Back For More: Michael J. Prince

Michael J. Prince is a leading disability scholar and board chair of Community Living British Columbia (Photo: Chek News)

By Spencer van Vloten

BC Disability

August 15th, 2021

Michael J. Prince is one of Canada's leading disability scholars, and was recently appointed to his 2nd term as board chair of Community Living BC, a crown corporation that supports persons with intellectual disabilities across the province.

We talked with Michael about how he became a disability scholar, what he's focused on as CLBC Board Chair, and a lot more!

Why did you end up focusing much of your scholarship on disability issues?

Michael: Well, I can tell you that there was no specific plan to do so early in my career.

As a political scientist and social policy specialist, one of the first opportunities came 30 years ago. In 1991 I was invited to prepare a report on disability income systems in Canada for the then BC Premier's Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities.

Further opportunities came to do work on disability policy issues for policy research institutes and think tanks, royal commissions, government departments and agencies, sit on community boards and advisory councils, and appear before parliamentary committees.

All this work greatly informed my 2009 book, Absent Citizens: Disability Politics and Policy in Canada. Through the years, I have worked with countless good people and learned so much from so many.

What are your goals for CLBC in your 2nd term as board chair?

Michael: A key goal of the board and executive at CLBC is to strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities and families across BC.

In this, we are guided by the province’s commitment to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to work in collaboration and consultation with Indigenous partners. I am honoured and humbled to have this role at this time to participate in reconciliation.

A key goal of the board and executive at CLBC is to strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities and families across BC

A related core goal is to review and update our strategic plan. In this process, we are involving CLBC staff across all the regions of the province, individuals and families were serve, service providers and others community agencies.

This is an opportunity to reflect on identifying lessons from the pandemic and on determining what a better future can look like for the citizens and communities we support.

Looking back on your 1st term, what do you consider the successes and areas for improvement?

Michael: Successes included an effective transformation of board membership; the recruitment of Ross Chilton as our new Chief Executive Officer – the single most important decision a governance board can make; and bolstering relationships between the board and the Provincial Advisory Committee and community councils.

I am proud of the dedication and impressed by the commitment members b