Foreword: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Message from the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

As the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, I am delighted to join the President of the Treasury Board in presenting the Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada during this year’s National AccessAbility Week. It is a very timely announcement given that this week is dedicated to promoting accessibility, diversity and inclusion, and to celebrating the many contributions of Canadians with disabilities, their families and their communities.

Since 2015, our government has worked to remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion so that more Canadians have a chance to succeed. We led the most inclusive and accessible consultation with persons with disabilities and with the disability community, as we developed the first-ever proposed Accessible Canada Act. Through these consultations, we heard from more than 6,000 Canadians from across the country about what an accessible Canada means to them. Time and again, we heard from Canadians who expect their government to lead by example when it comes to accessibility. This informed the development of Bill C-81: An Act to Ensure a Barrier-Free Canada (the Accessible Canada Act), which was introduced in the House of Commons in June 2018 and is expected to receive royal assent by the end of the current parliamentary session.

The tabling of the Accessible Canada Act signals one of the most significant advances in federal disability rights legislation in over 30 years, and proposes a new model in which persons with disabilities will no longer be relied upon to identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility. Instead, the federal government will establish new proactive mechanisms to address accessibility systemically, from the start. Once it becomes law, the Accessible Canada Act will significantly transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility and will enhance the full and equal participation of every Canadian. The Accessibility Strategy of the Public Service of Canada is an important step in enabling the Government of Canada to show leadership by setting and meeting high standards of accessibility in its policies, programs and services to all Canadians.

Message from the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

Diversity is Canada’s strength and the Government of Canada is fully embracing a public service that reflects everything this country has to offer. As the President of Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, I am very happy that this National AccessAbility Week we are able to present the Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada.

The Government of Canada is committed to being an accessible employer and service provider, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because an inclusive public service is more innovative, efficient and productive. The goal of this strategy is to ensure we have a public service where everyone can contribute and succeed to their full potential. To that end, the government has set a goal of hiring no less than 5,000 persons with disabilities by 2025. And we will ensure that these new recruits, as well as our current employees, are properly supported in the workplace.

A Centralized Enabling Workplace Fund, supported by an investment of $10 million over 5 years, will be used to assist projects that improve workplace accessibility in the public service of Canada.

Message from the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet

It is with great pride that I express my support for the Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada (the strategy). With over 260,000 employees, the Public Service of Canada aims to serve as a model for what an inclusive and accessible employer can and should be. The strategy provides a strong framework to better serve Canadians and create workspaces where all employees can contribute to their full potential.

The objectives of the strategy fully align with our new vision for public service renewal: Beyond2020. Building on the success of Blueprint 2020, Beyond2020 aims to adapt our thinking and behaviours to become more agile, inclusive, and better equipped. The Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada supports our efforts to create an inclusive environment where public servants are equipped with the tools to succeed now and into the future.

In creating an inclusive and accessible workplace, each and every public servant shares a responsibility to embody the spirit of the strategy. I encourage all public servants to show their support by following through on the actions identified in the Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada.

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