BC People First January Newsletter,2021

January 6, 2021

In this newsletter:

  • Self-Advocate Leadership of the Year Award Nominations Now Open until February 8th
  • Save the Date: February 25th & 26th, 2021 – BCPF Online Conference – Rights & Wellness
  • Advocacy Committee on Accessibility: Video, Petition & Letter
  • Member Prize Draw Winners
  • BCPF Recommends!

President’s Message:

Hello BCPF Members and Friends. Happy new year to you all! Sending you warm wishes as we start 2021, it is hard to believe it is here already.

In December I was able to do a few presentations representing People First. I spoke at different events about housing rights and needs, what it’s like to survive the pandemic under the poverty line, and also about mental health awareness. I’m so thankful to share my stories, experiences, and expertise with other self-advocates and service providers to help change negative stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities. We also hosted a Covid-19 discussion forum with Members and the feedback is very helpful – thank you to everyone who attended the event!

I ask you all to “save the date” for our upcoming BC People First conference, taking place ONLINE this February 25th and 26th. Our theme this year is Rights & Wellness and I hope you’ll join us. We’ll start the event on Thursday with a keynote speaker and a couple of workshops in the day and end on Friday with a couple more workshops in the day and a Zoom social event that night. We’ll also present our 2020 Self-Advocate Leadership of the Year Award at the social event on February 26th. The presentations throughout the conference will all be taught by expert self-advocates from across BC about topics like our rights, self-love and empowerment, digital literacy, plus more! Put these dates in your calendar and help us share the news with others if you can. I appreciate it so much.

Always remember, never give up!
~ Jo-Anne Gauthier, BCPF President

Self-Advocate Leadership of the Year Award

BC People First is proud to present the Self-Advocate Leadership of the Year Award. In celebration of an individual who has shown exceptional leadership and knowledge throughout the 2020 year in the field of advocating for the rights of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

This award showcases the importance of self-advocacy. It encourages all Self-Advocates to continue to lead and to be inspired. A winner will be selected following the decision process. The winner will be announced at BC People First’s virtual conference Member Event on February 26th, 2021 (7PM). The winner receives a $200 honorarium award (to assist in their advocacy efforts or learning this year) and an award plaque. Jo-Anne, BCPF President, will also be announcing the winner of the 2020 President’s Award at the event.
To nominate someone for this award please fill out the nomination form as the Nominator. The person you are nominating is a Nominee for the award. The Nominator must ensure that the nomination information is completed in full. CLICK HERE for the nomination form.

People can be nominated for the award by a peer, family member, staff, colleague, support worker, or friend. Nominators can nominate more than one person if they desire. Have fun nominating someone you know! Nominations are due before February 8th at 5:00pm PST.

BCPF Conference 2021

Join us February 25th and 26th, 2021 for a series of online (Zoom) workshops BY self-advocates FOR self-advocates in British Columbia.

To get more information and register for the event, CLICK HERE.

Register just once to get access to all the workshops and presentations. Tickets are free for all self-advocates and people with disabilities in British Columbia. 

Our rights and wellness are connected! At BCPF, we get lots of questions about the rights people have, how to use technology, how to run a self-advocate group, advocacy help, how to do presentations, plus more. We want to answer people’s questions and help people learn as much as we can. All the presentations at our conference are taught by self-advocates with expert experience and amazing skills to share.

This conference is for BCPF Members, friends, and supporters; people with intellectual disabilities in British Columbia; people who identify as self-advocates; and people who love learning. You don’t have to be a member of BC People First but we welcome you to become a member or renew your membership. CLICK HERE to sign up as a Member, it’s free.

Advocacy Committee on Accessibility

Safe and accessible sidewalks and passageways are a right, not a privilege. Though, not everyone in our cities and towns across BC has access to wide enough, safe, and debris-free passageways.This avoidable societal problem takes away many people’s right to participate in and contribute to their community. Even the most basic accommodations are not consistently in place, such as automatic sliding doors.
People experiencing mobility challenges have a right to get to the same places anyone else can reach. But this is not happening because our city planning practices are not prioritizing accessibility for all. The current system discriminates against not only people with physical mobility challenges and visual impairments but also seniors and people using strollers or delivering items to others, for example. Disability rights are human rights. When we accommodate the accessibility needs of all people in society, everyone benefits. It’s truly that simple.

Read the full blog post written by BCPF Advocacy Committee Members, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for taking action with us and getting involved by adding your name to our petition, CLICK HERE.


Member Prize Draw Winners

To celebrate the new year we wanted to do a prize draw for all BCPF Members.
We announced this on social media last week and the date for the prize draw was set for January 4th.
All Members were entered into the draw. Prizes will be mailed to the winners.
Congratulations to the winners!
Cheyenne F.  &  Max P.


The prizes are $50 Save On Foods gift cards and a jacket and mask, like the ones Jo-Anne, BCPF President, is wearing here in the photo.
Good wind-resistant jackets with the People First of Canada logo and a face mask in black.
Stay tuned for more BCPF member events and prizes throughout the year!

BCPF Recommends!

You can now watch the PFC “You First – Mental Health & Wellness” webinar online. CLICK HERE to watch it online. On the webinar you will hear from Kory Earle – President of PFC, Jo-Anne Gauthier – President of BCPF, Keith MacPherson – Wellness Expert, and a new video from Donnie MacLean – President of PF NS

On January 26th, the Canada Revenue Agency is hosting a live and interactive webinar for people with disabilities about the benefits and credits available to you. To register for the event CLICK HERE. You need to check the box on the left for January 26th (or other workshops you want to attend) and then press the register button below the check boxes to be able to enter your information and register for the event.

Did you miss our interview on The Self-Advocate? The Self-Advocate is a Vancouver co-op radio show hosted by Alison Klein. The December 10th show was all about International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Alison met with Dan Coulter, MLA and Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility – along with Jo-Anne and Michael, BCPF Board Members, Self-Advocates, and Mentors about their thoughts on this day. Jo-Anne and Michael start at about 26 minutes into the show. Have a listen if you can, it was a great interview! Find the show replay for December 10th here: https://anchor.fm/alison-klein.

BCPF offers workshops about language and the ‘R-word’ in partnership with People First of Canada and the Canadian Down Syndrome Foundation. Geared to students in grades 5 and up, groups such as scouting/guides, and college programs across BC. It can also be offered to teachers and employees in any industry. Please help us spread the news and encourage groups to book BCPF to present our workshop on language and ending the R-word. It helps so much! The workshops are delivered by BCPF Members who have lived with hearing and being harmed by this word.

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