As part of National Accessibility Awareness Week virtual celebrations, Mayor Jim Watson today announced the City of Ottawa is joining the Canadian Accessibility Network (CAN), which is led by Carleton University.

The city proclaimed May 27 as annual AccessAbility Day, providing an opportunity to connect with residents, share successes and get feedback on emerging issues.

Watson was joined by special guests Suzanne Blanchard, Carleton’s vice-president (Students and Enrolment) and chair of the CAN governing council, and Tony Labillois, chair of the CAN advisory council.

“We are very pleased to welcome the City of Ottawa to the Canadian Accessibility Network,” said Blanchard.

“This collaboration demonstrates the collective impact that can come from the power of linking arms and building collective capacity to achieve a barrier-free Ottawa and a barrier-free Canada.”

CAN, which is led by Carleton University’s READ Initiative (Research, Education, Accessibility and Design), provides a national voice to people with disabilities. There are currently 47 CAN collaborators from across Canada, working together to advance accessibility through research, design and innovation, education and training, policy, employment and community engagement.

“Joining CAN will position the city as a leader in accessibility and benefit our residents. This partnership will broaden the knowledge and expertise of our employees on accessibility-related issues and advance our efforts of creating an inclusive city for all,” said Watson.

Carleton is recognized as a leader in accessibility advocacy, research and best practices. Watson expressed how fortunate Ottawa is to have Carleton’s national leadership on accessibility issues and the city looks forward to the benefits this collaboration will have for residents.

As a member of CAN, the city will choose an area of focus and partner with organizations interested in the same work. The City of Ottawa will benefit from collaborating and exchanging knowledge with organizations like post-secondary institutions, not-for-profit organizations, service providers, associations and foundations, and public and private industry.

The city hopes to work towards a variety of goals with fellow Canadian Accessibility Network partners, including:

  • Improved service through innovation to meet the needs of the community;
  • Investment in professional development of the city’s current and future leaders;
  • Improved safety, accessibility, culture, social and physical well-being for vulnerable residents, creating an inclusive city for all;
  • Leadership in accessible and sustainable designs.

Media Contact
Steven Reid
Media Relations Officer
Carleton University

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