Last week was National AccessAbility Week. If you missed it, you are probably not alone, as it seemed to be a pretty subdued event. For my part, I had done a comedy show talking about disabilities, or as I called it, a comedic look at living with a disability, with the goal of raising awareness. About a month prior to the show, I had reached out to the Minister for People with Disabilities’s office, asking if there was a calendar of events that the show was listed on, and what other events I was able to attend. I never heard back, and was not able to find any such schedule to know what was happening. Even the week before the show, a woman who works in promoting inclusion in the Jewish Community in Montreal reached out as she had heard about the show, and wanted to know what else was happening, because she also had reached out to Accessible Canada and had not heard anything. It seemed like not much was happening.
As it turns out, there was a whirlwind of activity, at least according to Minister for People with Disabilities Kristy Duncan, as reflected in this tweeted video showing all the activities she attended.
National #AccessAbility Week was a whirlwind – and it was an incredible experience, from one part of the country to another, hearing about the incredible work so many Canadians are taking part in.
— Kirsty Duncan (@KirstyDuncanMP) June 2, 2018
While it is nice to see politicians smiling with people with disabilities, it seems to be a missed opportunity to have a calendar of events where members of the public are invited to share in the discussion and celebration. In her message to kick off National AccessAbility Week, Minister Duncan mentions that “This is a time to celebrate the contributions of individuals, communities and workplaces that are actively removing barriers to accessibility to give all Canadians a better chance to succeed.” Why not have a calendar of events where people can learn best practices and what others are doing to remove barriers, so that people can learn and be made aware of challenges faced by people with disabilities and what people with disabilities are doing in society? Perhaps people in Toronto might have founded
Here is hoping that next year, we can have a National AccessAbility Week that promotes discussion and raises awareness, not just photo ops for politicians. Accessible Canada should have an event calendar where people doing events during the week are able to share with the public and members of the public should be invited to attend the events.