December 18, 2008

Ontario Lt.Governor David Onley: Passion Meets Political Power on Disability

Chris Hogg at Digital Journal has an insight to share in his article Ontario Lt.-Governor David Onley Dispels Myths on Disability. So does Lt. Gov. David Onley. I recommend the entire piece but here is a pullout from the middle of the article:

"If you're a home builder or developer and 15.5 per cent of your potential customer base is disabled, why would you not think about ways to incorporate accessibility into building design?" he asks rhetorically. "In tough economic times, you can't just write-off that much of your potential customer base."

To really hit his point home, Onley tells me about shopping excursions with his wife Ruth. He says there are occasions where he doesn't feel like going into a store with her so he sits in the car, waits and watches. What he sees, however, is proof that accessibility affects everyone.

"Human behaviour is very interesting," he said. "If you are outside a hotel or store, just watch as 90 per cent of able-bodied people use a wheelchair ramp instead of stairs to get into the building. It's simply easier and you never hear of someone falling up or down a ramp. It just shows you how important accessibility is for everyone, not just the disabled."

Simple observations. Powerful implications.

It's refreshing to know that someone with power also has the clarity to make available these observations from within disability culture for the benefit of the as-yet-non-disabled population. As the Lt Governor notes:

Onley says 15.5 per cent of Ontario's population is disabled, making them the largest single minority group in the province. That is up 2 per cent in the last five years. Onley believes that is a result of more people reporting disabilities to Statistics Canada surveys because taboos are slowly being removed.

He also says the issue of disability is increasingly on the radar because people today have increased lifespans and greater risks of potential accidents. He believes many boomers will eventually face some form of disability in their lifetime and that is why North America, namely Ontario, needs to do something about it.

"There are far too many myths when it comes to disability and the ways in which the disabled are viewed...

Read the entire article here.

***********

About the author at Digital Journal:


Chris Hogg
is in charge of Digital Journal, Inc., overseeing the company's various online properties such as DigitalJournal.com, Digital Journal TV and the company's mobile news site at DigitalJournal.mobi.

Chris holds a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto, and has extensive experience in broadcast television, radio, print and online media.

Making hundreds of appearances on TV and radio stations each year, Chris is often called upon by international media to comment on trends in technology and Internet culture, as well as provide insight into the economics and business strategies of tech companies around the world.

Chris has worked in both Canada and abroad, and has worked, or made appearances, with many news programs and publications including: CBC News, Fifth Estate, CBC Sports, CTV News, City News, CP24, Global News, Business News Network, Daily Planet, Space, Sun TV, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, as well as dozens of syndicated TV and radio networks.

Join Chris and other citizen journalists in the Digital Journal Facebook Group here.

Posted by rollingrains at December 18, 2008 12:09 PM