Time to handle our missteps

Posted in : Blog
Posted on : June 20, 2017

Michael Bach, CCDP/AP - Founder and CEO

I’m excited about our new DON’T LET A BARRIER BE A BULLY campaign. At CCDI, we want to make Canada more inclusive at every level – in the community, in the workplace and in schools. We want to get people thinking about accessibility and how our world has so many barriers.

The videos in the campaign are hard-hitting and some people may describe the tone as aggressive. That was deliberate. The videos show that, knowingly or unknowingly, barriers that restrict or impact people’s access or inclusion are a form of bullying. We are not calling people bullies. Rather, we are saying that barriers are cruel, intimidating and threatening to people’s quality of life and sense of well-being and inclusion.

I say this as someone who is not without guilt. Despite living, breathing and preaching inclusion every day of my life, recently I made a mistake that impeded access for one of our valued clients. So, like many of you, I am still learning. Thankfully, the client was gracious enough to alert me to the situation. I had sent her an electronic invitation to an event, which required online registration. However, she was unable to use our registration process because she couldn’t see the graphic security code (CAPTCHA). She couldn’t see the code to input the word and complete her registration.

This was quite an oversight on my part. So, trust me when I say I am not in a position to cast aspersions on others. My hope is that once made aware, like me, others will take remedial action. So, I have since migrated our registration pages to reCAPTCHA by Google, which is completely accessible and can be read by a screen reader.

This incident shows how, even with the best intentions, we all make mistakes. However, let’s not turn our backs on this very real issue that is impacting jobs, education and the quality of life of our fellow Canadians. The videos focus on physical barriers, which have long been recognized as a pressing concern in the community. We know that accessible facilities don’t just benefit persons with disabilities. They benefit all Canadians – seniors, people with mobility issues, parents travelling with kids, and the list  goes on. At one stage or another in our lives, we may all need some sort of assistive device. Therefore, it is time for us all to act and “don’t let a barrier be a bully”. Ask yourself these question: If not me, who? If not now, when?

I am learning every day and I’m doing my best to take the right actions. I urge you to do something to help make Canada more accessible. Visit our website to get some ideas of what you can do. At the very least, you can help raise awareness of this issue so that each person can do something to help make Canada #AccessibleForAll.

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