Many people with disabilities require the assistance of a support person to help them with daily activities. Over the years, different ticketed venues have had varying policies on admission fees for someone acting as a support person. Often it ended up being left to an employee at the ticket counter to determine the validity of someone’s disability, their need for an attendant, and the discount – if any.
The Access 2 Entertainment Card
Easter Seals Canada has created an innovative solution, designed to help organizations that are open to the public provide quality customer service for guests with disabilities. The program is called the Access 2 Entertainment Card. People with disabilities can carry a personalized Access 2 card with them to indicate to the ticket seller that the individual requires the support of an attendant. The card provides free admission (or a substantial discount) for the support person at all participating entertainment venues, while the person with the disability pays the regular admission fee.
How it works
The card acts as verification for the need for an attendant, thus eliminating the responsibility for front line staff to make assessments on a person’s disability – a process which becomes particularly difficult when the disability is not visible. Cardholders appreciate the standardization of the attendant policy at the various attractions they choose to visit. At the present time, there are 45,000 active cardholders. In order to obtain a card, an application form must be submitted by a person with a disability. The application must be authorized by a registered health care or disability service provider, therefore certifying the person’s need for an attendant.
Easter Seals Canada
The card was developed in 2004 by a consortium that comprised nine national disability organizations. Easter Seals Canada, a non-profit organization, administers the application and delivery of the card. Originally the card was designed to cater to movie venues and as such, 95% of movie theatres across Canada are represented by the program. But participating venues are no longer limited to movie theaters; some of the largest tourist attractions across the country are now on board, all with the objective of supporting accessible customer service. Over the next couple of years, Easter Seals Canada plans to expand the program to include access to a wider variety of entertainment, recreational, sporting and cultural venues.
Once on board, Easter Seals Canada promotes participating venues as an accessible attraction that is dedicated to providing equal opportunities and customer service to patrons with disabilities. Participating museums already include: Canadian Museum of Civilization, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Art Gallery of Ontario, Canadian War Museum, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Royal B.C. Museum, and Aero Space Museum of Calgary.
If you’d like more information on how to join or would like to add your venue to the list of accessible partners, please visit Access 2 website, or contact Easter Seals Canada at 1-877-376-6362 x244, or email the organization directly.