In 2011, Luke founded the StopGap Foundation which has launched Community Ramp Projects across Canada.
The volunteer-run campaigns not only open up previously inaccessible spaces, but also build awareness about the prevalence of barriers to access. A graduate of the University of Waterloo’s Civil Engineering program, Luke sustained a spinal cord injury in 2002 while mountain biking in British Columbia. While working as an engineer in Toronto, his frustration with the built environment came to a boil after encountering one too many inaccessible storefronts.
StopGap is building brightly coloured single-step ramps not only increase accessibility, but also to start a conversation about the importance of an inclusive society. The project has had early success in Toronto, and is building grassroots support in communities from coast to coast. Luke has a history of speaking on behalf of the Rick Hansen Foundation, and recently appeared on The Agenda with Steve Paikin. StopGap has been covered in the Toronto Star, CityTV, Global News, CBC, Now Magazine, CTV’s Canada AM and many other outlets across the country since the first ramp project just a few years ago.
Working with schools and the broader public, Luke shares his story as a way to raise awareness and effect social change by delivering key messages around outreach, design solutions, and ensuring that society’s collective understanding of accessibility continues to advance and grow. An amazing thing happens when these brightly coloured ramps show up in a neighbourhood; people don’t just notice the ramps, they notice who doesn’t have a ramp. They start asking why, and often ask themselves if they are part of the solution, or contributing to the problem.