International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Dec 01, 2023

December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), a day to promote full and equal access to a barrier-free life for all persons with disabilities.

Disabilities vary from person to person. They are both visible and invisible, and can be permanent, episodic, or temporary. Disabilities can compound and complicate everyday challenges including but not limited to accessing employment, housing, transportation, and equitable, reliable healthcare. As access to these necessities have become challenges for many Nova Scotians, the impacts are often disproportionately compounded for people with disabilities. This is because the removal of systemic and physical barriers is an immense and ongoing undertaking that requires each of us to do our part.

In Nova Scotia, our commitment to removing barriers and fostering inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society is underpinned by the province’s Accessibility Act, passed in 2017, outlined in the Access By Design 2030 strategy, and the province’s Accessibility Plan which describes provincial government goals and commitments. Additionally, all “prescribed public sector bodies”, such as municipalities in Nova Scotia have their own Accessibility Plans. Within these plans and strategies are opportunities to engage the public, and for Nova Scotians to contribute to the important work of reducing stigma, dispelling myths, and misconceptions, and joining boards and committees dedicated to this important work. Understanding the complexity and intersectionality of disability and its impact on how we live our lives is an essential first step in acting to influence change.

On December 3 this year I invite all Nova Scotians to seek out ways of getting involved in the work to remove barriers impacting persons with disabilities.

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

Access Includes Everyone

Access Includes Everyone is a multi-year, multi-platform accessibility awareness campaign, that was launched in April 2022 by the province’s Accessibility Directorate. The campaign currently includes three videos, related social and digital media and an informative website. This campaign is advancing the important work of addressing stereotypes, misconceptions, assumptions, and biases which, like physical barriers in our built environment, limit access to equitable participation in society for persons with disabilities.

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