Accessibility Champion Award

The Accessibility Champion Awards celebrate individuals and businesses that foster an accessible environment in Vaughan.

Nominations for the 2024 Accessibility Champion Awards are now open. Submissions will be accepted until Friday, Feb. 16

 

Accessibility Champions can be nominated in one of the following categories:

 

Nomination Process:

  1. Click on a category above to review the award package. Each package outlines eligibility, consent and conflict of interest.
  2. Have the nominee sign the Consent and Conflict of Interest Declaration Form in the package.
  3. Complete the nomination form and submit it with the signed declaration form and any supporting documents that speak to nominee’s accomplishments. 

 

If you require assistance or would like an alternative format of the nomination form or award packages, call Service Vaughan at 905-832-2281 or through TTY at 1-866-543-0545, or email accessibility@vaughan.ca.

 

Successful nominees will be notified by the end of March. Recipients will be honoured at a ceremony hosted by the City in May. Additional details will be announced closer to the event date. 

 

Past Recipients

Answer
  • Charles Camilleri in the individual or community group category. Since 2003, Charles has used a powered wheelchair. But he did not let his disability stop him from being active in the community and making a difference. Over the past 17 years, Charles organized indoor bocce games for seniors, taught chess at the library, helped with hosting the City’s annual Winterfest event and sat on the Accessibility Advisory Committee, advocating for the rights of people with disabilities. Among his many community contributions, he also co‐founded Hangin’ Out Together, a free social drop‐in and excursions program for people with disabilities.
  • Human Endeavour in the small business with one to 99 employees category. Human Endeavour is a registered charitable organization located in Vaughan. Established in 2004, it develops innovative and non-traditional solutions for the social and economic inclusion of newcomers, people with disabilities and vulnerable communities. Programs and services are open to members of all abilities. Examples of work include using technology to reduce barriers for people with disabilities, providing placement and employment opportunities to people with disabilities, improving accessibility for seniors, raising awareness about accessibility and disability, and much more. 
Answer
  • Elio Riggillo in the individual with a disability category. Elio works at the Canadian Helen Keller Centre as a consumer relations co-ordinator. In his role, he actively provides training, education and support for the deaf and blind community.
  • Meenu Sikand in the individual category. Meenu is the founder of Accessibility for All, a not-for-profit organization working towards inclusion for people with disabilities and racialized communities. As an immigrant and individual with a visible disability, Meenu advocates for accessibility through education, inclusion and awareness initiatives.
  • John Groe in the small business with less than 20 employees category. As a father of a daughter with a physical disability, John founded Accessible Daily Living over a decade ago. His company provides services, consultation and management of all construction related to public or residential accessibility modifications.
  • ViBE Dance and Fitness Studio in the medium or large business with 20 or more employees category. For more than 20 years, Marnie and Rena Schwartz have created a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone at their studio. Their philosophy is to inspire others to dream big, be accepting and inclusive, and treat people the way you want to be treated.
Answer
  • Jess Silver, founder of Flex for Access Inc. in the individual with a disability category. Although Jess was born with cerebral palsy and has encountered many challenges, she strives to create inclusion for all through her company Flex for Access.
  • SMILE Therapy for Kids in the small business with fewer than 20 employees category. SMILE Therapy for Kids worked with the City of Vaughan to start this company nearly three years ago. The City provided one-on-one mentorship for six months to help them begin their business journey and continue to help children reach their best potential.
  • The Crystal Ladder Learning Centre in the medium or large business with 20 or more employees category. This special-needs and regular development centre provides therapy for children with autism and other disabilities in various communities.
  • Bobby Singh in the individual category. Bobby is a successful entrepreneur, business professional, policy consultant and academic, and is a champion in advocating for Canadians living with disabilities. 
Answer
  • Nickie Saladino – An educational assistant at Blessed Trinity Elementary School, Nickie works with children with a variety of disabilities.
  • Reena – A non-profit organization established in 1973 by parents of children with developmental disabilities as an alternative to institutions, Reena promotes independence, personal growth and inclusion.
  • Vaughan Mills Mall – As a fully accessible building, the mall has several accessibility features, including family restrooms, as well as wheelchairs and scooters.