February 23, 2023, Coquitlam, BC – Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is excited to announce that the City of Coquitlam will become the first municipal government in British Columbia to support the GoHere™ Washroom Access Program. The City has provided the charity the locations of 36 municipal washroom facilities, which have been added to the GoHere App. The locations include washrooms in parks, recreation centres and other City-owned facilities.
President, Vancouver Chapter
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada
“We are thankful that the City of Coquitlam is supporting the GoHere Program and helping to make washrooms more accessible in our community,” stated Matthew Sebastiani, President of the Vancouver Chapter of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.
“Washroom access is a medical necessity for many individuals that live with various medical or chronic conditions, including those with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis."
“The GoHere App assures those living with these conditions the ability to locate washrooms on their route and help them to break free from the anxiety and stress they face when leaving their homes.”
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s GoHere Washroom Access Program seeks to partner with organizations, businesses and governments to increase washroom access for people who live with medical conditions related to incontinence, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Featured in the free-to-download app, the ‘Washroom Locator’ helps to identify the closest available washrooms. Currently, the doors to over 3,000 washrooms across Canada have been opened to the public, with supporters registering their locations with the organization.
There are 300,000 Canadians that live with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Individuals with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may have to use the washroom 20 or more times a day. Often, Crohn’s and colitis patients sadly report being turned away from organizations in times of a washroom emergency or are required to buy something before being able to use a washroom. The GoHere App’s goal is to identify washrooms in communities that can be used, no questions asked.
“Barriers to inclusion are not always visible. This invisibility may indirectly result in a person feeling ‘othered’ or excluded by simply being,” says Manisha Dutta, Coquitlam’s Manager Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. “The experiences of people living with Crohn’s or Colitis, or other chronic illnesses, shines a light on this issue. The GoHere Washroom Access Program breaks barriers by providing accessible washroom information, which we know is important to those with urgent washroom requirements. The City of Coquitlam is proud to be able to participate in this program and support the diverse needs of both our residents and those who visit our community.”
Coquitlam’s participation in the GoHere Access Washroom Program reflects the City’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) – a top priority in the corporate Business Plan – and the work of the City’s Universal Access-Ability Advisory Committee, which helps keep accessibility at the forefront of City services as it delivers facilities, infrastructure, neighbourhood plans and programs for people of all ages and abilities.
The City of Coquitlam joins other cities in Canada that are supporting the GoHere Washroom Access Program including Calgary and Mississauga. The app is free and available for download on iPhone or Android. For more information visit: crohnsandcolitis.ca/gohere. Local businesses that would like to follow the City of Coquitlam’s lead can participate in the program by emailing: email@example.com.
About Crohn’s and Colitis Canada:
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is the only national, volunteer-based charity focused on finding the cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improving the lives of children and adults affected by these diseases. We are transforming the lives of people affected by Crohn’s and colitis through research, patient programs, advocacy, and awareness. For more information, visit crohnsandcolitis.ca and follow us @getgutsycanada on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
About the GoHere Washroom Access Program
The GoHere™ Washroom Access Program makes it possible for individuals to escape the social isolation these diseases can cause. This program makes it easier for people living with Crohn's or colitis or both to manage their symptoms and lead more active, productive and fulfilling lives. The program helps create communities that are understanding, supportive and accessible for Canadians with disabilities that cause incontinence. We want everyone to have the opportunity to engage and thrive in their community.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Coquitlam
Coquitlam has strengthened its focus on promoting equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the City’s work and in the community at large. EDI initiatives seek to build an equitable and inclusive society for all by addressing the inherent injustices and biases that hinder and harm some people while benefiting others. As a public service organization we are committed to building and sustaining a culture of inclusion and belonging throughout our community, and have made EDI one of the top priorities for the City’s work. Learn more at www.coquitlam.ca/edi.
President, Vancouver Chapter - Crohn’s and Colitis Canada
Manager Communications and Civic Engagement, City of Coquitlam