B.C. changing orphan benefit policy

Government stopped deducting child support and CPP orphan benefits last year, but WorkSafeBC benefits were overlooked

Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell

Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell

The B.C. government is ending its practice of deducting WorkSafeBC death benefits from income assistance collected by the survivors.

The regulatory change is being made after Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog questioned the government about a constituent who has had her four-year-old son’s benefit deducted since she began receiving income assistance.

The father disappeared and was presumed drowned while working on a log boom at Port Mellon in 2011, before the child was born. The boy was eligible for $286.72 per month in a WorkSafeBC benefit because his father was killed on the job, but under the province’s income assistance policy, that amount was deducted, leaving the mother with $658 a month.

Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell said Tuesday she has instructed ministry staff to change the regulation, similar to a change that was made last September to exempt Canada Pension Plan orphan benefits.

Stilwell said there appear to be only a few cases involving WorkSafeBC, and she was not aware of them when regulations were changed to stop deducting CPP and parental child support payments.

“As with many government benefits, when it comes to staff members, they follow it word for word,” Stilwell said.

As of last September, single parents on income assistance are allowed to keep child support payments made by the other parent. That affected about 3,200 families and 5,400 children.

NDP social development critic Michelle Mungall said that since the Nanaimo case came to light, MLAs have heard of similar cases involving WorkSafeBC child benefits. She urged the government to make the change as quickly as possible.

“New Democrats advocated for more than a year to end the child support clawback, and we saw success on that, and at the same time, the government made the right decision to end the clawback of CPP orphan benefits,” Mungall said. “Somehow they ignored this one and the minister needs to account for why they ignored it.”

Income assistance payments in B.C. were last increased in 2007. For an employable adult, the rate is $235 per month plus a maximum shelter allowance of $375 a month. For an employable single parent with one child, the rate is $375.58 plus $570 for shelter.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Getting enough Vitamin D can be challenging for Canadians, especially during winter months. (CONTRIBUTED)
ACTIVE LIVING: The ‘sunshine vitamin’ plays a vital role in our health

Port Alberni registered dietitian Sandra Gentleman writes about health issues

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns gives a thumbs up to active transportation during a presentation of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce's Bike SEAT program at McLean Mill National Historic site in Port Alberni on April 16, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
QUINN’S QUIPS: MP Gord Johns takes victory ride for cycling strategy

Johns gained a reputation as the bicycle-riding MP during his first year

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Volunteers from the Alberni Valley Enhancement Society release a bucket filled with 5,000 coho fry into Kitsuksis Creek on the bridge at Batty Road, Saturday, April 24, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVID HOOPER)
Volunteers release thousands of coho fry into Port Alberni creeks

Fry come from small hatchery on McLean Mill National Historic Site

In the five years since the Dry Creek flood abatement project was completed, the pathway built behind commercial buildings on Third Avenue has become overgrown with Scotch broom and other weeds. (PHOTO COURTESY RANDY FRASER)
‘New’ Dry Creek path falls into disrepair in Port Alberni

City’s land access contracts lapse as condition of pathway beside creek deteriorates

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read