Samantha Hilliard met with Chilliwack MLA John Martin when she heard her mat leave benefits were going to be taken off her partner's disability cheque. She felt compelled to fight for a change. This week the provincial government said they would no longer claw back benefits for those on EI maternity leave.

Ending clawbacks for B.C. families welcomed in Chilliwack

B.C. became the second province after Quebec to exempt EI maternity and parental benefits from monthly provincial assistance this week

A pregnant Chilliwack woman was relieved to hear that the provincial government is no longer planning to claw back her EI maternity benefits.

Samantha Hilliard met with Chilliwack MLA John Martin a few months when she heard those hard-earned benefits were going to be taken off her partner’s disability cheque.

She felt compelled to fight for a change in policy, and to ask her MLA to oppose it on her behalf. As it stood, it would have cut their household income by more than half, and would have meant no mat leave for the Ann Davis employee.

“I am overjoyed that it was changed,” Hilliard said.

She had been stressed out trying to figure out how her family was going to make ends meet.

Now, after months of pressure the B.C. government relented this week, announcing that as of Oct. 1, they were making Employment Insurance (EI) maternity and parental benefits and EI benefits for parents caring for critically ill children fully exempt for people on income and disability assistance.

“This will mean that I will get to participate as a new parent instead of jumping right back to work,” Hilliard said. “It takes a lot of the stress off of us.”

Hilliard’s plight and that of others facing the sting of this policy caught attention of NDP social critic Michelle Mungall and they fought it tooth and nail.

Mungall had something to say this week too, in the wake of the change that ends the clawback policy that had been “driving B.C. families deeper” into poverty.

“John Horgan and the B.C. New Democrats demanded that the government do the right thing for families by putting an end to their cruel policy of taking away parental leave and other Employment Insurance benefits from disabled British Columbians,” said Mungall in a statement. “It may have taken a looming election for Christy Clark to finally start paying attention to families affected by these clawbacks, but at least they will finally see a change.”

The provincial government announced Tuesday the changes will affect about 200 parents on income and disability assistance, and will provide additional financial support for those caring for a new-born, newly adopted, or critically ill child. B.C. is only the second province after Quebec to exempt EI maternity and parental benefits from monthly provincial assistance, according to the news release, and it builds on several other changes made in the past 18 months to support B.C. families.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

Chilliwack Agriculture Tour goes virtual during pandemic

Rather than bus tourists to local farms, tour stops will be posted on Facebook and Instagram

City of Chilliwack holding annual Hazardous Waste Day in early October

The one-day event is a chance to get rid of household things like pesticides and paint cans

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read