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Digital Divides: People with Disabilities and Accessibility

More than 6.2 million people over the age of 15 are living with a disability in Canada. The federal and provincial governments have taken steps to improve internet accessibility and adoption among people living in Canada with disabilities but there still remain substantial gaps in internet use. People in Canada  with disabilities are at risk of facing barriers in accessing information and communications technology. 

What further steps are needed to ensure digital inclusion for people with disabilities? How can governments better enforce and advance digital accessibility? 

Join us to hear from experts, policy-makers and those with lived experiences as we try to unpack these questions and generate solutions for more accessible online spaces. The discussion will be followed by breakout rooms focused on workshopping innovative policy solutions to bridge divides in internet accessibility.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

9:00 AM (PT)

Online event

After registration, you will receive the information to log-in to the conversation one day before the event.


This workshop will have ASL-EN interpretation, as well as closed captioning in English. If you have any questions about accessibility, please contact

Other considerations

This session will be recorded and will be shared with registrants after the event with the event transcript.

Guest speakers

Joyce Murray

Minister of Digital Government

The Honourable Joyce Murray was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra in 2008.


Minister Murray is a dedicated community leader with a deep commitment to environmental sustainability and democratic engagement. Her federal political career follows a 25-year career building an international reforestation company and four years serving in the Cabinet of the Government of British Columbia.

Mo Dhaliwal

Founder and Director of Strategy at Skyrocket

For over two decades now, Mo Dhaliwal has been a tech entrepreneur, a strategist and a visionary leader—organizing people into movements that promote inclusivity and shatter cross-cultural barriers.

Mo’s journey in the tech world began when he swapped business school for a developer job in Silicon Valley in the pre-bubble days, spending a few years writing advanced enterprise software.

After the dot-com bubble, Mo came back to Canada to start the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration (VIBC), an annual festival attended by tens of thousands of people. During Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics, Mo worked with the Cultural Olympiad to produce programming that engaged the South Asian community. His contributions to the arts have been since recognized by the Arnold Edinborough Award, Vancouver’s Arts Board Member of the Year Award and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Joining Hamazaki Wong Marketing Group in 2007, Mo seized the opportunity to apply his skills to brand development, creative strategy and media planning in key markets across Canada for brands ranging from FortisBC and Coast Capital Savings to Air Canada and BMW.

Throughout his career, Mo has played leading roles on the boards of Vancouver Opera, the Alliance for Arts and Culture, and Coastal Jazz, as well as being a member of the PuSh Festival Leader’s Council and the president of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society.

Mo’s passion for social justice continues through his work with the Poetic Justice Foundation, which he co-founded to challenge structures of oppression and discrimination through intersectional advocacy. There Mo works with journalists, activists and academics to create safe spaces for exploration, learning and healing to foster societal change.

In 2011, Mo founded Skyrocket, an agile creative agency, where he serves as the Director of Strategy. Day to day, Mo continues to come up with high-level business solutions for a global roster of clients and oversee the development team working to create cutting-edge apps and digital experiences.

Under Mo’s guidance, Skyrocket has successfully delivered more than 50 brands, 100 web properties and dozens of technologically complex projects, including a sport recruiting web app for Scout Zoo, an online reading environment for Simbi, a cryptocurrency exchange brand strategy for IDEX and a digital home base for the medical VR startup Precision OS. Most of all, Mo is passionate about making a real-world impact on fast-growing startups and established organizations alike.

Heather McCain

Executive Director of Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods (CAN)

Heather McCain is Executive Director of Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods (CAN), a non-profit they founded in 2005. Heather built CAN from a small grassroots organization in two communities to an organization delivering workshops and adding their voice to projects and events across Turtle Island. 

Heather’s own experiences with multiple types of disabilities, neurodivergence, inaccessibility and ableism led them to become a well-known and respected advocate, speaker, educator and activist. Heather works to create equity, celebrate diversity, and educate about and implement accessibility. 

Heather recognizes that those within the disability community have intersecting identities and works hard to ensure a multitude of voices and experiences inform their work and the work of CAN. Heather is committed to centring decolonialization, using an intersectional lens, and doing cross-movement organizing. They operate with a disability justice framework, working to challenge our way of thinking while fundamentally shifting the way we organize and fight for social change.

Heather is a Crip Doula. This is a Disability Justice term for someone who helps disabled people navigate our complex systems, providing resources and support and building community. Members of Chronically Queer (CQ) gave this title to Heather. CQ is a support group Heather facilitates for LGBTQ2SIA+ folk with chronic health conditions. 

Headshot of Virginia Bosomworth

David Lepofsky

Visiting Professor of Disability Rights and Legal Education at Osgoode Hall Law School

David Lepofsky is a visiting professor of Disability Rights and Legal Education (part-time) at the Osgoode Hall Law School and a past adjunct member of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He holds volunteer leadership roles in the disability community. He is chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance. He is a member and past chair of the Toronto District School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the Kindergarten-Grade 12 Education Standards Development Committee appointed by the Ontario Government to recommend reforms to tear down barriers impeding students with disabilities.

He is the author of one law book, and the author or co-author of 30 law journal articles or book chapters on topics including constitutional law, criminal law, administrative law, human rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities. His publications have been cited with approval in several decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as by trial and appeal courts across Canada. He has been invited to lecture on topics including these across Canada, and in the US, Israel, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Belgium and New Zealand. He has created and is expanding an extensive online series of videos on disability rights and advocacy. It has secured thousands of views. Excerpts have been used in some university courses

Reading List

Read a short framing paper put together by our partners that lays out the context, evidence and importance of these discussions.