Ontario's 2015 David C. Onley Award Recipients
The David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility recognizes the outstanding work of individuals and organizations who have demonstrated leadership in supporting awareness of accessibility and disability issues in communities across Ontario. This year's award recipients are:
Access Orangeville (Town of Orangeville)
Access Orangeville helped its community evolve to become barrier-free and serves as an inspiration to towns and cities across the province. The organization continues to work with partners throughout their community to identify and remove barriers. Accomplishments include a program that helps residents and businesses with the cost of purchasing a portable suitcase ramp, allowing people with mobility issues to enter and exit buildings more easily, the installation of countdown signals at busy intersections, painted curb cuts in the downtown area for better visibility and renovations to Orangeville's Opera House to allow people with disabilities to have equal access to arts and entertainment programs.
Dr. Kathryn Church (Toronto)
Director, School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University
Dr. Church is an internationally recognized accessibility advocate, activist and scholar with a strong track record in advancing accessibility for people with mental health challenges. As a national organizer for the Canadian Mental Health Association, Dr. Church shifted mental health policy-making to include the full participation, voice and expertise of people who use services. An expert in community-based research, she established the importance of access to economic life through social enterprises run by people with mental health histories. She has also co-curated "Out from Under: Disability, History and Things to Remember", Canada's first public exhibit of activist disability history now permanently housed at the Canadian Human Rights Museum. She is the author of "Forbidden Narratives: Critical Autobiography as Social Science" -- a resource for navigating the province's health and social care systems. Dr. Church also recently established the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act certificate program at the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University.
Lois Davies (Aurora)
Program Manager, Accessibility, Regional Municipality of York
Under Lois' leadership, accessibility has become embedded into over 750 programs and business practices at York Region municipal offices. Volunteers and staff thrive in a strong, positive work environment that is focused on consistently exploring new ways to be more inclusive and to reach beyond the requirements of the province's accessibility law. The region has won many awards for their leadership in accessibility, including the Canadian Hearing Society Accessibility Award, Excellence Canada -- Ontario Accessibility Award, and Community Living Aurora/Newmarket District Leadership Award.
Sarah Dinsdale (London)
Special Events Coordinator, Merrywood Camp; and Vice President, Juvenile Diabetes Camp
As a volunteer, Sarah has helped children and young people with disabilities enjoy camp and sailing programs during the summer. During her university years, she worked as a personal support worker to help students with disabilities and adults in the community gain independence, pride and dignity. She is currently focused on helping families of children recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes acquire the social supports and resources needed to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.