Businesses championing accessibility in Sarnia were awarded Friday. Author of the article:Tyler Kula
Publishing date:Nov 12, 2021
Businesses championing accessibility in Sarnia received some well-deserved recognition Friday through the 2021 Sarnia Accessibility Awards.
“They went above and beyond with their services and their supports to ensure people with disabilities receive the services that they need,” city accessibility co-ordinator Dale Mosley said about this year’s winners.
Winners from the more than 30 nominations included dental hygienist Brenda DiMuzio, who goes to her clients in long-term care, hospital and group-home settings rather than making them come to her; Home Depot for hiring nine employees with disabilities since 2016; Moulton Optical for providing appointments outside of normal business hours for people who need a quieter space; and Firehouse Subs for ensuring people with special dietary needs had access to ingredient details when ordering online, Mosley said.
The winners were selected by the city’s accessibility advisory committee, which includes people with disabilities and helps direct local improvements that set standards exceeding Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act minimums, Mosley said.
“We’ve created our own standards with a lot of things such as playgrounds, where we go above and beyond,” the co-ordinator said.
People with disabilities represent the largest minority group in Sarnia and other communities, so it’s critical – and good business – for owners to make sure their locations are accessible, he said.
Being able to recognize businesses for going above and beyond is a huge deal, Mosley added.
The awards, which have been held in Sarnia annually since 2012, were awarded virtually in 2020.
They were also livestreamed this year, but an in-person event with committee members and award winners was also held at the St. Clair Corporate Centre in Sarnia Friday.
It was a reunion of sorts for the committee after meeting virtually since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mosley said.
“I’m so excited to be able to (meet) again and celebrate the award winners again in person,” he said.
Accessibility upgrades proposed for 2022 include the playground in Tecumseh Park and the neighbouring Cox Youth Centre, as well as the ongoing work to create accessible curbs, paths and sidewalks in the city, Mosley said.
Planning has been underway this year to install audio signals at busy intersections in the city to help pedestrians with sight impairments know when it’s safe to cross, he said.
“Getting contractors, pricing it, that sort of thing – so we’re ready to go in 2022,” he said.