The Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières June 2016 newsletter

Table of contents

  1. Government of Canada Announces Nation-wide Public Consultations on What to Include in the Promised Canadians with Disabilities Act
  2. June 22, 2016 Government of Canada News Release
  3. June 22, 2016 Statement by Canada Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough
  4. Excerpt from the May 6, 2016 Speech by Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough to the Canadian Vision Teachers Conference

Government of Canada Announces Nation-wide Public Consultations on What to Include in the Promised Canadians with Disabilities Act

On June 22, 2016, the Government of Canada made a major announcement, launching its public consultation on what to include in the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act. The consultation will run from September 2016 to February 2017, and will include federally-sponsored public forums across Canada.

We will keep you posted on the dates and times of public consultations once they are announced. We will also develop and circulate an Action Kit for taking part in those public consultations later this year.

The Federal Government has also invited community organizations to submit proposals for receiving federal funding to take part in these public consultations, and to help bring together people with disabilities to share their views. Barrier-Free Canada will not itself be applying to the Federal Government for any of this funding. We are not incorporated and do not have any capacity for this.

However, community organizations like Barrier-Free Canada can “partner” with other organizations that apply for these federal grants, to offer to support their activities. In fact, we are allowed to partner with as many grant applicants as we wish. We shall be doing so, and sharing our advice on how to make this consultation as inclusive, open and accessible as possible.

In this public consultation process over the next months, Barrier-Free Canada will focus on the following:

  • Working towards presenting the Federal Government with a common message from the disability perspective on what the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act should include;
  • Helping get as many people with disabilities involved in taking part in the Federal Government’s public consultation on the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act, and
  • Helping spread the word to the public, to politicians and to the media of what a strong, effective Canadians with Disabilities Act needs to include.

It is exciting that our message has hit an international stage. From June 14 to 16, 2016, the United Nations hosted its annual Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New York. At a side-event panel hosted by Beit Issie Shapiro, an Israeli non-government organization that provides services to children and adults with disabilities, and consults with countries around the world, David Lepofsky, co-chair of Barrier- Free Canada and chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, spoke as an invited panelist, about what national accessibility legislation needs to include. The United Nations has posted a link to watch this panel online, but did not include captioning even though the event itself had live captioning. We strongly urge the UN to caption this video.

We’d love to hear from you, on what you would like the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act to include. Barrier-Free Canada’s supporters endorse 14 principles for the contents of the Canadians with Disabilities Act. We encourage you to read Barrier-Free Canada’s 14 principles for the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act.

To help people across Canada come up with their thoughts on this topic, Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David Lepofsky has written a detailed Discussion Paper on what the Canadians with Disabilities Act could include. It draws on experience in Ontario and Manitoba with accessibility laws, on experience across Canada with human rights legislation, and on experience in this area around the world. Down load it. Read it. Send us your ideas. Email us your ideas by writing us at info@barrierfreecanada.org

To keep up to date on what the Federal Government announces on this issue, here’s what you can do:

  • On Twitter follow @Barrierfreeca and Follow @AccessibleGC and search on the hashtags (search terms) #CanadiansWithDisabilitiesAct and/or h;ª__
  • On the web, visit the Federal Government at www.Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada and Barrier-Free Canada at www.barrierfreecanada.org
  • On Facebook, please like Barrier-Free Canada and share our posts at www.facebook.com/barrierfreeca

Below we set out:

  • The Federal Government’s June 22, 2016 news release;
  • The June 22, 2016 public statement by Canada’s Disabilities Minister, Carla Qualtrough, who will lead the development of the Canadians with Disabilities Act, and
  • An excerpt on the Canadians with Disabilities Act from Minister Qualtrough’s May 6, 2016 speech in Vancouver to the Canadian Vision Teachers conference.

June 22, 2016 Government of Canada News Release

What does an Accessible Canada mean to you? Government of Canada launches consultation on planned new accessibility legislation

June 22, 2016
Ottawa, Ontario
Employment and Social Development Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to eliminating systemic barriers and delivering equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities.

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities announced the launch of a national consultation process to inform the development of planned legislation that will transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility.

Minister Qualtrough highlighted the critical importance of accessibility and affirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to ensuring all Canadians are able to participate equally in their communities and workplaces. She outlined that many Canadians continue to face barriers that affect their ability to participate in daily activities that most people take for granted. Barriers could include:

  • physical, architectural and electronic barriers that impact the ability of people with disabilities to move freely in the built environment, to use public transportation or to access information or use technology;
  • attitudes, beliefs and misconceptions that some people may have about people with disabilities and what they can and cannot do; and
  • outdated policies and practices that do not take into account the varying abilities and disabilities that people may have.

The Government of Canada is seeking input for this planned legislation, including:

  • feedback on the overall goal and approach;
  • to whom would apply;
  • what accessibility issues and barriers it could address;
  • how it could be monitored and enforced; and
  • what else the Government of Canada could do to improve accessibility.

Canadians from around the country have already begun sharing their views on what an accessible Canada means to them. Minister Qualtrough encouraged all Canadians to have their say in the consultation process, either by attending an in-person engagement session or by participating in the online consultation which will be launched in the coming weeks. In-person consultations, including roundtables and town halls, will start in September across Canada. Canadians are also encouraged to follow @AccessibleGC on Twitter, Accessible Canada on Facebook and to follow the #AccessibleCanada hashtag. The consultation process will run until February 2017.

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada has launched a consultation process that will be open until February 2017. Canadians are encouraged to participate in the consultation by visiting Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada. 
  • Approximately 14% of Canadians aged 15 years or older reported having a disability that limited them in their daily activities. There are approximately 411,600 working-aged Canadians with disabilities who are not working but whose disability does not prevent them from doing so; almost half of these potential workers are post-secondary graduates.
  • Many Canadians with disabilities and functional limitations face challenges that other Canadians do not in accessing buildings and services from the Government of Canada and organizations within federal jurisdiction. For example, between 2011 and 2015, disability-related complaints represented just over half of all the discrimination complaints received by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Of these, at least six percent touched on issues of accessibility in service delivery.
  • More broadly, an analysis of data from the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability found that, approximately 2.1 million Canadians aged 15 years or older are at risk of facing barriers in the built environment and/or in relation to information and communications.
  • The Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) provides funding for projects in Canadian communities and workplaces to help improve accessibility. Since the creation of the EAF, the Government of Canada has funded over 2,300 projects, helping thousands of Canadians gain access to their communities’ programs, services and workplaces. The program has an annual budget of $15 million. Budget 2016 committed to providing an additional $4 million over two years, starting in 2016-17. A Call for proposals is presently open until Tuesday, July 26th.
  • Bill C-11 An Act to Amend the Copyright Act will make changes to the Copyright Act to ensure that it is fully in line with the Marrakesh Treaty and to enable Canada to accede to the treaty. This treaty aims to bring the global community together to better address the universal challenge of ensuring timely access to, and wider availability of, alternate- format published materials for those with print disabilities.

Quote

“We have made considerable progress in making our society more inclusive, but there is still work to do. Canadians with disabilities continue to face barriers in their daily lives. What does an accessible Canada mean to you? Please take the time to participate in our online consultation or to attend one of our public sessions in person. Together, we will make history.”

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

– 30 –

Associated Links

Accessibility Legislation

Enabling Accessibility Fund

Marrakesh Treaty

#AccessibleCanada

Contacts

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

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

Backgrounder

Consultation to Inform Planned Accessibility Legislation

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

The consultation process will be open from June 2016 until February 2017. Starting in July, Canadians will be able to participate in the online consultation by completing a questionnaire, replying to questions, or by submitting videos in the language of their choice (English, French, American Sign Language or Langue du signe du Quebec). Canadians can also participate through telephone, mail, email fax or telephone. Starting in September, in-person public consultations are planned to take place in the following cities:

  • St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • Moncton, New Brunswick
  • Québec City, Quebec
  • Montréal, Quebec
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • Iqaluit, Nunavut
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
  • Whitehorse, Yukon.

As well, Minister Qualtrough is planning a number of more focused roundtable discussions with key stakeholders, as well as a National Youth Forum that will engage youth with disabilities to engage in the policy discussion.

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

Enabling Accessibility Fund

The Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) was originally announced as a three-year, $45-million program to support community-based projects across Canada. It was then renewed for another three years prior to being renewed on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to continue to improve accessibility for Canadians with disabilities. Since its creation, the EAF has funded over 2,300 projects.

The EAF offers up to $50,000 in funding. Project costs will be shared between the recipient and government. Contributions equal to or greater than 35 percent of the total eligible costs of the project must be provided by sources other than the federal government (which can include the applicant’s own organization). This call for proposals will close on July 26, 2016.

For more information about how to submit proposals, please visit: Canada.ca/accessibility-fund

The Marrakesh Treaty

The Government of Canada is providing $2 million in funding this year to CNIB through the Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability component to continue to support CNIB in its production of alternate format published materials for people with print disabilities. People with print disabilities include those with visual impairments, people with impairments which affect reading comprehension (such as learning disabilities), and people who are unable to hold or turn the pages of a book.

The Disability Component of the Social Development Partnerships Program supports projects intended to improve the participation and integration of people with disabilities in all aspects of Canadian society. More specifically, the Program supports not-for-profit organizations across Canada in tackling barriers faced by people with disabilities with respect to social inclusion.


June 22, 2016 Statement by Canada Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough

Originally posted at http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/consultations/disability/legislation/index.page

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

In Canada we’ve made considerable progress in making our society more inclusive. We see this throughout our communities. But there is still work to do.

Canadians with disabilities continue to face barriers in their daily lives. Persistent gaps remain in areas such as employment, income and social inclusion.

As Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, I have been asked to lead a consultation process that will inform the development of new accessibility legislation.

Canadians with disabilities, their families, and the organizations that represent them have been integral to many of the advancements Canada has made in accessibility. To draw on this knowledge and experience, as well as that of businesses, community organizations and government partners, the Government of Canada is conducting consultations to gather input on options for the new legislation.

We have a long road ahead, but this is a big step in helping to ensure our communities become more inclusive for all Canadians.

What does an Accessible Canada mean to you? Please take the time to participate in our online consultation or attend one of our in-person public sessions.

Together, we will make history.


Excerpt from the May 6, 2016 Speech by Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough to the Canadian Vision Teachers Conference

When the Prime Minister gave me responsibility for my two life’s passions, he told me to go out and change the world. I take this responsibility very seriously.

Federal Accessibility Legislation

As Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities – my main priority is to lead an engagement process on federal accessibility legislation.

The goal of the legislation will be to increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians in society – and promote equality of opportunity by improving accessibility and removing barriers in areas of federal jurisdiction.

To help reach this goal, our Budget 2016 announced $2 million over two years to support the full participation of Canadians with disabilities in this process.

This is an enormous undertaking – and it will be the first of its kind in the country.

There’s a significant legislative gap in Canada around accessibility and inclusion. While we have very strong anti-discrimination laws, you have to wait until somebody’s discriminated against in order to help them.

What we need to do is create a legislative tool that helps us avoid discrimination and exclusion from the beginning.

This kind of legislation will be transformational if we do it right.

That’s why we will consult with provinces – territories – municipalities – stakeholders and Canadians of all abilities.

Together, we will make history.

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