Canada’s National AccessAbility Week takes place later this month from May 30 to June 5.
NAAW is a chance to celebrate the contributions that persons with disabilities make to the country. It also shines a spotlight on the work carried out by individuals, workplaces and organisations to remove barriers to accessibility.
The awareness week was initially introduced to support the creation and adoption of the Accessible Canada Act, and looks to develop a country where everyone has equal rights and opportunities to contribute to workplaces and communities. The week encourages people and organisations to seek out innovative ways to break down existing barriers to accessibility and to create a world that is inclusive by design.
The key message from NAAW 2020 was that all Canadians benefit when everyone can participate equally in the economy and society and, that people should take action together to build an inclusive and accessible Canada.
In 2021, the theme is disability inclusion: leaving no one behind, and the focus will be on enabling persons with disabilities to maintain their health, their safety and their dignity, at a time when persons with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by changes in working and living conditions.
The Accessible Canada Act, which received Royal Assent in June 2019, is being used to change the way that the Government of Canada and organisations within federal jurisdiction address disability and accessibility and interact with Canadians.
The act aims to benefit everyone in Canada, especially persons with disabilities, by helping to create a barrier-free Canada by creating new accessibility regulations that apply to sectors such as banking, telecommunications, transportation industries and the Government of Canada itself.
The 2021 AccessAbility week marks the fifth year of the annual event, and due to the pandemic will be taking place virtually, with people encouraged to post on social media platforms. Anyone can get involved by sharing their stories of inclusion and experiences of organisations and companies who have promoted accessibility by using the hashtags #AccessibleCanada and #AccessAbility.