Elsa Lalonde, a third-year student attending the University of Ottawa, will receive the prestigious Dr. John Davis Burton Award. The award recognizes students from Algonquin College, Carleton University, La Cité Collégiale and the University of Ottawa for exceptional contributions to accessibility.
Besides maintaining a full-time course load, Lalonde has been working to re-establish an Accessibility Committee dedicated to increasing accessibility at the University of Ottawa. She co-chaired last year’s National Youth Forum on Accessibility with Minister Carla Qualtrough, and now works at the Office of Disability Issues of Canada, helping to craft federal accessibility legislation.
In her community, Lalonde has raised more than $40,000 for the Eastern Ontario chapter of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation and the Parasport Jumpstart Foundation. As a volunteer with Spinal Cord Injury Ontario’s Peer Connections program, she assists newly injured patients to accept their new normal. As an ambassador with the Rick Hansen Foundation, she teaches the importance of inclusion to younger students. Most recently, she has been involved in a personal project – to build a completely accessible playground in her hometown of Rockland, Ont. Now approved by the city, the playground will be constructed once all funds have been raised.
John Davis Burton championed people with disabilities. He made significant contributions to increasing awareness, equality and integration of people with disabilities throughout his career as an educator and co-ordinator of educational support services. He was an advocate for equal access to education who believed in training for educators and support services for students. Burton taught in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa and co-ordinated programs and services for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing students, as well as students with learning disabilities, at Algonquin College and Carleton University. In memory of Burton, family, students and friends endowed this award in 1992.
The 25th annual Dr. John Davis Burton Award ceremony on October 26, 2017 is open to the public. For more information on the event visit: https://carleton.ca/pmc/john-burton-award/.
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