An accessibility application that aims to break down barriers facing Canadians with disabilities has received a major boost in funding from Ottawa.

AccessNow, an online platform that uses crowd-sourced information to show how mobility-friendly buildings and public transit are, will receive $2.7 million in investment from the federal government.

Carla Qualtrough, the minister of Public Services, Procurement and Accessibility, announced the cash injection Thursday at a news conference in Toronto. She said the investment is not only a boost for Canadians with disabilities but also for an inclusive economy.

Carla Qualtrough, the minister of Public Services, Procurement and Accessibility, says the $2.7 million cash injection will help Canadians with disabilities. (Chris Mulligan/CBC)

The money will help the Toronto-based company to expand its reach across Canada and allow more people to share information in both English and French about the accessibility of public spaces.

Users can add information to a location on AccessNow, choosing to give a building one of four designations: accessible, partially accessible, patio access only, or not accessible. They can also add descriptions.

“By supporting the full participation of persons with disabilities in their communities and workplaces, we are creating opportunities so that every Canadian has a fair chance at success,” Qualtrough said.

It will enable AccessNow to “directly address systemic barriers” to engage in the digital economy, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada said in a news release.

The funding is part of the $22.3-million federal Accessible Technology Program that provides support for the development of technologies to help make it easier for those with disabilities to participate in the digital economy, the ministry said.

Maayan Ziv, founder and CEO of AccessNow, said the company was set up to use the “incredible potential” of technology to empower people of all abilities.

“Our goal is to develop a platform which will invite all people, with and without disability, to engage and share info about the accessibility of their own experiences, and overall, to help people get on with their life,” she said.

CBC News: August 1, 2019 5:22 PM ET digests-toronto

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