This week is National AccessAbility Week!
In Canada, we celebrate National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) every year starting on the last Sunday in May. The week raises awareness about accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities in Canadian communities and workplaces. In 2020, National AccessAbility Week takes place from Sunday, May 31st until Saturday, June 6th.
National AccessAbility Week
During National AccessAbility Week, we recognize the ways in which people with disabilities are involved in their communities. For instance, some ways community members with disabilities participate in the world around them are:
- Raising families and supporting loved ones
- Keeping up with current events, locally and internationally
- Being involved with local organizations (neighbourhood, school, worship, local government)
- Participating in leisure activities (sports, arts, entertainment)
Removing Accessibility Barriers
Citizens with disabilities are sometimes prevented from full involvement in their communities because they encounter accessibility barriers. Barriers limit the things people with disabilities can do, the places they can go, or the ways other community members interact with them. For instance, accessibility barriers can be:
National AccessAbility Week gives us the chance to honour people committed to removing these barriers. These activists may have disabilities, or they may be non-disabled allies who understand what their fellow community members are capable of. When we break down barriers, we make sure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as their fellow community members.
The Business Case for Inclusion
An accessible world is a better place for all people. When people with disabilities are included as employees and as customers, they become fully involved in the world around them. They use their talents for the good of their workplaces, neighbourhoods, and other groups they involve themselves in. They find common ground with people who value them for their gifts.
At the same time, when more people with disabilities are working, they gain purchasing power and the economy improves. When businesses make sure that their spaces and staff are welcoming to customers with disabilities, their customer bases expand. When businesses and community spaces make visible commitments to accessibility, they become known as organizations that care about the well-being of their residents, clientele, and staff.
People may think of inclusion as important only to individuals with disabilities. However, the business case for inclusion shows us that inclusion benefits all people.
Happy National AccessAbility Week to all our readers!