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

Okanagan Water Board opens floodgates with call for grant applications

Water Conservation and Quality Improvement program open from Armstrong to Osoyoos

Vandalism closes public washrooms in Penticton’s Okanagan Lake Park indefinitely

A post by the city’s Facebook said the damage is ‘quite extensive’

Community safety, recreation and culture first topics of discussion in Penticton’s 2020 budget

Penticton RCMP clocked roughly 6,000 hours of overtime in ten months, at a cost of $422k

Three-vehicle crash in Penticton sends one to hospital

The Penticton RCMP are looking to speak with anyone who may have witnessed the collision

City releases tips and tricks to stay safe over holiday season

Included below is a list of revised garbage and recycling days, and rules for curbside collection

Video: Magicians and Bubble Wonders highlight Penticton Shriners Variety Show

The annual fundraiser filled the Cleland Community Theatre on Sunday.

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

Disturbing find: Shuswap family seeking Christmas tree locates several animal carcasses

Black bear, a coyote and five deer found dumped in gravel pit west of Salmon Arm

RCMP uncover meth in arrest of Sicamous woman linked to alleged pellet gun shooting

Police say methamphetamine and other drugs found in car driven by suspect

Pawsative Pups: Help your dog love their crate

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

Spark Joy: The art of giving and receiving

Barb and Wendy at Simply Spark Joy help you to create a clutter free home on the Black Press Media

Coldstream surf shop welcomes winter with paddle

Winter Chill event Saturday, Dec. 21, on Kal Lake is ‘food’-raiser for food bank

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

Most Read