LG Think Tank

Rethinking Accessibility

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On July 13th, I was invited by the Honourable Lieutenant Governor of Ontario’s Office for an exciting round table, think tank discussion.

This think tank was aptly called ‘Designing Enabling Economies and Policies’. It was held in the LG’s suite at Queens Park and was organized to rethink the ubiquitous blue and white wheelchair icon that has long symbolized accessibility.

Reimagining Accessibility

Many believe that this well known accessibility icon requires a revamp and that it no longer reflects the current notions of accessibility. In fact, this symbol is not inclusive of the range of individuals that require accessibility.

What do you think?


I certainly think a wheelchair with a stick person sitting on top is not a positive portrayal of an active human being that accessibility enables, nor does it represent the myriad of people with disabilities that do not use a wheelchair.

Accessibility is a frequent topic of public discourse and many perspectives are engaged in considering the challenge of accessibility. Through the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act), Ontario has taken a leadership role in accessibility and provides the perfect conditions to advance accessibility in the public imagination.

Ours is a perfect environment in which to re-imagine the accessibility symbol.

LG Think TankOCAD University has adopted inclusive design and accessibility into the core mission and vision of the institution as a whole and is massed with knowledgeable and creative students keen to re-imagine the symbol that will represent accessibility.

A collaboration between the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario’s Office and OCAD (Ontario College of Arts and Design) University plans to host a Charrette sometime in the near future to develop a new symbol set to update the icon that has long symbolized accessibility.

The timing of our think tank is also well aligned with the review cycle of the International Standards Organization responsible for evaluating the international symbol for accessibility. The outcome of the challenge will be submitted as both public and expert input to the revision and review process within ISO/IEC JTC1.

I’m really excited to being a part of this process. It would be an honour to help create a new icon that reflect inclusive and active notions of accessibility, one that supports the larger community in re-imagining accessibility.

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