The BC Paraplegic Association is a not-for-profit organization that provides service and support for people with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities in British Columbia, Canada. The organization helps people rebuild their lives and careers in their home community.
The Canadian Paraplegic Association, BC Division (now known as the BC Paraplegic Association) was formed in 1957, led by Executive Director Doug Mowat, who held this position until his passing in 1992. In 1959, the association’s first employee was hired as a rehabilitation consultant. That same year, the BC Paraplegic Association celebrated its first job placement.
During the 1960s, scholarships were made available to assist individuals with physical disabilities in reaching their post-secondary education goals. The BC Paraplegic Association also helped contributed to worldwide disability education and development in 1969 with its donation of equipment to people with disabilities in developing countries.
Strong promotion by the BC Paraplegic Association to revise the BC Building Code and eliminate stairs as the only means of access to public buildings proved successful in 1973, when the City of Vancouver introduced its new accessibility by-laws. These standards were expanded throughout the province under the BC Building Code in 1979.
The BC Paraplegic Foundation was established in 1975 to support the BC Paraplegic Association and individuals with spinal cord injuries and other mobility-related impairments.
The BC Paraplegic Association also extensively consulted in the planning of Vancouver’s Expo ’86 which was lauded as a showcase for accessibility and high-tech innovations for people with disabilities.
In the 1990s, the association worked with BC Transit and were instrumental in the development of the accessible bus program in the Lower Mainland – the first of its kind in Canada.