By Don McRae
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation
October marked the 16th annual Community Living Month in British Columbia - a time to recognize the many contributions that people with developmental disabilities make to our communities year-round.
It was also a chance to celebrate the thousands of families, friends, volunteers, service providers and employers who help support them and contribute to the quality of life for so many people in communities throughout B.C.
Many organizations held celebrations and events during October, and Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility Linda Larson and I travelled around the province visiting communities and going to as many events as we could - a total of 30 events in 16 communities.
The best part of the tour was the opportunity to meet so many inspiring people with developmental disabilities and their families, and the dedicated and caring people who help support them and champion inclusion.
We heard amazing stories from people who have overcome barriers to living more independently in their communities, who are pursuing further education or self-employment, or who shared their satisfaction and self-confidence from working at fulfilling jobs with supportive employers.
We saw the passion and commitment first-hand when visiting the people around B.C. who provide the many residential, employment and community inclusion services to ensure people with developmental disabilities can access, and live, full, inclusive lives.
We met the strong and dedicated family members who shared their stories of life’s successes and struggles, and the hopes and dreams they have for their loved ones.
Whether meeting with families, service providers, or inclusive employers, we had the chance to hear about peoples’ successes and accomplishments, as well as the challenges.
If you didn’t have a chance to celebrate Community Living Month in October, take a moment now to reflect on the contributions people with developmental disabilities make in your community, and to recognize the many people who support them throughout the year.
Our government is committed to supporting people with developmental disabilities and their families. B.C. has a vision of becoming the most progressive place for people with disabilities in Canada, and is working to achieve this through our 10-year action plan, Accessibility 2024.
We all have a role to play in ensuring people with disabilities can fully participate in society - family, friends, communities, the business community, non-profits and governments.
So let’s work together to make B.C. the most progressive jurisdiction in Canada for people with disabilities. Because when people with disabilities are able to fully contribute to their communities, and achieve their goals and dreams, we all benefit.
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation