Now Or Never

Accessibility in action: Meet people fighting for access to a full life

When the pandemic struck, many people thought of accessibility in a way they hadn't before. Now that things are opening back up, how much will accessibility be prioritized?

When the pandemic struck, many people thought of accessibility in a way they hadn't before

A triptych of photos. On the left, Khadija Zafar sits with her son Esa. Khadija wears a hijab and Esa is in a power chair. In the centre is Karli Drew, looking into the camera with bright green and blue hair, a gold chain, pink chair, and a shirt that says 'creepin it real'. On the right, host Ify Chiwetelu stands beside Marie Watson who wears a blue shirt and sits in a wheelchair.
From playgrounds to pride, guests on this week's show are fighting to make the world more accessible. (Khadija Zafar, Karli Drew, Glory Omotayo/CBC)

This episode originally aired in June 2022.


When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, many people thought about accessibility in a way they hadn't before.

All of a sudden, workplaces offered the ability to work remotely. The health of vulnerable neighbours, family and friends was taken seriously. Access to community, safety, and recreation was top of mind.

But now that the world is opening back up, how much will accessibility be prioritized?

On this episode of Now or Never meet people who are fighting for access to a full life.

In the adapted gaming program at West Park Healthcare Centre, playing video games is more than just a way to blow off steam — it's also rehab and community. Marc Barclay and Kelly Kadechuk are two patients who have worked with occupational therapist Tim Park to create custom control setups that get them gaming.

Every time pride month comes around, Karli Drew is left with mixed feelings. An Edmonton-based disabled, queer advocate, she's never been able to attend a pride festival due to a lack of accessibility. Now, she's speaking out and fighting for disabled and immunocompromised queer folks to be fully included in pride.

Three months ago, Marie Watson had a below-the-knee amputation on one of their legs. Today, they're not only adjusting to life with different mobility — but also newly exploring their gender identity. We join Marie at West Park Healthcare Centre as they take their first steps with their new prosthetic. 

When Khadija Zafar suggests to her 8-year-old son Esa they go to the playground near their house, he seldom wants to go. The playground isn't accessible, which means that Esa and his power chair are left on the sidelines. His mom is fighting to change that.

Ebony Gooden describes herself as "a proud, Black, deaf woman." But after she made a passionate speech at an anti-racism rally in Calgary, she was disappointed that her words weren't fully conveyed by the white American Sign Language translator. That moment set Ebony on a mission to raise awareness on the need for more Black ASL interpreters.

While climbing, 79-year-old rock climber Myra Rodrigues relies on her sense of touch more than most. Hear how this blind athlete connects with nature through her fingertips.