Canada 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.
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.