Moira Stilwell, B.C.’s Minister of Social Development, made Cranbrook a stop on her month-long tour of the province for Community Living Month.
Stilwell visited representatives of Community Living B.C., service providers and people with developmental disabilities during her visit to Cranbrook on Monday, October 22.
“Community Living B.C. is a recognized leader in providing support to adults with developmental disabilities so they can lead good lives in inclusive communities. What we are doing is meeting with people from CLBC, service providers, adults receiving support, or self advocates,” said Stilwell.
CLBC is the Crown agency responsible for supports and services for the disability-related needs of adults with developmental disabilities.
For 2012-2013, CLBC’s total operating budget, which includes operating contributions from the B.C. government, is $748 million to assist more than 14,200 adults. CLBC’s services are voluntary and are complemented by services from other B.C. ministries and agencies including income support, housing and health supports.
Minister Stilwell said the purpose of her October visit is to raise awareness of people with developmental disabilities, who make valuable contributions to society.
“And they want to,” said Stilwell. “That’s an important part of the supports and services. On one hand we want to make sure they have support for their daily living activities that they may need help with. At the same time, we want to help encourage and empower them to work when they can and want to, but also participate in the community in the same way that able persons are able to.”
She observed that the support network for adults with developmental disabilities is centred around each individual.
“Throughout B.C. what I see is there is a network of supports that’s really remarkable in terms of both their philosophy and how they try to make each person the centre of the decisions, the centre of aids, the centre of supports, so each person has a plan for their life just like you and I and is figuring out how to get to that plan.”
Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett accompanied Minister Stilwell on her visit to Cranbrook.
“My main purpose is to make sure that parents, providers and disabled British Columbians know they are not all by themselves way out here in the East Kootenay and Victoria doesn’t know where they are and what’s happening,” said Bennett. “So having the Minister here and taking a look at what we have here is good for the Minister, it’s good for us as the government, but also it’s a comfort to the people I just mentioned.”