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.

Just Posted

Kent wastewater plant gets $7,500 grant for improvement study

The district will be looking at modifications to its digester system

Fantasy Farms told to stop holding special events on farmland that go against agricultural rules

The Morans say it might spell the end of their seasonal events like Reapers Haunted Attractions

New event invites Agassiz to meet museum’s resident ghost

The Haunted Museum Tour will take place on Oct. 26 and 30

REAL ESTATE: Homesteading in the Cariboo a reality

Columnist Freddy Marks talks about why so many are looking to a ranch life when it comes to property

Chilliwack maternity ward gets bundle of new equipment

Breast pumps, small fridges for patient rooms and freezer for donor breast milk given to hospital

VIDEO: Agassiz lights candles in memory of missing, murdered Indigenous women

The Sisters in Spirit vigil took place at the Agassiz United Church

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

$100,000 reward for B.C. gangster extended to United States

Police belive fugitive Conor D’Monte may be in the Los Angeles area

Emily Carr University closed Sunday after fire causes some damage

The school is working with Vancouver police to assist their investigation into the fire

Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

B.C. government claims opioids were falsely marketed as less addictive than other pain meds

Most Read