|Welcome to the October 2022 edition of CLBC’s Update for Individuals and Families. As a reminder, you can find all Updates (including past editions) posted on our website here. You can also check out CLBC’s Facebook page here and Twitter page here. If you know of anyone who would like to receive future Updates, please share the link to our sign up page with them. If you have a specific question, or feedback about this update, you can send an email to CLBCInfo@gov.bc.ca.
CLBC and Government News
Celebrating Community Inclusion Month in B.C.
Community Living BC is pleased to join the Province, Inclusion BC and many communities in recognizing October as Community Inclusion Month. The month is an opportunity to honour the hard work of individuals, families and community members who create inclusive communities and opportunities for all British Columbians with developmental disabilities.
For 2022, the B.C. Government proclamation recognizes the importance of inclusive housing, employment, health and well-being and self-determined Indigenous strategies, all of which are part of a provincial Re-Imagining Community Inclusion initiative.
This year, many communities are hosting in-person celebrations and events and for many, this is a welcomed step forward. You can visit the CLBC Community Inclusion Month webpage here to learn about events taking place around the province, like the Community Inclusion Month celebration in Chilliwack on October 14 and the Fun Fair in Port Alberni on October 18. On the webpage, you’ll also find stories, highlights and official proclamations from local communities.
CLBC will also be sharing posts throughout the month on our Facebook and Twitter pages using the hashtag #CommunityInclusionMonth.
Widening Our World (WOW) Awards recognize inclusion champions
As part of Community Inclusion Month, CLBC is pleased to announce the four inclusion champions from across the province chosen as this year’s Widening our World (WOW) Award recipients:
- Ali Aslaminejad and Azar Taherzadeh – Home Sharing Providers, North Vancouver
- David Paynter – Community Member, Kelowna
- Michael McLellan – Self Advocate Leader, Nanaimo
- Taylor and Jodi Kolb – Home Sharing Providers, Kelowna
CLBC received 41 WOW Award nominations from all across B.C. A provincial committee of self advocate leaders, family members and CLBC staff selected this year’s recipients for their outstanding commitment to helping to build communities where people of all abilities feel welcome and included. You can read the announcement here to learn more about this year’s winners.
Spreading the word during RDSP Awareness Month
October is Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Awareness Month. The RDSP is the world’s first savings plan designed for people with disabilities. Even with little to no personal contributions, government contributions can be significant. However, many people who qualify still don’t have an RDSP.
Access RDSP is focused on increasing uptake of the RDSP by helping people learn about, become eligible for and open an account. This partnership between Plan Institute, BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) and Disability Alliance BC (DABC) provides support, resources and learning opportunities around the RDSP for free.
Learn more about RDSP Awareness Month and Access RDSP here, including ways to find and share information about the savings plan, including:
CLBC announces changes to Executive team
CLBC recently announced changes to its executive leadership team to increase its capacity to meet the needs it will face in the future. The changes reduce the number of CLBC divisions from eight to six and will take effect on November 1, 2022. The changes are being made due to the pending retirement of VP Strategic Initiatives Jack Styan, and following a review to identify ways to improve our ability to serve individuals and families. Read the announcement here for full details about these changes.
Save the Date: Free virtual conference to learn more about the new L.I.F.E.-based Service
Individuals and families who are interested in learning about CLBC’s L.I.F.E.-based service (Learning, Inclusion, Friendship, Employment) are invited to save the date for L.I.F.E. CON, a free online conference being held from January 23 to 26, 2023. The conference will bring together service providers, individuals, families, support networks and CLBC staff to learn about this new and innovative service (you can watch a short video about the service here and a short webinar here).
L.I.F.E. CON 2023 will be held via Zoom, with 2.5-hour sessions each day that will include more detailed information about the L.I.F.E.-based service and provide opportunities to hear firsthand experience from people currently using the service, their informal supporters and service providers. Full conference details, schedule and registration information will be available later in 2022.
The L.I.F.E.-based service was created, tested, and refined by individuals, families, service providers and CLBC staff. It is a service option for all people CLBC serves if they have a goal of getting a job. CLBC will work to expand the service across the province in 2022, 2023 and beyond. For individuals and families who are interested in the service and are not yet living in a community where L.I.F.E.-based is currently being offered, please speak to your CLBC facilitator. They can document your interest through a Request for Service (RFS). CLBC will use the RFS data to help identify locations for future expansion.
COVID-19 teleconference video recording now available
On September 26, a teleconference for individuals and families took place with Dr. Daniele Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, and Ross Chilton, CLBC CEO, to share the latest COVID-19 health, safety and vaccine information. The meeting was moderated by Michael J. Prince, CLBC Board Chair.
The video recording of this teleconference is now available on the CLBC website here. Details about the next upcoming teleconference will also be posted to the website and shared as soon as they are available.
Province encourages people to get vaccinated to prepare for fall
The Provincial Government is encouraging British Columbians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza to keep themselves safe during the fall season.
Invitations for fall COVID-19 booster doses are going to people who had their last vaccine at least six months ago. All adults 18 years of age and older can receive the new combination bivalent vaccine which provides greater protection against different COVID variants.
The provincial influenza campaign will launch next week and vaccines will be available for free in participating pharmacies and health authority clinics. This year, people will also be able to book their influenza vaccine through the provincial Get Vaccinated system, just like booking COVID-19 vaccines.
Read the announcement here for full details and links to helpful resources.
Self Advocate Corner
Highlighting Self Advocate Leadership
for Community Inclusion Month
Self Advocates of the Rockies (SAOR)
Self Advocates of the Rockies is a society based out of Cranbrook, B.C. made up of adults with diverse abilities who aim to empower others to use their voice. They promote inclusion by celebrating diversity. To spread the word about their work to increase connection and inclusion, they created this short video.
As of August 2022, SAOR officially became a member of the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce, meaning they are now represented among other businesses in the community. Membership in the chamber allows SAOR to learn about and advocate for the interests of people with diverse abilities, which can impact governments at all levels to make positive change.
SAOR offers other ways to get connected too. In October, you can check out this fun, virtual event:
- Friday Night Music with Ray
SAOR is always looking to connect with you. You can find out about upcoming events by visiting their Facebook page here or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAOR members Sheila Neidig (Administrative Assistant), Kimberly Dawn Marie Earl (Co-Executive Director & Host) & Jonathan Righton (Executive Director & Primary Administrator).
Speaking up for Self Advocacy (SUSA)
Speaking up for Self Advocacy is a group of people with diverse abilities based out of Kamloops, B.C. SUSA works hard to connect people and advocate for change.
On September 29, SUSA hosted an Amazing Race to Inclusion. This event was designed for community members to race throughout Kamloops and experience potential barriers to access and inclusion for people who live with diverse abilities. Some of the race challenges included using a wheelchair, navigating an obstacle course using goggles to simulate visual impairments and traveling on a city bus.
By participating in this event, participants from throughout the community returned to their workplaces and homes with a better understanding of where barriers to accessibility might be and how simple changes they can make lead to inclusion.
SUSA also hosts monthly events to connect people, including the upcoming:
- A Success Story, by Krystian Shaw, founder of the Kamloops Self Advocate Newsletter
You can find out about upcoming events and connect with SUSA by visiting the their Facebook page here or by emailing email@example.com.
SUSA members Tony, Andrew, and Tami.
Register now for the Self Advocate Leadership Institute
The Self Advocate Leadership Institute is a weekend retreat where people with diverse abilities learn, have fun and make friends. Presentations and discussions focus on self advocacy, rights, safety, healthy relationships and leadership.
- When: October 28 to October 30, 2022
- Where: Camp Luther Retreat Centre, Mission B.C.
- Cost: $270 (includes meals and accommodations)
Find full details and the registration form on the Self Advocate Net website here. For more information or questions, contact Gregg Schiller at 604-868-7001 or GreggSchiller@shaw.ca.
Staying Supported and Connected
Upcoming Vela events connect people in the Okanagan
Vela is an organization that assists people with disabilities to live the life they choose by forming a Microboard or accessing Individualized Funding (IF).
Vela Mingles are events that provide opportunities to gather and talk about topics relevant to Microboards and IF recipients. At these events, a local Vela facilitator will bring relevant updates and be available to answer any questions, but mainly this is a chance to connect and socialize.
Upcoming Vela Mingles will be taking place next week in the Okanagan and you can click the links below to register:
Inclusion BC’s Municipal Election Guide 2022 now available
With general local elections taking place in communities across B.C. on Saturday, October 15, Inclusion BC has put together a 2022 Municipal Election Guide. This plain language resource for individuals and families is filled with helpful information, including what elections are about and how to get involved. Read the Municipal Election Guide here, and you can also find a shorter version of the guide here for easier access and readability.
BC Rebate for Accessible Home Adaptations now accepting applications
The BC Rebate for Accessible Home Adaptations (BC RAHA) program supports seniors and people with disabilities to gain greater independence within their homes. Through the program, eligible low- and moderate-income households can receive up to $17,500 in rebates to complete home adaptations that support accessibility and promote continued safe and independent living in the home.
BC RAHA is allocated on a first come, first served basis with priority given to complete applications. The program will close on March 31, 2023, or sooner if funds have been exhausted. Learn more about the BC RAHA here, including information about eligibility and how to apply.
Stories and Celebration
Proclaiming Community Inclusion Month on the Sunshine Coast
Congratulations to the CLBC North Shore Sunshine Coast Community Council for partnering with local municipalities to officially recognize the contributions and abilities of all citizens by proclaiming October as Community Inclusion Month. Proclamations were made in Gibsons, Powell River, Sechelt, Squamish and Whistler. You can find all of these proclamations, as well as events and highlights of Community Inclusion Month, on the CLBC website here. The Council is also co-hosting the upcoming Inclusion Fest on October 12 in Roberts Creek.
Shelley McCuaig and Brian Robson together with Clarence Li from the Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living (SCACL) attended the Town of Gibsons Council meeting to receive the proclamation of Community Inclusion Month from Bill Beamish, Mayor of Gibsons.
Reflecting on National Day of Truth and Reconciliation through The Witness Blanket project
In 2011, Kwagiulth artist Carey Newman envisioned an installation called the Witness Blanket. In 2013, Carey and team members travelled across Canada collecting stories and objects from residential school survivors and their families.
Now completed and touring Canada, the Witness Blanket is over eight feet tall and 40 feet long. Cedar frames hold the objects in place. The Witness Blanket stands as a national monument to recognise the atrocities of the Indian Residential School era, honour the children, and symbolize ongoing reconciliation. “Inspired by a woven blanket, we have created a large-scale art installation, made from hundreds of items reclaimed from Residential Schools, churches, government buildings and traditional and cultural structures including Friendship Centres, band offices, treatment centres, and universities from across Canada,” says Carey.
Visit WitnessBlanket.ca to learn more, and watch the video Picking Up the Pieces here which tells the story of the making of the Witness Blanket.
Halloween is just around the corner. Accessible lawns signs are one way of demonstrating your home is accessible to people with diverse abilities. Placing a free Accessible Trick-or-Treating sign on your home’s front lawn at least a week before Halloween gives families and caregivers plenty of time to plan their trick-or-treating route. These signs can be printed from the RE/MAX website here or picked up at a local RE/MAX office.
Until next edition…