British Columbia - B.C. small businesses can now access financial support to create inclusive work environments for people with disabilities as part of a new $4.8 million grant from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction as part of the Accessible British Columbia Act.
The Workplace Accessibility Grant will provide support to small business employers through direct financial assistance to remove workplace barriers and to improve physical environments, technology, communication, and access to information for employees with disabilities.
“Many people with disabilities are interested in securing a good job but have experienced additional barriers due to the pandemic,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This new funding will support employers and businesses committed to building more inclusive and accessible workplaces in hiring staff that reflect the diversity of our province.”
Partner organizations, Small Business BC (SBBC) and the Presidents Group are working together to deliver the funds through the Employer Supports for Persons with Disabilities project. This project aims to help small businesses to hire, rehire and retain people with disabilities for long term successful employment.
“Almost a quarter of B.C.’s population are living with a disability, which ranges from physical disabilities to invisible ones like mental illness and communications challenges. We want to enable small businesses to retain and hire people with disabilities and to create long term employment opportunities so every person can fully participate in their community,” says Tom Conway, CEO of Small Business BC.
“This funding creates a real opportunity for employers to break down barriers and improve accessibility in their businesses. B.C. small business owners will be able to assess and determine what aspects of their operation could benefit from improved accessibility and then utilize a grant from Small Business BC to make real change in their workplace. Whether it means businesses can introduce accessible devices, make physical changes to their workplace or access training - any of these changes will ultimately help increase accessibility and inclusion, which is very exciting to see!” says Lisa Beecroft, owner of Gabi & Jules, and Co-chair of the Presidents Group.
Workplace Accessibility Grant Information
Small Business employers can apply for grants of up to $1000 per business. Grant applications are open from June 21, 2021 to April 30, 2022 for a range of eligible services, such as:
- Adapting the environment: adding ramps, lighting, accessible washrooms and more.
- Adding technologies: such as software that enables accessible documents, tablets, laptops and specialized tools.
- Information and communication: ASL or Braille versions of company documents, website updates for accessibility, screen readers and more.
- Changing policies and practices: anti-bias training, ASL interpretations, accessibility audit, etc.
A full list of eligible services, grant eligibility criteria and application details can be found through Small Business BC, at smallbusinessbc.ca/accessibility-resources
Learn more about Accessibility Legislation in BC here.
About Small Business BC
SBBC helps British Columbia’s entrepreneurs grow successful and sustainable businesses through expert business advisors, educational services, easy-to-use free resources and community events. Visit smallbusinessbc.ca
About The Presidents Group
Formed in 2013, the Presidents Group is a network of 25 change-driven BC business leaders who are champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces. Visit accessibleemployers.ca