Are you ready to Commit to Accessibility?

Are you ready to Commit to Accessibility?

November 29th, 2018


Based on the definitions of “barrier” and "disability” by the Accessible Canada Act*, we can define Accessibility as follows:

The removal of any barriers to someone who is experiencing disability (a physical, mental, intellectual, learning, communication or sensory impairment—or a functional limitation), whether permanent, temporary, or episodic in nature, so that they can fully and equally participate in society.

 There is plenty of work to do in Alberta, and around the world, to reach true accessibility. Here are some of the things you can do as an individual:

1.   Identify barriers in the spaces you occupy: If you’re at work, look to see if there are barriers that exist within your workplace. If you are out shopping, or running errands, check for barriers at those places. Most importantly- say something, tell an employee that accessibility is important to you, ask your boss to remove barriers and to commit to accessibility.

2.   Understand that there are barriers you will not recognize: If you are not experiencing disability, you will likely not recognize how many barriers truly exist. If you do experience any disability, you may not be able to recognize the barriers to people who experience a disability that differs from yours. Listen to those around you when they say something is a barrier and act on it- remove it yourself or tell someone who can. You can also check out the Checklist of Accessibility and Universal Design here for a list of common barriers and how to fix them: https://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/PDF/ChecklistAccessibilityUniversalDesign.pdf

3.  If you have any power to remove those barriers, do it: Many barriers are easy to remove. Sometimes it can be as easy as rearranging a room, so the pathways are clear, or making sure the proper signage is up. If you’re in a decision-making position, start including accessibility in your process, whether it be creating a budget to improve accessibility, or consulting an expert when you’re doing any renovations

4.   Utilize resources: Voice of Albertans with Disabilities offers many programs, services and information. Book an Accessibility Assessment to have an expert identify barriers for you or book a Disability Awareness Presentation to learn more about removing social barriers to inclusion.

 To effect any change, we need to work together and commit to accessibility. Choose accessible places only, speak up if something isn’t accessible, and ask questions to find out if accessibility is important to the places you’re spending your money and time. For more information, email accessibility@vadsociety.ca

 

*Source for Definition: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/accessible-people-disabilities/act-plain-language-summary.html#section2-3