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BC Family Benefit boost needed now 'more than ever,' says Eby

'Life is expensive, especially for those of us raising a child with a disability,' says Chilliwack parent Katie Bartel at the press conference

B.C. Premier David Eby chose Jinkerson Park in the growing community of Chilliwack on Monday (June 24), to announce a sizable increase to the BC Family Benefit starting next month.

"With global inflation and high interest rates driving up daily costs, we know families are being hit hard right now," said Eby.

The boosted BC Family Benefit will be going to more low- and middle-income families, and on average they'll receive $445 more than last year.

Eby also used the press conference to announce he'll be stepping away for a few weeks from his duties as premier for family reasons.

"Getting a little extra money to families for the basics is one of the ways we're helping people who are feeling squeezed right now," Eby said.

Chilliwack parent Katie Bartel was on-hand with her niece Maggie, to attest to the struggle local families are facing with skyrocketing costs of food, clothes, gas, childcare and housing.

"Life is expensive, especially for those of us raising a child with a disability, and raising any family right now comes with unique challenges," Bartel said.

The extra money will help her family pay for a support worker for her daughter, as an example, and she said families like hers are increasingly looking to their communities and their government for help.

"We can't do this alone," Bartel said.

katie bartel
Chilliwack parent Katie Bartel talks about rising costs. (Stefan Luciani/ Chilliwack Progress)

The BC Family Benefit will be arriving in mailboxes or bank accounts as a combined payment with the federal Canada Child Benefit starting in mid-July.

Eby pointed out it's a conscious choice of his government to offer added support for families, throwing out a couple of political jabs along the way.

"We've got people's backs and we're standing with the people who need that extra support right now, which is different than the proposals that are coming forward from John Rustad, and Kevin Falcon," Eby said about the leaders of the Conservative Party of B.C. and BC United Party.

"The proposals from the leaders of these parties is to cut back, that we can't afford to support people right now, that we need to reduce the support the government is providing for people.

"We just fundamentally disagree with that. This is the time, more than ever, that people need support."

He ticked off how his government purposefully got rid of the MSP payment, "a special tax just in British Columbia, to pay for health care, and bridge tolls that we put on to make commuting for work, something that's already challenging, even worse for people.

"We cut ICBC rates for drivers, saving an average of $500, and six years of no rate increases while ICBC is building its capital to ensure low rates in the future.
"After we fixed that Crown corporation, we cut childcare bills in half for families."

About 340,000 families with children, which is 66,000 more than last year, will receive the benefit starting next month. The 25 per cent increase to the benefit means a family of four could receive as much as $3,563 per year, while a single parent with one child could receive as much as $2,688.

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon said the province is also making it faster and easier for people to access benefits through the creation of the BC Benefits Connector online.

They can access benefits and to connect to services to help save money with the launch of BC Benefits Connector. It's a one-stop online resource with clear steps on what people need to do to access government benefits and programs:

Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering city hall, Indigenous, business, and climate change stories.
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