Minister Khera welcomes first Annual Report from Canada’s Chief Accessibility Officer

News release

February 15, 2024              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

Accessibility is a key component of communities that thrive and an economy that grows. Since the significant milestone of passing the Accessible Canada Act, the Government of Canada has been fully engaged in creating a barrier-free country and ensuring the full participation of all Canadians in society, particularly persons with disabilities. The Government of Canada continues to engage the disability community in the spirit of “Nothing Without Us” on the actions needed to advance disability inclusion and accessibility across the country. 

Today, in the House of Commons, the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, Kamal Khera, tabled the first Annual Report from Canada’s Chief Accessibility Officer (CAO), Stephanie Cadieux. This marks a historic step forward for the Government’s implementation of the Accessible Canada Act, as the report is a mandated requirement to highlight progress made under the Act and bring attention to persistent accessibility issues.

In her report, entitled “Everyone’s Business – Accessibility in Canada,” Ms. Cadieux sets out a call to action that aims to help Canada reach its goal of building a country without barriers—one where 6.2 million Canadians with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of society. The CAO has placed special focus on four areas where collective and harmonized efforts are needed to advance accessibility, including mandatory training, regulations, dedicated accessibility funding, and the collection of meaningful data to support decision making.

In welcoming the report, Minister Khera highlighted Government progress under the Accessible Canada Act, as well as federal initiatives that will help support improvements in the areas noted by the CAO, including:

These actions build upon the important work the Government has been doing on accessibility and disability inclusion since 2015, but there is much more to be done. Making Canada inclusive, and free of physical and attitudinal barriers is a collective responsibility that extends beyond government involvement; it's a commitment that benefits us all.

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“This first Annual Report from the Chief Accessibility Officer is a milestone moment for the Government of Canada and our implementation of the Accessible Canada Act. I would like to thank Stephanie Cadieux for the dedicated work she is doing as an advocate for diversity, accessibility, and disability inclusion, and I look forward to continuing to work with her to improve the lives of all Canadians with disabilities. As we forge ahead, our Government will keep on championing meaningful change through strong policies by partnering with the community and demonstrating our unwavering commitment to inclusivity and equal opportunities for all Canadians.”

–       Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, Kamal Khera

“The purpose of the Accessible Canada Act is to create a barrier-free Canada by 2040. This report recognizes that while some barriers will take longer to remove, the time to take action is now. Change is long overdue, and for people with disabilities, waiting many even one more day seems like too long. Getting to 2040 is going to take sustained effort and funding. Organizations need to give accessibility the time and dedicated resources required for it to become an integral part of the way they operate. I’m going to keep championing and challenging on these issues and others and am inviting everyone to do the same.”

–       Chief Accessibility Officer, Stephanie Cadieux

Quick facts

  • According to the most recent Canadian Survey on Disability (2017), nearly 917,000 working-age Canadians with disabilities (23%) live in poverty, which is twice as likely as working-age people without disabilities. Persons with severe disabilities (28%) and very severe disabilities (34%) are particularly vulnerable and experience a high rate of poverty.

  • Stephanie Cadieux was appointed as Canada’s first Chief Accessibility Officer in May 2022. She serves as an independent, special advisor to the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities on systemic or emerging accessibility issues, and she reports on outcomes achieved under the Accessible Canada Act.

  • The Accessible Canada Act received royal assent on June 21, 2019, and came into force on July 11, 2019. It was developed following inclusive and accessible federal consultations with the disability community. More than 100 accessibility organizations and 6,000 Canadians shared their views and ideas about an accessible Canada.

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Laurent de Casanove
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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