Working for Change

DABC’s Public Policy Advocacy – a Backgrounder

Advocacy is the backbone of DABC. In 1977, a group of committed activists with disabilities founded our organization. You can read about the history of DABC here.

In addition to our Direct Services and Programs, DABC does a great deal of work behind the scenes to help bring about positive change for people with disabilities.

DABC conducts our advocacy work in three ways:

Individual Advocacy

We provide individual advocacy for clients on specific issues where our expertise lies and where we have a funded program. To give one example, our Advocacy Access program has legal advocates that can support people in applying for provincial and federal disability benefits, represent clients in reconsiderations and appeals, and generally support any issues that arise from being a PWD or CPP-D client.

Systemic Public Policy Advocacy

We carry out systemic public policy advocacy work on a federal, provincial or municipal level by lobbying government and policy decision-makers to make change in policy and law that will positively impact the lives of people with disabilities. As we are a provincial non-profit, most of our public policy advocacy work is conducted on the provincial level, but we will carry out advocacy work on the municipal and federal level when we feel that the issue at hand will also affect British Columbians with disabilities.

As we are a cross-disability non profit, most of our advocacy work is rooted in the experiences of people across the disability community. However, we will partner with disability-specific organizations to support their lead on advocating for a disability-specific cause when we feel that their advocacy work may lead to systemic change across the disability community.

We try to focus our advocacy work based on the knowledge and expertise we have developed through carrying out our direct services and programs. This means that we often base our advocacy work on systemic issues raised by our clients. While DABC does offer a good number of direct services, which allows us to advocate on a wide range of issues, we don’t feel it’s appropriate for us to advocate on every disability issue, particularly when we are not experts on a particular issue. However, we try our best to stand in solidarity with other advocacy groups who have more knowledge and can lead the way.

Much of the systemic public policy advocacy work is guided by DABC’s Board of Directors. All of DABC’s Board of Directors are people with disabilities; they ensure that our public policy advocacy is rooted in the mission, vision, values and principles that DABC holds dear.

DABC does not have staff positions or funding dedicated to working on systemic public policy advocacy, rather this work is shared across the organization whenever we have capacity. DABC’s work environment encourages important dialogue on social justice, particularly disability rights and disability justice. A majority of DABC’s staff are people with disabilities, and so our staff often work in the background to support DABC’s systemic advocacy work.

Committee Advocacy

Much of our systemic advocacy work involves arranging meetings with politicians and government staff, writing letters, issuing statements on our website, raising these issues in the news, and joining campaigns with the two advocacy groups we are affiliated with:

  • Council of Canadians with Disabilities
  • BC Poverty Reduction Coalition

We also conduct systemic advocacy through committee representation. DABC staff sit on many committees on a variety of topics, and this gives us the opportunity to raise issues that our clients and our network have alerted us to. Here is a list of current committees we are a part of:

  • RDSP Action Group
  • BC Government Active Transportation External Stakeholders Committee
  • Active Transportation in Small Towns Project
  • ICBC Disability Advocacy Advisory Group
  • SDPR Moving Forward Steering Committee and various sub-committees
  • Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal (EAAT) Stakeholder Consultation
  • BC Hydro Low Income Advisory Council
  • BC Hydro Accessibility Committee
  • Human Resources and Skills Development Canada – Canada Pension Plan Stakeholder Roundtable
  • Social Security Tribunal Stakeholder Roundtable
  • Disability Tax Fairness Alliance
  • City of Vancouver: Climate Justice Field School
  • North Shore Advisory Committee on Disability Issues
  • Accessible Housing Network
  • BC Parks Inclusion Committee
  • Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants – National Accessibility Advisory Committee
  • Canadian Accessibility Network Steering Committee
  • BC Government Accessible Service Delivery Standard Technical Committee
  • Climate Equity for Underserved Populations in BC Advisory Group
  • Canadian Accessibility Network
  • George Pearson Centre Redevelopment Advisory Committee

How Can You Get Involved in DABC’s Advocacy Work?

If you want to see meaningful, impactful change in our society for people with disabilities, and you have a personal story/experience that you wish to share with DABC, you are welcome to reach out to us at:

We often compile stories, experiences and advocacy points from our clients and network to use within our advocacy materials, including letters and campaigns. Please note that no personal, identifiable information will be shared to the government or the public without your consent.

If you have points of advocacy to share related to one or more of the committees that we sit on, please also email us as the email address above.

Consider becoming a member of DABC and having your voice heard at our annual AGM. As a member, you will also be kept up to date on the latest disability news in BC and receive DABC’s Transition Magazine three times a year.

Please note that as we have limited capacity, we cannot support individual advocacy campaigns. If you need advocacy assistance with your particular situation, please check our list of direct services to see if we have the expertise to assist. If not, we may be able to offer you information or referrals to other organizations that may be able to help.

If you want to read up on DABC’s advocacy work, please read our blog here, in which we post news relevant to the disability community, including our advocacy work.

If you would like to develop your own advocacy work using DABC’s content, all statements, letters, campaigns made public on our website are free to use; we kindly request that DABC is cited in any work that you may develop.

If you would like to uplift DABC’s advocacy work, you are welcome to share our work with:

  • Your friends, family and network
  • Facebook and other social media groups
  • Your local MLA (this is the representative for your riding at the Provincial level): You can find your local MLA’s contact information here
  • Your local MP (this is the representative for your riding at the Federal level): You can find your local MP’s contact information here.
  • The news and other media

Our advocacy work is not funded by any grants that we receive, so we rely on donations to amplify our work where we can. Consider donating to support our advocacy work here.