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Minister Qualtrough hosts important conversation with young Canadians on the future of accessibility

November 1, 2016 Ottawa, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada -

Youth are key to breaking down barriers for Canadians with disabilities and creating a more accessible and inclusive Canada. That’s why today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, hosted an exciting one-day national forum on accessibility with youth with disabilities and youth who have life, work or academic experience related to disabilities.

Minister Qualtrough engaged youth participants on what accessibility means to them and their vision of an accessible Canada. She encouraged participants to continue demonstrating leadership in their communities and continue working towards building a more inclusive and accessible society.

The National Youth Forum is part of the consultation process led by Minister Qualtrough to inform the development of planned accessibility legislation. Canadians from around the country have already begun sharing their views on what an accessible Canada means to them. All Canadians are encouraged to have their say in the consultation process, either by attending an engagement session or by participating in the online consultation at Canadians are also encouraged to follow @AccessibleGC on Twitter, AccessibleGC on Facebook and to follow the hashtags #LeadersToday and #AccessibleCanada. The consultation process will run until February 28, 2017.


“I am inspired by the incredible leadership shown by youth across Canada in relation to accessibility. The innovative ideas they bring to the table are instrumental to breaking down barriers for all Canadians. By working together and listening to their fresh ideas, I sincerely believe we can make vast progress in creating a truly accessible Canada.” – The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

“As a person on the autism spectrum, I face many challenges. However, it also allows me to look at the world through a different lens. I hope to inspire, and give people a new perspective, on what it means to live with a disability. Most importantly, I would like to show people that just because we have a disability doesn't mean we don't have the ability to do things. ” – Elene Fiala, Member, Youth Forum Planning Committee

“Being able to have a discussion with people who have different disabilities allows us to collaborate as a collective and understand each other more thoroughly.” – Chenyl Graff, Member, Youth Forum Planning Committee

"Accessibility and inclusion are processes that require continuous dialogue and work. As society evolves over time, new barriers arise, and it is important to recognize the expertise of people with disabilities—and especially youth with disabilities—so that disability communities are in charge of identifying the sources of their exclusion and working out the solutions to these issues." – Natalie Spagnuolo, Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)

Quick Facts

• According to the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD), among youth age 15–19, 35 percent of those with a severe or very severe disability were employed at one time or another between January 2010 and May 2011, compared with 44 percent of those with a mild or moderate disability, and 57% of those without a disability.

• The 2012 CSD also revealed that, among people age 20–24, 48 percent of those with a severe or very severe disability were employed at one time or another, compared with 73 percent of those with a mild or moderate disability and 87 percent of those without a disability.

• Approximately 14 percent of Canadians aged 15 years or older reported having a disability that limited them in their daily activities. There are approximately 411,600 working-age Canadians with disabilities who are not working but whose disability does not prevent them from doing so; almost half of these potential workers are post-secondary graduates.

Associated Links

Consultation on Planned Accessibility Legislation

Twitter: @AccessibleGC

Facebook: AccessibleGC #AccessibleCanada

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For media enquiries, please contact: Ashley Michnowski Press Secretary Office of the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities 819-934-1122 / TTY: 1-866-702-6967 Media Relations Office Employment and Social Development Canada 819-994-5559 Follow us on Twitter.


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