“What does an accessible Canada mean to you?” Government of Canada asks
On May 29, the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Carla Qualtrough, released a report “Creating new national accessibility legislation: What we learned from Canadians.” The report describes the input from over 6,000 Canadians consulted to inform the development of a new planned federal accessibility legislation.
The participants were involved, both online and in person, with the largest and most accessible consultation process on disability in Canada for the last 20 years, including 18 public meetings and 9 roundtables where people shared their personal stories and challenges, successes, hopes and aspirations for a more inclusive Canadian society.
The official report is a summary of what the Government of Canada learned from the times with consulting with Canadians, experts, stakeholders and community organizations. To put it shortly, this report has valuable insight on the countless barriers that Canadians with disabilities face in their daily lives.
From the report, we can at least conclude that:
- The legislation should lead to the development of detailed standards for federal organizations on how to improve accessibility, while supporting them in removing barriers for employees and customers
- The legislation should have strong compliance and enforcement practices
- It’s understood that the new legislation cannot alone remove every single barrier and that complementary supports and programs are necessary to create new opportunities to ensure participation for disabled people and to help change peoples’ views and attitudes about accessibility
- The Canadian Government should be a leader, both in its practices and in supporting organizations, and to set goals with clear & measurable goals.
The report is being released as a part of the National AccessAblity Week, celebrating, highlighting and promoting inclusion and accessibility in communities & workplaces across Canada.