Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker has thrown his support behind The Forward Movement to update the accessibility symbol in Ontario to a modernized dynamic icon.
“I support the efforts and advocacy work of The Forward Movement and have tabled a Resolution in the Legislature to call on the province to adopt the new dynamic icon in Ontario going forward,” Walker said in a news conference at Queen’s Park last week.
“The International Symbol of Access is one of the world's most familiar images. But the static wheelchair represents perceptions from 40 years ago,” he said. “It’s time to reflect the new reality, which is that people with disabilities are engaged, and they want to be recognized for that by being allowed to drive decisions about their mobility.”
Walker said the new dynamic sign puts emphasis on a person in motion, leaning forward and moving ahead with wheels spinning.
“I believe this re-imaged symbol reflects the dynamic role that people with disabilities can play in modern society and it will open up the way for better engagement and inclusion in everyday life,” he said. “I also believe the time to adopt the new icon is now, so it can help mobilize us for the full implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) by 2025,” said Walker, who also acts as the PC party’s Accessibility Critic at Queen’s Park.
Co-founders of The Forward Movement Dylan Itzikowitz and Jonathan Silver say the rationale behind the update is to re-frame the emphasis from disability to ability.
“The Dynamic Symbol shows movement, a symbolic action that emphasizes differing abilities, reframing the way society views and interacts with people with a disability,” Itzikowitz said. “The new symbol is also meant to spark conversations to educate Ontarians about the importance of removing barriers — both physical and cultural — to make Ontario more accessible and inclusive for everyone.”
The new sign is already adopted by a number of jurisdictions, cities, and communities around the world, including Stratford, Ont., Nanaimo, B.C., Phoenix, Ariz., New York, and Connecticut.