May 29 to June 4, 2022, has been proclaimed Access Awareness Week in the Town of Amherst.
“Our community values inclusivity, diversity and equity in all areas,” Mayor David Kogon said as he signed the proclamation on behalf of the Amherst town council on Friday, May 27, 2022.
“That is why our town is committed to fostering a culture of accessibility. We encourage the prevention and removal of barriers. We are working toward equitable access for all.”
Pointing to the town’s newly appointed Inclusion, Diversity and Equity and Accessibility committees, the mayor said, “we are also working to ensure our citizens with lived experiences are heard and factored into the decisions we make on Amherst town council.”
The mayor noted there have been advances in the past to improve accessibility for all, “but much work remains to fully recognize the rights of all people and to create a barrier-free province by 2030.”
At 30 per cent of the population, Nova Scotia has the highest disability rate in the country, with that figure rising to 41 per cent for people who are 65 or older.
The 2019 Engage Nova Scotia Quality of Life Survey also reports people with disabilities in Nova Scotia report a lower satisfaction with their overall quality of life.
In issuing the proclamation, the town joins communities across Canada who are participating in Access Awareness Week, which is marking its 35th anniversary in the Province of Nova Scotia.
The province was the third one in the country to adopt accessibility legislation and Canada, which is a signatory to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities, is one of only a few jurisdictions around the world to have national accessibility legislation.
Access Awareness Week aims to celebrate achievements made for and by persons with disabilities in areas of accessibility, transportation, housing, employment, recreation, education and communication.
The proclamation also notes the week aims to foster an environment of equal participation for persons with disabilities through public awareness, community partnerships and education.
As part of Access Awareness Week, the town will be flying the Nova Scotia Access Awareness flag. A ceremony to raise the flag will be held at 9 a.m. on May 30.