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Students are Challenged to Make Ontario More Accessible for the Disabled

Posted by Condo.ca on February 27, 2012

Competition puts the spotlight on accessibility issues in Ontario. The official goal is for the province to be fully accessible to persons with disabilities by 2025.

To help make the world more accessible for people with disabilities is the challenge being put out to Ontario university students. The Council of Ontario Universities and the Government of Ontario are organizing the Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) competition, with cash prizes for the winners.

What they are looking for is innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions to accessibility-related issues throughout the province. University undergraduate students can work alone or in teams, consulting with industry, government and especially people in the disability community to identify accessibility issues that need solutions. The next step is to come up with a creative solution to the problem that can be easily implemented.

The goal of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is to make Ontario accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. There is more to the problem than simply building wheelchair ramps next to stairways, however. AODA has identified five key barriers to accessibility, some of them less obvious than others and therefore harder to deal with:

  • Attitudinal
  • Information and Communications
  • Physical/structural
  • Technology
  • Systemic

Each university will select its two best submissions in each of the five categories. Those successful candidates will move on to a second round of judging by a panel of experts, who will evaluate entries for innovation, cost-effectiveness, and practicality. Bonus points will be awarded to entries whose format itself demonstrates consideration to accessibility issues.

Student contestants can find rules and registration information at http://cou.on.ca/idea.
The deadline for contest submissions is March 31, 2012.

The winner will be announced at an event at the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery Conference in May 2012.

Reproduced from http://www.condo.ca/profiles/blogs/students-are-challenged-to-make-ontario-more-accessible-for-the-d