The lived experience of women, people of colour, gender-diverse people, and people with disabilities tells us we have more work to do to build a more inclusive province.

2020 B.C. Speech from the Throne

B.C. is set to join the growing number of provinces in Canada that have accessibility legislation in place. Almost 25% of B.C.’s population has some form of disability. The province is committed to developing laws, standards and policies to support people with disabilities to participate fully in their communities.

In the spirit of “Nothing about us, without us,” the province held a public consultation to gather feedback from British Columbians on what the proposed legislation should look like. The recently released Summary Consultation Report outlines some of the key themes that emerged in the public’s response.

Accessibility through Legislation


The consultation, which took place from September 16 to November 19, 2019, included an online questionnaire, virtual town hall, and community meetings. More than 7,000 British Columbians—individuals with disabilities, family, friends, advocates, and community members—shared their personal experiences, thoughts, and ideas.

Of those who responded, many stated that they faced barriers to accessibility and inclusion in daily life. The responses expressed a need for accessibility legislation which addressed three main things: breaking down barriers, advancing human rights, and promoting fairness and equity.

People recognized that the definition of “disability” needs to be broad and inclusive. Participants in the community events and virtual townhall noted the importance of considering intersectionality and understanding that people with disabilities come from diverse backgrounds. People also expressed the need to go beyond accessibility to create a culture of inclusion, and for government to lead the way. Some of the suggestions for bringing about this cultural change included more visibility of people with disabilities in the media and ensuring that people with disabilities have opportunities to participate in the development of legislation.

People called for equity over equality—accessibility legislation shouldn’t treat everyone the same, but should instead provide the necessary support for people of all abilities to fully participate in their communities. There was strong support for legislation as outlined in the Framework for Accessibility Legislation, which highlighted the principles of inclusion, adaptability, diversity, collaboration and self-determination.

Finally, one important point that emerged from the feedback was that creating more accessible communities benefits everyone, not just people with disabilities. The ultimate goal of the legislation is to ensure that everyone can fully participate in community life.  It’s an important step on our path to becoming a more inclusive province.

This government will continue the work to advance equality, diversity, human rights, and mutual respect. Because a better B.C. is one where everyone is included and free to be who they are.

2020 B.C. Speech from the Throne

To read the full summary report, and written submissions from groups across B.C., visit the B.C. Government Accessibility through Legislation page.