Thank You From Access 2
By Brian Chan and Lauren Bates
Since 2004, the Access 2 Entertainment 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 Access 2 Entertainment 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.
The Access 2 Entertainment program was developed by an advisory group of nine national disability organizations, in conjunction with Cineplex Entertainment and the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada. From humble beginnings, the program has flourished into a successful social enterprise with over 40,000 cards issued across Canada. The Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada, led by Cineplex Entertainment, was the program’s founding industry partner. Access 2 Entertainment soon grew to include Empire Theatres and Landmark Cinemas, and now has expanded further to cultural attractions, such as museums, art galleries, science centres and zoos.
Recreation and leisure activities are an important component of good health and well-being. Through education, businesses have begun to recognize that it is necessary to accommodate the special needs of all customers in order to provide the best possible customer service. This makes a big difference to the community.
Thanks to our community partners, devoted cardholders, their families, support workers and healthcare providers, the Access 2 Entertainment program continues to work to achieve fair and equitable customer service for people with disabilities at entertainment and cultural attractions across Canada. Our cardholders and their families are a valued part of our team. One of the primary goals of the Access 2 Entertainment program is to add value to the card and to further expand the experience of being a cardholder. Movies are certainly a favourite activity for all Canadians, and through our many correspondences with our cardholders, we have received numerous requests to have the card accepted at other attractions.
The Access 2 Entertainment team credits much of the expansion to the cardholders and their requests. Their input provides us with information about what they like to do and where they like to go. In fact, we have added several new venues in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Ontario simply from hearing from our members.
We love to hear from you and welcome you to contact us to tell us about some of your favourite places to visit. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about a venue that you would like added to the program. Your local venue is also welcome to contact us for more information. For a complete list of the new attractions accepting the Access 2 Entertainment card, please visit http://www.access2.ca/
Individuals who would like to obtain a card can also visit our website for more information or an application form. Cardholders who need to renew their cards can get a renewal application form on our website or by email or phone. We recommend that you call us if your card has already expired or it is within six months of expiring.
The success of the Access 2 Entertainment card is also a direct result of the network of organizations that advise and promote the card to their constituents. The program was developed and promoted by the community for the community, and the national reach of these organizations truly drives the program forward.
The Access 2 Entertainment team would like to thank the Canadian Abilities Foundation and Abilities Magazine for their continual promotion of the Access 2 Entertainment card. We would also like to thank Independent Living Canada, Centre for Independent Living Toronto, Lights, Camera, Access!, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, Canadian Association of the Deaf, Canadian Paraplegic Association, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, People First Canada and Easter Seals Canada.
Without the network of organizations and the many loyal cardholders, the Access 2 Entertainment program would not be possible. We would like to thank every single person who has been involved.