Most of us wish we lived in a more just and equitable world, and many have given careful thought to what constructive change might look like. But those who both think about and then actively devote their lives to effecting meaningful and sustainable change in the interests of justice and equity are sadly few and far between.
Join Hart House Conversations for a series of fireside-style chats between Hart House Warden John Monahan and inspiring folks whose discontent with the status quo propels them to be the change they want to see in the world. The series is named after them: we call it “Changemakers.”
About the Event
The past two years of the global pandemic have amplified and revealed some uncomfortable truths and deep inequities in our society. People with a personal relationship to disability have been particularly affected.
In 2025, Ontario will mark the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Back in 2005, the introduction of that ground-breaking legislation promised the imminent creation of a barrier-free Province by 2025. Unfortunately, the law’s promises have gone largely unfulfilled. As former Lieutenant-Governor David Onley recently noted, "It's … astounding to me that … so little progress has been made, especially when one considers that some 23 per cent of the Ontario population are people with disabilities."
That is not to say that no progress has been made, and the realities of COVID have demonstrated how quickly we can adapt to challenging circumstances when we need to. For instance, new communication tools and new ways of working and connecting have created some net benefits for some of those who face challenges with access.
Now, as we contemplate the post-pandemic world, will it be a more inclusive one, and how will we understand disability in that context? How are legislative frameworks like the AODA supporting change? And how can we move towards a more seamless integration of universal design principles that benefit everyone?
Join us on March 9 at 6pm when Hart House Warden John Monahan sits down with human rights lawyer and true “Changemaker” Lorin MacDonald, one of Canada’s most respected voices on accessibility and disability issues. Lorin’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion is informed by her own lived experience as a woman born with profound hearing loss. In 2021, Lorin received two prestigious national honours: Canadian Lawyer magazine named her one of its Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers (in the Human Rights category), and she was included in Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 list by the Women’s Executive Network, which also honoured her with its prestigious Inclusion Vanguard Award.
Join us for what is sure to be a lively and engaging discussion.
Warden, Hart House
John Monahan has been the Warden (ie. chief executive officer) of Hart House at the University of Toronto since 2015. He is a Senior Fellow of Massey College and is an appointed Chair of the university’s Academic Appeals Committee. He also served on the Steering Committee for the University of Toronto Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Before arriving at Hart House, John was the inaugural Executive Director of the Mosaic Institute and a national and international thought-leader on confronting inter-community conflict and promoting social cohesion through education, dialogue and grassroots peacebuilding. Previously, John practised labour, employment and human rights law with Fasken; led the strategic development and oversight of Ontario’s international network of trade and investment offices; served as inaugural Director of the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre in downtown Toronto; and was posted to the Canadian Consulate-General in New York as Consul (Economic Affairs-Ontario) in the aftermath of 9/11. He holds a BA in International Relations from Trinity College, a JD from the University of Toronto, and an MPA from Dalhousie University. He also received a diploma in French language and civilization from l’Université des Sciences Humaines de Strasbourg and studied law at l’Université Panthéon-Assas in Paris.
Lorin MacDonald, J.D.
Lawyer, Advocate, and Founder/CEO of HearVue
Lorin MacDonald is a human rights lawyer, disability advocate, and Founder of HearVue, a social enterprise urging communication inclusion at in-person/online events and digital content with captions and subtitles.
Lorin’s decades-long leadership, passion, and commitment to accessibility and inclusion are informed by her lived experience as a woman born with profound hearing loss. As one of Canada’s top voices in accessibility and disability issues, her evidence-based approach recognizes the role of intersectionality in people’s lives. Through awareness training, writing, and as an in-demand speaker, Lorin equips those misinformed or unaware of accessibility barriers with the tools to create inclusive spaces. Her LinkedIn posts providing commentary on disability issues often go viral.
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario’s landmark decision in August 2020 in favour of Lorin’s client, Haily Butler-Henderson, ruled that restaurants could not discriminate against patrons with disabilities by denying them access to their washrooms. The decision was hailed as a critical advancement of disability rights.
The appearance of COVID galvanized Lorin into action. She was featured in a Canadian Press article discussing the difficulty of living with hearing loss during this time. Lorin also made several presentations to law schools, the legal profession, and mainstream organizations about the disproportional effect of COVID on Canadians living with disabilities.
The recipient of numerous awards from her community, university, government bodies, and the legal profession, Canadian Lawyer magazine named Lorin one of its 2021 Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in the Human Rights category, and the Women’s Executive Network included Lorin on its 2021 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 list, receiving the Inclusion Vanguard award.
A proud alumna of Western University’s Faculty of Law, Lorin resides in Toronto, Ontario.Website
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