Access Denied

Randy McNeilCanadian Randy McNeil is my guest blogger today.

He was diagnosed with MS in 1999 and was given chemotherapy treatment, Clyclophosphamide.

After having to give up his career as an industrial millwright mechanic, he returned to college to study community justice and services. And this is where he was confronted with a new set of problems…

Wheelchair ramps – they can be the best thing. When I was still walking, I was happy to see them becoming more commonplace for people with mobility challenges. Then in 2006, MS changed my life by taking away my ability to walk. Suddenly I now had a disability and a new way of life bestowed on me.

I accepted this and got an A-4 Titanium wheelchair, started a new journey and went back to college.

Whilst there, a new building was being constructed and I thought, great, it’ll be built with a better standard of accessibility than the other buildings on the campus. In fact, it was worse. I got the construction superintendent to come over to the ramp in question and challenged him. His reply?

‘I’m not going to argue with you, it’s been passed by the building inspector.’

‘Well get into this wheelchair and show me how you can use the ramp.’

‘I can’t do that.’


‘I’m not as strong as you are….’

  • Unable to get any further response, I went to the newspapers – read my story here and see for yourself the excuses they came up with!
  • After graduating, I began travelling around on public transport and discovered a problem with community accessibility – just because a bathroom has grab bars does not make it accessible. Again, I got nowhere and contacted the newspapers. This got results immediately and they changed the bathroom stall on the same day! Read about my success here.
  • Next, I took on the local mall – why should I take my life in my hands just to get there? Read what happened next.

Why stop there? I have now started a global petition to persuade Google to include an accessibility option on its worldwide maps. Please take a few seconds to add your signature.

Together we are stronger.

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10 thoughts on “Access Denied

  1. thank you for the guest post 🙂 makes me glad there are people that will fight for the rights they are entitled to even tho a person shouldnt have to when it comes to the things listed here. someone should have noticed the problems in the planning stage. and the excuses that were given are complete crap :/

    • stumbling in flats says:

      It’s a crazy system out there, especially in this day and age.
      I was so pleased Randy wrote this post. Through our email communication, it was clear he was going to fight all the way, and I really admire that.
      There are so many people (probably me included) who complain, but don’t take it any further. He’s an absolute inspiration!

  2. Honeysuckle says:

    Thanks Randy for your blog and the very interesting links. Congratulations on you tenacity! This is one instance where the words ‘fight’ and ‘battle’ are appropriate in the context of MS. Nice chair btw!

  3. Kerri says:

    I am constantly amazed that architects and contractors don’t take the simple step of asking a wheelchair dependent person for opinions about blueprints, floor plans, entrances, etc. and to test their ideas. It would be such a simple step to save a great deal of anguish and increase use! Too many places leave me shaking my head and saying “WHAT were they thinking??” Thing is, they weren’t!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      It’s crazy! In this day and age! We have legislation here in the UK, but still, so many places are out of bounds to a lot of people with mobility problems.

  4. Randy says:

    Thank you for reading my post, I hope the stories inspire others to never quit and stay positive about living life with MS. All of the comments enforce my determination to make progressive change for everyone affected by mobility challenges.
    With a smile on my face,
    rolling at my own pace,
    Because, I’m not in a race.


  5. Susan says:

    Randy….I believe I met u once on the YRT as I live in the same area. I thank u for ur persistence on changing accessibility for everyone. I was at one of those chain resturants on the other side of Rutherford and was appalled when I went into the restroom where the same issue of the door opening in… easy fix. I complained to the manager, went back a few weeks later still not done. Again went to the manager, this time taking her in there with me to show the problem I was facing. She then took action and promised it wud be looked after. The next time I went, it was done. I felt very good about perusing that problem. I don’t understand why this is an ongoing problem with new construction of whatever….. People in wheelchairs, etc. r not getting better or going away. I’m in total agreement with one of the above comments about having a disabled person consulted on every new building site. What’s the big deal, they have to have contractors, specialists, etc on every site overseeing things, what’s one more person with accessibility responsibilities on call? Don’t get me started on handicap parking, my husband and daughters r on top of that one…lol they r not afraid to approach people abusing them.
    Thanks again.

    • Randy says:

      Hi Susan,
      I think your memory serves you well, I do remember meeting you. The problem with accessibility design is created by the government. The accessibility act was created in 2005, yet to date there is no building code for a wheelchair bathroom stall.I have had enough of this, and am stepping up my war on the Liberal party. The AODA alliance is paramount for tackling issues like this, but there is so many problems with the lack of leadership by the government, that they now want to revisit the act by creating more committees.It would seem like they should have an idea after 9 years, unfortunately they have no clue.The last independent assessment was ignored by Mz Wynne, and the politicians in Ontario.
      The deadline of 2025, for compliance will never be met by the complacent attitude of the politicians.

      Thank you for sharing your story,
      Hopefully we will meet up again,


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