The Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson will be visiting Terrace to discuss the development of accessibility legislation for the province.
Northwest residents will be able to attend the consultation session at the Terrace Sportsplex from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 to share their thoughts with the minister on disability and accessibility issues in the area.
“I’m hoping people will come and help this be the best legislation that it can be through their contributions,” says Simpson. “We wanted to make sure that this didn’t become about Vancouver and Victoria, that it was a provincial perspective, which meant going into a number of communities including northern British Columbia.”
This session is one of ten taking place across the province from Sept. 16 to Nov. 29 through the ministry’s community engagement program. These discussions will help shape accessibility legislation for the province to oversee new laws, standards and policies to better serve people with disabilities.
British Columbia is largest province in Canada without some form of legislation to help identify, remove and prevent barriers experienced by people with disabilities, Simpson says.
The ministry reports 24.7 per cent (926,100) of British Columbians have reported a disability, and the statistic is expected to increase as the population ages.
So far, four provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia) and the Government of Canada have established accessibility legislation.
“We wanted to look at a piece of legislation that would be complimentary on the provincial side… I think this will enrich and provide the depth in the legislation as to how we deal with some of the complex issues,” says Simpson.
“There’s a whole range of diversity in disabilities, whether it’s physical disabilities, whether it’s cognitive disabilities, other forms of disability, how does it affect people?”
For those who can’t attend the consultation session in Terrace are encouraged by the ministry to take part in an online questionnaire open until Nov. 29 at 4 p.m.
Coming to Terrace near the end of their tour, the ministry will then visit Kamloops on Nov. 12, Penticton on Nov. 13 and Nelson on Nov. 14.