Social Development Minister Shane Simpson watches a demonstration of voice-to-text equipment at a WorkBC employment office, November 2018. (B.C. government)

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is close to 50 per cent, and B.C. needs them as much as they want to work, the president of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce says.

Val Litwin spoke Monday at an announcement by the B.C. government on its plan to help people with disabilities find jobs, in an economy with a million job openings ahead and a labour shortage already being felt.

Social Development Minister Shane Simpson said more than 900,000 B.C. residents aged 15 and older have some form of disability, nearly one in four people. Simpson has toured the province seeking input from them on new accessibility measures, and “almost without exception they talked about how they wanted to have a job.”

The ministry opened a public consultation Monday on the subject, to inform new B.C. legislation being developed for next year. Community groups, libraries and other organizations can apply for $2,000 grants to host discussion forums, and an online input page will be available until Nov. 29.

RELATED: Resource centre helps disabled Victorians find jobs

RELATED: WorkBC program helps single parents get work

The province has already equipped its WorkBC offices with adaptive technology such as voice input equipment and alternative keyboards, so more people can search and apply for jobs.

The provincial legislation is to build on the Accessible Canada Act, passed this spring in Ottawa to cover areas of federal jurisdiction. Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec have moved ahead with their own complementary legislation.

“Integrating accessibility into every area of life is central to creating livable communities, including workplaces, buildings, neighbourhoods and businesses,” Simpson said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Music education remains important, especially during pandemic

‘Music really does lift people up in times of trial,’ says Sandowne music teacher

Local liquor store raising funds for food bank

On May 30, a portion of sales at JAK’s Beer Wine & Spirits will be donated to the food bank

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

City of Campbell River re-opening most park amenities and outdoor washrooms

Splash park, playgrounds, sports fields, outdoor volleyball courts, indoor facilities not yet

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

Most Read