The B.C. government is marking the third anniversary of Canada's ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with new funding and initiatives that build on B.C.'s leadership as an inclusive, accessible province, announced Minister of Social Development, Moira Stilwell, M.D.
To help address accessibility issues in the home, $2 million in new funding has been approved for the Vancouver Foundation's Giving in Action Society. This funding will be used to provide one-time grants to families who have children or adults with developmental disabilities to help pay for home renovations, vehicle modifications and other accommodations to address accessibility issues.
To support people with developmental disabilities who want to work in their communities, Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) is launching a three-year Community Action Employment Plan. In conjunction with the Employment Program of BC, this plan focuses on working with employers to increase job opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities. This work also supports the 12-point plan for improving services to people with developmental disabilities.
On this special day, Stilwell is also recognizing the good work being done by the Minister's Council on Employment and Accessibility in developing solutions, strategies, and initiatives to improve the lives of British Columbians with disabilities and their families. Government is moving forward on a number of actions consistent with recommendations provided by the Council to improve employment and accessibility for persons with disabilities, and to improve the level of "disability confidence" in the Public Service.
Cross-government supports like medical aids, specialized transportation options, grants for education, and training and employment resources also help to level the playing field so that a disability isn't an impediment to pursuing meaningful employment.
For children and youth with disabilities, government programs give kids with disabilities the opportunity to participate in activities and pursue their own goals and dreams.
To ensure a one-government approach to providing services and supports, the B.C. government's Cross-Ministry Disability Strategy Reference Group, comprised of 18 assistant deputy ministers, explores ways that the many ministries and government agencies can better collaborate in supporting accessible, inclusive communities for people with disabilities.
Minister of Social Development Moira Stilwell, M.D. -
"Our government wants every British Columbian to have the opportunity to contribute and be part of their community. By supporting programs and initiatives that embrace ability and encourage inclusion, we are ensuring that people living with a disability can pursue their goals and dreams, whatever they may be."
Faye Wightman - Vancouver Foundation president and CEO -
"Through the Vancouver Foundation's Giving in Action Society, with funding from the Province, we are helping to create a better life for people with disabilities and their families. By providing supports that help keep families together, the government is encouraging each family to find their own level of independence."
Doug Woollard - CLBC interim chief executive officer -
"More people with developmental disabilities are telling us they want to work. In addition to earning money, employment leads to improved quality of life. This employment plan takes full advantage of existing resources to ensure the employment goals of individuals who want to work are better met."
Nigel Livingston - Minister's Council on Employment and Accessibility -
"This council was formed to come up with innovative solutions to increase employment and improve supports for people with disabilities. By acknowledging our recommendations, the government is demonstrating its commitment to making British Columbia an inclusive and barrier free place to work and live."
Learn more about the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, visit: www.un.org/disabilities
Find information about the Vancouver Foundation's Giving in Action Society, visit: www.givinginaction.ca
A copy of the CLBC Community Action Employment Plan is available at: www.communitylivingbc.ca
Information about the Minister's Council on Employment and Accessibility is available at: www.hsd.gov.bc.ca/epwd/Index.htm
Learn more about what government is doing to provides supports and services for people with disabilities at: www.hsd.gov.bc.ca/disability.htm
A backgrounder follows.
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Social Development
Vancouver Foundation's Giving in Action Society:
The Vancouver Foundation established the Giving in Action Society in 2006, with support from the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Community Living BC, to provide grants to families who have a relative with developmental disabilities or special needs. To date, more than 1,100 B.C. families have receiving funding from Giving in Action.
The $2 million will go directly toward the Vancouver Foundation's Giving in Action Society fund. The fund provides one-time grants to families who have children or adults with developmental disabilities to help pay for home renovations, vehicle modifications and other accommodations to address accessibility issues.
Today's funding announcement brings the total B.C. Government contribution to the Vancouver Foundation's Giving in Action Society to $43 million since 2006.
CLBC Community Action Employment Plan:
CLBC has released a three-year Community Action Employment Plan to help increase job opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities, who CLBC supports, who wish to work in their communities.
This plan outlines how CLBC and community partners intend to increase employment opportunities for people who are looking for work, help with youth transition planning, and provide ongoing support, as needed, to ensure people are successful in their workplace.
The plan takes advantage of existing resources available across government, and builds on the work done through the ministry's Employment Program of BC to strengthen supports available to people with developmental disabilities from service providers, community partners and employers around the province.
One of the key goals is to increase employment of individuals served by CLBC by 1,200 people over three years - from the current estimate of 2,200 participating in employment.
This plan was created in collaboration between CLBC, Ministry of Social Development and in consultation with a wide range of community partners, including people with developmental disabilities and their families.
CLBC's Community Action Employment Plan builds on progress government is already making to provide more employment supports for persons with disabilities and their families, and supports the deputy ministers' 2012 report, Improving Services to People with Developmental Disabilities, by providing more employment and training supports.
CLBC's 2012-15 strategic plan also makes a commitment to deliver increased employment supports for the people served by CLBC.
The Minister's Council on Employment and Accessibility:
The Minister's Council on Employment and Accessibility was established in February 2012 to help government develop solutions and strategies to improve the lives of British Columbians with disabilities and their families, particularly through increased employment and inclusion.
Acting as community champions on issues related to people with disabilities, council members work to inspire and engage communities to take action. Leadership-by employers, persons with disabilities and their families, governments, community-based organizations, and others-is the key to ensuring that everyone, including individuals with disabilities, is able to fully participate in their community.
The 14 council members are experts in their fields, representing government, business, and citizens and families and are responsible for:
- Engaging with stakeholders and the public to gather information to form its advice to the minister.
- Developing strategic partnerships.
- Building awareness and creating opportunities within their specialty sector or community.
- Communicating, on behalf of the council, to stakeholders and the public.
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Social Development