Access Awareness

Access Awareness | Dr. Ali Ghahary

Recognized on the first Saturday in June, Access Awareness Day is a campaign that was created to shine the light on disability as well as accessibility and inclusion through breaking barriers and ensuring that disabled Canadians receive the independence, dignity, self-esteem, respect and security that all citizens expect and deserve. It’s also a great way for communities to come together to not only celebrate their diversity, but to also recognize their responsibilities.

Disability Statistics

• 1 in 7 Canadians (or 3.8 million) aged 15 or older report being disabled.
• Disabilities affect over 1 billion of the world’s population.
• The prevalence of disability rose by approximately 4% in individuals between the ages of 15 and 24, and as much as 43% in individuals over the age of 75.
• It’s expected that 1 in 5 Canadians will have a disability by the year 2036.

The word “disability” has many classifications, including but not limited to:

• Pain
• Mental health
• Flexibility
• Mobility
• Dexterity
• Hearing
• Seeing
• Learning
• Memory
• Developmental

Some of the most common forms of disabilities include but aren’t limited to:

• Down Syndrome
• Autism Spectrum Disorder
• Cerebral Palsy

You can find more in-depth information on these disabilities by clicking here. It’s also not uncommon for disabilities to co-occur. For example, individuals with pain-related disabilities also often have flexibility and/or mobility-related disabilities. Those living with disabilities are also all too familiar with the stigma that is, unfortunately, sometimes part of having disability. This stigma can lead to things like isolation, increased vulnerability, as well as limit one’s ability to feel like a valued member of society. This can have a negative impact on one’s ability to work, develop positive personal relationships, as well as self-confidence.

As part of British Columbia’s first-annual AccessAbility week (running from May 27th through to May 2nd), $10,000 in provincial funding has been provided to SPAR BC – the Social, Planning and Research Council of British Columbia. First established in 1966, SPAR BC works with different communities province-wide to help make society a healthy place for all. Their key principles include equity, social inclusion, security, adaptability, and equality, while also focusing on things like social justice, integrity, and continued learning.

For more information on disabilities or to find out how you can get involved in this year’s Access Awareness Day, visit spar.bc.ca or disabilityalliancebc.org.