• Where do I get the forms to apply for PWD assistance?

    In order to get the PWD application booklet you must register online or by phone.

    To register by phone, call 1-866-866-0800 (select option 2, then option 1, and then option 2).

    To register online, create a My Self Serve account. You will need a current email address and your Social Insurance Number (SIN).

    Click here for more detailed information on how to register online and get your PWD forms.

    If you would like assistance creating a My Self Serve account please call us at 250-595-0044 ext. 101 or email us to book an appointment.

    Please Note: We offer a Zoom workshop on how to apply for PWD every Tuesday at 2:30 PM. We strongly encourage you to attend for the best chance of success in applying.

  • Where can I get my taxes done for free?

    Depending on the time of year, lots of places! During and just after tax season (January-May), there are many organizations offering tax assistance around town for free. For more information, visit here for an up-to-date CRA list.

    Also, the Together Against Poverty Society (TAPS) tax volunteers offer free income tax preparation services for folks in Greater Victoria who earn a modest income and have a simple tax situation. Tax preparation is provided on a walk-in basis (except Wednesday, when the office is closed to the public).

  • What is the gas tax rebate?

    When you purchase fuel in British Columbia you are paying fuel tax. The Ministry of Finance offers a provincial fuel tax rebate for persons with disabilities. The amount of rebate you receive depends on the type of fuel your vehicle uses; the average person receives $200 a year. You must keep your fuel receipts as they are to be submitted along with the forms; an estimate is accepted for the first year only. Forms for the provincial rebate are available from the Provincial Government online or in-person at the VDRC.

    There is also a federal gas tax rebate that returns 1.5 cents per litre. Forms to apply for the federal rebate are available from the Federal Government online or in-person at the VDRC.

  • How do I apply for the provincial gas tax rebate?

    To receive a gas tax rebate you must first register online or fill out a registration form. Once you receive your registration confirmation letter (processing can take up to 4 weeks) you can apply for a refund. You will need to fill out the application forms yearly to receive the rebate. The process to apply for the fuel tax refund can be found here. There are forms available online, at your local Service BC office, or in person at the VDRC.

  • Can I get a reduced rate for my car insurance?

    If you have been approved for the fuel tax rebate (see above), you could also qualify for a 25% discount on your autoplan insurance, even if you don’t personally drive the vehicle you insure.

    Take your Fuel Tax registration letter or your assigned FDR account number, your owner’s certificate of insurance, and vehicle licence documents to local Autoplan broker to apply for the disability discount.

    See ICBC’s website for more information.

  • How do I register for handyDART?

    HandyDART offers door-to-door transportation for persons with a disability and older adults who cannot use BC Transit or taxi services reliablyThere is no cost to register, but you may be required to complete both an application form and a medical verification form (available at the VDRC or on the BC Transit website). Access the handyDART User Guide here.

    Fares for handyDART:

    • 1 Ticket: $2.50
    • Companion: $2.50
    • Attendant: Free
    • 10 Tickets: $22.50
    • Monthly pass: $85.00
    • Child, 12 and under: Free

    You do not require PWD status to use handyDART or related services.

  • How do I get Taxi Saver coupons?

    You must be a permanent handyDART customer, 12 years of age or older, and have a handyPASS. Eligible individuals can purchase an $80 package of Taxi Saver coupons at a cost of $40 once a month. The coupons come in denominations of $1, $2 and $5. To use them, call any participating taxi company and pay with the coupons.

  • Can a companion travel with me during air travel?

    According to the Canadian Transportation Agency, in situations where a passenger with a disability requires more than one seat due to a disability-related need, carriers have a responsibility to provide additional, adjacent seating. In particular, they must provide this seating:

    • For a support person who is needed to provide certain assistance to a passenger with a disability during travel

    For travel within Canada, carriers must provide the additional, adjacent seating without charge — a requirement referred to as One Person, One Fare (1p1f).

    Note: A carrier’s ability to accommodate a person’s need for additional adjacent seating may be limited if the flight is full. The carrier may offer the person with a disability alternate transportation with the carrier.

    For international travel, carriers are required to provide additional, adjacent seating to accommodate a person’s disability, but are permitted to charge the fare.

    If a person with a disability needs additional adjacent seating for travel with a support person, they should, as part of their pre-travel planning, check the requirements their carrier has in place and make their request as far in advance as possible. Generally speaking, a person with a disability will have to make a request for services at least 48 hours before their departure. They can do this by contacting the carrier directly; for example, by phone, email or through their website.

    When a person with a disability requests additional seating for a support person, the carrier may request medical certificates and other information and documents. Contact the carrier as soon as possible (a carrier may require between 48 and 96 hours’ advance notice) to find out what information or documents are required.

  • Where can I find parking near the VDRC?

    The VDRC has one accessible pay parking space out front of the office located at 817A Fort Street. There are also pay parking spaces along Fort and adjacent streets, including Blanshard, Quadra, View, Broughton, and Courtney.

    If these public pay parking spaces have filled up, there is a City of Victoria parkade on Broughton Street approximately 250 meters from our offices (below the Central Library).

  • How can I take a leisure assistant to an entertainment venue for free?

    There are two similar services offered in the Greater Victoria area: the Leisure Assistant’s Pass through municipal recreation centres of the CRD and the Access 2 Card from Easter Seals Canada. Both allow a care attendant or leisure assistant to access local attractions alongside you, but with a few key differences:

    • The Access 2 Card is $20 for a 3-year card or $30 for a 5-year card.
    • The Leisure Assistant’s Pass is free for a 3 year period.
    • the Access 2 Card includes Cineplex-brand movie theatres and works both in Victoria and around Canada.
    • The Leisure Assistant’s Pass is focused on local attractions and recreation centres, and includes the IMAX at the Royal BC Museum.

    Applications and more information on both passes are available in the VDRC office or on our website under Community Resources.

  • How do I go camping for free?

    BC Parks offers some reduced camping fees, the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption is available to people with disabilities who are receiving income assistance.

    Even though the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption covers your base camping fee, you may have to pay some fees. The exemption does not cover additional fees for firewood, electrical hook-up, and other on-site services. For more information on the difference between camping fees and transaction fees, see the camping fees page.

    When you arrive at the campground, you must show that you qualify for the Social Services Camping Fee Exemption. If you do not have the correct documents, you will have to pay your base camping fee or leave the campground. Once you have paid your camping fee, you cannot claim it back as a refund. After you have paid your fees, the Camping Fee Exemption cannot be applied, even if you can prove you qualify.

  • How do I get a low-cost fishing license?

    Any British Columbia Resident who is severely and permanently disabled may apply for a Non-Tidal Angling Licence at the reduced fee of $1.14. The fee reduction is for the annual Non-Tidal Angling Licence ONLY.

    Note: Licences are not required for anglers under 16 years of age. Review “Licensing Requirements” for full details.

    There is a form available online, at your local Services BC office, or at the VDRC office.

    Once you have been approved for the program, you can proceed with purchasing your licence online via the Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing system at any time.  If you prefer to to buy your licence in person from a licence vendor, you will be required to present your Annual Disabled Angling licence (from a previous licence year) or your Certificate of Eligibility at the time of purchase.

  • How do I receive a rebate on my home adaptations for independent living?

    As a homeowner, you may be eligible for BC Rebate for Accessible Home Adaptations (BC RAHA) help if you or someone in your household has permanent disability or loss of physical abilities and you meet all the application requirements.

    The forms to apply for this are available at the VDRC office, or on the BC RAHA website. We recommend you speak to one of our Information and Referral Coordinators for more information.

    To find answers to common questions regarding BC RAHA check out their FAQ section.

  • I cannot afford a counselor, but I need support. What can I do?

    We have a list of free and affordable counselors on our website. You can get a physical copy from the front of the VDRC, or find it and other resources on our website under Community Resources.

  • Where I can donate used wheelchairs or mobility scooters?

    The Red Cross accepts donations of non-broken wheelchairs under 5 years of age. The Victoria Hospitals Foundation accepts donations of wheelchairs that pass an inspection. The Compassionate Centre accepts donations of wheelchairs and mobility scooters as well. All these will require an appraisal of the wheelchair in order to give a tax receipt. 

  • How do I register my pet as a service animal through the BC government?

    At this time, the BC government officially only recognizes dogs who are assisting with the functions of people with a physical disability as service animals – not emotional support animals. Service dogs must have been trained by one of the following organizations (who often work through local sub-divisions): the International Guide Dog Federation, the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society, British Columbia Guide Dog Services, or the Assistance Dogs International. Another option is acing an examination administered by the government. Call 1-866-866-0800 for more information.

  • How do I get a service animal?

    To be certified by the BC government, a service animal must have been trained by one of the following organizations (who often work through local sub-divisions): the International Guide Dog Federation, the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society, British Columbia Guide Dog Services, or the Assistance Dogs International. Certification is important because otherwise you will not be legally entitled to have your service animal accompany you into private areas, notably including restaurants or airports.

    For non-certified service animals, there are numerous organizations able to provide emotional support animals for you. Moreover, many private trainers exist, who will train animals to fit your particular needs. Note that you can pay for the government to administer a test to ensure a privately-trained dog meets the (very strict) requirements for certification. Call 1-866-866-0800 for more information.

  • How much am I allowed to earn while receiving the PWD benefit?

    If you have a disability and get disability assistance, you are still allowed to work and earn money. There is an annual earnings exemption, meaning you can earn money anytime of the year, with no monthly limit, and it will not change your monthly Disability Assistance payment; of course, as long as it does not surpass the annual limit. The exemption limits are:

    • $16,200 for a single person with PWD designation
    • $19,440 for a family with two adults where only one of them has a PWD designation
    • $32,400 for a family where both adults have a PWD designation

    For more information on annual earning exemptions, please visit the BC government website.

  • Do I have to disclose my disability to an employer?

    Disclosure is always a choice, not a requirement; however, in most cases it is best to disclose so that employers can make the workplace and work space comfortable for you. Whether you want to disclose or not is up to you though!

  • Can I receive S.A.F.E.R. (Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters) while receiving PWD (Persons with Disabilities Designation)?

    No, you are not eligible to receive S.A.F.E.R. and receive PWD at the same time.

  • Can a companion travel with me on a train?

    The Easter Seals have reinstated the Disability Travel card, which allows people with permanent disabilities access a free ticket for their support giver. This card applies to VIA Rail Canada, Coach Canada, and Motor Coach Canada. Individuals wishing to access this card must apply.

  • Where can I get an advocate?

    While we at the VDRC cannot provide advocacy services, Victoria has organizations that offer advocacy and legal assistance, including: