Conclusion: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada
For too long, there have been barriers that block persons with disabilities from working and thriving in Canada’s public service. It’s time for a culture change. We can build a better Canada by including the knowledge and expertise of persons with disabilities in all aspects of our work.
This strategy sets out how the public service can identify, prevent and remove physical, systemic and cultural obstacles to participation of persons with disabilities. The strategy was created through extensive consultations and in dialogue with thousands of Canadians, including public servants with disabilities, in the spirit of “nothing about us without us.” From those critical exchanges, the goal of creating a framework with concrete actions to effect meaningful change was forged.
This strategy aims to create an environment where persons with disabilities can flourish. When persons with disabilities in the public service can focus on their work and their service to Canadians, instead of combatting the systems and structures that keep them marginalized, we all benefit. This strategy also signals that embracing diversity also means including the voices of persons with disability.
Improving the public service begins today with this strategy, but the work to achieve true accessibility and full inclusion must be an everyday project, with a commitment from across the public service. Persons with disabilities must not carry the load of their own inclusion. This work has to be done by everyone.
The proposed Accessible Canada Act has the potential to greatly improve the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities across the country, in all communities. Through this strategy, the Government of Canada is showing that it intends to lead by example, establishing accessibility as a critical lens through which the public service will operate and conduct all future work.
Of course, the strategy is only a starting point. Just as it was born in consultation, so will it evolve. Reports on the progress of achieving the strategy’s outcomes, including obstacles or setbacks, will be completed regularly and transparently, including feedback from persons with disabilities. The strategy will require a review in 2021 based on:
- an updated picture of the state of accessibility
- the regulations implemented or proposed by the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization
Imagine a Canada where everyone can contribute at their full potential and live and work meaningfully without fighting for the right simply to do so. The public service of Canada hopes to lead the way by weaving accessibility into all that we do, all that we build, the way that we work, and the way that we communicate with Canadians. The public service should reflect Canada in its service to the country, and that includes persons with disabilities.
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