Government of Canada invests in information technology to improve accessibility

News release

Investment in AccessNow will help boost participation of Canadians with disabilities in the digital economy

August 1, 2019 – Toronto, Ontario

Canadians with disabilities deserve the same opportunities to find good jobs, contribute to their communities, and build a better life for themselves and their families. Yet many Canadians with disabilities still face barriers to full participation in the digital economy.

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced that the Government of Canada will invest over $2.7 million in AccessNow. This investment will enable AccessNow to directly address systemic barriers to engaging in the digital economy.

AccessNow offers an online platform that crowdsources information on public transit and venues, such as restaurants and businesses, that are accessible to persons with disabilities. The government’s investment will help AccessNow expand the reach of its platform in Canada, allowing people to share information—in both of Canada’s official languages—about the accessibility features of public spaces through an interactive map. This will help give Canadians with disabilities a stronger voice.

The funding comes from the $22.3-million federal Accessible Technology Program. This program provides support for the development of assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies to help make it easier for Canadians with disabilities to participate fully in the digital economy.

Quotes

“Our government’s investment in AccessNow is an investment in Canadians with disabilities and an inclusive economy. By supporting the full participation of persons with disabilities in their communities and workplaces, we are creating opportunities so that every Canadian has a fair chance at success. AccessNow is doing great work in removing barriers to accessibility and with this funding can continue to do so on an even greater scale.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

“Together we are building an innovation nation—one that is inclusive and works for everyone. To achieve this, our focus is squarely on our greatest asset: our people. AccessNow is a group of award-winning innovators who are leading the way with their passion for increasing accessibility and our awareness of its necessity. I want to commend them for their work and wish them tremendous success in delivering this new platform.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“At AccessNow, we see the incredible potential to use technology to empower people of all abilities. We are so thankful to the Government of Canada for believing in our vision to develop a more connected and accessible country with our platform. Our promise is to foster a global digital ecosystem that includes partners in the private sector and government and the grassroots power of community.”
– Maayan Ziv, Founder and CEO, AccessNow

Quick facts

  • AccessNow is a Toronto-based company. Its app has current information about public spaces in 35 countries.

  • This program is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class.

  • Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act, was tabled in Parliament on June 20, 2018, and passed by the Senate with amendments on May 13, 2019. The House of Commons concurred with all amendments on May 29, 2019, and the Act received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019, and came into force on July 11, 2019.

  • The last call for proposals from for-profit organizations, not-for-profit organizations and research institutes for Accessible Technology Program funding closed on June 2.

Associated links

Contacts

Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough
819-956-3239
marielle.hossack@canada.ca

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca

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