To further reduce barriers and make services and resources more easily accessible for people with disabilities, the Province is providing the BC Spinal Cord Injury Community Services Network (BC SCI Network) with $5 million to enhance their services for British Columbians with a physical disability.
The work of the BC SCI Network aligns with the vision of Accessibility 2024 to make B.C. the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities. The funding will help support the growth and efficiency of the Network over the next five years, including:
- Providing supports and services to more individuals with physical disabilities throughout the province.
- Promoting and updating education and information resources covering all aspects of living with a physical disability, including housing, finding employment, and physical and mental health.
- Increasing services to enhance active living and community participation.
- Promoting best practices in care and support.
- And developing and providing assistive and adaptive technologies.
The BC SCI Network partners – Spinal Cord Injury BC (SCI-BC), the BC Wheelchair Sports Association (BCWSA), the BC Wheelchair Basketball Society (BCWBS), the Neil Squire Society (NSS), and the Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation (SSDF) – have over 200 years of collective service-delivery excellence in British Columbia. Together, they work to ensure that individuals with physical disabilities have access to a streamlined system of supports that help make their lives easier by sharing resources, knowledge, and infrastructure.
The BC SCI Network provides access to information and services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Network offers an informative website, online support, training sessions, in-person meetings and one-on-one support that connect people with spinal cord injuries throughout the province. Since 2010, over 11,400 people have received services through the Network, and that number is expected to grow as it enhances and expands services even further.
Accessibility 2024 is a 10-year action plan, released in June 2014, that identifies what we, as a society, can do to reduce barriers and create more accessible, inclusive communities for people with disabilities throughout the province.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“The BC SCI Network is a strong supporter of Accessibility 2024. Their work to date, and the work they will be able to continue to do with this new funding, will ensure more British Columbians who are living with a disability are not only physically and mentally healthy, but are able to find housing, find work, and become fully active participants in their communities.”
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development –
“The network makes a huge difference in the lives of British Columbians who have a physical disability, and the work they do is important, not only to government but also to me personally as a person with a spinal cord injury. This five-year investment will help ensure that the Network and its partners can continue their dedicated work to get people to the resources they need, when they need them.”
Chris McBride, executive director, Spinal Cord Injury BC, BC SCI Network partner –
“As reflected in the goals of the Government of BC’s Accessibility 2024 initiative, it is an exciting and progressive time for people with disabilities in British Columbia. With this generous support from the Province, the partner organizations of the BC Spinal Cord Injury Community Service Network will be able to work more efficiently and effectively together in providing British Columbians with disabilities in all regions of the province with the information, skills, and confidence they need to live, work, and be active members of our communities.”
Gary Birch, executive director, Neil Squire Society, BC SCI Network partner –
“As a member of the BC SCI Network, we are absolutely thrilled to receive this funding from the Government of B.C. This support is critical to the Network’s mandate to reach out to those persons with disabilities who are often the most marginalized and will help us to ensure they receive the continuum of services that will enable them to be fully engaged in all aspects of B.C. society.”
Teri Thorson, Board of Directors for BC Wheelchair Sports Association –
“What’s unique about these organizations is that they work together and support each other — they’re all helping the same people to become engaged on different levels. When I got injured, these partner organizations changed my life because of the opportunities they all allowed me to have. For twenty years, they’ve helped me form new peer connections and motivated me to stay fit and healthy. I’ve gained confidence in employment, sports, and community life. I’ve met other people with spinal cord injuries and who have given me confidence in how to live as a person who uses a wheelchair. Now, I take the things I’ve learned and give them back to the spinal cord injury community.”
- The Accessibility 2024 action plan, released in June 2014, is in response to the thousands of British Columbians who took part in a public consultation on what society can do to reduce barriers and increase accessibility for people with disabilities.
- The plan is designed around 12 key building blocks, based on themes that emerged during this consultation: Inclusive Government; Accessible Service Delivery; Accessible Internet; Accessible Built Environment; Accessible Housing; Accessible Transportation; Income Support; Employment; Financial Security; Inclusive Communities; Emergency Preparedness; and Consumer Experience.
- Over 745 BC SCI Network volunteers have engaged and assisted individuals from multiple communities, providing over 25,000 hours of support and service.
- In July 2016, government provided nearly $215,000 in funding to Spinal Cord Injury BC through a Job Creation Partnership for their Access North project which includes profiling and rating more than 150 provincial and regional parks, trail systems and roadside heritage attractions in northern B.C. on their ease of accessibility. 16 EI-eligible project participants are gaining employment skills thanks to this project.
- In 2015, government launched the Technology@Work assistive technology program – operated by the Neil Squire Society – to give people streamlined access to tools and devices they need for employment. As part of Accessibility 2024, the Province has committed $9 million over three years for the program. To date, 494 clients have worked through the Needs Determination process. Of these, 346 clients have already received assistive technology through the program.
Spinal Cord Injury BC: http://sci-bc.ca/
Neil Squire Society: www.neilsquire.ca/
BC Wheelchair Sports Association: http://bcwheelchairsports.com/
BC Wheelchair Basketball Society: www.bcwbs.ca/
Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation: www.disabilityfoundation.org/
Accessibility 2024: www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility