December 11, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Government of Canada
The Government of Canada is building a more inclusive society by being a model workplace and leading the way for others to follow. Removing a barrier to participating in the community can sometimes be as simple as making public access to washrooms easier.
Today, Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, and Carla Qualtrough, Minister for Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, announced the government’s participation in GoHere, a Crohn’s and Colitis Canada initiative to improve public access to washrooms.
In support of its efforts on accessibility and inclusivity for all, the government is taking steps to make its properties with accessible washrooms easy to locate through the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada GoHere program. To start, the government has registered 20 of its Crown-owned properties in the National Capital Region and 3 in the Greater Toronto Area with the GoHere Washroom Locator app. This app helps people locate the closest publicly available washroom anywhere in Canada.
Over the next year, the government will explore ways to expand its participation in GoHere by registering additional suitable locations across the country, considering policy solutions, and working with current and future landlords to support increased washroom access.
Participating in GoHere is an example of how the government is making its facilities more accessible. While the focus of this program is to help people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, which can cause frequent and urgent washroom trips, it enhances washroom access for all public use.
“Our government recognizes the importance of improving public washroom access. People living with inflammatory bowel disease often feel like they can’t participate in the community because of the stress and anxiety of finding washroom facilities in time. Our participation in the GoHere program demonstrates our commitment to building accessible communities and improving lives.”
The Honourable Scott Brison
President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
“Our government supports this important initiative, which helps improve washroom access for those living with Crohn’s or colitis. By participating in GoHere, we are sending a strong message to Canadians living with an invisible disability that their well-being is important to us and that we are taking steps to ensure accessibility and inclusion for all. Canada is stronger when each and every one of us can fully participate in society.”
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
‘’Ensuring everyone in our community has access to the services they need is important to me and to our government. That’s why I’m thrilled that people in Ottawa-Centre will have greater access to public washrooms with GoHere. When our communities are built on inclusivity and accessibility, we’re all better off.’’
– Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Centre and Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“We’ve heard from people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis over and over again that being able to access washrooms can go a long way in managing their disease. Having the Government of Canada come on board with the GoHere program shows people across the country living with Crohn’s or colitis that their health and their quality of life matters.”
Ms. Mina Mawani
– President and CEO, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada
Making an accessible Canada for people with disabilities
- Canada has some of the highest rates of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the 2 main forms of inflammatory bowel disease, in the world. There are 270,000 Canadians living with this disease, and that number is expected to rise to 400,000 by 2030.
- Crohn’s and colitis are chronic autoimmune diseases that cause the body to attack healthy tissue, leading to the inflammation of all or part of the gastrointestinal tract.
- For people living with Crohn’s or colitis, the frequent and urgent need to use a washroom can impact one’s ability to work, go to school, and otherwise participate in the community, which can lead to social isolation.
- Many other individuals can benefit from increased washroom accessibility, such as those living with incontinence issues due to certain neurological disorders and forms of cancer. Seniors, pregnant women and young children also benefit from the GoHere program.
- The GoHere Washroom Access Program was developed by Crohn's and Colitis Canada to improve washroom access for those with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
- The GoHere Washroom Locator app is free for download in both English and French for iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices. It maps out publicly available washrooms across Canada.
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada
1-800-387-1479 ext. 215
Office of the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Toll-free: 1-855-TBS-9-SCT (1-855-827-9728)
TTY (telecommunications device for the hearing impaired): 613-369-9371
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Public Services and Procurement Canada