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Press Release: BC Municipalities' consideration of wheelchair licensing blatantly discriminates against people with disabilities

Summary: 
NEW WESTMINSTER, BC, August 23, 2013 - The Union of BC Municipalities' consideration of a proposal to institute a mandatory licensing regime for people who use motorized wheelchairs and scooters is clearly discriminatory against people with disabilities.
 Inclusion BC reminds UBCM that people with disabilities who use motorized wheelchairs and scooters have an equal right to leave their homes and move around in the community as do people who run, walk, or bicycle.
 
"This proposal is profoundly ignorant and I am shocked that UBCM would support its consideration," said Faith Bodnar, executive director of Inclusion BC. "It threatens the right of people with disabilities to move around on their streets and communities as equal community members with those who walk, run, or bicycle."
 
The Vancouver Sun reported on August 23 that UBCM is endorsing a call by Sidney council to regulate, train and test users of motorized wheelchairs and mobility scooters. ICBC does not require registration, insurance or licensing of these devices, which support the basic human right of people with disabilities to participate in their communities and go about their daily lives. Motorized wheelchairs and scooters often support the movement of people with disabilities who carry medical equipment with them that is necessary for life.
 
Motorized wheelchairs and scooters have maximum speeds of 6.5 km/h to 8 km/h. Average walking speeds range from 4 km/h to 6.5 km/h, while average running speeds are approximately 8 km/h. Bicycling speeds are typically 15 - 20 km/h. Nonetheless, the proposal specifically targets people with disabilities using wheelchairs for burdensome licensing and testing requirements not imposed on walkers, runners, or cyclists.
 
"It is deeply disturbing that UBCM would support a proposal that threatens the inclusion of people with disabilities in the community and targets people with disabilities for clearly discriminatory measures.  This proposal is a threat to the human rights of people with disabilities, and we expect that UBCM will rescind its support for this and any similar proposal," said Bodnar. 
 
Inclusion BC, formerly the BC Association for Community Living (BCACL), is a provincial advocacy organization with over 70 member agencies dedicated to building community and enhancing the lives of children and youth with special needs, adults with developmental disabilities, and their families by supporting abilities, promoting action and advancing rights and social justice.
 
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Contact:
Faith Bodnar
Executive Director
Inclusion BC
(604) 777-9100 x. 516
fbodnar@inclusionbc.org
 
Lynne Kates
Communications Coordinator
Inclusion BC
(604)777-9100 x. 527
ckates@inclusionbc.org
 

Quick link:

"B.C. municipalities seek licencing for motorized chair users," Vancouver Sun, August 23, 2013: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/municipalities+seek+licencing+motorized+chair+users/8822896/story.html