2. Preamble

Wisdom Tettey

The National Dialogues and Action are a series of national forums focused on addressing equity and inclusion in Canadian post-secondary education. This initiative provides a platform for a series of biennial gatherings. The goal is to connect participants from across the Canadian higher education landscape as well as subject matter experts to discuss and to take collective action that promotes equity and inclusion within the sector and beyond to the wider community. 

The theme for this year’s dialogues was Addressing Ableism, Disability and Accessibility. The planning committee was intentional in ensuring that a diversity of backgrounds, lived experiences, perspectives and intersectional identities (racial, ethnic, gender, religious identity, or linguistic preference) were represented on individual panels and across all the sessions. To constitute these broadly representative panels, the committee reached out to a diverse group of knowledgeable individuals and experts living with various forms of disability, as well as others with relevant expertise. 

While some were unable to join us because of various commitments, and not every form of disability or experience was represented on each panel, we are grateful that we were able to assemble an excellent group of panelists. They and the undoubtedly representative community of participants enriched our understanding of barriers to learning and working in the post-secondary education sector for persons with disabilities. The wealth of in-depth discussions and ideas generated through the dialogues in the highly interactive sessions provided viable pathways for addressing critical issues facing students, faculty and staff. 

This report offers a synthesis of the deliberations, drawing on the remarks by panelists and interventions by participants who shared a wide range of personal and professional expertise and experiences to address the issues, challenges, impact, and implications of the relevant sub-theme for each session.

We hope that the body of knowledge captured in the report, which was made possible by the 2022 National Dialogues’ commitment to co-creating solutions, gives readers some guidance for action to stem ableism and facilitate inclusion for members of our community living with a disability. It is the expectation of participants that we will all do our part to build on the ideas generated and take the necessary actions to create and sustain a conducive environment for students, faculty and staff with disabilities to fully access and participate in the life of their institutions, to flourish, and to feel a meaningful sense of belonging.

Wisdom Tettey, Convenor
(Vice-President, University of Toronto and Principal, University of Toronto Scarborough)

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Download the Report (PDF)