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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

A diverse group of people with varying disabilities.

December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)

IDPD was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. 

Learn more about IDPD, external link and this year’s theme of “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”

International Day of Persons with Disabilities December 3rd logo

Submit a creative expression to the IDPD student gallery

University students are invited to submit a creative expression to the second annual IDPD student gallery. This is an opportunity for students with disabilities to share the insights of their lived experience of disability in a creative way. 

Lived experience could mean that you have a visible or nonvisible, permanent or temporary disability yourself, or you have experiential knowledge through another person (e.g. a loved one, through supporting persons with disabilities in a volunteer or employment capacity, etc.).

The IDPD student gallery will be shared with the broader university community to raise awareness, increase empathy and address attitudinal barriers of disability. 

  • Submission dates: November 1, 2021 to February 11, 2022
  • Eligibility: All university students with lived experience of disability
  • Submission requirements
    • The creator's full name
    • Title of the piece
    • The piece itself (e.g. Google Doc, Microsoft Office document, PDF, jpeg, png, mp3, mp4, etc.) 
      • If your submission is an image, you will need to include alternative text (100 characters or less). For art pieces, your submission can include an optional artist statement. 
  1. Key dates

    The draw (the “Draw”) begins on November 1, 2021 at 9 a.m. and ends on November 19, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. (the “Contest Period”).

  2. Eligibility to enter

    The Draw is open only to students of Ryerson University (the “Sponsor”) who: (i) are residents of Canada (except Quebec); (ii) have reached the legal age of majority in their province/territory of residence at the time of entry; and (iii) submitted an original work to the 2021 IDPD Student Gallery (the “Event”); except employees, representatives or agents (and those with whom such persons are living, whether related or not) of the office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion at  Ryerson University, its associated and affiliated entities, and any other individual(s), entity or entities involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of the Draw (collectively, the “Draw Parties”).

  3. Agreement to be legally bound by rules

    By participating in this Draw, you are signifying your agreement that you have read and agree to be legally bound by these rules (the “Rules”).

  4. How to enter

    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Every individual who submits an original work to the student gallery via the Student Gallery Submission Form on the Accessibility website will be automatically granted one entry in the draw (“Entry”).

    To be eligible, your submission must: (i) contain sufficient information to permit the Sponsor to contact you in the event you are an eligible winner; and (ii) be submitted and received prior to 11:59 EST on November 19, 2021, in accordance with these Rules. All eligible Entries submitted and received in accordance with these Rules will be entered into the random prize draw.

  5. Entry limit and conditions

    There is a limit of one (1) Entry per person.  If it is discovered by the Sponsor (using any evidence or other information made available to or otherwise discovered by the Sponsor) that any person has attempted to: (i) obtain more than one (1) Entry; and/or (ii) use multiple names, identities, registrations, and/or any other means not in keeping with the letter and spirit of these Rules to enter or otherwise participate in or to disrupt the Draw; then they may be disqualified from the Draw in the sole and absolute discretion of the Sponsor.  The Draw Parties and each of their respective agents, employees, directors, successors, and assigns (collectively, the “Released Parties”) are not responsible for, and accept no liability whatsoever in relation to, any late, lost, misdirected, delayed or incomplete Entries (all of which are void). An Entry may be rejected if, in the sole and absolute discretion of the Sponsor, the Entry is not submitted and received in accordance with these Rules.

  6. Verification

    All Entries and entrants are subject to verification at any time and for any reason.  The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to require proof of identity and/or eligibility (in a form acceptable to the Sponsor – including, without limitation, government issued photo identification): (i) for the purposes of verifying an individual’s eligibility to participate in this Draw; (ii) for the purposes of verifying the eligibility and/or legitimacy of any information entered (or purportedly entered) for the purposes of this Draw; and/or (iii) for any other reason the Sponsor deems necessary, in its sole and absolute discretion, for the purposes of administering this Draw in accordance with the letter and spirit of these Rules.  Failure to provide such proof to the complete satisfaction of the Sponsor within the timeline specified by the Sponsor may result in disqualification in the sole and absolute discretion of the Sponsor.

  7. Prizes

    The approximate retail value of the Prize is $50 CAD and will include items for self-care such as school supplies and healthy snacks. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the following general conditions apply to the Prize: (i) Prize must be accepted as awarded and is not transferable, assignable or convertible to cash (except as may be specifically permitted by Sponsor in its sole and absolute discretion); (ii) no substitutions except at Sponsor’s option; (iii) Sponsor reserves the right at any time to substitute the Prize or a component thereof for any reason with a prize or prize component(s) of equal or greater retail value, including, without limitation, but solely at the Sponsor’s sole discretion, a cash award; (iv) other specifics of the Prize will be at the sole and absolute discretion of the Sponsor and subject to availability. (v) to identification); (vi) each confirmed Prize winner is solely responsible for all expenses that are not included in the Prize description above.  

    None of the Released Parties makes any representation or offers any warranty, express or implied, as to the quality or fitness of the Prize awarded in connection with the Draw. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, each confirmed winner understands and acknowledges that he or she may not seek reimbursement or pursue any legal or equitable remedy from neither the Sponsor nor any of the Released Parties should the Prize fail to be fit for its purpose or is in any way unsatisfactory.  For greater certainty and the avoidance of any doubt, by accepting the Prize, each confirmed winner agrees to waive all recourse against the Released Parties if the Prize or a component thereof does not prove satisfactory, either in whole or in part.

  8. Eligible winner selection process (random draw)

    On November 20 (the “Selection Date”) at approximately 12 p.m., eligible entrants will be selected by random draw from among all eligible Entries submitted and received in accordance with these Rules. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible Entries submitted and received in accordance with these Rules.

  9. Eligible winner notification process

    The Sponsor, or its designated representative, will make a maximum of three (3) attempts to contact each eligible winner by email (using the information provided on the Entry) within three (3) business days of the Selection Date. If: (i) an eligible winner cannot be contacted within three (3) business days of the Selection Date, (ii) there is a return of any notification as undeliverable, or (iii) an eligible winner fails to meet all applicable eligibility requirements and conditions, then the applicable Entry will be disqualified and the entrant will forfeit all rights to be a winner, and the Sponsor reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion, to select an alternate eligible winner (in which case the foregoing provisions of this section shall apply to such alternate eligible winner).

  10. Eligible winner confirmation process

    NO ONE IS A WINNER UNLESS AND UNTIL THE SPONSOR OFFICIALLY CONFIRMS THEM AS A WINNER IN ACCORDANCE WITH THESE RULES.  BEFORE BEING DECLARED A CONFIRMED PRIZE WINNER, each eligible winner will be required to correctly answer a mathematical skill-testing question without mechanical or other aid (which may, in the sole and absolute discretion of the Sponsor, be administered online, by email or other electronic means, by telephone, or in the Sponsor’s form of declaration and release). On February 16, 2021, and upon confirmation of the eligible winners, the Sponsor will mail the Prize to the confirmed winners at such address as provided by each confirmed winner. By participating in the Draw and accepting a Prize, each eligible winner hereby: (i) confirms compliance with these Rules; (ii) acknowledges acceptance of the applicable Prize (as awarded); (iii) releases the Released Parties from any and all liability in connection with this Draw, their participation therein and/or the awarding and use/misuse of the applicable Prize or any portion thereof; and (iv) agrees to the publication, reproduction and/or other use of their name, address, voice, statements about the Draw and/or photograph or other likeness without further notice or compensation, in any publicity or advertising carried out by or on behalf of the Sponsor in any manner or medium whatsoever, including print, broadcast or the internet.  If an eligible winner: (a) fails to correctly answer the skill-testing question; (b) cannot accept (or is unwilling to accept) the applicable Prize (as awarded) for any reason; and/or (c) is determined to be in violation of these Rules (all as determined by the Sponsor in its sole and absolute discretion); then they they will be disqualified (and will forfeit all rights to the Prize) and the Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion and time permitting, to randomly select an alternate eligible entrant from among the remaining eligible Entries submitted and received in accordance with these Rules in accordance with the procedures outlined in section 8.  The Sponsor may, in its sole and absolute discretion, require each eligible winner to sign and return the Sponsor’s form of declaration and release.

    The Sponsor, or its designated representative, will announce the confirmed winners during the Event.

  11. General conditions

    The decisions of the Sponsor with respect to all aspects of this Draw are final and binding on all entrants without right of appeal.  ANYONE DEEMED THE SPONSOR TO BE IN VIOLATION OF THE LETTER AND/OR SPIRIT OF THESE RULES FOR ANY REASON IS SUBJECT TO DISQUALIFICATION IN THE SOLE AND ABSOLUTE DISCRETION OF THE SPONSOR AT ANY TIME.  

    The Released Parties will not be liable for: (i) any failures, malfunctions or other problems of any nature whatsoever; (iii) the failure of any Entry or other information to be received, captured or recorded for any reason whatsoever; (iii) anyone being incorrectly and/or mistakenly identified as a winner or eligible winner; and/or (iv) any combination of the above. 

    The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to withdraw, amend or suspend this Draw (or to amend these Rules) in any way, in the event of any cause beyond the reasonable control of the Sponsor that interferes with the proper conduct of this Draw as contemplated by these Rules, including, without limitation, any error, problem, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud or failure of any kind whatsoever.  Any attempt to undermine the legitimate operation of this Draw in any way (as determined by Sponsor in its sole and absolute discretion) may be a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, the Sponsor reserves the right to seek remedies and damages to the fullest extent permitted by law.  The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, amend or suspend this Draw, or to amend these Rules, in any way without prior notice or obligation, in the event of any accident, printing, administrative, or other error of any kind, or for any other reason whatsoever.  Without limiting the generality of the forgoing, the Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to administer an alternate test of skill as it deems appropriate based on the circumstances and/or to comply with applicable law.

    By entering this Draw, each entrant expressly consents to the Sponsor, its  agents and/or representatives, storing, sharing and using the personal information submitted only for the purpose of administering the Draw and in accordance with the Sponsor’s privacy policy. This section does not limit any other consent(s) that an individual may provide the Sponsor or others in relation to the collection, use and/or disclosure of their personal information.

    The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to adjust any of the dates, timeframes and/or other Draw mechanics stipulated in these Rules, to the extent necessary, for purposes of verifying compliance by any entrant, Entry and/or other information with these Rules, or as a result of any problems, or in light of any other circumstances which, in the opinion of the Sponsor, in its sole and absolute discretion, affect the proper administration of the Draw as contemplated in these Rules, or for any other reason.

    In the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency between the terms and conditions of these Rules and disclosures or other statements contained in any Draw-related materials, the terms and conditions of these Rules shall prevail, govern and control to the fullest extent permitted by law.

    The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision.  In the event that any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, these Rules shall otherwise remain in effect and shall be construed in accordance with the terms as if the invalid or illegal provision were not contained herein.

    To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Rules or the rights and obligations of participants, Sponsor or any of the other the Released Parties in connection with the Draw will be governed by and construed in accordance with the domestic laws of the Province of Ontario and the federal laws of Canada applicable therein, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of any other jurisdiction’s laws.  The parties hereby consent to exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts located in Ontario in any action to enforce (or otherwise relating to) these Rules or relating to this Draw.

IDPD initiatives are organized by the university’s Community Student Engagement Group for Accessibility

The university’s Community Student Engagement Group for Accessibility is a student engagement initiative that was created in collaboration with Access Ryerson and the Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion (OVPECI). The group includes student society and staff representatives from a wide range of areas across the university. To learn more, contact Heather Willis (Accessibility Coordinator, OVPECI).


If you have any questions, please contact Heather Willis (Accessibility Coordinator, Office of the Vice President, Equity and Community Inclusion) at or 416-979-5000, ext. 554144.

2020 IDPD Student Gallery

In honour of the United Nations 2020 theme “Building Back Better: Towards a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world,” university students were invited to submit a reflection or expression to our student gallery through the fall and winter semester. This was an opportunity for students to share their lived experience of disability. We invite you to explore the 2020 submissions:

Digitally drawn illustration of a woman’s head and shoulders in hues of lavender and pink.


Illustration in hues of lavender and pink drawn digitally of a woman’s head and shoulders. She is wearing glasses and her hair is white with an aqua hue. Her eyes are a vivid blue with reflective particles of pink, blue, white, and purple.

She has a tattoo of symbols on the left side of her neck in a sharp design and a symbol of a vertical crescent moon on her forehead. She has a jeweled cross earring hanging from her left ear. Across her upper chest in dark purple and capital letters, are the words “In a society that profits from your insecurities, loving yourself is an act of rebellion”.

There are two cupcakes with whipped cream and a cherry on top – one is on her left shoulder (the viewers right) and the other in the bottom left of the picture with a tube of lipstick next to it. Two cherries sit on her right shoulder.

The background behind the woman is grey with a variety of justice symbols, including wheelchairs, a clenched fist representing Black Lives Matter, and justice scales. In the bottom right corner of the picture is the artists' signature: @ACIDSTART

“Seeing the Disability!” by Aziza Agasee

Paralysis of the word, not just my disability
Causes so much anxiety, especially around inclusivity.

A mind numbing pain, blinded by the abled
The restrictions are suffocating , bystanders free of cables. 

Stairs are like mountains, they’re an unachievable task
Ramps are my friend, yet I feel like an outcast. 

Accessible door openers, they’re a rare commodity
Such a simple solution, especially with our technology. 

So why do my barriers feel like a caged cell
The solution is so simple, in order to help the disabled do well.

I’m a wheelchair user, bound by my wheels
Put yourself in my position, and see how it feels.

Anywhere I go, I must preplan and strategize
You’d think something so repetitive I’d be able to memorize. 

Accessible bathrooms, seems simple enough
What the abled body oversee, its actually quite tough. 

Elevators are great, except when they don’t work
Majority of time they’re broken, a sad reality that hurt.

Live a day in my life, maybe then your eyes will see
The strength of inclusivity and accessibility, it means equality such as me. 


A series of photographs depicting exclusion experienced by people who are D/deaf and hard of hearing.

words in capital letters: STUDENT, TUTOR, VOLUNTEER, DOG MOM, ADVOCATE in white lettering on a black background in a wooden frame.


Frame is surrounded by: tennis ball, dog leash and dog toy; opened textbooks; game controller; white headphones; pink dumbbells; purple and white yoga mat; navy blue SCIENCE Ryerson hoodie with yellow lettering; cellphone; makeup brushes; nail polish and makeup bag. 


words in capital letters: PHYSICAL, LEARNING, & MENTAL DISABILITIES in white lettering on a black background in a wooden frame.


Frame is surrounded by medical objects including pill case, pill bottles, injection pen, thermometer, bandages, tape, wrist brace, blood sugar monitoring supplies, Sick Kids surgical teddy bear in blue scrubs, and various hospital wristbands.

“NVLD, A Blessing in Disguise” by Megan Suggitt

My entire childhood involved psychoeducational assessments, professionals, special education and tutors. At an early age, I began to recognize the weight of “indifference.” Labels and words started to stick to me, and special education paved my faith. Disability started to shape every aspect of my life. Interactions between teachers and other neurotypical peers were foreign and felt forced. I was continually an outsider looking into a world that was not designed for people like me.

Disability is a slippery slope of inadequacy, stigma, judgement and oppression. Having Non-verbal learning disability (NVLD) created paper trails of assessments, accommodations and modifications. It created barriers and gaps between where I was going, and what I needed to get there. I had to work twice as hard to prove I was worthy and capable.

Where others found weaknesses, I found my strengths. I was continually caught between the battle of “I can’t” and “I can.” I believe we are all born with gifts, having a brain that’s wired a little more differently has been a blessing in disguise. Having NVLD has allowed me to find my gift for writing, embrace my empathy and sensitivity, and most importantly be a voice for others with disabilities.

I, alongside many others with NVLD, wasn’t designed to fit into a societal mold. Perhaps, we were made to break it. NVLD doesn’t require intervention, as I’m imperfectly me and I don’t need anyone to “fix me.” I had to search a little deeper to find color in a world that tried to paint it black and white. There’s a quote I stumbled upon by Dr. Suess a few years ago that goes something like this, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out!” I think he intuitively spoke to my soul when I found this. When I was younger, I wanted to switch my brain and snap my fingers to achieve a sense of normal. 

Now that I’m older, I’ve embraced my NVLD and come to realization that it’s is part of who I am, and I’m perfectly okay with that. Having NVLD is a blessing not a sin, and has given my life a valuable purpose.