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National AccessAbility Week: Raising Awareness About Accessibility and Inclusion of People with Disabilities

This week is National AccessAbility Week!

In Canada, we celebrate National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) every year starting on the last Sunday in May. The week raises awareness about accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities in Canadian communities and workplaces. In 2019, National Accessibility Week takes place from Sunday, May 26th until Saturday, June 1st.

National AccessAbility Week

During NAAW, we recognize the ways in which people with disabilities are involved in their communities. For instance, some ways community members with disabilities participate in the world around them are:

  • Working
  • Volunteering
  • Raising families and supporting loved ones
  • Keeping up with current events, locally and internationally
  • Being involved with local organizations (neighbourhood, school, worship, local government)
  • Participating in leisure activities (sports, arts, entertainment)

Removing Accessibility Barriers

Citizens with disabilities are sometimes prevented from full involvement in their communities because of the accessibility barriers they encounter. Barriers limit the things people with disabilities can do, the places they can go, or the ways other community members interact with them. For instance, accessibility barriers can be:

  • Physical: features of buildings or spaces that limit people’s access
    • For example: no automatic doors or wide pathways
  • Communicational: information in formats people cannot access
  • Technological: technology that relies on senses or movements that not everyone can use or make
    • For example: website features that only work with a mouse
  • Organizational: policies, practices, or procedures that put people with disabilities at a disadvantage
    • For example: no-return policy (disadvantage for people using assistive devices when fitting rooms are too small)
  • Attitudinal: people lacking understanding about disability, or believing stereotypes
    • For example: belief that people with disabilities cannot work, socialize, raise families

National AccessAbility Week gives us the chance to honour people committed to removing these barriers. These activists may have disabilities, or they may be non-disabled allies who understand what their fellow community members are capable of. When we break down barriers, we make sure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as their fellow community members.

Happy National AccessAbility Week to all our readers!