The government has made changes to the law that governs Community Living BC (CLBC) to ensure its Board of Directors will continue to include people it serves and be guided by an Indigenous Advisory Committee.
The formal inclusion of an Indigenous Advisory Committee into the Community Living Authority Act (CLAA) is an enduring change made as part of CLBC’s plan for Reconciliation.
“We want the people served by CLBC to be directly involved in its decisions, so there’s ‘nothing about us without us’,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “These changes support community inclusion and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.”
Other changes will require CLBC’s Board of Directors to continue to include at least one Indigenous person, two people eligible for CLBC services, and one family member of someone eligible for CLBC services.
While CLBC’s Board has generally already been meeting these requirements, including them in the law will help ensure the Crown corporation established in 2005 will continue to be guided by those it serves.
“CLBC was established in response to individuals and families who wanted services that would advance inclusion and be responsive to their needs,” said Michael Prince, CLBC Board Chair. “These changes will help ensure that vision as we go forward.”
“The work of reconciliation is difficult, but it is necessary, and starts with humility coupled with meaningful and legitimate actions,” said Neil Belanger, CEO of the BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society and Chair of the CLBC Indigenous Advisory Committee. “The government has taken an important step by incorporating the knowledge and directions of the Indigenous Advisory Committee into the legislation that governs CLBC.”
CLBC’s Board of Directors is currently made up of 11 members and includes two individuals with disabilities, three immediate family members, and two Indigenous individuals. The Board is supported by a Provincial Advisory Committee made up of individuals eligible for CLBC services and family members and since 2012 has had an Indigenous Advisory Committee that includes Indigenous leaders from around the province.
The Board of Directors worked with these groups to create its current Strategic Plan and seeks input from them on provincial issues and concerns throughout the year. It also consults with them on major improvement projects such as the creation of welcome workshops for individuals and families entering services, and the development of a new support service called L.I.F.E. to support learning, inclusion, friendship and employment.
The CLBC Indigenous Advisory Committee is helping oversee a reconciliation plan that includes building new relationships with Indigenous partners and communities and creating culturally appropriate and safe services, such as new culturally safe housing support for Indigenous youth in Kamloops.
“These amendments reflect our ongoing efforts to respond in meaningful, enduring ways that will make a difference for the people we serve,” said Ross Chilton, CLBC CEO.