Major step toward a barrier-free Canada with coming into force of Accessible Canada Regulations
December 22, 2021 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
When everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in society from the start, we will all benefit as a country. That is why the Government of Canada is taking concrete steps towards a barrier-free Canada.
Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced a major milestone with the implementation of the Accessible Canada Regulations.
The regulations, published today in Part II of the Canada Gazette, require federally regulated organizations to report to the public on their policies and practices to identify and remove existing barriers. These regulations apply to organizations such as federal departments, agencies, parliamentary entities, Crown corporations and federally regulated private sector entities.
Through the Accessible Canada Regulations, key areas such as federal facilities, information technology, transportation and the design and delivery of programs will be more accessible to Canadians with disabilities. This builds on the Government of Canada’s commitment to working closely with disability stakeholders to create communities, workplaces and services that are inclusive and enable everyone to participate fully in society.
The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) is part of building a Canada without barriers by 2040. In addition to the ACA and these new regulations, the Government of Canada is developing the first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan, which will include a new Canada Disability Benefit, improved processes for eligibility for Government disability programs and benefits, and a robust employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities. These strong measures will help create a more inclusive Canada.
“The regulations announced today are just one way the Government is taking steps towards a more inclusive Canada in the spirit of ‘Nothing Without Us’. Canadians with disabilities have the right to fully participate in a society that is free of barriers whether it be in their workplace or in accessing services within their communities. Through the Accessible Canada Act and the Canada’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan, the Government is working closely with persons with disabilities to achieve a fully inclusive and accessible Canada.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
One in five Canadians aged 15 and over—or about 6.2 million persons—are reported as having a disability.
The Accessible Canada Act (ACA), which is based on human rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, reinforces disability rights in Canada by helping to ensure greater access and opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Through a proactive and systemic approach, the Act helps identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility in key areas within the federal jurisdiction including employment, the built environment, information and communication technologies (ICT), communication other than ICT, the procurement of goods, services and facilities, the design and delivery of programs and services and transportation.
The ACA became law in July 2019. It requires that federally regulated entities prepare and publish accessibility plans and progress reports, and establish a process for receiving and dealing with feedback on accessibility. The Accessible Canada Regulations outline these requirements in greater detail and establish a framework for administrative monetary penalties for potential violations.
An Accessibility Commissioner, within the Canadian Human Rights Commission, will be responsible for enforcement of the Regulations and the associated provisions of the ACA. A process to appoint the Accessibility Commissioner is underway.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Acting Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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