SURREY – The City of Surrey has made the commitment to build accessible, which was an advocacy item that the Surrey Board of Trade released in 2020 after consultation with the Rick Hansen Foundation. However, the BC Government must do more on this file.
“The Surrey Board of Trade is pleased that the City of Surrey is making this commitment,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade.
“One in five Canadians, aged 15 years and over, had one or more disabilities that limited them in their daily activities. By 2030, it is estimated that $316 billion will be added to the Canadian economy annually as a result of spending by people with disabilities, representing 21% of the total consumer market.”
City of Surrey commitment: Surrey is the first city in Canada to commit to building to a Gold level using Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationTM (RHFAC) for all future civic facilities. This announcement comes during National AccessAbility Week 2021, taking place from May 30 to June 5, 2021. The week celebrates the valuable contributions of Canadians living with disabilities, and recognizes the efforts of individuals, communities and workplaces that are working to remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion.
Close to 57% of Canadians with a physical disability who are currently unemployed believe they would be able to work if workplaces were more accessible. 49% of Canadians with physical disabilities who are working believe they could work more hours if workplaces were made more accessible.
But without incentives or grants, builders are less likely to adopt universal design without increasing prices. The provincial and federal governments should ensure that there are incentives disseminated through appropriate organizations for builders and building owners to build and retrofit universally.
To lift those with a disability out of poverty, we must have them participating fully in the workforce. That requires many adjustments that the local, provincial, and federal governments are undertaking. We also need to ensure that the building codes in BC reflect the needs of not only the physically disabled, but those with other non-visible disabilities.
SPECIFIC ASK TO THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT:
Work with foundations such as the Rick Hansen Foundation to amend the BC Building Code to ensure that all buildings are required to be built to a universally accessible standard; and:
a. Provide higher subsidies for housing so that people of varying abilities can rent new units at market rental price; and,
b. Provide incentives in the form of grants to builders and building owners to be dispersed through non-profit organizations to build universally.
Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342, email@example.com