In 2017, a survey on disabilities in Canada found that 22% of Canadians above the age of 15 are disabled. One would think that the Canadian Government would have a more regulated and convenient accessibility policy, yet 73% of disabled Canadians have faced major barriers when trying to use both federal and municipal organizations and businesses across Canada. Additionally, 4.1% of Ontarians (127,240 people) use a mobility aid. This shows that accessibility is a current issue in Canada. Take our school for example: we have no elevator, and all entrances have a staircase either on the outside or inside of the building. This means no person with a physical disability can enter the school or safely navigate the building by themselves.
This shows that our government has a lack of understanding and acknowledgement about disabled people. Moreover, these are some of the main forces for ableism* and the lack of accessibility in Canada. In addition to that, the average disabled person can get paid 12% less than an able-bodied** person, and if they have a more severe disability, that person can be paid up to 51% less. Many able-bodied people forget about accessibility since they do not have problems with it; they are able to walk up any flight of stairs, fit through most tight spaces and are able to go onto the road safely when there is construction blocking the sidewalk. However, disabled people are not given that privilege, so the Canadian government should be reminded to supply better and regulated accessibility in all public places for disabled people. This issue is important because even if you are an able-bodied person now, you will most likely have to use a mobility aid once you have passed the age of 65. This means that most people will become disabled at one point in their life and need assistance, so everyone should be aware and try to get full accessibility for the people now and for the people in the future.
As citizens, you can contact our MP Yasir Naqvi at email@example.com, and ask to put in ramps for wheelchair users, ensure the correct amount of space between shelves to house a wheelchair and its turning space, install elevators in any public building with multiple floors, and even tackle the disproportionate pay disabled people face. Furthermore, you can support the CCD or the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, who fight for the inclusion and accessibility of disabled bodies within Canada.
*Ableism: a noun describing the discrimination disabled people face for their disability or discrimination in favor of able-bodied people.
**Able-Bodied: an adjective describing a healthy, fit non physically dissabled person.
The accessibility experiences of Canadians with disabilities, difficulties or long-term conditions within federal sector organizations, 2021. (2021, August 18). Statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/210818/dq210818b-eng.htm
Charette, C., Best, K. L., Smith, E. M., Miller, W. C., & Routhier, F. (2018, March 14). Walking aid use in canada: Prevalence and demographic characteristics among community-dwelling users. Academic.oup.com. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from https://academic.oup.com/ptj/article/98/7/571/4934630
Council of Canadians with disabilities. (2013). Ccdonline.ca. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/about
Making an accessible Canada for persons with Disability. (2021, June 4). Canada.ca. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/accessible-canada.html