Changing the way we think, talk and act about accessibility and inclusion!
Established in 2017, National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) takes place every year starting the last Sunday in May. It’s an opportunity for communities and workplaces across Canada to raise awareness of and promote accessibility and inclusion, and celebrate the contributions of Canadians with disabilities. It is also an opportunity to recognize the efforts of Canadians who are actively working to ensure people with disabilities can participate in all aspects of Canadian society equally and without barriers.
Increased social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities is known to have positive economic and social benefits, for those people, for business, the economy, and society in general. When disabled people can access meaningful employment, resources and services, Canada’s economy grows. Businesses have the chance to welcome more customers, service satisfaction improves and workplaces more accurately reflect Canada’s diversity.
By bringing Canadians together to recognize the valuable contributions of people with disabilities, we are strengthening the collaborative effort needed to create a country that is fully accessible and inclusive.
This year, NAAW will run from Sunday, May 28 through Saturday, June 3. Throughout this week, there are many local and national organizations hosting events, activities and sharing ideas of how Canadians can show their support.
Here are a few to participate in NAAW or help you get your creative juices flowing:
Red Shirt Day of Action for AccessAbility and Inclusion is a day when people across Canada wear red to create a visible display of solidarity: to show their support for disabled people and their families, celebrate the achievements of disabled Canadians, and to pledge their commitment to help create a fully accessible and inclusive society. Red Shirt Day is an Easter Seals initiative and was first celebrated in 2019. It takes place on the Wednesday of National AccessAbility Week each year.
This year, on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, post a selfie or a group photo of you with your friends, classmates or colleagues proudly sporting red shirts. Use the hashtags #RedShirtDay #RedForAccessAbility You can include your “Red Shirt Day pledge” in the photo, which is your personal commitment to improve accessibility and inclusion in your community. Easter Seals has provided a template for you to print off an fill out, but if you don’t have access to a printer, you can simply write your Red Shirt Day pledge on any blank sheet of paper. Click on the words, Red Shirt Day Pledge to access the Easter Seals template.
Attitudes account for some of the greatest barriers faced by people with disabilities on a daily basis. When we challenge our assumptions of what disability is, and begin to uncover our unconscious biases, we set in motion the steps needed to create lasting change and a truly inclusive society for people of all ages and abilities. In honour of National AccessAbility Week, the Rick Hansen Foundation is hosting a live panel discussion on the Power of Inclusive Mindsets on Friday, June 2 at 11 a.m. in Edmonton, AB.
Everyone is invited to attend this live webinar to learn how you can confront attitudinal barriers and challenge perceptions in order to work towards an inclusive mindset.
The panelists are:
• Yvonne Felix (they/them), Inclusive Design Artist and Consultant
• Taylor Lindsey-Noel (she/her), Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker & Disability Advocate
• Jade Pichette (they/them), Director of Programs, Pride at Work
• Ryan Straschnitzki (he/him), Former Humboldt Bronco, Team Alberta para-ice hockey member, and Founder of Straz Strong Foundation
Moderated by: Matthew Shaw (he/him), Accessibility Content Lead, RHF Accessibility Certification
ASL interpretation and live captioning will be provided.
You can register to attend this event by clicking on the words, The Power of Inclusive Mindsets.
The Rick Hansen Foundation has also created a flag that you can download, print off and display at your school, in your workplace and at NAAW events to show your support. Tag @rickhansenfdn in any pictures you share on social media, or email them for a chance to be featured on their blog or in their newsletter. You can access that by clicking on the words, NAAW Flag.