Government’s new accessibility plan, AccessibleBC, outlines how provincial ministries will embed accessibility and inclusion in their work and services over the next three years.
“When government announced the Accessible B.C. Act last year, we promised that it was just the beginning of our work to make British Columbia more accessible and inclusive for everyone,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “We know it’s important to lead by example as we ask other organizations across the province to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.”
The AccessibleBC plan lists five priority areas for government to identify, remove and prevent barriers to participation for people with disabilities:
- creating a culture of accessibility and inclusion;
- information and communication;
- buildings, infrastructure and public spaces;
- employment in the B.C. public service; and
- delivery of goods and services.
“AccessibleBC is another way we are working toward a barrier-free B.C.,” said Dan Coulter, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility. “And I thank the many people who have used their voices and their experiences living with disabilities or caring for people with disabilities to help us get to this moment. Your guidance is helping shape the future of our province.”
Implementation of the act is ongoing, with government now set to begin developing two new standards, the Accessible Employment Standard and the Accessible Service-Delivery Standard. The provincial accessibility committee will be supported by minister-appointed technical committees as they develop recommendations for the minister about accessibility standards.
“Disabled people in British Columbia experience barriers every single day that prevent them from enjoying many of the rights and freedoms others take for granted,” said Spring Hawes, co-chair, provincial accessibility committee. “The intent behind this plan is to begin to dismantle those barriers so all British Columbians can live their lives fully, without the arbitrary limits that exist today. Let us never stop working toward a better, more equitable world. We can create that together.”
Development of accessibility standards will be guided by the overall objective to identify, remove and prevent barriers that impede full and equal participation by people with disabilities. Barriers include environments, attitudes, practices, policies, information, communications and technologies and can be compounded by intersecting forms of discrimination.
The AccessibleBC plan sets out government’s priorities for advancing accessibility in collaboration with people with disabilities to help shape a more accessible and inclusive future for everyone.
- The AccessibleBC plan will be updated at least once every three years.
- The Accessible B.C. Act commits government to an independent review on implementing the act every five years for the first 10 years and every 10 years thereafter.
- In December 2021, the first 11 members of the provincial accessibility committee were appointed to advise government about implementing the act and developing accessibility standards.
- The accessible B.C. regulation announced in April 2022 requires more than 750 public-sector organizations to establish accessibility committees, accessibility plans and public-feedback mechanisms and also requires government to formally recognize AccessAbility Week annually.
Read AccessibleBC: http://gov.bc.ca/accessibility
About the provincial accessibility committee: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/accessibility/committees/provincial-accessibility-committee
The accessible B.C. regulation for public-sector organizations, announced April 2022: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022SDPR0018-000570
A short video promoting AccessAbility Week: https://youtu.be/A4AXJ4ZE7yg