B.C.’s third annual accessibility progress report was released today, providing an update on the past year’s work and partnerships with people with disabilities. The release of the report was timed in honour of the 25th anniversary of the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The report, Building a Better B.C. for People with Disabilities, provides highlights of the programs, policies and initiatives that are helping to make B.C. a truly inclusive province for people with disabilities.
This year’s international theme was: transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all. This theme closely aligns with government’s commitment to create a province inclusive of people of all abilities. With approximately 334,000 British Columbians from 15 to 64 years old self-identifying as having a disability, the Province continues to work across all levels of government, and with communities and businesses, to ensure B.C. is a place where people with disabilities can realize their dreams.
“This government is working on behalf of everyone in B.C. to create a society where all people can find opportunity, security and a chance to prosper,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Organizations, community groups, the disability community, businesses and governments all play a vital role in moving us closer to a fully inclusive society that encourages everyone to thrive, no matter their ability.”
"When we work together, we can build communities that welcome people of all abilities," says Faith Bodnar, executive director of Inclusion BC. "By creating goals and marking progress in a report like this, we can support people living a life of dignity, respect and opportunity."
Improved bus and transportation services for students with disabilities; an increase in assistance rates and earning exemptions for people on assistance; maximizing the uptake of the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) in B.C.; and a website dedicated to helping employers build more inclusive workplaces are just a few of the highlights covered in this year’s report.
Additional highlights include:
- The Presidents Group is a network of 23 change-driven B.C. business leaders who are encouraging and supporting employers to hire more people with disabilities: www.accessibleemployers.ca
- Members of the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Action Group – Plan Institute, Disability Alliance BC, and the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS), with support from the Vancouver Foundation, have reached over 7,300 people through the Access RDSP partnership, directly connecting them with the supports and resources they need to open an RDSP.
- Community Living BC supports over 20,000 adults with development disabilities across B.C., including individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or autism spectrum disorder, who also have significant limitations in daily functioning.
- Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD) is a model based on extensive consultations with individuals who have developmental disabilities and it engages with over 350 service partners that assist in successful youth-transition planning and services.
- The United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities was first proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize supports for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
View B.C.’s third annual Accessibility Progress Report, Building a Better B.C. for People with Disabilities, here: www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility
To learn more about RDSPs and the Access RDSP program, visit: http://www.rdsp.com/2017/02/06/access-rdsp-partnership
Carla WormaldCommunications Manager
Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction