Statement by Minister Qualtrough on National AccessAbility Week

GATINEAU, QC , May 29, 2022 /CNW/ – The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, today issued the following statement:

On May 29th, Canada will kick off our sixth annual National AccessAbility Week. 

One in five Canadians have a disability. National AccessAbility Week is a time to celebrate the rich talent and contributions of persons with disabilities in Canada. It’s a moment to lift up the individuals, organizations, and communities that are doing the work to remove barriers, and make this country more inclusive.   

The theme for 2022 is: Inclusive from the Start. We want you to imagine a Canada where no one is left out. Where disability diversity is sought out and celebrated, and the needs of everyone are considered from the beginning. A Canada where we are disability inclusive from the start. That’s the Canada we deserve. That’s the Canada we are creating – for everyone.   

And together, we are getting there. In 2018 our country took a huge leap forward with the Accessible Canada Act. We’re making sure the measures and rights outlined in this Law become a lived reality for Canadians. The first set of regulations under the Act came into force in 2021.  This spring, we appointed Stephanie Cadieux as the first Chief Accessibility Officer, and Michael Gottheil as the first Accessibility Commissioner to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.  

There is so much more to do to ensure persons with disabilities have the same rights, opportunities, and quality of life as every other Canadian. Soon, we’ll be releasing Canada’s first ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan – a blueprint for change to make Canada more inclusive of persons with disabilities. The Action Plan has four key pillars: financial security, employment, inclusive communities, and a better process to assess eligibility for Canadians with disabilities for federal programs and benefits. Because when persons with disabilities have the same opportunities to contribute to their communities, the same quality of service from their government, and enjoy the same quality of life as everyone else, our economy is stronger and our country is better. That’s the Canada we want. 

And we’re not doing any of this alone. In the spirit of Nothing Without Us, everything we do is developed and implemented in lock-step with the disability community. It is the relentless advocacy and groundwork of this community that has made all this progress possible.  

And that’s who this week is really about. The Canadians who are making this country more inclusive, and those who are making our country a richer, more vibrant place in spite of the barriers they still face.  

So this National AccessAbility Week, let’s celebrate our community, and keep working to build a country where persons with disabilities are not just accommodated but included. We can do better. We can create a country that is disability inclusive from the start. That’s the Canada I want for all of us. 

Happy National AccessAbility Week.

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