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'Accessibility will affect everyone': Access Awareness Week highlights challenges, achievements


It can be hard enough navigating day-to-day life, but a disability can make it even more challenging.

Access Awareness Week aims to highlight those obstacles and remove them. Brian George has lived in Halifax for 10 years and still finds it hard to get around.

"When I first moved here, I honestly almost turned around and went back home. I was not happy at all," said George.

"Things have definitely gotten better. They still have a very long way to go, and I honestly question if it will ever happen."

George was born with spina bifida and has been a wheelchair user his whole life.

"I have never really let it slow me down. I've done triathlons, I've done marathons. I recently started acting three years ago. I did zip lining actually with CTV a few years ago."

George said accessibility isn't just an issue for those living with a disability.

"As people age, this is an aging community, it's an aging country really, accessibility will affect everyone whether they like it or not as they age," said George.

Those issues are in the spotlight for Access Awareness Week.

"One, it aims to bring issues of awareness and inclusion to the policymakers, and two, it helps to celebrate the achievements and progress that we've made on accessibility issues," said Sherry Costa-Lorenz, Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities executive director.

Red Shirt Day for accessibility and inclusion was marked Wednesday across the country.

A group participates in Red Shirt Day at the University of King's College in Halifax. (Stephanie Tsicos/CTV Atlantic)

"It's just important to recognize persons with disabilities and the impact they can make in the world," said Michelle Mahoney, who's a board member for Easter Seals both in Nova Scotia and nationally.

Mahoney is also the first-ever accessibility officer at the University of King's College in Halifax.

"It's really great. I get to assist students with accommodations, how to get those accommodations, but also I am assisting with our accessibility plan," said Mahoney.

While Access Awareness Week only lasts seven days, conversations happen every single day.

"Everyone has a part to play in it," said Costa-Lorenz. "None of what has been achieved around accessibility and inclusion is done so by any one single entity, but by a collaboration across sectors and across multiple governments."

Access Awareness Week runs from May 26 to June 1. 

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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