Seniors. Postsecondary students. People with mental-health issues. Women. First Nations. Artists. People with disabilities. Families.
Name it, and practically every sector is suffering from the successive cuts to public services made by the B.C. Liberals since coming to power in 2001, according to the Coalition to Build a Better B.C.
If there’s any illusion that children are spared from the impacts of the government’s slash-and-burn approach to the public sector, think again, the coalition says.
The coalition—which will stage a rally on Saturday (April 10) starting at noon at the Vancouver Art Gallery to protest these funding cuts—has compiled a list of how Premier Gordon Campbell and the B.C. Liberals have let children down:
”¢ The province’s Early Intensive Behaviour Intervention programs for children with autism were cut.
”¢ Thousands of children with special needs are denied access to critical early intervention supports.
”¢ Claw backs resulted in a loss of supported child-care access and longer wait-lists or denial of services.
”¢ The Ministry of Children and Family Development is cutting a further $7 million for the coming fiscal year concentrated in early years and youth services for 2010-11.
”¢ The Child in the Home of a Relative program is ending, and will morph into an Extended Family Program that has some enhanced benefits, but some who were eligible for CIHR will lose out in this new program.
”¢ Further cuts to legal aid will reduce what remained of access to help with poverty law issues and decimate low-income women’s access to legal representation in family matters.
”¢ B.C. has the highest child poverty rate in Canada six years running.
”¢ There are only enough regulated child-care spaces for 15 percent of children under 12 in B.C.
”¢Wait times for licensed child-care are years long.
”¢ After housing, childcare is the second highest cost facing B.C. families. A Vancouver family with a four-year-old and a two-year-old in full-time childcare will pay $23,700 annually in fees—if they can find a space.
”¢ Public schools were hard hit in 2009-10, with a $157-million shortfall in provincial block funding, after accounting for declining enrolment.
”¢ There’s a looming crisis for 2010-11 in K-12 education with 49 schools threatened with closure or restructuring, and potential for massive teacher and support staff layoffs.