A Successful International Day of Persons with Disabilities
On December 1, the City of Ottawa hosted their fourth annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities event virtually over Zoom. While the recognized day itself is observed on December 3, the City held its event 2 days before to accommodate participants wishing to attend multiple virtual events held across the City or around the world.
Over 160 participants attended this year’s event. We celebrate this day annually to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities and to increase awareness of the barriers that persons with disabilities face.
The UN’s theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development: The Role of Innovation in Fuelling an Accessible and Equitable world.
Mayor Sutcliffe kicked off the event by delivering opening remarks regarding the City’s focus on accessibility heading into this new term of Council, as well as delivered the Proclamation of the day. We also heard from interim City Manager, Wendy Stephanson, who summarized just some of the accessibility initiatives the City has implemented over the past year. A full list of 2022 accessibility accomplishments will be included in the City of Ottawa’s Municipal Accessibility Plan (COMAP) update report next spring.
The event featured two speakers, Philip Rizcallah, Chief Executive Officer of Accessibility Standards Canada, who provided an update on the development and progress of federal accessibility standards, including a review of the built environment standard, and Rich Donovan, who outlined the focus and direction related to the fourth legislated review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA), currently taking place.
Additionally, the latter half of the event featured speeches from community representatives who work closely and collaboratively with the City on numerous accessibility initiatives.
We first heard from Phillip Turcotte, chair of the Accessibility Advisory Committee, who spoke about the numerous projects he and his fellow members reviewed with an accessibility lens over the past 4 years, as well as spoke to the upcoming recruitment of new committee members. Closing the event, we heard from Jerry Fiori, former-chair of the Ottawa Disability Coalition, on how this group came to be, as well as the importance of formal and informal networks, and their need to collaborate with the City to increase awareness and remove all types of barriers for people with disabilities in our community.
If you missed the event, a recording is available on the City’s YouTube channel.
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