Disability Awareness Week (DAW) continues the tradition of National Access Awareness Week first established in 1988 to promote better community access for people with disabilities. This campaign happened in response to a request from Rick Hansen following his Man in Motion World Tour. For ten years, a national committee coordinated planning for the Week in communities all over Canada. In 1998, a decision was made in New Brunswick to continue celebrating an annual awareness week but with a new name to ensure that all issues related to persons with a disability could be promoted. 2017 marks the 30th consecutive annual Disability Awareness Week in New Brunswick.
Activities for Disability Awareness Week are coordinated at the provincial level by the Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons supported by a provincial Executive Committee. Local groups will also organize community projects across the province. Disability Awareness Week covers all types of disabilities and all age groups in partnerships with any interested supporters.
Several contests are being held this year to help organizations promote Disability Awareness Week activities. These are designed to foster discussion and a better understanding of the challenges facing more than 125,000 persons with disabilities living in New Brunswick.