Ability

How accessible is your community?

The Alberta Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of physical and mental disability. A welcoming and inclusive community will recognize the differing abilities of community members and take action to ensure that all residents are able to actively participate in the social, cultural and economic life of the municipality. Disabilities may involve mobility, agility, visual, speech, hearing, learning and cognitive characteristics. At the most basic level, municipal governments have a role to ensure barrier-free access to municipal facilities and that all materials use plain language.

Check out the resources section at the bottom of the page for a collection of toolkits, guides, supports, municipal examples, and reports to help your community take action.

Resources

A road map to emergency planning for people with disabilities
People with disabilities have different needs than the general public when it comes to emergencies and evacuations. These needs must be included in future emergency planning strategies. This document is a summary of three workshops held by the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD).

Barrier Free Design Guide 2017 
Developed by the Alberta Safety Codes Council, the purpose of this guide is to explain the intents and objectives of Alberta’s Building Code, as well as to recommend best practices where accessibility and safety are concerns to seniors and persons with disabilities. This can be helpful for municipalities who are building or renovating facilities.  

Hotel accessibility checklist for persons with disabilities
Voice of Albertans with Disabilities partnered with the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association to develop a checklist tool for persons with disabilities to conduct an assessment to determine if a hotel will meet their accessibility requirements.

Disability Awareness Training: Enhancing Knowledge about People with Disabilities -- Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities
The Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities presents at the 2014 Come Together Alberta Conference.

From Disability to Ability: Working with Municipalities to make them More Accessible -- Mieke de Groot
Mieke de Groot from the Canadian Paraplegic Association presents at the 2014 Come Together Alberta Conference.

Alberta Association for Supported Employment
A network of agencies offering information and resources about supported employment. The Association provides support and opportunities for employers, as well as employees with disabilities.

Alberta Council of Disability Services 
A not-for-profit association that assists community-based service providers who support people with developmental disabilities or brain injury. The goal of ACDS is to ensure quality service delivery for individuals within Community Disability Services (CDS).

Canadian Hard of Hearing Association
CHHA is devoted to education, public awareness, advocacy, and services to support Canadians living with hearing loss. 

Council of Canadians with Disabilities
A national organization working for an accessible and inclusive Canada. The website provides resources on the topics of human rights, social policy, accessible transportation, international cooperation and accessible technology.

Government of Alberta: Disability Services
The Government of Alberta provides a number of programs and services to support adults and children with disabilities.

Inclusion Alberta
A non-profit advocacy organization that services individuals with developmental disabilities and families.

Medically At Risk Driver (MARD) Centre
The MARD Centre is the first Centre in the world that offers integrated efforts targeting the discovery and development of evidence-based solutions to identify and assess medically at-risk drivers, and to provide advancements in support for those who can no longer drive.

Voice of Albertans with Disabilities
An organization committed to the full participation in society for Albertans with disabilities. VAD offers a disability awareness program and accessibility assessment services as well as other online resources.

City of Brooks
The City of Brooks collaborates with multiple not-for-profit organizations to provide a work placement program where individuals with physical or mental barriers can build skills working for the City. The program offers short-term placements that help individuals become gainfully employed after their placement is complete.

City of London
Guide: How to plan accessible indoor events
Guide: How to plan accessible outdoor events
Both guides are published by the City of London (Ontario) Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Town of Cochrane
In 2017, the Town of Cochrane’s Equity and Inclusion Committee organized an activity where the Town’s elected officials and senior managers experienced navigating the community using mobility devices such as wheelchairs, scooters and walkers. This video of the ‘Rolling Audit’ documents how the exercise helped the Town’s leaders better understand how the design and maintenance of the community’s infrastructure can impact persons with different physical abilities. 

Barrier-free health and medical services in Alberta
A comprehensive report summarizing the barriers that Albertans with disabilities experience when accessing preventive and ongoing health and medical services. Survey findings are cross-tabulated for different disability categories (speech, hearing, psychological, mobility/agility, etc.).

Dewling, J., 2006. “Educating a Community for Inclusion”, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Alberta.
This research aimed to engage two Alberta communities, Wainwright and Killam, on the issue of inclusion. The question “How can a community be educated for inclusion?” (with a focus on individuals with disabilities) is answered with several recommendations for individuals and agencies interested in enhancing inclusion in their communities. Available from the University of Alberta Book and Record Depository.