Windsor law professor discouraged by barriers for people with disabilities

January 10, 2018

A law professor at the University of Windsor is hoping to shine a light on the rights of disabled people, both here in Canada and abroad.

Laverne Jacobs is organizing a series of public lectures and panels as part of the "Law, Disability and Social Change Project," of which she is the founding director.

"Many people in the disability community thought we would see — with actions such as accessibility legislation — much more proactivity just generally," said Jacobs, who uses a wheelchair. "The fact that we still need to talk about these issues, that people aren't thinking about social inclusion from the get-go is actually very discouraging. I find that quite discouraging."

Jacobs said many of the barriers disabled people face are not as obvious to the general public — like certain medical services or access to transportation. But the big one is other people often don't include them in social activities.

"We see things such as community events, workplace events that are often organized without a lot of thought given to whether people with disabilities can participate," she said.

Incidents of violence and bullying are also a concern and the fact that half of the disability community are unemployed, said Jacobs. 

"In Windsor I think that there are many issues that need to be addressed," she said, adding the city offers very little data about its residents with disabilities.  "I'm hopeful that over time … we'll be able to collect the data specific to Windsor."

The University of Windsor is holding two events on Jan. 15, including a lecture by the Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alastair McEwin, and a panel discussion called, 'Global Struggles: Working Towards Realizing Disability Rights in Canada, Australia and the US.'

More information can be found here

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