June 2017

Happy Birthday Canada 150

Graphic of the red maple leaf with 1867 on one side of 150 and 2017 on the other side of it.
Proud To Be Canadian!

Oh Canada!
We are wishing everyone a Happy and Safe Canada Day.
We are so proud of who we are as a glorious country, so strong and free!
Oh Canada! We stand on guard for thee.

Journey To Accessibility by Deanna Ng

Graphic of Manitoba Access Awareness Week Logo
Community News Commons

The Disabilities Issues Office hosted a well-attended discussion earlier this month at the Viscount Gort Hotel on Portage Ave. — all about accessibility in Manitoba, and in Winnipeg in particular — with the common goal of examining accessible legislation, customer service, and employment for people with disabilities.

The various sectors – non-profits, government, educators, and especially businesses — attended the event, with a common interest in making Manitoba a more accessible province. This was just one of several events that were part of Manitoba Access Awareness Week, held June 5 to 9.

Since 1990, there has been much to celebrate in Manitoba when it comes to accessibility. In fact, Winnipeg recently won the
Rick Hansen Accessibility Award.

While we can all be proud the Rick Hansen Foundation chose to honour the City of Winnipeg with a 2017 Accessible Cities Award, it is also important to view this achievement from a broader perspective. There is still much work to do to advocate for the funding earmarked for accessibility in the 2016-2018 budget. Barrier Free Manitoba is calling for the budgeted $425,000 to be used to improve accessibility throughout Winnipeg.

Freelance reporter, Jessica Botelho-Urbanski from Winnipeg Metro, wrote about MAAW by focusing on the importance of public education, and the need to reach more than 34,000 businesses and non-profits before November 2018, so all can become accessible.

There were several other organizations represented at this event. Doris Koop, Executive Director of the Vision Impaired Resource Network - VIRN, had an information booth there.

“We celebrate accessibility and inclusion every day of the year by ensuring all of our events, programs and activities go the extra mile to make people feel welcome and do everything we can do to bring accessibility to the forefront without being obvious,” said Koop. “We refer to this as ‘Seamless Inclusion.'”

On accessible customer service, Koop explained, “[We] do presentations to small businesses, corporations, organizations, schools, etc. on how to better serve and understand how to better serve the community of people who are vision impaired.”
Koop added, “[VIRN also does] website analysis to ensure websites are accessible.”

To help make Winnipeg a more accessible and inclusive city, “[VIRN] took part in many studies and testing with the city, and made many recommendations based on personal hands-on experiences as an organization that is a consumer based organization.”

Written by Deanna Ng on June 20, 2017

For the complete article visit: Community News Commons