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VIU to improve campus accessibility with provincial funding

$3.3 million will be used to address hard-to-access places at Vancouver Island University
Vancouver Island University will make its Nanaimo campus more accessible and inclusive using $3.3 million in funding from the provincial government. (VIU photo)

Money from the province will help Vancouver Island University improve its students’ access to learning.

VIU is upgrading its campuses to become more inclusive and accessible thanks to a $3.3-million investment announced at the end of August.

The Nanaimo campus is located on a steep slope with 409 stairs that must be negotiated to climb from the bottom to the top of the property. According to a press release, the funding will improve access to teaching spaces, buildings and locations currently a challenge for many people to access. The money will also help create universally accessible gender-neutral washrooms in buildings that don’t have them on VIU’s campuses in Nanaimo, Cowichan and Powell River.

“Our post-secondary institutions are committed to making sure learning environments are accessible for all students,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, in a press release from the province. “Improving accessibility will boost participation in campus activities, education and training for many students with disabilities, community members, faculty and staff who would have otherwise faced challenges.”

VIU established a universal access committee in 2017 and has since been undertaking accessibility and inclusion projects, including a $2.9-million investment from the province. The upgrades also align with the province’s Accessible B.C. Plan, noted the B.C. government, which outlines how the province intends to identify, remove and prevent barriers for people.

“One of the key commitments in our five-year strategic plan … is to welcome a larger and more diverse population of learners,” said Deborah Saucier, VIU president, in the release. “In recent years, VIU has significantly invested in capital improvements to increase the accessibility of our campus, as one of the many ways we are working toward making post-secondary education available to all at VIU.”

To learn more about accessibility at VIU, visit

READ ALSO: Province announces it’s spending $87 million on student housing at VIU

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