KAWARTHA LAKES-At least 22% of Canadians encounter daily challenges due to disabilities and many unsung heroes are doing their part to try and level the playing field to create equal access to community life according to the City.
To shed light on the challenges and recognize the community’s Accessibility Champions, each spring the Kawartha Lakes Accessibility Advisory Committee (KLAAC), a group of volunteers that advises Council, seeks out the accessibility leaders of our community — employers, program designers, service providers, shopkeepers, friends and families — to celebrate them in a special award ceremony. These are the people who go above and beyond the casual helping hand, who thoughtfully initiate improvements to overcome barriers to inclusion.
There are a variety of categories to nominate for:
- A business, group or individual: A person or group that has made an outstanding contribution in the past year to improve or promote awareness around accessibility.
- New building or modification: An innovative infrastructure project followed the design principles and removed barriers for individuals with disabilities.
- Barbara McArthur Memorial Award of Distinction: In memory of Barbara McArthur, the founder and first Chair of the KLAAC, the nominee has devoted time and energy beyond normal expectations and promoted public awareness and education.
The pandemic has seen even more accessibility challenges than usual, with limitations to services, access to groceries and essentials, barriers to communications and the need to social distance and isolate. There are countless ways you may have crossed passed with an accessibility champion. Take a moment to reflect on and recognize someone you know that’s helped those struggling with a disability during the pandemic.
While you are out in the community during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, be mindful of those who face accessibility challenges and those who make the extra effort to help mitigate those challenges.
You might cross paths with an accessibility champion today. It’s never too early to nominate someone by completing an Accessibility Awareness Recognition Award Form. Read more about the awards and see the 2021 recipients by visiting Kawartha Lakes Accessibility. Nominations are welcome all year round; the deadline for 2022 nominations is March 25, 2022.
We are all just an event or an illness away from disability, so awareness about barriers and solutions helps everyone.