2017 Award Winners

Accessible City: Winnipeg, MB

picture of Winnipeg City

The City of Winnipeg holds accessibility at the heart of everything it does and has been proactively incorporating accessibility into city planning for 20 years. For two decades, it has been a leader in creating a mindset of inclusivity through the implementation of accessibility committees, accessibility policies and standards, and creating exemplary examples of accessible design for others to follow. Mayor Brian Bowman and city council are open, committed, and accountable to creating a vibrant and inclusive community for everyone.

History, vision & strategy
  • Passed a Universal Design Policy in 2001
  • Created Winnipeg Accessibility Design Standards in 2006
  • Continually develops and implements National and Manitoba building code amendments
  • Commits over $425,000/year to improve accessibility
  • Established an Access Advisory Committee in 1997 (with eight of the 13 members having a disability)
  • Houses the first Universal Design Institute at the University of Manitoba since the late 1990’s
What are they doing?

The City of Winnipeg has created and maintains a number of accessibility-related programs, projects and initiatives, such as:

  • Consultations with disability community members
  • Use of accessibility consultants to help identify gaps and opportunities
  • Capital program to retrofit Winnipeg’s older buildings
  • Annual Access Award for the design community
  • Interactive intersection creation that include tactile, audible and visual signals
  • Has one staff member dedicated to accessibility and an Accessibility Compliance Officer
  • Offers training, courses, and workshops with a cross disability lens
Places of note
  • University of Winnipeg Environment & Science Complex
  • Forks Accessible Playground
  • Specialized Services for Children and Youth Building
Accessibility resources

Accessible City: Richmond, BC

picture of Richmond City

The City of Richmond has a holistic approach to access and is committed to going beyond minimum accessibility standards in the built environment. Since the 1980s, Richmond has adopted policies to improve accessibility and today, access and inclusion are themes embedded throughout City planning documents. These strategies emphasize the need for accessible and inclusive neighbourhoods to facilitate aging in place, improve access to services and respond to community members of all abilities.

History, vision & strategy
  • Passed an Access and Inclusion Policy in 1981
  • Established the Richmond Committee on Disability in 1985
  • Adopted the ‘Policy 2012 - City Buildings – Accessibility‘ in 1994
  • Developed ‘Accessibility Guidelines for City-Owned Buildings’ in 1994
  • Maintained two City staff positions dedicated to access and inclusion since 1997
  • Identified accessibility as a key policy issue to be addressed over the next 25 years in the City’s Official Community Plan
What are they doing?

The City of Richmond created and maintains a number of accessibility-related programs, projects and initiatives such as:

  • Program to install accessible pedestrian signals at all new traffic intersections and signaled pedestrian crossings;
  • Retrofit program for pedestrian signals at existing traffic and signaled pedestrian intersections (approximately 20 annually);
  • Retrofit program for curb cuts;
  • Capital program to fund accessibility upgrades to bus stops, in partnership with the transit authority;
  • Annual facility audits to identify and plan for accessibility upgrades to City infrastructure;
  • Zoning bylaws for the development of accessible housing;
  • ’Accessible Design Guidelines’ for City-owned facilities, including child care and affordable housing developments; 
  • Ongoing accessibility improvement to the City’s 73+ kilometers of trails;
  • Proactive audits on 20% of 150 buildings each year;
  • Specialized staff training to raise accessibility awareness; 
  • Ongoing consultations with Richmond Centre of Disability (RCD) on programs and audits;
  • RCD members on other City advisory committees; and
  • Participates in facility assessments through the Accessibility Certification Program.
Places of note
  • Richmond Olympic Oval
  • City Centre Community Centre
  • Steveston Village accessible intersection
Accessibility resources

Accessible City: Edmonton, AB

picture of Edmonton

The City of Edmonton is making accessibility a priority in all areas. Three of the City of Edmonton’s six 10-year strategic goals specifically address improving accessibility for its citizens. ‘The Way we Move’, ‘The Way we Grow’, and ‘The Way we Live’ strategies outline ways in which Edmonton is striving to become a “caring, inclusive and affordable” community.

The City of Edmonton shows collaborative leadership and is doing great work to help incentivize private businesses to increase access.

History, vision & strategy
  • Created the ‘Home for Life’ educational initiative
  • Passed three municipal policies on accessibility
  • Created the “Annex H Accessible Playground Standard’
  • Completed the ‘Complete Streets Guideline’ for planning and design of their transportation system
  • Actioned three of six strategic goals in “The Way Ahead” Strategic Plan (‘The Way we Move’, ‘The Way we Grow’, and ‘The Way we Live’) to deal with public accessibility
What are they doing?

The City of Edmonton created and maintains a number of accessibility-related programs, projects and initiatives such as:

  • An Accessibility Advisory Committee that includes 15 members with disabilities or with extensive disability experience
  • Consultation with disability-related organizations on specific issues
  • Barrier-free best practice design checklist
  • “Measuring Up” Initiative to encourage private businesses to measure levels of accessibility
  • “Incline to Include’ program for inaccessible storefronts
  • Annual Mayors Awards to recognize local businesses and developers for creating accessible environments
  • “Stewarding Great Neighbourhoods” project for inclusive neighbourhood planning
  • “Winter Cities Design Guidelines for design and maintenance in snow
  • Workshops, resource fairs, internal staff training


Places of note
  • Rogers Place
  • The Steadward Centre
  • The Walterdale Theatre
Accessibility resources