P.E.I. groups, businesses highlighted for creating a more inclusive Island
'The day is to recognize the importance of inclusion and accessibility for all citizens'
The P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities is recognizing groups, organizations and businesses working to make the Island a more inclusive place to live.
This year the group has chosen to give its annual awards in conjunction with the International Day for People with Disabilities on Tuesday.
"The day is to recognize the importance of inclusion and accessibility for all citizens and how that pertains to people with disabilities," said Marcia Carroll, executive director of the council.
One of the businesses recognized this year is Sobeys, which has designated times for sensory-friendly shopping to benefit people living with autism, she said.
She said she is encouraged by the progress which has been made when it comes to inclusivity on the Island over the last several years.
"In nearly all of our awards this year there's some type of sensory work being done to accommodate people living with autism. So that's a trend we found in our awards this year and that's a big step forward," she said.
Caroll also said while positive steps have been taken by individuals and groups on P.E.I., many challenges still remain for Islanders living with disabilities, including unemployment, poverty, and even social isolation.
"There's still much work to be done," she said, "Certainly we know that Islanders living with disabilities are the poorest people in our communities."
Caroll said about 65 per cent of households on social assistance are headed by a person with disabilities.
"Basically, social assistance is a program for people with disabilities," she said.
Caroll also noted that Hannah MacLellan, a former P.E.I. Easter Seals ambassador is also being recognized this year. MacLellan delivered a message on the importance of language surrounding disabilities at the United Nations earlier this year.