A press release from Social Development and Poverty Reduction
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A new WorkBC contract that equips people with adaptive technology will open up employment opportunities for people with disabilities and help them thrive in the workplace.
Delivered by the Neil Squire Society, the Assistive Technology Services program combines two existing services — Technology@Work and supports offered through individual WorkBC Centres — into one streamlined provincial resource to help more people with disabilities throughout the province fully participate in B.C.’s economy.
“British Columbia’s economy is thriving but to be a truly inclusive province, we need everyone to have the tools they need to participate in the workforce and build the life they deserve,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The Neil Squire Society has been a leader in innovative assistive technology for over 30 years. As the successful proponent, it can continue its important work with employers and people with disabilities.”
Supports available through the Assistive Technology Services program include:
- mobility supports, alternative keyboards, voice input equipment and other workplace modification technology
- advice to employers on how to be more accessible and inclusive
- training to help people navigate other services and supports to assist with employment
The contract has a five-year term, is valued at $28.8 million and will begin service delivery on April 1, 2019.
“The Neil Squire Society is dedicated to breaking down barriers that keep people with disabilities from finding sustainable, meaningful employment,” said Gary Birch, executive director, Neil Squire Society. “This funding will help expand our vision and continue our work to improve the lives and opportunities of people with disabilities.”
The Assistive Technology Services program is one of two WorkBC services that will soon be delivered provincially. Beginning April 1, 2019, Douglas College will provide WorkBC Apprentice Services, including processing financial support applications and facilitating approvals for apprentices to collect employment insurance benefits while participating in classroom training. This contract is valued at $67.5 million over five years.
- Approximately 334,000 people in B.C. aged 15 to 64 self-identify as having a disability.
- As of Nov. 1, 2018, more than 1,400 people with disabilities have accessed Technology@Work services through the Neil Squire Society.
- There are 84 WorkBC centres throughout the province that serve British Columbians, including people with disabilities.
- The President’s Group, an advisory group to government, is a change-driven network of 22 B.C. business leaders committed to working with private sector employers to help increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
- Of Canadians with disabilities aged 15 to 64 years, 47% are employed compared to 74% of people without disabilities.
For information about supports available through the WorkBC Employment Services Program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/policies-for-government/bcea-policy-and-procedure-manual/eppe/employment-program-of-british-columbia
To learn more about the Neil Squire Society, visit: https://www.neilsquire.ca/