RE/MAX Canada, Canadian Tire and Kinder have joined with Treat Accessibly to recruit the participation of 400,000 homes by 2025 – one home for each of the 400,000 Canadian children who lives with a disability
Trick-or-treating is a Hallowe’en tradition that children, parents and homeowners anticipate each year, but the seemingly simple task of accessing a neighbour’s front door can leave those with accessibility barriers excluded from the fun.
More than 400,000 Canadian children and youth live with disabilities that make everyday activities, like trick-or-treating, full of obstacles. They are part of the 6.2 million Canadians (22 per cent) who identify as mobility, sensory or intellectually disabled.
The Treat Accessibly movement aims to raise awareness and encourage homeowners and their communities to celebrate Hallowe’en in a way that is inclusive of everyBODY, through simple changes to trick-or-treating traditions. Suggestions include distributing candy from an accessible location on the property, like the foot of the driveway, and post the Treat Accessibly lawn sign to alert community members that Hallowe’en treats will be distributed there, in an accessible way.
The goal of the Treat Accessibly movement is to recruit the participation of 400,000 homes by 2025 – that’s one home for each of the 400,000 Canadian children who have a disability.
The Treat Accessibly movement started with a single lawn sign in 2017, posted at the Toronto home of 11-year-old Siena and her parents Natasha and Rich. The family set forth to ensure one little neighbour, who uses a wheelchair, would be welcomed and included in the festivities at their home, by removing stairs from the experience and “treating” from their driveway. To help spread the word of their accessible trick-or-treating station, they posted a Treat Accessibly lawn sign in the weeks leading up to Hallowe’en night. What Siena, Natasha and Rich didn’t expect was the number of community members who saw the sign and joined the movement.
“RE/MAX is extremely proud to support Treat Accessibly, and we’re thrilled to see the movement’s continued growth since we piloted the lawn sign program with our network in 2018,” says Christopher Alexander, President, RE/MAX Canada. “Our offices, agents and the communities around us have rallied to support this program that helps make Hallowe’en a fun night for kids of all abilities, but on a broader scale it reinforces the importance of equality and encourages people to think in a more-inclusive way.”
As of 2022, Treat Accessibly has grown in significant ways:
Canadian Tire, Kinder chocolate and RE/MAX are sponsoring Treat Accessibly, with close to $1 million in funding and action.
After successfully piloting the world’s first Treat Accessibly Halloween Village for 300 children with disabilities in October 2021, Canadian Tire is returning to support the movement’s expansion in 2022, to seven cities across Canada.
“On behalf of Canadian Tire Corporation, it gives me great pleasure to confirm our continued commitment to work together with your incredible family, across the country, to help support the Treat Accessibly movement in Canada,” Ashley Curran, Associate Vice President, Community Impact, Canadian Tire Corporation. “Together, we can help make Canada the leader in demonstrating the first accessible holiday tradition in the world.”
Kinder chocolate, inspired by the movement and Treat Accessibly’s founding family, has fully embraced the partnership and will include the Treat Accessibly logo, story and website on approximately half a million Kinder Chocolate Mini Halloween packs sold across Canada this year. Kinder will also increase its efforts in year two of the partnership with a bigger national digital campaign to bring awareness to the movement.
“Kinder is all about celebrating special family moments, where joy and happiness are part of a child’s growth. We believe every child deserves the same opportunities. That’s why we’re excited to expand on our commitment from last year by bringing awareness to Treat Accessibly right on pack and into the homes of thousands of Canadians,” says Laura MacCarthy, Senior Marketing Director, Kinder, Ferrero Canada. “We’re committed to working with Treat Accessibly to ensure Trick or Treating is accessible to all children this year and every Halloween to come.”
RE/MAX, the very first supporter of the movement, will encourage their offices and Agents across the country to provide free lawn signs in both English and French, to any homeowner wanting to champion the movement.
Treat Accessibly was also introduced in 124 schools in October 2021, with a goal to double that number in 2022.
According to Davy Marques, Principal at Toronto French School, West Campus, “At TFS, our mission is to develop our students not only as ambitious learners, but also as individuals and citizens. When I see Siena’s commitment to the Treat Accessibly project she initiated, and how she’s passionate about bringing awareness of inclusivity to the school, it makes me feel that we are accomplishing our mission. We could not be prouder of Siena and the way she is making positive changes to Halloween.”
Rich has also inspired government to take up the movement, with the City of Toronto and the City of Vaughan leading the way by passing binding resolutions to champion Treat Accessibly every year from now on. Toronto and Vaughan join Ottawa, Brampton, Mississauga, Hamilton, Ajax, Oshawa, Caledon, Milton and others, in the growing movement.
“The City of Vaughan remains focused on creating an equitable, inclusive and welcoming city where people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds can thrive, because we firmly believe that everyone should have equal access to opportunities and be empowered to reach their full potential,” says Honourable Maurizio Bevilacqua, Mayor City of Vaughan.
“I want to thank Regional Councillor Linda Jackson for introducing the Treat Accessibly initiative to Vaughan Council. By supporting this wonderful movement, we can continue fostering an inclusive and accessible community for all. If we each take small steps to remove barriers and advance accessibility, together, we’ll continue moving our city forward without leaving anyone behind.”
In 2021, TV coverage in Ontario resulted in more than 41 million impressions for the movement and resulted in more than 100,000 homes participating (based on the number of free lawn signs distributed or printed to date).