NANAIMO – In anticipation of B.C’s second annual AccessAbility week, New Democrat MLA Sheila Malcolmson participated in a new Nanaimo Food Share society program designed to increase food security and reduce social isolation for people with disabilities.
Yesterday, Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo, prepared and shared a meal with the Everyone at the Table (EAT) program. During dinner, participants shared their personal stories with Malcolmson around accessibility and food security in Nanaimo.
EAT was launched in early 2019, thanks to a $35,688 grant from the province. The EAT team includes self-advocates, service providers and policymakers working on accessibility and food security in B.C. The team meets twice a month to share a meal and, as equal partners at the table, address and overcome barriers to healthy eating for people with disabilities.
Last May, the province announced $500,000 in funding during the first annual B.C. AccessAbility Week to support community-based projects that promote greater accessibility and inclusivity for people. The province, in partnership with Disability Alliance BC (DABC), announced the 16 successful projects, including Nanaimo Food Share’s EAT project, in December 2018.
May 26 to June 1, 2019, is proclaimed B.C.’s second annual AccessAbility Week. AccessAbility Week promotes and celebrates progress in diversity and inclusion throughout B.C.
Malcolmson said the New Democrat government has taken action to make life better and more affordable for people with disabilities, including increasing disability assistance rates by $150 per month, introducing a new transportation supplement for people with disabilities, and increasing earnings exemptions for people on assistance.
- More than 900,000 people in B.C. aged 15 and older, or 24.7% of the population, self-identify as having a disability.
- The population of people with disabilities is growing rapidly. One in five Canadian adults has a disability.
- B.C. has the fifth highest rate of disability in Canada.
- The provincial government provides up to $5 billion annually to fund services and supports to people with disabilities in B.C.
“Programs like EAT recognize the importance of working together and sharing knowledge to better people’s lives. It’s a remarkable project that uses food to help people connect with each other and build community. We are fortunate to live in a place where people care about each other, get involved, and work each day to create meaningful change in our city.” – Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo.
“Too many people in our province struggle to afford food, and that is especially true for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, most food security projects are not designed for people with disabilities and fail to take into account their specific accessibility needs. I’m very proud that our government is supporting programs like EAT that are tackling poverty through an accessibility lens.” –Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan
“It is a great privilege for DABC to be given the opportunity to support projects that will increase accessibility and inclusion in British Columbia. The funding is already successfully enhancing these creative and innovative projects that are each working to empower the disability community.” – Myung Lee, DABC’s Accessibility project manager.
B.C. government accessibility initiatives: www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility
Nanaimo Food Share Society: https://nanaimofoodshare.ca