Issue 4 | June 2018

Accessibility Symposium

8:30 a.m. to Noon, June 12, 2018
Main Floor, Viscount Gort, Winnipeg

The event is free; the learning is priceless

This year’s program gives special consideration to businesses and organizations that must comply with the Customer Service Standard by November 2018. It will be moderated by Janet Stewart of CBC News.

Photo of CBC’s Janet Stewart

Fig 1. Photo of CBC’s Janet Stewart

By participating, you’ll learn to understand accessibility from the perspective of Manitobans requiring customer service and those delivering it.

You’ll also learn why accessibility is embraced by large Manitoba retailers like IKEA, small non-profit organizations like the Woodland Pioneer Museum, and other businesses and associations.

You’ll hear personal stories from Manitobans like Brandon University student, Whitney Hodgins: “The Accessibility for Manitobans Act is a bid for accepting people for who they are. Inclusion needs acceptance in order for it to work.”

And you’ll receive new tools and lessons from keynote speaker Alfred Spencer, who will explain how The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) has paved the way toward accessibility in Ontario.

Photo keynote speaker Alfred Spencer

Fig 2. Photo keynote speaker Alfred Spencer

Register Here

What Others Cannot See


Fig 3. Photo collage of a diverse group of faces

When Whitney Hodgins is not studying, she is an active advocate, speaking about autism acceptance. She gives people an inside look at what it is like being her, and she debunks some common misconceptions along the way.

Whitney is among many people with an invisible disability.

She describes her heightened awareness of certain environments, which may include extreme sensitivity to lights, sounds, smells and textures.

“Take everything a person feels on the outside and ramp it up by a thousand,” said Whitney. “That's my sensory issue that nobody sees.”

Today, Whitney is very open about her autism diagnosis, but that wasn’t always the case. When she was diagnosed, she was afraid if people knew, they would look down on her. She explains that she is a lot like other people fighting stigma. “We mask our symptoms and take on characters that people like.”

When it comes to customer service and interacting, Whitney joins a chorus of others with visible and invisible disabilities, who say that attitude is their greatest barrier. “One thing I can absolutely say is that attitude is harmful, because then you are not actually helping people. You are creating a barrier.”

Change Makers: Making Change for Accessibility

Imagine the awesome task of making a pioneer village accessible.

The Woodlands Pioneer Museum in the Rural Municipality (RM) of Woodlands is doing just that.

Photo of the outside of the Woodlands Pioneer Museum

Fig 4. Photo of the outside of the Woodlands Pioneer Museum

Board Member Judy Olson says, “We are not deterred by the enormity of the task and have a commitment to developing a long-term plan.”

The museum’s board of directors is planning to construct wheelchair accessible ramps and level thresholds into all six of the museums buildings, with handrails where appropriate.

According to Ms. Olson, “It all starts with educating ourselves. Starting at the top, the board developed an accessibility information binder for all of its members and followed this with a handbook for summer staff and volunteers.”

The museum is also well on its way to complying with the eight requirements of the Customer Service Standard.

One of the challenges is to provide access to visitors who are unable to climb the stairs to view the artifacts in one of the village buildings. The possible solution is to offer a PowerPoint and/or photographic display of what is upstairs.

The immediate plan is to rent a wheelchair accessible portable washroom, until funding allows for construction.

In the future, the plan is to create walkways between buildings, designate accessible parking and upgrade all signage.

Congratulations to a great museum that could!

Upcoming Events

Effectiveness of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act, A Review – Public Forum

The Manitoba Government wants to hear from you on how we are doing in introducing accessibility legislation. What are we doing well now, and what can we do better in the future?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
9 a.m. to Noon
Registration at 8:30 a.m.
Viscount Gort Hotel, Main Floor, Royal B and C
1670 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg MB

Registration Form

If you wish to share your views by other means, please call our office at 204-945-7613 or send an email to

Frequently Asked Question

How can I offer accessible customer service if my building is not accessible?

If a building is inaccessible, you can provide customer service by looking into ways of taking that service to the customer. Can you meet in another location? If someone is retrieving or returning something like a library book, consider delivering or collecting it at an accessible location, another branch, or just outside the front entrance.

Workshops (Last workshop before summer)

Wednesday, June 28, 2018

Register for our free, two-hour workshops in Winnipeg. At these workshops, you will learn how to develop policies and actions to ensure your organization complies with the Customer Service Standard.

Where: Main Floor, United Way, 580 Main Street, Winnipeg

When: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Accessibility Tool Kit

The Disability Issues Office is constantly preparing new material and updating existing documents. Two recently updated documents on our website are:

Employers Handbook
Communication Checklist

This newsletter is available in alternate formats upon request.

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Disabilities Issues Office
630 - 240 Graham Avenue
Winnipeg MB R3C 0J7
Phone: 204-945-7613
Toll free: 1-800-282-8069, ext. 7613
TTY: 204-948-2901

Follow and join the #AccessibleMB conversation on social media.

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