The provincial government has declared November as Aboriginal Disability Awareness Month in recognition of the contributions of Aboriginal people living with disabilities in communities throughout B.C.
The First Nations Summit and the Métis Nation British Columbia have also passed resolutions declaring November as Aboriginal Disability Awareness Month. The First Nations Summit declared the month to promote and enhance awareness of Aboriginal disability issues and encourage inclusivity in communities through recognition of the contributions of Aboriginal people with disabilities within British Columbia.
The provincial government is working with Aboriginal communities, disability organizations like the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) and individuals with disabilities and their families to reduce the barriers that can affect Aboriginal people with disabilities' ability to participate fully in B.C. communities.
During 2013-14, BCANDS and other disability organizations assisted the B.C. government to design and implement a public consultation on what government, businesses and communities can do to reduce barriers and increase accessibility for people living with disabilities. Themes that emerged from the public consultation – ranging from employment to accessible service delivery – make up the 12 building blocks of Accessibility 2024, government’s 10-year action plan on accessibility.
Aboriginal Disability Awareness Month supports government’s Accessibility 2024 vision to make B.C. the most progressive place in Canada for people with disabilities. During November Aboriginal communities throughout B.C. will be hosting events to raise awareness about accessible communities and opportunities to support Aboriginal people living with disabilities.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“Aboriginal Disability Awareness Month recognizes the barriers Aboriginal people with disabilities can face in their daily lives. All British Columbians have the right to participate fully in their communities and as part of Accessibility 2024, we are working to make all B.C. communities more inclusive and welcoming to people of all abilities.”
Linda Larson, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility –
“Accessibility 2024 is government’s plan to make B.C. the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities. Aboriginal Disability Awareness Month highlights an important perspective on this work and celebrates the contribution Aboriginal people with disabilities make to our communities.”
Neil Belanger, executive director, British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society –
“All Aboriginal people living with a disability have the right to enjoy their life to its fullest potential. Our work ensures the clients we serve have the necessary support to access information, programs and services to help them achieve their goals. Aboriginal Disability Awareness Month is an opportunity to bring attention to the challenges and opportunities that face Aboriginal people living with a disability in B.C. today.”
- There are nearly 550,000 British Columbians that self-identify as having a disability.
- From Dec. 3, 2013, to March 11, 2014, the B.C. government held a public consultation on what government, businesses and communities can do to reduce barriers and increase accessibility for people living with disabilities.
- The First Nations Summit is comprised of a majority of First Nations and Tribal Councils in B.C. and provides a forum for First Nations in British Columbia to address issues related to Treaty negotiations as well as other issues of common concern.
- The British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) was founded in 1991 and works to improve the lives of Aboriginal people with disabilities.
- BCANDS’ mission is to support the unique and comprehensive disability, health and resource needs of Aboriginal persons and organizations across British Columbia, through relevant, timely and accessible client services.
View the proclamation at: http://bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/oic/OIC_CUR/AborDisabAwareMnth2015
For more information on the British Columbian Aboriginal Network on Disability Society: www.bcands.bc.ca/
For more information on Accessibility 2024: www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility
To view the One Year Progress Report or Accessibility 2024 visit: www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/government/about-the-bc-government/accessible-bc/accessibility-2024/docs/accessibility2024-1-year-progress.pdf
View a list of cross-government services for people with disabilities in B.C.: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=CBD8D48F126A462FBF1DE597318DE5AE
Sean LeslieMinistry of Social Development and