Race and Disability Canada Projects: The stories, struggles and resilience of newcomers with disabilities.

Photo of Bounmy. She is smiling, has long dark hair and is wearing an orange blouse.

This article was written by Bounmy Inthavong, a researcher with Race and Disability Canada. It originally appeared in the edition of DABC’s Transition magazine, Welcome to BC: Challenges and Supports for Newcomers with Disabilities (Spring 2024).

Read the full edition in PDF format here and in text-only format here.

If you’re interested in contributing to Transition as an individual or an organization, please email transition@dabc.ca.
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When I envision Canada, I see a vibrant canvas with tales of fresh beginnings. Embedded within these narratives are the intricate stories of newcomers navigating the pathways of immigration, intertwined with journeys of race and disability.

It’s a tapestry woven with hues of resilience amidst adversity, where profound experiences often dwell in the margins—the struggles of Indigenous, Black and racialized communities intersecting with the complex challenges of disability. Together, these stories paint a poignant picture, shining a light on the multifaceted realities newcomers face upon their arrival in Canada.

Canada’s history, marked by colonization, enslavement, racial discrimination and exclusionary immigration policies, casts a shadow on the experiences of these communities.

From the erasure of Indigenous sovereignty to systemic racism within the immigration system, past injustices echo in the lived experiences of newcomers grappling with disabilities. These experiences call for urgent change—a transformation of policies, perspectives and a commitment to breaking down barriers.

Within this landscape, Race and Disability Canada has undertaken an ambitious review to unravel the intricacies of these intersections, spotlight stories and emphasize the urgent need for systemic changes. Our review is based on an IDEA. The Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility (IDEA) Project encompasses:

  • Intersectional Analysis: Understanding the unique experiences of racialized people with disabilities, including newcomers facing barriers due to their race and disability.
  • Data Collection: Delving into literature, and gathering survey and focus group data to comprehend:
    • Challenges faced by racialized people with disabilities.
    • Barriers encountered by advocates and organizations working on race, disability, and inclusion in the non-profit sector.
    • Efforts of mainstream disability organizations to achieve diversity and inclusion goals concerning race and disability, and how we can support them.

Our work goes beyond raising awareness. It’s a call to action. It’s about reshaping policies and amplifying narratives. It’s about advocating for systemic changes that acknowledge the multifaceted challenges faced by newcomers at the intersections of race and disability.

Canada’s promise of inclusivity and diversity beckons, but it necessitates collective effort—crafting policies to dismantle systemic barriers, and fostering a culture of understanding, support and equity for newcomers with disabilities.

These stories, woven with hardship, speak of resilience and determination. They urge us to build a Canada where every newcomer, regardless of race or disability, finds genuine support, recognition and a true sense of belonging—a Canada where every story contributes to the vibrant narrative of the nation’s identity.

The results will catalyze further research, community-based projects and collaborations beyond the disability sector to advance accessibility and inclusion for racialized people with disabilities. As part of our commitment to change, we’re actively involved in:

  • Empowering Non-Profits: Developing communities of practice in Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. These forums allow organizations to unlearn and relearn, implementing sustainable systemic changes that include racialized people with disabilities in their policies and services.
  • Education and Training: Leveraging outcomes from research and communities of practice to develop training programs and educational initiatives supporting broader accessibility and inclusion goals for racialized people with disabilities in Canada.

Readers can join our newsletter to stay updated with the latest developments at Race and Disability Canada. Visit www.racedisability.ca to subscribe and stay informed.

Bounmy Inthavong is a researcher with Race and Disability Canada. Follow Race and Disability Canada:

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This project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program-Disability Component (SDPP-D).

Press Release: 2024/25 Accessibility Projects Grants Application Process Opens in August

-For Immediate Release-

Vancouver, BC – May 29, 2024

As part of this year’s AccessAbility Week, taking place May 26th to June 1st, Disability Alliance BC (DABC) has announced that the funding for the Accessibility Projects Grants has been renewed by the Province.

The Accessibility Projects Grants were first launched in 2018 to commemorate BC’s first AccessAbility Week, and since that time, over 80 projects have been funded throughout British Columbia. Each year, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction has provided $450,000 to DABC to distribute as community grants to improve and promote accessibility and inclusion in the province.

“To be an accessible and inclusive province, we must integrate accessibility into all aspects of our lives,” said Susie Chant, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility. “As we celebrate AccessAbility Week, I am especially grateful for our work with trusted partners like Disability Alliance BC to remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities.”

Organizations may apply for up to $40,000 for year-long community engagement projects that will support lasting change for the more than 900,000 people (24.7% of population over age 15)[1] in BC living with disability. Projects will focus on one of the following objectives:

  • Accessible employment;
  • Accessible emergency planning and response;
  • Accessible arts, culture and tourism;
  • Accessible sports and recreation;
  • Accessible education and learning;
  • Accessible community participation.

 “We’re really excited that the grants have been funded again”, said Danielle Gauld, Coordinator of the grants. “We’ve seen them support a wide range of powerful projects around the province that have had deep impacts on the lives of people with disabilities, and we are so glad this will continue into the future. We can’t wait to see who applies this year!”

Applications will open on Friday August 2nd and close on Friday September 13th, 2024 at 12pm Pacific Time. Granting decisions are made by a Committee of representatives from DABC and other disability and community organizations from around BC. Successful applicants will receive funding in December, and implement their accessibility project in 2025.

To apply:

  • Projects must be focused on community engagement rather than large capital costs such as accessibility improvements to buildings.
  • Eligible organizations must be not-for-profit organizations with a volunteer Board chosen by its membership, based in BC or with a base of operations in and sufficient capacity to deliver services in BC. They must operate primarily for community benefit and have services open to the public rather than restricted to their membership.
  • If an organization has received a grant in the past, they can reapply 5 years after their application was submitted (for example, if an organization applied in 2018 for a grant and did their project in 2019, they can reapply in 2023 to do a project in 2024).

To learn more about the grants and organizations that have received funding in the past, please visit: Accessibility Projects Grants | DABC (disabilityalliancebc.org).

Media Contacts:
Helaine Boyd
Executive Director
helaine@dabc.ca

Download a copy of the press release here: https://disabilityalliancebc.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/APG-Press-Release-May-29th-2024-FINAL.pdf

[1]https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1310037401&pickMembers%5B0%5D=1.13

Job Posting: Project Manager for the Accessible Organizations Project

Who We Are

Since 1977, Disability Alliance BC (DABC) has been a provincial, cross-disability voice in British Columbia. We are a non-profit organization and registered charity that champions issues impacting the lives of people with disabilities through our direct services, community partnerships, advocacy, research and publications.

We work to support people with all disabilities to live with dignity, independence and as equal and full participants in the community.

Job Description

DABC is seeking a Project Manager for our Accessible Organizations Project. In 2022, DABC received funding by the BC Government to allocate, distribute and administer one-time grants to public sector organizations to support their work in meeting requirements under Part 3 of the Accessible BC Act. The Project Manager will be responsible for maintaining and cultivating relationships with public sector organizations, and providing guidance on Part 3 of the ABCA, notably the:

  • Requirement to establish accessibility committees under Section 9
  • Requirement to produce an accessibility plan and public feedback mechanism under section 11 and 12.[1]

A project of this size and scope will require a Project Manager that is able to manage multiple relationships with external agencies, as well as having subject-matter knowledge on accessibility in order to properly guide and encourage meaningful implementation on accessibility by the public sector organizations. The ideal candidate will have a fine attention to detail with previous experience in project management, as well as lived experience with disability that will ground the project in DABC’s values of equity and inclusion.

The goal of this project is to strengthen the public sector in its ability to meaningfully support and take accountability for accessibility and inclusion in the province, through the process of sharing information, building relationships, and developing resources on accessibility. This will ultimately ensure that the Accessible BC Act is effective in identifying, removing or preventing barriers to inclusion for people living with disabilities in BC. The successful candidate will work closely with the Executive Director at DABC to ensure the project is inclusive of DABC’s organizational knowledge on accessibility and the Accessible BC Act.

Responsibilities: Under the supervision of the Executive Director, the Project Manager will carry out the following responsibilities and tasks:

  • Establish and maintain relationships with public sector organizations, including managing contracts and agreements
  • Collate and review progress reports from grantee organizations
  • Coordinate all communications with public sector organizations
  • Oversee the BC Accessibility Hub website
  • Develop and manage the project’s workplan and all subsequent planning documents and processes, which may be used to report on the project’s progress.
  • Produce and maintain guidance documents and resources related to obligations to Part 3 of the Accessible BC Act
  • Work in collaboration with public sector organizations to share best practices and lessons learned on the implementation of the project.
  • Engage with the disability community and other external stakeholders on community engagement initiatives related to the project as appropriate.

The successful applicant must:

  • Have prior extensive experience managing projects of a similar size
  • Have experience in promoting accessibility initiatives
  • Have strong verbal and written communication skills and the ability to communicate complex concepts in plain language
  • Have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively with organizations across different sectors
  • Be self-motivated, adaptable, able to work independently and take initiative
  • Have excellent organizational skills
  • Be proficient with Microsoft Office software and relevant Project Management software
  • Be able to manage time well and meet the deliverables and timeline of the project

The following are strong assets for this position: 

  • Lived experience with disability
  • Knowledge of accessibility and how to identify, remove and prevent a wide range of barriers to inclusion of people with disabilities
  • Experience in the non-profit sector
  • Experience supporting the disability community

Working hours and type of position: This is a contracted position for an average of 20-25 hours per week. There is flexibility to spread these hours throughout the workweek. The office hours at DABC are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

At present, the Accessible Organizations Project funding cycle ends on March 31, 2025, however there is possibility for extension.

Location: This position will primarily operate remotely, with some possibility to work at DABC’s office in downtown Vancouver on an ad-hoc basis.

Wage: $38.00 per hour

Please note that as this is a contracted, fixed-term position, the successful applicant would not be eligible for extended health benefits.

DABC is an open and diverse organization that promotes inclusive hiring practices. We encourage applications from qualified applicants who identify as visible minorities, Indigenous persons, and of all sexual orientations, gender expressions and identities. People with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.

To Apply:

Please submit your resume and answer the questions through the job survey link below:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7WSX3CL

For questions about the position or if you require any accommodation to access the survey questions in an alternate format, please contact aop@dabc.ca. No phone calls or faxes please. Applications are due no later than 4:30 p.m. on June 21, 2024. DABC welcomes all applications, however, only shortlisted applicants will be contacted for an interview. Interviews will be conducted in June and July, and the position start date will be as soon as possible.

[1] https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/21019#part3