Making Sure Everyone is Included: a Conversation with Michelle McDonald

PLAN Lifetime Member Michelle McDonald’s passion for neighbourhoods that are accessible to everyone has led to her work with BC People First. Michelle has been a member of BC People First for as long as she can remember and lately, she has been talking to them about the growth and development in her own neighbourhood in Burnaby and how self-advocates can have an influence on what happens.

“I am worried about people in my neighbourhood, how they can get around and also what can be added to make it an even better neighbourhood” said Michelle. “There are never enough ramps or ways to use all the spaces in between the new buildings and I wonder how they can be more accessible”

Michelle has been concerned with the lives of people with disabilities for over 20 years.

“When I see things that are unfair- I do something about it”

In years past, Michelle traveled with her family to Europe and was very impressed with what she saw in cities that were trying to be more inclusive of all people.  When asked what she would create in her neighbourhood so that people could have access to everything, she let her imagination go wild!

Her ideas included:

  • Houses where things like countertops and appliances could raise and lower for people

  • Doorways that were wide enough for wheelchairs

  • Things that would be computerized and automatic for daily chores like getting dressed (think George Jetson says Michelle)

  • Wheelchairs with rockets to get a person from one place to another quickly

While we had fun imagining a perfect future, Michelle was also very serious about some of the things she would like to see added or changed in her own neighbourhood.

If you would like to connect with Michelle about accessibility, please email her Connector, Claire, at

For those of you curious about or would like to join BC People First – here is a link their website