The International Day of People With Disabilities: December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020 | Suzanne

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December 3 is the International Day for People with Disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people (15% of the world’s population), are living with disability.


According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, more than 6 million Canadians aged 15 and over (22% of the population) have a disability. The International Day of People With Disabilities is more than just an annual day, it is a movement to break down barriers to inclusion and advocate for the rights of people with disability.

Fun in the park lego
'Fun in the Park' by Martin Deutsch used on a Creative Commons license.


Disabilities are diverse. A disability can be visible or invisible, and millions of people live with a disability that cannot be seen right away. The theme for the International Day of Disabilities in 2020 is ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible.’ This reminds us to keep in mind that so many disabilities that are not visible, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences and more. 


Disability in Toronto

In Ontario, we have a law called the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This law aims to prevent barriers for people with disabilities and make the province more accessible. The City of Toronto’s initiative Toronto for All also has many resources to support Disability Awareness & Inclusion in the city.

Toronto Public Library offers equipment, collections, and services for people with disabilities.


IBBY Collection Logo

Another great resource at Toronto Public Library is the IBBY Collection for Young People with Disabilities. IBBY is the International Board on Books for Young People, and the North York Central Library is home to The This collection includes 4,000 titles in over 40 languages and Specialized formats such as Braille, PCS and Sign Language. Talk to the staff in the Children’s Department at North York Central Library to find out more.


You Me Us Exhibit Logo

Last year an exhibit called You, Me, Us: Outstanding Books For and About Young People with Disabilities was launched at the TD Gallery at the Toronto Reference Library. You can revisit the exhibit online to see the books from around the world that were celebrated as outstanding books about disability for young people.


Still looking for more? Here are more disability resources to support your child or teen:


And here are some resources for adults:


I encourage you to think about the ways we make space for other people in our city. I like this thought from Toronto for All: wouldn’t it be great for disability to be just another way of being in Toronto? It’s so important for us to promote the full participation of people with disabilities.

If you learned about a new resource today please share it with someone so we can create a more accessible Toronto!