A Milestone for Moviegoers

 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You!

For anyone with a disability who requires a support person to attend a movie, the process at times hasn’t always been easy.

Until now, there has been no consistent admission standard offered by Canadian film exhibitors for those moviegoers with disabilities who require a support person for assistance. Some theatres have no policy, while others have a policy that may not be uniformly applied, thus creating a possible inconvenience for the moviegoer and their assistant.

Famous Players and Cineplex Galaxy LP, on behalf of their colleagues in the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada, recognized the only way to address this inconsistency in the various policies was to consult directly with organizations that represent people with disabilities across Canada. The result has been a unique and revolutionary partnership. For the first time, the motion picture exhibition industry, disability consumer groups and service organizations are working together to achieve a common goal.

“We recognized there was an opportunity to talk with a number of great national organizations who represented people with varying disabilities – people who could bring all of the concerns and many innovative ideas to the table,” said Nuria Bronfman, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Famous Players. “The result of these discussions, which will be officially announced in Ottawa on December 3, the United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons, has been a tremendously fulfilling process for everyone involved.”

“It has truly been a partnership,” said Pat Marshall, Vice President of Communications for Cineplex Galaxy LP. “Everyone is a stakeholder in the process, and everyone’s input has contributed to what we think is a great solution.”

Other members of the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada, representing additional theatre chains and independently owned theatres, have supported the process as well. For exhibitors, it was paramount that a uniform policy be implemented, especially with a front-line force that consists mainly of teenagers, often working in their first job.

The final details of the partnership’s discussions will be unveiled on December 3. But stay tuned for a new initiative designed for you, and brought to you by a one-of-a-kind collaboration between the Canadian exhibition industry and the diverse organizations that represent people with disabilities across the country!

For the members of the partnership, it has also been a positive and encouraging experience:

– “We are delighted to have been able to play a role in building an exciting, some have called it historic, coalition with the disability community and two major entertainment corporations,” said Max Beck, Executive Director of Easter Seals/March of Dimes Canada. “Together we have designed a unique network that will enable us to provide valuable new access and entertainment opportunities for people with disabilities.”

– “We are delighted to collaborate with Famous Players and Cineplex Galaxy and our partners in the disability community on a solution that will enhance opportunities for people with disabilities,” said Valerie Ravary, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Paraplegic Association.

– “I am greatly heartened by this initiative,” said Raymond Cohen, President of the Canadian Abilities Foundation. “This kind of consultation and decisive action may well constitute a model for other organizations within the corporate sector wishing to do business with Canada’s growing population of people with disabilities.”

– “The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association is encouraged, grateful and most supportive of the actions and decisions by the Motion Picture Theatre Association of Canada,” said Colin Cantlie, Special Advisor to the President of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association. “Our heartiest congratulations for their vision and their positive approach to enable all segments of the population to ‘go to the movies.’”

– “The National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality (NFB:AE) is pleased to collaborate with other disability organizations to offer a blindness perspective on the development of a new theatre program,” said John Rae, President, NFB:AE.

– “This process has been fantastic,” said Peter Park, representative from People First of Canada. “Government has been saying the disability community should partner with other agencies that are not government related. Personally, I had my doubts as to whether it would work, especially with all of the different viewpoints of each organization, but it has.”

– “The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is pleased to be involved with Famous Players, Cineplex Galaxy and other organizations in the disability community with an initiative that improves the inclusion of people with disabilities,” said Leesa Kopansky, Volunteer Representative, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

– “The Canadian Association of the Deaf is pleased to collaborate with Famous Players, Cineplex Galaxy and the disability community in this initiative,” said James Roots, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of the Deaf. “It is a promising beginning, and we look forward to continued cooperation in addressing similar accessibility issues.”

– “I admire Famous Players and Cineplex Galaxy for having the foresight to involve our community in the development of a solution,” said Traci Walters, National Director of the Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres. “Far too often, the public and private sector do not involve people with disabilities in the design of programs and services geared for people with disabilities, fearing that it is a complicated task. This partnership has turned this notion on its head, and we now have a solution that will serve a much broader sector.”

 

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