Fact Sheet: Why Quebec Needs a New Accessibility Law

Quebec Accessible has created this fact sheet explaining why Quebec needs a new accessibility law. Use this information to convince political candidates and parties to commit to adopting a new law. Click here to download a Word version of this document.

  • Disability Rate 

Around 10% of Quebecers (i.e. more than 600 000 people) have a disability.[1] Disability rates are rapidly increasing with the aging population.

  • Definition

Disabilities include physical, sensory, cognitive, communicational and mental limitations. They can be visible, invisible, permanent, temporary or episodic.

  • Profile

People with disabilities have a worse socio-economic profile than people without disabilities. They have less education and are more likely to be unemployed. They also have lower incomes and are more likely to be members of households that live below the low-income cut-off.[2]

  • Barriers

These differences are caused by the countless barriers that people with disabilities face in their daily lives. Many buildings, technologies and services are inaccessible. People with disabilities also face negative attitudes and stereotypes. These barriers are disability discrimination, or “ableism”.

  • Current Legal Framework

The current legal framework is inefficient in eliminating barriers and fighting ableism. That’s why Quebec Accessible is calling for a stronger provincial accessibility law.

Charter of human rights and freedoms

People with disabilities’ right to equality is protected under the Quebec Charter of rights and freedoms.[3] When people with disabilities face barriers, they can file a complaint with Quebec’s human rights commission (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ). Disability discrimination is the most common cause of complaints at the commission.[4]

Act to secure handicapped persons in the exercise of their rights

The Act to secure handicapped persons in the exercise of their rights was adopted in 1978 and significantly amended in 2004.[5] This law lacks teeth. Unlike laws in other provinces and countries, it only applies to the public sector (ministries, government agencies and municipalities). It has no clear goals or penalties to ensure compliance.

  • Other Models

Ontario (2005), Manitoba (2013) and Nova Scotia (2017) have adopted stronger accessibility laws.

The federal government recently presented Bill C-81. The goal of this bill is to make Canada barrier-free for people with disabilities.

Other countries like France (2005) and the United States (1990) have also adopted strong accessibility laws.

These laws apply to both the public and private sectors. They include clear goals and penalties for non-compliance. Quebec can learn from these examples when developing its own accessibility law.

  • Political Commitments

The candidates in the provincial elections should commit to adopting a strong accessibility law within their first mandates. This law should be based on Quebec Accessible’s twelve principles.

 

JOIN US IN CALLING FOR A STRONGER PROVINCIAL ACCESSIBILITY LAW!

 *Founded in 2015, Quebec Accessible is a grassroots initiative advocating for a stronger provincial accessibility law.

 

 

[1] Olivier, Charles-Étienne (2017). Les personnes avec incapacité au Québec – Volume1 : Prévalence et caractéristiques de l’incapacité, Drummondville, Direction de l’évaluation et du soutien à la mise en œuvre de la Loi, Office des personnes handicapées du Québec, p. 3.

[2] Olivier, Charles-Étienne (2017). Les personnes avec incapacité au Québec – Volume2 : Caractéristiques sociodémographiques et économiques, Drummondville, Direction de l’évaluation et du soutien à la mise en œuvre de la Loi, Office des personnes handicapées du Québec, p. III.

[3] Charter of human rights and freedoms, C-12.

[4] For example, see: Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (2017). Rapport d’activités et de gestion 2016-2017, Montréal, Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, p. 56.

[5] Act to secure handicapped persons in the exercise of their rights with a view to achieving social, school and workplace integration, E-20.1.