CLBC using new tools to develop “welcoming spaces”

For those who are non-speaking, it can be intimidating or overwhelming to visit new places and figure out how to communicate with people there. CLBC’s Victoria office, working with their community council, is trying something new to make their office more welcoming and accessible.

A picture-based communication board.

Communication boards help support picture-based, accessible communication.

In collaboration with the CLBC Community Engagement team, the Victoria office has partnered with the South Island Community Council to design a picture-based Communication for Everyone board. The board will be displayed in the office front entrance.

“We think this board is one way to show that our staff cares about communication access for all,” explains Genevieve Bucher, VP of Governance and Communications. “The board will help show how we are committed to learning how to respectfully interact with people who use picture-based communication.”

Victoria office staff are also learning how to use boards with individuals who are non-speaking and have their own individual smaller boards to practice communicating with each other using pictures.

Creating the Communication for Everyone Board is one way that CLBC is working to meet its obligations under the Accessible British Columbia Act, which came into effect in June 2021.

To align with this law, CLBC created an Accessibility Committee to help identify barriers for people with disabilities interacting with or working at CLBC, and to provide advice on how to remove or prevent those barriers.

The first CLBC Accessibility Committee meeting was held on March 12, 2024. Members reviewed the 2023-2026 CLBC Accessibility Plan and talked about ways CLBC can become a more accessible organization both in the short and long term.

“An overwhelming theme that came through at this first meeting was the importance of welcoming spaces and how someone feels when they come into a CLBC office,” explains Genevieve.

CLBC staff members hold up picture-based communication boards.

Staff in CLBC’s Victoria office use communication boards to communicate with individuals who are non-speaking.

Committee members shared that the first step for CLBC to become a more accessible organization is to help people feel welcome and safe in spaces that are easy to get to. CLBC offices should feel inclusive and demonstrate an understanding of the barriers faced by people we serve.

Committee members were happy to hear that a key action in the CLBC Accessibility Plan is “to implement a strategy to make CLBC’s physical spaces more welcoming for everyone, especially Indigenous community members”.

We invite and encourage those we serve and our community partners to contribute to the strategy to make CLBC offices more accessible and welcoming for all.

What makes a space welcoming to you? What can CLBC do to build more welcoming and safe spaces for people with disabilities?

Share your ideas by using the CLBC Accessibility Feedback tool on our website here.

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