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BC People First Society (BCPF) is a non-profit provincial organization that is part of the international PEOPLE FIRST movement. BCPF has been the independent voice of self-advocates in BC for over 40 years. We are a society made up of a group of BCPF Members from across British Columbia who want to make sure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are included and respected in our communities as full citizens. We do this by supporting each other to speak up for ourselves and by sharing advocacy skills with each other.

BCPF Membership is for people who:

  • Live in British Columbia

  • Identify as having a intellectual, developmental, or learning disability

  • Want to learn more about human rights and self-advocacy

  • Hope to meet new people or find an advocacy mentor

  • Like to share their experiences to help others

We believe people labelled with the terms developmental disability or intellectual disability deserve FREEDOM, CHOICE, RESPECT, DIGNITY, and INCLUSION in our daily lives. We advocate with government and service providers for "nothing about us without us" and for the rights, wants, and needs of our BCPF Members.

Join the People First movement in British Columbia!

Become a BC People First Member today and help us fight against ableism in our society.

Sign up to become a BC People First Member – it's free.


Fill out the online membership form HERE.

BCPF Membership Includes:

  • E-newsletters with self-advocacy tips and resources 

  • Voting rights at our Annual General Meeting

  • Having a say in what we advocate for in our communities across BC

  • Peer mentorship and self-advocacy support

  • Plain language support for filling out selected online surveys

  • Members-only social events

  • Members-only education events

BCPF Members Can Get More Involved By:

  • Attending meetings at a local BCPF Chapter or starting a Chapter in your own area 

  • Joining our Advocacy Circles or focus groups

  • Becoming a presenter for BCPF Panel Presentations and workshops

  • Submitting advocacy stories for the BCPF blog or getting support from BCPF to write one

  • Members can volunteer to be a Director on the Board when positions come up. Our Board and Society is run by self-advocates!

Forms  >>

Use the downloadable PDF form above and send it back to us – or fill out the online membership form HERE.

Join us and join the fight against ableism in BC! Some members sign up only to help grow the People First movement and some sign up to get more involved and volunteer with us. It's up to you how much or little you want to be involved. We just ask that you keep your membership information up to date and get involved with projects that interest you. 

These are just some of the things that matter most to BCPF Members:

  • Employment and fair wages - equal work for equal pay, entrepreneurship support, and closing Sheltered Workshops in Canada.

  • De-institutionalization - getting people out of institutions and into the community.

  • Affordable housing - everyone should have a good, clean home and choice in where they live.

  • Equal disability benefits and a livable income - everyone deserves a guaranteed livable income!

  • Access to quality services - all government services should be individualized, person-centred, helpful, and hopeful.

  • Accessible transportation and passageways - society should be made for everyone not just some.

  • Inclusive, non-segregated communities - everyone should be part of the community on their own terms not segregated based on labels.

We write letters, do presentations, host focus groups, make videos, and advocate with service providers about issues affecting people with disabilities. We advocate for all people to be seen as equal citizens and for issues that matter to our Members.

At BCPF we work to stop the stigma surrounding intellectual and developmental disabilities and unite our Members' voices in the fight to be considered People First. The fight to not have people speak for us or down to us and to help everyone in society understand what "nothing about us without us" really means and why it matters.

In Canada, the People First movement began in 1973 when Self-Advocates came together from all over North America to talk about their rights. For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their first issue was their right to live in the community – to get out of institutions.


By 1974, the first People First Chapter was up and running here in British Columbia. This first group was made up of men and women who lived in an institution and wanted to get out. They wanted to live in the community and have their voice, their choice, and their rights. For the next several years, People First groups began to form in provinces, territories, and communities across the country and these groups continue to grow and thrive.

To this day, BC People First still advocates for the rights and needs of our members and all people with disabilities. Such as affordable housing, relationship rights, increasing PWD rates, community accessibility, meaningful employment, plus much more. As a grassroots volunteer-run nonprofit society we promote and support self-advocacy training and peer mentorships. We want quality of life and equal rights for all people in our society and we work towards full implementation of the UNCRPD. Plus, there are community involvement and social opportunities for BCPF Members who want to get more involved.

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