While the majority of Torontonians understand and support the values of diversity and human rights, accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities are often overlooked. People with disabilities often face barriers in their daily lives, especially in employment and cultural activities.
Over 400,000 Torontonians with disabilities feel left out every day. Here are five things you can do to make Toronto more accessible:
If we all live long enough, we will all have the opportunity to be disabled
– Tobin Siebers
Typically, when we think about disability, we think about a medical problem or an accident that happened to an individual. However, Toronto For All wants to encourage you to think about who we include in our city and the ways we make space for other people. Our bodies are constantly changing. We may one day become disabled; wouldn’t it be great for disability to be just another way of being in Toronto? The following are a list of links, resources and literature to learn about inclusion.
While every effort has been made to include accessible resources here, the resources that are linked below are hosted by external organizations and may or may not be fully accessible.
According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “Ableism refers to attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities. Ableism is…analogous to racism, sexism or ageism, [and] sees persons with disabilities as being less worthy of respect and consideration, less able to contribute and participate, or of less inherent value than others. Ableism may be conscious or unconscious, and may be embedded in institutions, systems or the broader culture of a society. It can limit the opportunities of persons with disabilities and reduce their inclusion in the life of their communities.”
In plain language, ableism is discriminating against someone because they are disabled. This can be through intentional refusal to make spaces accessible, or it can be more subtle discrimination, such as the assumption that there is only one authentic way to do things or the notion that people with disabilities lack inherent value.
Dylan Marron provides a tongue-in-cheek example of “Unboxing ableism.”
An interesting guided narrative about Everyday Ableism, including a mix of statistics and narrative.
An article about “6 Ways To Be A Better Ally To People Living with Disabilities”
The word intersectional means that something connects or exists with something else. When disability is said to be intersectional, it means that disability can exist with another identity. For example: someone can experience issues of race while also experiencing disabilities. People with multiple marginalized identities can experience multiple types of oppression.
Kat Blaque provides more information on intersectionality and on the scholar who coined the term.
For additional resources that discuss disability, intersectionality, and justice see:
Bill C-81 (The Accessible Canada Act) is proposed federal legislation, the purpose of which is to benefit all persons, especially persons with disabilities, through the progressive realization of a barrier-free Canada. It would require the Government of Canada and the federally-regulated public and private sectors to identify and remove barriers, and to prevent new barriers, that hinder the full and equal participation in society of persons with disabilities. It would focus on barriers in the areas of employment, the built environment, information and communication technologies, the procurement of goods and services, the delivery of programs and services, transportation, and other designated areas.
Text is taken from the Department of Justice Charter Statement on Bill C81.
Here are five things businesses can do to make Toronto more accessible:
Our campaign partner, the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto, recommends the following resources as a starting point. A web search of services nearby, may help to provide other options for you based on your specific location and needs.