's new... with you?
Since the provincial government announced $40M in funding to the community living sector, what has changed for you? Are you or is your family member getting the services and supports they need? Are you still on a wait list? Have you used Community Living BC's Client Support Team? Do you work in the community living sector (as a CLBC facilitator or analyst? As a support provider in a group home or home share setting?)
Please share your experience with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org