Beat Bureaucracy

Resources in Vancouver for people with disabilities

Step 1  Find out what programs can help you

  • Call the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities  604-872-1278                                     website
  • Call Information Services Vancouver   Dial 211
  • website
    Ask for a list of programs you may be eligible for.  Let them know if you want help with something specific —for example, a support group, housing or financial assistance.


Step 2  Apply for the programs

Fill out all of the forms and provide all of the information requested. If you aren't sure what the bureaucracy is asking you to do, call and ask them. Don't send in incomplete applications that will only delay the process of deciding whether you will receive assistance.


If your application is declined and you feel your request is valid....


Step 3  Find an advocate to help you

Call the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities at 604-872-1278.

►If the service you want is from the federal government, call your Member of Parliament (MP). For the name and phone number of your MP, call 1-800-622-6232.

►If the service you want is from the provincial (BC) government, call your Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). For the name and number of your MLA, call 604-660-2421.

►If the service you want is from the City of Vancouver, call 604-871-6712 or 604-873-7247.

►Legal issues: see the bottom section of this document.

►Housing: Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre 604-255-0546


Work with your advocate.  Together you will need to:

  • Find out who's in charge

You or your advocate should ask to speak with a supervisor. Supervisors have the authority to interpret the bureaucracy's rules and find in your favour even if your situation doesn't quite fit the rules.

  • Be persuasive

Explain in detail why you should receive assistance. Begin by phone, but always put your appeal in writing. Attach evidence—bureaucracies run on paper.

  • Be persistent

Don’t give up because you’re tired or frustrated—if you need the service, keep trying. Let your advocate help. If there is an official appeal process, use it.

Programs and services for people with disabilities

This list, last updated in February 2014, provides examples of the wide range of services available. For an up-to-date list with current contact information, get in touch with the organizations listed above under "Step 1: Find out what programs can help you."

Medical, drug and nutrition information

Dial 811 to speak to a nurse, pharmacist or nutritionist.

Health Information & Resource Centre  604-267-2692

Medical Services Only   1-866-866-8000
Recipients of income or disability assistance who leave provincial assistance at age 65 for federal assistance may be eligible to receive provincial health benefits such as premium-free Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage, no-deductible PharmaCare coverage and basic dental, optical, and other approved medical supports.  


Financial assistance

Federal disability pension   Canada Pension Plan

Federal tax deductions and credits  Canada Revenue Agency
Medical expense deduction, disability tax credit, attendant care deduction 

Income assistance   Ministry of Housing and Social Assistance    

Subsidized housing   B.C. Housing—housing for low-income families

Municipal property tax deduction and payment deferral  (for homeowners) 
Contact your municipality or call 1-888-355-2700

The PharmaCare program helps eligible British Columbia residents with the expense of eligible prescription drugs and designated medical supplies.

Home support  Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport

Reduction of car license fee  Insurance Bureau of British Columbia
Call an ICBC agent.

Gasoline tax refund  B.C. government

Taxi Saver coupons 

Leisure access program card, Vancouver Parks Board   
Provides 50% off swimming and skating lessons, fitness centres, Stanley Park railroad and farmyard, and admission to Parks Board facilities such as Van Dusen Gardens.

Frugal Living website
Articles about living on one income

Community support

The BC Association for Community Living
Supports people with developmental disabilities to live in the community.

Community Family Link Society of BC

Organization of family members and advocates of individuals with a disability, advocate to ensure quality of life for our family members through an autonomous network of families supporting families.


Legal services and information

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre
604-408-7414  411 Dunsmuir Street Advises on Representation Agreements, legal plans that state who you give authority to if you need assistance managing your affairs. A Representation Agreement can cover financial and legal matters AND health and personal care matters.

PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network)
Offers long-term planning advice for families of people with disabilities, including wills and estate planning, financial planning and building networks of support.

Lawyer Referral Service

Provides referrals to lawyers. You can set up an initial half-hour meeting to discuss the lawyer's expertise, cost, and your needs.

This resource list is provided by Beat Bureaucracy, which provides strategic advice to people facing bureaucratic obstacles.  Email:  Website: