July 16, 2013 - 10:09 AM
VERNON - City council is making it a bit easier for financially disadvantaged people to partake in volunteer activities by lowering the fee for criminal record checks.
The reduction comes after an earlier council decision to up the cost of the checks from zero to $25 to address administrational costs. But backlash from schools and non-profits forced council to rethink their decision.
"There are people with financial difficulties that are sometimes also physically disabled who go out and do volunteer work, and part of that is their way of living... We don't want to discourage that at all," Coun. Catherine Lord says.
Lord led a motion to offer a discount of 75 per cent to people with financial struggles. A similar discount is in place at the city's recreation facilities, entitling those who can prove financial strain to a more affordable fee. To qualify, individuals must obtain a letter from social assistance, fill out a form and submit it to the city.
"It (criminal record check discount) would be almost exactly the same," Lord says.
The discount will only apply to the financially disadvantaged. Everybody else will have to accept the new fee.
"There's not a great big problem for a lot of volunteers.... the whole thing is, let's make it no more onerous for (the financially disadvantaged)," Lord says.
Details on the discount are expected to be finalized next month before school starts.
In May, the Vernon school district asked the city to consider eliminating the fee, which they found unfair to ask of people already donating their time. They said the raised fee could cost the school district $25,000 that they hadn't budgeted for, because they hadn't been alerted to the increase.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013