Public celebration of work being done to make communities more accessible

NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York is celebrating National Access Awareness Week June 3 to 9 to help bring communities together in a spirit of partnership to affect meaningful change in the daily lives of people with disabilities.

“York Region strives to ensure programs, services and facilities are accessible for everyone,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “The ideals of National Access Awareness Week are reflected in the Region’s ongoing commitment to make York Region an inclusive, accessible and barrier-free community.”

The Region continues to enhance access to programs, services and facilities with more than 150 accessibility initiatives currently underway. Automated stop announcements on York Region Transit and Viva buses, accessibility upgrades at affordable housing buildings across York Region and floor announcements in elevators at the Region’s South Services Centre and Administrative Centre are a few examples of how York Region strives to meet the needs of a growing and diverse community.

Public celebration event held today featured the Voices of Joy Choir and motivational speaker John Cairns

Public celebration event held today featured the Voices of Joy Choir and motivational speaker John Cairns

“The York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee advises York Regional Council and York Regional Police on accessibility issues across York Region and what needs to be done to increase access,” said Town of Richmond Hill Regional Councillor Vito Spatafora, Chair of the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee. “National Access Awareness Week offers an opportunity to celebrate the work being done across the Region to make programs and services accessible for everyone.”

A public celebration event, presented by the Municipal Staff Reference Group (MSRG), was held today at the York Region Administrative Centre featuring performances by the inclusive musical group Voices of Joy Choir as well as motivational speaker John Cairns, whose loss of an arm and leg in a rail accident empowered him to find passion and purpose to promote accessibility for all. Learning sessions will be held for staff throughout the week to explore the provincial accessibility legislation that guides the work of the Region.

The MSRG is a community partnership of accessibility professionals from York Region, York Regional Police, local municipalities, hospitals and school boards.

National Access Awareness Week was established in 1988 in response to a request by Rick Hanson following his Man in Motion World Tour. Its primary goal is to bring communities together and work towards full participation and equal access for people with disabilities in all aspects of Canadian life.