The Province of B.C. is developing legislation to create a barrier-free B.C. for people with disabilities, and there will be a consultation meeting in Kamloops on Tuesday, Nov. 12 to which area residents are invited.
The Kamloops meeting will be hosted by Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, and is for people with disabilities, their friends and families, and accessibility advocates and self-advocates, as well as organizations, experts, businesses, and individuals who would like to have input into future legislation to make B.C. a more accessible and inclusive province and what that could look like.
British Columbians can also contribute their views by filling out an online survey and/or filing a written submission. Community groups, libraries, and other organizations can apply for $2,000 to host open discussion sessions in their communities and provide feedback.
The new legislation will promote inclusion and accessibility by addressing barriers (including physical, technological, and attitudinal barriers) within areas of provincial jurisdiction that prevent the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in B.C. communities.
“Integrating accessibility into every area of life is central to creating livable communities including workplaces, buildings, neighbourhoods, and businesses,” says Simpson. “This consultation will guide our efforts to develop legislation that will make a difference for British Columbians living with a disability.”
There are more than 926,000 British Columbians over the age of 15 with some form of disability, which represents almost 25 per cent of the population. As the population ages, the number of people with disabilities, and the severity of their disabilities, is likely to increase.
Areas to be looked at could include service delivery, employment, buildings and public spaces, information technology, and transportation.
The Kamloops meeting will be held at Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services, 707 Tranquille Road from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 12. All are welcome to attend, participate, and offer feedback about their experiences with accessibility, inclusion, barriers, and what matters most in the development of accessibility legislation.
To learn more about the proposed legislation, file a written submission, find out about hosting a meeting, or fill in the online survey (which remains open until 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29) go to https://engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility.