Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

December 02, 2011 18:23 ET

CMHR's Inclusive Design Advisory Council Aims to Make Museum Experience Universally Enriching

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Dec. 2, 2011) - The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) recently held the first meeting of its Inclusive Design Advisory Council (IDAC) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This council, made up of eight experts, advisors and activists in the field of disability rights, will assist the CMHR in providing visitors with a universally inclusive and satisfying experience, regardless of age or ability. The CMHR is striving to set a new benchmark for museum accessibility, incorporating inclusive design into all aspects of its exhibits, programming, the building itself, and the Museum's business practices.

"While we have strived to engage with experts in the field of accessibility and disability rights from the early stages of our development, the establishment of this council represents a major milestone for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights," said Stuart Murray, President and Chief Executive Officer of the CMHR. "True inclusion means providing services and design that allow the opportunity for everyone to participate and enjoy what the Museum has to offer. IDAC will help us provide each and every visitor that visits us in-person or on-line an unforgettable experience."

"The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a tremendously exciting project, it not only will tell the story of the struggle of people with disabilities for equality but it provides an opportunity to substantially raise the bar on the accessibility of museums for people with a wide range of disabilities," said Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities. "The Museum is to be congratulated for creating the Inclusive Design Advisory Council."

IDAC will provide analysis, identify gaps, and give feedback to the CMHR on a wide variety of elements of the Museum's development including, among others, exhibit development, visitor services, education and programming, visitor research, digital media and technology, web, and prototyping. While the CMHR will feature a great deal of technology throughout its exhibit program, this technology will not be a barrier to full and equitable participation.

The composition of the Inclusive Design Advisory Council includes people with a diversity of abilities, including visible and invisible disabilities, various languages (profiles) and extensive experience in advising on accessibility and inclusivity. Members of the IDAC are committed to two-year terms.

(See attached backgrounder for additional information and Council biographies)

About the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), currently under construction in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was established to provide a place for Canadians, and the world, to explore the subject of human rights and to encourage human rights action. With construction slated for completion in 2012, the CMHR is the first national museum to have been established in over 40 years, and the first national museum to be located outside the National Capital Region. For more information about the CMHR please visit or follow us on Twitter: and on Facebook:



The Inclusive Design Advisory Council is only one way in which the CMHR is demonstrating its commitment to creating inclusively designed and accessible experiences, both in-person and on-line. The Museum has worked with a National Testing Group over the past year to evaluate the CMHR's digital content online. This National Testing Group is comprised of approximately 30 Canadians from across the country that use a wide range of adaptive technologies. All digital content for remote purposes is tested with this group prior to launch to ensure the Museum continues to not only meet, but wherever possible, exceed designated standards in accessibility.


JIM DERKSEN (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Founder and leader of local, provincial and international disability movements for the past three decades, Jim has and continues to play an instrumental role in shaping how the rights of disabled are recognized in Canada and abroad. One of his greatest achievements was influencing the inclusion of disability rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Not only does he work on having the rights of the disabled people preserved in the highest public documents - he ensures that these rights are experienced in practical ways in day-to-day life.

In 1980, Jim was seconded to the Special Parliamentary Committee on the Disabled and the Handicapped ("Obstacles" Committee) in Ottawa. In 1982 as Consultant to the United Nations Secretariat, he was responsible for the development of a framework for understanding of the concept of "full participation" of disabled persons. In 2010, he served on the Universal Design Sub-Committee, Manitoba Building Standards Board to develop significant access improvements to the Manitoba Building Code. He also served on an Accessibility Advisory Committee to the Manitoba Government leading to the Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council Act in 2011.

Currently, Jim is Chairperson of the Manitoba Accessibility and Advisory Council, policy advisor to the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and a frequent speaker and lecturer.

LAURENCE PARENT (Montréal, Québec)

Currently a PhD student in Humanities at Concordia University, Laurence holds a MA in Critical Disability Studies from York University and a BA in Political Science from the Université du Québec in Montréal. She lives in Montréal and is involved within the Québec Disability Rights Movement. In 2009, she co-founded a disability rights organization called RAPLIQ which aims to challenge ableism by doing direct actions and using creative means. She wrote, directed and produced her first documentary film-Je me souviens: Excluded from the Montréal subway since 1966 - which has won the award of Emerging Artist at the 2010 International Disability Film Festival in Berkeley.

JOHN REA (Toronto, Ontario)

John retired from the Ontario Public Service in 2005 after a 24-year career during which he held several positions. He was an active member in his union, OPSEU (Ontario Public Service Employees Union), and served on Committees within the trade union movement with OPSEU, the OFL (Ontario Federation of Labour) and CLC (Canadian Labour Congress). As a retiree, he remains involved in OPSEU's Disability Rights Caucus, and was recently reappointed to the Canadian Labour Congress's Disability Rights Working Group.

John is currently active in a variety of other human rights and disability rights organizations. He serves as 1st Vice President of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, 1st Vice Chair of the Council of Canadians With Disabilities, and the Board of ARCH Disability Law Centre. He is also a member of Elections Ontario's Accessibility Advisory Committee and the ODSP Action Coalition.

John is a world traveler, and today he writes and speaks extensively on disability and human rights topics. While most know John best as a disability rights activist, he considers himself first and foremost a human rights activist.

JUDY REDMOND (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Judy has a Master of Science degree in Accessibility and Inclusive Design from the School for the Built Environment at the University of Salford in U.K. She works with the City of Winnipeg Planning Property and Development Department as the Universal Design Coordinator, administering the Universal Design policy for the City of Winnipeg. Her role encompasses planning Civic environments, services and information for persons of varying ages and abilities.

Judy is involved in all aspects of accessibility and community inclusion through her personal experience as caregiver to a family member with a disability. She enjoys enriching her community knowledge by learning from other individuals and professionals as a volunteer with the CSA B641 and NRC/NBC 3.8 Technical Advisory Committees, the Province of Manitoba Accessibility Legislation Advisory Committee, the International Accessibility Consultant Certification Committee and SCE Lifeworks Board of Directors. Judy has travelled extensively and presented accessibility research at several national and international conferences and remains very active and involved in disability issues across the world.

CATHERINE ROY (Montréal, Québec)

Catherine has been active in not-for-profit voluntary and community sectors for over 20 years. She has worked with various community organizations on a variety of key issues such as access to the built environment, culture and information, health and social services, education and employment as well as policies and programs. Since 1999, Catherine has worked primarily on access for marginalized populations, notably people with disabilities, to the Knowledge Society and to information technologies. She has coordinated or collaborated on research projects and initiatives, presented numerous conferences and has written or collaborated on papers relating to access to information technologies. Catherine also serves on various committees and boards of organizations concerned with technology access issues.

JUTTA TREVIRANUS (Toronto, Ontario)

Jutta Treviranus is the Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor in the Faculty of Design at OCAD University in Toronto. IDRC is an internationally recognized center of expertise in the inclusive design of emerging information and communication technology and practices. Jutta also heads the Inclusive Design Institute, a multi-university regional centre of expertise. Jutta has led many international multi-partner research networks that have created broadly implemented technical innovations that support inclusion. Jutta and her team have pioneered personalization as an approach to accessibility in the digital domain. Her team also leads many international open source projects that attempt to infuse inclusive user experience design sensibilities into open source networks. She has played a leading role in developing accessibility legislation, standards and specifications internationally (including WAI Web Accessibility Initiative, ATAG Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines, IMS AccessForAll, ISO 24751, and AODA Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Information and Communication).

VALERIE WOLBERT (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Valerie is recognized a champion for the rights of the poor and persons with disabilities. She currently serves as the president of People First of Manitoba, which is a self-advocacy group for persons with intellectual disabilities. She also sits on the Executive Committee of the DisAbled Women's Network (Manitoba). Since December 2004, Valerie has been part of Canada's deinstitutionalization movement. In 2007, Valerie and four other "self-advocates" helped to co-produce a documentary called The Freedom Tour. It was the first documentary in Canada produced by persons with an intellectual disability. Its goal: to raise awareness about the continuing institutionalization of individuals who have intellectual disabilities. It provides a glimpse of what life was like inside the institutions through archival pictures, video footage, and powerful first-hand accounts from survivors and their families.

RICK ZIMMER (Russell Manitoba)

Born into a large family, four of which are deaf, Rick gained his belief in equality from his father who was a strong advocate for those in need and modeled the type of behavior that helped shape Rick's conviction to support all people in their pursuit for equal rights.

Rick's early experience as a summer student at the Manitoba Human Rights Commission helped him realize the need to educate and inform the Deaf community of their rights. Rick was a part of the process to have American Sign Language recognized as an official Language of the Deaf in Manitoba and also to be a language of instruction for the Deaf. Rick's future goals include having American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ), recognized by the Federal government as official languages in Canada.

Rick has been involved with a number of organizations including the Canadian Association of the Deaf, Manitoba Deaf Association, and is the current president of the Manitoba Cultural Society of the Deaf. He is also involved with Deaf History International.

Rick is currently a coordinator/instructor at Red River College in the Deaf Studies, ASL-English Interpretation and Deaf Literacy Programs. He teaches a variety of courses including Deaf Culture and Deaf History with a focus on the topic of oppression and Deaf people.

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