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MLA McRae hoping for 'robust conversation' about accessibility

The Province is launching a series of community consultations around B.C. to help identify and remove barriers, and to increase accessibility for people with disabilities.

The first session will be held Monday in Courtenay.

The Disability White Paper Consultation is guided by a team of government officials, disabled individuals and business people.

"We want to make sure we have a robust conversation," said Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation. "I think we've had a long history in this community of supporting persons with disabilities."

However, provincewide and locally, he says we need to have a conversation about how to do better.

McRae notes 700,000 British Columbians "self-identify as having a disability." A large number would like to work but are unable to find employment.

At the consultations, government wishes to discuss barriers with both disabled individuals and with employers.

"If there's things government can do to break down some of these barriers, let's push them over," McRae said. "There's huge advantages to having persons with disabilities working for companies. Many of them are incredibly well-educated."

Monday's session is from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Best Western Plus Westerly Hotel. Register at engage.gov.bc.ca/disabilitywhitepaper.

The public can also submit their thoughts online, by phone or by mail.

The online site has generated more than 230 comments on discussion themes including innovation, housing and accessibility, work and contribution, social networks, asset accumulation and personal supports.

Consultations continue until March 11. Results will form the basis for a white paper that will be shared at a provincial summit in June.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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