Government of Canada shares what we learned by asking ‘What does an accessible Canada mean to you?'

News Release

Canadians’ answers will shape new planned federal accessibility legislation.

May 29, 2017             Gatineau, Quebec               Employment and Social Development Canada

Thanks to the participation of thousands of Canadians, we are one step closer to a truly accessible Canada.

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, released a report entitled, “Creating new national accessibility legislation: What we learned from Canadians.” The report summarizes the input received following Canada-wide consultations to inform the development of new planned federal accessibility legislation.

Over 6,000 people participated, both online and in-person, in the largest and most accessible consultation process on disability in Canada in the past 20 years. These consultations included 18 public meetings and 9 thematic roundtables where Canadians from across the country shared their personal stories and their challenges, successes, hopes and aspirations for a more inclusive society.

The report summarizes what the Government of Canada learned from consulting with Canadians, experts, stakeholders and community organizations, and provides valuable insight on the barriers that Canadians with disabilities face in their daily lives.

There is emerging consensus from participants in the consultation about what the new legislation should look like and the role of the Government of Canada, namely: 

  • The legislation should lead to the development of detailed standards for federal organizations on how to improve accessibility, while also supporting them in removing barriers for their employees and customers;

  • The legislation should include strong compliance and enforcement mechanisms;

    It’s understood that new legislation alone cannot remove all barriers and there is recognition that complementary supports and programs will be necessary to create new opportunities to ensure participation for persons with disabilities and to help change the way people think about accessibility; and

  • The Government of Canada should be a leader, both in its own practices and in supporting organizations to be successful, and also set ambitious goals with clear and measurable targets. 

The report is being released today as part of National AccessAbility Week, a week to celebrate, highlight and promote inclusion and accessibility in communities and workplaces across the country.


“Canadians from across our country joined together to tell us about their vision of an accessible Canada. The time to create new legislation to improve accessibility for all Canadians with disabilities is now. The journey is far from over, but we are one step closer to ensuring all Canadians have the opportunity to succeed right from the start. I would like to thank all that have shared stories and helped us learn about daily challenges faced and the changes that will help us to build a more inclusive Canada.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada held consultations between July 2016 and February 2017.

  • Between 2011 and 2015, disability-related complaints represented just over half of all the discrimination complaints received by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

  • According to the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD), approximately 14% of Canadians aged 15 years or older reported having a disability that limited them in their daily activities. There are approximately 411,600 working-aged Canadians with disabilities who are not working but whose disability does not prevent them from doing so; almost half of these potential workers are post-secondary graduates.

  • An analysis of data from the 2012 CSD found that, approximately 2.1 million Canadians aged 15 years or older are at risk of facing barriers in the built environment and/or in relation to information and communications.

Related Products

Associated Links


Ashley Michnowski
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
819-934-1122 / TTY: 1-866-702-6967

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
Follow us on Twitter

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: