Engagement Process: September 16 to November 29, 2019
New Accessibility Legislation promised for BC
The Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction of British Columbia, the Honourable Shane Simpson, has just announced the preparations for new Accessibility Legislation in our province. The ministry is beginning the process with a community engagement program which runs from September 16 to November 29, 2019.
Inclusion BC Director, Kya Bezanson spoke at the press conference and said. “This change will open the door to many opportunities. And not just for me, for every person living with disability in our province.”
Provide your feedback to the government
The opportunity to provide feedback to the government will be open from September 16 to November 29, 2019. You can submit your ideas in a questionnaire, by email, by meetings, or any of these listed options”
- Questionnaire: complete the online questionnaire available at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility;
- Email/phone: Send your comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your comments by telephone at 844 878-0640 (toll free);
- Town Hall: Participate in a virtual town hall. Register at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility;
- Community Groups: Community groups, libraries, and other organizations can access resources of up to $2,000 to host their own conversations and provide feedback. More information is available online at http://www.sparc.bc.ca/accessibility-legislation/
- Formal Submission: Organizations, self-advocates and advocates can make a formal submission on the Framework for Accessibility Legislation. Information about formal submissions and accessible versions of the Framework can be found at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility;
- In-person Meetings: Attend an in-person session. Register at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility to take part in a meeting in one of nine locations around the province.
Why we need Accessibility Legislation in B.C.
Accessibility legislation is fundamental to a broader provincial accessibility strategy to bring about a culture shift towards greater inclusion in the workplace and community.
Today, B.C. is the largest province in Canada without some form of accessibility legislation to help identify, remove, and prevent barriers experienced by persons with disabilities. Four provinces (Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Quebec) and the Government of Canada already have accessibility legislation in place. B.C. can learn from these jurisdictions as it develops provincial accessibility legislation that would complement the recently passed federal legislation, The Accessible Canada Act.
- Accessibility legislation would remove barriers, increase inclusion and create better opportunities for people with disabilities throughout B.C.
- It will also contribute to the economic success of B.C. by supporting increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
- There are an estimated 926,100 British Columbians (24.7% of the population) that report having a disability.
- The number of British Columbians with disabilities is expected to increase as the population ages.
- Identity factors such as gender, race, or sexuality can strongly impact and inform the individual experiences of people with disabilities.
- Indigenous people experience higher rates of disability (36% of Indigenous women and 26% of Indigenous men in Canada, excluding on reserve) and persons with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty.
The B.C. Government is committed to developing new laws, standards, and policies to better support people with disabilities to live with dignity and to meaningfully participate in their communities. Accessibility legislation would empower government, persons with disabilities, and the broader community to work together to identify, remove, and prevent barriers.
Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, would like your feedback in preparation for the development of new laws, standards and policies. The government is honouring the UN principle of “Nothing About Us, Without Us” which is why they are seeking direct input from people with disabilities, their supporters, and stakeholders about the new accessibility legislation.
Please help us get people out to provide real-world experience and make this important legislation work for everyone.
Read more on the Government of B.C. website: Accessibility through Legislation
Take the 10-minute survey: Accessibility through Legislation Questionnaire