MEDIA RELEASE: Port Coquitlam Further Boosts Rec Financial Assistance
PORT COQUITLAM, BC, May 14, 2021. . . Port Coquitlam has rolled out more supports for low-income residents to increase access to recreation activities and promote healthy, active families.
Port Coquitlam Council approved additional enhancements this week to the City’s Financial Assistance for Recreation Participants Policy, including free access to recreation drop-in activities for all ages and larger subsidies for children and youth program and camp fees.
The policy had been updated earlier this spring to make it easier for eligible residents to access discounts for recreational activities.
“It’s important to us that finances are not a barrier for Port Coquitlam residents to be active and benefit from the recreation programs in our community – particularly with the new amenities scheduled for completion later this year at the Port Coquitlam Community Centre,” Mayor Brad West said. “The changes we are making will potentially save local families hundreds of dollars each year in recreation fees, which we hope will allow them to use our services more.”
These latest policy changes will:
- Increase financial assistance for children and youth up to age 18 to $500 a year (up from $200 previously) to be applied toward camps and, programs at a discount of 75 per cent.
- Provide all qualifying recipients with a free One City Pass, which provides free entry to drop-in swimming, skating, fitness, racquetball/squash and all-age gym sports across the City (details at portcoquitlam.ca/recpass).
With this week’s policy update, a qualifying family with two adults and two children could now receive a total annual discount of $1,400 – $500 for each child and $200 for each adult – in addition to the value of their free One City Passes, which cost $251.10 for ages 4 to 12 and 85-plus, $376.65 for ages 13 to 24 and 60 to 84, and $502.20 for ages 25 to 59.
To qualify for the Financial Assistance program, 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. Information and forms are available at portcoquitlam.ca/financialassistance.
Families who need further help to cover their portion of costs can also apply to the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program. Information is posted on the Financial Assistance webpage.
“These new enhancements to our financial assistance program will make a big difference to people of all ages who are struggling financially right now, and supporting our local families is a priority,” noted Cllr. Steve Darling, Council’s designate for recreation matters. “Being healthy, active and engaged is important to help people achieve success in life and makes our community a better place for everyone.”
This week’s policy change was based on Council’s request in March for staff to explore additional opportunities to support children, youth and overall drop-in participation. More support for pass fees for those age 85-plus is also being investigated and will be brought forward for Council consideration this summer.
The updates to the financial assistance policy earlier this spring included these supports:
- Increasing fee discounts for individuals from 50 to 75 per cent while retaining the $200 annual cap – now increased to $500 for children and youth (discounts are calculated per person),
- 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 an approved community/government organization, health-based agency or School District 43.
Port Coquitlam also offers the following assistance:
- 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 Tire Jumpstart.
- Free and low-cost opportunities in swimming, skating and arts and culture.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-927-7529, or visit portcoquitlam.ca/financialassistance.
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Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533