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International Day of People with Disabilities – Dec 3 2021

Inclusion: The Journey to Community

On December 3, 2021, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities the BC Self Advocacy Foundation, Community Ventures Society, Inclusion BC, and the Port Moody Heritage Society are hosting a virtual launch of the interactive exhibition “Inclusion: The Journey to Community”. 

The exhibition is located in the Port Moody Station Museum and will be on display until the summer of 2022. The museum is open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Sunday, starting December 1, 2021, and will also require vaccine cards.

Port Moody Station Museum
2734 Murray Street
Port Moody, B.C.
V3H 1X2, Canada

“Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era”

On December 3 this year, during the annual celebration of people with disabilities, the 2021 theme is ‘Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era.”

This year, we are celebrating the challenges, barriers and opportunities for people who live with disabilities, in the context of a global pandemic.

Since March 2020, every person on earth has been impacted by drastic political, social and economic change as a result of domestic and international responses to COVID-19.

This year, International Day of People with Disabilities should be used to recognise that people who live with disabilities are among the most affected populations amid the COVID pandemic. Where marginalisation, discrimination, vulnerability and exploitation are every day factors for many people, the increased risk of poor outcomes have been magnified with the reduced access to routine health care and rehabilitation services, more pronounced social isolation, poorly tailored public health messaging, inadequately constructed mental health services, and a lack of emergency preparedness for people with special needs.

We call on domestic and international public health officials, political representatives, advocates, supporters, and every citizen in every community, to learn from the experiences of people living with disabilities during this pandemic, and push for more meaningful investments into the socioeconomic building blocks which will reduce the barriers faced by people with disabilities in every community on earth.

Self-advocates tell the UN we want institutions closed

Inclusion International has published a report called Closing Institutions and Living in Community

This report includes:

  • what self-advocates said about the situation on institutions and living in the community;
  • what self-advocates have worked on and good examples of this work;
  • the recommendations self-advocates have, these are the most important things that we think should happen to close institutions and make inclusion in the community real.

Truths of Institutionalization: Past and Present

The purpose of this project is to create awareness, promote respect and encourage reflection on the human rights of people who have an intellectual disability in Canada.

The goal of this project is to engage young Canadians in conversations that raise awareness about the importance of community and inclusion. It does this by providing learning resources that explore the evolution of institutions and human rights in Canada. Specifically, visitors will hear first-hand experiences from survivors, study evidence-based research and explore the power of citizenship and social movements. We hope these efforts will help end the use of institutional models and practices today and in the future.

three images of Woodlands School in BC



Inclusion BC would like the Provincial Government to include this information in the public school curriculum.  They write:

The institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities in B.C. began more than 100 years ago with the creation of Woodlands institution in New Westminster. It ended on October 21, 1996, when Woodlands’ last two residents moved to their new homes in the community. 

The era of abuse and neglect of people with disabilities who lived in institutions is largely unknown or misunderstood by most people in our province. Too often, it is only through the recollection of former residents, their families, and the community organizations that supported their journey to community that this story is told and kept live.  

One of Inclusion BC’s long-standing goals has been to include this part of history in B.C.’s public education curriculum. In our recent letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan, Inclusion BC has officially requested the B.C. government to embed the course Truths of Institutionalization: Past and Present, with additional B.C. content, into the curriculum of our public education system.  

With your help we can ensure the history of institutions for people with disabilities in B.C. is never forgotten and never repeated. You can make this happen today by:  

  • Writing a letter to your MLA calling on the B.C. government to add the course Truths of Institutionalization: Past and Present into B.C.’s curriculum.   
  • Meeting with your MLA to discuss why it is important that the history of people with disabilities be taught in B.C. schools.  

To write a letter you can find out who your MLA is and their contact information by visiting the Members of the Legislative Assembly website.  

If you would like help to meet with your MLA, our civic engagement campaign Diversity Includes helps connect our members and community ambassadors with MLAs across British Columbia. 

Happy International Day of Persons with Disabilities!

We’re delighted that this important day has been recognized by the Province of British Columbia with a proclamation. We wanted to share with you some accessibility news and updates.

Provincial Accessibility Committee

The Province has appointed 11 British Columbians as the first-ever members of the Provincial Accessibility Committee, marking the next step in government’s work towards a barrier-free B.C. Under the Accessible British Columbia Act, the committee’s work will include advising the Government on the implementation of the Act, helping government prioritize accessibility standards, and overseeing the process of developing standards in areas like employment, education, the built environment and customer service. You can read more about the Provincial Accessibility Committee through the news release on the BC Government website.

Accessibility grants awarded to promote inclusion

Fifteen community-based projects are benefitting from over $450,000 in government funding to increase accessibility and community inclusion. Successful projects include arts, emergency preparedness, cycling, and cultural celebrations. You can read more about the projects through the news release on the BC Government website.

BC Building Code Accessibility Survey

A reminder the online survey to provide feedback to help improve accessibility in new buildings is available on the govTogetherBC website. The survey is now available in Punjabi, French, and Simplified and Traditional Chinese. The survey has been extended and feedback will be accepted until January 13, 2022 at 4pm. Information about the BC Building Code accessibility rules is available on the Building and Safety Standard’s website. Your feedback will help inform proposed changes to the next BC Building Code. Removing barriers to accessibility and inclusion experienced by British Columbians will help create better buildings and stronger communities for all people. Please share this information as appropriate with others in your organization.

In addition to many speaking engagements, Minister Simons and Parliamentary Secretary Coulter are recognizing the day by joining Neil Squire’s Guinness World Record attempt for the most users to take an online DIY assistive technology lesson in 24 hours. However you choose to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities we hope that you have a great day.


Accessibility Directorate

Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (Victoria, B.C.)

“A British Columbia where everyone has the opportunity to participate fully in their communities and reach their full potential”

Gratefully living and working and breathing on the traditional territories of the lək̓ʷəŋən Peoples, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. Thankful to those that allow us to do so.