According to Statistics Canada, 3.8 million Canadian adults have a disability – that’s approximately one in seven people. And with our aging population, that number will grow to one in five by 2030.
One of the biggest and most significant barriers that people with disabilities still face is physical barriers to common places and spaces like schools, community centres, churches, theatres, and parks. This lack of access prevents people with disabilities from being a part of their communities.
The Rick Hansen Foundation is committed to breaking down these barriers and hope you will join us by participating in our latest initiative: The Access4All Canada 150 Signature Initiative.
To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, and the 30th anniversary of the Rick Hansen Man In Motion World Tour, the Foundation has launched the Access4All program to inspire and empower youth and community leaders across the country to create a more inclusive and accessible Canada by completing what we’re calling “Barrier Buster Projects.”
With the participation of the Government of Canada, the Foundation will provide a minimum of 50 Barrier Buster grants to schools and community groups to help complete these Barrier Buster projects in communities all across the country.
Barrier Buster projects have two parts. The first is an infrastructure improvement to the built environment in a public place to remove physical barriers and improve accessibility. This could be something like adding an entrance ramp to a building, or making a playground accessible for kids of all abilities.
Some other examples of potential Barrier Buster Projects you could complete are:
- Interior Accessibility Project: A project that ensure everyone is able to access all rooms and floors in a building freely and easily (e.g., installing power-operated doors, accessible washrooms and elevators)
- Emergency Response Project: A project that enhance emergency warning systems to ensure the safety of everyone (e.g., adding visual emergency alarms)
- Parks, Trails or Marine Access Project: Projects that ensure outdoor public spaces are enjoyed by everyone (e.g., adding smooth-surface pathways to make docks, beaches and trails more accessible)
The second part of a Barrier Buster Project is planning and hosting a community awareness building event. This event is designed to create awareness and promote the values of access and inclusion in our communities, and it will also be a way to showcase and celebrate your achievement in making communities more accessible!
We’re inviting schools, community organizations, municipalities, and other registered charities who share our vision of a more accessible and inclusive Canada to identify accessibility barriers in public places in their communities and apply for a Barrier Buster grant to remove them.
Barrier Buster project leaders will be able to submit grant applications for up to $30,000 in funding. This includes up to $20,000 for an accessibility infrastructure improvement project, and up to $10,000 for a community awareness building event. We strongly encourage all Barrier Buster project participants to involve people with disabilities in the planning and completing of a project.
To help you get started in identifying a project and applying for a grant, we’ve created a number of helpful resources for both educators and community groups that can be viewed and downloaded from our website.
Access4All will break down barriers in communities from coast to coast and create real and lasting impact for Canadians with disabilities. Please join us in creating an inclusive world without barriers!
Visit the Access4All website today to learn more our initiative, download the resources, read our FAQ, and apply for a grant!