Accessible Widget

September 16, 2022

Redefining Equity, an illustration

Redefining Equity, an illustration

"Equality" is when we assume everyone benefits from the same support.

 "Equity" is when everyone gets the support they need. 

"Justice" is when all experience life without support or accommodations as the barrier has been removed; universal access.  

6 images contrasting equality, equity and justice. Shows how universal design levels the playing field. 1st and 4th image three people stand before a fence or store, and only one person sees and get in the building. 2nd and 5th image show a makeshift ramp and box so all can see the game and awkwardly access a building treating people differently, the 3rd and 6th image show all people enjoying the game through a see through fence and universal accessible entrance.

Text description: 

Six images on a yellow background contrast how three people watch a baseball game and the storefront entrance. Three people stand before a fence or store, and only one person sees and gets into the building. 2nd and 5th images show a makeshift ramp and box so all can see the game and awkwardly access a building treating people differently, the 3rd and 6th images show all people enjoying the game through a see-through fence and universal accessible entrance to the store. 

Each image shows levels of access for each person depending on the support provided. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd images are of three people watching a baseball game over a fence. The 4th, 5th and 6th images are of the same three people facing a storefront either through stairs, a ramp, or a flat sloped sidewalk of a store. 

1st person is standing and average adult height. They are able  to access the building and game no matter what type of entrance and treats everyone the same (Equality). 

2nd person smaller in height:

The second person in the first and fourth images is smaller in height and cannot see the game over the fence or get into the store due to the stairs. In the second image, they can see over the fence given a box to stand on but still cannot get into the store due to the height of the stairs without help (The image is about equity). Justice is when we remove the barrier to have a see-through fence to watch the game or get into the store with a flat entrance.  

3rd person in a motorized chair: 

The 3rd person is using a motorized chair and cannot see the game through the fence or gain access to the building due to the stairs. In the second image and 4th image, the person in the chair and  4th image the person in the wheelchair have a makeshift ramp and a separate way to get into the building (equality) 

In the third image, the person in the motorized chair can also see the game through the fence and gain access to the store because of universal design as the barriers have been removed (Justice) 

September 2, 2022

July 22, 2022

Speak Out, Telling our Stories Update July 2022

On Tuesday, July 5th, 2022 we held our annual celebration for the first time in person! We joined efforts with the Community Action Team at the Alex Community Food Centre and explored storytelling using our five senses. We based our storytelling on five topics:  "Disability Pride and Culture, Relationships and Networking, Enough money to live, A home for all, and Services that we need." 

We made a 1-minute photo album to celebrate the day. The video has images of people gathered around the tables telling stories and enjoying the afternoon together. 

Angie and Alex were co-emcees for the day and began the celebration with a smudge and treaty acknowledgment. Many thanks to Dion who led the ceremony. Angie was honored to provide a land acknowledgment recognizing the land of Treaty 7 first nations, Inuit and Metis Region 3. 

Many Hall members helped organize the event including bringing together useful items, music, and creative ways to spark discussion. Angie made purple bracelets for all attendees and Alex made tiny fidgets to help people feel comfortable at the table. 

Alex also began the day by welcoming people with songs by bringing along an entire DJ set up to spin favorite tunes from the members of the Disability Action Hall. Alex enjoyed the conversation at all the tables and says, "I really like the smaller group size. It was a good amount of people attending for the first time in person. It was a nice change to meet people in a smaller group; when meeting in a big group can be intimidating. We had about 20 people show up. We were also joined by the Calgary Scope Society Counselling team Gabi and Kerstin who brought a zen garden and lots of fun things to play with including a big squishy ball. We had things you could smell like coffee grounds, teas, and herbs. For the housing table, I brought some dish scrubbers, and timothy, (to smell like grass or a lawn). It was so cool to hear everyone telling their stories and went from table to table and watched people pick up different things and tell stories. For the 'Enough money for all' table, Kathleen made a container that had different categories to show where people’s money went (we had $1685) and we talked about what things cost and what we paid per month. That was a good topic and led to some great discussion and storytelling. Exploring the five senses is a cool thing."

Mary says "Everyone went home with a plant or door prize that could be used in a meal or a tool to be used in the home. I liked getting the plants for everyone; things people can use and are hard to kill. Any plants left over that were generously donated by Talia were also planned for future use in meals at the Alex Community Food Centre." 

Lloyd says "We smelled different spices and that was different."  

Kathleen facilitated the "Disability Pride and Culture Table" and got to hear people say what they were proud of. There was one single mother who talked about how she went back to university at a much older age and now she helps people at the Alex Community Food Centre. It was a real treat for me to hear what people are proud of as I love listening to people's stories."

Colleen heard feedback from the Alex staff who really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere to reflect and pause. Darrell said the center has been very busy and was more than happy to have a relaxing afternoon and shared how she has been part of at least four disability pride celebrations and more than to have The Community Food Centre be a collaborator for Speak Out.

Thank you to all who attended, facilitated, planned, and prepared the wonderful food. 


June 29, 2022

Speak Out 2022 Exploring advocacy using our five senses

Speak Out 2022 Using our Senses! 

This year for our annual celebration we are hosting a scaled-down celebration at the Alex Community Food Center called "Speak Out, Exploring advocacy using our five senses." Many of our stories are tied to our memories and we are exploring different ways to use our senses to share what is important to us. It is a limited capacity event and we are asking people to RSVP to us by July 3rd, 2022 if you want to join us! 

We will have healthy snacks during the event. It is a world cafe format and a relaxed celebration. It is also a masked event and we will need to follow the health guidelines of the food center. 

We will have themed talks about disability pride and culture, relationships and networking, a home for all, enough money to live, and services that we need. We will also be joined by the recent graduates of Alex's "Community Action Team!"  

We hope you will join us for the experience which will be held on Tuesday, July 5th, 2022 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. The location of the celebration is the Alex Community Food Centre located at 4920, 17 Avenue SE. 

If you are feeling festive, feel free to wear PURPLE to join in on the celebration. 

If you would like to learn more about how senses can be used to help tell stories, why not check out the Multisensory Studio at 

photographs of hands, a young boy for sight using magnifying glass, a young woman tasting a cantelope, a man in his 30s putting his hand to his ear to listen, a photograph of hands for touch and a person smelling a flower for smell

June 7, 2022

City Council agrees to try "Right 2 Housing" Approach

Today in Calgary Council, the City agreed to start talking about a "Right to Housing" approach (Notice of motion number EC2022-0683). Just what is the "Right to Housing?" We made some infographics to help tell you more. If you would like to learn more, please visit Make The Shift

Right to Housing by Disability Action Hall

May 30, 2022

UPDATE: Postponed action for the National Access Arts Centre


We are pleased to announce we have postponed the news conference for Friday, June 3rd at 11:30 am.

Late Friday afternoon the City reached out to us to work together. 

More disability community groups will be asked to share input and voice concerns when designating heritage buildings such as the Scouts Building for the new home of the National Access Arts Centre. 

When we have an update we will be happy to share more. 

However please feel free to share with us why it is a good idea to ask disability groups you are leasing a building to are consulted prior to historical designation. 
We think changing the process to strike a balance between historical and accessible will help more Albertans to enjoy our historic resources. 

We are crossing our fingers. Please stay tuned. 

Picture of old cement stairs saying the word Postponed

May 26, 2022

National AccessAbility Week is around the corner!

We are so proud to share the message National AccessAbility Week is just around the corner! May 29th until June 4th. It's a chance to celebrate and honor the many contributions of the disability community. We are hoping to share 7 actions you can do in honor of National AccessAbility Week. #NAAW2022 #Inclusionmatters! 

We miss your face! Join us at this place! 
Old cement stairs in dire need of repair
Scouts Building 2140 Brownlea Drive NW Calgary, Alberta

People who love the arts with members of the Disability Action Hall and friends! 

News Conference "Speak Out 4 Access Now" as part of National AccessAbility Week

2140 Brownlea Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta

Friday, June 3rd! 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

Bring a sign. 

(Or if you cannot make it, please call or send a message to 311 for public consultation to happen!)

Why? We would love to see improvements to city policy to include public consultation prior to approving historical buildings that are leased to folks who experience barriers to society.  

Stay tuned for more information! 

May 13, 2022

1-minute message about mental wellness

1-minute message about mental wellness

Alternative text

Mental health is every day (Image of a seagull in a sunset sky with words scrolling around in half circle)

It is not a one size fits all. (image of seagull  flying across a sunset sky with the words moving around the bird in a half circle)

I want people to know there is other thought processes with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, It is not just about washing hands. (image of a white female in their 30s with brown hair, white skin, dark red sweater looking outside of a window on a rainy day)

It seems so real, so I would do strange behaviour to feel safe. People may not understand all the parts of OCD. (Image of a young adult sitting on a box,  silhouette, sitting alone in the dark)

It is not just about getting over it and move on. We deal with it every second day of the day. (Image on a dark blue background with a yellow square and yellow ball moving around the square clockwise)

I don't have the flu.
our struggles with the healthcare system are real,  especially trauma. 
I am lonely.  I want to be accepted as I am. (Image - Person in black and white holding a hand to their forehead). 

The systems are designed for people to fit a cookie-cutter program. People are complicated.
We are turned down because multiple disabilities are not covered. (Image - dark photo in black and white female holding in their 40s a hand to their forehead).

A lot of mental health programs continue with online services only. 
Human-to-human services contact is zero. (Image: long red hair white female in her 30s wearing a creamy casual outfit leaning on a post gazing near their feet). 

Listen. Learn. Mental health affects a lot of good people. 
Take a course. Watch a film. 
(Image- a black female in their 30s smiling, holding white baby's breath and smiling). 

Ask politicians to fulfill the promises for improved mental health. (Image- microphones at a podium).

A message from the members of the Disability Action Hall. (Image - white desk with felts and markers, with a cut-out drawing of a head with brain and the handwritten words in black pen says 'mental health' surrounded by smaller handwritten words in rainbow colours saying 'optimism, emotions, hope, love, best, control, positive, psychology, life, mood.)

Mental Health messaging by Disability Action Hall

March 18, 2022

Access: Communities need to be accessible all year long

Last week members of the Disability Action Hall talked about the need for accessible communities all year long. The City of Calgary is currently asking people to provide input into the snow and ice removal strategy until March 25th, 2022. Link to survey. 

Here is what people said about snow removal, active transportation, and shared spaces like pathways and how it affects our use of public transit.

Snow and Ice Removal 

"Ice sometimes has an attitude." - Angie

Hand drawn image of a person with a sailor hat and small boat looking a running stream instead of a sidwalk. Sad expression trying to get groceries.
Sometimes you need a boat to get up the uncleared sidewalk

Lloyd is a full-time transit user in NE Calgary and walks everywhere. Lloyd is growing concerned about how frequently the sidewalks are shoveled and maintained especially around high-use transit routes. Lloyd happens to live at the bottom of the hill and notices people have a hard time wading through water and ice.  “Accessibility is important, especially for people using sidewalks. If you need a boat to go up the sidewalk, then there is no way you can get up the sidewalk.” 
Two people using mobile devices look frustrated a a large piece of ice in a sidwalk
Ice especially in April or May, I will likely fall

Not removing snow creates barriers to getting out and attending critical health appointments. Amy who relies on friends and family to help her walk safely in the winter says “Ensuring sidewalks are better cleared so people with disabilities can safely walk around, such as in April or May I will undoubtedly slip and fall. I went to an appointment with my dad yesterday and had to walk in the street around a huge patch of ice and people with assistive devices would not be able to use the sidewalk the way they need to.”

AJ lives in NW Calgary and talks about the long-lasting impact for people with disabilities when sidewalks are not cleared. In one outing a poorly cleared sidewalk damaged their wheelchair (a repair not easy to repair living on a fixed income). "Back in December my partner was trying to push me up a snowy hill and my partner fell, and my caster was bent and now goes to the left." 

Close up bent caster on wheelchair
Bent caster on my wheelchair from an uncleared sidewalk

Alison who uses a wheelchair and lives in SW Calgary says - “The ice and the snow, getting around in the wintertime is treacherous. ” Angie adds “In front of my house there is a massive piece of ice and almost fell over backward."

Sidewalk and pathway maintenance all year round

Parks and pathways have been the spaces many people have tried to get to during the pandemic. Kristen also uses a motorized chair and accessible transit. She would like to get outside more but is reliant on others to get to places and says “When it is cold outside, and it would be great to think about these spaces during the winter when it is cold outside as spaces for everyone.”

Person in a motorized chair sitting outside in a blizzard looking very cold
We need to think about cleared pathways all year round 

Lloyd talks about the trip hazards when sidewalks are in place beyond their life cycle and how unsafe they may become and says,  “The City knows the sidewalks are 20 years old it would be nice the sidewalks are now in the ground, three inches below the ground are not safe. Every 20 years, they should check the sidewalks are in decent shape and wheelchair accessible. For sure the one on Edmonton Trail NE is not accessible.”

Close up of a persons foot on a sidewalk unsafely below the level of the ground
Old sidewalks three inches below the ground are not ok.

Win-rows and respect how people use public space safely

Alex also lives in NW Calgary says transit, roads sidewalks are connected by win-rows that impact how easy they are to use. Winrows cause a big problem as its not roads, its not pathways or transit, but it can be a big mountain that affects the use of all three. We need to raise awareness of invisible disabilities even on pathways and how we all have different levels of when we know when a pathway or sidewalk is safe to use. 

Sidewalks near busy public transit use areas need to be a priority.  We need to look at ways of making bus shelters a nice warm space to wait. “Sidewalks should be wide enough so people in mobility devices can pass each other comfortably and be so darn cold outside there need to be more shelters with heaters around to keep people warm.”

Person in a wheelchair sitting in a bus shelter with a heater. The sidewalks, win rows and roads are clear around the shelter.
Win rows affect transit, roads, and sidewalks.
We need bus shelters to keep people warm.

“The sidewalks and transit routes need to be more accessible. As well, my experiences with transit and my physical disability are getting worse even. When I sat in the priority seating as a 20-year-old, I faced a lot of stares, but the second I got a cane, my physical disability became physical, and people were sympathetic.”

Person looking uncomfortable sitting in the assigned seating area despite they have a disability
Facing stares on the bus when disability is not visible

Active Transportation & Shared Pathways

Amy has a hard time hearing and seeing and says “People who ride bikes on the sidewalk, sharing spaces especially when it is narrow and have enough space to get by especially when I have a mobility issue. There need to be bike lanes and wider sidewalks, so people have more space.”

A busy pathway in the city where a dog walker, a person using a walked and a person using the scooter give each other enough space to pass safely.
Pathways need to be wide enough for everyone to enjoy

Rural Communities need to be accessible too

Angie says accessibility is not just the cities. Many people in large and small centers have no choice but to use the road with cars due to no accessible sidewalks. “High River is a place of 15,000 people and Okotoks, these smaller towns are growing enormously fast where there are no bike lanes. Only the Farmers Market is accessible but there are other places people need access to. We are on our bikes and scooters and then we have people who drive right up beside us. We have to wear reflective tape and carry flags for safety. Some drivers are not so understanding and we do not always feel safe.” 

Person with a walker looks scared sharing road with a big diesel truck
When there is no safe sidewalk, you have no choice but to use the road

February 18, 2022

You do you! Gender Wellness

 We want to share this quick video about gender wellness titled "You do you!" as part of a "Love is for Everyone" campaign launched by the Calgary Alternative Services and Supports" (CASS). There is no audio, only music. 

Alternative Description for a 28-second video

1st screen: Pastel coloured balloons and abstract shapes fill the white background with hand drawn cartoons of three hand-drawn figures smiling and standing, each wearing different clothing, 1st figure has dark hair, a green t-shirt, long black tight shorts, green shoes and tanned skin. the second figure has dark hair, a beard, a black t-shirt, a pink tutu, and holding green/pink/blue striped gender diversity flags, their skin is tanned, and wearing blue boots. The third figure has short wavy dark hair, a blue t-shirt, short shorts, pink shoes and is also holding a pink green, blue striped gender diversity flag. The burgundy text on the screen says "Love is for all" and below the figures, it has a hashtag that says #Genderwellness in dark navy text.

2nd screen: Colorful pastels of the rainbow in the shapes of balloons and circle shapes white background with two portraits. The First-person is smiling on the left has short red wavy hair, white skin, dark-framed glasses, wearing a light sweatshirt, they are also holding out their left hand in a peace sign.  The second person has light brown short hair and smiling. The yellow text below reads "Us being us.

3rd screen: Colorful pastels of the rainbow in the shapes of balloons and circle shapes white background with two portraits. The first person on the left is smiling and has short reddish/brown straight styled very short hair on one side, spikey hair on the other side, white skin, dark glasses and is wearing a brown shirt. The second person on the right is smiling, has white skin, medium brown straight hair, a dark shirt, and is wearing a black headset and 3D eyeglasses (one red lens and one teal lens).  The yellow text above says "Right to Love."

4th screen: Colorful pastels of the rainbow in the shapes of balloons and circle shapes white background with two portraits. The first person smiling on the left has dark short brown hair and is wearing round sunglasses. The second person on the right is wearing a black fedora hat and a black mask that covers their eyes, they have white skin and wearing a dark shirt. 

5th screen: Colorful pastels of the rainbow in the shapes of balloons and circle shapes white background with two portraits. The first person on the left is smiling wearing a red kerchief tied in a bow on their head, white skin, dark eyeglasses, and a dark shirt. The second person is smiling, has medium coloured skin, wearing eyeglasses with one without a lens, one with a dark lens with a white lens flare above their head, wearing a white and black camoed patterned shirt. The yellow text below them reads "Us being us."

6th screen: Colorful pastels of the rainbow in the shapes of balloons and circle shape white background with one figure on the left wearing a red beret, smiling and they have white skin, hair is tied up in a ponytail and wearing a short v necked grey shirt.  The burgundy text above them is a hashtag that reads #genderwellness and in dark grey text another hashtag that reads #youdoyou

February 2, 2022

Join us February 10th to talk about "Love, Sex, Gender Wellness and Disability"

Join us on Thursday, February 10th from 6 pm to 8 pm (MST time ) to talk about  the right to love and be loved as told by individuals with disabilities and allies.

We will have some short films, journalism, lively talk, and a chance to meet people as we talk about 'Love, Sex, Gender Wellness & Disability" as well as learn about some upcoming courses, resources to address the challenges of the right to love in 2022.

This talk was brought to you by a collaboration between The Centre for Sexuality, Disability Action Hall, The Right to Love Group and the Women's Resource Centre at the University of Calgary and is part of "Sex and Gender Wellness" week. 

Please register on zoom

Link to download the poster (PDF)

Disability gender wellness talk by Disability Action Hall

January 4, 2022

Happy New Year from us and 2021 highlights in less than a minute!

Members of the Disability Action Hall wish you "Happy 2022!" 

Here are just some of the highlights Hall members were up to from 2021,  Bring on 2022! (click on the video, plain text is below)

Sharing our voice - Supporting essential workers and fighting for better oversight for supportive roommate models.
Protecting services - We are resilient and speaking up for Albertans with disabilities & services.
Disability Pride - Being part of this group celebrating disability pride made me realize I am proud.
Confidence and connection - Public speaking and meeting new people.
Celebrate Access - including everyone and addressing food security.
Maintaining relationships - Celebrating what makes us unique.
Networking and meeting new people - Meeting online helped me meet new people and connect with friends every week.
Showing what we do - Making videos about being proud to be disabled.
Valued and supported - Having a place where my opinion is valued.
Community - We are growing, we are having fun working together that we don't want to leave the conversation.
Working with youth - Working with the University creating messaging using a disability lens.
Collaboration - Working with the disability workers talking about essential services and keeping good workers.
Welcoming community - I don't think I've ever felt so safe and welcome in a group before.
Advocacy - We are glad that there is a group that advocates for people with disabilities, to governments at various levels, for improved programs for us.