Linda Gauthier has been a passionate advocate for the disabled community in Quebec for over 12 years. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996 and adjusting to her new way of life in a wheelchair, she began to get involved in various organizations and fundraising efforts within her community. Years later, after she encountered accessibility issues at a local voting poll that prevented her from casting her vote, Linda launched Regroupement des activistes pour l’inclusion au Québec (RAPLIQ). On a mission to open the doors to accessibility in public buildings and fight discrimination against people with disabilities, RAPLIQ offers support and assistance to marginalized people who are often not represented or considered. As co-founder, president and spokesperson for the organization, Linda takes a hands-on approach with RAPLIQ’s members, helping them to do everything from filing complaints to accompanying them to hearings at the Human and Youth Rights Commission, all while offering unwavering support in their journey for justice and inclusion.
As an advocate for human rights, Linda works closely with disabled people throughout Quebec using an intersectional approach to put an end to all forms of oppression and discrimination. She has had a deep and significant impact in areas like transportation and retail and has collaborated with both the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms to move the needle forward on universal accessibility policy and social inclusion for the disabled community. Recently, Linda began collaborating with safe houses for victims of domestic violence. Her experience and expertise have helped to allow for more accessible safe houses across the province to better suit the needs of women with disabilities.
For the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Linda was one of 40 award recipients. The award recognizes the lasting impact she has had on the disabled community and the steadfast hard work she continues to do every day to end discrimination.
REGROUPEMENT DES ACTIVISTES POUR L’INCLUSION AU QUÉBEC
Founded in 2009, Regroupement des activistes pour l’inclusion au Québec (RAPLIQ) is a province-wide organization that supports and assists people with disabilities. The foundation works with under-represented members of the community to defend and claim their rights and aims to eradicate discrimination. RAPLIQ provides multiple services, including advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities; assistance to members fighting for their fundamental rights in court and beyond; and support with conflict resolution.