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.

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.

Just Posted

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Syringes prepared with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Walk-ins welcome at upcoming G.W. Secondary vaccine clinic

Second consecutive Saturday Fraser Health has scheduled a same-day clinic in a Chilliwack school

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read