Province wide consultation begins on International Day of Persons with Disabilities
B.C. is marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with the launch of a provincewide consultation on issues facing people with disabilities in British Columbia.
“This is something that affects almost every British Columbian at some point in their lives,” said Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Don McRae.
“We all have a stake and a role to play-family, friends, communities, employers, non-profits and governments. This consultation gives us the opportunity to work together toward becoming the most progressive place for people with disabilities to live in Canada.”
The consultation, which will be held online and face-to-face in communities throughout the province, is led by a leadership team representing the disability and business communities working alongside government. Two advisory groups, the Minister’s Council on Employment and Accessibility, and the Presidents Group, are in place to help drive the conversation.
“It is really important to get the perspective of all people with disabilities, as well as their family, friends and communities,” said Carla Qualtrough, human rights lawyer, two-time Paralympian and chair of the Minister’s Council on Employment and Accessibility.
“We want to hear from everyone who has something to contribute to enrich the discussion and enrich the outcome.”
“We will be working with the business community to dispel some of the myths that may be holding businesses back from hiring people with disabilities,” said Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO, Vancity and co-chair of the Presidents Group. “At the same time, we’ll be encouraging workplaces to understand the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.”
Feedback from the consultation will inform the development of a white paper, a document that will reflect public feedback and ideas.
The paper will be shared at a provincial summit in June 2014 that will bring together a diverse group of leaders to develop strategies and actions for addressing the issues facing people with disabilities in British Columbia.
The Minister’s Council on Employment and Accessibility was established in February 2012, with business, community and family representatives, to find innovative solutions to increase employment and improve supports for people with disabilities.
The Presidents Group is an advisory committee to government comprised of business leaders who will create a network of influential business leaders in B.C. to champion advice, employment and consumer opportunities and improved outcomes for people with disabilities.