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Posted: December 4, 2020

Grants awarded to promote inclusion

Fourteen community-based projects in B.C. are benefiting from $450,000 in government funding to increase accessibility and community inclusion, including the Kootenay Brain Injury Association’s Whole Health Community Teams.

The winning projects were announced on the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

“We all appreciate the diverse range of skills and experiences that British Columbians with disabilities bring to our communities, our workplaces and our lives,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Over 20% of British Columbians live with some form of a disability and the projects we’re announcing today promote inclusion.”

In May 2020, as part of the province’s ongoing commitment to increasing accessibility and improving community inclusion, government announced funding for community-based accessibility projects. Out of 72 applicants, 14 have been selected to receive grants ranging from $10,000 to $40,000, depending on the size and scope of the project.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all how easy it is to feel isolated,” said Dan Coulter, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility. “One of our priorities remains supporting projects that encourage inclusive and accessible community participation.”

Successful applicants include projects that range from wheelchair basketball and deaf-blind intervenor services to accessible theatre and online education programs.

“It was an honour to be on the accessibility project grant review team this year,” said Elizabeth Lalonde, board director, Disability Alliance BC. “I learned so much about the diversity of organizations in British Columbia, many of which are grassroots, working to make a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities. There are so many important projects that deserve support and recognition, and I am excited to follow their progress over the next year.”

In support of people with disabilities in living with dignity and contributing to their communities, government is committed to introducing accessibility legislation in spring 2021.

New policies, laws and standards will establish accountability from government and empower persons with disabilities to have a direct role in identifying the barriers that prevent them fully participating in B.C.’s communities, a Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction media release stated.

The provincial government provides more than $5 billion annually to fund services and supports for people with disabilities in B.C. One in five Canadian adults has a disability.

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