Article published in the Huffington Post

People With Disabilities Should Be Able To Go Wherever They Want

This past weekend I was chatting with my wife Amanda who was heading out to shop for maternity clothes with our daughter Emma who is expecting. Afterwards they planned to grab coffee and go for a walk through a park. It’s the type of conversation most people don’t think twice about. Unless, of course, you have a reason to.

For someone who has a mobility challenge, vision or hearing loss, or uses an assistive device to get around, daily decisions are not so carefree. Stores and shops need to be researched ahead of time to make sure they are accessible. Aspects of daily life that most take for granted can be riddled with accessibility challenges. Suddenly the search for the perfect outfit, grabbing a coffee or a walk in a park aren’t so simple.

In Canada and around the world, people with disabilities are still limited by physical barriers in the built environment — and there is urgent need for change. Today, there are more than four million Canadians with some form of disability, and according to Statistics Canada, that number is set to spike to nine million by 2036 — that means one in five Canadians will face accessibility challenges in their every day lives.

That’s why the Rick Hansen Foundation is launching a new national campaign called #Access4All that is aiming to shine a light on this issue and promote universal accessibility in Canada.