Accessibility in the BC Public Service
Last updated: May 3, 2022
Accessibility-confident employers are mindful of the needs of employees with disabilities when they create employment opportunities, embrace digital accessibility and develop and implement policies and practices that ensure employees with disabilities are included.
For more information, please visit our homepage – the Diversity & Inclusion Resource Centre – which includes information about the Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, Indigenous initiatives, Learning and resources, Governance and Community.
On this page
- What is a disability?
- Is there a 'right' way to talk about disability?
- Barriers to employment
- Managers' Guide to Reasonable Accommodation
- Work-Able internship program
- Accessibility resources
The Accessible B.C. Act defines 'disability' as an inability to participate fully and equally in society as a result of the interaction of an impairment and a barrier.
Ultimately, employees are encouraged to be sensitive, flexible and overcome any individual bias, discomfort or fear related to disability by asking individuals their personal language preference.
Employees should be aware that terms like 'diversability,' 'handicapped,' 'impaired' and others have been used in literature to describe/identify a person with a disability. These terms are sometimes used by individuals or communities that identify with specific types of disability, but generally speaking, employees in the BC Public Service are encouraged to use the word 'disability' to avoid confusion from the reader and demonstrate best practice while acknowledging this diverse portion of the population.
The Accessible B.C. Act defines a 'barrier' as anything that hinders the full and equal participation in society of a person with an impairment.
A barrier can be:
- Caused by environments, attitudes, practices, policies, information, communications, or technologies, and
- Affected by intersecting forms of discrimination
There are 6 identified barriers that stop people with disabilities from participating successfully in the workplace.
When people without disabilities think and act based upon false assumptions, such as:
- Making decisions about people with disabilities without including them
- Not believing that a person with a disability can contribute to the workforce
When obstacles in an environment make it difficult to access, such as:
- Hosting inaccessible events or meeting spaces
- A washroom with an accessible stall but no automatic door opener
When people with disabilities use different ways to communicate than people who do not have disabilities, such as:
- Using small print or not providing large-print versions of material
- Videos, events, or meetings that do not have closed captions
When an organization’s policies, practices or procedures result in exclusion, such as:
- Not providing American Sign Language Interpreter or closed captioning
- Requiring a driver’s license for a job that could be reorganized to use another form of transportation
When technology can’t be accessed by people with disabilities, such as when:
- Websites, documents, or databases are not accessible for screen readers
- Website graphs and charts are posted without text to explain them
When sensory information such as lights, sounds, smells, etc. impede people with disabilities to participate in the environment, such as:
- Co-workers wearing perfume in the workplace
- Use of fluorescent lighting in the workplace
The Work-Able internship program is a 12-month paid internship with the BC Public Service for recent (within the last three years) post-secondary graduates who self-identify as having a disability.
Each year, this unique program provides learning, coaching and mentorship to employees who face barriers to achieving gainful employment.