What’s New? We’re Growing!
By Brian Chan, Program Manager
Since 2004, the Access 2 Entertainment (A2E) program has been working with movie theatres, venues and attractions to fulfill accessible customer-service policies and to promote places that provide high-level customer service to their patrons with disabilities.
The A2E card program provides people with disabilities who require the support of an attendant with a free or discounted admission for their attendant at virtually all movie theatres and select entertainment venues across the country.
A2E has issued over 45,000 cards, since the program began. The program has continued to grow, and a number of significant milestones have been reached over the past year.
To our delight, in 2011, the City of London, Ont., became the first municipality to accept the A2E card at all of its city-owned venues. A2E, Easter Seals Canada and Michael Dawthorne from the Canadian Hearing Society approached the City of London’s Accessibility Advisory Committee with the goal of having all municipal venues accept the A2E card at their admissions desks. Effective July 1, 2011, 34 new venues, including pools, arenas, parks, city-owned golf courses and community centres, began accepting A2E cards. London residents can check with their local recreational facilities, or visit access2.ca for a complete list.
We hope that London will prove to be just the first of many municipalities to accept the A2E card. We will continue to look to new cities to expand the program’s reach for recreation. The diverse activities offered by the parks and recreation department of many cities can contribute to a healthy and active lifestyle, and will move the program forward toward achieving fully accessible customer service in entertainment and recreation.
Last year, over 100 new attractions began accepting the A2E card at their admissions desks. These include museums, art galleries, zoos and aquariums. For a complete list of the attractions that now accept the A2E card, please visit our website.
We are always looking to diversify the types of partnered attractions that accept the A2E card. This has become a source of inspiration for the Access 2 Ambassador program, in which our cardholders speak to owners of their local venues about joining the program. By doing this, we have been able to connect with places our cardholders truly enjoy.
Cardholders now receive an information sheet for new venues in their package. You can be a program Ambassador by presenting this to your local venues. If you do not have one, you can contact us, or you can let your local venue know about the program by directing them to the website or suggesting that they give us a call at 1-877-376-6362 ext. 244.
In 2011, we completed our first survey designed for A2E cardholders and their caregivers. We emailed thousands of surveys and received an astonishingly high response, showing that our members are eager to give feedback and suggestions.
The key highlight of the feedback is that the A2E program has been an extraordinary success in enabling people with disabilities to get more involved in the community: 83 percent say that their visits to theatres and other attractions have increased and 73.4 percent use the card at least once every two months.
Looking ahead, we are working with the survey feedback to continue to improve customer service for people who require attendants. Whether you are a cardholder, or a family member of a person who may be able to take advantage of the program, or whether you represent a disability organization or a venue, we welcome your feedback and suggestions to continue to improve the program in 2012 and beyond.
For more information on our program, please visit access2.ca.