Canadians Head to Washington for Program on Disability Issues

Canadian experts who work on accessibility issues for persons with disabilities will visit Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities from June 8-17 as participants in an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). They will review the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act, enacted 25 years ago,and will share best practices and developments in advocacy for persons with disabilities. The program is organized by the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

This program will look at the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it is incorporated into American society in various contexts, including physical accessibility design and the inclusion and protection of the civil rights of persons with disabilities. The visit will also highlight successful programs that raise awareness about disability inclusiveness in schools, recreation, the service industry, and community planning. Interaction with advocacy groups for persons with disabilities at the federal, state , and community levels will promote the sharing of best practices and the development of peer networks.

Participants in this program are:

  • Kimberly Howson, Policy Advisor to the Honorable Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure (Toronto)
  • Curtis Slater, Research Coordinator, Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research (Calgary)
  • Barbara Reid, Executive Director, GRIT Program (Getting Ready for Inclusion Today) (Calgary)
  • Yutta Fricke, Acting Executive Director, Disabilities Issues Office, Government of Manitoba (Winnipeg)
  • Allen Mankewich, Communications Coordinator at Canadian Centre on Disability Studies (Winnipeg)

The IVLP enables Canadians who are emerging leaders in their professional field to observe U.S. institutions, practices, and culture first-hand, and to meet with professional counterparts to explore issues of common interest. Founded in 1940, the IVLP has given hundreds of thousands of emerging leaders — including hundreds of Canadians — the opportunity to observe and interact with American culture and society on a personal level. For more information, visit

Participants are available for interviews before and after the program upon request.

Media Contact

Jennifer Young
Senior Media Specialist
U.S. Embassy Ottawa
Tel: 613-688-5315