Twelve B.C.-based non-profit organizations will receive provincial grants for as much as $40,000 each to support community-based projects that advance accessibility and inclusion in B.C.
“With the International Day for Persons with Disabilities tomorrow, I am especially pleased to be announcing this year’s successful recipients,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This year’s accessibility projects showcase innovative solutions for a barrier-free B.C., an accessible, inclusive province that works for everyone.”
Since 2018, the Province has granted approximately $2.25 million to 72 B.C.-based non-profit organizations in 23 communities. Disability Alliance BC, a non-profit that assists and supports people with disabilities, administers the program.
"It was my pleasure to represent the board of Disability Alliance BC on the accessibility project grants review team this year,” said Pam Horton, board director, Disability Alliance BC. “The diversity of the projects and the hope that some will become ongoing services is heartening. It will be exciting to watch these projects over the coming months."
On Aug. 15, 2022, Disability Alliance BC made a call for proposals for the 2022 intake, which welcomed submissions for community-based projects that focused on the following:
- emergency planning and response;
- arts, culture and tourism;
- sports and recreation;
- education and learning, and
- community participation.
A committee of representatives from organizations that provide direct support to people with disabilities in B.C., including the Disability Alliance BC and the British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, reviewed the proposals and selected the recipients.
The recipients will deliver diverse projects in communities throughout B.C., from increasing social connections in rural communities to increasing the accessibility of emergency-preparedness plans.
“Persons who are blind, deafblind and partially sighted are at a disadvantage when looking for online information to assist in an emergent situation, as resources to accommodate us are scarce,” said Chantal Oakes, president, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (BC), Personal Response to Emergencies Project. “Through this project, we will provide comprehensive online resources to empower British Columbians who are blind, deafblind and partially sighted to learn how to independently, safely and more confidently face a natural emergency knowing they have the appropriate knowledge to survive the situation in which they find themselves.”
Since the Accessible British Columbia Act became law in June 2021, the Province has activated the 11-person Provincial Accessibility Committee, released its three-year plan, AccessibleBC, and launched its accessibility feedback tool.
Additionally, the Accessible BC Regulation requires more than 750 public organizations to have their own committee, plan and feedback mechanism by Sept. 1, 2023.
Most recently, the Province has activated two of the Provincial Accessibility Committee’s technical committees, which will start work on their respective standards for accessibility: Accessible Service Delivery Standard; and the Employment Accessibility Standard.
“To be a truly inclusive province, we all – governments, business and industry, non-profits and individuals – must keep accessibility front and centre in our plans and decision-making so we can build a barrier-free B.C. that works for everyone,” said Dan Coulter, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility. “The depth and scope of these accessibility projects will help make a difference in the lives of British Columbians with disabilities.”
The Province has proclaimed Dec. 3 as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The United Nations first observed this awareness day in 1992. The 2022 theme is “transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.”
- More than 926,000 British Columbians have some kind of disability and many face barriers to employment and inclusive access to services.
- Indigenous Peoples experience higher rates of disability, and people with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty.
More about Disability Alliance BC and the accessible project grant program, including past recipients:
More about the Accessible British Columbia Act and its implementation, including the Accessible Feedback Tool and the two newly formed technical committees:
The B.C. proclamation for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities:
2022 United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities:
Two backgrounders follow.