BIG IDeA partners with Entertainment District BIA to enhance accessibility for customers

Toronto Entertainment District BIA logo
BIG IDeA logo
Monday, June 18, 2018

OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Research Centre is pleased to announce a new partnership between BIG IDeA, OCAD University’s business accessibility innovation project, and The Toronto Entertainment District BIA. The partnership features the implementation of the BIG IDeA platform, Ontario’s first end-to-end platform on accessibility for businesses and their customers, allowing businesses to offer an inclusive customer experience. 

The BIG IDeA platform provides a space for businesses to set up a customer feedback account, learn about accessibility solutionsfrom similar businesses, getresources and training on providing an inclusive customer experience, and be promotedon Accessibility Cloud and in the BIG IDeA Showcase. Businesses can also earn badges for accessibility achievementsto display on their premises and websites. 

Everyone is included in BIG IDeA’s process for accessibility innovation. OCAD U’s Inclusive Design Research Centre leads a consortium that is developing and implementing the BIG IDeA platform. Anyone can submit an accessibility challenge and participate in inclusive design challenge events, where solutions are created by a diverse mix of customers, designers and business owners. 

As the John Street Cultural Corridor undergoes improvements, BIG IDeA will work with local businesses to help them upgrade their accessibility-readiness. BIG IDeA teams will be visiting the area in June and July, and organizing a special John Street Inclusive Design Challenge to help keep John Street accessible, both while construction is underway, and afterwards. 

Businesses and customers can register on BIG IDeA’s website to prepare for these challenges together. Visit to participate. 

About OCAD University
OCAD University ( is Canada’s university of the imagination. Founded in 1876, the university is dedicated to art, design and digital media education, practice and research, and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. 

About the Toronto Entertainment District BIA
Established in 2008, in support of the businesses of this area, the Toronto Entertainment District BIA’s ( mandate is to promote, improve and preserve this dynamic area of Toronto. Benefitting from economic, environmental and social factors driving downtown growth, the Entertainment District has established itself as a thriving and vibrant district for living, creating, working and entertainment.

About the Inclusive Design Research Centre
The Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) ( is a research and development centre at OCAD University where an international community of open source developers, designers, researchers, advocates, and volunteers work together to ensure that emerging information technology and practices are designed inclusively.

BIG IDeA's upcoming Design Challenge with Telus on the OCAD U

Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 12:15pm



The BIG IDeA project at OCAD U and TELUS would like to invite you to be a part of the next Inclusive Design Challenge - Winter 2018. Designing Inclusive Retail Experiences


TELUS’ commitment to diversity and inclusiveness has been a cornerstone of their award winning culture and they are now partnering with BIG IDeA to build a more accessible retail store experience.  We are looking for a diverse group of creative minds to solve a set of design challenges that will improve the way that all customers but particularly customers who have mobility disabilities, are hard of hearing, or Deaf, navigate and interact with team members at TELUS stores.  If you are passionate about enhancing the retail experience, inclusion or design, then join us and TELUS in their journey toward where the future is friendly. 



This event is free to all, no experience required. Supplies, lunch and refreshments are provided. Accessibility accommodations are provided on request at registration

Participants can register now at: - sign up

We will have T-shirts and gifts for everyone and all participants we be entered in draws for a Samsung Gear S3 Classic Smartwatch and an LG G Pad IV


The Inclusive Design Challenge will be an accessible event and we strongly encourage people with disabilities to attend and share in the design process. Please reach out to me (, 416-977-6000 x 4672) with any additional questions about the event or to discuss other ways for your students to participate in our design challenges.


Please feel free to forward this to others who you think might be interested in participating. If you have the opportunity to promote the announcement in social media and are inclined to do so, please do! All of our social media handles (facebook, twitter, and instagram) are @bigideaproj.



Ontario Government Partnering with OCAD U to Improve Accessibility for Consumers

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

President Sara Diamond spoke at the 2017 BIA National Conference in Toronto on April 4 to help launch the BIG IdeA, a collaborative pilot program that celebrates successes and promotes innovations in accessibility.

The Ontario government is partnering with OCAD University's Inclusive Design Research Centre to deliver the BIG IDeA, which will help make inclusion top-of-mind for companies – and customers – so that accessibility becomes an integral part of Ontario’s culture.

Creating a culture of inclusion is central to OCAD University’s values and one that we uphold and promote on our campus and in our community.

At OCAD University, our Inclusive Design Research Centre, under the direction of Jutta Treviranus, helps to orchestrate a collaborative and connected ecosystem of businesses, consumers, designers, developers, researchers, public organizations and innovators to ensure that emerging socio-technical systems and practices are designed inclusively.

BIG IDeA Quick facts:

  • Ontario is investing $500,000 in the BIG IDeA through the EnAbling Change Program, which supports projects that promote accessibility standards in businesses and organizations.
  • The BIG IDeA is first being piloted in Toronto, and will eventually expand across the province.
  • Major tech companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple, are working within the BIG IDeA to solve accessibility barriers in machine learning models.
  • The BIG IDeA emerged as the leading initiative in an open government engagement process.
  • People with disabilities represent a market worth $25 billion in Canada.
  • With the passage of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Ontario became an accessibility leader, establishing standards in key areas of daily life and implementing them within clear timeframes.
  • Ontario is developing a Provincial Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities to help connect people to jobs and employers to talent.
  • Businesses and organizations in Ontario with more than one employee must comply with the Accessible Employment Standard. It requires employers to have accessible hiring practices and workplace policies that support staff with disabilities.