COQUITLAM, B.C., May 26, 2022 – As National AccessAbility Week approaches, from May 29 to June 4, Coquitlam is highlighting its efforts in removing barriers and building an accessible community for people of all abilities.
Recognized across the country, National AccessAbility Week celebrates the contributions of Canadians with disabilities and recognizes individuals, communities and workplaces working to remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion.
Committee Provides Council with Key Advice on Enhancing Universal Accessibility
National AccessAbility Week aligns with Coquitlam’s commitment to building a barrier-free community – supported by its Universal Access-Ability Advisory Committee (UAAC). Comprised of Council representatives and volunteer community members, the UAAC’s mandate is to provide a local and universal accessibility perspective and advice to Council in support of achieving the City’s strategic goals, and accompanying strategic directions, toward continually increasing universal accessibility. Learn more at www.coquitlam.ca/uaac.
Planning Accessibility from the Ground Up
Accessibility is considered as a priority in all of the City’s services as it delivers facilities, infrastructure, neighbourhood plans and recreation programs for all ages and abilities. Examples include:
- Building road, pedestrian and transit infrastructure with all users in mind, such as sidewalk ramps and touchless pedestrian crossing buttons in high-pedestrian areas;
- Welcoming people of all abilities to recreation programs and services including providing gradually sloped accessibility ramps, transfer lifts and water wheelchairs;
- Ensuring that events and functions are accessible for all members of the community, regardless of ability, through our Event Accessibility Checklist;
- Enhancements to the City’s Council meetings and Public Hearings and programs by video conference, to increase participation opportunities for those with mobility challenges; and
- Ensuring online services meet the needs of all users, such as the City’s website’s compliance with the globally-recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, built to be accurately interpreted by assistive technology for web-visitors with hearing or visual impairments.
Visit www.coquitlam.ca/accessibility for more information about City programs, regulations and policies that promote access for people with disabilities.
The City provides a variety of programs and supports to encourage people of all ages and abilities to participate in recreation. Opportunities include:
- Seasonal accessible and inclusive drop-in sports programs;
- Recreation support plans that provide extra assistance to program registrants;
- Online, illustrated ‘social stories’ that prepare children for a camp, program or the pool, suitable for children on the autism spectrum, or who experience anxiety;
- Adapted fitness equipment in all City fitness centres;
- A sensory-friendly swim without music or water features;
- Free menstrual products in City women’s and universal washrooms; and
- Skating programs offered in partnership with the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) for children and youth with a CAN membership.
Through the City’s affiliation with Canadian Tire Jumpstart and KidSport Tri-Cities, Coquitlam also offers programs that aim to reduce barriers to participation.
Visit www.coquitlam.ca/recaccess for information on City programs promoting recreational access.
Financial Assistance for Recreation
Coquitlam strives to make recreation affordable and accessible for all residents with its Financial Assistance for Recreation (FAR) program. Each eligible family member receives 50 drop-in passes and a $225 credit towards City of Coquitlam admissions, passes and programs. Details and an online application form can be found at www.coquitlam.ca/far.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Coquitlam
In step with the evolving understanding taking place in Canada and around the world, Coquitlam has strengthened its focus on promoting equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the City’s work and in the community at large. EDI initiatives seek to build an equitable and inclusive society for all by addressing the inherent injustices and biases that hinder and harm some people while benefiting others. Council has ranked EDI among the top priorities for the City’s work. Preliminary EDI initiatives have included a workshop led by the City’s Universal Access-Ability Advisory Committee, a focus on accessible recreation programs, consultation with EDI experts and training for staff at all levels. The City will continue to provide updates as Coquitlam makes progress on this important initiative. Learn more at www.coquitlam.ca/edi.
Manager, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion