Celebrating 35 Years of Access Awareness

May 27, 2022

Each spring, Nova Scotians celebrate Access Awareness Week to bring attention to the important work being done to remove barriers to inclusion for people with disabilities. This year Access Awareness Week will run May 29 – June 4 under the banner Reflection & Renewal: 35 Years of Access Awareness - The Promise of Progress.

Discrimination based on physical or mental disability is illegal under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act, despite this, complaints from people with disabilities experiencing prejudice, barriers to inclusion or discrimination remain among the highest of those received by the Commission. Building awareness through education and fostering partnerships that support the work of government and community is part of the Commission’s approach to addressing this issue.

Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to champion Access Awareness Week as an extension of Rick Hansen’s 1987 Man in Motion World Tour. During this initiative Rick and his team wheeled through 34 countries raising awareness about the potential of people with disabilities and the possibility of creating accessible and inclusive communities.

Since then, the work to advance equity for people with disabilities has been led by passionate, dedicated grassroots community advocates, organizations and champions who envision a barrier-free society where attitudes, policies, and our built environment support rather than hinder full participation for all.

Through public awareness, community partnerships, education and dialogue, Access Awareness Week aims to foster an environment of equitable participation for persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia. Events are coordinated by the Partnership for Access Awareness Nova Scotia (PAANS) committee and includes the annual presentation of the Mel Hebb Awards and scholarships for students with disabilities.

A list of events and ways that you can learn and celebrate Access Awareness Week in your community can be found at https://www.aawns.ca.


The preceding is a statement from Joseph Fraser, Director & CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.