In advance of the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, the BC government and members of the community inclusion sector are releasing a workplan to support people with developmental disabilities to be fully included and thrive in their communities.
The Re-imagining Community Inclusion (RCI) initiative was first launched in May 2018 by the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction in collaboration with community living partners from across British Columbia and resulted in the 2019 report, Re-imagining Community Inclusion. That report provides a vision where “people with diverse abilities thrive fully and equally with everyone.”
Under the direction of Minister Nicholas Simons, the steering committee is co-chaired by Karla Verschoor (Executive Director, Inclusion BC), Ross Chilton (CEO, Community Living BC) and David Galbraith (Deputy Minister, Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction).
The RCI initiative workplan focuses on four key areas to help achieve that vision:
- Develop more flexible housing options;
- Ensure people have more and better employment opportunities;
- Work with partners to improve access to health and mental health services, and
- Ensure services to Indigenous people are Self Determined.
With the idea that everyone has a role to play to build inclusive communities, four working groups developed strategies and activities for each focus area. The working groups involved many individuals, families, community living service providers, Indigenous organizations, advocacy organizations and government (see the workplan for a list of stakeholder groups, working group members and supporters).
In May 2022, the government announced $5.3 million in funding to support projects underway as part of the workplan to improve the quality of life of people with developmental disabilities.
NICHOLAS SIMONS, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction –
“I thank all the steering committee members for their hard work in developing a workplan that moves B.C. towards becoming more inclusive for everyone who lives here.”
KARLA VERSCHOOR, Executive Director of Inclusion BC –
“This plan has the real potential to improve the lives of people receiving support funded by Community Living BC. Creating these four pathways was a genuinely collaborative process. We are encouraged by how the workplan promotes meaningful community partnerships to better serve people in their home communities.”
ROSS CHILTON, CEO of Community Living BC –
“This plan is something to be excited about because it was created with the help of many across our province. The plan identifies specific, achievable strategies that we are all committed to supporting.”