The name of award is the David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility, named after Ontario’s ongoing Lieutenant Governor whose been a long time advocate for disability and accessibility issues.
David C. Onley adopted accessibility as the overarching theme of his mandate, which is one of the reasons the award holds his name.
“I believe sincerely that David Onley is the best Lieutenant Governor this province has had. He is so well liked, he’s loved by the people and he is such a great role model that shows that people with disabilities have so much to offer.” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.
The award itself breaks down into four separate categories: employer, employee, role model and youth leadership. The main purpose is to raise awareness although each award -excluding the employer award- is worth $5000.
While raising awareness about accessibility and disability issues is a step in the right direction for a more inclusive society, there are also economic implications that surround these problems.
“There’s a real economic priority to this. If we are fully accessible by 2025 like we hope and plan to be, thats about a $7.9 billion boost to our economy.” said Duguid.
“Its so important for our businesses to become accessible so they can get access to further markets. Its also important for our businesses to tap into what is a very skilled and talented group of people with disabilities that currently have barriers to employment.” he added.
The first awards will be given out in May, 2015 during National Access Awareness Week.