Canadian Disability Hall of Fame:
Recognizing those who have opened doors for people with disabilities
The Canadian Disability Hall of Fame (CDHF) has provided permanent recognition of outstanding Canadians who have made extraordinary contributions to enriching the quality of life for people with physical disabilities. Founded by the CFPDP, this public exhibit was officially opened February 11, 1994 at Metro Hall in Toronto. It is open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The scope and depth of the contributions made by these individuals to the betterment of life for people with disabilities is astonishing — and every year since, the Disability Hall of Fame has added more inductees, equally remarkable, to its permanent exhibit at Toronto’s Metro Hall.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and each year our Selection Board does an incredible job of identifying individuals who are genuine heroes of our society. They stand out for their accomplishments, and they inspire us all to be better citizens, neighbours and friends, thanks to the contributions of this year’s extraordinary inductees — and all those who preceded them into the Hall of Fame — Canada is a better place with a brighter future for all its citizens, today and in the future,” Hon. David Crombie
Inductees and Nomination Process: Nominations to the Hall of Fame come from sources across Canada – community groups, private citizens, associations and organizations of and for people with physical disabilities. Nominees are chosen each year by the Disability Hall of Fame’s Selection Board in the category of Builder, Achiever or Athlete.
The Canadian Disability Hall of Fame recognizes distinguished Canadians who have made significant contributions in assisting, or enhancing the lives of persons with physical disabilities. Both physically disabled and non-disabled persons may be inducted into the Disability Hall of Fame. The inductees are individuals who truly have made a difference – those who have opened doors for people with disabilities in the areas of sports, education, employment or housing.
Nominations are collected year round and every June, three Canadians are selected to be inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame.
Builder: Persons who have distinguished themselves by making extraordinary contributions to enhance the lives of persons with physical disabilities: those in the field of medical research whose significant discoveries enhance and enrich the lives of persons with physical disabilities.
Achiever: Those who have worked to heighten public awareness about persons with physical disabilities and increased opportunities for them in the area of sports, education, employment and housing: those who are an inspiration to others who have physical disabilities.
Athlete: Those with physical disabilities who have excelled as athletes
We have always strived to bring people together in a broader understanding of what people with disabilities can really do,” said Honourable Vim Kochhar. “They are remarkable and inspiring. I am very proud of them and they serve as strong role models for all Canadians.
Canadian Disability Hall of Fame 2023 Inductees
Chantal Benoit is widely recognized as the greatest female wheelchair basketball player in history. She achieved remarkable success over more than two decades with the national team program. As a seven-time Paralympian, Benoit won three gold medals and a bronze. She is also a four-time world champion. Benoit’s dominance on the court earned her the nickname the “Michael Jordan of women’s wheelchair basketball.” Her contributions to the sport and advocacy for inclusivity led to her appointment to the Order of Canada. As well, Benoit received the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation Gold Medal Triad Award for her impact on the sport’s growth. Benoit remains active in the wheelchair basketball community through the Vaughan City Lashers program in Ontario. Her legacy as a player and ambassador continues to inspire athletes and promote inclusivity and excellence.
Rt. Hon. Stephen J. Harper
The Right Honourable Stephen J. Harper dedicated significant efforts and resources towards improving the lives of people with disabilities. As Canada’s 22nd Prime Minister, he empowered a team in cabinet and through Federal appointments that would help make life better for the disability community. The Harper government initiated and implemented many policies that support persons with disabilities. This includes introducing the Registered Disability Savings Plan in 2008. Additionally, the Harper government enhanced the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities to help individuals prepare for, obtain and maintain employment and funded programs to improve the accessibility of public spaces and workplaces. His government also helped advance the Paralympic movement. Initiatives included financing for the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, ongoing annual funding for the Canadian Paralympic Committee and support for the Special Olympics.
Michelle Stilwell is a remarkable individual who has succeeded in multiple domains. A six-time gold medallist in wheelchair basketball and athletics, she is the only female Paralympic athlete to win gold in two separate summer sport events. Stilwell is also a nine-time world champion and multiple world record holder in the 100m, 200m and 800m races. In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Stilwell has excelled in politics and business. She served two terms as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in British Columbia (2013 to 2020) and was the Minister for Social Development and Social Innovation (2015 to 2017). Stilwell is an active member of multiple national and international boards. As well, for 15 years, she oversaw all operational aspects of an international public speaking company..
National Media Partner
Broadcast Media Partner
The Right Honourable Mary Simon
C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., O.Q., C.D.,
and Commander-in-Chief of Canada
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
The Honourable Henry N.R. Jackman
Former Lieutenant Governor
The Honourable David Crombie
The Honourable Vim Kochhar