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Province helps B.C. non-profits break down barriers in their communities

Press Release

Dec. 2, 2022

VICTORIA – 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.”

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.

“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:

  • employment;
  • emergency planning and response;
  • arts, culture and tourism;
  • sports and recreation;
  • education and learning, and
  • 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.

“Persons who are blind, deafblind and partially sighted are at a disadvantage when looking for online information to assist in an emergent situation, as resources to accommodate us are scarce,” said Chantal Oakes, president, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (BC), Personal Response to Emergencies Project. “Through this project, we will provide comprehensive online resources to empower British Columbians who are blind, deafblind and partially sighted to learn how to independently, safely and more confidently face a natural emergency knowing they have the appropriate knowledge to survive the situation in which they find themselves.”

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: 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.”

Quick Facts:

  • 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.

Learn More:

More about Disability Alliance BC and the accessible project grant program, including past recipients:
https://disabilityalliancebc.org/program/accessibility-projects/

More about the Accessible British Columbia Act and its implementation, including the Accessible Feedback Tool and the two newly formed technical committees:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/accessibility

The B.C. proclamation for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities:
https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/proclamations/proclamations/IntlDayPersonswithDisabilities2022

2022 United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities:
https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/2022/10/international-day-of-persons-with-disabilities-2022/

Two backgrounders follow.

Contact:

Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
Media Relations
250 213-2972


BACKGROUNDER 1

2022 accessibility projects

Health Justice Society (Burnaby)
“I am a person”: Accessible Participation in Mental Health Public Policy Project, $40,000
The Health Justice Society will help remove barriers for people with mental-health disabilities by encouraging community participation and art. The project will support creative and accessible ways to inform mental-health policy by showcasing people with lived and living experience. The project will be guided by the Health Justice’s provincial lived experience experts and Indigenous leadership groups.

Kinsight (Coquitlam)
Real Talk: Building 2SLGBTQIA+ Community Project, $40,000
Kinsight will work to increase access and decrease stigma for 2SLGBTQIA+ adults with cognitive disabilities in Metro Vancouver.

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians – BC Affiliate (Kelowna)
Personal Response to Emergencies Project, $27,919
The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians will empower people who are blind, deafblind and partially sighted throughout B.C. to confidently and safely manage in various emergencies.

Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre (Port Hardy)
Accessible Emergency Plan and Response Essentials Project, $40,000
The Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre will provide accessible rural area emergency relief for people with disabilities through a collaboration of planning, preparation, readiness, reaction, education/training and essential needs kits.

Powell River Educational Services Society
SOAR Social Network Pilot Project, $39,720
The Powell River Educational Services Society will create and test drive an innovative model for a safe, supported online site designed to promote friendship and supportive social connections among adults with a lifelong developmental disability in the small towns of the Sunshine Coast and Comox Valley areas. This a model is intended to be adapted and transferred to other rural communities throughout B.C. and Canada.

B.C. Wildlife Federation (Surrey)
Fishing Forever Project, $28,782
The B.C. Wildlife Federation, in collaboration with clubs throughout B.C., will facilitate single and multi-day community-building events for people with disabilities and their caregivers. These events aim to be a fun and educational day outside, learning to fish with adaptive equipment while learning about the importance of conserving fish habitat.

Greater Vancouver Association of the Deaf (Surrey)
IBPOC Deaf Interpreter Training for BC Project, $40,000
The Greater Vancouver Association of the Deaf will develop curriculum and provide training for Indigenous, Black and People of Colour (IBPOC) Deaf interpreters to alleviate the shortage of these interpreters in British Columbia.

Community Arts Council of Vancouver
NeuroArts Collective Project, $37,000
The Community Arts Council of Vancouver will encourage neurodivergent artists to take space in a neurotypical world and work collaboratively to dismantle invisible inequities in contemporary art spaces.

Italian Cultural Centre (Vancouver)
Artists with Disabilities Exhibition Project, $39,879
The Italian Cultural Centre will host an art exhibition in collaboration with artists with disabilities and seek to advance their careers through a series of professional development workshops, led by an IBPOC and hard-of-hearing emerging curator, mentored under an experienced team of IBPOC and disabled curators and arts cultural workers.

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre Association (Vancouver)
Learn, Access, and Plan through Visual Storytelling Project, $40,000
The Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre Association will make information about legal personal planning rights and options in British Columbia more accessible through visual education and storytelling techniques in online videos.

WISH Drop-In Centre Society (Vancouver)
Strengthening Engagement and Leadership of Women and Gender-Diverse Street-Based Sex Workers Project, $40,000
The WISH Drop-In Centre Society will strengthen engagement and leadership of women and gender-diverse street-based sex workers with disabilities within WISH and in external advocacy efforts, thereby increasing accessibility and deepening disability justice across the organization and in multi-stakeholder initiatives.

Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice (Vancouver)
Intergenerational Chinatown Disability Advocacy through Arts Project, $33,200
The Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice will deliver a series of advocacy and arts workshops by and for disabled Chinese people across generations.

Contact:

Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
Media Relations
250 213-2972


BACKGROUNDER 2

Accessibility project grant recipients (2018-21)

2018 Recipients:

  • Aquafit for All Association (Vancouver): $27,641 for Aqua BLAST
  • BC Wheelchair Sports Association (Vancouver): $20,000 for Aboriginal Bridging the Gap Program
  • Blind Beginnings Society (New Westminster): $15,000 for Youth Speakers Bureau
  • Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (Burnaby): $40,000 for Making Kudoz Accessible in new BC regions
  • Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired (Vancouver): $35,437 for Music Camp 2019
  • Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House (Vancouver): $24,000 for MAKE IT
  • L’Arche Comox Valley (Courtenay): $10,000 for I Belong Centre Outreach program
  • Nanaimo Food Share Society (Nanaimo): $35,668 for Everyone at the Table
  • PacificSport Vancouver Island (Nanaimo): $13,000 for WheelKids
  • PosAbilities Association of BC (Burnaby) $40,000 for Individualized Sexual Health and Health Relationship Training for Adults with cognitive Disability
  • Prince George Brain Injured Group (Prince George): $40,000 for People with Brain Injury – Preparing for wildfire & other emergencies
  • Richmond Centre for Disability (Richmond): $28,000 for Accessible Parking in Accessible Communities
  • The Cridge Centre for the Family (Victoria): $40,000 for Food Service Skills Training and Employment
  • UVic School of Public Health and Social Policy (Victoria): $18,454 for James at UVic – a robotic butler to serve students with disabilities
  • viaSport British Columbia (Vancouver): $32,800 for #LevelTheField: Disability Inclusion in Sport and Recreation
  • Victoria Disability Resource Centre (Victoria): $30,000 for Disability Awareness Training Project

2019 Recipients:

  • All Bodies Dance Society (Vancouver): $16,000 for All Bodies Dance, Kelowna
  • Communitas Supportive Care Society (Abbotsford): $38,500 for Urban Cultivator meets Community Inclusion in the Valley
  • Fraserside Community Services Society (New Westminster): $40,000 for Safe Together; Emergency Planning & Response Project for Fraserside
  • Inclusion BC (New Westminster): $40,000 for Youth Employment Summit
  • Independent Living Vernon Society (Vernon): $40,000 for North Okanagan Accessibility Collaborative
  • Langley Gymnastics Foundation (Langley): $17,000 for Foundations Program
  • MOVE Adapted Fitness and Rehabilitation Society of BC (Victoria): $31,700 for Expansion of STEP Program
  • Pacific Immigrant Resources Society (Vancouver): $40,000 for Building Bridges for Immigrant Women with Disabilities
  • Pain BC (Vancouver): $39,500 for Pain Support and Wellness Groups
  • Realwheels Society (Vancouver): $20,000 for Wheel Voices Tune In!
  • Salt Spring Arts Council (Salt Spring Island): $37,200 for Accessible Art Therapy on Salt Spring Island
  • Theatre Terrific Society (Vancouver): $25,000 for IT’S US!
  • Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports (Vancouver): $30,000 for TetraSki Program
  • Westcoast Family Centres (Port Coquitlam): $35,100 for Youth Development Program

2020 Recipients:

  • BC Wheelchair Basketball Society (Vancouver): $40,000 for Connect 2 BC Wheelchair Basketball
  • Cinevolution Media Arts Society (Richmond): $40,000 for Accessible Online Presentation Platform
  • Embrace Arts Foundation (Victoria): $14,550 for Artist to Facilitator
  • Intrepid Theatre Company Society (Victoria): $39,450 for Theatre for All: Building Access for Artists and Audiences
  • Kootenay Brain Injury Association (Castlegar): $37,750 for Whole Health Community Teams
  • LDABC The Learning Curve Society (Victoria): $35,700 for Virtual Learning Accessibility Project
  • Learning Disabilities Society of Greater Vancouver (Vancouver): $32,000 for RISE TEAM
  • St. John Society – British Columbia and Yukon (Vancouver): $35,700 for Therapy Dog Program
  • Stroke Recovery Association of BC (Vancouver): $15,600 for Young Stroke Survivors of BC: Learn, Engage & Achieve Potential
  • The British Columbia Lions Society for Children with Disabilities (Vancouver): $40,000 for Compass Program Pilot Project
  • The Disability Foundation (Vancouver): $35,700 for Bridging Entry to the Workforce; A Youth Leadership Initiative
  • Visible Art Society (Vancouver): $21,550 for Digital media and captioning community learning
  • VocalEye Descriptive Arts Society (Vancouver): $22,000 for VocalEye Almost Live Zoom Program
  • Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Vancouver): $40,000 for Deafblind Intervener Services

2021 Recipients:

  • Arts Council of the North Okanagan (Vernon): $10,526 for “Art for All” by Joining Hands
  • Belfry Theatre Society (Victoria): $20,153 for Belfry Theatre Accessibility Initiatives
  • Cerebral Palsy Association of BC (Vancouver): $35,000 for Program Support: Movement Therapy, Dance, Yoga
  • Cherryville Community Food and Resource Society (Cherryville): $12,132 for Reaching Cherryville Residents Living with Disabilities
  • Coastal Research, Education, and Advocacy Network (Victoria): $34,512 for Art Therapy Sessions for Youth with Disabilities
  • Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (Victoria): $39,255 for Disability Journey TOGETHER
  • Dance West Network (Vancouver): $40,000 for Collective Access Screendance Residency
  • Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Katzie Seniors Network (Maple Ridge): $39,783 for Safety for Everyone: A Disability Inclusive Emergency Preparedness Template for BC
  • North Shore ConneXions Society (Vancouver): $40,000 for Access4Rec
  • Pedal Society (Vancouver): $40,000 for Our Community Bikes Deaf Access
  • Powell River Brain Injury Society (Powell River): $15,100 for Our People, Our Place; A History in Art
  • The Arts Club of Vancouver Theatre Society (Vancouver): $40,000 for Accessibility & Community Building at the Arts Club
  • Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition (Victoria): $34,816 for Accessibility Project Grant
  • Victoria Society for Blind Arts and Culture (Victoria): $22,100 for Your Eyes My Vision
  • Vines Art Festival Society (Vancouver): $28,900 for Mobilizing Land

Contact:Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
Media Relations
250 213-2972

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

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