Monday is officially Rick Hansen Day in British Columbia.
The provincial government declared May 28, 2018 as a special day in honour of Hansen’s contribution to the province and country.
Premier John Horgan also announced a $10-million grant to help the Rick Hansen foundation make “communities more accessible and inclusive.”
“Rick is not only going to continue raise awareness, but provide practical solutions to removing barriers,” said Horgan on the front steps of the B.C. legislature. “To make certifications not just for elder buildings like this, but new buildings across B.C. and across Canada.”
Hansen started his foundation 30 years ago with the goal of increasing awareness, changing attitudes and removing barriers for people with disabilities.
According to number provided by the province more than 500,000 British Columbians aged 15 and older self-identify as having a disability.
WATCH HERE: Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour – A Look Back
“We can’t stop now, we have to accelerate the pace and the only way we can do that is to see leadership take place,” said Hansen. “One of the challenges on dealing with disability is there is a lot of fragmentation and we want to bring those communities together.”
The B.C. government has also proclaimed May 27 to June 2, 2018 as AccessAbility Week.
Earlier on Monday, Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux introduced the Building (New Housing Access) Amendment Act in the Legislature. If passed, it will require that all new multi-unit housing be built with accessibility considerations in mind. A percentage of all new housing would be required to meet the criteria of ‘adaptable,’ ‘SAFERhome certified’ or ‘visitable.’
Opposition legislation rarely gets passed into law.
“We have had accessible standards for public spaces for decades. As a society, we have acknowledged that inclusion and access are fundamental rights,” says Cadieux. “Arguably we have done quite well, but we have missed a fundamental need: housing.
“We must commit with fortitude to delivering inclusive homes that meet a wide range of needs in those inclusive communities we regularly champion.”