British Columbians will have a lot more information about the accessibility of B.C.’s northern parks once a Job Creation Partnership with the government and Spinal Cord Injury BC is complete. Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond announced the project on July 4.
Through nearly $215,000 in government funding along with $80,000 from Northern Development Initiative Trust, more than 150 provincial and regional parks, trail systems and roadside heritage attractions in the North will be profiled and rated on their ease of accessibility by 16 EI-eligible project participants looking to gain employment skills. Parks in eight different regional districts will be included.
The participants will finish the project having gained on-the-job experience in assessment of outdoor recreational spaces, universal design, office administration, event planning and development and community consultation.
“Access North” supports Accessibility 2024, a 10-year action plan to make B.C. the most progressive province in Canada by 2024 for people with disabilities. A key goal under Accessibility 2024 is to have B.C. recognized as a premier accessible travel destination in North America.
Funding for the project is provided through the Job Creation Partnership stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program.
Job Creation Partnerships are part of the Employment Program of British Columbia’s Community and Employer Partnerships, which fund projects that increase employability and share labour market information.
The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.
To date, more than 1,000 job seekers benefited from work experience and more than 200 projects have been funded throughout the province.
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint was launched two years ago to help British Columbians get the skills they need to be first in line for the almost one million job openings that are projected by 2024 and to re-engineer B.C.’s education programs toward a data-driven system focusing investments toward training for in-demand jobs.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“The Access North participants are developing new in-demand skills while helping us improve the accessibility of our parks. Increasing the accessibility awareness for B.C.’s parks is something that will benefit our province’s tourism industry as well as help people with disabilities enjoy our amazing parks and trails. Through Accessibility 2024, we want to be the most progressive province in Canada for helping people with disabilities and this project is another step toward that goal.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, and MLA for Prince George-Valemount –
“This project is going to give participants work experience that will benefit their search for full-time careers while giving us a much better awareness of the accessibility of the northern parks. The information will allow families and persons with disabilities to find opportunities to enjoy this beautiful part of British Columbia. Thank you to Spinal Cord Injury BC for their leadership and ensuring that improved accessibility is a key priority including in outdoor recreational settings."
Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
“BC Parks are some of our finest assets in our part of the province and making sure they are accessible to everyone is vital. With the data this project’s participants compile for us, we will have a great idea of what we have and what we need to work on to continue to make B.C.’s north an eco-tourism destination.”
Chris McBride, executive director, Spinal Cord Injury BC –
“Northern British Columbians are justifiably proud of their work to improve the accessibility of the region’s public recreation spaces, but very few people know about it. Spinal Cord Injury B.C. is thrilled to be partnering with the Province, Northern Development Initiative Trust, and other great supporters to provide employment opportunities for residents of the region while creating a central information resource that will let the world know about the accessible and inclusive outdoor recreation opportunities that exist for all to experience in Northern B.C.”
Evan Saugstad, chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust –
“The Access North project means more people can get outdoors and enjoy what the north has to offer, increasing the number of visitors to our region and supporting healthy lives and a healthy tourism sector. It’s great to see this project get underway.”
- Government has set a vision for B.C. to become the most progressive place for people with disabilities in Canada.
- To achieve this vision, the government released Accessibility 2024 in June 2014, a government-wide, 10-year action plan to increase accessibility and decrease barriers for people with disabilities. For more information, visit: http://www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility
- Close to 100,000 British Columbians are designated Persons with Disabilities (PWD) and receive disability assistance from the provincial government. This number has doubled since 2001.
- The local WorkBC Employment Services Centre(s) plays a lead role in connecting eligible job seekers to Job Creation Partnership and Project Based Labour Market Training opportunities in their community. Once the right match of client to project has been found, the effort of the WorkBC Centre continues by providing financial supports and services to ensure success.
- B.C. has the second-largest parks system in Canada, after Canada's National Parks.
- Almost 90% of British Columbians have used a provincial park at some time and about six in 10 residents of British Columbia use a provincial park each year.
- Spinal Cord Injury BC is a resource centre and peer support hub for British Columbians living with spinal cord injuries. It is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 1,500 people.
- As of June 30, 2015, Northern Development Initiative Trust has provided $130 million in funding towards over 1,820 projects in central and northern B.C. communities driving more than $1.2 billion of investment by communities, business, and government into the region’s economy.
- In 2016-17, the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of BC.
- The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
Who is eligible for Community and Employer Partnerships funding?
- Non-profit organizations
- Crown corporations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- Bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
More information about Spinal Cord Injury BC: http://sci-bc.ca/
For more information about Northern Development Initiative Trust: http://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca