Building a Better B.C. for People with Disabilities

2017 Progress Update

Message from the Minister

This progress report reflects the many steps that government
and people in B.C. are taking to create the most progressive
province for people with disabilities. It is a goal shared by
many, a province where all people can find opportunity,
security and chance to prosper.
In the months and years ahead, we will continue to
seek advice and encourage innovation and leadership
from people with disabilities and the many businesses,
organizations and individuals that play an essential role in
helping realize this shared vision.
Building a Better BC for people of all abilities is a priority for our government. This
commitment is reflected in the work we have done to date and in the opportunities
that lie ahead. Working together, I am confident that we can continue to build
a network of supports and services for people with disabilities that support full
participation in every aspect of our society.
Honourable Shane Simpson
Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
Message from the Leadership Team
The Leadership Team is proud of the progress being made to make B.C. a better
place for people with disabilities to live. As this year’s report demonstrates, increasing
inclusion for people with disabilities requires connections and partnerships. By
working together, family members, communities, advocates, employers, service
providers, and so many others throughout the province are breaking down attitudinal
and physical barriers to create a more inclusive B.C.
Highlights from the past year include a simplified Persons with Disabilities (PWD)
application process for people already in comparable federal and provincial programs,
an easier certification process for guide dog and service dog teams from other
provincial and state jurisdictions to support access for people visiting or moving to B.C.,
and a partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation to create a LEED-style certification
program to identify buildings and developments that are leaders in accessible design.
This year, the Leadership team participated in the federal government’s national
accessibility consultation. Both the Minister’s Council on Employment and Accessibility
and the Presidents Group prepared in-depth submissions to the consultation, offering
advice and expertise on how to achieve an accessible Canada. The Registered
Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Action Group also prepared federal recommendations to
increase access and reduce barriers to the RDSP.
The Presidents Group continues to actively engage employers throughout B.C. around
the benefits of inclusive workplaces and identifying concrete actions that will get
more people with disabilities employed in our province. To support this work, two
Accessibility and Inclusion Consultants have been brought on board to capture
employer experiences and learnings, and develop practical, easy-to-use resources and
strategies to support businesses – both large and small – to confidently and efficiently
hire more people with disabilities. The leadership and vision of the Presidents Group
is helping to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities, and creating
more accessible, inclusive workplaces that benefit all employees.
In September 2016, members of the RDSP Action Group – Plan Institute, Disability
Alliance BC, and the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society
(BCANDS), with support from the Vancouver Foundation – began an innovative four-
year project partnership called Access RDSP. Since launching the partnership, they
have reached over 7,300 people, directly connecting them with the supports and

resources they need to open an RDSP. The partnership is seeing results: 85% of people

supported through Access RDSP have either successfully opened an RDSP, or are
actively engaged in the process.B.C.
once again proclaimed November as Indigenous Disability Awareness Month to
bring awareness to the unique contributions of Indigenous people with disabilities.
Through the efforts of BCANDS and support through proclamations from the
First Nations Summit and Métis Nation BC, this recognition has expanded to include
the Province of Saskatchewan, the Assembly of First Nations and the Council of
Yukon First Nations. In April 2017, in response to recommendations from B.C., the
UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recommended that the
Government of Canada recognize and proclaim November as Indigenous Disability
Awareness Month each year.
At the heart of our progress is partnership – working together to increase access and
inclusion for people with disabilities and create new opportunities for people of all
abilities to fully participate in their communities.
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