Of the Canadian population 22% of people 15 years old identify as having a disability, that’s almost 6.2 million people. (according to a 2017 Canadian Study on Disability).
The House of Commons passing of Bill-C-81: The Accessible Canada Act. has helped put forth new accessibility standards to make for a more inclusive country. Although this bill has not yet been passed by the Senate, it includes promising proposals to make Canada a more accessible country for person(s) with disabilities. Widespread consultation and surveying of Canadians with disabilities helped produce the new act with a goal of eliminating discrimination and bringing down accessibility barriers to Canadians with disabilities and their families. While there were some key amendments proposed by the disability community were not included, there is a basis for moving forward.
The main areas the act covers includes the following:
- Built environments
- Information and communication technologies
- Procurement of goods and services
- Delivering programs and services
Compliance of the new legislation would be required by Parliament, the Government of Canada, federal regulated private sector (transportation, broadcasting, telecommunications, and banking/financial), and the Canadian Forces and RCMP.
As stated by the Government of Canada, “These standards would set out how organizations can identify, remove, and prevent barriers. The accessibility standards would only create legal obligations for organizations when they are made into regulations by the Government of Canada.”
The Bill still needs to be approved by the Senate, however we can all be excited for further developments and improvements in the accessibility space to make Canada a more inclusive country for everyone.
Update: Bill C-81was passed by Parliament on June 21, 2019.