Toronto, Ontario -- June 7, 2019 -- Canadian Paralympian, Rick Hansen urged vehicle dealer associations to make showrooms more accessible for customers and potential employees at a conference hosted in Niagara Falls, Ont. earlier this year.
Organized by the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA), the conference was widely attended by car retailers and members of the automotive industry across the province.
Hansen, a world-famous activist, and athlete was the keynote speaker and led a discussion about the importance of taking a step back to access the accessibility standards of an auto-dealers work environment. Not only for the sake of potential customers but for future employees as well.
“There are a half a million people in this country that are ready, willing, and able to work that happen to have a disability,” stated Hansen at the conference. “In a dwindling labour market pool in this country, I’d say that’s a huge opportunity.”
Hansen's Foundation - dedicated to removing physical barriers for Canadians with disabilities and raising awareness about accessibility - reported that nearly 1 in 7 working Canadians have a disability.
“The auto industry has been in many ways key early adopters for mobility solutions with people with disabilities for a long time,” Hansen said. “You’re involved in the community. You do so much great work. You do so much as a dealership in being able to provide products and services that are important to have that quality of life.”
Hansen also met with two automotive leaders, John White, president of Canadian Automobile Dealers Association and Todd Bourgon, executive director of TADA at the conference, securing promises from both of them to help facilitate a more accessible auto-environment.
“This is a business opportunity as much as it is the right thing to do,” stated Bourgon.
Dealerships are just the beginning. Todd and White noted that they would speak to automakers as well about accessibility in their work environments as well.
“Normally, with the new standards, there are some accessibility standards that are required at a base level,” said White. “But I think there might be an opportunity to talk about this with the head of the manufacturers’ associations.”
“Aging [baby] boomers are here,” Hansen said. “And people are starting to pay attention at another level.
For more information on increasing accessibility in your workspace, visit rickhansen.com