The Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to create a barrier-free Canada with the implementation of the Accessible Canada Act, which will help remove barriers, and increase access and opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, highlighted the publication of the first-ever proposed Accessible Canada Regulations under the Accessible Canada Act in the Canada Gazette (Part I). These proposed regulations were drafted following consultations with key disability stakeholders and federally regulated entities.
These proposed regulations would establish a foundation for federally regulated entities to incorporate accessibility measures into their operations. The organizations would be required to develop and publish accessibility plans and progress reports, and establish feedback processes, in order to identify and remove existing barriers to persons with disabilities, as well as prevent future barriers within their organizations. The proposed regulations would also establish a framework for administrative monetary penalties should federally regulated entities fail to comply.
To further advance the Government’s goal of a barrier-free Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency is also proposing Accessible Transportation Planning and Reporting Regulations in Canada Gazette (Part 1). These proposed regulations would implement planning and reporting requirements for transportation service providers in the federal transportation network.
In line with the “Nothing without us” principle of the Accessible Canada Act, and recognizing the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians will have 65 days from February 13, 2021, the date of publication in the Canada Gazette, to review and comment on both sets of proposed regulations. This is more than twice the usual consultation period of 30 days and will allow for meaningful contributions from Canadians. The Government of Canada is also hosting technical briefings with stakeholders on the Accessible Canada Regulations over the coming weeks, to facilitate participation in the regulatory process.
“The publication of proposed regulations under the Accessible Canada Act is putting into action our commitment to create a barrier-free Canada. These regulations are important and will embed accessibility into the work that we do. The Government looks forward to receiving feedback and comments from the disability community, federally regulated entities, and all Canadians on the proposed regulations, as their voices and engagement are essential to the successful implementation of the Act. Together, we can achieve a fully inclusive and accessible Canada.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
The Accessible Canada Act came into force on July 11, 2019. It includes seven priority areas where federally regulated entities should focus their efforts to identify, remove and prevent barriers: the design and delivery of programs and services; employment; the built environment; information and communications technologies; the procurement of goods, services and facilities; communication; and transportation.
Federally regulated entities include:
- Government of Canada’s departments and agencies
- Crown corporations, such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada Post and Via Rail
- the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- the Canadian Forces
- the federally regulated private sector
Transportation service providers include companies that operate planes, ferries, trains and buses that travel long distances, as well as terminals, such as airports, ferry terminals, train and bus stations, and ports where cruise ships dock.
The Government of Canada has worked and will continue to work closely with disability organizations, stakeholders, the federally regulated private sector, federal government entities and Indigenous organizations to increase accessibility and build a more inclusive society – towards the realization of a barrier-free Canada by 2040.
First Nations Band Councils have an additional five years to implement the proposed Accessible Canada Regulations. This additional time will allow for consultations and meaningful engagement with the Government of Canada.
The Government of Canada remains committed to a disability inclusive approach during the pandemic and beyond. The proposed regulations support this commitment as expressed in the latest Speech from the Throne. The Government of Canada will develop the first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan, which includes a new Canadian Disability Benefit, improved processes for eligibility for federal disability programs and benefits, and a robust employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities.