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.

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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Highway 1 to look like winter war zone until owners retrieve wrecked vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

Suspected car thief bean-bagged by Abbotsford police for resisting arrest

‘It doesn’t break the skin usually, but it hurts so much you might as well be shot’

Mission’s Steelhead community wants second public hearing on proposed asphalt plant

Online petition against proposal has more than 2,200 signatures

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Teen accused in Abbotsford attack on 85-year-old convicted of firearms offence

Brandon Janveaux found in vehicle in Chilliwack with .22-calibre rifle down his pants

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Fraser Valley motorist drives up vehicle ramp and onto parked trailer on Chilliwack road

The incident happened after Chilliwack was handed another dump of snow Friday night

Most Read