Open Letter re Bill C 81

Open Letter Regarding the Need to Strengthen Bill C-81 – Accessible Canada Act

October 30, 2018

Dear Minister Qualtrough and HUMA Committee Members:

We the undersigned commend the Federal Government for committing to enact national accessibility legislation.  As provincial and national disability rights organizations, we write to express significant concerns regarding Bill C-81. The following highlights our key concerns and reflects the concerns raised by our communities before the HUMA Committee. Amendments are essential to effectively remedy these concerns.

  1. Bill C-81 requires timelines. Timelines are essential to ensure that key accessibility measures are taken. Timelines are also required so that progress on accessibility can be measured. In particular, we support recommendations for the Bill to include a timeline for achieving a Canada without barriers, and timelines by which accessibility standards are developed and enacted into law. Timelines are also needed for establishing the infrastructure necessary to implement the Bill.
  2. Bill C-81 imposes no duty on Government to use the powers available in the Bill. We support recommendations to change the word may to shall to ensure that the Government implements key steps for achieving accessibility.
  3. Bill C-81 requires federally-regulated organizations to establish accessibility plans. However, the Bill does not require these to be good plans. It does not require an organization to implement its accessibility plan.
  4. Bill C-81 wrongly splinters the power to make accessibility standards (regulations) and the power to enforce the Bill across numerous Federal agencies. This splintering will make the Bill’s implementation and enforcement less effective, more confusing, more complicated, more costly, and will increase delay.
  5. Bill C-81 wrongly gives the Federal Government and various federal agencies the sweeping, unjustified and unaccountable power to exempt organizations from a number of important accessibility obligations. The Government can even exempt itself.
  6. The Bill does not require the Federal Government to use its readily-available power to ensure that federal money is never used by any recipient to create or perpetuate barriers. The Bill must be amended to leverage the federal spending power, in order to promote accessibility.
  7. The Federal Government is the largest organization that will have to obey this legislation. Therefore, the key federal agencies that will develop accessibility standards, oversee and enforce this legislation must be independent of the Federal Government. Under the Bill, they are not. They all report to the Federal Government. We support recommendations for amendments to ensure that CASDO, the Accessibility Commissioner and other key agencies are sufficiently independent.
  8. Bill C-81 does not sufficiently address barriers created by poverty and intersectional discrimination. Nor does it address the unique barriers experienced by Indigenous and First Nations persons with disabilities.
  9. Bill C-81 does not recognize ASL/lsq as the official languages of people who are Deaf.

We believe that if these priority changes are made, among the amendments to Bill C-81, this Bill has the potential to truly advance accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities in Canada. We ask that the Bill be amended to address the concerns and objectives outlined above. These amendments are indispensable to ensure that the Bill achieves its purpose and potential.

 

In Solidarity,

Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)

Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)

In addition to the concerns outlined in this open letter, CDAC recommends that Bill C-81 address communication as a domain across all federal jurisdictions and includes the needs of people with speech and language disabilities. ARCH, CCD and other disability organizations support CDAC’s recommendations. 

DAWN-RAFH Canada

Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL)

National Network for Mental Health (NNMH)

Independent Living Canada (ILC)

March of Dimes Canada

Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)

Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)

People First of Canada

AODA Alliance

ARCH Disability Law Centre

Québec Accessible

Views for the Visually Impaired

Physicians of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Advocacy (PONDA)

Unitarian Commons Co-Housing Corporation

Citizens with Disabilities Ontario (CWDO)

Community Living Ontario (CLO)

Barrier-Free Manitoba

Regroupement des associations de personnes Handicapées de l’Outaouais (RAPHO)

Barrier Free Saskatchewan

DeafBlind Ontario Services

Community Living Toronto (CLT)

Ontario Autism Coalition

Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec (COPHAN)

Canadian Multicultural Disability Centre, Inc. (CMDCI)

Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)

Northwest Territories Council for Disability

Voice of Albertans with Disabilities

North Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre Inc.

Older Women’s Network

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto

Ontario Disability Coalition

CCB HUMA Submission

Canadian Council of the Blind Logo

20 James Street Suite 100

Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0T6

Telephone: (613) 567-0311

Fax: (613) 567-2728

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968

E-mail: ccb@ccbnational.net

ccbpresident@ccbnational.net

www.ccbnational.net

 

Canadian Council of the Blind/ Le Conseil Canadien Des Aveugles

(CCB)

 

Brief to

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills, and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities/ Comité perament des ressources humaines, du développement des compétences, du développement social et de la condition des personnes handicapées

 

Concerning

 Review of Bill C-81: An Act to Ensure a Barrier Free Canada

  

We congratulate the Federal Government for committing to pass national legislation and for introducing Bill C-81 in Parliament on June of 2018. This bill includes many of the important points presented by individuals and organizations over the two year period of consultation. It does appear to cover a range of barriers for persons with disabilities. Now that the Bill has made it to Committee, thank you for this Bill and the opportunity to participate in its future.

The title exemplifies the intent to create an ‘accessible and barrier free’ Canada.

It is believed that the legislation is not intended to override or displace existing protections for enforcement that are currently in place.

Also a positive point is the Act appears to provide another resolution process with easier access.

Some important positive new additions noted are an Accessibility Commissioner to enforce the bill, a Federal Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO), a Chief Accessibility Officer and a Minister to be responsible for key functions under the bill.

The bill allows for non-binding accessibility standards as guides regulated organizations and when enacted these would become enforceable.

While there are many great areas there is always room for improving such a bill.

A Disability Lens is an important factor to consider. This should begin with Government to ensure that current legislation is amended to remove barriers and future legislature is created without adding new ones to ensure that they are based on principles of inclusion and human rights.

While digital communications are developing rapidly the Act needs to ensure that Agencies such as CRPD include the added needs of persons, who are blind, partially sighted, or deaf-blind are available on equal access by having representatives involved in design of equipment and data plans.

It is important that this Act does not reduce in anyway rights that people with disabilities enjoy under current law.

It is important for the Federal Government to ensure that federal elections become barrier-free for both candidates and voters.

The bill needs to be effectively enforced which will be a factor after passage.

American Sign Language (ALS) and Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) need to be recognized as official sign languages.

Government funding, grants or provision of goods and services need to fall under Bill C-81 so that they do not cause barriers. This should also cover research grants, agencies, crown corporations or other public funding, the accessibility components should be covered by the grants and be a requirement of the grant as a condition of funding.

A change of wording in some areas such as in the powers of the accessibility commissioner where “may” be changed to “shall” to tweak this section, and would strengthen the bill.

There are no time-lines stated – the time begins NOW and continues into the future. It is important to get this Act passed and for all federally run departments to become barrier-free and “no one is left behind”.

As this Act becomes law (very soon) with recommendations made by the varying organizations then all Canadians including those who are blind, partially-sighted or deaf-blind will have an improved quality of life.

In conclusion, CCB recommends that everyone work together as we support recommendations of the organizations who have presented briefs or other submissions in the hope that the Members of Parliament work to pass this momentous Bill C-81 early in 2019 so that Canadians will live in a barrier free country. And following the passage of legislation that persons with disabilities will be fully engaged in committees and any future amendments that will be required.

About the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB):

The Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) is the largest membership-based not-for-profit organization that brings together Canadians who are blind, deaf-blind or living with vision loss to share common interests and activities.

The CCB works to improve the quality of life for persons living with vision loss through proactive programs. CCB partners with a number of local, provincial, national, and international organizations all of whom are dedicated to similar mandates and principals that CCB adheres to. We have implemented programs such as Get Together with Technology (GTT) which helps people living with vision loss learn and explore accessibility through technology. Another program is aimed at the prevention and detection of blindness or diseases that may cause blindness and that is our Mobile Eye Clinic.

Activities that utilize the strengths and influence of the Council to promote increased accessibility, equality of opportunity and quality of life for people who are blind, deaf-blind or living with vision loss throughout society.

It is for these reasons that CCB would like to see passage of Bill C-81 prior to June 2019. Again thank you for the opportunity to provide input to this important bill.

 Yours sincerely,

 

Louise Gillis

National President

Canadian Council of the Blind

902-304-1276

ccbpresident@ccbnational.net

C-81 Speech CHRC

Speaking Notes, Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission

Presentation to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Ottawa, Ontario

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

Good morning,

Thank you for inviting the Canadian Human Rights Commission to take part in your study of Bill C-81. With me is Marcella Daye, Senior Policy Advisor at the Commission.

 Bill C-81 is a positive step towards ensuring that everybody can live free from barriers. Barriers in the buildings we work in, barriers built into the technology we use, and barriers created by attitudes and stigma that prevent people from contributing fully to society. 

This bill will improve accessibility. And so, we congratulate the Government on this important initiative.

For the CHRC, the bill provides for a new Accessibility Commissioner and a new accessibility unit. It also designates the CHRC as the Monitoring Mechanism for the UNCRPD. We welcome this designation. The Canadian Human Rights Commission supports this bill, and we urge its passage.

I would like to highlight two sets of changes that the CHRC believes will have a positive impact on the success of the bill’s implementation.

Our first suggestion is about making sure the legislation begins to work immediately. This comes in two parts:

One, the bill states that the government, “may” choose to put in place regulations. We believe that the legislation should require government to make regulations.

It needs more. It needs a kick-start to action.

We recommend in subsection 117(1) to change “may” to “shall” and to add the words “which may include” at the end of this subsection.

We therefore propose that subsection 117 (1) would now read as follows:

“Subject to sections 118 -120, the Governor in Council shall make regulations, which may include.

We also recommend that the bill require timelines to be set for organizations to meet any standard which is passed into regulation. We propose to add to the end of subsection 117(1)(c) the words “and timelines for their implementation.”

With our proposal subsection 117(1)(c) would now read as follows:

“establishing standards intended to remove barriers and to improve accessibility in the areas referred to in section 5, and timelines for their implementation.

 With both these changes, we believe the legislation will inspire and compel concrete action. It will ensure that neither the government, nor organizations, will be able to let good intentions gather dust. And it will embed accountability.

Our second suggestion is about the lack of clarity around the application of this legislation in First Nations communities. They are not excluded. But they are also not specifically included. We are concerned that this lack of clarity may lead to a gap in human rights protection for Indigenous peoples.

This is why we welcome the Government’s commitment for more robust consultation with First Nations, the Inuit and the Métis Nation.

The Commission is familiar with the consequences of excluding a group of people from human rights protections. Prior to 2008, section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act excluded persons living on First Nations reserves. It was intended as a temporary measure. It remained for 30 years. We must ensure that such a gap does not happen again.

Bill C-81 has the potential to bring about incredibly positive changes for those living with disabilities in First Nations communities. We urge the government to work quickly, in consultation with First Nations towards the effective implementation of the Accessible Canada Act on reserves. Such work must of course take into account their rights, unique interests and circumstances.

We also encourage the government to provide adequate resources to First Nations governments to meet the urgent needs that exist in far too many communities.

 One last note before I conclude…

During your review of the bill, you will likely hear many concerns; including, the very broad exemption powers in the Act, and the lack of recognition of American Sign Language and la langue des signes québécoise.

We believe that concerns of civil society, such as these, merit consideration by this Committee.  

The CHRC is committed to putting in place the people, tools, expertise and partnerships needed to play our part in this ambitious legislation. This includes our setting up of working groups with CTA, CRTC, FPSLREB, and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

I thank you again. We look forward to answering your questions. 

 

 

 

Bill C81 Parliamentary Summary

Bill C-81 Legislative Debate Summary

September 19, 2018

Yesterday, Wednesday September 19, 2018, Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act was debated for the first time in the House of Commons.

Minister Carla Qualtrough opened the debate by reflecting on her own experiences as a woman with sight loss. Minister Qualtrough explained key provisions of the Bill including the creation of a new accessible standards organization and the positive economic impact of the legislation. Minister Qualtrough finished her speech, highlighting the need of further accessibility legislation across the country, hoping that Bill C-81 will push provinces to develop their own.

During debate several Liberal, Conservative and NDP Members of Parliament spoke in favour or questioned key aspects of the legislation. Conservative MPs were mainly concerned about the timeline to implement legislation, noting that the consultative efforts were long. Several Conservative MPs pointed to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, moving the creation of the RDSP through the house in 90 days after the 2008 election, as an example of moving policies affecting persons with disabilities, quickly. The Conservative critic for Accessibility, MP Alex Nuttal (Barrier-Springwater-Oro-Medonte), asked what tangible effects Canadians would see right away, and where the earmarked $290 million would be spent. Mr. Nuttall also expressed concerns over standards and regulations, specifically looking for answers about how the government will prepare the private sector for this change and what the potential costs would be to the private sector.

The NDP Critic for Persons with Disabilities, MP Cheryl Hardcastle (Windsor-Tecumseh), spoke in support of getting the bill to committee as soon as possible to make substantial amendments as possible. MP Hardcastle believes that amendments are necessary but commended the government for tabling it. Specifically, she agreed with providing a disability lens for all legislation and policies put forward by the government. She said she will urge the committee to hold its meetings in difference places across the country.

The Liberal MPs echoed the Minister’s comments that the government is taking their time with this legislation to get it right, consult as many stakeholders as possible, and that the legislation will ultimately inspire a cultural shift. Both Conservative and New Democrat MPs expressed concern about the powers to exempt in the Bill, particularly allowing cabinet to decide on exemptions and calling for timelines.

Of interest to CNIB, during debate Conservative MP John Nater (Perth-Wellington) mentioned the work of CNIB during the Procedure and House Affairs study of the creation of an independent commission or commissioner. Specifically, MP Nater spoke to CNIB’s testimony advocating for accessible leadership debates during federal elections. While not directly related to this legislation, it is one example of CNIB’s impact on Parliament Hill.

The Bill will receiving further debate before going to Committee. CNIB anticipates and will advocate to appear before the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and Status of Persons with Disabilities. CNIB’s testimony will be guided by the current survey asking Canadians with sight loss for input on the legislation. The survey has been shared to over 5,000 advocates, CNIB’s Executive Director’s and Advocacy Leads which were asked to share with clients and advocates, as well as on CNIB’s social media.

The link to the English survey can be found here: https://ca.surveygizmo.com/s3/50035942/CNIB-Accessible-Canada-Act-Survey-Le-sondage-d-INCA-de-la-Loi-canadienne-sur-l-accessibilit

The link to the French survey can be found here: https://ca.surveygizmo.com/s3/50035951/Le-sondage-d-INCA-de-la-Loi-canadienne-sur-l-accessibilit

If you have any further questions about Bill C-81, please don’t hesitate to ask.

 

September 24, 2018

On Monday September 24, Bill C-81 was debated for the second time.

Many MPs continued to raise their concern that the bill lacks timelines, meaning it could be a long time before we see any changes on the ground. Many opposition MPs asked Liberal members if they would be open to additions or amendments to the Bill when it goes to Committee. MPs from all parties mentioned David Lepofsky, with several quoting him saying the bill is a good starting point but requires substantial additions and improvements to be effective, including a deadline to reach full accessibility.

Conservative MPs were mainly concerned that this bill will build bureaucracy, and several wondered where the $290 million would be spent over six years with no measurement tools indicated. Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant mentioned CNIB as an example of an organization already working to enable accessibility. She also stated she believes this bill is building bureaucracy.

Elizabeth May of the Green Party also rose to comment on the Bill. She wants to see amendments that make it mandatory for cabinet to always appoint a minister responsible for this Act. Additionally, she questioned why the Bill uses “may” instead of “must”. This was echoed by NDP MP’s, who say one major gap is allowing new standards organizations to decide instead of enforce. NDP MP Rachel Blaney noted it would give public agencies too much power to grant exemptions, and that enforcement and implementation is split over four agencies instead of having a one-stop shop.

Liberal MP Arif Virani noted that Bill C-81 would expand the existing opportunities fund for persons with disabilities to improve matching services that connect employers and persons with disabilities.

Kate Young (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport and to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility (Accessibility)) was in the House for the debate. She said that the government is aware that accessibility will not happen overnight. She cited the economic benefit of improving accessibility I businesses and noted that the government must lead the way for accessibility in Canada. Ms. Young noted that her twin grandsons were born prematurely, both require glasses, and that they are worried one of them may be legally blind and may require accommodations in school.

MPs from all parties expressed willingness to debate this Bill in Committee and work to provide amendments to strengthen the legislation.

 

October 2, 2018

Please find a summary of the Parliamentary Committee study on Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act. Thank you for Alice Clark, Specialist, Government Relations and Advocacy, for monitoring and reporting on this meeting.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and Status of Person with Disabilities (HUMA) Committee Meeting October 2, 2018
Time: 8:45am – 10:45am

Minister Carla Qualtrough appeared before the HUMA committee to kick off the study of Bill C-81. She used the accessibility of ATMs as an example of where Bill C-81 could take the burden off the disability community. Currently, if an ATM isn’t accessible a human rights complaint would need to be filed and would only apply to the one ATM in question. Under Bill C-81, it would fall to the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO) to create new standards that would apply to all federally regulated banks.

Minister Qualtrough also spoke about exemptions that will be done on a case by case basis and will be published publicly in the Canada Gazette. A “no wrong door” approach will be taken to ensure collaboration across sectors. Minister Qualtrough noted that the Bill proposes a strong framework that will allow for technical standards moving forward – she said it is not very helpful, to have a very prescriptive law, as thinking and expectations evolve.

When asked about timelines, Minister Qualtrough said it is difficult to predict how long it will take to establish full accessibility, and setting a future timeline allows people to sit back and wait because they have the time. She said, for example, in the Criminal Code, Canada doesn’t prescribe a date for a crime-free Canada.  

A number of Conservative MPs asked for a cost analysis. Minister Qualtrough said we only know the cost of not doing anything, and she suggested that we should not set a threshold beyond which this would cost too much. Fines for public sector agencies who do not comply with regulations will go towards general revenue. Alex Nuttall, Conservative MP Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, asked if money could go into opportunities fund, or something that will help to further reduce barriers. Cheryl Hardcastle, NPD MP Windsor-Tecumseh, noted that nothing is required or mandatory in the bill. She wants to see some requirements made in the Bill to set clear timelines within the standards.

Future summaries will be sent after the completion of ongoing committee study meetings. Please feel free to share with your connections.

 

October 4, 2018

Please find a summary of the Parliamentary Committee study on Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act. Thank you for Alice Clark, Specialist, Government Relations and Advocacy, for monitoring and reporting on this meeting.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and Status of Person with Disabilities (HUMA)

Committee Meeting October 4, 2018
8:45am – 10:45am

Witnesses included representatives from Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS), the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), and Canada Post Corporation.

CHRC recommended a specific change in wording to section 117.1 that would change the word “may” to “shall” and add “which may include” to the end of the paragraph. They also proposed 117.1 c. add the words “and timelines for their implementation” to the end of the sentence. Their proposed wording would read:

Regulations

117 (1) Subject to sections 118 to 120, the Governor in Council shall make regulations which may include:

(c) establishing standards intended to remove barriers and to improve accessibility in the areas referred to in section 5 and timelines for their implementation;

Conservative MP John Barlow (Foothills, AB) questioned how adding new layers of bureaucracy would help remove barriers, noting that more bureaucracy does not always help. Yazmine Laroche, Deputy Minister of Accessibility, Treasury Board Secretariat, said, “I am not another layer of bureaucracy.” She noted that her new task team will serve to connect the dots and coordinate the efforts of the public service to collaborate on policies and practices and provide harmonized oversight. Marcella Daye from CHRC said it may appear as bureaucracy, but the agencies will lean on each other for various roles. She also noted that Bill C-81 provides authorities and requirements for public sector agencies to work together to ensure complaints find their way without confusion and barriers at the front end – echoing the “no wrong door” approach the Minister spoke of on Tuesday.

Liberal MP Wayne Long (Saint John—Rothesay, NB) said he believes the issue with timelines is that people will wait until the timelines are nearly up and said that technically they act as a deterrent. Marcella Daye responded that timelines are a concern for people who want change fast, and for regulated bodies who want to make impactful change in a timely manner. She suggested that part of progressive realization is that timelines will always be changing – but there should be timelines to put regulations in place. Yazmine Laroche noted that TBS is not waiting for C-81 to receive royal assent – they’re moving ahead with accessibility measures now.

Conservative MP Rosemary Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK) questioned how the newly proposed Accessibility Commissioner is different than the current Human Rights Commissioner. She also noted that the Accessibility Commissioner will have the ability to enter a place to check compliance and questioned whether there is a risk that this power could infringe on Charter Rights. Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner, said the Accessibility Commissioner will have a specific mandate to audit and receive complaints regarding accessibility, and noted that the Human Rights Commissioner has a broader mandate. Marcella Daye noted that the Accessibility Commissioner would be more like an auditor – making an appointment, being guided, and gathering information. She said it would operate less like a SWAT team, and more like an inspector.

MP Falk also asked about the impact on rural communities, specifically small local businesses that are authorized dealers for Canada Post. She said she is concerned they will have to shoulder the costs associated with compliance. Jessica L. McDonald, Chair of the Board of Directors and Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Post Corporation, said the contracts with Canada Post outlets already specify that facilities must comply with legislation. She said they do not have a cost analysis yet, but that Canada Post is working on assessing all of their physical infrastructure – from outlets, to transportation and internal locations. Ms. McDonald also noted that as one of Canada’s largest employers, Canada Post Corp. has a lot of discovery ahead regarding how they can best accommodate their employees but will act within the spirit and intent of the Bill.

Other questions from Members centred around board composition for CASDO, and the application of Bill C-81 to Indigenous communities.

Future summaries will be sent after the completion of ongoing committee study meetings. Please share with those who may be interested.

 

October 18, 2018

Please find a summary of the Parliamentary Committee study on Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act. Thank you for Alice Clark, Specialist, Government Relations and Advocacy, for monitoring and reporting on this meeting.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and Status of Person with Disabilities (HUMA)

Committee Meeting October 18, 2018
8:45am – 10:45am

Witnesses included:

 

As individuals: Michael Prince, Professor of Social Policy, Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria and Jutta Treviranus, Professor and Director, Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University

Barrier-Free Canada: Donna Jodhan, Founder and Chair

People First of Canada: Kory Earle, President and Shelley Fletcher, Executive Director

Public Service Alliance of Canada: Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President, Prairies Region and Seema Lamba, Human Rights Program Officer, Negotiations and Programs Branch

Donna Jodhan, Founder and Chair of Barrier Free Canada, said that she want to see Bill C-81 extend to organizations who receive government funding, grants and contributions, or those who provide goods and services. She stressed that progressive realization doesn’t provide a meterstick against which progress can be measured, and there is no mention in the legislation of applying a disability lens to future policy and legislating.

Michael Prince, Professor of Social Policy, Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria, also mentioned the absence of measurable targets with timelines. Mr. Prince suggested that there are too many possibilities for exemptions, and a complex model of federal bodies involved in enforcement. He recommended that the scope of the bill extend to non-federally regulated employers and government contractors. He also recommended two amendments to the legislative wording (will be available on Handard early next week.)

Kory Earle, President of People First Canada, advocated that information be available in accessible, plain language. Shelley Fletcher, Executive Director of People First Canada, said all complaints and enforcement should be handled by the accessibility commissioner, and that the complaints process should be streamlined to go through the accessibility commissioner.

Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President, Praries Region, at the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), said that the Employment Equity Act provides an established framework that employers and unions have been working under for years. PSAC recommends improving the Employment Equity Act and then referring the employment aspects of C-81 to the Employment Equity Act. Ms. Hladun said the Employment Equity Act is specific in what must be included in employment equity plans, whereas Bill C-81 is not. She also said that PSAC wants to see adequate funding provided to CASDO and the CHRC to ensure these organizations can fulfill their new mandates.

MP John Barlow asked Ms. Jodhan what she would like to see for specific deadlines and timelines. She said she’d like to see a timeline for the first two years whereby we can judge what has gone on and what needs to be put in place still. Mr. Prince said the concept of progressive realization is a guiding principle that reflects international best practice, but it would be best to include an aspirational statement like Ontario did.

Mr. Prince said this Bill is a machinery of government bill, but not much of a social policy bill. He said it is Ottawa-centred and not person-centred – almost every federal department can apply for an exemption, but federally regulated private entities don’t have as many options for exemptions.

MP Wayne Long noted that the committee has heard that Canadians with disabilities want to see a majority of CASDO comprised of persons with disabilities. He asked Ms. Johan what this majority should look like. She said the appointments should be made so persons with disabilities have a voice at the table with a direct stake in the outcomes, so they won’t be as influenced by other sources. Mr. Prince said the Chair or Vice Chair should be designated or rotate so they always have a person with a disability in a leadership role. He said they should not comprise the board based on a minimum number, but by identifying key roles.

MP Geordie Hogg asked the witnesses if there are any examples of international legislation that could help inform their study. Mr. Prince said Canada will be catching up to Australia, the U.S, the U.K, Ireland and other European countries.

MP Kerry Diotte asked for some specific examples of how this Bill fails persons with disabilities. Mr. Prince said that the Bill could be strengthened by investing in services, labour market agreements, tax measures that would create incentives, etc. He said the successes will be in the larger context of investments in other policies.

MP Wayne Long asked if there should be a cost limit to creating an Accessible Canada. Kory Earle said we should not focus on the cost, but rather on people being included every day and in the economy. Shelley Fletcher also noted the economic benefits of hiring persons with disabilities. Seema Lamba said the attitudinal barrier that hiring persons with disabilities will cost a lot and noted that the average cost is $500 to accommodate.

MP Rosemarie Falk said the government used a GBA+ lens on their last budget, but that she appreciated Mr. Earle’s comments that legislation should include also a disability lens. She asked what government departments could do now. Ms. Johan said she was aware that many government websites were not accessible, and seeing the government lead by creating accessible websites would be a good place to start. She also said that cost matter for creating other policies was not brought up as much as it is on this legislation.

Please share with those who may be interested.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact myself or Alice Clark.

 

October 22, 23, 2018

Please find a summary of the Parliamentary Committee study on Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act. Thank you to Alice Clark, Specialist, Government Relations and Policy, for monitoring and reporting on these meetings.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA)
Committee Meeting October 22, 2018

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Witnesses included:

Canadian Transportation Agency: Scott Streiner, Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Vancouver Airport Authority: Craig Richmond, President and Chief Executive Officer
VIA Rail Canada Inc.: Yves Desjardins-Sicillano, President and Chief Executive Officer and John-Nicolas Morello, Senior Legal Counsel, Legal and Corporate Affairs

Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association: Robert W.J. Ghiz, President and Chief Executive Officer and Ursula Grom, Senior Director, Industry Affairs
Communication Disabilities Access Canada: Barbara Collier, Executive Director
Council of Canadians with Disabilities: Jewelles Smith, Chairperson  and Steven Estey, Government and Community Relations Officer

Craig Richmond from Vancouver Airport Authority started by noting that airports operate as not for profit organizations and do not receive federal money. He said additional feedback and reporting requirements will lead to a considerable burden on small airports, which would be better off spending money to tackle barriers than writing reports. Scott Streiner from the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) said that ensuring Canadians with disabilities can travel independently and with dignity is within CTA’s DNA. He said the CTA is working towards coherent, well aligned approaches to this mandate with other federal agencies. Yves Desjardins-Sicillano of VIA Rail said VIA is currently working to retrofit the Ottawa station and is working to devise a way for people with sight loss disabilities to find their way from the front door to their train seat independently.

Jewelles Smith from Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) said they wanted to see challenging timelines in the legislation; as Canada is not the first country to put accessibility in legislation, Ms. Smith said the government can easily meet a 5 year timeline. She said CCD would also like to see the act better address effective management and complaints because fractured management makes it difficult for Canadians with disabilities to have their needs met. CCD is also advocating for ASL and LSQ to be acknowledged as official languages for deaf individuals, for a CASDO makeup of 2/3 persons with disabilities, for federally regulated entities to be arms length from government, and for Indigenous peoples with disabilities to be consulted. Robert Ghiz from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) said it was difficult to provide feedback without a more detailed sense of the regulations that would follow. He urged for continued consultation after the bill is passed. Barbara Collier of Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC) said they want to see the bill amended to include communication as a building block that needs to be put in place at all jurisdictions.

MP Diane Finley (Haldimand-Norfolk, ON) said that there are dramatic differences in accessibility across airports. She asked if Bill C-81 would change this, and if so, how. Mr. Streiner said the CTA is working on new accessible transportation regulations that will include a section of provisions for airports to ensure more consistent service delivery. Ms. Finley also asked what the financial impact of this unfunded mandate will be on smaller airports. Craig Richmond said whatever the government could do to make reporting requirements as reasonable as possible would go a long way.

MP Hogg asked what areas Canada is falling behind in, and what impact this Bill will have on these areas. Mr. Streiner said the CTA targets efforts where the risk or impact of non-compliance is the highest, and that C-81 would give compliance enforcement officers additional tools to ensure compliance.

MP Hardcastle (Windsor-Tecumseh, ON) said that there are no requirement or timelines in the bill, and that the CTA is exempt and do not have to offer a rationalization for their decision. She also said that there is no appeals process for the disability community. She asked Mr. Streiner if this needed to change before the passage of C-81. He said they have a current exemption power that they’ve never used. Mr. Richmond said that if an airport is falling short on accessibility, the bill needs to allow an opportunity for the airport to voluntarily fix what’s wrong.

MP Falk (Battlefords-Lloydminster, SK) asked how stakeholders are looking to have plain language put into the legislation. Ms. Collier said that if communication is added as a building block, then a standard could follow outlining the principles of easy read or plain language.

MP Long asked about the composition of the CASDO board, referencing an earlier conversation with Ms. Smith where she advocated for 100% persons with disability on CASDO. Ms. Smith said people with disabilities exist everywhere and that if the composition is only 50%, there may not be enough perspective of different disability issues. She said CCD and other disability organizations are advocating for 2/3 composition.

MP Hardcastle asked Mr. Estey and Ms. Smith about the operational independence of organizations like CASDO, and they both agreed that they would be better suited to report to parliament, and exist arms length from government.

MPs Ruimy, Young, and Finley all asked questions about timelines. MP Ruimy said the scope of the legislation is so enormous that to legislate every piece wouldn’t get Canada where it needs to go. MP Finley said there is so much flexibility in the bill as it is written that it will never come into force. She said the good intentions won’t take the legislation anywhere. Mr. Estey said the first reading of the Nova Scotia Accessibility legislation did not contain timelines either. He said timelines are essential to ensure there is a backstop against which we can measure.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA)
Committee Meeting October 24, 2018

8:45am-10:45am

Witnesses included:

Canadian Bankers Association: Marina Mandal, Assistant General Counsel and Tasmin Waley, Senior Legal Counsel
Canadian Disability Policy Alliance: Mary Ann McColl, Professor, Queen’s University
Royal Bank of Canada: Teri Monti, Vice President, Employee Relations

Accessible Media Inc.: David Errington, President and Chief Executive Officer
ARCH Disability Law Centre: Robert Lattanzio, Executive Director and Kerri Joffe, Staff Lawyer
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission: Scott Shortliffe, Chief Consumer Officer and Executive Director, Mary-Louise Hayward, Manager, Social and Consumer Policy and Adam Balkovec, Legal Counsel

The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) started the discussion by agreeing that Bill C-81 is good for business. They stated that the legislation needs to strike the right balance between principles based and prescriptive and noted that CBA is continually working on the design of products and services. Mary Ann McColl of the Canadian Disability Policy Alliance (CDPA) focused on the need for a disability lens to be applied to all future legislation. She said any disability lens would need to be easily understood, assume no prior knowledge of disability, and be evidence based. Ms. McColl was representing a tool that was developed by CDPA that asked users to state their assumptions and then examine them. It also looks at the definition of disability within legislation, and considers who determines who is eligible to be considered for each piece of legislation (ie CPP, disability tax credit, etc.). She gave a copy of the tool to each committee member. Teri Monti from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) noted that RBC has enterprise accessibility guidelines that are aligned with global accessibility practices. She also said RBC branches have verbal way finding inside. ARCH Disability Law Centre (ARCH) said they want to see exemptions limited so the Bill sends a strong message that accessibility is everyone’s responsibility. They recommended the minister and regulated entities provide benchmarks for a Canada without barriers and provide specific and progressive timelines. They also want to see one central agency to oversee compliance and adjudicate complaints.

MP John Barlow (Foothills, AB) said the legislation contained a two-tier system where there is a large number of exemptions available for government departments, but federally regulated private sector groups aren’t able to access the same exemptions. He asked if there should be an even playing field for exemptions. Ms. McColl said she would expect the same standard across the board, but noted that the mechanism to ensure that standard might be different in government. The CBA echoed this, saying that the focus needed to be on the intended outcome. They said the government has displayed a commitment to that outcome and that there should be a level playing field from an outcomes based perspective, but there might be different ways of getting there.

MP Long told a story of a constituent saying her world had been opened up by a specific accommodation measure, and he asked if taking action to enhance accessibility is more than just an investment. Ms. McColl said most people who have made accommodations are surprised at how small the costs are, and noted that the cost to retrofit is much more significant. RBC echoed this, saying a lot of accommodation costs nothing.

MP Hogg asked what we might learn from other jurisdictions who have implemented similar legislation. Ms. McColl said that our natural comparators, the United States and the United Kingdom, have gone an anti-discrimination route, and she’s pleased that Canada went an access and inclusion route instead. She said Ontario stands out as having tackled society wide standards.

MP Rosemarie Falk (Battlefords-Lloydminster, SK) asked ARCH if they had suggestions for timelines or benchmarks. Kerri Joffe said ARCH supports calls from other disability organizations that there should be timelines attached to Section 5 of the Bill. She said that we need to insert benchmarks and timelines within the development of the standard process to ensure we reach markers for progressive realization. She said as it is written, there is nothing required when the Bill receives Royal Assent. MP Falk also asked what would happen if an individual brought a complaint to the wrong regulated body. Ms. Joffe said we do not yet know how that would roll out in each agency, in the absence of regulations.

MP Robert Morrissey (Egmont, PE) asked if the goal should be to always try to achieve more accessibility or to achieve a static accessibility goal. Robert Lattanzio said ARCH does not see having timelines as accepting a static accessibility goal. He said that ARCH sees timelines as a way to move forward.

MP Long commented on the “no wrong door” approach taken by this legislation. He asked if this wasn’t a step in the right direction. Ms. Joffe said that when you have an overly complex system, it is best to remedy the system instead of creating a band aid solution. Scott Shortliffe said the CRTC is forming working groups to make sure that they process complaints that come to them even if they come to the wrong door.

Please share with those who may be interested

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact myself or Alice Clark.

 

October 24, 25, 2018

Please find a summary of the Parliamentary Committee study on Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act. Thank you to Alice Clark, Specialist, Government Relations and Policy, for monitoring and reporting on these meetings.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA)

Committee Meeting October 24, 2018

6:45pm – 8:45pm

Witnesses included:

As an Individual: Marie Bountrogianni, Dean, Chang School, Ryerson University
Barrier-Free Manitoba: Patrick Falconer, Consultant, Steering Committee
British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society: Neil Belanger, Executive Director
Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec:
Monique Beaudoin, Administrator, Board of Directors and Camille Desforges, Records Manager
Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance:
Bill Adair, Executive Director and Jane Arkell, Project Director

Marie Bountrogianni told the Committee that the highlight of her tenure as an Ontario cabinet minister was in June 2005 when the AODA received royal assent. She said a clear deadline, regulations established to enforce the law, and public education would be key to the success of the bill. She said she wanted to see greater emphasis on web accessibility to facilitate equal access to opportunities. She briefly mentioned the CNIB for their partnership in two entrepreneur courses for people with vision loss at the Change School at Ryerson. She said this type of partnership and collaboration are critical for realizing a barrier free Canada.

Patrick Falconer from Barrier-Free Manitoba said Manitoba is halfway through the 10 year mandate of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, and only 1 of 5 accessibility standards have been developed. He said the Manitoba government rarely meets its own deadlines, and that implementation efforts are under resourced and behind schedule. He said Bill C-81 contains permissive language, and enables but doesn’t require any action.

Neil Belanger from the British Colombia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society said he wanted to see a 5 year timeline for implementation. He said CASDO should be composed with a minimum 2/3 representation of persons with disabilities, including indigenous peoples with disabilities. He said there is an absence of any reference to First Nations communities under the legislation, and wants clarity as to how Bill C-81 will impact First Nations Communities.

Camille Desforges from the Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec said they want to see disability needs looked at with all future policies, and that the federal government should leverage funding that supports public and private agencies by having an accessibility criteria attached to all transfers.

Bill Adair, representing FALA, said all people employed by the public sector must engage in an education program, and that the legislation should be expanded to include landed immigrants and other who do not hold Canadian citizenship. He also added that he wanted to see all standards and regulations implemented within 5 years, and that communications needs to be added to the list of targeted barriers.

MP Barlow asked why the groups had suggested 5 year timelines. Mr. Falconer said the experience in Manitoba is that the government has dragged its feet, and said the longer it goes on, the less likely it is that the legislation will be taken seriously.

MP Hardcastle asked if the legislation should stipulate staff and other supporting roles surrounding the board be designated persons with disabilities. Ms. Desforges said the board and committees have to be comprised by persons with disabilities with protected positions for Quebec.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA)

Committee Meeting October 25, 2018

8:00am – 10:00am

Witnesses included:

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance: David Lepofsky, Chair, Faith Cameletti, Student, Osgoode Hall Law School and Connor Campbell, Student, Osgoode Hall Law School

Canadian Hard of Hearing Association: Christopher Sutton, National Executive Director

CNIB Foundation: Angela Bonfanti, Vice-President, Ontario and Quebec and Robbi Weldon, Program Lead, Peer Support and Leisure

Canadian Association of the Deaf: Frank Folino, President and James Roots, Executive Director

Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission: David Arnot, Chief Commissioner

David Lepofsky, from the AODA Act Alliance, said Bill C-81 is strong on good intentions but weak on enforcement. He urged the members of the committee not to think of the political expediency of today in their review of the Bill. He said the bill splinters the creation of standards across four agencies, creating a formula for a weak bill, confusion, and delay. He said the government’s response of a “no wrong door” policy does not solve the substantial problem once you are inside the door. He also said that to ensure this law makes a difference on day one, the government must ensure that wherever federal money is spent, it can’t be used to create new barriers.

Christopher Sutton from the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association said the bill needs timelines and additional funds provided to organizations who service persons with disabilities. He said the public sector agencies under the proposed legislation should lead with an example of a culture of inclusion and equality.

Angela Bonfanti from CNIB Foundation said there is fear amongst Canadians with sight loss that a splintering effect will make enforcement of this legislation more onerous for Canadians with disabilities She said CNIB urges the government to broaden the scope of Bill C-81 by mandating the government to procure accessible materials, technologies, and services. She said all future policies and legislation need to be viewed with a disability lens.

Frank Folino from the Canadian Association of the Deaf said he wanted to see the bill recognize ASL and LSQ as official languages of deaf people in Canada. He said he wanted to see timelines up to 5 years for development and implementation, and that communication should be added as a barrier. He also called for a single point of access to oversee complaints, financial support available to assist complainants with legal fees, and minimum representation of 2/3 persons with disabilities on CASDO.

David Arnot said there is a strong business case for greater accessibility, and a demographic urgency for it. He said the Bill needed a consistent rubric for evaluating accessibility.

MP Finley asked Mr. Lepofksy about the two-tier exemption system that currently allows public agencies easier access to exemptions than the regulated private sector. Mr. Lepofsky said it is not a one size fits all rule, where timelines will vary depending on the size and scope of the agency. He said there are no good accessibility standards in Canada from which the committee can draw.

MP Hardcastle asked who should be overseeing enforcement of standards. Mr. Lepofsky said all enforcement should be done by the accessibility commissioner, and that accessibility commissioner should be report to the publicly accountable Cabinet.

MP Hogg asked about exemptions, and the criteria the witnesses would like to see for obtaining exemptions. Mr. Lepfosky said that the way it is written now, the government can give a carte blanche exemption. He said there should be tiny, narrow, and time limited appeals process with strict, narrow criteria. Ms. Bonfanti echoed that, saying exemptions that are granted need to be revisited because exemptions should not be granted forever.

MP Diotte asked for some examples of the challenges the witnesses face as persons with disabilities. Mr. Felino and Mr. Roots said sign language interpreting services aren’t readily available for things like job interviews, and that government departments are unaware that it is their duty to provide them. Mr. Roots described trouble voting in the municipal election last week because of a lack of awareness.

MP Long asked what the government could do to improve voting procedures for Canadians with disabilities. Mr. Arnot said there is no argument for undue hardship when it comes to voting, as Canadians with disabilities are trying to exercise a fundamental right.

MP long also asked about the makeup of CASDO. Mr. Fellino said the board would need a minimum of 2/3 persons with disabilities because often a 50% +1 model leads to persons with disabilities being further marginalized and pushed away, allowing non-disabled people to take over and outvote them.

Please share with staff you would be interested.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact myself or Alice Clark.

Additional support memo – November 1 Bill C81

November 1, 2018

Hon. Carla Qualtrough

Minister of Public Services,

Procurement & Accessibility

HUMA Committee

 

Dear Minister Qualtrough and HUMA Committee Members:

 

21 new Organizations of and for Canadians with Disabilities have joined the original signatories to our October 30, 2018 Open letter.  The letter, as you will recall, urges you and your colleagues on the HUMA Committee to carefully consider the nine key areas of concern briefly outlined in that correspondence.  Madame Minister and HUMA Committee Members, we are encouraged by this swift increase in support to our call and hope it helps make clear the importance that our community attaches to these concerns.  Below please find a listing of these organizations for your information.

  1. Canadian Centre on Disability Studies
  2. SPH Planning and Consulting Ltd.
  3. The Law, Disability & Social Change Project
  4. Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities
  5. Canadian Epilepsy Alliance/ L’Alliance canadienne de l’épilepsie 
  6. National Coalition of People who use Guide and Service Dogs in Canada
  7. Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO)
  8. Nova Scotia Association for Community Living
  9. Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunity 
  10. National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
  11. Disability Alliance of British Columbia 
  12. Disability Positive 
  13. Coalition of Persons with Disabilities (NL)
  14. Realize / Réalise
  15. Calgary Ability Network Human Rights
  16. Muscular Dystrophy Canada
  17. Down Syndrome Association of Ontario
  18. Southern Alberta Individualized Planning Association
  19. Gateway Association (Edmonton)
  20. Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians Toronto Chapter
  21. BALANCE for Blind Adults

2018-10-29 – Finley Stands Up to Make Parliament Accessible to All Canadians

NEWS RELEASE

Finley Stands Up to Make Parliament Accessible to All Canadians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 29, 2018

Ottawa, ON – Today, the Honourable Diane Finley, MP for Haldimand-Norfolk, challenged the Liberal government to end their discrimination against people with visual impairments by seeking unanimous consent to table a second enlarged petition that was previously rejected due to its size. “Quite simply, I’m fighting to make sure that all Canadians have equal opportunity to express their opinions to Parliament. The current rules are just plain wrong: they discriminate against those with visual impairments, and that’s what I am trying to fix,” said Finley.

Last October, MP Finley attempted to table a petition that was enlarged by Reverend Paul Sherwood of Simcoe, Ontario so that his elderly parishioners could see it well enough to read it. The petition was rejected because it wasn’t “on paper of the usual size.” In response, MP Finley sought and received the unanimous support of her fellow Members in the House of Commons, and eventually got the petition accepted.

To keep this from happening to others, Finley asked the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to permanently change the paper size rule that prevents people with visual impairments from participating in Canada’s democracy and was given assurances that it would be “dealt with soon”. After nearly a year of inaction, MP Finley has brought awareness to the issue again by tabling a petition on enlarged paper signed by almost 200 MPs and Senators, each with some form of visual impairment.

“Right now, we are debating the Liberal Government’s accessibility Bill, which makes this issue extremely relevant. Ironically, it’s Liberal MPs on Committee who are preventing this from being fixed, and it was also Liberal MPs who refused to sign the new petition when I invited them to do so. That’s why I’m so pleased that they allowed me to table the second petition today. I hope that now they will allow the official rules to be changed soon. Nowhere else in Canada are there such insensitive and unreasonable rules for everyday citizens to speak their mind to government.”

– 30 –

Additional Material

Original Point of Order

http://www.dianefinley.ca/finley-fights-for-the-visually-impaired/

Contact

Thomas DeGroot

Office of the Hon. Diane Finley

diane.finley.a2@parl.gc.ca

Office: 613-996-4974

Cell: 613-301-6352

Yes Supporters relating to Our Principles vs. the Accessible Canada Act Draft Legislation

[category supporters]

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 Benard
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
Eremg Branstad
Rosemarie Panetta
Christine Karcza
Kimber Bialik
Dave Ostrander
Jessica Tiefenbach
Kelly Campbell
Liana Whitehead
Michelle Grodecki
Neil Faba
Patricia Spicer
Melony Lund
Sierra Lund
Stacey Lund
Debbie Windsor
Herman Witlox
Wade Watts
Donna DoRego Vital
Donna Johnston
Udayan Sen
Judy Donaghey
Maxwell baillie
Stephanie Armstrong
Tabassum Chagani

Barrier Free Canada’s speaking notes for October 18 2018

Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières is a grass roots non-partisan organization. We were founded in late 2014 and we were instrumental in kick starting the campaign for the Canadian Government to pass Legislation to enact a Canadians with disabilities Act for a Barrier free Canada.

At the present time, we are supported by over 25 National organizations across Canada, we have been endorsed by the cities of Toronto and Halifax,  and individual support continues to grow steadily with a present base of about two thousand persons.

We continue to advocate for legislation to make Canada a barrier free country and as part of our initiative, we have developed 14 principles which we believe can help to form the foundation of said legislation.

http://barrierfreecanada.org/home/

Appendix A contains a comparison of our Principles vs. the Accessible Canada Act Draft Legislation.  However, for brevity I will highlight what the proposed legislation does not include in each of our principles.

Barrier Free Canada is grateful for having been given this opportunity to have our voice heard.

We believe that when this Act is passed it will go down in history as one of the most important pieces of Legislation as it pertains to the rights of Canadians with disabilities, to their friends and to their families and we look forward to continued collaboration with the Government on this very important piece of Legislation.

Points to be covered

Barrier Free Canada principle 1

  • Principle not endorsed
  • No meaningful deadlines or time horizons are specified by the legislation.
  • Even if a deadline were established in a regulation, there is nothing in the legislation that prescribes a penalty for failing to meet such a deadline.

Barrier free Canada principle 2

  • Principle partly endorsed
  • The legislation does appear to cover all persons with disabilities
  • The legislation does appear to address the range of barriers anticipated in this principle
  • The legislation does appear to apply to the federal government and regulated entities and organizations
  • The legislation does not appear to extend requirements to organizations that receive federal grants, subsidies, loans or other funds
  • The legislation does not appear to extend requirements to organizations which provide goods and services to the federal government.

Barrier free Canada principle 3

  • In principle, the legislation as drafted is not intended to override or displace any existing protections or mechanisms for enforcement that are available to people with disabilities
  • Given that the regulations have not yet been developed, it is not possible to assess at this time whether the Act is stronger or weaker than existing provisions

Barrier free Canada principle 4

  • The Act does not really aim for full accessibility or inclusion. It strives to achieve “through the progressive realization … of a Canada without barriers”.  Progressive realization does not imply any particular deadline or meter stick against which progress is to be measured.

Barrier Free Canada principle 5

  • To the extent that regulated entities provide goods and services in this manner, the legislation does require that implementation plans be made to identify and remove barriers
  • It is not clear that the legislation could drive product development accessibility requirements (e.g. Shared Services information technology services)

Barrier free Canada principle 6

  • There are currently no prescribed timelines, but this is otherwise included in the Act

Barrier free Canada principle 7

  • The legislation does not clearly demonstrate how Canada will take a ‘lead role’ in implementation
  • Taking that ‘lead role’ could begin today: Canada should not wait for the legislation or regulations to be finalized before taking proactive steps toward implementation within its own departments. Canada should be seen as leading the charge.

Barrier free Canada principle 8

  • The Act does provide for another complaint resolution process outside of the traditional court venues
  • The Act does not appear to include any mandatory enforcement provisions. The accessibility commissioner has broad enforcement powers, but those powers “may” be used – not “shall”. 

Barrier free Canada principle 9

  • The Act does provide some sector-by-sector separations (at least in respect of a few designated sectors)
  • It is not clear how input from affected groups and organizations will be gathered or consolidated. There is a suggestion in the Act (but not a hard rule) that a majority of the board of directors of the standards-setting body will be people with disabilities, but absolutely no requirement that persons with disabilities will dominate on the technical and advisory committees

Barrier free Canada principle 10

  • These issues do not appear to be addressed by the legislation at all.

Barrier free Canada principle 11

  • These issues do not appear to be addressed by the legislation at all.
  • Certainly, there is no mention in the legislation of applying a disability lens to policy and legislative development.

Barrier free Canada principle 12

  • These issues do not appear to be addressed by the legislation at all.

Barrier free Canada principle 13

  • This may be happening at a policy level, but there is no direct reflection of it in the federal legislation.

Barrier free Canada principle 14

  • The degree to which the act is ‘permissive’ but not ‘mandatory’ undermines its potential to have ‘real force, effect and teeth’.

Government Must Lead By Example

Government of Canada Digital services for public and internal websites, systems, tools and services must:

  • Meet Government of Canada standards: Currently level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) as a minimum
  • Strive to meet current level AAA of the WCAG: Currently 1
  • Monitor and review Departments and Agencies for accessibility compliance
  • Send annual compliance Report to Parliament
  • Include people with disabilities in user research and user testing
  • Ensure funding is available to ensure these standards are in place in the shortest time line for all Departments and Agencies

Appendix A

PRINCIPLES FOR THE CANADIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

1. The Canadians with Disabilities Act’s purpose is to achieve a barrier-free Canada for persons with disabilities by a deadline that the Act will set, and that will be within as short a time as is reasonably possible, with implementation to begin immediately upon proclamation, to effectively ensure to all persons with disabilities in Canada the equal opportunity to fully and meaningfully participate in all aspects of life in Canada based on their individual merit.

Principle not endorsed

  • No meaningful deadlines or time horizons are specified by the legislation.
  • Even if a deadline were established in a regulation, there is nothing in the legislation that prescribes a penalty for failing to meet such a deadline.

2. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should apply to all persons with disabilities whether they have a physical, mental sensory, learning and/or intellectual disability or mental health condition, or are regarded as having one, whether their condition is episodic or permanent, and whether their disability is visible or invisible to others. It should apply to all accessibility barriers, for example physical, legal, bureaucratic, information, communication, attitudinal, technological, policy or other barriers. It should apply to the Parliament of Canada as well as to all federal government entities, federally-owned public premises and facilities, federally-regulated companies and organizations, recipients of federal grants, subsidies, loans or other funds, and any other persons or organizations to whom the Government of Canada can apply it.

Principle partly endorsed

  • The legislation does appear to cover all persons with disabilities
  • The legislation does appear to address the range of barriers anticipated in this principle
  • The legislation does appear to apply to the federal government and regulated entities and organizations
  • The legislation does not appear to extend requirements to organizations that receive federal grants, subsidies, loans or other funds
  • The legislation does not appear to extend requirements to organizations which provide goods and services to the federal government.

3. The Canadians with Disabilities Act’s requirements should supersede all other legislation, regulations or policies which provide lesser protections and entitlements to persons with disabilities. The Act and regulations made under it should not take away any rights that Canadians with disabilities now enjoy;

  • In principle, the legislation as drafted is not intended to override or displace any existing protections or mechanisms for enforcement that are available to people with disabilities
  • Given that the regulations have not yet been developed, it is not possible to assess at this time whether the Act is stronger or weaker than existing provisions

4. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require Canada, including organizations to whom it applies, to be made fully accessible to all persons with disabilities through the removal of existing barriers and the prevention of the creation of new barriers, within strict time frames to be prescribed in the legislation or regulations;

  • The Act does not really aim for full accessibility or inclusion. It strives to achieve “through the progressive realization … of a Canada without barriers”.  Progressive realization does not imply any particular deadline or meter stick against which progress is to be measured.

5. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require providers of goods, services and facilities to whom the Act applies to ensure that their goods, services and facilities are fully usable by persons with disabilities, and that they are designed based on principles of universal design, to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities. Providers of these goods, services and facilities should be required to devise and implement detailed plans to remove existing barriers and to prevent new barriers within legislated timetables;

  • To the extent that regulated entities provide goods and services in this manner, the legislation does require that implementation plans be made to identify and remove barriers
  • It is not clear that the legislation could drive product development accessibility requirements (e.g. Shared Services information technology services)

6. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require organizations to whom it applies to take proactive steps to achieve barrier-free workplaces and employment within prescribed time limits. Among other things, those employers should be required to identify existing employment and workplace barriers which impede persons with disabilities, and then to devise and implement plans for the removal of these barriers, and for the prevention of new workplace and employment barriers;

  • There are currently no prescribed timelines, but this is otherwise included in the Act

7. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require the Government of Canada to lead Canada to achieving the Act’s goals. It should specify actions the Government of Canada must take to fulfil this mandate. Among other things, it should require the Government of Canada to provide education and other information resources to organizations, individuals and groups who need to comply with the Act. It should also require the Government of Canada to appoint an independent person to periodically review and publicly report on progress towards full accessibility, and to make recommendations on any actions needed to achieve the Act’s goals;

  • The legislation does not clearly demonstrate how Canada will take a ‘lead role’ in implementation
  • Taking that ‘lead role’ could begin today: Canada should not wait for the legislation or regulations to be finalized before taking proactive steps toward implementation within its own departments. Canada should be seen as leading the charge.

8. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should provide for a prompt, independent and effective process for enforcement, and should require that the Act be effectively enforced. This should include, among other things, an effective avenue for persons with disabilities to raise with enforcement officials violations of the Act that they have encountered. It should not simply incorporate the existing procedures for filing discrimination complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission or under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as these are too slow and cumbersome, and can yield inadequate remedies;

  • The Act does provide for another complaint resolution process outside of the traditional court venues
  • The Act does not appear to include any mandatory enforcement provisions. The accessibility commissioner has broad enforcement powers, but those powers “may” be used – not “shall”. 

9. As part of its requirement that the Government of Canada lead Canada to the goal of full accessibility for Canadians with disabilities, the Act should require the Government of Canada to make regulations needed to define with clarity the steps required for compliance with the Canadians with Disabilities Act. It should be open for such regulations to be made on an industry-by-industry or sector-by-sector basis. This should include a requirement that input be obtained from affected groups such as persons with disabilities and obligated organizations, before such regulations are enacted. It should also provide persons with disabilities with the opportunity to apply to have regulations made in specific sectors of the economy to which the Act can apply. The Act should require the Government of Canada to make all the accessibility standards regulations needed to ensure that its goals are achieved, and that these regulations be independently reviewed for sufficiency every four years after they were enacted;

  • The Act does provide some sector-by-sector separations (at least in respect of a few designated sectors)
  • It is not at all clear how input from affected groups and organizations will be gathered or consolidated. There is a suggestion in the Act (but not a hard rule) that a majority of the board of directors of the standards-setting body will be people with disabilities, but absolutely no requirement that persons with disabilities will dominate on the technical and advisory committees

10. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require that the Government of Canada ensure that no public money is used to create or perpetuate barriers against persons with disabilities. For example, all federal departments, agencies, and crown corporations should be required to make it a strict condition of funding any program, or any capital or other infrastructure project, or of any transfer payment, subsidy, loan, grant (such as research grants) or other payment of public funds, that no such funds may be used to create or perpetuate barriers against persons with disabilities.  They should also be required to make it a condition of any procurement of any services, goods or facilities, that these be designed to be fully accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. Any grant (including for example, research grant), loan, subsidy , contract or other such payment which does not so provide is void and unenforceable by the grant-recipient or contractor with the department, agency, or crown corporation in question. The Government of Canada should be required to monitor and enforce these requirements and to periodically report to the public on compliance.

  • These issues do not appear to be addressed by the legislation at all.

11. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require the Government of Canada to review all federal legislation and regulations to identify possible accessibility barriers that they may impose or permit, and to propose omnibus legislation within a specified time to address these barriers. It should require the Government of Canada to review all future proposed legislation and regulations, before they are enacted, to certify and ensure that they do not create, perpetuate or allow for accessibility barriers in them or in activity or programs operated under them. As an immediate priority under these activities, the Government of Canada should get input from voters with disabilities on accessibility barriers in election campaigns and the voting process, and should develop reforms to remove and prevent such barriers.

  • These issues do not appear to be addressed by the legislation at all.
  • Certainly, there is no mention in the legislation of applying a disability lens to policy and legislative development.

12. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should set as a national policy the fostering of international trade aimed at better meeting the market of up to one billion persons with disabilities around the world.

  • These issues do not appear to be addressed by the legislation at all.

13. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require the Government of Canada to encourage all provincial governments to pass disability accessibility legislation to help ensure that barriers impeding persons with disabilities are removed and prevented throughout Canada and to convene a federal/provincial conference to that end, which will include representatives of persons with disabilities across Canada.

  • This may be happening at a policy level, but there is no direct reflection of it in the federal legislation.

14. The Canadians with Disabilities Act must be more than mere window dressing. It should contribute meaningfully to the improvement of the position of persons with disabilities in Canada. It must have real force, effect and teeth.

  • The degree to which the act is ‘permissive’ but not ‘mandatory’ undermines its potential to have ‘real force, effect and teeth’.

http://barrierfreecanada.org/home/

Barrier Free Canada

For a list of our Yes Supporters, please click here.

Barrier Free Canada applauds the tabling of the Accessible Canada Act by the Minister of Science, Sport, and Persons with Disabilities

OTTAWA (June 22, 2018) – Barrier Free Canada/Canada sans barrières (BFC/CSB) is celebrating the introduction on Wednesday of the long-awaited federal accessibility legislation, the Accessible Canada Act. It is hoped that the legislation will help to make accessibility and inclusion a priority for all federally-regulated and federally-funded organizations.

Over the past several years, BFC/CSB and a myriad of other charitable and not-for-profit organizations have worked tirelessly holding consultations, conducting research, and preparing recommendations and advisory reports to inform the content of this federal legislation.

“Wednesday was a momentous day,” said Donna Jodhan, President and founder of BFC/CSB. “Canadians with disabilities have long dreamt of the day when accessibility and inclusion in government services would be clearly mandated, and we are now one step closer to that full inclusion.” 

In 2010, Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), pledging to address the exclusion and accessibility barriers that people with disabilities face in Canada. The introduction of this legislation is a tangible step toward making this a lived reality for Canadians with disabilities.

Legislation exists to protect the rights of Canadians with disabilities within the federal sector, such as the Canadian Human Rights Code, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the UNCRPD itself. But as Anthony Tibbs, Treasurer of BFC/CSB and a lawyer with Merchant Law Group explained, “These tools are reactive and provide remediation for people whose rights have been denied – but only if the person is willing or able to fight through a court process. What Canada needs, and what we hope this legislation will offer, are proactive standards (and meaningful oversight) to prevent the discrimination from happening and take the enforcement obligation off the backs of the people who are meant to be protected.”

Jodhan added, “A few years ago I was forced to take the federal government to Court because government web sites and online services were needlessly inaccessible to me as a person who is blind. I hope that federal legislation mandating accessibility will avoid anyone else having to repeat that adventure in the future.”

BFC/CSB will be reviewing the proposed law in detail in preparation for hearings anticipated to be held after parliament returns by the committees tasked with reviewing the legislation.

BFC/CSB is a non-partisan not-for-profit organization that has been advocating for legislation to ensure accessibility and inclusion for Canadians with disabilities at both the federal and provincial levels for more than five years.

# # #

For more information, write to info@barrierfreecanada.org or call Anthony Tibbs (514-248-7777).

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
Eremg Branstad
Rosemarie Panetta
Christine Karcza
Kimber Bialik
Dave Ostrander
Jessica Tiefenbach
Kelly Campbell
Liana Whitehead
Michelle Grodecki
Neil Faba
Patricia Spicer
Melony Lund
Sierra Lund
Stacey Lund