Individual supporters

Below are the supporters who agreed to have their names listed.

Irene Lambert
Karin Godin
Dawn Lambert
Peter Sharp
Sandra Hobson
Dana Levanto
Paula Kilburn
Katherine Jaconello
Gordon Hein
Louis Pereux
Nancy Newton
Michelle Bruneau
Synove Gelinas
Gary Stockden
Yvette Gelinas
Danielle Bruneau
Anita Squire
Wilma Houston
Bonnie Sherr Klein
Gordon J. Hein
Scott Hunter
Patrice Philion
John Ohberg
David Best
Roger P Gervais
Dan Shire
Suzanne Santyr
Kate Chung
Daryl Thomas
Cavita Sharma
Jerry Ford
Victor Schwartzman
sarah moore
Penny Leclair
Karen Bell
Brian Kon
Sue Morgan
Derek Giberson
Lorin MacDonald
Anne and Dave Marsden
Jim Hamilton
Edward Rice
Stephen Trumper
Cindy Ferguson
Robert Gaunt
Shane Holten
Catherine Roy
Jason Tomesch
Johnny To
Lauri Sue Robertson
Josephine (Joey) Hewitt
adam cohoon
David Layton
JOYCE MAIN
Omar Burey
Alicia Jarvis
Sandra Kinder
Marisa Page
Pierre Nadeau
Lucienne Lehouillier
Karen Fleck
Lisa Rocha
Deborah MacGillivray
Nicole Stefaniszyn
Jennifer & Darryl Hoskins
Nicole Borthwick
Michael Hannan
Colleen Henriksen
Paul Belhumeur
Brad Dunn
Debra Hinksman
Meaghan Lawrence
Frances Miller
Marian Alexander
Nora Gallagher
Janis Thompson
Laurel Pearse
Dale Odberg
Jodi Marsh
LINDA NEARING
Dianne Scrivens
NOREEN PYLATUK
Melissa Nickerson
William Hopper
Karen mohr
Taylor Hyatt
Patricia Storteboom
Sandy Wheeler
Pamela Gignac
Vera Peters
Jeannie Privet
Michelle Shalinsky
Rachelle Chiasson-Taylor
Shara Grice
Bobbie King
Jeff McBride
Brenda Mac Farlane
Mandy Sky
Melissa Graham
Lorna Barrett
Tracey mcPhail
Camella Ross
Adreanna Dollman Downing
marg Priebe
Peggy Kennard
Brenda Chinn
Michele Gardner
Joanna Pohl
Grant De Boer
Kasey Aiello
Mike Jennings
Nadine Badry
Tim Varro
Spring Hawes
Barbara Maynard
Susan Moore
Claire Cram
Nicolle Guillen
Terry Foster
Sarah Mitchell
Sabina Cragg
Dave Davis
Brian Martin
Chelsea Sharkey
Harmanie Taylor
Rachel Nelson
Andrea Dodsworth
Tammy DaSilva
Karen Cavalier
Nicole Nys
Letitia Hinkley-Roach
Nadia Olynyk
Ian MacLaine
Marie Soudre
Gail Ashuk
Arista Haas
Adam O’Neill
Helen Berarducci
Geoff Ryan
Susan McKenzie
Jamie M. Hicks
Melanie Telford
Barbara Dearden
Joanne Odjick
Tracey Roetman
Stephen Cull
Wendy Hansen
Daniel Rosen
Arvid Kuhnle
Casey McNally
Jeff Bourne
Jake Beaton
Jo Kelly
Shannon Gowans
Kevin Harvey
Deborah Kennard
D. Abraham
David Ramsden
Kyle Vose
jonda Hopper
Steven Wessels
Tyler muller
Sarah Kozoriz
amber B
Lana Phillips
Cara Crawford
jason pleaddafith
Carol S. stringer
Darren Mackay
Glyn Ganong
Robin Artemis
Jurgen Wiechmann
Jurnee
Sharon McBride
tracy curley
Cheryl White
Darlene Jay
Kyle Jay
Patricia Denneny
Sandra Paluc
Jacqueline Waybrant
Sheryl Ann Wilson
Sarah Nixon-Suggitt
Diane Morrell
Lynn Dunkley
Jo-Anne Nykilchyk
Tiffany Schier
Diane Ladouceur
Kent Oxford
Carrie Lapensee
Peter Beam
Janice Laurence
Lisa Boynton
Sandra J. Yetman
Mark Nicoll
Brenda Lush
carolyn kassinger
Jennifer Elizabeth Macdonald
Lynn Clark
Gillian Burns
Dawn Campbell
mike barrett
Sharon Kilkenny
Jeff May
Liz Allchin
tia sweeney
Roland Hengst
sherry palmer
Jacquie Munro
Russ Weaver
Mike Grady
Juliana Lepoutre
Wayne and joy reycraft
Heather Crossman
Sean VanHorne
Denise Sheedy
Lisa Bendall
Bilha Nativ
Phil McKenzie
Rebecca Therrien
Patti wheeler
Wendy Beckett
Jade Fraser
Kevin Steele
Carolyn Hirschfeld
Martha Russell
Lisa McCallen
Dalten Campbell
Jodi Fisher
Tracey Walshaw
Christina Chasty
Nicole Morley
debra Mcdonald
Hertha Shalinsky
Candyce Virgin
Kim Angell-McCormick
Radical Access Mapping Project
Cheryl Webster
Kelly-Lyn Webster
Doug Webster
Sue Beare
Sharon Shalinsky
Dawn Stinson
marty newstead
Lois harris
Theresa H Beard
Jamie Lauzon
Desiree Bauer
Derek Belbin
luc perron
Naomi Glenvad Teramoto
David Berman
Jason Dyok
Patrick Fougeyrollas
Nic deGroot
Chantelle Bernardo
Angela Finkbeiner
Dean Fey
marilyn stratton-zimmer
Cornelia Bryant
Marcel Matte
Bruce A Johnson
Judith Flatt
Stacey Upson
Lacey Fontaine
Christine Flynn-James
Philip Bobawsky
Susan Wagar
Dawn Howell
Sabrina Gould
Laura farres
Amie Kiddle
Jason Finkbeiner
Cheryl Benson
Colleen Davis
Pauline Fraser
Jacki Andre
Aaron Broverman
Taylor Short
Laurel Ryan
Brittany Lang
Bill Hopper
Sam Fulton
Paula Swirla
Geoffrey Olsen
Pamela Shelton
Megan Turpin
Pamela Kent
Ian A. Greaves
Susan Bowman
D Veglia
Diana Veglia
Anchel Krishna
Geoff Egan
meghan nugent
Bonnie S. Manning-Jones
Suzanne Nurse
Kimberly Prattis
Jeffrey Preston
Sandra Yetman
Jaimie Smith-Windsor
William Cowie
Cindy Kennedy
Kathryn Bremner
Thea Kurdi
Mike Cocteau
Gerry harris
Sarah Smith
Aislinn Burkholder
Stephen Higham
Dan Angell
Amelia Murphy-Beaudoin
Jeff Stark
Jamie Burton
Jennifer Miller
Michael Racette
Michael Hughes
kimberly m murphy
Majid Turmusani
Roger B Jones
Ida Fong
David Chojnacki
S Fong
Miguel Aguayo
Melissa mailman
Sean Bouffard
Mylee Nordin
Faith Bodnar
Peter Busciglio
NAN MARKS
Tony Marrelli
Judy Hemming
Luke Anderson
P. Campbell
Anna Hlinomaz
Jessie Coaten,
Gerry Gill
Bjorg Mathiessen
Elizabeth Nimijean
Rene Coloucci
Sandra watts
Phillip McCorkell
Julie Perez
Alan Dean
Mark Smith
Nahla Bechara
Sandra Johnston
Shirley Skilling
Gordon Crann
Pauline Walsh
Muriel Hill
Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario
Heather Rupert & Michel Ciarciello
Maria Friozzi
William Rudkin
Kenneth Southall
Diane Aubin
Dianne McLeod
Lisa Figge
Walter Wittich
Kat Clarke
Beulah Aubin
Ron Pelletier
Lauri Brunner
Robert Trudel
Brian Heaney
Jeanette Poulsen
Louise Russo
Philippa Wrobel
Yvonne Kalybaba
Bradley Pottinger
Chris Webster
Jon Polley
Marguerite Rose Larade
PROF ALAN LEVY
Amanda Cape
Bet Tuason
Kim Gill
Yolanda Munoz
Wendy Boutilier
David McKay
Prince Amponsah
Tracy turnetfoxx
DIANA E LEBLANC
Kelly Mihaichuk-Ball
Mike Kirby
Paul Soucy
Casey Gallagher
Clay MacKenzie
David Winchester
Doug Poulsen
Kory Heyland
Virginia Knowlton Marcus
A Harwood
Cherise Craney
Geordie Graham
JOseph Jova
Julie Lane
Michele McDonald
David Dyer Lawson
K Stirling
Linda Crabtree
Tim Tentcher
Carol-Ann Chafe
Kelly McKeen
Michelle Hewitt
Alan Nixon
Melanie Bernard
Darryl Flasch
Susana Scott
Abidah Shamji
david shannon
Alexis Dickson
Michael R. Racette
Joann Anokwuru
Barrier Free Saskatchewan
Julia Oliver
Michel Paquin
Michelene Deck
Teresa Morishita
Marie-Eve Veilleux
Michel Lemay
StopGap Ottawa
Pierre Lemay
Shane Harnden
Bill Adair
Rebecca Borton
Patrick Falconer
info@virn.ca
Yvette Werenka
Samantha Mitra
Louise Johnson
Ronny Wiskin 
Gavin Bamber
Sue Cawsey 
Daryl Rock
Jessica Geboers
Amanda Lubyk
Rhonda Josifov
William Goursky
Jeff Bourne
Guy Coulombe
Karyna Laroche
Jada Pumphrey
Doreen Machado
Richard Marion
Cathy Moreau
Sheldon M. Werner 
Colin Brown
Christina Johnson
Steve Kean
Michael Racette
Christina Nemeth
Susan Creer
Derek MacLeod
Marc W. Mullo
Susanne Kunkel
Ilanna Sharon Mandel
Dennis Trumpy

The Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières December 2016 newsletter

Table of contents

  1. Summary of recent events
  2. How to become more involved in Minister Qualtrough’s public engagement hearings
  3. From around the country
  4. Question for consideration
  5. Next steps
  6. Contact info

Summary of Recent Events

The month of November saw various committee members of BFC-CSB making presentations and attending meetings across the country.

In early November David Lepofsky attended several meetings in Newfoundland and Labrador relating to public engagements on a Canadians with disabilities Act and he participated in a meeting that saw the birth of a Barrier Free Newfoundland and Labrador group.

In Mid November Marc Workman traveled to Toronto to attend a meeting hosted by the Canadian access and inclusion project group. This group is made up of about 28 organizations representing persons with a wide range of disabilities.

Also in mid November, Donna Jodhan traveled to Montreal to attend a ministerial round table engagement meeting that focused on issues pertaining to transportation. The meeting was extremely engaging and productive and was attended by 15 organizations. The meeting was hosted by the Office for Disability issues and organizations that attended included:

  1. AIR CANADA
  2. BARRIER-FREE CANADA
  3. CANADIAN AIRPORTS COUNCIL
  4. CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF THE DEAF
  5. CANADIAN FERRY OPERATORS ASSOCIATION
  6. CANADIAN MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION
  7. CANADIAN NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR THE BLIND
  8. COUNCIL OF CANADIANS WITH DISABILITIES
  9. CUTA
  10. GUIDE DOG USERS OF CANADA
  11. MOTOR COACH CANADA
  12. PEOPLE FIRST OF CANADA
  13. TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH AT MCGILL
  14. VIA RAIL CANADA INC.
  15. WESTJET AIRLINES

During the month of November Pina Dintino attended tele conferences hosted by CCD where matters pertaining to the CRPd were discussed. Pina attended meetings in Ottawa and New York in early december as BFC-CSB’s rep and below are some of her views with regard to moving forward.

1. “Harmonization and ensuring that we come across to the CRPD Secretariat as having strong harmonized and implementable regulations in Canada.

The second issue is around having strong advocacy programs and tools available to all people. And lastly I would suggest that we have strong measurement mechanisms to ensure that the regulations drawn have a strong and tangible social impact.

There is nothing worst in my opinion than having a ton of regulations that businesses and public services must adhere to but truly do not make a difference in someone’s life on a day to day basis.”

In November Barrier Free Newfoundland and Labrador joined the BFC-CSB family and we now have affiliates in the following provinces:

British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.


News coverage

The following are news articles that you may find of interest.

1. From Ottawa

PM paid a surprise visit to youth forum on disability Story link below from university newspaper

http://www.charlatan.ca/2016/11/trudeau-speaks-at-youth-forum-on-accessibility-at-carleton/

2. From Nova Scotia: McNeil government punts on accessibility

http://contrarian.ca/2016/11/02/mcneil-government-punts-on-accessibility/?

3. An extract taken from The Leveller, November 23, 2016

Silent No More: Ottawa consults on national disability act, demonstrations for disability justice remain strong

by Alex William

The Leveller, November 23, 2016

With a national disability act in preparation, the federal government is continuing its consultation process to address concerns within the disability community. On Nov. 1, over 100 people with disabilities arrived at Carleton University to take part in the National Youth Forum on an Accessible Canada. While many issues arose during the youth forum, one of the most prominent and recurring problems is the close correlation between disability and poverty.

People with disabilities are among the most poor and most marginalized in Canadian society. There are many reasons for this, including employment discrimination, uninsurable support costs and income assistance programs, like the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), that keep recipients below the poverty line. Indeed, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that a single person without children who receives ODSP support is still below the poverty line by approximately 33 per cent.

While the $2 million dedicated to preparing for the federal legislation is a unique investment in disability issues, at the grassroots level the work of disability leaders often remains unfunded and unsupported.

For example, over the past six years, disability activists have maintained a tradition of taking to the streets of downtown Toronto in what is known as the Toronto Disability Pride March (TDPM).

Operating at a zero budget, TDPM is a far cry from a parade. It is a march — rooted in traditions of direct action and the struggle for recognition.

“We don’t get a lot of empathy. People fear us. They used to lock us away, put us out of sight,” explains Diem Lafortune, a regular guest speaker at TDPM events.

Lafortune is a singer-songwriter, a teacher, and a Cree and Jewish woman (“Crewish”, she quips).

“We are not intended to get into the legislative building – it is not conducive to our presence,” she observes, drawing a powerful link between the physical barriers of the building and the political exclusion of disabled people from decision-making forums.

Because of this pervasive marginalization, the very presence of people with disabilities is a wake-up call for Canadian society.

Adding urgency to the situation, Lafortune points out that “the neoliberal agenda since the late 70s is a backlash against all the earlier inclusion work.”

Neoliberal austerity measures have had a disproportionate effect on those experiencing poverty and disability. In 2014, researcher and activist Simon Duffy analyzed the targeted nature of social cuts and reported that poor disabled people in England “bear a burden which is more than 4 times the (modal) average.” Given these unfair outcomes, TDPM’s collective action was both timely and urgent. Amidst heavy cutbacks, when more and more disabled people find access to a dignified life barred, simply taking pride in disability identity can be a challenging stance.

Yet, de-stigmatizing disability is not just an occasion for cultural celebration. It is intimately tied to social justice and serves as the foundation for recognizing and resisting disability violence — whether in the form of poverty, institutionalization, sexual abuse or even euthanasia.

Lafortune recounts how “not feeling safe” is a common experience for disabled people because societal values continue to privilege able-bodied white men.

Indeed, TDPM fits within a long tradition of organizing that responds to violence against disabled people and threats to their very material survival by re-asserting the value of disabled lives in the face of eugenic attempts to wipe them out.

At this year’s march, TDPM organizer and speaker Kevin Jackson recalled the history of protest marches, the first Psychiatric Survivor Pride Day in Toronto in September 1993, and a later march by disabled people from various communities protesting the murder of Toronto psychiatric survivor Edmond Yu, who was shot and killed by police on Feb. 20, 1997. Yu’s tragic death reflects a pattern where sanism, ableism, racism and other forms of discrimination intersect and create disastrous results for marginalized people.

Organizers have kept issues of racism, settler colonialism, sexism and class at the forefront of their concern as TDPM activists identify across a variety of social positions. Melissa Graham, the founder and co-organizer of the march, describes how the experiences of organizers reflect a diversity of disability identities. “As organizers, it’s important to us that the march reflects the community it’s representing, not just in terms of who participates, but in the composition of the organizing team. While we’re still working on organizing an anti-oppressive way, our team reflects a diversity of disabilities, genders, and people of colour. Our priority is to those most marginalized among disabled people.”

As such, TDPM’s strength is based on finding common ground and, according to its founders, this means “a harmony of voices, not one homogeneous voice.”

For Lafortune, the key to combating injustice is kindness and empathy towards difference: “If we want a kind society, we have to start being kind.”

Calling all disability and Mad activists to join together to organize an Ottawa Disability Pride March for 2017!

The introduction of a federal disability act makes this an important moment in the history of Canadian disability and Mad activist communities. We urgently need to make ourselves visible as the experts on disability and Mad issues.

By coming together to march, we will show that we are a force that cannot be ignored. Cooperation among disabled and Mad people proves that we can work together to lead change and influence political decision-making.

The Toronto Disability Pride March (TDPM) has demonstrated the collective strength of disability and Mad communities. Now it’s time to bring this collective action to the Capital!

Be Loud. Be Proud. Come March with us!

Send us an email to get involved:

ottawadisabilitypride@gmail.com

This article was first published in the Leveller Vol. 9, No. 3


From around the country

From Newfoundland and Labrador

1. On November 4, 2016, Barrier-Free Canada’s newest provincial affiliate was founded. Barrier-Free Newfoundland and Labrador is working to ensure that a strong and effective accessibility law is enacted in Newfoundland and Labrador. The keynote speaker was AODA Alliance chair/Barrier-Free Canada Steering Committee member David Lepofsky. A minister in the provincial government already has this project in their Mandate Letter.

From Nova Scotia

2. During the week of October 31, 2016, the Nova Scotia Government introduced bill 59, the proposed Accessibility Act, into the Nova Scotia Legislature. It looked like that Government aimed to rush it through the Legislature.

However swift action by grassroots accessibility advocates in Nova Scotia turned the tide. They went to the Legislature on Monday, November 7, 2016 to object to the bill as far, far too weak. They garnered great media attention. As a result, the Nova Scotia Government put the bill and went back to the drawing board, having heard the message that people with disabilities in Nova Scotia deserve better.

From Barrier Free Nova Scotia

3. A report from Pat Gates, coordinator of Barrier Free Nova Scotia:

Update from Barrier Free Nova Scotia

The most exciting news from Nova Scotia is that after many years of anticipation and hope by individuals with disabilities and their supporters, the Province introduced an Accessibility Act, Bill 59, on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. It passed first reading on that day and passed second reading the following day, Wednesday, November 2. On Friday, November 4, some members of the disability population became aware that the government’s Law Amendments Committee would be meeting the following Monday, November 7 and and that Bill 59 was on their Agenda. In order to be able to speak to Bill 59 at that meeting, it was imperative that people register with the Provincial Clerk’s Office immediately. This very short notice was considered to be a barrier to those with disabilities wishing to address the Committee. Several members of various disability organizations, including Barrier Free N.S., as well as individuals with disabilities and several supporters scrambled to meet on Sunday, November 6 to put together a plan. That group received much valuable input from David Lepofsky and Patrick Falconer who have gone through this process in Ontario and Manitoba respectively. Nine people, including the BFNS Co-ordinator, were successful in registering to address the Law Amendments Committee the following day. All who spoke did so quite eloquently and encourage the government to slow the process of taking the Bill to third and final reading. It was felt that the people for whom this Act is crucial, the stakeholders – individuals with disabilities, had not had sufficient time to read the Bill and digest its’ implications and to respond to it. They also stressed the unanimous view that the Bill should not fall under the Department of Community Services but under the Department of Justice as the Bill relates to basic human rights. The Law Amendments Committee stayed or paused the Bill at that November 7 meeting. It should be noted that this Committee listened to those who addressed it with interest and courtesy.

The Department of Community Services has begun to reach out to the disability population to seek their input on the Bill. An initial meeting has been arranged for Monday, December 5 of the Advisory Panel and members of the various sub-committees who worked on the Bill. This meeting will give an “overview” of Bill 59. I am a member of one of the sub-committees and will be attending the meeting. From there, the Department plans to begin arranging various community meetings to seek input.

In the meantime, arrangements are being made to hold another meeting of community members to discuss next steps in the endeavour to have critical input into revising Bill 59 as it’s felt that the Bill does not have the substance it should have and that there are some barriers it simply does not address. We also await notification of when the Law Amendments Committee will resume its’ meetings. A meeting has also been set for the Co-ordinator of BFNS to meet with the Minister of Justice who is also Chair of the Law Amendments Committee.

*Bill 59 can be found at: http://nslegislature.ca/legc/bills/62nd_3rd/1st_read/b059.htm

Patricia (Pat) Gates

Co-ordinator, Barrier Free N.S.

November 29, 2017

From Montreal

4. On November 16 Donna Jodhan attended one of Minister Qualtrough’s public hearings that was held in Montreal at the Palais de Congrès. It is estimated that around 300 people attended and a wide variety of questions were asked and answered.

Questions came from several individuals with various disabilities and concerns were raised that ranged from accessibility pertaining to the city of Montreal, to the role of the province of Québec in a Canadians with disabilities Act, to how a Canadians with Disabilities Act would address such things as language issues plus much more.

There was a brief presentation given by Irene Lambert; a long time advocate who represented the Montreal chapter of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians and she reminded attendees that in 1978, québec passed a bill that sought to address several issues pertaining to accessibility.

This meeting was well organized. Speakers were given adequate time to express themselves and the views from individuals with a variety of disabilities were clearly heard. At the end of the meeting Minister Qualtrough’s representative made himself available to speak to those desiring to meet with him.

From Ottawa

5. On November 30 a similar public hearing was held in Ottawa and below is a personal report from one of our avid supporters and advocates Penny Leclair.

Consultation on Accessible Canada Act Ottawa November 30, 2016

The meeting started on time with approximately 100 people attending. The organizers had two rooms set up because of the great attendance. They had large screens to show French and English captioning for those who don’t know ASL or LSQ, and have a hearing loss. There were 4 interpreters for many participants who were deaf. I would say this community had their act together extremely well. Many spoke as members of an association and the theme of the need for video type communication and interpreters kept repeating with well versed presentations.

It seems that our meeting was the 15th, so they had learned from previous meetings to put some rules of process together for this meeting. A time limit of 3 minutes and a 30 second warning was explained so that no one could read a submission or be allowed to hog the floor.

I would say people spoke within the areas of the federal government responsibilities. Of course, the barrier of poverty came forward several times, but that is a real barrier for everyone who is expected to live on low incomes.

Several people attended who were blind. I thought we did a good job of stating key issues but no one stood to say the represented or supported an organization. We spoke for ourselves as we knew we had to.

John Rae, Robin East, Sharlyn Ayotte, Chris Stark Dean and myself had the opportunity to speak.

I may have missed others as they used the second room they had set up, to accommodate more speakers during the time left.

The interesting way of organizing who would speak and when, began when the moderator asked everyone who wanted to speak to raise their hand. Then a sheet of paper was put into your hand with a number, in print, written on it. The papers were numbered 1 to (I believe) 28, but it could have been 30, I am not sure. The first time they did this I wasn’t one of the participants with a number.

After the break, they finished with the speakers assigned in that first hand-out of numbers. They then gave out 11 more numbers.

I raised my hand and I was given #8, which was the third from last to speak.

No matter what goes into the act, and I must say I didn’t learn of anything new that I didn’t all ready know of, but how it is enforced and I would say how the public views the act is key. If it is seen as a dirty word type thing that is not supported by those without disabilities, it won’t be popular for government to make forcible.

The time for speaking was adequate, since to sit for 3 hours, with one half hour break is a little tough to do. I would say we had fair opportunity to give our feedback and that even if someone did not get the opportunity to speak, those who did were respectful and used their time well.

People who were deaf spoke most often, but they had the numbers present as well. They have their act together.

The minister of sport and disability attended briefly. I felt this was a positive meeting and I am pleased I chose to attend.

From Manitoba

6. Do you want even more evidence of the need for and the importance of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act?

Then how about the fact that disability discrimination has been the No. 1 reason for human rights complaints in Manitoba for 15 consecutive years. And it has not even been close. Based on the Manitoba Human Rights Commission’s most recent Annual Report, disability discrimination accounted for over 45% of all complaints filed in 2015. That is more complaints than for almost all the other 12 protected grounds combined.

Click here for more information. We were pleased that the Metro covered this important but almost entirely overlooked story. Read the Metro coverage at:

http://www.metronews.ca/news/winnipeg/2016/11/23/disability-discrimination-first-manitoba-rights-complaints.html

Release of Initial Proposal for the Accessible Employment Standard

The Accessibility Advisory Council (AAC) has just released the “Discussion Paper on a Proposed Accessibility Standard for Employment” (attached). This discussion paper sets out the AAC’s proposal for an accessibility standard to address the myriad of barriers to equitable employment opportunities and outcomes faced by Manitobans with disabilities.

This is the second of five accessibility standards that the government has committed to develop under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA). The first of the standards, the Customer Service Standard, came into force in November 2015.

As required under the AMA, the discussion paper has been released to invite and secure comment and feedback from stakeholder groups and the general public on the proposed standard. The deadline for public comment is February 15, 2017. Based on the feedback received, the AAC will recommend changes and improvements to Minister Scott Fielding by March 31, 2017.

The AAC has also scheduled a single date for in-person consultations on the proposed standard to be held in Winnipeg on January 18, 2017.
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Main Floor, Royal ABC Ballroom
Viscount Gort Hotel

We’re hoping for a packed house (information on registration will be made available closer to the date).

As in the past, Barrier-Free Manitoba (BFM) will be supporting the community participation in the consultation process. This will include sharing a preliminary brief that reviews the proposed standard’s strengths and weaknesses, and identifies key areas where it needs to be strengthened.

We will be sending our preliminary brief to you on or before Friday, January 7, 2017 and looking forward to your feedback.

What better way to start the New Year than by helping ensure equitable employment for Manitobans with disabilities!

First AMA Compliance Dates

The first deadlines for action under the AMA have finally arrived. Beyond its statutory responsibilities set out in the Act, the provincial government is expected to demonstrate robust leadership in ensuring its own operational compliance with the act’s requirements.

The very first deadline was November 1, 2016. This is when the provincial government and its departments were required to:

  • Have developed policies that ensure accessible customer service and make these policies available on request.
  • Have trained or ensured that all staff that provide public services are trained in The Manitoba Human Rights Code and accessible customer service.
  • Ensure that all public meetings are accessible to persons with disabilities.

The second deadline, December 31, 2016, relates to multi-year accessibility plans. By then, all provincial government departments, crown corps, health authorities, colleges, universities, school divisions and many large municipalities are required to have developed comprehensive plans on what measures that they have taken and will take in the coming years to identify, prevent and remove barriers that disable people. These plans must have been developed in consultation with Manitobans with disabilities.

Click here for more info on the compliance requirements and deadlines.

Barrier-Free Manitoba has requested information from Minister Scott Fielding on the measures the government has taken and will be taking to comply with these deadlines. Follow up discussions are also currently underway with Donna Miller, Clerk of the Executive Council and Cabinet Secretary.

We hope to have more information to share with you shortly.

Federal Consultations

This last summer, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced the launch of a national consultation process to inform the development of planned legislation that will “transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility”. The consultation process includes in-person sessions in 18 different major urban centres across the country, running from September 22, 2016 to February 8, 2017.

The session in Winnipeg was held on October 3, 2016. Despite very short notice, an estimated 400 persons were able to attend the session (the largest number to that date). Barrier-Free Manitoba is pleased to have contributed to community dialogue in advance of the session and to have participated at the event.

We believe that Minister Qualtrough is committed to addressing disability rights in Canada. Let’s hope that they listened to what we had to say.

We encourage all who were unable to attend and/or have more they want to say to complete the online survey posted at: https://hrsdc-rhdcc.sondages-surveys.ca/s/Accessibility_accessibilite_TXT/?l=en

Little if any information is available on the government’s next steps. We look forward to sharing updates on important developments as we are appraised of them.

We also encourage you to visit the Barrier-Free Canada website http://barrierfreecanada.org/home/

Barrier-Free Canada is one of the leading national organizations advocating for strong and effective federal legislation. Barrier-Free Manitoba is its provincial affiliate.


Question for consideration

Do you think that the enactment of a Canadians with disabilities Act could help to make our Federal Court system more accessible to those who are blind and vision impaired? At the present time, blind and vision impaired need to obtain permission from a Federal Judge if they wish to file documents electronically.

Tell us what you think. Tweet your response and post it on Facebook. Write to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org.


Next steps

BFC-CSB plans to continue on its present course. That is, to keep on encouraging people to attend public hearings in their areas and you can visit http://barrierfreecanada.org/attend-an-in-person-session/ to check out the times for your area.

We at Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières are delighted to share 2 very important documents which are designed to help you become more involved in Minister Qualtrough’s public engagement hearings.

Please visit http://barrierfreecanada.org/two-resources-for-canadians-with-disabilities-act/


Contact info

We would love to hear from you; via email, via twitter, via Facebook.

To contact us, please send an email to info@barrierfreecanada.org.

To keep abreast of our updates visit http://www.barrierfreecanada.org/category/general

Visit us at www.barrierfreecanada.org and sign up to be a yes supporter or use the form provided to write to us with your organization’s letter of support.

Follow us on Twitter @barrierfreeca

And like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/barrierfreeca

Signed,

Donna J. Jodhan founder and chair

Steering committee members

Our Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières steering committee includes: David Lepofsky, Jutta Treviranus, Brent Page, Marc Workman, Chris O’Brien, Robin East, Brad Saunders, and Diane Bergeron.

Founding organizations

Our five initial founding organizations are: CNIB, March of Dimes, the MS Society of Canada, the Canadian Hearing Society, and Accessible Media Inc. A list of our supporting organizations is listed below.

Supporting organizations

  • The Low Vision Self-Help Association
  • West Island, Montreal Quebec
  • The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL
  • Guide Dog Users of Canada (GDUC)
  • Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)
  • Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)
  • SPH Planning & Consulting Limited
  • The Rick Hansen Foundation
  • Quebec Federation of the blind
  • Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)
  • Community Living Toronto
  • Deaf Blind Ontario Services
  • Unifor
  • StopGap Foundation
  • Citizens with Disabilities Ontario
  • Spinal Cord Injury Alberta
  • Easter seals canada
  • Access for Sight-Impaired consumers
  • Every Canadian Counts Coalition
  • Québec Accessible
  • Centre for Equitable Library Access / Centre d’accès équitable aux bibliothèques
  • Deaf & Hear Alberta
  • Autism Canada
  • Mayor of Halifax Novascotia
  • Braille Literacy Canada

The Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières November 2016 newsletter

Table of contents

  1. Summary of recent events
  2. How to become more involved in Minister Qualtrough’s public engagement hearings
  3. From around the country
  4. Question for consideration
  5. Next steps
  6. Contact info

Summary of Recent Events

For the month of October we attended tele conferences and one of our committee members David Lepofsky traveled to Halifax to lend support to groups who are working to help lobby for a Nova Scotia disability rights Act.

BFC-CSB also spent time expanding their committee in order to meet growing requests from various groups across the country to make presentations on such topics as how to become more active in lobbying for a Canadians with disabilities Act as well as how to become more pro active in advocating for provincial disabilities rights Acts.

In early November David Lepofsky will be speaking at a public forum on the need for strong provincial and federal accessibility in St. John’s Newfoundland. Here is the announcement of this forum.

Forum on Disability Accessibility in Our Community
Hosted by CNIB Atlantic INCA atlantique

Friday, November 4 at 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM in UTC-02:30
CNIB
70 the Blvd, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1A 1K2

Would you like to help four million Canadians with disabilities tear down the many accessibility barriers that impede them from getting full access to jobs, public transit, education and all that our society has to offer its residents?

Join David Lepofsky, life-long disability rights advocate, blind lawyer, and chair of the non-partisan grassroots Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, for a public discussion. Everyone is welcome!

In mid November Marc Workman will be representing us at a face to face Canadian Access and Inclusion Project Council meeting.

Towards the end of November Donna Jodhan will be giving a presentation in Ottawa, to persons who are blind and vision impaired and her presentation will focus on the essentials of advocacy and how to become more involved in lobbying for a Canadians with disabilities Act. This presentation is being sponsored by Accessible Media inc and Getting Together with Technology (GTT).

This presentation will be held at 20 James Street Ottawa and more info will be posted to the relevant Ottawa lists in the coming weeks.


How to become more involved in Minister Qualtrough’s public engagement hearings

For information on how to attend the in-person consultation sessions on accessibility legislation that Employment and Social Development Canada is conducting, please go to this webpage.


 

From around the country

From our Ontario affiliate:

The AODA Alliance will be conducting forums across Ontario as follows. Burlington (November 6), and Whitby (November 12). For more information please contact AODA at aodafeedback@gmail.com

From our group in Saskatchewan:

Principles from our September 8 meeting have been approved at our October meeting. Our next meeting is for next steps including our Web site which is being built and how to spread the word to all of and for service organizations and individuals, media, MLA’s etc. So November 7 meeting is a strategy meeting to discuss all of this and to pick kick Off dates for community events in Saskatoon, Regina, and other cities around the province. We are a very forward and positive thinking group.

We are persons of various disabilities and we not only own our disabilities but believe that it is a characteristic of who we are.

Our web site that is not online yet will be BarrierFreeSaskatchewan.org

For more info please contact barrierfreesk@gmail.com

From our Halifax group:

They are presently anxiously awaiting the passage of their disabilities rights legislation which is scheduled to take place at any time. If you would like to know more then please contact Pat Gates at patricia.gates@bellaliant.net

Question for consideration

Do you think that a federally legislated Canadians with disabilities Act could help to improve services for traveling Canadian passengers with disabilities? Would it help that under this Act airport authorities and domestic airlines, bus and train companies, and all companies in the travel industry that provide both federal and provincial services would now be mandated to provide adequate and appropriate services to travelers with disabilities?

Tell us what you think. Tweet your response. Put it on Facebook, and write to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org.

Next steps

We urge you to complete the Federal Government’s online survey at www.esdc.gc.ca/en/consultations/disability/legislation/index.page

And we encourage you to read two informative documents at the following link. These documents will help you to be more prepared for the Minister’s hearings. http://barrierfreecanada.org/two-resources-for-canadians-with-disabilities-act/

We also encourage you to listen to Minister Qualtrough in a recent speech at this link http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/the-current/segment/10520891

We will continue to make presentations, attend tele conferences, as well as face to face meetings and we will be working to bring groups and organizations together for think thanks.

Contact info

We would love to hear from you; via email, via twitter, via Facebook.

To contact us, please send an email to info@barrierfreecanada.org.

To keep abreast of our updates visithttp://www.barrierfreecanada.org/category/general

Visit us at www.barrierfreecanada.org and sign up to be a yes supporter or use the form provided to write to us with your organization’s letter of support.

Follow us on Twitter @barrierfreeca

And like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/barrierfreeca

Signed,

Donna Jodhan founder and chair

Our Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières steering committee includes:
David Lepofsky, Jutta Treviranus, Steven Christianson, Marc Workman, Chris O’Brien, Robin East, Brad Saunders, and Diane Bergeron.

Our five initial founding organizations are CNIB, March of Dimes, the MS Society of Canada, the Canadian Hearing Society, and Accessible Media Inc.

A list of our supporting organizations is listed below.

  • The Low Vision Self-Help Association
  • West Island, Montreal Quebec
  • The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL
  • Guide Dog Users of Canada (GDUC)
  • Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)
  • Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)
  • SPH Planning & Consulting Limited
  • The Rick Hansen Foundation
  • Quebec Federation of the blind
  • Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)
  • Community Living Toronto
  • Deaf Blind Ontario Services
  • Unifor
  • StopGap Foundation
  • Citizens with Disabilities Ontario
  • Spinal Cord Injury Alberta
  • Easter seals canada
  • Access for Sight-Impaired consumers
  • Every Canadian Counts Coalition
  • Québec Accessible
  • Centre for Equitable Library Access / Centre d’accès équitable aux bibliothèques
  • Deaf & Hear Alberta
  • Autism Canada
  • Mayor of Halifax Nova Scotia
  • Braille Literacy Canada

The Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières October 2016 newsletter

Table of contents

  1. Summary of Recent Events
  2. News coverage
  3. From around the country
  4. Question for consideration
  5. Next steps
  6. We need your feedback
  7. Contact info

Summary of Recent Events

The month of September was a busy one for us as BFC-CSB created and posted two articles on its website which are designed to help you as you get ready to attend Minister Qualtrough’s public hearing engagements across Canada and you can read these two documents at http://barrierfreecanada.org/two-resources-for-canadians-with-disabilities-act/

They were both written by David Lepofsky of our steering committee.

The first document is a Canadians with Disabilities Act Consultation Tip Sheet: Detailed Points to Present to the Federal Government’s Public Consultation on What To Include in the Promised Federal Accessibility Law.

The second document What Should the Promised New Federal Disability Accessibility Law Include? – At a Glance

In September Donna Jodhan met with officials from the Canadian Transportation Agency and the purpose of the meeting was for her to share her views with them on the CTA’s accessible transportation discussion paper. Donna has submitted a written response to the CTA and will be posting this shortly to the BFC-CSB website.

We will note here that in its response to the CTA’s accessible transportation discussion paper, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority has stated the following.

“Toronto Pearson terminals meet all federal regulations regarding accessibility standards, and the CTA has advised us that the GTAA is fully compliant.”

We would like to know where may we find any public information to support this statement? Additionally; the GTAA does not want the CTA to have any role in new construction and assessment of plans for accessibility.

On September 23 Donna Jodhan made a presentation to members of a cross section of disabilities persons groups in Halifax Nova Scotia and the presentation centered on advocacy and seeking support for Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières.

This trip was sponsored by CNIB and organized by Pat Gates and Louise Gillis president of CCB.

Among those attending were: CCB, CNIB, Canadian Paraplegic Association Nova Scotia, Muscular Dystrophy Atlantic, March of Dimes, CARP or the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, Mt. St. Vincent University, MS Society, NS Health Authority, Municipal Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and a number of individuals representing themselves.

Earlier in the day Donna along with Pat and Louise met with Mike Savage; Mayor of Halifax and the Mayor has since written a letter in support of BFC-CSB.


News coverage

Taken from http://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/new-legislation-to-give-more-options-for-people-with-disabilities-and-employers-minister-says

New legislation to give more options for people with disabilities and employers, minister says

Jonathan Charlton, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Published on: September 28, 2016 | Last Updated: September 28, 2016 9:15 PM CST

Carla Qualtrough, minister of sport and persons with disabilities, says upcoming disabilities legislation is important.

Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen

The federal government is creating legislation to protect people with disabilities, and Saskatchewan residents will be able to participate in consultations this week. A public meeting was held in Regina on Wednesday, followed by a private round table in Saskatoon Friday. Carla Qualtrough, minister of sport and persons with disabilities, spoke with reporter Jonathan Charlton about why the legislation is important. This interview has been condensed and edited.

What are you trying to accomplish with this legislation?

“In short, we’re trying to create a law that proactively requires businesses, services providers, program deliverers within federal jurisdiction to remove barriers for people with disabilities,” she said. Instead of waiting until someone is discriminated against and human rights law kicks in, the legislation will create a systemic approach to dealing with inclusion. It would cover the government itself as well as federally regulated businesses such as banks, telecommunications and Via Rail.

Why is legislation required, as opposed to something like a code of conduct or a mission statement?

“First of all it shows federal leadership in this area. It sends a clear message to Canadians that disability issues, disability policy, accessibility, are priorities for our government,” she said. Legislation also tends to survive through successive governments, she said. “More than 50 per cent of the complaints to the Human Rights Commission of Canada are on the grounds of disability. So there is a gap there. A lot of people with disabilities are being denied jobs and services and so we felt a legislative response was warranted. And quite frankly Canadians with disabilities and their advocates have been calling for this legislation for a decade.”

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What sort of situation would the legislation prevent?

Qualtrough gives the example of a person who applies for a job, then in the interview it’s realized they have a disability, and they don’t get the job. “That person, at that point of denial, the only recourse they have is to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. With our law in place, that employer would have been advised well before the denial happened, here’s how you include someone with a disability in your application process, here’s how you make the interview accessible, here’s the benefit of hiring someone with a disability, the unique perspective they will bring to that job. There will be opportunities systemically to avoid that denial from even happening in the first place.

Might some businesses simply might not know how to accommodate, or see accommodation as time or resource intensive?

“I think that’s happening everywhere. A lot of what we’re seeing is people having a genuine interest in being inclusive but not knowing how, so again a lot of the work we’re doing is around educating and giving employers and businesses the tools to be more inclusive. And it’s also dispelling a lot of myths about the costs of hiring someone with a disability, explaining the business case for hiring someone with a disability, to be frank. About the untapped labour market aspect, about the creativity and innovation, the employee loyalty.”

jcharlton@postmedia.com

If you would like to see how security personnel interact with travelers with disabilities at Pearson International Airport then we invite you to visit http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/catsa-airport-travellers-complaints-security-1.3779312

Here you will get a flavour for some of the types of challenges being faced by the passengers with disabilities public.


From around the country

From British Columbia comes the following from the Barrier-Free BC Steering Committee.

At the annual convention of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) held in Victoria this year from September 26 – 30, Resolution B62 containing the following text, passed unanimously:

Whereas British Columbians with disabilities encounter a variety of physical, sensory and technological barriers as well as ones related to communication, education, employment, attitudes and many others on a daily basis;

And whereas the Government of British Columbia launched a non-mandatory, non-legislated initiative entitled “Accessibility 2024” in 2014 with the goal of making BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by the year 2024;

And whereas both the Province of Ontario and the Province of Manitoba have enacted disability legislation with the Province of Nova Scotia working toward the introduction and enactment of disability legislation in 2016:

Therefore be it resolved that UBCM believes it is important to achieve a barrier-free province for all persons with disabilities and calls upon BC’s Legislative Assembly to enact a strong and effective British Columbians with Disabilities Act.

The passing of this Resolution is a giant leap forward for the supporters of the Barrier-Free BC campaign in that it now captures the support of every city, municipality, district, town and village in the province. But the road ahead is still one we must travel and with the provincial general election just over 7 months away, we must all pick up the pace to achieve our goal. Now, more than ever is the time to make contact with your MLA through a letter or email telling your personal stories about the barriers you still face despite the Government’s ‘Accessibility 2024’ initiative. Personal stories get the most attention and greater response from politicians. Telephone your MLA and relay your story or better still, pay him or her a visit. And social media such as Twitter or Facebook are yet additional methods of letting your MLA know of the need to support disability legislation in BC. Visit www.barrierfreebc.org for additional information and write to info@barrierfreebc.org if you need assistance or direction. Our Steering Committee is here to help!

Rob Sleath

On behalf of the Barrier-Free BC Steering Committee


Question for consideration

We at Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières have a question for you today.

At the present time there are several Federal Government departments that do not offer accessible and user friendly online complaints systems and mechanisms. Most of them are extremely difficult to work with, navigate, and there is not enough support from said departments. Accordingly, Canadians with disabilities are at a tremendous disadvantage when it comes to being able to lodge complaints.

Do you think that a Canadians with disabilities Act could help to remedy this in any way?

If you do then please speak up and speak out now as it is the best time for you to do this and why? Because Minister Qualtrough has started her public engagements to hear from Canadians to give input into this very important piece of legislation.


Next steps

In the coming weeks BFC-CSB will be continuing its efforts to be a part of the public engagement process and to this end our committee is planning to play a more active role. We will be working more closely with our founding organizations and supporting organizations to speak up and speak out and we will be attending round table engagements when invited to do so.


We need your feedback

If you are an individual wishing to speak up and speak out then by all means; send your thoughts and comments to your MP, your MPP, and to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org.

If you are a supporting organization then we would like to hear from you too. Let us work more closely together to ensure that a Canadians with disabilities Act is passed in a timely way.


Contact info

We would love to hear from you; via email, via twitter, via Facebook.

To contact us, please send an email to info@barrierfreecanada.org.

To keep abreast of our updates visit http://www.barrierfreecanada.org/category/general

Visit us at www.barrierfreecanada.org

and sign up to be a yes supporter or use the form provided to write to us with your organization’s letter of support.

Follow us on Twitter @barrierfreeca

And like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/barrierfreeca

Signed,

Donna Jodhan founder and chair
On behalf of the BFC-CSB steering committee

The Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières steering committee includes David Lepofsky, Steven Christianson, Chris O’Brien, Marc Workman, Jutta Treviranus.

Our five initial founding organizations are CNIB, March of Dimes, the MS Society of Canada, the Canadian Hearing Society, and Accessible Media Inc.

A list of our supporting organizations is listed below.

  • The Low Vision Self-Help Association
  • West Island, Montreal Quebec
  • The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL
  • Guide Dog Users of Canada (GDUC)
  • Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)
  • Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)
  • SPH Planning & Consulting Limited
  • The Rick Hansen Foundation
  • Quebec Federation of the blind
  • Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)
  • Community Living Toronto
  • Deaf Blind Ontario Services
  • Unifor
  • StopGap Foundation
  • Citizens with Disabilities Ontario
  • Spinal Cord Injury Alberta
  • Easter seals canada
  • Access for Sight-Impaired consumers
  • Every Canadian Counts Coalition
  • Québec Accessible
  • Centre for Equitable Library Access / Centre d’accès équitable aux bibliothèques
  • Deaf & Hear Alberta
  • Autism Canada
  • Mayor of Halifax Nova Scotia

Individual supporters

Below are the supporters who agreed to have their names listed.

Irene Lambert
Karin Godin
Dawn Lambert
Peter Sharp
Sandra Hobson
Dana Levanto
Paula Kilburn
Katherine Jaconello
Gordon Hein
Louis Pereux
Nancy Newton
Michelle Bruneau
Synove Gelinas
Gary Stockden
Yvette Gelinas
Danielle Bruneau
Anita Squire
Wilma Houston
Bonnie Sherr Klein
Gordon J. Hein
Scott Hunter
Patrice Philion
John Ohberg
David Best
Roger P Gervais
Dan Shire
Suzanne Santyr
Kate Chung
Daryl Thomas
Cavita Sharma
Jerry Ford
Victor Schwartzman
sarah moore
Penny Leclair
Karen Bell
Brian Kon
Sue Morgan
Derek Giberson
Lorin MacDonald
Anne and Dave Marsden
Jim Hamilton
Edward Rice
Stephen Trumper
Cindy Ferguson
Robert Gaunt
Shane Holten
Catherine Roy
Jason Tomesch
Johnny To
Lauri Sue Robertson
Josephine (Joey) Hewitt
adam cohoon
David Layton
JOYCE MAIN
Omar Burey
Alicia Jarvis
Sandra Kinder
Marisa Page
Pierre Nadeau
Lucienne Lehouillier
Karen Fleck
Lisa Rocha
Deborah MacGillivray
Nicole Stefaniszyn
Jennifer & Darryl Hoskins
Nicole Borthwick
Michael Hannan
Colleen Henriksen
Paul Belhumeur
Brad Dunn
Debra Hinksman
Meaghan Lawrence
Frances Miller
Marian Alexander
Nora Gallagher
Janis Thompson
Laurel Pearse
Dale Odberg
Jodi Marsh
LINDA NEARING
Dianne Scrivens
NOREEN PYLATUK
Melissa Nickerson
William Hopper
Karen mohr
Taylor Hyatt
Patricia Storteboom
Sandy Wheeler
Pamela Gignac
Vera Peters
Jeannie Privet
Michelle Shalinsky
Rachelle Chiasson-Taylor
Shara Grice
Bobbie King
Jeff McBride
Brenda Mac Farlane
Mandy Sky
Melissa Graham
Lorna Barrett
Tracey mcPhail
Camella Ross
Adreanna Dollman Downing
marg Priebe
Peggy Kennard
Brenda Chinn
Michele Gardner
Joanna Pohl
Grant De Boer
Kasey Aiello
Mike Jennings
Nadine Badry
Tim Varro
Spring Hawes
Barbara Maynard
Susan Moore
Claire Cram
Nicolle Guillen
Terry Foster
Sarah Mitchell
Sabina Cragg
Dave Davis
Brian Martin
Chelsea Sharkey
Harmanie Taylor
Rachel Nelson
Andrea Dodsworth
Tammy DaSilva
Karen Cavalier
Nicole Nys
Letitia Hinkley-Roach
Nadia Olynyk
Ian MacLaine
Marie Soudre
Gail Ashuk
Arista Haas
Adam O’Neill
Helen Berarducci
Geoff Ryan
Susan McKenzie
Jamie M. Hicks
Melanie Telford
Barbara Dearden
Joanne Odjick
Tracey Roetman
Stephen Cull
Wendy Hansen
Daniel Rosen
Arvid Kuhnle
Casey McNally
Jeff Bourne
Jake Beaton
Jo Kelly
Shannon Gowans
Kevin Harvey
Deborah Kennard
D. Abraham
David Ramsden
Kyle Vose
jonda Hopper
Steven Wessels
Tyler muller
Sarah Kozoriz
amber B
Lana Phillips
Cara Crawford
jason pleaddafith
Carol S. stringer
Darren Mackay
Glyn Ganong
Robin Artemis
Jurgen Wiechmann
Jurnee
Sharon McBride
tracy curley
Cheryl White
Darlene Jay
Kyle Jay
Patricia Denneny
Sandra Paluc
Jacqueline Waybrant
Sheryl Ann Wilson
Sarah Nixon-Suggitt
Diane Morrell
Lynn Dunkley
Jo-Anne Nykilchyk
Tiffany Schier
Diane Ladouceur
Kent Oxford
Carrie Lapensee
Peter Beam
Janice Laurence
Lisa Boynton
Sandra J. Yetman
Mark Nicoll
Brenda Lush
carolyn kassinger
Jennifer Elizabeth Macdonald
Lynn Clark
Gillian Burns
Dawn Campbell
mike barrett
Sharon Kilkenny
Jeff May
Liz Allchin
tia sweeney
Roland Hengst
sherry palmer
Jacquie Munro
Russ Weaver
Mike Grady
Juliana Lepoutre
Wayne and joy reycraft
Heather Crossman
Sean VanHorne
Denise Sheedy
Lisa Bendall
Bilha Nativ
Phil McKenzie
Rebecca Therrien
Patti wheeler
Wendy Beckett
Jade Fraser
Kevin Steele
Carolyn Hirschfeld
Martha Russell
Lisa McCallen
Dalten Campbell
Jodi Fisher
Tracey Walshaw
Christina Chasty
Nicole Morley
debra Mcdonald
Hertha Shalinsky
Candyce Virgin
Kim Angell-McCormick
Radical Access Mapping Project
Cheryl Webster
Kelly-Lyn Webster
Doug Webster
Sue Beare
Sharon Shalinsky
Dawn Stinson
marty newstead
Lois harris
Theresa H Beard
Jamie Lauzon
Desiree Bauer
Derek Belbin
luc perron
Naomi Glenvad Teramoto
David Berman
Jason Dyok
Patrick Fougeyrollas
Nic deGroot
Chantelle Bernardo
Angela Finkbeiner
Dean Fey
marilyn stratton-zimmer
Cornelia Bryant
Marcel Matte
Bruce A Johnson
Judith Flatt
Stacey Upson
Lacey Fontaine
Christine Flynn-James
Philip Bobawsky
Susan Wagar
Dawn Howell
Sabrina Gould
Laura farres
Amie Kiddle
Jason Finkbeiner
Cheryl Benson
Colleen Davis
Pauline Fraser
Jacki Andre
Aaron Broverman
Taylor Short
Laurel Ryan
Brittany Lang
Bill Hopper
Sam Fulton
Paula Swirla
Geoffrey Olsen
Pamela Shelton
Megan Turpin
Pamela Kent
Ian A. Greaves
Susan Bowman
D Veglia
Diana Veglia
Anchel Krishna
Geoff Egan
meghan nugent
Bonnie S. Manning-Jones
Suzanne Nurse
Kimberly Prattis
Jeffrey Preston
Sandra Yetman
Jaimie Smith-Windsor
William Cowie
Cindy Kennedy
Kathryn Bremner
Thea Kurdi
Mike Cocteau
Gerry harris
Sarah Smith
Aislinn Burkholder
Stephen Higham
Dan Angell
Amelia Murphy-Beaudoin
Jeff Stark
Jamie Burton
Jennifer Miller
Michael Racette
Michael Hughes
kimberly m murphy
Majid Turmusani
Roger B Jones
Ida Fong
David Chojnacki
S Fong
Miguel Aguayo
Melissa mailman
Sean Bouffard
Mylee Nordin
Faith Bodnar
Peter Busciglio
NAN MARKS
Tony Marrelli
Judy Hemming
Luke Anderson
P. Campbell
Anna Hlinomaz
Jessie Coaten,
Gerry Gill
Bjorg Mathiessen
Elizabeth Nimijean
Rene Coloucci
Sandra watts
Phillip McCorkell
Julie Perez
Alan Dean
Mark Smith
Nahla Bechara
Sandra Johnston
Shirley Skilling
Gordon Crann
Pauline Walsh
Muriel Hill
Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario
Heather Rupert & Michel Ciarciello
Maria Friozzi
William Rudkin
Kenneth Southall
Diane Aubin
Dianne McLeod
Lisa Figge
Walter Wittich
Kat Clarke
Beulah Aubin
Ron Pelletier
Lauri Brunner
Robert Trudel
Brian Heaney
Jeanette Poulsen
Louise Russo
Philippa Wrobel
Yvonne Kalybaba
Bradley Pottinger
Chris Webster
Jon Polley
Marguerite Rose Larade
PROF ALAN LEVY
Amanda Cape
Bet Tuason
Kim Gill
Yolanda Munoz
Wendy Boutilier
David McKay
Prince Amponsah
Tracy turnetfoxx
DIANA E LEBLANC
Kelly Mihaichuk-Ball
Mike Kirby
Paul Soucy
Casey Gallagher
Clay MacKenzie
David Winchester
Doug Poulsen
Kory Heyland
Virginia Knowlton Marcus
A Harwood
Cherise Craney
Geordie Graham
JOseph Jova
Julie Lane
Michele McDonald
David Dyer Lawson
K Stirling
Linda Crabtree
Tim Tentcher
Carol-Ann Chafe
Kelly McKeen
Michelle Hewitt
Alan Nixon
Melanie Bernard
Darryl Flasch
Susana Scott
Abidah Shamji
david shannon
Alexis Dickson
Michael R. Racette
Joann Anokwuru
Barrier Free Saskatchewan
Julia Oliver
Michel Paquin
Michelene Deck
Teresa Morishita
Marie-Eve Veilleux
Michel Lemay
StopGap Ottawa
Pierre Lemay
Shane Harnden
Bill Adair
Rebecca Borton
Patrick Falconer
info@virn.ca
Yvette Werenka
Samantha Mitra
Louise Johnson
Ronny Wiskin 
Gavin Bamber
Sue Cawsey 
Daryl Rock
Jessica Geboers
Amanda Lubyk
Rhonda Josifov
William Goursky
Jeff Bourne
Guy Coulombe
Karyna Laroche
Jada Pumphrey
Doreen Machado
Richard Marion
Cathy Moreau
Sheldon M. Werner 
Colin Brown
Christina Johnson
Steve Kean
Michael Racette
Christina Nemeth
Susan Creer
Derek MacLeod
Marc W. Mullo
Susanne Kunkel

Response to the CTA’s regulatory modernization initiative

Written by Donna J. Jodhan
On behalf of Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières

Introduction

I am submitting my comments as a vision impaired person who is a regular air traveler and as someone whose organization is actively pursuing the call for the passage of a Canadians with Disabilities Act.

On a personal level, it is my sincere hope that any future regulations that fall under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Transportation Agency would be ones that protect, recognize, and legitimize the rights of Canadian travelers with disabilities and on behalf of my organization I hope that the Canadian Transportation Agency would support the passage of said legislation.

I believe that the Federal Government’s mandate to enact a Canadians with disabilities Act is an important step in the right direction but in addition, more work needs to be carried out by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

The following is a list of suggestions and comments.

Binding regulations

Systemic changes can only be achieved through the use of stricter regulations that would be binding. Codes of practice can only be affective if they are stricter and laid out more clearly so that transportation companies can follow them more easily.

Regulations and codes of practice should be mandated and consequences for not following codes and regulations should be clearly spelled out and implemented and here is where a Canadians with disabilities Act can help to make it happen. In addition, the Canadian Transportation Agency could be given more power to ensure that these regulations and codes of practice are adhered to and penalties for non compliance are enforced.

End to end accessibility services

Accessibility services would commence as soon as a passenger starts their preparations for a trip; via air, rail, ferry, bus, etc. Companies should be mandated to make their websites and phone support fully and equally accessible.

In the case of air travel, accessible services should begin at curb side and continue on through check in, up to the doors of the aircraft and continue on board the aircraft. The same should be mandated upon arrival; from aircraft right through to exiting the terminal.

A similar offering should be mandated for those traveling via rail, ferry, and bus; from arrival to the end of the voyage.

The use of technology for better communication

Airport terminals should be equipped with wai finder technology so as to enable passengers who are blind and vision impaired to be able to navigate more independently. Example, to be able to find restaurants, washrooms, shopping areas, and more without having to seek assistance.

Kiosks at airports should be made accessible to blind and vision impaired travelers. Screens at airport terminals should be outfitted with close captioning, and airlines should be mandated to provide accessible apps that can assist passengers with disabilities to be aware of such things as flight delays and gate changes.

Other suggestions: Suitable relief areas for service animals, public announcement systems that are easy to hear.

Appropriate training for personnel

All personnel employed by airports, airlines, railways, and bus and ferry companies should receive regular training and all companies should be mandated to do this on a regular basis.

Suggestions: How to communicate such things as gate changes and flight delays to passengers with disabilities, and how to provide related assistance when requested.

They should be mandated to provide proof that the appropriate training has been carried out and annually would be a good time frame. These reports should be lodged with the Canadian Transportation Agency and penalties should be handed down if companies fail to comply.

Appropriate manuals should be developed to cover employee training for the various types of disabilities and input from travelers with disabilities should be mandated to be a part of this manual.

Training sessions should be a joint venture between industry and persons with disabilities. Regular presentations should be mandated to take place; annually would be a good time frame and proof of these face to face sessions should also be a part of the training mandate.

Accessibility-related services

These types of services would include: Curb side assistance, escort assistance, check in assistance, porter assistance.

Improving service standards

Industry, along with the Canadian Transportation Agency and stakeholders from the disabilities persons community should be given the task to work together to set up a suite of standards so that accessibility services can be improved.

This committee should be mandated to meet face to face at least every two years, six monthly tele conferences could be held, recommendations made, and taken to the appropriate lawmakers within a reasonable period of time. Or the Canadian Transportation Agency could be given the task to monitor and ensure that they are implemented.

Website accessibility

Every company that resides in the travel industry along with the Canadian Transportation Agency should be mandated to make their websites fully accessible and this would meaning adhering to W3C standards. All online complaints processes should also be made fully accessible and should be tested by persons with disabilities before implementation.

Training and communication

All industry stakeholders should be mandated to provide regular bulletins to stakeholder organizations for and of persons with disabilities with regard to their training efforts, changes to their services with emphasis on accessibility services. If there are any new website announcements then these too should be communicated.

Partnerships with stakeholder organizations should be developed and these announcements could be filtered through these partners.

Greater involvement by persons with disabilities with regard to regulatory changes pertaining to disability issues

The Canadian Transportation Agency should also be mandated to include persons with disabilities as part of their members panel and these stakeholders should be given the opportunity to give input in to regulations and codes of practice.

Other suggestions for the Canadian Transportation Agency

A revamp of their complaints system so that it becomes more accessible, user friendly, and easy to understand.

More support for those lodging complaints; to provide explanations and guidance.

Some sort of legal resource for complainants if they are being taken to court by respondents.

The Canadian Transportation Agency to be given the power to initiate investigations into accessibility issues, to issue interim orders and to order compensation for harm.

A Canadians with disabilities Act could help to make this possible. Additionally, it would be a way to strengthen the powers of the Agency.

A need for consistent and systemic enforcement

Consistent penalties to be implement and enforced whenever legal regulations and codes of practice are not adhered to and penalties to be made meaningful Example; not just a steep appropriate monetary penalty but also some sort of public notification for those who break the regulations and codes of practice.

A monitoring system

An appropriate monitoring system to be set up and managed by the Canadian Transportation Agency. This system would monitor such things as training, number of complaints that are lodged with companies (complaints settled and those headed for other action) A regular monitoring of companies websites and phone services for quality assurance.

A regular reporting system

This is where companies would be mandated to provide annual reports on the following: Training, accessibility services, accessible websites, and complaints.

Please Use and Widely Circulate Two New Helpful Resources We Here Give You, Helpful for Anyone Taking Part in the Government of Canada’s Current Public Consultation on the Promised Canadians with Disabilities Act – Our Short Leaflet and Our Longer, More Detailed Tip Sheet

The Federal Government is asking the public to give it input on what should be included in the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act, a new federal disability accessibility law. Are you thinking of taking part in that public consultation and giving the Government feedback? You can do so by attending one of the Federal Government’s public forums taking place across Canada, or by filling out the Government’s online questionnaire, or taking part in other activities and events that will be coming up over the next months.

Barrier-Free Canada wants to share ideas with you on what you might wish to say to the Federal Government. Here’s what we set out below.

First, for those of you who want ideas at a quick glance, we set out below a short 2-page leaflet. It gives you a punchy easy-to-use list of the most important ideas.

Second, we set out below a longer, more detailed Tip sheet. It gives more ideas. If you don’t have much time, or just want the key points, we encourage you to use the shorter 2-page leaflet.

You can download these two documents as accessible MS Word documents. This is helpful if you want to print them up, or include them on your website or Facebook page, or circulate them some other way. Here’s where to find them for download:

To download Barrier-Free Canada’s new 2-page leaflet on what the promised new federal accessibility law should include, in an accessible MS Word format, visit http://barrierfreecanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2-page-BFC-leaflet-for-public-consultations-on-federal-accessibility-law-sept-22-2016.docx

To download Barrier-Free Canada’s longer, more detailed 10-page Tip Sheet on what the promised new federal accessibility law should include, in an accessible MS Word format, visit http://barrierfreecanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/12-page-BFC-tip-sheet-for-public-consultations-on-federal-accessibility-law-sept-22-2016.docx

Feel free to use our ideas, and even borrow our words, if you want. We welcome your feedback on these two documents. We may update them, as the public consultation continues, based on feedback we receive. Email us your feedback at info@Barrierfreecanada.org

Ideas in these two documents come from feedback we have received from Barrier-Free Canada’s supporters across Canada, and are reflected in Barrier-Free Canada’s 14 principles for the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act.

For those of you who want lots more information than these two documents give, much more detail are in the 33-page Discussion Paper on the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act, written by Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David Lepofsky.

Barrier-Free Canada/Canada Sans Barrières

www.barrierfreecanada.org Email: info@barrierfreecanada.org

A Non-Partisan Campaign for a Barrier-Free Canada for All Persons with Disabilities

What Should the Promised New Federal Disability Accessibility Law Include? – At a Glance

The Federal Government promised a new law to create accessibility for people with disabilities. It is now consulting Canadians on what this law should include. Here are ideas we hope you like.

  • This law’s goal should be for Canada to become fully accessible to people with any kind of disabilities, by a deadline the law sets. The goal should not just be to “improve accessibility.” That weak goal would just require one new ramp to be installed somewhere in Canada. After that, accessibility would have been “improved.”
  • This law should require organizations to remove accessibility barriers, and to be sure not to create any new ones. The law should cover the accessibility of all goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment and buildings, that the Federal Government can reach. “Disability” and “barrier” should be defined broadly.
  • This law should create a new federal office, the Canada Accessibility Commissioner. It would recommend accessibility rules to the Government and enforce those rules once the Federal Government passes them. It would also be Canada’s independent accessibility watchdog.
  • This law should require the Federal Government to do whatever it can to lead Canada to full accessibility.
  • This law should require the Federal Government to create a series of regulations or rules, called “accessibility standards.” These will tell organizations what steps they must take to become accessible. They would set the deadlines for organizations to take action on accessibility. People with disabilities should have an equal seat at the table when the Canada Accessibility Commissioner proposes these rules and when the Government decides whether to adopt them.
  • Any organization that the Federal Government can reach should have to obey this new law. This includes organizations that the Federal Government regulates (like the Federal Government itself, banks, airlines, the post office, Crown corporations, TV and radio stations, and companies that provide phone, cell phone and cable TV services). Any organization that gets money from the Federal Government should also have to obey this law.
  • The law should be effectively enforced, without people with disabilities having to privately take organizations to court under the Charter of Rights or the Canada Human Rights Act, to fight each barrier they face. One federal office, the new Canada Accessibility Commissioner, should enforce this law. It should audit and inspect organizations, issue orders to obey, and impose monetary penalties where the law is disobeyed. People with disabilities should not have to run back and forth between different federal agencies to get this new law implemented and enforced.
  • This new law should make sure that no one uses public money to create new barriers against people with disabilities, or to perpetuate existing barriers.
  • The Federal Government should have to check each federal law on the books to see if there are any accessibility barriers that block people with disabilities from getting the full benefit of those laws. Any of these barriers should be removed from those laws.
  • This law should say what the Federal Government must do to make sure federal elections are accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities. All polling stations must be in accessible locations. Voters with vision loss, dyslexia or other disabilities should have a way to independently and privately mark their ballot and to check to make sure it was correctly marked.
  • This law should ensure that the Federal Government takes needed steps to make sure its workplaces and services are fully accessible to people with disabilities. For example, the Federal Government should be audited periodically for accessibility.
  • The Federal Government should encourage all provinces to pass accessibility laws. The federal government should also create model national accessibility standards for areas like education, health, employment, transportation, housing, information and communications, customer service, and the built environment. A provincial or territorial government would be free to adopt, as law, a model national standard, if it wishes, or to modify it for that province or territory.
  • This law should ensure that the Federal Government works with Canadian businesses to create accessible products and services to sell on the international market to the one billion people with disabilities around the world.
  • Whichever law guarantees the most accessibility to people with disabilities always should prevail. Nothing in this new law or anything done under it should be able to cut back on the rights people with disabilities enjoy under the Charter of rights, the Canada Human Rights Act, or any other law.
  • The best way to raise awareness and change attitudes about accessibility is to pass and effectively enforce a strong federal accessibility law. The Federal Government should set up a centre and a hotline to give organizations free advice on what exactly to do to remove and prevent accessibility barriers. It should send out periodic guidelines giving more details on how to remove and prevent barriers. This makes it easier for organizations and reduces their cost.
  • The Federal Government should report each year on what specifically it will do in the next years to implement the federal accessibility law, and to remove and prevent accessibility barriers. The Auditor General should audit these reports. The new Canada Accessibility Commissioner should report to the public annually on progress. The law’s effectiveness should be independently reviewed after four years, and every three years after that.

Barrier-Free Canada/Canada Sans Barrières

www.barrierfreecanada.org

info@barrierfreecanada.org

A Non-Partisan Campaign for a Barrier-Free Canada for All Persons with Disabilities

Canadians with Disabilities Act Consultation Tip Sheet: Detailed Points to Present to the Federal Government’s Public Consultation on What To Include in the Promised Federal Accessibility Law

September 22, 2016

1. Introduction

In the 2015 federal election, Justin Trudeau promised to pass a Canadians with Disabilities Act. The Federal Government is consulting Canadians on what to include in this new national disability accessibility law. Here are points you might make when giving the Federal Government feedback on its online questionnaire, or at the Federal Government’s public forums taking place across Canada.

Tell your own stories about barriers you face that the Federal Government can address. The Federal Government has authority over federal programs, banking, air travel, radio, TV, telephone, cell phone and cable TV, Crown corporations and the post office. Use your own words if you wish. Borrow our ideas and our words if you want!

This Tip Sheet’s ideas use questions asked in the Federal Government’s Discussion Guide. These ideas come from feedback we have received from our supporters across Canada. Much more detail on these ideas are in the 33-page Discussion Paper on the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act, written by Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David Lepofsky.

At the end of this Tip Sheet, we give you links to more information and background.

We welcome your feedback on this Tip Sheet. Is it helpful? Tell us how to improve it. Email suggestions to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org. For those who want something shorter, watch out for Barrier-Free Canada’s leaflet, entitled: What A Strong Federal Accessibility Law Needs to Do – At a Glance.”

2. How can the Federal Government raise awareness of and change attitudes towards accessibility for people with disabilities? How can the Federal Government change the way government officials and private companies handle accessibility issues?

The best way to raise awareness and change attitudes is to pass and effectively enforce a strong, clear federal accessibility law.

3. What is the goal of a federal accessibility law?

The federal accessibility law’s purpose should be to ensure that the Federal Government will lead Canada to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by a deadline the law sets, as far as the Federal Government can.

The law should ensure that all federally-reachable organizations, including all organizations that get federal funds, have accessible goods, services and jobs. The Charter of Rights and Canada Human Rights Act guarantee those rights. People with disabilities should not have to fight one barrier at a time, one organization at a time, in legal proceedings under the Charter of Rights and the Canada Human Rights Act.

In 2005, the Ontario legislature set 2025 as the deadline for Ontario to reach full accessibility. The fact that Ontario is behind schedule has helped press for more action on accessibility.

The federal accessibility law’s purpose should also be to help ensure that Canada fully meets its duties under the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This law should adopt that Convention’s Optional Protocol. That would give the UN some oversight over Canada if Canada falls short on disability accessibility.

The law shouldn’t just seek to “improve accessibility.” That is too weak. If just one ramp is installed somewhere in Canada, accessibility is “improved,” and the law has done all it needs to do. We need this law to do much more.

It is insufficient for the new law to aim just to make Canada the most accessible country in the world. That only requires Canada to be slightly better than other countries, no matter how inaccessible they are. Canada’s Charter and human rights laws require much more.

4. Who should have to obey the federal accessibility law?

The federal accessibility law should extend to every organization that the Federal Government can reach. This includes organizations like banks and airlines that the Federal Government normally regulates. It also includes any organization that gets grants, loans or other payments from the Federal Government.

5. How should the federal accessibility law define “disability,” “accessibility,” and “barrier”?

The federal accessibility law should define “accessibility,” barrier,” and “disability” in a clear, broad, inclusive way. If they are too narrow, the law will be weak.

The law should protect all disabilities whether they are visible or invisible, and whether they are permanent or they come and go. It should include physical disabilities, mental disabilities, sensory disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health conditions, communication disabilities, intellectual disabilities, autism, environmental sensitivities and all other kinds of disabilities.

“Accessibility” means “barrier-free.” An accessible workplace or goods or services are ones in which people with disabilities can fully participate to the extent of their individual abilities.

The law should address all kinds of accessibility barriers, such as physical barriers in the built environment inside and outside buildings, communication barriers, technology barriers, information barriers, attitude barriers, legal barriers, and policy or bureaucratic barriers. “Barrier” should mean anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of a disability.

6. How should the law get organizations to remove and prevent barriers?

The Federal Government’s Discussion Guide asks about two different ways the law could get organizations to tear down disability barriers. That Discussion Guide says the federal accessibility law could include either or both of them. the Federal Government asks whether this law should include one or both of these options.

The first option: The federal accessibility law could let the Federal Government create regulations, called accessibility standards. These standards tell organizations exactly what they must do to get rid of barriers, and to avoid creating new ones. They would spell out the specifics and set deadlines for action. Different accessibility standards could be created for different parts of the economy. There could be a Transportation Accessibility Standard, a Banking Accessibility Standard etc. An accessibility standard can also address an entire kind of activity in all organizations, like an Employment Accessibility Standard.

If Canada creates good accessibility standards, people with disabilities won’t have to battle accessibility barriers one at a time, one organization at a time. Good accessibility standards can save obligated organizations time and money. Each organization won’t have to reinvent the accessibility wheel, having to hire accessibility consultants to tell each organization the same thing. Instead, a good accessibility standard shows organizations exactly what to do to become accessible.

The second option: The law could set goals of how accessible organizations must become, and then require each organization to write plans on how to get there. The Government would then review these plans to see if they are good enough.

Here’s a good answer about what the new federal accessibility law should include: The federal accessibility law should put the Federal Government in charge of leading Canada to full accessibility. This doesn’t mean that the Federal Government must fix every barrier in Canada.

The law should create a new independent federal office, the Canada Accessibility Commissioner. The Commissioner should lead the law’s implementation and enforcement. The Commissioner should be Canada’s national accessibility champion and independent watchdog.

The federal accessibility law should not just let the Federal Government create accessibility standards. It should require the Government to create all the accessibility standards needed to lead Canada to full accessibility by the law’s accessibility deadline. Government organizations and private companies must be told in clear, specific terms what to do, and when, to tear down barriers and to avoid creating new ones. Any federal accessibility standards should at least rise to the level of accessibility that the Charter of Rights and the Canada Human Rights Act set.

Without strong, enforceable accessibility standards, the law will fail. It would be wrong to have no accessibility standards, and instead to have each organization come up with its own plans for action on accessibility. That won’t work. It would be wasteful. Each organization would have to re-invent the same wheel.

Organizations need accessibility standards. They want to know what they have to do. People with disabilities also need accessibility standards to tell them what barriers will be removed, and when.

7. How should the Government create accessibility standards?

The federal accessibility law should create a prompt, fair, effective, open process for creating accessibility standards. People with disabilities should be guaranteed an equal say in what these accessibility standards include, with an equal seat at the table.

First, the new Canada Accessibility Commissioner should get input from people with disabilities and from obligated organizations on the barriers that need to be fixed, and how to fix them. Then the Canada Accessibility Commissioner should recommend to the Government what standards are needed. It should recommend what specific rules and deadlines an accessibility standard should include, e.g. in an area like transportation or banking. After this, the Federal Government can create an accessibility standard, just as the Accessibility Commissioner recommended, or with changes.

8. What else could a federal accessibility law include to get organizations to remove barriers and avoid creating new ones?

  • The federal accessibility law should set mandatory timelines for the Federal Government to take steps to implement the law, like appointing the Canada Accessibility Commissioner, and creating accessibility standards. It should give the public a good, fast way to get the Federal Government to meet those time lines for action, if the Government does not meet them.
  • The federal accessibility law should require the Federal Government to make sure that no one uses public money to create or perpetuate disability barriers. The federal accessibility law should require the Federal Government and federal agencies to attach and enforce clear, strong accessibility strings to all federal spending. For example, the Federal Government should make sure that any time it gives money for capital or infrastructure projects to anyone such as provincial governments, municipalities, hospitals, universities or private businesses, these projects must be fully accessible to people with disabilities.
    1. The Federal Government should ensure that any goods or services it buys are fully accessible to people with disabilities.
    2. the Federal Government should set accessibility conditions when it gives out business development grants and loans, and research grants for universities and other organizations.
    3. When the federal Government makes transfer payments to provinces or territories for provincial programs like health care, that provincial program must be required to fulfil new federal disability accessibility requirements, just like it must meet other federal requirements.
  • The federal accessibility law should require the Federal Government to ensure that all federal laws are barrier-free and include measures that ensure the accessibility for people with disabilities of the programs, policies, rights and opportunities these laws provide. The Federal Government should review all its laws for accessibility barriers, with a priority on the Criminal Code and Canada’s immigration laws. Where barriers are found, these laws must be amended to ensure they are barrier-free. The Federal Government must also ensure that any new laws are barrier-free.
  • The federal accessibility law should require the Federal Government to ensure that federal elections are barrier-free for voters and candidates with disabilities. Polling stations must be accessible. Voters with limited or no vision, or with other print disabilities or motor limitations, must be able to mark their own ballot independently and in private, and be sure that their ballot was properly marked. Election campaign information, including materials from parties or candidates, must be accessible to people with vision loss, dyslexia or hearing loss.
  • Large governments lag behind other organizations on accessibility. The federal accessibility law should include six additional measures, to ensure that the Federal Government becomes a fully accessible workplace and service-provider:
    1. One minister and full time deputy minister should be responsible for ensuring that the Federal Public Service becomes fully accessible.
    2. The Federal Government should be periodically audited for accessibility. This includes its workplaces and services. The Government should make the audit results public.
    3. Federal public servants should be accountable for their accessibility duties. Each federal department should have an accessibility champion, to ensure from the top, that accessibility is embedded throughout that organization.
    4. The Federal Government should make public a multi-year plan for accessibility action. It should report each year on its progress.
    5. The Federal Government should maintain a central fund to pay for workplace accommodations for federal public servants with disabilities.
    6. The Federal Government should develop and implement a plan to ensure that all federally controlled courts (e.g. the Supreme Court of Canada and Federal Courts) become fully accessible to court participants with disabilities.
  • The federal accessibility law should require the Federal Government to promote the removal and prevention of barriers that fall within provincial responsibility, while respecting provincial authority.
    1. The Federal Government should encourage all provinces to pass accessibility laws.
    2. The federal government should create model national accessibility standards for areas like education, health, employment, transportation, residential housing, information and communications, customer service, and the built environment. These should at least fulfil accessibility requirements in human rights legislation and the Charter of Rights. They should meet or exceed any provincial accessibility standards. A provincial or territorial government would be free to adopt, as law, a model national standard, if it wishes, or to modify it for that province or territory.
      Model national accessibility standards would help provinces that have no disabilities act, or that haven’t created accessibility standards in all these areas.
      Model national accessibility standards would help organizations operating in different parts of Canada. They now face a patchwork of provincial accessibility requirements. They prefer to meet one national accessibility standard that ensures that they fulfil all provincial requirements.
  • One billion people with disabilities around the world need accessible products and services. The federal accessibility law should require the Federal Government to create a strategy to expand Canadian businesses’ efforts to sell to worldwide markets for accessible goods, services and facilities.
    Canadian businesses will make more money and Canadian employment will increase if Canadian businesses produce accessible products to sell internationally. This also helps Canadians with disabilities who will buy these products.

9. Should the federal accessibility law set different rules or deadlines for different organizations?

The federal accessibility law can set different time lines for action for big organizations than it sets for smaller organizations. However, this law should not let the private sector sit back and wait until the Federal Government removes its own disability barriers. All organizations should have to get to work right away. Sometimes it is easier for smaller organizations to make progress more quickly than bigger organizations. In those situations, it is wrong to give those smaller organizations more, longer deadlines.

10. What accessibility issues and barriers should the federal accessibility law address?

The federal accessibility law should not limit the accessibility issues it covers. It should cover accessibility of all goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment and buildings, that the Federal Government can reach.

This law should not be limited to the list of areas in the Government’s Discussion Guide. It lists the built environment, program and service delivery, the Government’s procurement of goods and services, employment, transportation and information and communications.

These are important areas for this law to address. However, they are not the only areas it needs to cover. If the federal accessibility law lists every area it covers, it can leave out something important. For example, the Federal Government’s Discussion Guide doesn’t mention an important federal responsibility that is now full of barriers, namely telecommunication (like TV, radio, cell phones, land line phones, etc.) As well, when Ontario passed its disabilities Act in 2005, smart phones or tablet computers hadn’t yet been invented. Fortunately, the Ontario accessibility law included no such list, so it didn’t risk leaving these out.

The Federal Government’s Discussion Guide asks which of those six areas that it lists are most important. All are very important. It is wrong to create a priority list among them. That unfairly pits one disability group against another. For some, the built environment is more important. For others, it’s information and communication. People with disabilities stand together. All barriers any of us face must be addressed.

11. How should the new federal accessibility law work with the disability accessibility rights in Charter of Rights and the Canada Human Rights Act?

The new federal accessibility law should make it clear that whatever law guarantees the most accessibility to people with disabilities always prevails. Nothing in this new law or anything done under it should be able to cut back on the rights people with disabilities enjoy under the Charter of rights, the Canada Human Rights Act, or any other law.

12. How should the federal accessibility law be enforced?

The federal accessibility law must be effectively enforced. The Federal Government should not be responsible to enforce the law against itself. That won’t work.

The Government’s Discussion Guide says it may carve up accessibility. Different federal agencies may be responsible for different parts. That would be bad.

Transportation accessibility shouldn’t be left to the Canada Transportation Agency. The CRTC (Canada Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission) should not have final say on accessibility in TV, cable, cell phone and telephone services. Those agencies had years to do much better.

There should be one federal agency for all federal accessibility standards and enforcement, the new Canada Accessibility Commissioner. People with disabilities shouldn’t have to chase around the Federal Government, to find out which agency or agencies will enforce accessibility. Now if people with disabilities file a human rights complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, they can find that all or part of it gets punted to another regulatory agency, like the CRTC or the Canada Transportation Agency. This unfairly drags out cases and wears down people with disabilities.

It is not good enough for the federal accessibility law to just give someone the power to enforce it. They must have a strong duty to effectively enforce it, and to report to the public every three months on what they did to enforce it. They should have the power and duty to audit and inspect organizations, to issue orders to obey, to impose monetary penalties, and to order stronger remedies for organizations that fall far behind.

A few token monetary penalties won’t spur organizations to obey. An audit or inspection should look at how accessible an organization really is, and not just at an organization’s accessibility forms and files.

The law should require organizations to submit and make public accessibility compliance reports. These should include details on what the organization has done and plans to do on accessibility. Ontario’s accessibility reports are less effective, to the extent that an organization just ticks boxes on a form.

These reports should be posted on line. The Government should have them available in an online database that the public can search for free.

The Canada Accessibility Commissioner should be able to receive an investigate complaints from the public, that can lead to enforcement action. Ontario’s and Manitoba’s Disabilities Acts lack this. The Ontario Government has used this as a weak excuse for not encouraging complaints and following up with enforcement.

The Federal Government should not simply tell members of the public that if they run into an accessibility barrier, they must privately launch a human rights or Charter complaint. The federal accessibility law aims to dramatically reduce the need for individuals to endure that hardship. However, nothing in the federal accessibility law should reduce their rights to do so if they wish.

13. How should organizations be supported to improve accessibility?

The Federal Government should set up a centre and a hotline to give organizations free advice on what exactly to do to remove and prevent accessibility barriers. It should send out periodic guidelines giving more details on how to remove and prevent accessibility barriers. This makes it easier for organizations to comply and reduces their cost.

This should include something like the U.S. Job Accommodation Network. It gives employers free advice on how to accommodate employees with disabilities. Provinces and territories should be invited to opt into such a new federal service.

Federal efforts to educate organizations on accessibility must not become an excuse for delaying federal implementation/enforcement action. The Federal Government shouldn’t proceed on the wrong-headed basis that until an obligated organization is federally educated on its accessibility obligations, it need not comply and won’t face enforcement. These are not new accessibility duties. They have been required under the Charter of Rights and Human Rights laws for over three decades.

The Federal Government’s Discussion Guide addresses goals of “raising awareness” and “changing attitudes” on accessibility. “Raising awareness” and “changing attitudes” should not be the federal accessibility law’s goals. That would delay and side-track action. The federal accessibility law’s goal instead should be to change action on accessibility. When people take action on accessibility, they eventually increase their own awareness about accessibility. Many find that raising awareness on accessibility doesn’t change action on accessibility. Instead, as mentioned above, a strong, effectively enforced accessibility law is the most effective way to change action on accessibility, and thus, to change attitudes towards accessibility.

14. How will we know if the law is working well at creating real accessibility?

It can be helpful for the Government to have to report each year on what specifically it will do in the next years to implement the federal accessibility law, and to remove and prevent accessibility barriers. The Auditor General should audit these reports, to make sure that what the Government announces as promised new action is not action it has earlier completed or promised.

The new Canada Accessibility Commissioner should report to the public annually on what progress has been made, and where more progress is needed.

The Federal Government should appoint an independent person to report four years after the law is passed and after that, every three years. They would report on how effectively the new federal accessibility law is implemented and enforced, and on whether Canada is on schedule for full accessibility by the law’s deadline.

The Independent Review should consult with Canadians including people with disabilities. Both Ontario and Manitoba accessibility laws require such Independent Reviews. These Independent Reviews have been important in Ontario, pointing out where there has been progress and where things fall short. Manitoba’s first review begins in 2017.

15. Links to More Background Information

For more background on the efforts of Barrier-Free Canada, visit www.barrierfreecanada.org

For more on the Federal Government’s work on the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act, including the schedule for the Federal Government’s public forums and its Discussion Guide, visit www.Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada

To download in an accessible MS Word document the Discussion Paper on what the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act could include, by Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David Lepofsky, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/august-19-2016-discussion-paper-on-a-Canadians-with-Disabilities-Act-by-David-Lepofsky.docx.

The Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières September 2016 newsletter

Table of contents

  1. Recent Breaking Events in the Campaign for a Strong, Effectively Enforced Canadians with Disabilities Act
  2. Some Reflections on These Recent Events
  3. The Toronto Star August 28, 2016 article
  4. Canadians with disabilities: By the numbers
  5. Government of Canada’s August 23, 2016 Announcement of Public Consultation Forums Across Ontario
  6. See who presently supports Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières
  7. How to Contact Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières

Recent Breaking Events in the Campaign for a Strong, Effectively Enforced Canadians with Disabilities Act

Right on the heels of our August 2016 Barrier-Free Canada Newsletter, we bring you this September Newsletter, because of late-breaking developments.

The Federal Government has now announced the dates for the public forums it will host over the fall and winter to gather input from the public on what the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act should include. We set out the announcement below. The dates and locations are as follows, which we re-organized into their chronological order:

  • Whitehorse, Yukon / September 22, 2016.
  • Iqaluit, Nunavut / September 24, 2016
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories / September 26, 2016
  • Regina, Saskatchewan / September 28, 2016
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba / October 3, 2016
  • Edmonton, Alberta / October 7, 2016
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario / October 12, 2016
  • Calgary, Alberta / October 13, 2016
  • Moncton, New Brunswick / October 20, 2016
  • St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador / November 3, 2016
  • Québec, Quebec / November 10, 2016
  • Victoria, British Columbia / November 7, 2016
  • Montréal, Quebec / November 16, 2016
  • Vancouver, British Columbia / November 26, 2016
  • Ottawa, Ontario / November 30, 2016
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island / December 8, 2016
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia / December 9, 2016
  • Toronto, Ontario / February 8, 2017

The date for the Thunder Bay Ontario forum, October 12, 2016, is also Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. We have brought this to the Federal Government’s attention in order that an alternate date can be found. These forums should not be held on the major holidays of any faith community.

The Federal Government has also announced that on November 1, 2016 it will hold a National Youth Forum on accessibility to get input on this legislation. We encourage anyone who is eligible and interested to apply to the Federal Government to take part in this event by the September 15, 2016 2016 deadline.

Barrier-Free Canada is hard at work preparing an Action Kit for you. It will give tips and ideas for anyone interested in taking part in these public forums. Please stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you want to read a detailed discussion of what the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act should include, read you should take a look at the revised Discussion Paper on this topic which Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David Lepofsky has written. You can download the revised Discussion Paper on the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act by visiting http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/august-19-2016-discussion-paper-on-a-Canadians-with-Disabilities-Act-by-David-Lepofsky.docx or by sending an email to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org

We continue to welcome your ideas and feedback on what you would like to see this legislation include.

Below we also set out an excellent article in the August 28, 2016 edition of the Toronto Star on the Federal Government’s recent announcement of its Canadians with Disabilities Act consultation. In that article, the Toronto Star quotes Barrier-Free Canada as responding positively to this announcement.

We also set out the speaking notes for the speech that National Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough at her August 23, 2016 media event at the Abilities Centre in Whitby, which had Barrier-Free Canada representation among the large audience in attendance.


Some Reflections on These Recent Events

This is an exciting time in Canada for anyone concerned about making Canada an accessible place for people with disabilities. We commend the Federal Government for planning a nationwide public consultation on the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act. We commend Minister Qualtrough for demonstrating so much energy and enthusiasm in connection with this legislation.

It was especially encouraging that in her speech at the Abilities Centre on August 23, 2016, Minister Qualtrough commendably recognized the core reason why Canada needs a strong, effectively enforced Canadians with Disabilities Act. She said:

“The current system unfairly burdens individual Canadians to identify a barrier or instances of discrimination which are then brought forward for examination and resolution. Needless to say—this vigilance is exhausting, prohibitively expensive, and I know you agree with me that it is fundamentally wrong.”

It is great that the new minister is thinking about big, bold action, and not mere tinkering. At the same time, it is important for us to offer reflections on two points that arose from these events. First, the Federal Government has at several points said that the goal of this legislation is to “improve accessibility”. It is important for us to tell the Federal Government during the upcoming public consultation process that this is too weak a goal. The goal should be to make Canada accessible to people with disabilities. If one single ramp is installed somewhere in Canada, we have “improved” accessibility.

Second, in the Toronto Star’s August 28, 2016 article, set out below, Minister Qualtrough is quoted as considering the possibility of establishing one uniform legal definition for “disability” to be used across the Federal Government. The article states:

“One of Qualtrough’s main goals is to develop a common definition for disability that would apply to all federal laws and regulations and eventually be adopted by the provinces.

“Let’s try and harmonize our approach to disability across the federal government. That would be huge for Canadians.””

This is the first we had heard of this idea from the Federal Government. Harmonizing programs across Canada has some real advantages for people with disabilities. However, the idea of creating a single definition of “disability” for all legislation and all programs, federal or provincial, has very serious problems and should not be pursued.

There is no one “right” all-purpose definition of “disability” for all laws and all Government programs across Canada. The definition of “disability” needs to vary, depending on the law or program where it is used.

For example, a broad definition of “disability” is desirable in a human rights code, or in an accessibility law like the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act or the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. A serious problem with the Americans with Disabilities Act that we have striven to avoid in Canada has been the use of a “disability” definition that was too narrow.

On the other hand, it is desirable to use a narrower definition of “disability” in an employment equity law or program. If a very broad definition of “disability” were used in an employment equity law, then employers could argue that they have already met any targets to be expected of them, for hiring people with disabilities, because they have employees who wear glasses or who are colour blind. By that approach, people with more substantial disabilities, who face huge unemployment rates, may end up still being left out in the cold.

A leading book on this issue is “Physical Disability and Social Policy” by Jerome Bickenbach, University of Toronto Press 1993.

Therefore, the Minister’s commendable desire to harmonize programs and laws on disability should be pursued, but not by trying to come up with a “one size fits all” definition of “disability”. That can only work to the disadvantage of people with disabilities. In saying this, we don’t want to discourage the minister from a desire to go bold in her efforts.


The Toronto Star August 28, 2016 article

News

Blind MP to draft national accessibility law; Human rights lawyer and Paralympian seeks input in crafting new legislation

Graphic: Carla Qualtrough, minister responsible for Canadians with disabilities, meets with Catherine Partlow, a gold medal Special Olympian. Andrew Lahodynskyj/Toronto Star

Carla Qualtrough, who is legally blind, grew up learning alternative ways of doing almost everything.

“When I was growing up, it was called accommodation. But today it’s called innovation,” said Qualtrough, 44, Canada’s federal minister of sport and first-ever minister responsible for people with disabilities.

The human rights lawyer and former Paralympics and world championship swimming medallist is helping Canadians think about disability in a new way as she crafts the country’s first national accessibility legislation.

Under the current legal framework, people with disabilities can only defend their rights once they have been ignored, a process the minister called “exhausting, expensive and unfairly burdensome.”

“When systems and spaces are accessible, every Canadian wins. Barriers are bad for business,” Qualtrough told a gathering last week at Whitby’s Abilities Centre, where she announced a series of national round-tables and town hall meetings this fall.

The government has received more than 700 submissions since online consultations on the new law began in July.

Canadians have until February 2017 to give their views.

Qualtrough will report on the consultations next spring and said she hopes to have legislation ready to introduce in the Commons by the end of 2017 or early 2018.

The MP from Delta, B.C., said she was thrilled when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave her the double-barrelled portfolio – encompassing her two life passions – and told her to “go out and change the world.”

“No pressure,” she quipped. “The creation of this cabinet position makes it very clear that people with disabilities are important to our government and that we deserve to be considered in every decision around the cabinet table.”

Just as Ginger Rogers once noted how she had to perform the same artistic feats as her dance partner, Fred Astaire – but backwards and in high heels – people with disabilities are masters of innovation, Qualtrough said.

“Imagine the creativity that persons with disabilities must employ every day to navigate buildings, products and services that were not designed with their needs in mind,” she said.

“Development of creative products, ways of doing things and – ultimately – a different way of looking at the world” are key to Canada’s quest for accessibility, she added.

Qualtrough, who has worked in human rights at both the federal and provincial levels and served as staff for several Liberal cabinet ministers on Parliament Hill between 1999 and 2005, knows her way around Ottawa.

But the busy mother of four, including two teenage stepchildren and her own 6- and 3-year-old kids, admits she hesitated when asked to run for office a year and a half ago.

She’s glad she took the plunge.

“It’s a very interesting time in the evolution of disability rights,” she said.

For the government to create a cabinet position and to give it to someone with a disability, “it’s a big deal.”

Toronto lawyer David Lepofsky, co-chair of Barrier-Free Canada, which called for a national law during last year’s election, is also excited about Qualtrough’s appointment and her mandate.

“It’s great that the federal government is going to do a national consultation on this to hear from people,” said Lepofsky, who is also blind.

Canada is late to the table when it comes to accessibility legislation. The United States has had the Americans with Disabilities Act since 1990. The landmark Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was introduced in 2005, with a goal of making the province fully accessible by 2025.

Ontario’s experience will help guide the federal law, Qualtrough said. But she will also be looking at how other provinces and countries legislate accessibility and learn from their successes and shortcomings.

One of Qualtrough’s main goals is to develop a common definition for disability that would apply to all federal laws and regulations and eventually be adopted by the provinces.

“Let’s try and harmonize our approach to disability across the federal government. That would be huge for Canadians.”

Qualtrough expects public consultations, the country’s first national conversation about accessibility, will provide valuable input for Ottawa’s legislation and other federal programs such as the Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit, the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

It may even show provincial and municipal governments where they are coming up short.

“We know we are going to hear way more than what is going to be covered by the law. And that is intentional,” she said.

Laurie Monsebraaten Toronto Star


Canadians with disabilities: By the numbers

14 Percentage of Canadians aged 15 and older with a disability that limits their daily activities.

411,600 People aged 15 to 64 not employed, whose disability does not prevent them from working.

127,700 Unemployed people with disabilities who have post-secondary educations.

50 Percentage of Canadian human rights complaints related to disabilities between 2011 and 2015.

6 Percentage of Canadian human rights complaints related to inaccessible services.

2.1 million Canadians 15 or older at risk of facing physical or communication barriers.

$15 million Annual budget of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund, which helps improve accessibility in communities and workplaces.

$4 million Increase in annual federal accessibility fund by 2018.


Government of Canada’s August 23, 2016 Announcement of Public Consultation Forums Across Ontario

Originally posted at: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1115409&tp=1

How accessibility is driving innovation in Canada

In-person consultations to inform the development of planned accessibility legislation announced

August 23, 2016
Whitby, Ontario
Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, visited the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ontario, and hosted a panel with three young Canadian innovators to discuss how accessibility drives innovation. The Minister toured the centre, noting the accessibility measures in place there, which serve as an example for other communities across Canada. Minister Qualtrough also announced the schedule of the in-person consultations organized to inform planned accessibility legislation.

Minister Qualtrough participated in a dynamic discussion with the three young Canadian innovators:

  • Maayan Ziv, the creator of an online platform that uses crowdsourcing to pinpoint the accessibility status of locations on an interactive map;
  • Micah Rakoff Bellman, the designer of Lift, a height-adjustable and movable table with integrated storage that provides home cooks a comfortable and flexible work surface in the kitchen; and
  • Quayce Thomas, an architecture student who has developed Timsle, a Fitbit-type app that promotes healthy, active living using social networks.

Many more thought-provoking discussions such as these will happen in the next few months, as the Minister travels across the country to engage and consult with Canadians about what an Accessible Canada could look like. In-person public sessions will be held in 18 cities from September to December. Canadians are encouraged to visit Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada to find an in-person consultation session in their area. These sessions will provide all Canadians with an opportunity to share their ideas on how to improve accessibility and inclusion across Canada.

Canadians can also participate in the consultation exercise online at Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada, and can follow @AccessibleGC and the hashtag #AccessibleCanada on Twitter and Accessible Canada on Facebook. The consultation process will run until February 2017.

Minister Qualtrough also encouraged young people from across Canada to apply to participate in the National Youth Forum on Accessibility, which will take place on November 1st. This event will provide Canadian youth who have experience and expertise in disabilities and accessibility with an opportunity to engage in the policy discussion. More information is available at Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada.

Quotes

Today we are taking another exciting step in our discussion on accessibility. Increasing accessibility is not only the right thing to do, but it also has social and economic benefits for all Canadians. Canada is well positioned to become a global leader in innovative service delivery, technology and universal design. Together, we will reshape the landscape for Canadians with disabilities.”

– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Further Information

News Release: What does an accessible Canada mean to you?

Planned Accessibility Legislation

#AccessibleCanada

Contacts

Ashley Michnowski
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
819-934-1122 / TTY: 1-866-702-6967

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter                   
Follow us on Facebook

Backgrounder

Abilities Centre

The Abilities Centre is an internationally renowned, innovative community hub where people of all ages and abilities enrich their lives by engaging in social, health and cultural programs. The centre delivers sports, health and fitness, arts and culture, leading-edge research, education and life skills programming in a welcoming, positive, energetic environment. The Abilities Centre is a not-for-profit corporation and a registered charity operating in Whitby, Ontario. The centre is a 2016 winner of the Ontario David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility.

Consultation to inform the development of accessibility legislation

Minister Qualtrough, Canada’s first Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, was mandated by the Prime Minister to lead an engagement process with stakeholders—including Canadians with disabilities, provinces, territories and municipalities—that would inform planned legislation to transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility.

The consultation process is now open, until February 2017.

Starting in September, Canadians across Canada will be able to participate in the in-person consultation engagement process. In-person public consultations are planned to take place in the following cities:

  • St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador / November 3, 2016
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia / December 9, 2016
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island / December 8, 2016
  • Moncton, New Brunswick / October 20, 2016
  • Québec, Quebec / November 10, 2016
  • Montréal, Quebec / November 16, 2016
  • Ottawa, Ontario / November 30, 2016
  • Toronto, Ontario / February 8, 2017
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario / October 12, 2016
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba / October 3, 2016
  • Regina, Saskatchewan / September 28, 2016
  • Calgary, Alberta / October 13, 2016
  • Edmonton, Alberta / October 7, 2016
  • Vancouver, British Columbia / November 26, 2016
  • Victoria, British Columbia / November 7, 2016
  • Iqaluit, Nunavut / September 24, 2016
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories / September 26, 2016
  • Whitehorse, Yukon / September 22, 2016.

For the most up-to-date information on in-person venues and dates, and to participate online, please visit Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada.

Minister Qualtrough will also participate in roundtable discussions, as well as a National Youth Forum that will engage Canadian youth with disabilities in the policy discussion.

National Youth Forum

Minister Qualtrough, as part of her mandate to consult with Canadians on the development of new accessibility legislation, will host a one-day National Youth Forum in Ottawa on November 1st 2016. The Forum will provide an opportunity for Canadian youth with disabilities to discuss what accessibility means to them, share ideas for the new legislation, connect with peers and celebrate youth leadership in building a more accessible Canada.

Applicants must:

  • be between 15 and 30 years old in November, 2016;
  • be residents of Canada;
  • have a disability or have life, academic or work experience related to disability and accessibility; and
  • demonstrate their leadership or involvement in an area related to disability and accessibility in their community, region or nationally.

The deadline to submit an application is September 15, 2016. Successful applicants will be contacted by The Office for Disability Issues in the fall.

For more information about how to submit an application to participate in the National Youth Forum please visit: Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada.

Innovator Bios

Maayan Ziv – Founder and CEO of AccessNow

Mayaan has a passion for creating a more accessible world for people who use a wheelchair. Mayaan created the AccessNow mobile app, which uses crowd sourcing to collect and share accessibility information all around the world.

Micah Rakoff Bellman – Winner of the 2016 annual Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) 

Micah is a student at Carleton University’s Industrial Design program. Micah has developed an invention called Lift, which is a height-adjustable, movable table which integrates storage that provides home cooks with a comfortable and flexible surface in the kitchen. The device strives to give more freedom to older individuals and people with disabilities.

Quayce Thomas, Winner of the 2015 annual Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA)

Quayce is an entrepreneur and architecture student at Carleton University, has seen his app taking the top prize in the IDeA competition in 2015. Timsle is an app that promotes healthy active living by checking in to make sure users are meeting the goals they’ve shared with their social network. This “accountability network” helps meeting academic or other goals and preventing depression.


Speaking Notes for Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough’s August 23, 2016 Speech at the Abilities Centre, Whitby Ontario

Speaking Notes

for the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities,

How Accessibility is Driving Innovation: Launch of in-person Accessibility Consultations

at Abilities Centre

August 23, 2016, Whitby, Ontario

Check against delivery

2016 PASRB 006822

Hello everyone. It’s my pleasure to be here with you at Whitby’s state-of-the-art Abilities Centre. What a wonderful facility! Wouldn’t it be great if we had centres like this in communities across Canada?

This space and this community are true example of what we can do when we start from a place of inclusion and keep opportunity in mind.

I was deeply honoured to be named the first federal Minister dedicated to persons with disabilities.

The creation of this cabinet position makes it very clear that people with disabilities are important to our government and that we deserve to be considered in every decision around the Cabinet table.

We must consider the needs of Canadians with disabilities in every aspect of society. We need to create services—workplaces—transit systems and communities that consider accessibility from the outset.

We want to move from a model where accessibility is the exception and accommodations come after we discover barriers to one in which we incorporate accessibility—in every sense of the word – into everything we build and use.

This shift – both monumental and simple at once – is a game changer.

To start—we need a legal framework that protects and promotes accessibility.

Right now—within our current legal framework, people with disabilities can only defend their rights after they’ve been violated.

The current system unfairly burdens individual Canadians to identify a barrier or instances of discrimination which are then brought forward for examination and resolution. Needless to say—this vigilance is exhausting, prohibitively expensive, and I know you agree with me that it is fundamentally wrong.

That’s exactly why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked me to lead a process on planned accessibility legislation.

In order to create relevant and robust legislation—I need to get input from Canadians like you. I appreciate you taking time to be here – to help us get this right.

In a few minutes, I look forward to speaking with several outstanding “Accessibility Innovators” about their take on what an accessible Canada means. These young Canadians are demonstrating how accessibility can drive innovation, and create a new way of doing things. Better ways of creating and thinking about accessibility. I have said this before and expect you will hear it from our Accessibility Innovators as well – when systems and spaces are accessible, every Canadian wins. Barriers are bad for business.

When asked about Fred Astaire’s dance ability, Ginger Rogers once responded that she had to do everything that he did, but backwards and in heels. Imagine the creativity that persons with disabilities must employ every day to navigate buildings, products and services that were not designed with their needs in mind. Development of creative products, ways of doing things and – ultimately – a different way of looking at the world. These young innovators have done exactly that: tackled barriers that could otherwise impede people with disabilities from easily and seamlessly participating in their communities.

Their work takes innovation, drive, determination and yes, creativity. In fact, I find their work tremendously inspirational.

I am honoured be share a bit about them with you.

Maayan Ziv is founder and CEO of AccessNow, an on-line platform that uses crowdsourcing to pin-point the accessibility status of locations on an interactive map. Living with muscular dystrophy, Maayan is motivated to create a more accessible world.

Micah Rakoff Bellmana student of Carleton’s Industrial Design program, has seen his invention called Lift taking the top prize in this year’s IDeA competition through which Ontario’s university undergraduate students compete to come up with inventions that help remove barriers for people with disabilities. His innovation is a height-adjustable, movable table with integrated storage that provides home cooks a comfortable and flexible work surface in the kitchen. The height adjustability allows Lift to be used as a counter at a suitable height for users of any level of ability. This device strives to give more freedom to older individuals and people with disabilities in the kitchen.

Quayce Thomas, an entrepreneur and architecture student at Carleton University, saw his app take the top prize in the IDeA competition in 2015. Timsle is an app that promotes healthy active living using social networks. This “accountability network” helps people with disabilities to meet academic or other goals and prevent depression.

I can’t wait to hear what these inspiring young people have to say.

Cette discussion sur l’accessibilité est tellement importante et comme tous les voyages – elle pourrait nous entraîner sur une foule d’avenues. L’accessibilité veut-elle dire rendre les immeubles accessibles? Ou s’assurer que les programmes et services sont réellement accessibles pour tous les Canadiens? Ou encore veut-elle dire éliminer les obstacles à l’emploi pour les Canadiens handicapés?

J’ai quelques idées sur ce qu’elle signifie pour moi.

Premièrement – l’accessibilité veut dire donner des choix aux gens.

Lorsque les Canadiens s’impliquent dans leur collectivité ou dans leur milieu de travail ou communiquent avec leur gouvernement – ces interactions devraient être conçues pour tenir compte des besoins de tout le monde. Les obstacles à l’accessibilité limitent le choix : « Je ne peux pas… », « Elle n’est pas en mesure de… », « Ce serait bien s’il pouvait… »

Je crois que les Canadiens ne devraient pas avoir à surmonter des obstacles pour faire partie d’un monde que la société considère comme la normalité. Tout le monde devrait se sentir membre à part entière de la société et avoir des options pour participer de façon égale. Si je veux conduire un autobus – entrer dans un immeuble par la porte avant – ou consulter un site Web – c’est mon choix. Et je veux avoir la possibilité de le faire.

Deuxièmement – l’accessibilité veut dire éliminer les préjugés au sujet de l’incapacité – notamment pour les Canadiens ayant une incapacité qui n’est pas apparente pour tout le monde. Nous devons nous concentrer sur le potentiel et la contribution des gens – pas sur leurs limites. Changer les perceptions est une dure bataille – mais je sais que nous pouvons relever le défi.

And lastly—I want all Canadians to see accessibility and inclusion as the keys to productivity. Accessibility is good for business. Barriers are bad for business. That might be a good hashtag?

Canadians with disabilities are an untapped resource who can offer so much to our communities and our economy. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadians with disabilities and helping to create environments where they can be independent and participate equally in their communities and workplaces. Removing barriers and creating opportunities for a more active and prosperous society is good for our collective health and for our economy.

When I was growing up—my world was not as accessible as it is now.

I can tell you that I learned some of the most important lessons in my life by considering my choices. I learned that I had a right to be accommodated. I learned that asking for help was not a weakness—in fact it was a strength.

And I learned that there was always another way of doing things if you couldn’t do something the way that it had always been done. Today we call this innovation.

Who better to inspire innovation than people who innovate every day of their lives?

Designing the physical environment, programs, products and services in a way that accommodates people with varying needs can only lead to bigger and better ideas.

That’s what I think about accessibility. But that’s just one small voice—I want to hear from our innovators here today, I want to hear from all of you—and from all Canadians.

As many of you already know—in July we launched our online consultation at Canada.ca/ AccessibleCanada. To date—we have received close to 700 responses, ranging from stakeholder organizations, employers, families and people with disabilities themselves. And the rate of participation continues to grow.

Les Canadiens ont hâte de raconter leur histoire et nous avons hâte de les entendre.

Aujourd’hui, nous franchissons un autre grand pas dans notre discussion sur l’accessibilité.

Augmenter l’accessibilité est non seulement la bonne chose à faire – mais cela présente aussi des avantages sociaux et économiques pour tous les Canadiens.

Le Canada est en bonne voie de devenir un chef de file mondial en matière d’innovation dans la prestation de services – la technologie et la conception universelle. Ensemble – nous transformerons la réalité des Canadiens handicapés.

And today I’m here to celebrate the launch of our in-person consultations on accessibility legislation.

These consultations will be starting soon in cities across the country and continue throughout the fall. And I am looking forward to hearing from all Canadians.

On November 1st — I’ll also be hosting a one-day national forum for young Canadians with disabilities and those involved with disability and accessibility issues. This will give young people a chance to share their ideas on accessibility—to showcase their accomplishments—and to inspire other youth.

The bottom line is our government is eager to get your input. So I’m asking you and all Canadians to join the conversation.

You can participate online or find a session near you at Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada.

We need your ideas, your insight and your advice.

Together we will reshape the legislative landscape for Canadians with disabilities.

Together we will make history!

-30-


See who presently supports Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières

You can join this illustrious group by visiting www.barrierfreecanada.org.

Our five initial founding organizations are:
CNIB, March of Dimes, the MS Society of Canada, the Canadian Hearing Society, and Accessible Media Inc. A list of our supporting organizations is listed below.

  • The Low Vision Self-Help Association
    West Island, Montreal Quebec
  • The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL
  • Guide Dog Users of Canada (GDUC)
  • Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)
  • Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)
  • SPH Planning & Consulting Limited
  • The Rick Hansen Foundation
  • Quebec Federation of the Blind
  • Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)
  • Community Living Toronto
  • Deaf Blind Ontario Services
  • Unifor
  • StopGap Foundation
  • Citizens with Disabilities Ontario
  • Spinal Cord Injury Alberta
  • Easter Seals Canada
  • Access for Sight-Impaired consumers
  • Every Canadian Counts Coalition
  • Québec Accessible
  • Centre for Equitable Library Access / Centre d’accès équitable aux bibliothèques
  • Deaf & Hear Alberta

How to Contact Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières

We always like to hear from you. To contact us, please send an email to info@barrierfreecanada.org.

To keep abreast of our updates visit
http://www.barrierfreecanada.org/category/general

Visit us at www.barrierfreecanada.org

Follow us on Twitter @barrierfreeca

And like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/barrierfreeca

Donna Jodhan and David Lepofsky, Co-Chairs of Barrier-Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières