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May 31 to June 6; National AccessAbility Week

We the North
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The question isn’t “why accessibility” but rather “why not?” 

National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) is a time to promote accessibility and a time to celebrate the contributions of Canadians with disabilities.

As Canadians, we all benefit from accessibility when everyone can fully participate and contribute in our communities and workplaces without barriers. One in seven Canadians has a disability, and that number is expected to grow with an aging population.

We need to remove barriers that continue to limit the ability of people with disabilities across Canada.  Some of these barriers include:

  • negative attitudes or beliefs about what a person with a disability can or cannot do;
  • buildings and spaces that cannot be accessed or are not easy to navigate;
  • information that is difficult or impossible to access, read or understand either due to technology or the way it is presented;
  • computers, equipment and web applications that are difficult or impossible to use; and
  • rules and practices that leave individuals out.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says increasing accessibility is important for our society to thrive.

“The economy grows when meaningful employment, resources and services are accessible for people with disabilities,” said Thomas. “Society in general will benefit because our businesses and economy will be enriched.”

Accessibility is also about making everyone in our communities feel welcome. The small activities that most take for granted – playing in a park, watching a movie, dining in a restaurant, accessing the office – should be equally available for everyone. And don’t forget our seniors. Through the natural aging process, they may begin to experience barriers to everyday activities that they once took for granted.

OPSEU is committed to ensuring inclusion by incorporating accessibility legislation into our policies, procedures, equipment requirements, training, and best practices. We  review these policies and practices annually, as organizational changes occur, or in anticipation of compliance deadlines. We will to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities in a timely and effective manner.

Providing an accessible and barrier-free environment is a shared effort, and as an organization, OPSEU is committed to working with the necessary parties to make accessibility for all a reality. For more detailed information on our accessibility policies, plans, and training programs, please contact the Equity Unit at equity@opseu.org.

You can view OPSEU’s Accessibility Plan with the following link:

https://opseu.org/information/accessibility-for-ontarians-with-disabilities-act-aoda/

By bringing Canadians together to recognize the valuable contributions of persons with disabilities, we are strengthening the collaborative effort needed to create a country that is fully accessible and inclusive. We must strive to enhance the quality of life, self-esteem and self-determination of all individuals living with disabilities.