The Sport Information Resource Centre
The Sport Information Resource Centre

According to the Canadian Survey on Disability, 3.8 million Canadians self identified as disabled in 2012. On December 3rd, the United Nation’s promotes International Day of Persons with Disability and the theme for 2014 will be “Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology”. The UN has championed this day since 1992 to highlight the social, physical and economical barriers that people with disabilities face around the world.

People with disabilities face a multitude of barriers when trying to access services, including sport participation.  Even with the health and lifestyle benefits that come with participating in sports, Canadians with disabilities are less likely to play organized sports.

Barriers to sport participation:

  • Attitudinal barriers such as a lack of knowledge and awareness of inclusion.
  • Inaccessible infrastructure such as adaptive equipment, ramps, elevators and communication devices.
  • Poor policies and procedures such as an inadequate number of knowledgeable staff on accessibility issues and requiring support workers to pay membership fees.
  • Transportation barriers especially for those who live in rural areas.
  • Cost to participating in organized sports can be expensive and for people with disabilities, it can be financially difficult to pay the required fees.

In order to overcome these barriers, sport programmers can use the Canadian Sport for Life Ten Pillars of Support guidelines to incorporate more inclusive programming that will help people with disabilities be active for life.

People with disabilities face many obstacles and the lack of available opportunities and awareness to sport participation prevents many from taking part. International Day of Persons with Disability is a day to highlight these barriers and make people aware that there are over 1 billion people living with some form of disability in the world.  Creating inclusive and accessible sports environments allows persons with disabilities to enjoy the health and lifestyle benefits provided by being active.

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Delisa J. December 3–International Day of Persons with Disabilities: An Opportunity to Advocate for Equal Opportunities. American Journal Of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. November 2012;91(11):999-1001.

2. International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Pn. February 2011;65(2):67-68.

3. Sherril C. United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities: How Might International Initiatives Be Useful?. Palaestra. March 2009;24(4):4-5.

4. Valkova H. TOURISM FOR ALL: CHALLENGE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES. Rozprawy Naukowe. September 2014;46:204-211.

5. von Sikorski C, Schierl T. Inclusion of Persons With Disabilities Through Media Sports: Attitudinal and Behavioral News-Framing Effects. International Journal Of Sport Communication. March 2014;7(1):90-112.