Accessibility Standards Canada Employee Makes it to the Paralympics

Feature article

Collinda Joseph, Manager of Standards Development and Research at Accessibility Standards Canada, will be competing for Canada in wheelchair curling at the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games, between March 5 and 11, 2022.

Portrait of Collinda Joseph. She is in her wheelchair, wearing her Team Canada jacket. She is in front of the blue and yellow Accessibility Standards Canada banner.

Every member of Canada’s Wheelchair Curling team is training hard to make this happen, despite the need to sometimes practise alone with social distancing. “We’re always talking strategy online, but we’re often by ourselves for on-ice skills,” Collinda laughs. “But our biggest challenge right now is making sure we stay COVID-free so we can get on the plane!” There are some bright sides to this training method, however, as having the rink mostly to herself allows for great focus during practice. She also likes the accessibility features, which she says are always beneficial to her and her fellow Paralympians. It lets them concentrate on their sport without worrying about whether they will be able to access the rink.

Becoming an official Paralympic athlete has been an exciting process for Collinda. From the emotional experience of receiving her Team Canada jacket, to reading about where she will be staying in the Paralympic village, it has been both thrilling and overwhelming. “It’s a great feeling,” she says, “but a new one! I’m not sure it will feel real until I’m actually there, participating in the opening ceremonies.” But even with that surreal feeling, her and her teammates know they are ready for the games. The World Championships in October taught them a lot, and showed them they can beat the best. “This time,” she notes with pride, “we’re better set up for victory. We have new insights into the competition, and we have the target in sight.”

Collinda is proud of her accomplishments, but above all, she is deeply aware of the duty she’s undertaking. “The responsibility of wearing that Maple Leaf is massive, and I don’t want to let people down. I understand and appreciate that significance every day, and I want to be sure to fully take in every moment at the Paralympics. I won’t ever forget it.” From the atmosphere of the games, to the opportunity to talk to other Paralympians Collinda is finally feeling that her dream of competing in this event is becoming a reality.

Outside of the game itself, what motivates her is her support group. Thinking about the help and encouragement she’s received from her community brings tears to her eyes. “I want to thank my family and friends across Ottawa for everything, for all the support. Every one of them has been really important on my journey, and I know I wouldn’t have made it without them.” She also thanked her work teammates and managers at Accessibility Standards Canada for supporting accessibility in sports. They are helping her be comfortable with her goals inside and outside the office, and lending a hand where they can. Collinda felt the full weight of the emotion as she finished talking about it, with the apt description that “all the support from the community feels like getting a massive hug!”

Team Canada

She is looking forward to representing Canada, and the cause of accessibility, at the Paralympics. “It’s an exciting time, but most of all I feel proud to have made it here, and thankful to those that helped me along the way.”

To watch and support Wheelchair Curling Team Canada in the Paralympics, tune into your favourite Canadian sports broadcaster for this schedule:

  • March 5: Canada vs. China 2:35 p.m. / Canada vs. Switzerland 7:35 p.m. EST.
  • March 6: Canada vs. Latvia 2:35 p.m. EST.
  • March 7: Canada vs. USA 9:35 a.m. / Canada vs. Sweden 7:35 p.m. EST.
  • March 8: Canada vs. South Korea 9:35 a.m. / Canada vs. Slovakia 7:35 p.m. EST.
  • March 9: Canada vs. Great Britain 2:35 p.m. / Canada vs. Estonia 7:35 p.m. EST.
  • March 10: Canada vs. Norway 9:35 a.m. EST.

On Friday 11 March, the semi-finals will be played at 2:35 with 2v3 and 1v4 facing off. The bronze medal game will be played after the semi-finals, at 7:35 pm. The gold medal game will be on Saturday 2:35 pm.