Competition seeks the next big ‘IDeA’ for making Canada more accessible

York University students, along with students from other Canadian universities, are being challenged to put their creative minds to work to develop solutions that will make the world more accessible for persons with disabilities, including new ideas for devices, software, architectural design, awareness campaigns or policies.

The 2020 Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) competition is an initiative organized by Universities Canada on behalf of Employment & Social Development Canada. The IDeA student competition aims to inspire Canadian students to use their creativity to develop innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions to accessibility-related issues, to help create communities that are more accessible for persons with disabilities. Students in all university programs are welcome to apply. The deadline for contest submissions is April 30.

Working individually or in teams, students are encouraged to identify an accessibility-related issue, develop a plan to address the issue and implement a solution, with input and guidance from academic and accessibility experts.

  • To make a submission, the student or student team must be nominated by a member of the university faculty or administration (university representative).
  • Each university is limited to a maximum of 10 submissions to the competition.
  • University representatives will be required to provide the name and contact information of a senior administrator willing to confirm that the project is being endorsed by the university.

There are three first-place prizes of $5,000, three second-place prizes of $1,500 and three third-place prizes of $1,000.

Nine university students and student teams were winners of the national 2019 IDeA competition for their work to reduce accessibility barriers on their campuses and in their communities.

York students can find rules and registration information here. Students interested in submitting their idea should carefully review the rules and criteria for registering for the competition and must source a faculty member to nominate their team and concept.

Nominations and projects must be submitted online in the IDeA program portal by April 30.