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

Table of contents

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

Summary of Recent Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


News coverage

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

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

Jonathan Charlton, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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

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

Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen

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

What are you trying to accomplish with this legislation?

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

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

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

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What sort of situation would the legislation prevent?

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

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

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

jcharlton@postmedia.com

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

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


From around the country

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rob Sleath

On behalf of the Barrier-Free BC Steering Committee


Question for consideration

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

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

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

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


Next steps

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


We need your feedback

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

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


Contact info

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

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

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

Visit us at www.barrierfreecanada.org

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

Follow us on Twitter @barrierfreeca

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

Signed,

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

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

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

A list of our supporting organizations is listed below.

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

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