Orangeville Councillor Gail Campbell is a recipient of an inaugural Municipal Accessibility Award, sponsored by the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA).
The award recognizes a champion who, in celebration of Ontario’s 150th anniversary, has displayed extraordinary leadership and made an exceptional contribution to the awareness of and activities associated with advancing accessibility in their municipality. This also includes a focus on creating vibrant, accessible and inclusive communities by reflecting on lessons learned from the past, and aspirations for the future. The recipients of this award were decided by the OMSSA Board of Directors.
The nomination by former mayor Mary Rose, and endorsed by Orangeville Council, notes that Councillor Campbell has been a champion and voice for the disabled since 2000. She has demonstrated leadership, stressing the importance of barrier-free communities, supporting many accessibility initiatives, and increasing accessibility awareness – in the community and beyond.
“She has been a pioneer of advocacy and a champion of human rights and inclusion,” the nomination states. “Councillor Campbell inspires others, both locally and provincially, by her example of personal commitment, vision, and hard work. Long before provincial legislation on accessibility, Councillor Campbell pioneered and launched creative and innovative programs in the Town -- from power assist doors in public buildings to waterproof wheel chairs in municipal swimming pools, from inclusive playground equipment to a portable wheelchair lift to access the Opera House stage. The Town has been advised on enlarged street signage, accessible benches in parks, curb cuts and trail design modifications.”
Councillor Campbell has encouraged others to follow her lead. The Amaranth Lions Club helped to provide audible signals at intersections. Theatre Orangeville redesigned its interior to accommodate ramped aisles, hearing equipment and space for 16 wheelchairs. Historic downtown businesses are encouraged to provide, with a municipal grant, portable ramps for accessibility. First Student Bus Lines provides accessible transportation to out of town events. Access Orangeville, chaired by Councillor Campbell, partnered with the Town's Age-Friendly Committee to research and submit an application to the World Health Organization for recognition as an Age-Friendly Community. Access Orangeville also took on Canada Post to see automatic door openers installed at their facilities. The committee is now looking to the Province of Ontario to provide legislation on the need for universal tie-downs for wheelchairs in vehicles.
In recognition of her tireless work, Councillor Campbell received the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) 10th Anniversary Champion Award in 2015. The award was presented by the Province of Ontario and the Association of Municipal Clerks & Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO).
“I am very honoured to receive the inaugural OMSSA award for leadership in advancing accessibility in the community,” said Councillor Campbell. “Orangeville Council continues to be a true leader in accessibility by allocating specific funds annually to Town departments and to Access Orangeville. This funding ensures that we are able to keep working towards making Orangeville barrier free. I'm proud to receive this award with thanks and gratitude for the work of Access Orangeville.”
Orangeville Councillor Gail Campbell (right) is a recipient of a Municipal Accessibility Award sponsored by the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association. She is pictured with nominator and former mayor Mary Rose and Mayor Jeremy D Williams.