This spring, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities announced the launch of an annual National AccessAbility Week devoted to inclusion and accessibility in Canada. From May 28 to June 3, National Accessibility Week will celebrate, promote and showcase diversity, inclusion and accessibility in this country, and highlight some of the important initiatives aimed at creating an Accessible Canada.
Coinciding with the newly-created National AccessAbility Week, Easter Seals is poised to issue its 100,000th Access 2 Card and launch a brand new, more informative, more user-friendly online platform for it’s award-winning Access 2 Program.
The Access 2 Program is a collaborative partnership between Easter Seals and over 500 movie theatres, cultural attractions, entertainment venues, and recreation facilities across Canada. Designed for people of all ages who have a permanent disability and require the assistance of a support person, the goal of the Access 2 Program is to improve social inclusion and provide access to entertainment, cultural and recreation opportunities or experiences without any added financial burden.
“The data tells us that many Canadian families living with disability face financial hardship,” says Dave Starrett, President and CEO of Easter Seals Canada. “The Access 2 Card allows these families to enjoy some of the incredible entertainment and cultural experiences this country has to offer, without having to pay double the admission.”
When an Access 2 cardholder presents their valid Access 2 Card at any participating partner venue, their support person receives free admission, while the Access 2 cardholder pays regular admission.
Since the Program launched in 2004, Easter Seals has issued over 99,000 Access 2 Cards nationwide and is poised to send out its 100,000th card any day now. In addition, the launch the new Access 2 Program website at www.access2card.ca will make it easier for Canadians with permanent disabilities to apply for their very own Access 2 Card, and learn how and where they can use the Card almost anywhere in Canada.
“We’re thrilled to be on the cusp of sending out our 100,000th Access 2 Card,” says Starrett. “It’s our goal to put an Access 2 Card in the hands of every single Canadian living with a permanent disability who would benefit from the social, entertainment and recreation opportunities that this one-of-a-kind program provides.”
With the support of its proud partner venues and family of cardholders, the Access 2 Program has emerged as a national leader in promoting and celebrating social inclusion and opportunities for active social participation amongst the disability community in Canada. Just as important, the Access 2 Program has also been at the forefront of raising awareness about the importance of accessible spaces, equal opportunity, and working collaboratively to create a more inclusive, more accessible Canada.