NEADS meets with The Honourable Carmel Sepuloni, New Zealand's Minister of Social Development and Minister of Disability Issues

(OTTAWA - June 13, 2019)

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) and other stakeholders in the Carleton University disability community met with the Honourable Carmel Sepuloni, New Zealand's Minister of Social Development and Minister of Disability Issues, as well as Brian Coffey, Director of the Office for Disability Issues, Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand. Sarah Szumlanski, NEADS Research Officer; Daniel Patterson, NEADS Communications and Social Media Officer; Nadine Powell, NEADS Research Officer and Frank Smith, NEADS National Coordinator represented the NEADS team at the consultation with the Minister.

We discussed accommodations, supports, best practices, as well as student uptake of accessibility services within Canada. One of the key takeaways was the idea that accessibility in post-secondary education must be included in processes by design, rather than as an afterthought, and through this it was clear, within the colleges and university experience, that front-line service provision on and off campuses, public education and student self-advocacy are critical components to ensure that higher education is fully accessible to disabled students. Minister Sepuloni was very interested to hear about the Accessible Canada Act,  and the work of NEADS collaborating with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to develop the Post-Secondary Student Mental Health Standard and our representation on the Women and Gender Equality (formerly Status of Women Canada) Advisory Committee on the Framework to Prevent and Address Gender Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions.

Other Carleton community stakeholder and student services offices  present included: the Paul Menton Centre (Accessibility Services); the Research, Education, Accessibility and Design (READ) program; Carleton's Attendant Services program, and the David C. Onley Initiative!

We, at NEADS, are looking forward to following the future progress in New Zealand on post-secondary access and to keeping the lines of communication open between our two countries to continually share best practices.

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
Rm. 514 Unicentre, Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, tel. (613) 380-8065, ext. 201