Vanier College, founded in 1970, is an English-language public college located in the Saint-Laurent borough of Montreal. Almost 50 years after it was founded, students and staff are still having to move around in buildings that were not built to be accessible, and this is a big challenge for individuals with mobility impairments, whether permanent or temporary.
With its Barrier Buster grant, Vanier College will install electric doors for campus buildings, parking lots and bathrooms and service centres to create easier access for all including over 1,100 employees, 6,500 students, and all other visitors who use the College’s services.
Vanier College was built during a time when inclusion and diversity wasn’t top of mind. As such, it is not accessible to individuals with mobility issues. Improving physical accessibility to key areas of the college will improve the daily lives of all students, employees, and visitors, making them feel welcome to our campus and respecting their autonomy and dignity.
At the moment, employees and students living with a physical disability represent a small percentage of our staff and students (less than 1%). However, we hope that by improving our infrastructures, we will demonstrate our recognition of social responsibility towards diversity and our commitment to correcting as many inequities as it can, making our campus more welcoming to a greater group pf people by meeting the needs of all.
These doors will act as a reminder, every day, that accessibility is something to always strive for. There will be no more need to wait for someone to hold open a washroom door, no more need to try find an accessible door to get in the building where classes are held. What a difference removing barriers can make!