Services, supports expand for people with disabilities

IN celebration of British Columbia’s sixth annual AccessAbility Week from May 28 to June 3, 2023, British Columbians will benefit from expanded projects and programs that will reduce barriers for people with disabilities and support inclusion in communities.

AccessAbility Week highlights the efforts and achievements of people, organizations and workplaces that actively promote changes to allow people of all abilities to have a better life, to participate and to contribute to B.C.’s economy and communities.

“Advocates, self-advocates, organizations, businesses and communities have been instrumental in making B.C. more accessible and inclusive for everyone,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, on Monday. “We have so much gratitude for their guidance and strength as we continue to identify, prevent and remove barriers.”

Government is working together with many partners to offer services and supports for people with disabilities, funding more than $25 million to help organizations. Some examples are:

* All local governments will get help removing and preventing barriers they have identified in the Accessibility Action Plans ($5 million for Social Planning and Research Council of B.C.).

* Deafblind people will benefit from services that support their communication and inclusion in community ($370,000 for CNIB Deafblind Community Services – Canadian National Institute for the Blind).

* Indigenous people with disabilities will get support with health, housing, employment, and educational services ($825,000 for British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society – BCANDS).

* People with severe communication disabilities will get augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems. ($17.9 million for Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults – CAYA).

* People with mobility disabilities will get co-ordinated support to remove access and inclusion barriers to physical and mental health and wellness, as well as community and labour market participation ($2 million to BC Spinal Cord Injury Network).

“Everyone benefits when our communities are inclusive and when all people have access to opportunities,” said Susie Chant, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility. “An accessible B.C. means playgrounds that every child can play in, websites that anyone can understand and workplaces that anyone can access. We’re working hard to remove barriers for people with disabilities.”

The Province is committed to making sure that everyone can live, work and play in a more inclusive and accessible place for all people who live in British Columbia.


Facts about disability support in B.C.

* There are more than 926,000 people with disabilities living in British Columbia.

* The Accessible B.C. Act became law in 2021 and is helping create a more accessible and inclusive British Columbia by introducing new tools and mechanisms to support the identification, prevention and removal of barriers that people with disabilities face in their day-to-day lives.

* Effective September 1, 2022, more than 750 public-sector organizations are required to establish an accessibility committee, an accessibility plan and a build tool to receive feedback about their accessibility.

* In all its actions, British Columbia supports the principles outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

* Formed in 2010, the BC Spinal Cord Injury Network (BC SCI Network) is comprised of five disability organizations working together to help make B.C. the best place for people with physical disabilities to live, work and participate in. These organizations include Spinal Cord Injury BC, BC Wheelchair Sports Association, BC Wheelchair Basketball Society, The Disability Foundation, and the Neil Squire Society.