Nobody wants a schizo as a worker, not even for a volunteer job.
The British Columbian government has given the disabled a total rate increase of $75 monthly. It hadn’t given an increase since ten years prior. Then they also cancelled the bus pass yearly fee. But when you get your BCID renewed, it costs you the normal going rate unless you show a cheque stub. Now the province has been encouraging direct deposit for years. There is no cheque stub. The BC Motor Vehicle Association won’t accept previous records or even after they’ve procured your cell phone to check up on what model of phone you have in order to assess whether you can afford to pay the full fee.
Why are such petty sums important? Well, the government wants us to work to support the rest of our needs. Employers, however, don’t want to hire schizophrenics and show us the door. There are no community activities for those who want to volunteer. Even the local craft shop suggests that their position as E-news Assistant is best suited for Adults, Seniors, and the physically disabled. In this respect, the government doesn’t have a plan or political will to make changes so we mentally ill can actually do as they say we should–that is, to work. And even if we volunteered, the provincial Liberals have scrapped the program that allows new volunteers to earn $100 a month for 20 hours of monthly volunteering. So, you know what? We’re not only schizophrenics and rejected. We’re also screwed by the system. The system does not work for the disabled. And the provincial Liberals don’t give a damn.
But, what if traveling, workplace stress, office politics, and simply getting the job done, were in itself psychosis-inducing, as it is for me? Is working a reality at 45, fifteen years out of university and never having held a paying job past occasional editing work and writing articles for the now defunct Schizophrenia Digest? What did my psychiatrist say about my work prospects? “We’ll make that a long-term goal.” Long-term goals take 5 years. At 50, I’d be no more employable than at 45–except for a few odd skills under my belt. What I got out of that rejection of my ability to work was that my psychiatrist doesn’t think I can work. He even specified it has to be sheltered employment. Like licking magotty envelopes for $2 an hour. You see, there isn’t even incentive to work.
The BC Liberals of 2017 had better come up with an exhaustive and comprehensive, effectual plan, or raise our rent portion to the going market rate for rent and utilities, for the current cost of living for food and clothing and for other things the UN has deemed as human rights, such as internet connection, etc. People in the DTES are being driven to homelessness from the slums they can’t afford to re-enter after being evicted for regentrifying–omg, sorry, I meant “refreshing”–of the problems that the slum landlords wouldn’t fix to begin with. Meanwhile, all levels of government seem to love, or at least know, Richard Branson and his private yacht(s) and island.
Mayor Gregor Robinson has taken the high road and given a boost to civic incomes. Will this truly be a more liveable city? Will the incumbent Premier Christy Clark do the same? Does disability matter to her when it’s not within her own circle of friends and family? Is the small increase in benefits just to boost her poll numbers? And eventually win her the race to keep her job? Honestly? Where are our ‘jobs’ for the mentally ill? ~V.
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