Marcia Rioux, professor of critical disability studies in the Faculty of Health and director of the York Institute of Health Research (YIHR), was recently presented with the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award by David C. Onley, lieutenant governor of Ontario, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to Ontario communities.
In particular, the award was for her “leadership and advocacy in disability studies, commitment to enhanced opportunities for persons with disabilities and courage in the face of adversity.”
The award was established in 1998 by Hilary M. Weston, the lieutenant governor of Ontario from 1997 to 2002, to recognize Ontario volunteers for their outstanding contributions to their communities. The award honours volunteers who serve as the backbone of not-for-profit organizations and who have a direct impact on the people their organizations serve. The lieutenant governor personally presents this award during community visits throughout Ontario.
In Onley’s speech on March 20, he said that the people who have received this award are “the unsung heroes who are the foundation of a healthy society”.
He went on to praise the support and knowledge Rioux has offered him. “I have relied heavily on her expertise as a noted lecturer, writer and researcher on disability rights. And I have been inspired by her dedication to the cause of universal accessibility. . . . People of Marcia’s calibre and formidable intellect are desperately needed because although there have been some gains in disability rights in recent years, there is still a way to go.
“Marcia, in the name of The Queen, and on behalf of the people of Ontario, I applaud your indomitable spirit. I thank you from the bottom of the heart for all that you have done to help me in promoting accessibility as the overarching theme of my term in office,” said Onley.
Rioux is the co-director of Disability Rights Promotion International, a multi-year project to monitor disability rights nationally and internationally. She has been an adviser to federal and provincial commissions, parliamentary committees and international NGOs, as well as United Nations agencies.
By Arina Kharlamova in the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Health