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Abilities Centre is thrilled to announce Joel Dembe, Paralympian, public speaker, and global advocate for accessibility and inclusion, as emcee for the Second Annual Accessibility Awards, scheduled for Friday, April 26, 2024.

With a remarkable career as Canada’s top-ranked wheelchair tennis player, Joel has won more than 30 international singles and doubles titles, represented Canada at prestigious events such as the London 2021 Paralympic Games and earned Canada’s first international medal at the 2015 ParaPan Am Games in Toronto. 

“Joel is a world-class athlete who has successfully used his platform to advocate for accessibility,” said Michael Cvitkovic, president and chief executive officer, Abilities Centre. “Joel has lived the values of our organization, and we are thrilled to have him serve as our guest emcee for the annual Accessibility Awards.”

The Accessibility Awards ceremony will honour individuals and organizations that have demonstrated exceptional dedication to advancing accessibility and inclusion over the past year. This event promises to be an inspiring evening celebrating accessible and inclusive communities as we continue our journey towards a better, barrier-free Canada.

“Abilities Centre continues to lead the way in changing the dialogue around inclusion and accessibility,” said Joel Dembe. “The Accessibility Awards will be a great evening celebrating leaders in our community. I am looking forward to sharing my story while honouring those individuals who are making a difference.” 
Past winners include:
The Trailblazer Award
Austin Riley
The Accessibility Moment of the Year
John Watkins and the Vikings Mixed Ability Rugby Team
Community Champion
Christine Congrady, Durham Catholic District School Board
Accessible Employer Award
Farm Boy
The Jim Flaherty Award for Leadership in Accessibility and Inclusion
Shanjay Kailayanathan
Tickets to the Second Annual Accessibility Awards can be purchased at
About Abilities Centre:
Abilities Centre is dedicated to unlocking potential through accessibility. Our programs and services, spanning vocational services, therapeutic recreation, adult day programs, and sports and recreation, aim to redefine how Canadians live, work, and play. We are committed to creating inclusive, barrier-free society where everyone can thrive. Form more information, visit
About Joel Dembe:
Joel Dembe, now a senior communications manager at RBC, serves as Co-Chair of RBC REACH, an advisory group for clients and employees with disabilities. A sought-after keynote speaker, and media contributor, Joel has been featured in prominent publications such as the Canadian Press, Globe and Mail, and Toronto Star. He chairs the Patron’s Council for the Canadian Abilities Foundation and contributes a regular column in its magazine, Abilities, serving a diverse network of individuals with disabilities. Additionally, Joel sits on the board of directors at Praxis Spinal Cord Institute, a leading organization in spinal cord injury research, innovation, and care.

Celebrate the best in community accessibility

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