Community, Organizations

Registration Open for ‘No Barriers, No Problem’ Speakers’ Forum

The Essex County Accessibility Advisory Committee is inviting the public to hear from two experts who speak from personal experience and deliver powerful messages about accessibility.

Julie Sawchuk and Michael Jacques will speak and answer questions during the virtual No Barriers, No Problem speakers’ forum on June 27.

Sawchuk is an accessibility strategist and a storyteller who helps people understand that true accessibility allows participation without having to dismantle barriers or change attitudes first. After sustaining a spinal cord injury in 2015, she turned from teaching high school science to educating everyone that accessibility matters.

Sawchuk is the best-selling author of Build YOUR Space: How to create an accessible home for you, your family and your future and Building Better Bathrooms — connecting real stories with the details you need for truly accessible results.

She was also consulted on the development of the National Building Code and is chair of the Standards Development Committee Review of the Design of Public Spaces for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. She is also on the County of Huron Accessibility Advisory Committee and a member of the board for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario.

Jacques was diagnosed with autism and an intellectual disability when he was young. Never one to shy away from obstacles, he is now a public speaker and activist.

Using speech-to-text technology, he wrote and self-published Can’t Read, Can’t Write, Here’s My Book in 2018. In 2020, he released the children’s book I Belong: Can I Play? – which he co-authored with Heather Gale.

Through his brave story, witty personality and positive outlook on life, Jacques is an inspiration to many. He constantly looks for opportunities to inspire and educate people on diversity and inclusion. Diversity is a reality, he says, and we need to embrace and celebrate differences.

The virtual No Barriers, No Problem speakers’ forum starts at 2 p.m. on June 27. The event is free and those who wish to attend can sign up by completing the online registration form. The deadline for registration is June 23.

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