BCITS News

10
Apr

Views from a BCITS Member

AJ is a member of BCITS.  As a person living with disabilities he is a keen advocate.  Here’s an article from AJ voicing his opinion.

The CSIL Program and Median Wage

The government has been ambitious, attempting to change things for the better.  This is not easy, and often results in many fixes to get things right.  Among these is the FOREIGN WORKER PROGRAM as it relates to CAREGIVERS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Difficulty Retaining Caregivers

I am one of those people with disabilities.  Let me tell you, it is extremely difficult right now to retain caregivers.  I advertise regularly, recruit constantly, and retrain all the time, only to watch my workers disappear, due to other job demands, exams, studies, etc.  We need access to the foreign worker program.

The Median Wage Requirement

The removal of the atrociously offensive $1000 application fee for the CAREGIVER PROGRAM was appreciated.  That, however, is not where the story ends.  We must continue to attempt to employ caregivers on a limited budget.  The atrocious offense is now the median wage requirement.

Currently, the federal government’s foreign worker, caregiver program, requires that employers pay the median wage for that occupation.   They are forcing us to pay a median wage that exceeds our budgets. Such budgets for attendant care, including mine, are limited by the provincial government’s healthcare budget. That budget is limited by transfers from the federal government.  Do they see the insanity in this?  The federal government is creating standards it should know very well, cannot be fulfilled by the people it is supposed to be helping!

People in the disability community, do not have excess money.  We are not hiring out of a nest egg accumulated over a lifetime of employment.  We are working hard every day, trying to create that nest egg; trying to succeed at our education, career, business, etc. in spite of what others might consider insurmountable obstacles.  This is impossible to do, if one cannot get out of bed, get dressed, fed and begin one’s day, or complete it, without the assistance of a caregiver.  Being ambitious in our situation requires more understanding, or more support.

We Need Lower Wage Requirements, or Increased Funding

Make no mistake about it, those in my situation do not like asking for money.  We abhor the notion of begging for handouts.  We only want our independence.  If, however, you force us to meet your wage requirement, we must demand  the government EITHER LOWER THE WAGE REQUIREMENT, OR INCREASE THE FUNDING

Please take your pick, government ministers, but do it fast.  I need my caregiver, to get me out of bed, so I can contribute to this country!

The views expressed by AJ are not necessarily the view of BCIT.  We are interested in your view.   Join the discussion by adding your comments below.

1 Response

  1. Nancy Lear

    AJ, Thanks for putting your thoughts to paper and I for one am experiencing similar difficulties. I am missing a lot of work due to NO caregiver Staff with me! My wage is too low, and my CSIL dollars are stretched beyond THIN! plain & simple! Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing. My hands are tied. I have the drive and capabilities to do a great job BUT as you said, “if one cannot get out of bed, get dressed, fed and begin one’s day, or complete it, without the assistance of a caregiver” how does one sustain a great job and continue contributing? Headaches, decline in health and inability to fulfill my work tasks because I cannot compete with that wage. I believe that the issue rests in the Health Authorities recognizing CSIL hours need to be increased so persons with disabilities can return back to a stable, safe, caregiver quality-care. As you say, AJ , we are already dealing with a “limiting budget.” The minimum wage is NOT going to decrease, only increase more, so with that fact upon us, as receivers of CSIL funds, we need to come together as one voice and state our case…We demand equality! CSIL wages need to increase on par with the minimum wage increases.

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