Goal of a barrier-free Canada moves closer with the appointment of the Chief Accessibility Officer
April 4, 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
Through the implementation of the Accessible Canada Act, the Government of Canada continues to make important progress toward creating a barrier-free Canada, where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive and participate.
Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould, announced the appointment of Stephanie Cadieux as the first Chief Accessibility Officer (CAO) for a term of four years. This appointment will support the Government’s efforts to prevent and remove barriers to accessibility, and to increase opportunities for persons with disabilities to contribute to their communities and workplaces.
Serving as a special advisor to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the CAO will provide advice on wide-ranging accessibility issues, and will monitor and report on progress made under the Accessible Canada Act. The CAO will provide an annual report to the Minister detailing outcomes achieved under the Act, as well as systemic and emerging accessibility issues. The Office of the CAO will be established as a trusted source of information on accessibility, with the CAO being responsible for promoting a positive and productive dialogue between the federal government, disability stakeholders, national and international organizations.
As a change leader and an advocate for diversity, accessibility and disability inclusion, Stephanie Cadieux has more than 15 years of experience in planning and leadership roles. An elected member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, a role she will retain until her four year appointment as CAO begins on May 2, 2022, Cadieux is a member of the disability community, using a wheelchair since the age of 18. Her lived experience has given her a deep understanding of the accessibility issues faced by persons with disabilities.
“Stephanie Cadieux’s wealth of experience will be a tremendous asset to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. With her support, the Government of Canada will continue to build an inclusive and barrier-free Canada where persons with disabilities have the right to greater equity in society, and to play a greater role in the economy.”
– Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould
According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, there are 6.2 million Canadians aged 15 and older who have a disability. More than 1 in 10 youth in Canada have one or more disabilities.
The Accessible Canada Act came into force on July 11, 2019.
The Act includes seven priority areas: employment; the built environment; communication; information and communication technologies; the procurement of goods, services and facilities; the design and delivery of programs and services; and transportation.
To help meet the Act’s objective of realizing a barrier-free Canada by 2040, the Government is developing a Disability Inclusion Action Plan. It will also focus on reducing poverty among Canadians with disabilities, getting more persons with disabilities into good quality jobs, making it easier for persons with disabilities to access federal programs and services, and fostering a culture of inclusion.
The Chief Accessibility Officer was appointed through the Governor in Council (GIC) process. The Government is committed to open, transparent and merit-based processes for selecting GIC appointees, who play a fundamental role in Canadian democracy.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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