Applications Available For Recreation Financial Assistance Program
PORT COQUITLAM, BC, Feb. 9, 2021. . . Individuals and families with lower incomes living in Port Coquitlam can now apply for an annual discount of up to $200 per person on City recreation programs.
Recent updates to Port Coquitlam’s recreation financial assistance program will make it easier for eligible residents to receive a 75 per cent discount on City recreation programs, admissions and passes, up to a maximum of $200 per year per person. This means a qualifying family of four could receive annual discounts totaling $800.
“I’m proud of the value we are placing on ensuring that income is not a barrier to fully participating in our programs and accessing our City amenities,” Mayor Brad West said. “I’ve already heard from many residents that this support will make a real difference in their lives, particularly for children, youth and seniors. And our entire community will benefit, as a result. That’s Port Coquitlam’s values in action.”
The City’s new Financial Assistance for Recreation Participants Policy both updates and consolidates two former policies that support active living and access to recreation services. Port Coquitlam allocates $35,000 per year to these programs.
Applicants must fall under Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cut Off (LICO) threshold; to respect the dignity of applicants, the City is offering greater flexibility to confirm financial status. Forms are available at portcoquitlam.ca/financialassistance.
People who fall below the LICO scale typically pay a larger portion of their income for housing, food and clothing, leaving little for recreation. Based on the most recent Census data available, a total of 5,465 individuals fall below the LICO threshold, including 12 per cent of Port Coquitlam children age 17 or under, along with eight per cent of seniors.
“These changes will potentially help thousands more residents access our recreation services, while protecting their dignity,” noted Cllr. Steve Darling, Council’s designate for recreation matters. “There couldn’t be a better time, given that many people are struggling financially right now, and the fact that health officials continue to recommend physical activity for staying mentally and physically healthy during the pandemic.”
Other updates to the policy included:
- Increasing fee discounts for individuals from 50 to 75 per cent while retaining the $200 annual cap,
- Allowing participants to use their discount any time of the year rather than $50 per quarter, and
- Creating a more respectful application process that includes an option to confirm income through a community/government organization, school, or health-based agency.
The changes reflect input from organizations serving the target population group – including Immigrant Services Society, School District 43, SHARE Family & Community Services Society, Kinsight and the Wilson Centre Seniors’ Advisory Association – as well as, individuals currently receiving financial assistance. The three top barriers identified by stakeholders included the limit of maximum assistance allotments each quarter, being unable to pay 50 per cent of fees, and lack of awareness of the subsidy.
The City’s updated policy also consolidates other existing programs that support financial assistance to clients of non-profit residential care, rehabilitation and community health-based organizations.
Port Coquitlam also offers the following supports:
- Free facility access to personal assistants who are supporting a recreation patron.
- One on one support for children through the Leisure Buddy Program.
- Funding for children and youth with socioeconomic barriers to participate in organized sport and recreation in partnership with Canadian Jumpstart.
- Free and low-cost opportunities in swimming, skating and arts and culture.
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Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533