Today Pivot Legal Society (PIVOT) and West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (West Coast LEAF) bring a systemic complaint on behalf of a number of community groups across the province who work with parents who both receive income assistance and have involvement with child welfare system. The following organizations are participating in this complaint:

Battered Women’s Support Services
Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
Atira Women’s Resource Society
The Kettle Friendship Society

We are calling on the Ombudsperson of British Columbia to investigate shelter allowance reductions for families with children in temporary foster care. Our complaint asserts that the policy unfairly impacts poor families and women in particular.

“Reducing shelter allowance for parents with children in temporary care compromises the principle of family reunification, breaches the Charter and is inconsistent with domestic and international human rights law” says Kasari Govender, West Coast LEAF Legal Director.

Currently Ministry of Housing and Social Development (MHSD) policy reduces a parent’s monthly shelter allowance when their children are in temporary care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). This means that a parent will likely lose their housing or be forced into accommodation that may not be suitable for the return of their children from care.