Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
News Release For Immediate Release
Federal Government Announces Its Intent to Introduce Into Parliament, As Early As This Week, “An Act to Ensure a Barrier-Free Canada” – Will History Be Made This Week?
June 19, 2018 Toronto: In a major step forward in the national grassroots campaign to make Canada become accessible to four million people with disabilities in this country, the Trudeau Government just gave formal notice that as early as this week, it plans to introduce into Parliament a new law. This law was promised in the 2015 federal election at the request of Canadians with disabilities, to ensure that Canada becomes fully accessible to four million people with disabilities.
This is an exciting moment for the many who have campaigned for this legislation. Parliament’s “Order Paper” now includes:
“Introduction of Government Bills
June 18, 2018 — The Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities — Bill entitled “An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada”.
(Pursuant to Standing Order 79(2))
Her Excellency the Governor General recommends to the House of Commons the appropriation of public revenue under the circumstances, in the manner and for the purposes set out in a measure entitled “An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada”.”
This technical Parliamentary step does not guarantee that the Trudeau Liberals will in fact introduce their bill into Parliament this week. It just opens the door to let them do so, starting tomorrow. In a broadcast email to the community (including the AODA Alliance) which is set out below, Minister Kirsty Duncan wrote:
“This signals our intention to introduce the legislation in the House of Commons as early as this week.”
Last fall, the Federal Government committed to introduce this bill this spring. The AODA Alliance has been running a daily Twitter countdown on the days left to keep this promise. There are now only two days left in this spring. follow @aodaalliance and @davidlepofsky
In the 2015 federal election, Canadians with disabilities pressed the federal parties to promise to enact a national accessibility law to tear down the many barriers that still impede people with disabilities from getting a job, using public services and enjoying all that life has to offer. They urged Canada’s Parliament to pass strong legislation to do what it can within federal power. That includes the accessibility of the services of the Federal Government, air travel, banking, telecommunications and the like.
Disability advocates also called on the Federal Government to ensure that this legislation does what it can to remove and prevent barriers in the provincial sphere. For example, when the Federal Government gives money to a province or city to build public transit, hospitals or other infrastructure, it should impose strong federal accessibility requirements to ensure that public money is never used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities.
A recent widely-viewed AODA Alliance online video exposed how public money too often is used to create new barriers against people with disabilities. This video shows serious accessibility problems in new and recently renovated Toronto area public transit stations.
4 minute version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrk5jRYpmfA&feature=youtu.be
16 minute version: https://youtu.be/za1UptZq82o
30 minute version: https://youtu.be/2VZLGGfFg1g
“With rumours swirling that Parliament may rise this week for the summer, it is essential that this bill be introduced for first reading before the summer break,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance, a grassroots community coalition that advocates for accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. “Justin Trudeau promised in the 2015 federal election that his Government would pass national accessibility legislation. If this bill is to get passed before the 2019 federal election, we need to get this bill before Parliament now!”
The detailed contents of this forthcoming bill are not yet public. It is encouraging that the title of this law is “An Act to Ensure a Barrier-Free Canada.” Provincial accessibility legislation was passed in Ontario in 2005, in Manitoba in 2013 and in Nova Scotia in 2017. Legislation is needed at both the federal and provincial levels to ensure that all barriers impeding people with disabilities are removed and that new ones are never again created.
The AODA Alliance is on high alert status. The moment we learn that a bill is introduced, we will get the word out. We will analyze the bill as fast as we can, and provide public feedback on what we learn about its contents. Stay tuned for further news releases, and follow @aodaalliance on Twitter. We recommend that news organizations track the hashtag #AccessibleCanada
Links to Key Background Information
To read the Federal Liberal Party’s 2015 election pledge to enact a national accessibility law, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/new2015/federal-liberal-party-promises-to-introduce-canadians-with-disabilities-act-time-for-federal-conservatives-and-bloc-quebecois-to-make-the-same-promise/
To watch the August 22, 2017 online policy experts’ conference on what the promised national accessibility legislation should include, moderated by AODA Alliance chair David Lepofsky and hosted by the Alliance for an Accessible and Inclusive Canada, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94PEEbhI4TU
To read the Federal Government’s 2017 report on its public consultation on what the promised national accessibility law should include, and the AODA Alliance’s analysis of that report, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/the-federal-government-releases-report-of-its-public-consultation-on-what-the-promised-canadians-with-disabilities-act-should-include-lots-of-good-content-but-some-areas-where-the-federal-re/
To get a copy of the Discussion Paper on what the promised national accessibility law should include, written by AODA Alliance chair David Lepofsky, send a request to email@example.com
Text of June 19, 2018 Broadcast Email from the Federal Government
As you know, as Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, I was mandated by the Prime Minister to develop and introduce accessibility legislation.
I am pleased to inform you that today, our government has placed the “An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada” on the Notice Paper. This signals our intention to introduce the legislation in the House of Commons as early as this week. Once the legislation has been introduced, you will be invited to participate in a technical briefing on the legislation that will be provided by officials by teleconference. Further information on the scheduling of the teleconference will be provided to you as soon as possible. At that time, officials will also confirm any specific accessibility needs you have for participation in the teleconference.
Thank you for your ongoing support for the development of this historic legislation. Together, we can help to create a truly accessible Canada.
The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Science and Minister of Sport
and Persons with Disabilities