The province is giving out another round of grants to non-profit societies to advance accessibility and inclusion.
Province helps B.C. non-profits break down barriers in their communities
Published 2:36 PST, Fri December 2, 2022
Last Updated: 3:02 PST, Fri December 2, 2022
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."
This year’s grant recipients are:
• Health Justice Society (Burnaby)
• Kinsight (Coquitlam)
• Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians - BC Affiliate (Kelowna)
• Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre (Port Hardy)
• Powell River Educational Services Society
• B.C. Wildlife Federation (Surrey)
• Greater Vancouver Association of the Deaf (Surrey)
• Community Arts Council of Vancouver
• Italian Cultural Centre (Vancouver)
• Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre Association (Vancouver)
• WISH Drop-In Centre Society (Vancouver)
• Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice (Vancouver)
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.
Two Richmond organizations have received grants in past years: the Richmond Centre for Disability received $28,000 towards accessible parking in 2018, and Cinevolution Media Arts Society received $40,000 for an accessible online presentation platform in 2020.
"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
• 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.
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: the 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.
To learn more about Disability Alliance BC and the accessible project grant program, including past recipients, visit disabilityalliancebc.org/program/accessibility-projects/.