Ryerson University takes innovative approach to accessibility challenge

Between October 23 and November 6, Hack-cessibility will explore creative digital media solutions
October 21, 2015
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TORONTO, October 21, 2015 – “How can we accelerate the dialogue on accessibility with the goal of helping to shift attitudes and change behavior?”

The answer to that question is at the heart of Ryerson University’s Hack-cessibility competition, an event taking place between October 23 and November 6, that will bring together students, businesses, members of the accessibility community, entrepreneurs and policymakers to envision creative digital media solutions to accessibility challenges.

Hack-cessibility is the first event as part of Ryerson’s Policy Innovation Platform, a pilot initiative designed to assist governments and non-profits by developing a new model of collaboration to solve today’s policy challenges. The platform is sponsored by Ryerson’s Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Ontario Government.

A number of mentors and workshops will support participants as they tackle this challenge. On November 6, the teams will pitch their solutions before a distinguished panel of experts. Winning teams will receive $9,000 in total prizes, as well as the opportunity to incubate their projects at Ryerson.

In 2015, Ontario celebrates 10 years of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), which made Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada with legislation that sets out a clear goal and timeframe for accessibility by 2025. At this half-way point, there is much to celebrate, but still much to be done to engage businesses, strengthen the foundation and promote a cultural shift toward accessibility in Ontario.

“New discoveries in life-changing accessible technologies are a crucial part of building our province’s competitive edge,” said Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. “Our government is proud to tap into the innovative skills of students at Ryerson University to accelerate new thinking in accessibility that will help people with disabilities achieve their full potential, and contribute to a cultural shift towards a more inclusive province. This partnership will help facilitate a more constructive, engaging dialogue between businesses and persons with disabilities, leading to a more inclusive society.”

David C. Onley, Special Advisor on Accessibility to Minister Brad Duguid, said: “Bringing together many diverse voices and perspectives through social media is key to building a more inclusive society in Ontario. I applaud Ryerson University and its talented, forward-thinking students for harnessing creativity and collaboration to explore innovative solutions that will give people with disabilities an edge in participating in our society and economy.”

“The Brookfield Institute is very proud to be launching this new initiative,” added Sean Mullin, Executive Director. “Ryerson has long been a leader in entrepreneurial thinking, and we are proud to leverage our university’s considerable expertise in innovation to new topics such as how to make the province more accessible for all Ontarians.”

For more information, or to register to participate in Hack-cessibility, visit www.accesshack.ca.


The Brookfield Institute is dedicated to strengthening the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem within Canada. Established in January 2015, the Brookfield Institute funds and incubates projects, and is a source of policy expertise and thought leadership on today’s most relevant issues related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs, and is home to more than 41,500 students, including 2,400 master’s and PhD students, 3,200 faculty and staff, and nearly 170,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca.

For media enquiries, please contact Nina Rafeek Dow, Marketing + Communications Specialist at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.

October 21, 2015
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