Individuals in Canada with a disability encounter environmental constraints that limit their active participation in the daily life of our communities. Fundamental inequities in participation and integration continue to exist and there is a need for a concerted effort to eliminate these disabling environments. Several factors, including the built environment, societal production of space, classification of individuals based on norms, the perception of disability as deviance, the power of health disciplines and bureaucracy are examined to determine their contribution to the creation of these disabling environments. Recent modifications to occupational therapy theory and practice, while meaningful, have not fully explored ways in which disabling environments limit occupation. Prevailing ideas about occupation and the environment are examined for their contribution to solving these environmental problems. Principles which can assist occupational therapy intervention directed at changing disabling environments are described. The intent is to define methods of changing disabling environments, based on the desires and active participation of people with disabilities.