Thirty people have been appointed to help develop British Columbia’s first two standards for accessibility for the province.
Dan Coulter, Minister of Development and Poverty Reduction, says this piece of legislation helps identify, and remove, any restrictions that people living with any disability might have.
“This helps anyone who is living with a disability live within their community,” he says. “It is not just about their environment. It is about making services, and making life easier.”
Coulter says this legislation opens up a whole new world for people who are living with disabilities, whether that is through employment, education, or services in general.
“We’re not limited in the legislation of the number of standards, or where they are,” Coulter says. “We have appointed two committees, each with 15 people, that will work on employment accessibility standards, and a service delivery accessibility standard.”
He says it has taken a while to develop new standards, while trying to incorporate feedback provided by numerous consultations.
“We went through a province-wide consultation in 2019,” Coulter says. “We talked to approximately seven thousand individuals, and organizations. It was then introduced into legislation in 2021 where it went through three readings and is now law. Now we are filling in the regulations standards.”
Coulter says this is an exciting opportunity, and is happy to see barriers being taken down for people who feel restricted.
“I use a wheelchair myself, so this is quite personal and important for myself,” he says. “I know our government is committed to making BC more inclusive and accessible.”
According to a media release, the Employment Accessibility Standard committee will be chaired by Christine Buchanan, the regional director of employment services and training at Open Door Group.
The accessible service delivery standard committee will be chaired by Christopher T. Sutton, chief executive officer at Wavefront Center for Communication Accessibility.
–Files by Justin Baumgardner, My Nelson Now