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Red Shirt Day

Today is Red Shirt Day! Red Shirt Day takes place every year across Canada on the Wednesday of National AccessAbility Week. On Red Shirt Day, people wear red shirts to spread awareness about how people with disabilities contribute to their communities and workplaces.

Red Shirt Day

Red Shirt Day and National AccessAbility Week are about recognizing that inclusion benefits everyone. Moreover, inclusion is important not only for people with disabilities, but for every person in every community across the country.

The Curb Cut Effect

The curb cut effect happens when something is created to help one group of the population and ends up benefiting many more people. Its name comes from the concept of curb cuts, which allow people using assistive devices to cross streets. Curb cuts turned out to be helpful for many other people, including people:

  • With children in strollers
  • Wheeling carts or luggage
  • Using bicycles, skateboards, or roller blades

Many more social developments created to benefit people with disabilities also improve quality of life for non-disabled people. For instance, closed captioning displays the dialogue on a TV program or movie so that viewers who are Deaf can follow what is going on as they watch. Many other people also benefit from captions, including people trying to watch TV in noisy environments and newcomers learning English. Similarly, the first audio books were produced in the 1930s for readers who are blind. Today, sighted readers also enjoy audio books while they do other tasks such as driving, exercising, housework, or simply relaxing.

People may think of inclusion as important only to individuals with disabilities. However, the curb cut effect shows us that inclusion benefits everyone.

Happy Red Shirt Day to all our readers!