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.