Table of contents

  1. Summary for the month of February
  2. Next steps
  3. Contact info

Summary for the month of February

Dear supporter:

We again want to thank you for your continuing support of BFC-CSB and we encourage you to keep pushing this very worthwhile initiative. Remember now! Our common objective is to have a Canadians with disabilities Act passed in time for our 150th birthday on July 01 2017.

On January 12, 2016, Barrier-Free Canada wrote the new federal Minister responsible for People with Disabilities, Carla Qualtrough. We set that letter out below. In our letter, we congratulated her on her appointment to this ground-breaking new ministerial position, and on Prime Minister Trudeau’s appointing her to lead the development of the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act.

Our letter also gave Minister Qualtrough a series of detailed recommendations on how to conduct her consultations as she develops the Canadians with Disabilities Act. These recommendations are designed to ensure that her consultations are open, accessible, inclusive and prompt. They build on past grassroots experience at the provincial level with public consultations on accessibility legislation.

In January we added a new group to the BFC-CSB family; a very dynamic group from the Province of Quebec and on February 01 we held a face to face meeting with them.

This group is made up of very dynamic advocates headed by Laurence Parent and she has already hit the ground running having given presentations across Montreal for January and previously. These have included:

An Urgent Call for Disability Law Reform in Quebec
January 30, 2016 – McGill University, Faculty of Law, Conference: “In the Streets and In the Courts”

Promouvoir l’accessibilité à l’aide d’une nouvelle loi
January 20, 2016 – Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec (COPHAN)

Promouvoir l’accessibilité à l’aide de la loi
December 2, 2015 – Semaine citoyenneté et handicap, UQAM

Disability Rights in Quebec
November 3, 2015 – Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians

Deaf and Disability Rights in Quebec
October 26, 2015 – MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre, CHIP Conference

Improving Accessibility in Quebec: A Call for Legislative Reform
May 30, 2015 – Concordia University, Québec Accessible Conference

You can also listen to an interview given by Melanie Benard at

For January and February we continued to build our grassroots support by attracting supporters from universities and colleges across Ontario. This has gone extremely well with our co-chair David Lepofsky spearheading this initiative.

There appears to be strong evidence that the new Canadian Government has started to make good on its promise to enact a Canadians with disabilities act. Here is what has been shared with us.

Reference: “Work with the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, as well as with provinces, territories and stakeholders, to develop a National Disabilities Act to eliminate systemic barriers and deliver equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities.”

Here is the link to the mandate letter to Minister Duclos:

Unofficial sources tell us that the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Canada Revenue Agency have already started to initiate special divisions within their departments to deal with issues on accessibility.

Our social media efforts continued to garner support and we thank those of you who continue to strengthen our initiative with your tweets, shares, likes, and comments on Facebook.

In addition to the province of Quebec, Barrier-Free Canada now has these official Affiliate Organizations in three provinces:

  • In Ontario, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance leads the campaign for effective enforcement and implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005.
  • In Manitoba, Barrier-Free Manitoba led the campaign for the enactment of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act 2013, and now leads the campaign to get it effectively implemented.
  • In British Columbia, the brand-new Barrier-Free BC leads the campaign to get the BC Legislature to enact the British Columbians with Disabilities Act.

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 10
Penny Leclair
President, Guide Dog Users of Canada (GDUC)

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

We are seeking your input as we develop our brief which we are hoping to share with you in the coming weeks. If you have any ideas or suggestions that you would like to share then please send them to

We would also like to urge you to communicate with your MPs and help to educate them on the barriers that we face as Canadians with disabilities and to encourage them to help us lobby for a Canadians with disabilities Act.

Help us to spread the word by telling your friends, family, and associates.

Remember now; every voice counts and yours is as important as everyone else’s.

Contact info

To contact us, please send an email to

To keep abreast of our updates visit

Visit us at
Follow us on Twitter @barrierfreeca
And like us on Facebook at


You may also write to any of our affiliates chosen from the list below.


Yours sincerely
Leo Bissonnette; admin support

On behalf of
Donna Jodhan founder and co-chair
David Lepofsky co-chair, Robert Pearson, Steven Christianson, Marc Workman, Jutta Treviranus (Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières steering committee)

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