People collect what they deem important from a moment in time. However, people with disabilities are often excluded from this historical record. Carleton University has made a unique addition to its library to ensure they are included.

The Accessible Canada Act C-81 received royal assent on June 21, 2019. A film crew followed and interviewed key people on that day, including the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Senator Jim Munson, James van Raalte, Sinead Tuite, Bill Adair and Frank Folino.

Two and a half hours of footage from the June 21 proceedings are now archived at Carleton’s MacOdrum Library. The footage takes viewers behind the scenes with the people whose determination brought the act to reality.

Disability Studies is one of the fastest growing minors at Carleton and the Carleton University Disability Research Group (CUDRG) is excited to have this footage in their special collections.

“I was thrilled to have these voices captured … to capture the voice of a powerful woman with a disability who helped make this pivotal legislation and societal change a reality,” said Beth Robertson, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of History and School of Industrial Design.

The CUDRG is a collection of experts and scholars who collaboratively research historical and ongoing implications of technology, disability, society and politics. They are compiling an archival collection of oral interviews, documents, objects and other items to create virtual and travelling exhibits. The exhibits aim to raise awareness of the importance of societal and technological changes around disability. For example, Envisioning Technology is a travelling exhibit that has been displayed in libraries and other universities, including Ryerson, Toronto and the University of British Columbia.

Far from sitting and collecting dust, the footage is already being used by AccessibiliTV. Two five-minute videos have been created to explain the significance of the new Accessible Canada Act. The same group is releasing a documentary on Dec. 3, 2019, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Carleton thanks BDO Canada for their involvement in this project, demonstrating their commitment to identifying disability issues in Canada and providing strategic solutions to address them. Their support helped to give this project legs, paving the way for more exciting developments in the promotion of accessibility.

About Accessible Canada Act C-81

The new Accessible Canada Act requires proactively creating communities, workplaces and services that enable all people to participate fully. It shifts the legal landscape from reacting after discrimination to proactively requiring full inclusion.

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Steven Reid
Media Relations Officer
Carleton University
613-520-2600, ext. 8718

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Thursday, October 3, 2019 in
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