In late 2014, Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières was founded in response to a belief by a small group of individuals that the time had come for Canadians with disabilities to start lobbying the Federal Government to enact legislation for an Accessible Canada Act. It was strongly felt by those around the table that the time was just right to embark on such a campaign because of an upcoming Federal Election to be held in October 2015. These individuals formed an informal steering committee and were quickly able to enlist the support of three of the four federal political parties, including the Liberal Party of Canada, who won the 2015 federal elections and went on to promise and eventually pass the Accessible Canada Act in June 2019. Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières worked tirelessly to support the passage of this Act. In early 2015, we developed 14 core principles that were adopted in part by the Government of Canada as part of the content of its legislation. Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières also managed to secure the support of thousands of Canadians from coast to coast, the mayors of the cities of Toronto and Halifax, along with over 25 national organizations of and for Canadians with disabilities.
The work, however, is far from complete. While the legislation is an important step in the right direction, effective and timely implementation and enforcement will be fundamental to realizing real and notable improvements in the day-to-day barriers facing Canadians with disabilities. We look forward to continuing to work with our friends and partners to engage governments and the private sector to ensure that Canada realizes the goal of being a world leader in accessibility. Ongoing collaboration, consultation and communication will be critical to proactively and systemically identifying, removing and preventing further barriers to accessibility. We will continue to ensure that the voices of individual Canadians with disabilities are heard, acknowledged, and recognized.