Winners of 2021 IDeA competition impress with creativity and ingenuity

July 21, 2021
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Creativity and innovation are at the heart of every great discovery and today we celebrate those qualities in university students across Canada who are being recognized for their work in helping to make the world a better and more accessible place for people with disabilities.

We are pleased to recognize the accomplishments of the 2021 winners of the Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) competition.

IDeA is a national competition that encourages university students to develop innovative, practical and cost-effective solutions to address barriers and challenges for people with disabilities. Students take an inclusive design approach to create concepts, tools, programs and initiatives that help overcome physical, technological, systemic and attitudinal barriers. Collaborating with community partners and persons with disabilities throughout the process provided students the opportunity to develop valuable skills, while contributing to the creation of an accessibility culture in Canada.

IDeA, a Universities Canada program, is part of a larger effort to advance equity, diversity and inclusion on university campuses and across Canada. The program is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada’s Social Development Partnership Program.

There was an impressive array of submissions this past year. The 2020 edition of the competition was postponed due to the pandemic, but all students who registered and were eligible in 2020 were included and eligible for 2021.

This year also featured the addition of a new category: Virtual Learning and Distance Education.

A committee of accessibility experts selected the winners after evaluating 38 outstanding submissions. First-place winners will receive $5,000, as well as opportunities to meet and network with leaders in the accessibility community.

Meet the 2021 IDeA winners


“Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 IDeA Program competition, and to all those who participated this year. The commitment to create more inclusive and accessible communities is impressive and inspiring as we witness what can be accomplished when we work for and with persons with disabilities. Addressing physical, systemic and attitudinal barriers is critical as we pursue a truly accessible Canada. Our government is proud to support Canadian students in this meaningful initiative.

– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

“The creativity, innovation and design of the 2021 IDeA winners demonstrates the commitment Canada’s students have to make the world more accessible and inclusive for persons with disabilities. The ingenuity from these young minds ensures a collaborative and innovative future. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.”

– Paul Davidson, president, Universities Canada

About ESDC’s Social Development Partnership Program
The Social Development Partnerships Program helps improve the lives of children and families, people with disabilities and other vulnerable Canadians. The Program has two funding components: Disability, and Children and Families.

About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.

Media contact:

Lisa Wallace
Assistant Director, Communications
Universities Canada
[email protected]

Tagged:  Equity, diversity and inclusion, Research and innovation

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