If you’re interested in volunteering, sponsoring or coming to AdvoCon2023, stay tuned, we will be posting information and ways to apply throughout July, along with updates to this FAQ!
AdvoCon2023: Breaking Barriers Together
A Hybrid Event On Self-Advocacy and Disability in Education
Hosted by BCEdAccess and BC People First
Thursday, October 19th to Sunday, October 22nd on Whova
October 21st and 22nd at Simon Fraser University, and broadcast on Whova
AdvoCon2023 is our 9th conference, and our first with an in-person component since 2019! The event will be hybrid, with two in-person days and all four days online. This year we are also fortunate to be co-hosting with BC People First (BCPF), an independent voice of self-advocates in BC for over 40 years. BCPF is a society made up of a group of 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. BCPF members work together to write letters, do presentations, and advocate with governments about issues affecting people with disabilities. BCPF is a place for self-advocates to network and get support while sharing and learning advocacy skills. Find more information at www.bcpeopelfirst.com.
Follow the hashtag #AdvoCon2023 for updates on social media, sign up for our newsletter, search for us on the Whova app, and email us email@example.com to help support the event!
We are working this year to create another accessible virtual event to keep the conversations on equitable access to education going while keeping people safe and healthy. We will also have two in person (hybrid) days at SFU Surrey, with health and safety precautions. Whether this will be your first time attending or you’ve come to every conference since 2014, we hope you walk away inspired, energized, connected, and ready to take your influence to the next level.
If you’re looking to get tickets, to prepare for and learn about the event, or to decide if this conference is for you, this is the page to read!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What is AdvoCon?
AdvoCon is an annual education advocacy conference, organized by the BCEDAccess Society, a grassroots, BC nonprofit society and Canadian charitable organization, founded in 2014. We are parents and guardians of students with disabilities and diverse abilities from all over the province. Our focus is action for equitable access to education, and we are led by the population we serve – disabled people, BIPOC, 2SLGBTQ+, and other people in protected classes under human rights.
This conference is a unique opportunity for learning and connecting with self advocates, parents/guardians, educators, administrators and all allies/accomplices in the pursuit of inclusion.
Who Sponsors the BCEdAccess Conference?
Without our sponsors, we could not put on such a great event. YOU or your organization can be a sponsor!
Becoming a sponsor gives your organization the opportunity to support a great cause while also receiving promotion to the BCEdAccess and BC People First communities and our supporters and networks. Our follower count grows each year and our 2023 sponsors will reach more people than ever before.
This year we have new options for promoting our Feature and Program Sponsors. Exhibitors also have great opportunities to connect with attendees online in the Whova app. Take a moment to look at our Sponsorship Package and Exhibitor Package, and learn more about the benefits of each opportunity, or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions and discuss your options.
BCEdAccess is proud to be a registered charity 723648317RR0001. Charitable tax receipts will be issued to the name and email provided in the sponsorship agreement or at the donation link.
If you’re not a part of an organization but would like to support AdvoCon or be an Exhibitor, we are always thrilled to accept donations from individuals and we’ll consider you as an Exhibitor too if your exhibit aligns with our values and work. If you are interested in directly supporting this event, please visit our donation link here and please be sure to select AdvoCon as the program on the form.
Your generous support is much appreciated!
Exhibitors virtually? How does that work?
We also have virtual exhibitor space available! For only $200 you can have a virtual booth to showcase your organization, goods or services. There’s an exhibitor passport contest where if folks visit the booths they can win a prize. Speak to attendees, collect contact information and interact with them all via the Whova app. We have a very limited number of ‘tables’ which can be booked separately or as a part of a sponsorship package, so if you want a table, now is the time to reach out!
We may also have some in-person exhibitor space available for October 21st and 22nd at SFU Surrey. Let us know you’re interested and we’ll put you on the list to contact once we have details!
Is The Conference Accessible?
The conference is virtual again this year, with two in-person days that will be hybrid.
We will have the following accessibility features:
American Sign Language interpretation (ASL)
CART – Real Time Live Captioning
All gender washrooms available in your home and accessible washrooms at the venue in person.
Because BCEdAccess prioritizes equity, and a potentially heavier cold, flu and COVID-19 season are expected in the fall, face masks will be required for the in-person days, except when actively eating, drinking or presenting. They should be well-fitting, covering the nose, mouth and chin. Daily self-screening for symptoms of COVID-19 or any other communicable illness is requested, and if you are symptomatic please do not attend. Accommodations for disabled people who cannot tolerate a mask will be in place.
Sessions available after they have ‘aired’ to ticket holders who may not have been able to make it ‘live’
If you have any individual needs that you do not see addressed here, please let us know asap so that we can provide appropriate accommodations.
Can I Volunteer?
Yes! We need all kinds of volunteers from planning support to technical help for Zoom to promoters and cheerleaders who will share this event on social media and in person. Reach out to get on the list: email@example.com
What is an Education Advocacy Conference?
Parents/guardians are their child’s best advocate, until their child is ready to be their own advocate – and we can teach them the skills they need to get there! Our conference provides practical tools and information for families and those who work with children with disabilities and complex learners that they can take away and put to use! This year’s event will also feature information around tranistioning to adult supports, self-advocacy, and more.
This year will be a 4 day event! There will be 6-8 sessions each day, over 4 concurrent time slots. You can choose any session to attend, they’ll all be available to you after to watch in your own time. The in-person days will be broadcast online as well.
See our agenda for details on the many amazing sessions as it gets updated on Whova!
Look here for the link when we go live with this year’s conference information on the Whova app
The conference is generally attended by parents and guardians of students with disabilities and complex learners, self-advocates, professionals working with this population of students, and allies. Many politicians and people working in child-serving systems find it valuable.
We invite you to take part in the quality programming and make connections this year!
When Does the Conference Take Place and Where?
Where? In your living room, kitchen, bedroom – on your computer, laptop or phone! We’re using the Whova app this year and it’s great for interactions before the event and between sessions!
We’ll also have two in-person (hybrid) days at SFU Surrey!
Look here for information on hotel booking, how to get there, and more as we update!
Thursday, October 19th to Sunday, October 22nd, 2023
Morning , afternoon and evening sessions
And you can also participate from home in your jammies 🙂
Where Can I View the Speakers and Workshops?
Right here! All of the information is available on the conference website which is hosted on the Whova app. Look here for when that goes live!
Also look for our social media posts on the speakers and workshops! #AdvoCon2023 will have all our posts!
Workshops – do I get to Take Them All?
Many are concurrent and you’ll have to choose.
You can watch after though, if you have a ticket for the whole event!
You can request a certificate of completion and many use these hours for professional development credits. I am having as much trouble as you will in deciding which ones to attend so I apologize in advance because they are all great!
What About Accommodations? Is there a Group Rate?
Accommodations are free for the online event, enjoy staying in your own bed and enjoying your own food 🙂
We’ll be looking into a group rate at a hotel near SFU Surrey and will keep you updated!
What is Included in My Conference Ticket Price?
You can get a few different #AdvoCon2023 tickets.
The first 100 online only ticket purchasers will also receive a conference swag bag mailed to their home!
In-person attendees will all receive a swag bag, and coffee and lunch breaks are included.
Hybrid (in-person and online)
Get your tickets early as we expect them to move quickly this year! The in-person tickets will be limited in number due to venue size so sign up early!
Who Comes to our Conferences?
This conference unites around 200 parents, guardians, self-advocates, education professionals and other allies of students with disabilities and complex learners from around BC, convening for a yearly conference of learning, networking, advocacy and human rights training, and more.
What If I Am Not a Parent, or not from BC?
AdvoCon2023 is designed for parents and guardians of students with disabilities, and for self-advocates (including parents and non-parents). It also includes content that will be relevant to attendees who are education professionals, politicians, folks from related organizations, and allies, and we encourage you to come if you want to learn more from and about these students and their needs and experiences. Presenters give a lot of practical information, and this year we will be providing a certificate for each workshop to attendees so that it may be used for Continuing Professional Development credits, reimbursement, etc.
Most of our content is not province-specific. The tools we provide and the learning and connection are valuable across the country and around the world because the barriers to access are common.
We believe that there is so much common ground among different groups of people as well, and we can work together to achieve true systemic change – government, teachers, EAs, parents/guardians, students, etc.
Is the Conference the Same as Previous Years?
No two conference years are ever the same. This is the ninth year of our event, and we have some returning speakers presenting different material, as well as a whole range of new workshops and presenters. We have continued to run a multi-day event as we have so much material our community members would like us to cover! As our community has interest in a wide range of topics, we attempt to find a good variety while still giving the information our members need. Connecting is powerful, and our attendees and sponsors and exhibitors value the interaction provided even through our online and in person events in order to form and continue relationships.
It’s too much money for me.
To be frank, it can be difficult to find enough sponsors to keep the ticket prices any lower than they are. We’re really appreciative of our current and new sponsors each year who are able to support us, it means a lot.
Still, it costs more than we are able to raise to pay the conference expenses. Ticket prices are strictly a reflection of those costs. We don’t seek to make a profit on this event and some years we lose a bit of money.
All of that said, we realize that the price makes the conference, ironically, inaccessible to many.
Here are a few options to help with costs:
- The Autism Funding Unit (AFU) has approved our conference as a reimbursable expense in past years so if you have that funding it’s a good option.
- We recommend asking a local organization to sponsor your attendance. Your PAC or DPAC may sponsor you, or another organization you’re involved with.
- Volunteer at the conference! You get a free ticket for the online conference, and a free ticket for the day you’re volunteering in person, and you’ll have plenty of time to participate – we don’t expect you to work all day 🙂 Reach out to let us know you’re interested!
- If none of these options work we can help! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – we never want anyone to be unable to attend due to financial concerns, and we value contributions at sessions from people who might not otherwise get to speak up in these spaces. We’ll post an application for subsidy when tickets go live, and we’ll prioritize low income applicants from protected human rights classes to ensure access.
How can I get more involved in your organization and support your work?
You can support us financially – go HERE to donate today! You can contribute one time or monthly to support our organization.
We’re always looking for volunteers so please feel free to get in touch! Short term or long term, volunteers make our organization the success it has become!
And you can amplify the voices of families – follow our social media (@bcedaccess), sign up for our newsletter, share our content, and take action on our advocacy goals.
Is There a Facebook Group?
It all started with a Facebook Group!
“Like” our Public Facebook page, BCEdAccess Society Public Page – Action for Access to Education, and search for ‘BCEdAccess’ to find and request to join the Private Facebook group for parents and guardians of children with disabilities and complex learners in BC. – remember to answer all of the questions to be added. This group provides peer support and accurate, rights-based information about all kinds of barriers to access to education.
Who runs the Conference, and the Society?
The Society is run by our small and mighty board of directors – learn more about them HERE
The Conference is run by a small and dedicated team of volunteer organizers, as well as a few amazing summer jobs staff, and our Executive Director.
We always have a number of other volunteers who help get things going during the planning stages, and run things on the day!
We work together to bring you the best event we can create.
Who Can Help Me With More Questions?
Contact us at email@example.com – we’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have!
Will we see you Online and/or in Surrey?
I was super grateful and humbled by all of the speakers, presenters and amazing people whom I got a chance to finally meet it was a really perspective changing experience for me.