Minister’s statement on Indigenous Disability Awareness Month

Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, has released the following statement in recognition of Indigenous Disability Awareness Month:

“November is Indigenous Disability Awareness Month in British Columbia. This is a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Indigenous peoples with disabilities and take action to ensure equity of rights, access and opportunities.

“In Canada, the rate of disabilities among Indigenous peoples is higher than the national rate. Indigenous peoples with disabilities face accessibility barriers and limited employment opportunities that magnify the social and economic exclusion they experience. Too often this is compounded by systemic and social discrimination.

“Since 1991, the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) has been an important resource for Indigenous peoples. BCANDS provides disability and health support services to eligible Indigenous persons and organizations. It is the only stand-alone organization in Canada serving Indigenous peoples with disabilities.

Accessibility for all British Columbians, including Indigenous peoples with disabilities, means full and equal participation in our communities. We are committed to creating opportunities to work and thrive, creating a culture of greater social inclusion and a continuing, deep commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

“Every person living with a disability deserves to live with dignity in a world without barriers.

“To help make British Columbia a truly inclusive province, government is working with BCANDS, Indigenous communities, people with disabilities and their families to bring in B.C.’s first piece of accessibility legislation next year.

“In September 2019, we launched public consultations to inform the development of accessibility legislation to better support people with disabilities to live with dignity and to participate in their communities.

“We are visiting communities throughout the province, and I encourage everyone to provide their feedback online or attend a community session.”

Quick Fact:

  • There are more than 926,000 British Columbians over the age of 15 years, or almost 25% of the population, who have some form of a disability (Statistics Canada, Canadian Survey on Disability 2017).

Learn More:

British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society:

Accessibility through Legislation – public consultation (Sept. 16 to Nov. 29, 2019):

B.C. government accessibility initiatives:

B.C. government services for people with disabilities:

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