Osoyoos resident Mike Stiles attended the accessibility forum on Wednesday night. (Robin Grant/Western News) Osoyoos resident Mike Stiles attended the accessibility forum on Wednesday night. (Robin Grant/Western News)

Minister hosted accessibility forum on Wednesday night in Penticton

Residents had their say at forum hosted by social development and poverty reduction minister

Residents from across the Okanagan attended a public forum Wednesday to give their input and feedback on new accessibility legislation currently in the works for B.C.

READ MORE: Penticton WorkBC all-access centre officially opens

Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson hosted the in-person session on Nov. 13 at the Ooknakane Friendship Centre in Penticton for people with disabilities, their friends and families, accessibility advocates and self-advocates and more. The aim was to give them a chance to shape future legislation to make B.C. more accessible and inclusive.

“People with disabilities have been clear,” Simpson said. “They want to be part of the conversation about their future. We’ve focused very much on bringing people with disabilities into these sessions and having them here in other communities, talking to them through the survey and organizations and ensuring that those voices are the foundation of the work we are doing with the legislation.”

Almost one million British Columbians over the age of 15 live with some form of disability and the government wants to give them a say in the legislation, he added.

“I believe it will be richer and better legislation if the people who live this experience every day have a say. They must be included because, in the past, they have not been.”

According to the non-profit Inclusion BC, British Columbia is the largest province in Canada without accessibility legislation to help identify, remove and prevent barriers experienced by persons with disabilities, the website reads.

Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Quebec and the federal government all have accessibility legislation.

READ MORE: Grand opening for all-access Penticton WorkBC Centre

The forum covered five topics: service delivery, employment, built environment, transportation and information and communication — the areas covered in the province’s framework proposed for the legislation.

Osoyoos resident Mike Stiles said he has been in a wheelchair for almost 35 years and is concerned physical accessibility, such as wheelchair accessible parking and level entrance into buildings and facilities, is getting worse. He said there needs to be better standards and the provincial government can help establish them.

”Now everybody is trying to do their own version of accessibility. There’s no regulation. It’s piecemeal and nobody knows what to expect,” he said. “There’s a gamut of issues where there needs to be government involvement and a baseline for what people can expect when it comes to accessibility.”

Spring Hawse from Kelowna said she attended because the opportunity to give feedback is important. She pointed to transportation as an obstacle in the Okanagan, especially for those traveling for medical purposes.

The public is invited to give feedback and input until Nov. 29 at 4 p.m. To learn more about the proposed legislation, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility.


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

South Okanagan volunteer dental clinic donates rotten teeth to good cause

H.E.C.K. recently gifted 47 rotten teeth to a search and rescue group in the area

Okanagan Similkameen could have a sister city in the south of France

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen considering agreement with wine region in southern France

Upgrades approved for Oliver and Keremeos landfill sites

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen approves $300,000 expense

Police plan forum in Hedley to address resident concerns

Princeton RCMP will hold a meeting in Hedley this month, to address… Continue reading

Funds approved for Keremeos Fire Department

$12,000 authorized for purchase of an intrusion and access control system

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Healing with honesty: Justice served 40 years later

Revelstoke senior gets house arrest for sexually assaulting stepdaughter

WorkSafe BC to investigate explosion at Princeton facility

Explosion at Envirogreen waste reclamation plant occurred Nov. 27

Doors open to Vernon’s first refill store

Vernon’s Refill Store may be answer to plastics problem

Okanagan RCMP not toying around when it comes to impaired drivers

Saturday, Dec. 7 is National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day

Most Read