By Don McRae
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation
VICTORIA - The Government of B.C. has set out to become the most progressive place for people living with disabilities in Canada by 2024. We believe that when barriers are removed, and people with disabilities are able to contribute to their communities, support their families, reach their dreams and goals, we all benefit.
This was the driving force behind Accessibility 2024, our 10-year action plan that lays out the framework on how we can move B.C. forward as an accessible province. One of the goals of this plan is to have the highest labour participation rate for people with disabilities in Canada by 2024.
To help us reach this goal, we declared September as Disability Employment Month. We set out on a month-long campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and encourage businesses to build inclusive and diverse workforces. Throughout the month, I met with employees with disabilities and the employers, front-line staff and communities who pave the way to support them.
I saw first-hand some of the services and technology available at the WorkBC Employment Service Centres to help people with disabilities find work. Employers told me about their experiences building more accessible and inclusive work environments and hiring people with disabilities. I heard wonderful success stories from people who have been able to overcome their barriers, reach their employment goals and land their dream job.
Having a job provides us with financial security, which is something we all want. Government has committed to raising awareness about Registered Disability Savings Plans, as part of Accessibility 2014. Our goal is to have the highest savings rate for people with disabilities in Canada by 2024.
Supporting people with disabilities is a key priority for government. In October, we will kick-off the 16th annual Community Living Month. We want to raise awareness and celebrate the contributions that people with developmental disabilities make to their communities, and the people who support them.
Government is working hard to change attitudes, create new opportunities and move B.C. forward as an inclusive and accessible province for people with disabilities. All of this takes partnerships across government and sectors. And I believe with your help we will get there together.