Newsletter Winter 2016


  • Report on Retreat 2015 by David Johnson 
  • Insurance is Important by Paul Girardi 
  • Welcome our New Provincial Coordinator 
  • Notice of AGM
  • Official statement on PWD changes to the Bus pass system
Joanne Gauthier

“We are in This together”
What does that mean to me?
It means that we are here for each other, and we try to find the best way to help that person if it is somebody that needs help.
 To me it means being here for each other, nobody should deal with their problems all by themselves. Everybody needs somebody at one point in their lives. Like with my daughters I am always telling them that I am there for them, they don’t have to deal with their problems on their own and they shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed for whatever is going on in their life. And I’ve been that way with my friend. I’m always going to be there for her. I’ve been married 29 years, we have our ups and downs but we are in it together.
What the BCPF Board has been working on together:
Stopping seclusion and restraints and in schools:
Board member David Johnston met with Fred Ford from the Representative of children and Youth at our Annual Retreat. We are now reaching out to our community to find out your experiences, we hope you feel safe sharing this information as it will help create new policies to keep future kids safe.

The School Language Project: We as a Board are reaching out to get the R-Word Presentation into schools, community groups and into programs for support workers throughout the province. If you are interested in presenting or would like to bring a presentation to your community, contact us.

As your President of BCPF I would like to invite you to SAVE THE DATE for the May 4 & 5th Conference and AGM where we will explore the theme “We are in This Together”. What does it mean to you?

Your President; 
Jo-Anne Gauthier
If you need to reach BCPF please call or text me at (250) 464-9005
OR our coordinator Ariel (604) 786-9642
The 2015 BCPF Retreat was all about Sharing
by David Johnston


It was great to have special guests come to our Retreat; it is wonderful BCPF is reaching out to people and groups we know so we can work together.


On Friday Fred Ford from the Representative of Children and Youth come and we talked Restarts and Seclusions in school.
BCPF will be to finding out if there are people we know that have bad experiences in schools. Board members will be reaching out to their community to see if people feel safe telling us their story. This will be important information especially if a bad experiences happened in the past few years. We know restrains and seclusions happened in schools in the past and we are sad to hear that it is still happening in school. What shocks me is that retains and seclusion is still legal. We are also going to write our School Boards to find out what their policies on restrains and seclusion; every School Board has a different policies.  If you want to tell your story contact and you can choose who on the board you want to tell your story.

Next, we had lots of fun with Karen Lai who is working with Spectrum to help people with diversabilities to find meaningful employment. We really like the Employment Support Resource group at the Spectrum is having on the 2nd Friday month from 10am to Noon. (Click the Spectrum logo above for more info!)

We have exciting news; we put out at job posting for a new Provincial Coordinator and we got some really wonderful applications. We narrowed down to 4 people to interview, and they we all wonderful candidates… so wonderful it was hard for us to make a decision. Finally after long conversations and debate and contacting references the final choice was made. We now hired the wonderful and wonderful Ariel. We are looking forward to working with her to move these projects discussed at the Retreat forward.  

Board Member David Johnston at the BCPF Annual Retreat

Cindy Chapman came to us about a partnership with Center of Inclusion and Citizenship  about partnering up on a project called Transitioning Youth with Disables and Employment (TYDE Project). This will be a 5 year partnership and the first 2 years is gathering information and finding how to do the project and the next 3 years would be completing the project. There are whole bunch of different groups working on the project.  We agree to do this project if the reports and presentations were in Plain Language; we are very proud that there is now a plain language request in all the contracts with the partners in this project.

On Saturday day Craig Langston came because of the changes to PWD. He explained to us that you (we) can have more savings before the government take money away… it is a lot of money like $100, 000.  
(click on picture for the news release)

All of us still think the amount people are getting every month ($906) is just too little and we should be able to make more than $800 before the government claws money back.  What we committed to do was to contact groups from different sectors like; Seniors, Poverty, Aboriginal, Disability and City Government that are effect by people always living on the borderline. Our hope is this group can agree on what we should be asking the government for and then ask other groups to join in movement to  get more changes to PWD to help move us from ‘welfare model’ to a ‘well-being model’.  Craig explained that a wellbeing model is making sure everyone one has enough to be “well” (healthy and happy) and a welfare model is more about keeping people at a certain level, like a poverty level.

"It has happened to me, it can happen to

by Paul Girardi
Oct 7th 2015 a Wednesday, sometime around lunch the fire bell rang. We went out and we never got back in, I forgot my cane my wife her purse. It was like the days of our lives or the twilight zone our home was on fire. We never knew what would happen the next day or the next few weeks. Would we be at a hotel or friends? We stayed with some friends and then a hotel… we finally got an apartment in early November.
It was weird how it stared… in the middle of the building. Our suite was not on fire but has a lot of water damage. So it fire was not in our suite  We have had fire bells ring in our building before but it was never serious. We lost everything, not even my cane was saved.  Thieves had ransacked many suits… lots of looting, my wife lost her wedding rings and purse.
Just losing everything was overwhelming, we had to get rid of our cat and that was sad. Every time my wife thinks about our cat she cries. Worrying about everything, money, things we need would need in the new place. Our family helped out a lot. Something’s I am still missing like my CDs I had lots of blues, the Beatles and led Zepland. Music means so much to me. But I am figuring out how to live.
We end up with friends for a week and then in a hotel for almost 4 weeks. They are really good friends, they were great they wanted us to stay longer but me and my wife needed our own space.
Were really glad to have insurance; there is a lady at the insurance company  that knows us well. They covered the hotel, they talked to the managers at the hotel. People from the insurance stayed in touch with us. There was a chq that helped cover what we lost; furniture, TV, stereo and cd player. If we did not have insurance I do know what we would have done .  When we moved in to the co-op getting insurance was mandatory. At first we were up set to pay this extra money but the CO-op explained that there had been a fire before and how bad it was for the people that did not have insurance. It is good thing to have; it may cost you a little extra every month. I thought it would never happen to us then bang… it did. Like I said the twilight zone.
We are now in an new apartment, the rent is a little bit more expenses. We are on a 6 month lease. After 6 months we may move back to the co-op if there is one available. . They will not be tearing down our old apartment and rebuilding, they said it will take 1 to 2 years to rebuild.
You should get insurance. Insurance is so important; I hope this never happens to anyone. It can happen, so always try to get some kind of insurance. There are different levels of insurance; get the one you can afford. Try to afford, it is really helpful in the long run.

Paul can be reached at: girardipaul71@gmaill .com 


Our Hiring Committee had a big task finding someone to fill the shoes of the awesome Tina Dam. The BCPF board would like to thank Tina for all her hard work over the years, as well thank her for staying on as a volunteer advisor. This was an in depth hiring process, and we are so pleased to welcome Ariel Pavic as our new Coordinator as of December 2015.

 Ariel comes to us with a great deal of experience working on Non Profit Boards. She is knowledgeable in Communications, Volunteer Coordination, and as well has very successful event planning and fundraising experience. Ariel also has business experience:  she has run her own company for 14 years teaching and contracting Yoga and Movement Education. She is well known in her community for this work, teaching all levels Hatha yoga with a specialty in Injury Recovery, Pre-Natal and Seniors. Her approach when teaching yoga is "see the ability first", and it is this approach she brings to her work with BCPF.

Ariel lives in Burnaby with her husband and 10 year old daughter. In her spare time, she is a competitive amateur athlete in the Equine sport of Dressage, with her 7 year old welsh pony, Minty, who lives at the Burnaby Equestrian Centre.

Board member Michael McLellen  was part of the hiring committee and he asked Ariel a few questions so you could get to know her a bit better.

Michael: What do you want to see happen while working for the Board of BCPF?
Ariel: “I would love to see the organization reach their yearly goals, and see individual members have a positive and empowering experience as part of BCPF.”

Michael: What made you want to apply for this job?
Ariel: “I was looking for work specifically in the Non Profit Sector because I have a lot of experience there and knew I had a lot to offer. I was really moved by the work BCPF does and felt very called to see how I could support the Board with the skills I have.” 

Michael: If you wanted to tell our membership something about yourself what would that be?
Ariel: “I have a very strong work ethic and when I say I will do something, I will do it. I’m always on time, and being late is one of my pet peeves. I’m someone you can count on. I also love chocolate!”

-submitted by Ariel and Michael McLellen

To be held this year on VANCOUVER ISLAND at the beautiful Westerly Hotel and Convention Centre in COURTENAY, BC
Conference rates, details and times will be announced in March, save the date now!


The Board of Directors of BC People People First hereby gives notice of the 2016 Annual General Meeting, which will be as follows:

1. Thursday May 5th 2016, at 4pm
2. Westerly Hotel and Convention Centre, 1590 Cliffe Ave Courtenay BC
3. Agenda and reports to be posted on  by April 1, 2016.


February 2016
Community Update

Re: September 1st 2016 Increase to PWD benefit rates
and changes to the Bus Pass Program 

BC People First is very disappointed with these changes.

This rate increase is clearly inadequate and we are concerned about the impact the elimination of the $45 annual bus pass program will have for PWD recipients.

We stand alongside community partners like Disability Alliance BC and Inclusion BC and are calling for further action from all our members and supporters to speak up against this change. 

To read more about the changes in great detail, please click below to go to self advocate net. Click on the picture RAISE OUR RATES, LEAVE OUR BUS PASS ALONE below to sign the petition.