Premier John Horgan greets Rick Hansen at the B.C. legislature, May 28, 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. proclaims Rick Hansen Day to promote disability access

Premier John Horgan announces $10 million grant to Hansen Foundation

The B.C. government has proclaimed May 28 Rick Hansen Day in B.C., and provided a $10 million grant to continue the work of Hansen’s foundation to promote access for people with disabilities.

Premier John Horgan made the announcement at the B.C. legislature Monday, recalling he was a university student in Australia when Hansen’s Man in Motion world tour came through the country.

“Thirty years later, he has an extraordinary legacy of success, not just raising awareness about spinal cord injuries, about people with disabilities and removing barriers, but genuine tangible changes about how we look at the world around us,” Horgan said.

Hansen spoke about his foundation’s goal to create a “barrier-free B.C.” and continue its work. The Rick Hansen Foundation provides bilingual multi-media resources for schools, sponsors an ambassador program with 200 speakers to tell their stories, and has an accessibility certification program to help design accessible built environments.

Horgan echoed a call earlier in the day by Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux for new construction in B.C. to be accessible for people with disabilities. Cadieux presented a private member’s bill Monday to require all new multi-unit housing to consider accessibility, with a percentage of all new housing to meet disability certification or at least be “visitable.”

The B.C. government estimates that there are more than 500,000 people in the province aged 15 and older who identify as disabled. Canada-wide, one in seven adults has a disability, and that is expected to rise to one in five by 2016 as the population ages.

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