Access, inclusion and universal design benefit everyone. Access BC is helping make this a reality in BC.

a group of people on SCI BC's Access BC team stand together in an accessible trail. Some people are in wheelchairs.
Members of the Access BC team doing field work on Vancouver Island.

Access BC is a program of Spinal Cord Injury BC. Since 2007, we’ve provided a number of services to help organizations, community partners, and tourism associations build or expand accessible experiences in BC.

Our team focuses on accessible outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities by facilitating universal design training, performing accessibility audits and creating accessible travel resources. Our work is guided by the principles of universal design – a concept that benefits everyone. Whether you use a mobility aid, have a visual impairment, or are simply ageing, universal design enables inclusivity and ease of access.

We are proud to partner with local governments, stakeholders, and tourism associations throughout the province to help make BC the best place for people with disabilities and their families to live, work and be active.

Access BC History

Access BC was developed out of a need to improve accessible outdoor spaces and recreational and tourism opportunities in BC. It aims to create inclusive spaces through educational workshops, universal design training, accessibility audits, and key partnerships with tourism and government agencies throughout the province.

Beginning in 2007, SCI BC was a driving force behind the Measuring Up the North project, an initiative that engaged 41 local governments, disability and seniors’ organizations, businesses, and citizens in Northern BC in active dialogue, assessment, and planning for the development of universally designed and inclusive communities. This three-year project gave us valuable experience working with communities and organizations in the region and was the catalyst for launching our Access North program. Introduced in 2017, Access North continued our work in Northern BC by providing vital accessibility audits, sharing important disability perspectives, and training in universal design. The success of this program provided the impetus for us to broaden the scope of our work to reach the rest of the province and to rename the program Access BC. Recognizing that accessible tourism and accessible communities go hand in hand, Access BC developed key partnerships with regional tourism associations, governments and other public and private sector stakeholders.

Read more about Access BC’s history and achievements in our Highlights Report.

Access BC Team

Thanks to our supporters, tourism partners, and BC SCI Network partner, the Neil Squire Society, we’ve established six Access & Inclusion Liaison positions to work alongside the Regional Development Liaison and help advance the vision of Access BC. These positions are almost entirely held by people with SCI and represent six unique tourism areas across BC.

nancy-harris

Nancy Harris,
Access BC Lead, Regional Development Liaison & Vancouver Coast Mountain Liaison

sonja-gaudet

Sonja Gaudet,
Access & Inclusion Liaison, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association

alison duddy

Alison Duddy, Access & Inclusion Liaison, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Region

Lori Slater

Lori Slater,
Access & Inclusion Liaison, Northern BC Tourism Association

a photo of SCI BC's Resource Centre Manager, Jocelyn

Jocelyn Maffin,
Access & Inclusion Liaison, Tourism Vancouver Island Association

agasha

Agasha Mutesasira, Access & Inclusion Liaison, Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association

Going Forward

Going forward, we will look to leverage these partnerships to advance opportunities of mutual interest that will build stronger, more inclusive communities that support accessible tourism and sustainable economic development. We’re excited about the Accessible BC Act and the province’s commitment to increase accessibility and inclusion for all British Columbians. We are eager and motivated to continue expanding our Access BC initiatives to all regions of the province.

We are also thrilled to continue to partner with Dr. Mark Groulx and his research team at the University of British Columbia. Under the generosity of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant, Access BC will help Dr.Groulx further his research on the development, improvement and implementation of an accessibility digital app co-developed with Access BC. This tool allows users to capture accessibility data for outdoor and tourism environments based on a set of recognized standards and ultimately aims to improve these spaces through shared knowledge, reporting and transparency with stakeholders. Once completed, the Access BC accessibility assessment app will be made freely available to users.

We are committed to expanding our relationships with tourism associations in BC and look forward to collaborating with them to develop and deliver:

  • Accessible tourism products/experiences and promotional materials
  • Universal design and accessibility education and training for all stakeholders
  • Best practice models and evaluation for accessible tourism-related practices
  • Accessible employment and customer service resources (e.g., with go2HR)
  • Positioning BC as a global leader in accessible tourism

Accessibility also happens on a personal and local level. If you’d like to learn more about how you can get involved in your community, please visit this page.

Get in Touch

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or ideas on how we can work together. We want to hear from you!

Contact Nancy Harris at nharris@sci-bc.ca to learn more.

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