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.





We’re all misfit consumers — we need inclusive design

Photo credit: Christina Gapic
Friday, August 26, 2016

We’re all misfit consumers — we need inclusive design” — In her article, Jutta Treviranus, director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University, discusses a course titled Unlearning And Questioning, part of the two-year master’s study in Inclusive Design, intended to question assumptions, unlearn conformity and remove boundaries to thought. The students from very diverse backgrounds are challenged with unlearning the fear of “drawing outside the lines” — the compunction to label, sort, rank, filter and conform. They relearn the priceless value of mistake-making and failure. The ultimate learning outcome is a “radical form of inclusive design” that is seen as the next generation of design thinking. The inclusive-design students imagine scenarios of successful innovation agendas, stretching into several successive generations. They consider the potential impact on the complex adaptive system that is our global society. The class soon discovers that if we are rethinking innovation, we also need to rethink common assumptions about entangled factors such as markets, customers, employment, design, research and development. Invariably, our inclusive design students propose that the innovation race we should embark upon is not a race against other countries, but a race against escalating economic disparity and environmental deterioration. They conclude that collaboration and inclusion are good economic strategies – and challenges that Canada is uniquely prepared to accept.

Peter Coppin

Dr. Peter Coppin is an Associate Professor of Design at OCAD University. He is a core Program Faculty member in the Master of Design (MDes) in Inclusive Design program where he runs the first and second-year Inclusive Design Laboratory courses and serves as Principal Advisor for a number of graduate student Major Research Projects (these are the culminating focus of the program's final year).

Jutta Treviranus

Jutta Treviranus is the Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor in the faculty of Design at OCAD University in Toronto (http://idrc.ocadu.ca). With its origins in the ATRC, which she launched in 1993, Jutta has established the IDRC as an international center of expertise in the inclusive design of emerging digital systems, networks and practices. Jutta also heads the Inclusive Design Institute, a multi-university regional centre of expertise (http://inclusivedesign.ca).

Inclusive Design Hackathon

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 4:00am to Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 4:00am

Want to Play around? The Inclusive Play Design Hacakthon runs at DEEP from Oct. 12- Oct. 13. We will showcase the inclusively designed projects at the DEEP Reception on Oct. 13.

All results will also be shown at Canada’s Design & Architecture Show:  IIDEX 2016


Venue & Address: 
Room 104, 49 McCaul St
416 977 6000 x 3967

Guided Tour: Design for the Other 90%

Design for the Other 90%
Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 11:30pm

The OCAD Professional Gallery presents a series free of 20-30 minute discussions of the works on view in the Smithsonian's touring exhibition Design for the Other 90%.

November 27: Ananda Shankar Chakrabarty is an art historian with a strong interest in music, and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Studies at the Ontario College of Art & Design.

January 15, 2009: Eric Nay is an architect, design history and theory scholar and an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Liberal Studies at the Ontario College of Art & Design.

Venue & Address: 
Professional Gallery 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario

Public Presentation: Grahame Lynch,Tenure Track Candidate, Faculty of Design

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 7:00pm

Grahame Lynch currently teaches on tenure track position as Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University. Grahame’s areas of research includes issues of accessibility for people with visual impairment as well as the study of graphic design and communication systems in countries with low literacy rates.

Venue & Address: 
Room 627, Level 6 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario

Access for All

Monday, January 28, 2008 - 5:00am to Monday, February 4, 2008 - 5:00am

This exhibition showcases a variety of programs and projects in and around Toronto which address disability/accessibility. The exhibition highlights ideas and programming of relevance to contemporary designers as they develop strategies for quality design that accommodates diversity and inclusivity across a broad spectrum of public and private activities and needs.

Venue & Address: 
Great Hall 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario

Emma Westecott publishes book chapter addressing Gender in Games

Cover of book.
Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 4:00am

Faculty Member Emma Westecott has published a chapter entitled "Playing with Gender: Promoting Representational Diversity with Dress-Up, Cross-Dressing and Drag in Games" in Etc Press's book "Diversifying Barbie and Mortal Kombat: Intersectional Perspectives and Inclusive Designs in Gaming", edited by Yasmin B. Kafai, Gabriela T. Richard, Brendesha M. Tynes. 

You can find more information about the book, including an option for a free digital download in the link below. 


OCAD U calls for design and design thinking practices to be central to Canada’s inclusive innovation agenda

Monday, September 12, 2016 - 4:00am

In response to the consultation on the Innovation Agenda, OCAD U urges the Government of Canada to make design and design thinking practices foundational elements of its inclusive innovation agenda in order to enable Canadians and Canadian companies to thrive on the world stage. As stated in the response: “Crucial to Canada’s future, design thinking must be front and centre in the federal inclusive inno­vation agenda, both in policy development and imple­mentation. Critical to experimentation as well as to the development and further enhancement of services, products and business methods, design thinking is applicable to governments, not-for-profits and busi­nesses of all types and sizes — from start-ups to blue chips”.