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A Virtual Panel Discussion: Accessibility & Responsible Innovation
January 29 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm ASTFree
About this Event
You’re invited to join Mairead Matthews, Research & Policy Analyst at the Digital Think Tank by ICTC, along with her distinguished panel of guests as they explore the relationship between technology, accessibility, and social impact.
“Technology” and “accessibility” almost always go together, even when technology is so ubiquitous that we do not stop to notice its impact. Technology can give us access to people, places, and knowledge we never had before, and for some of us, technology makes a significant difference to quality of life, such as the recent groundbreaking improvements to eye-tracking technology for persons with cerebral palsy or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
However, technology can also be a barrier to participation in important life activities: if we lack good internet access, if tools are not available in our languages, or if they are not designed in a way that we can use, we may feel excluded and suffer social consequences. Finally, even the most accessible technologies might come with other ethical questions, such as user and group privacy.
There are many specialists taking on these difficult conversations, and we are pleased to bring three of them together in this panel.
- 1:00pm-1:05pm ET: Introduction and Overview , By Mairead Matthews
- 1:05pm-1:55pm ET: Keynote speech,Delivered by Luke Anderson
- 1:55pm-2:00pm ET: Panelist Introductions, By Mairead Matthews
- 2:00pm-2:45pm ET: Panel Discussion,Mairead Matthews, Ricardo Wagner, Hasti Rahbar & Emlyn Nardone.
- 2:45pm-3:00pm ET: Question and answer, General Discussion
Guest Keynote Speaker:
Luke Anderson is the Co-Founder of the StopGap Foundation. The organization’s volunteer-run Community Ramp Projects open up previously inaccessible spaces and build awareness about how we don’t need to look far for examples of barriers to access—they are often right at our doorsteps.
A civil engineer and outdoor enthusiast, Luke sustained a spinal cord injury in 2002 while mountain biking in British Columbia. When he returned to work in Toronto, his frustration with the built environment came to a boil after encountering one too many inaccessible storefronts. StopGap is building brightly-coloured single-step ramps to not only increase accessibility but also to start a conversation about the importance of an inclusive society. The project has had early success in Toronto and is building grassroots support in communities from coast to coast. An amazing thing happens when these ramps show up in a neighbourhood; people don’t just notice who has a ramp, they notice who doesn’t have a ramp. As soon as they ask why, they stop contributing to the problem and become part of the solution.
Luke regularly speaks about accessibility in the media and on behalf of the Rick Hansen Foundation. StopGap has been featured in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, CityTV, Global News, CBC, CTV’s Canada AM and many other outlets across the country.
Our distinguished panel consists of:
Accessibility Lead, Microsoft Canada Inc.
Ricardo Wagner is the Accessibility Lead for Microsoft Canada. He believes technology elevates the education, employment, and living standards for billions of people around the world, especially people with disabilities.
Ricardo has made it his personal mission to play a role in that transformation. He is Microsoft’s 2019 Hackathon Grand Prize Winner, awarded as the most influential Accessibility Advocate worldwide for Microsoft in 2020, and has won several recognitions including 2019 The Jim Flaherty Award for Leadership in Accessibility and Inclusion (Canada) and Microsoft’s Platinum Club in 2018.
Manager, Design & Experimentation Centre of Expertise, Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada
Hasti Rahbar has a background in Psychology and Public Administration. She has been a public servant for 10 years having worked in policy, social research, Behavioral Insights, and design thinking. She is currently leading the Experimentation Centre of Expertise at Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada. She loves working on multidisciplinary projects with horizontal teams and diverse perspectives.
National Director, Adaptive Technology and Assistive Devices, March of Dimes Canada
Emlyn Nardone is a National Director at March of Dimes Canada (MODC), where he leads initiatives that ensure persons with disabilities have access to well designed, affordable assistive technology and related services. Originally from Ireland, Emlyn has been involved in human centered design, technology and education for nearly two decades. Before moving to Canada, he had a career in research and lecturing at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), where he taught and published in the areas of economics, innovation, political economy and globalization. Prior to joining MODC, he consulted on end user design at NAV Canada, while at the International Council of Design (ico-D), he managed the Adobe Design Achievement Awards (ADAA) and led ico-D’s international policy and research workgroups in the areas of design research and education, understanding the value of design, professional design certification as well as national design policy.
Mairead Matthews (moderator)
Research & Policy Analyst, Digital Think Tank by ICTC
Mairead Matthews is a Research and Policy Analyst at the Digital Think Tank by ICTC, a national centre of expertise on the digital economy. With the Digital Think Tank, Mairead brings her longstanding interest in Canadian policy to the conversation on technology and 21st-century regulatory challenges. Mairead’s areas of interest include internet policy, data governance, and the social and ethical impacts of emerging tech.Register