Celebrating National AccessAbility Week and Red Shirt Day

Woman in a wheelchair uses a tablet as another woman uses a laptop

It’s National AccessAbility Week, and Red Shirt Day for accessibility is Wednesday, June 2.

We still have to keep a safe distance from one another, but that won’t stop us from celebrating all the work being done by individuals, communities, and organizations like ours to remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion.

OPSEU/SEFPO has a long and proud tradition of fighting for inclusion and access for all. It just makes sense – not only does it help Canadians with disabilities maintain their health, safety, and dignity, but it also helps us all by giving the economy an extra boost.

Accessibility in the age of COVID-19 must focus on the digital world in which we all now live and work. The misconception that if it is online it is accessible must be rethought. Having full access to all of our digital world will not only help persons with disabilities but all members of society in the same way that automatic doors help all people weather you are using a mobility assistive device or have your hands full of groceries. Digital access to all services without barriers will benefit all and is something we need to strive toward.

And remember Red Shirt day on June 2. Equal access to jobs, services and education improves all our lives.  When everybody can participate fully and productively in society, we are all better off.

That’s why OPSEU/SEFPO has always been such an active voice for disability rights and awareness at the bargaining table, in the community, at Queen’s Park.

To help lead by example, our union has always dedicated time, energy, and investment to ensuring that its offices and meeting places are accessible to all. And as we write this, we’re working hard behind the scenes to ensure that our website is just as accessible.

Inclusion doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen by accident, either.

This National AccessAbility Week and Red Shirt Day, we recommit to making OPSEU/SEFPO – and all the places where our members work – fully accessible.

And to all of our members spending their own time and energy making their workplaces and their union accessible: thank you. We’re all stronger for it.

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, OPSEU/SEFPO

Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU/SEFPO

Gillian Axten
Chair, OPSEU/SEFPO Disability Rights Caucus Co-chair