Whistler declares December 3 as International Day of People with Disabilities

Publication Date: November 18, 2021


Municipal buildings celebrate Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification

The Resort Municipality of Whistler has formally declared December 3 as the International Day of People with Disabilities at the November 16 Council meeting.

The International Day of People with Disabilities was first observed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly and is meant to raise awareness and promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. Held on December 3 each year, this day is aimed at increasing public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities. To learn more visit idpwd.org.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people live with some form of disability. This equates to approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, with up to 190 million (3.8 per cent) people aged 15 years and older having significant difficulties in functioning. The number of people living with disability is increasing, in part due to ageing populations and an increase in chronic health conditions.

On December 3, the RMOW will be recognizing the International Day of People with Disabilities by illuminating the Fitzsimmons Bridge in purple. Purple is one of the official colours of the International Day of People with Disabilities. 

“I’m proud of the work we have done to move towards a more accessible and inclusive community. However, it’s important to continue to listen to those with lived experience to not only reshape our physical environment, but to also change perceptions so people with disabilities feel empowered and included,” says Mayor Jack Crompton. “We look forward to the community discussion that will take place during the development of the resort’s Accessibility Action Plan, so we can continue to learn while setting out priorities and actions to reach our shared accessibility goals.”

Three municipal facilities recognized by the Rick Hansen Foundation

Meadow Park Sports Centre, Whistler Public Library and Whistler Olympic Plaza have received the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC).

The RHFAC Program is a LEED-style rating system that measures the accessibility of buildings and sites, promoting increased access through the adoption of Universal Design principles. The aim of the program is to make all buildings and the exterior environment accessible and safely usable by persons with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities.

The municipal facilities received the RHFAC certification in 2018. The municipality had planned for a public event to mark the recognition, however COVID-19 restrictions paused these plans. 

Whistler implements new dynamic accessibility icon

Municipal facilities will soon see an updated International Symbol of Access. The updated icon exchanges the static image of a person in a wheelchair with a person in a wheelchair in motion. This important update puts the person ahead of the disability and reframes the conversation around ability, and promoting access and inclusion for people of all abilities.

The updated icon will be incorporated through municipal renewal programs when signs are required to be replaced and when the annual line painting occurs. To view the updated dynamic accessibility icon and learn more about accessibility initiatives, visit whistler.ca/accessibility.

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