(Toronto, ON) - Changing our attitude is the key to providing greater accessibility to the disabled, Ontario's Lieutenant Governor David Onley told a gathering hosted by the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities (CAMD) on Sunday, May 24.
"It means that we must not form value judgments based on what a person looks like," he said. "I'm sure it has happened to many of you and it has happened to me. It's not pleasant and in many cases its hurtful."
Onley who is the first Lieutenant Governor in Ontario with a disability, has overcome challenges associated with polio and post-polio syndrome, including paralysis.
Rabia Khedr, CAMD’s Executive Director, said the Symposium was organized to, "bring families, community leaders and community members together to talk about planning for the future of people with disabilities and their families as they're aging."
The Planning for the Future: Disability Rights & Responsibilities Symposium was held at the ISNA Islamic Centre in Mississauga.
The day-long planning symposium included presentations by Abdalla Idris Ali and Shahina Siddiqui, a video presentation, and workshops.
The event was an opportunity for families, service providers and community leaders to network and discuss issues around disabilities and it concluded with the launch of the CAMD Family Support Network.
The Symposium was funded by the Olive Tree Foundation as “we feel that CAMD is providing an important service to the Muslim community,” said Muneeb Nasir, the Foundation’s President.
The Lieutenant Governor told the audience of how our attitude to disabilities can lead to exclusion.
He said that an employer who rejected an applicant because he or she had one leg, may have rejected Terry Fox; if the employer rejected someone in a wheelchair, they would have rejected Rick Hansen and if the employer rejected someone who needs a computer to speak for him or her, the employer would have rejected Stephen Hawking.