Carleton University today conferred a Doctor of Laws on Laurie Beachell in recognition of his transformative leadership in advancing the equality rights of Canadians with disabilities.

Beachell was honoured during Carleton’s Spring Convocation, where more than 4,800 students are receiving degrees over five days.

In his address, Beachell relayed two key messages to the assembled Faculty of Engineering and Design graduates. He advised them to seek mentors in their chosen career paths who are willing to share their wisdom and, down the road, offer to be mentors themselves.

“Second, take inclusion and access seriously,” said Beachell. “You can help build a more inclusive and accessible Canada if you take an inclusive design approach.  Many have worked for years to remove barriers; today our focus and motto should be ‘no new barriers.’

Beachell was the long-serving national co-ordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), where he organized advocacy, law reform, public education, litigation and international development initiatives. Beachell co-ordinated the CCD’s 10-year effort to develop the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

He has made numerous presentations to parliamentary committees, MPs, government officials and regulatory bodies about removing barriers to full and equal citizenship of Canadians with disabilities.

In 2006, Beachell was appointed to the Expert Panel on Financial Security for Children with Severe Disabilities to recommend new federal tax measures. The report that resulted, A New Beginning, recommended creating a Registered Disability Savings Plan.

Beachell also served on the Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Fairness for Persons with Disabilities. He helped produce a report that recognized that people with learning disabilities, cognitive impairments, mental health concerns, and developmental disabilities have not had equal benefits under the disability tax credit.

He is a recipient of the Patrick Worth Award from People First of Canada and the National President’s Award from the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Adrian Chan, professor in the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering and director of the Research and Education in Accessibility, Design and Innovation (READi) program, introduced Beachell, outlining his dedication and many contributions to enhance the lives of people living with disabilities.

“His influential work of improving  the status of people with disabilities remains inspiring and impactful,” said Chan.

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

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Thursday, June 13, 2019 in
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