Fraser Valley – A new Job Creation Project with the Rick Hansen Foundation will increase accessibility in British Columbia communities and provide work experience for up to 14 people with disabilities.
The Province is providing more than $675,000 through the Community and Employer Partnerships fund to support the project, which will contribute to improved participation in the labour market for people with disabilities in British Columbia – a key priority of Accessibility 2024, government’s 10-year action plan to increase accessibility for people with disabilities in B.C.
The Rick Hansen Foundation, in partnership with the Victoria Disability Resource Centre and WorkBC Employment Services Centres, will provide specialized education and work experience for 14 people who will be recruited for the role of access assistants. Participants will complete about 90 on-site accessibility surveys of medium- and large-sized buildings and community locations in Victoria and the Lower Mainland. Through this work, participants will have an opportunity to apply inclusive design principles and gain skills in the professional field of accessibility through training, field experience and user testing.
Throughout the project, participants will build community relationships to help raise awareness of inclusive design as a way to increase accessibility in built environments.
Data captured through the accessibility surveys completed by the participants will be compiled by the Rick Hansen Foundation. The information will be used to identify best practices in inclusive design as part of an accessibility rating and certification program being developed. Ratings will be made available to the public.
The project builds upon the success of a 2014-15 pilot project that helped seven people with disabilities gain work experience as accessibility specialists. These participants completed 85 accessibility assessments of local businesses and public spaces in the Lower Mainland during the year-long project.
It also supports four building blocks – accessibly built environment, employment, inclusive communities, and consumer experience – in Accessibility 2024, government’s 10-year plan to make B.C. the most progressive place in Canada for people with disabilities.
Job Creation Partnerships are part of the Employment Program of British Columbia’s Community and Employer Partnerships, which fund projects that increase employability and share labour market information.
The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.
To date, more than 1,200 job seekers benefited from work experience and more than 240 projects have been funded throughout the province.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“This project will provide skills training and work experience for people with disabilities and position them for success in terms of future employment by connecting them with community members and professional contacts in the accessibility field. Their work will also have a truly positive impact by making public spaces in B.C. more inclusive and accessible for residents and visitors alike. It goes hand-in-hand with Accessibility 2024, which is government’s 10-year plan to make B.C. the most progressive place in Canada for people with disabilities.”
Darryl Plecas, parliamentary secretary for seniors and accessibility, and MLA for Abbotsford South –
“It is really exciting to see this project become a reality following Disability Employment Month. It’s an amazing opportunity for people with disabilities who are interested in gaining skills and experience in the accessibility industry, while also helping businesses and organizations create inclusive spaces that are accessible to all.”
Rick Hansen, CEO, Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) –
“Identifying and removing barriers is critical to enabling people with disabilities to live to their full potential. By making all the places we live, work and play accessible, we are helping to create more inclusive communities. The Rick Hansen Foundation is proud to be able to contribute to the government’s Accessibility 2024 goals.”
Stan Leyenhorst, past project participant –
“The opportunity to participate in the 2015 JCP project at RHF was a very beneficial and enriching experience. The project allowed for increased knowledge and real world activity related to accessibility and inclusion. As a result, I made new contacts and developed new relationships. Building on the JCP experience, I was able to secure permanent employment with a wider range of responsibilities.”
Sylvia Metz, business manager, Vancouver City Centre WorkBC centre –
“The Team Access BC process provided an opportunity for us to review the accessibility of our offices last year as it’s our priority to ensure employment services are available to all individuals seeking employment. We were very pleased to receive very positive affirmation. However, through the process we also came to appreciate that accessibility extends beyond our office. Team Access BC provides an excellent assessment that provided great information for all our staff to deepen their understanding of accessibility.”
- Local WorkBC Employment Services Centres play a lead role in connecting eligible job seekers to Job Creation Partnership and Project-Based Labour Market Training opportunities in their communities. Once the right match of client to project has been found, the effort of the WorkBC centre continues by providing financial supports and services to ensure success.
- In 2016-17, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of BC.
- The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia, as well as the Government of Canada, through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the five components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
- Social Innovation
Who is eligible for Community and Employer Partnerships funding?
- Non-profit organizations
- Crown corporations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- First Nations Bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
Rick Hansen Foundation: www.rickhansen.com
Accessibility 2024: www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships:www.workbc.ca/CEP
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/