From May 30 to June 5, we mark AccessAbility Week in British Columbia and across Canada. This is a time to celebrate the valuable contributions of people with disabilities. During this week we also recognize the people, groups and organizations who are actively working to remove barriers and increase opportunities for people of all abilities to participate and thrive in their communities. This week also marks National Indigenous AccessAbility Week and I’ve recorded a video message that you can watch here.
A society without barriers to inclusion benefits everyone. When people with disabilities can participate in all aspects of society, including accessing employment, resources, services, places and information, it enriches our communities and makes them more welcoming for everybody.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of accessibility. From finding health information that is easy to understand, to using digital tools to stay in touch with each other, being able to access the things we all need to stay healthy, safe and connected is more important than ever.
I’m encouraged to see the introduction of new accessibility legislation in B.C. If passed, the proposed Accessible B.C. Act will set British Columbia on the path to becoming a more accessible and inclusive province for people with disabilities and their support networks. Many people CLBC serves, along with business owners, Indigenous peoples and the public played an important role in shaping this legislation through a consultation process with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.
Although we are all looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate events together soon, this year’s AccessAbility Week is being celebrated virtually. You can read the Province of B.C.’s news release here and learn about new funding for community grants aimed at improving accessibility and inclusion. You can visit the Government of Canada’s website here and learn about ways to get involved and celebrate accessibility online.
On June 2, as part of AccessAbility Week, people across Canada will be wearing red shirts to show their support for creating an accessible and inclusive world. Learn more about Red Shirt Day, and how you can take part, here.
I hope we can all take a moment this week to think about the importance accessibility plays in all of our lives, as we look forward to a future without barriers.