Every year, the board of directors recognizes an organization that has exemplified the key elements of the Healthy Communities approach in their work. The award was established in memory of Sheila Lupson, a former OHCC board member. At the November 16, 2018 Annual General Meeting, OHCC President Andrew Flint presented Kate Chung and Erin Harris of the Older Women's Network with a plaque in recognition of the contribution of the Older Women’s Network to creating healthier communities.
Established in 1988, OWN is a voice for mid-life and older women in Canada that challenges discrimination on the basis of age, gender, religion, or disability. One example of their work is their “Living in Place and Universal Design Campaign”. This campaign was launched in June 2016 and has involved presentations to builders, developers, politicians, organizations and the general public to help everyone better understand the implications of our rapidly aging population and the desperate shortage of accessible housing.
Toronto-Danforth MP Julie Dabrusin presented OWN's petition to the House of Commons on Nov 28. (see attached) It was signed by 1062 Canadians. The petition calls for the National Building Code to be changed to require that all new apartments and condos be fully accessible / universal design. The wording of the petition is below.
Petition to the House of Commons
- 20% of Canadians are reported to have a disability, including 200,000 Canadian children;
- This is predicted to rise to 25% by 2031;
- People of all ages have disabilities of many types;
- There is no building code in Canada mandating that housing be made accessible to people with disabilities;
- Universal design will accommodate anyone of any age or ability, going beyond mere accessibility, and demonstrating an underlying commitment to including as wide a range of users as possible; and
- The Canadian Human Rights Code and Charter of Rights and Freedoms forbid discrimination on the basis of disability.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to:
- Immediately amend the National Building Code of Canada, making it mandatory that all housing in any way under the jurisdiction of the Government of Canada be universal design;
- Ensure that the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes and CMHC collaborate on defining in the Building Code what is visitable, adaptable, accessible, barrier-free, and universal design;
- Ensure that specifications for visitable, adaptable, accessible, barrier-free and universal design for the residential sector be clearly illustrated in the National Building Code,
- Comply with United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities on accessibility of housing;
- Disaggregate Statistics Canada data on disability; and
- Require that any federal funds transferred to provinces, territories, or any other organization for housing fund only universally designed housing.
The work of the Network is made possible by annual membership fees, donations from members both living and deceased, and the many hours of volunteer work put in by members and friends. To join or make a donation, or to find out more about their activities, visit their website.