The Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières November 2015 newsletter

Table of contents

  1. Special request to our readers
  2. Summary for the month of November
  3. Next steps
  4. How you can support us
  5. Contact info

Happy December everyone. We begin by once again thanking all of our supporters for having helped to galvanize our initiative towards convincing our new government to enact a Canadians with Disabilities Act.

Every voice counts. Help us to spread the word in any way that you can! By word of mouth, via email, talking to friends, visiting your new Member of Parliament and through social media.

We welcome your comments and feedback. You can Email us any time at info@barrierfreecanada.org.


Special request to our readers

We encourage you to do the following.

  1. Continue your great work on social media; through Twitter and Facebook to spread the word to others to press for the Canadians with disabilities Act. Urge the Government to commit in the December 4, 2015 Throne speech for the Canadians with Disabilities Act to be enacted and in force by Canada’s 150th birthday, July 1, 2017.

  2. Write to your new MP asking them to do everything in their power to push for this goal. To be included in the December 4, 2015 Throne speech.

  3. Write to the new minister responsible for disabilities issues Carla Qualtrough asking her to do the same. Her email is carla@carlaq.ca and her tweet handle is @CQualtro

You can always email us at info@barrierfreecanada.org and we would be delighted to be of assistance.


Summary for November

This month began with the publication of a mandate letter from the Prime Minister’s Office for Minister Carla Qualtrough, the new Minister for People with Disabilities. A Mandate Letter is where the Prime Minister sets out a cabinet minister’s priorities. We are delighted that included in Minister Qualtro’s priorities is leading the development of the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act.

The following is the text of the letter.

MINISTER OF SPORT AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES MANDATE LETTER

Office of the Prime Minister

Dear Ms. Qualtrough:

I am honoured that you have agreed to serve Canadians as Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. In your role as Minister of Sport, you will support the Minister of Canadian Heritage. In your role as Minister of Persons with Disabilities, you will support the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

We have promised Canadians a government that will bring real change – in both what we do and how we do it. Canadians sent a clear message in this election, and our platform offered a new, ambitious plan for a strong and growing middle class. Canadians expect us to fulfill our commitments, and it is my expectation that you will do your part in delivering on those promises to Canadians.

We made a commitment to invest in growing our economy, strengthening the middle class, and helping those working hard to join it. We committed to provide more direct help to those who need it by giving less to those who do not. We committed to public investment as the best way to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity. We committed to a responsible, transparent fiscal plan for challenging economic times.

I expect Canadians to hold us accountable for delivering these commitments, and I expect all ministers to do their part – individually and collectively – to improve economic opportunity and security for Canadians.

It is my expectation that we will deliver real results and professional government to Canadians. To ensure that we have a strong focus on results, I will expect Cabinet committees and individual ministers to: track and report on the progress of our commitments; assess the effectiveness of our work; and align our resources with priorities, in order to get the results we want and Canadians deserve.

If we are to tackle the real challenges we face as a country – from a struggling middle class to the threat of climate change – Canadians need to have faith in their government’s honesty and willingness to listen. I expect that our work will be informed by performance measurement, evidence, and feedback from Canadians. We will direct our resources to those initiatives that are having the greatest, positive impact on the lives of Canadians, and that will allow us to meet our commitments to them. I expect you to report regularly on your progress toward fulfilling our commitments and to help develop effective measures that assess the impact of the organizations for which you are answerable.

I made a personal commitment to bring new leadership and a new tone to Ottawa. We made a commitment to Canadians to pursue our goals with a renewed sense of collaboration. Improved partnerships with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments are essential to deliver the real, positive change that we promised Canadians. No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

We have also committed to set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government. It is time to shine more light on government to ensure it remains focused on the people it serves. Government and its information should be open by default. If we want Canadians to trust their government, we need a government that trusts Canadians. It is important that we acknowledge mistakes when we make them. Canadians do not expect us to be perfect – they expect us to be honest, open, and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest.

Our platform guides our government. Over the course of our four-year mandate, I expect us to deliver on all of our commitments. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we fulfill our promises, while living within our fiscal plan. Other issues will arise or will be brought to our attention by Canadians, stakeholders, and the public service. It is my expectation that you will engage constructively and thoughtfully and add priorities to your agenda when appropriate.

As Minister, you will be held accountable for our commitment to bring a different style of leadership to government. This will include: close collaboration with your colleagues; meaningful engagement with Opposition Members of Parliament, Parliamentary Committees and the public service; constructive dialogue with Canadians, civil society, and stakeholders, including business, organized labour, the broader public sector, and the not-for-profit and charitable sectors; and identifying ways to find solutions and avoid escalating conflicts unnecessarily. As well, members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, are professionals who, by asking necessary questions, contribute in an important way to the democratic process. Your professionalism and engagement with them is essential.

Canadians expect us, in our work, to reflect the values we all embrace: inclusion, honesty, hard work, fiscal prudence, and generosity of spirit. We will be a government that governs for all Canadians, and I expect you, in your work, to bring Canadians together.

You are expected to do your part to fulfill our government’s commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure gender parity and that Indigenous Canadians and minority groups are better reflected in positions of leadership.

As Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, your overarching goal will be to promote healthier Canadians through sport and recreation, and to ensure greater accessibility and opportunities for Canadians with disabilities.

In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities:

Lead an engagement process with provinces, territories, municipalities, and stakeholders that will lead to the passage of a Canadians with Disabilities Act. In this work, you will be supported by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Work with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to deliver on our commitment to support the construction of recreational infrastructure that allows more children access to sport and recreation.

Work with the Minister of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada to support a national strategy to raise awareness for parents, coaches, and athletes on concussion treatment.

Work with the Minister of Canadian Heritage to include sport and recreation in championing government-wide efforts to promote the celebration of Canada 150, with a particular emphasis on celebrating the achievements of athletes and persons with disabilities.

Lead preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics and future international sporting events.

Create greater links between our elite athletes and young Canadians to promote health and achievement among youth.

These priorities draw heavily from our election platform commitments. The government’s agenda will be further articulated through Cabinet discussions and in the Speech from the Throne when Parliament opens.

I expect you to work closely with your Deputy Minister and his or her senior officials to ensure that the ongoing work of your department is undertaken in a professional manner and that decisions are made in the public interest. Your Deputy Minister will brief you on issues your department may be facing that may require decisions to be made quickly. It is my expectation that you will apply our values and principles to these decisions, so that issues facing your department are dealt with in a timely and responsible manner, and in a way that is consistent with the overall direction of our government.

Our ability, as a government, to successfully implement our platform depends on our ability to thoughtfully consider the professional, non-partisan advice of public servants. Each and every time a government employee comes to work, they do so in service to Canada, with a goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians. I expect you to establish a collaborative working relationship with your Deputy Minister, whose role, and the role of public servants under his or her direction, is to support you in the performance of your responsibilities.

In the coming weeks, the Privy Council Office (PCO) will be contacting you to set up a meeting with PCO officials, your Deputy Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office to further discuss your plans, commitments and priorities.

We have committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards, and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds. I expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do. When dealing with our Cabinet colleagues, Parliament, stakeholders, or the public, it is important that your behaviour and decisions meet Canadians’ well-founded expectations of our government. I want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust.

As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines. You will be provided with a copy of Open and Accountable Government to assist you as you undertake your responsibilities. I ask that you carefully read it and ensure that your staff does so as well.

I draw your attention in particular to the Ethical Guidelines set out in Annex A of that document, which apply to you and your staff. As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law. Please also review the areas of Open and Accountable Government that we have expanded or strengthened, including the guidance on non-partisan use of departmental communications resources and the new code of conduct for exempt staff.

I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you. In turn, please know that you can count on me to support you every day in your role as Minister.

I am deeply grateful to have this opportunity to serve with you as we build an even greater country. Together, we will work tirelessly to honour the trust Canadians have given us.

Yours sincerely,
[Prime Minister of Canada signature]
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada

We are delighted to report that Barrier-Free Canada now has official provincial affiliate organizations in fully three provinces. In British Columbia, our affiliate is the new Barrier-Free BC. Barrier-Free BC is advocating for the passage in B.C. of the British Columbians with Disabilities Act. It will also support our efforts for the Canadians with Disabilities Act.

In Manitoba our affiliate is Barrier-Free Manitoba. Barrier-Free Manitoba led the campaign that led to the enactment of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act in 2013. It leads the campaign to get that law effectively implemented.

In Ontario, our affiliate is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance. The AODA Alliance leads the campaign to get the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act effectively implemented.

You can contact our BC affiliate by writing to them at barrierfreebc@gmail.com 

You can contact our Manitoba affiliate by writing to them at barrierfreemanitoba@shaw.ca

You can contact our Ontario affiliate by writing to them at aodafeedback@gmail.com

The following is the text of the announcement from Barrier Free Manitoba:

Barrier-Free Manitoba is pleased to announce that we have just accepted the invitation to become Manitoba’s affiliate with Barrier-Free Canada.

Barrier-Free Canada/Canada sans Barrières (BFC/CSB) is spearheading the campaign to secure a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act (CDA) to achieve a barrier-free Canada for all persons with disabilities. The steering committee of BFC/CSB has drafted a set of principles concerning a CDA that are drawn from the principles that underpin the provincial disability legislation in Ontario and Manitoba.

A CDA is not meant to replace provincial disability legislation. It will complement such legislation and benefit Canadians living in provinces with and without provincial disability legislation.

The results from Barrier-Free Canada’s efforts are already apparent. The new federal Liberal government included the commitment to pass a CDA as part of its election platform.

Now forming the government, the new Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities has been directed by Prime Minister Trudeau to:

Lead an engagement process with provinces, territories, municipalities, and stakeholders that will lead to the passage of a Canadians with Disabilities Act.

Barrier-Free Manitoba is proud to be associated with such fine people doing outstanding work on this important issue and making remarkable progress.

Sincerely,

Patrick Falconer

Consultant to the Barrier-Free Manitoba Steering Committee

Email: barrierfreemanitoba@shaw.ca

Social media:
 twitter – https://twitter.com/barrierfreemb
 facebook – https://www.facebook.com/barrierfreemb

 

Letters from all of the supporting organizations are now posted to our website. Our five founding organizations are:
CNIB, March of Dimes, the MS Society of Canada, the Canadian Hearing Society, and Accessible Media Inc. A list of our supporting organizations is listed below along with the date on which they signed on.

April 02
Irene Lambert
(Past president, program director)
The Low Vision Self-Help Association
West Island, Montreal Quebec

June 01
Kim White, Manager of Strategic Initiatives
On behalf of Kelly White, Executive Director
The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities – NL

June 12
Louise Gillis
National President, Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

June 15
Dar Wournell
National President, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)

June 16
Shane Holten
President, SPH Planning & Consulting Limited

June 21
The Rick Hansen Foundation

June 22
Lucio D’Intino
President, Quebec Federation of the blind

June 26
Barbara Collier Reg. CASLPO. F. ISAAC
Executive Director, Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)

July 14
Karen Bell
Manager Policy & Stakeholder Relations
Community Living Toronto

July 21
Roxanna Spruyt Rocks
Chief Executive Officer
Deaf Blind Ontario Services

July 31
Jerry Dias
Unifor National President

September 11
Teren Clarke, BN, MM (Mgmt)
Chief Executive Officer
Spinal Cord Injury Alberta

September 13
Luke Anderson
StopGap Foundation

September 15
Pat Seed
Chair Person
Citizens with Disabilities Ontario

Sep 22
Teren Clarke CEO
Spinal Cord Injury Alberta

October 1
Dave Starrett, President and CEO
Easter Seals Canada

October 25
R. E. (Rob) Sleath
Chair, ASIC

November 19
Bill Cowie
Chief, Every Canadian Counts Coalition


Next steps

In early 2016 we will be publishing a draft of a policy paper and we will be asking for feedback and additional suggestions. We also hope to be able to tell you more about the type of support we would like our so-called swat team to assist us with.

In addition, we will continue our efforts to engage other provinces to join our campaign initiative and our provincial affiliates will be hard at work gathering support in their respective provinces.

If you would like to join our growing band of volunteers who have taken to social media to tweet and post to Facebook on our behalf, then please send us an email to info@barrierfreecanada.org and we will provide you with samples of tweets and twitter handles that you can include in your posts and tweets. You can also use our own Twitter handle as part of your tweet; @barrierfreeca

If you would like to become a part of our dynamic swat team where you will have a great chance to interact more closely with your fellow supporters than by all means! Send us an email to info@barrierfreecanada.org and we will respond letting you know how you can help.


How you can help us

You can help us in several ways. First visit us at www.barrierfreecanada.org and read our founding principles. Next visit our support us page and sign up as a supporter. You can also choose to have your name published on our website, receive updates such as these, or simply register your support by completing our online form.

If you represent an organization and you wish to register your organization’s support, you can send an email to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org and we will be delighted to acknowledge your support on our website.

We will even post your letter of support to our website if you give us permission and you will be able to see your letter of support by visiting http://barrierfreecanada.org/support/from-other-supporting-organizations/

You can also spread the message by word of mouth, write to or visit your MP, your MPP, and even write to your provincial Premier or provincial party leaders.


Contact info

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

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

Visit us at www.barrierfreecanada.org
Follow us on Twitter @barrierfreeca
And like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/barrierfreeca

Yours sincerely
Donna J. Jodhan
Founder and co-chair; Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières

On behalf of
David Lepofsky co-chair, Robert Pearson, Steven Christianson, Marc Workman, Jutta Treviranus (Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières steering committee)
Leo Bissonnette; admin support

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