The disability community has been advocating for a federal accessibility law for decades. On June 20, the Government of Canada finally tabled Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act. If passed, this bill could go a long way in reducing barriers facing people with disabilities.
Unfortunately, the bill only applies to areas within the power of the federal government, such as:
broadcasting and telecommunications
travel between provinces by plane, train, bus or ferry
Québec Accessible participated in the consultations held in Quebec and Montreal. We observed a strong interest on behalf of people with disabilities and their allies.
Topics discussed included employment discrimination, barriers in public transit, recognition of LSQ and ASL as official languages, the shortage of services to ensure that people with disabilities and their families live with dignity, and differences in levels of accessibility across cities, regions, provinces and territories.
The majority of the issues raised during the consultations directly or indirectly touched on areas within provincial jurisdiction. However, the new federal legislation will only address areas within the federal jurisdiction. Once again, this shows the need for a strong provincial law in Quebec law to address barriers and ableism (discrimination based on disability). If you share this opinion, add your name to the list of individuals and / or organizations calling for a stronger provincial accessibility law.
An accessible Canada isn’t possible without an accessible Quebec!
Canada ratified the CRPD in 2010, but it hasn’t yet ratified the Optional Protocol. Essentially, this Protocol would allow Canadian organizations and citizens to file a complaint with the UN if their rights aren’t respected. Canada, the provinces and the territories will therefore have a new incentive to create an accessible and inclusive society!
The Government of Canada has launched a public consultation about the proposed federal accessibility law. This law will promote equal opportunities and increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians with disabilities.
Individuals are invited to share their ideas and experiences about the barriers they face. For more information about the consultation , click here.
To complete the government’s survey , click here .
Let’s all share our experiences to ensure that the new federal law addresses our needs!