Where departments should start: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

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Although the Accessible Canada Act provides a legal framework, regulations are required to operationalize requirements for the following:

According to the draft legislation, a regulation on reporting requirements (accessibility plans, feedback processes, progress reports) must be made within two years of the legislation coming into force. This process is expected to conclude in the 2020 to 2021 fiscal year. Subsequent processes will be conducted to make accessibility regulations in each of the priority areas.
Departments and agencies will be expected to:

In advance of the regulations, deputy ministers are encouraged to show leadership on accessibility by:

Nothing Without Us: An Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada identifies a number of actions that departments and agencies should undertake. Some of the actions will require guidance and tools from the Office of Public Service Accessibility and its partners within TBS and in other departments. However, deputy heads can and should take some actions immediately.

Nothing without us

In keeping with the “nothing without us” principle, departments should ensure that they are giving a voice to persons with disabilities by:

  • developing and maintaining a vibrant network of employees with disabilities
  • ensuring that concerns from employees with disabilities can be provided confidentially
  • developing and maintaining an external advisory committee, where appropriate

Assigning responsibility for accessibility

Improving accessibility confidence will require clear governance and accountability. As such, deputy heads should identify an executive lead to coordinate the department’s overall accessibility strategy.

Taking stock of the state of accessibility

Departments should take stock of the state of accessibility in their own department, notably by:

  • in consultation with employees with disabilities, identifying the principal barriers they face in their workplace, whether physical, architectural, technological or attitudinal, and developing a plan to remove them
  • identifying targets for recruitment and promotion of persons with disabilities with the aim of meeting or exceeding a target of 7% of employees who self-identify as persons with disabilities
  • examining accommodation processes with the aim of increasing the timeliness and quality of service, and to move to a yes-by-default approach
  • where appropriate, in consultation with clients with disabilities, identifying the principal barriers that persons with disabilities face in receiving services and developing a plan to remove those barriers
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