While the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) has been slowly rolled out in Ontario much of the rest of the country has been watching how it was managed, as other provinces look to improve accessibility throughout workplaces in their region.
Now Manitoba has committed to introducing accessibility legislation in this year, having accepted the recommendations of the Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council.
The recommendations that define critical elements essential to accessibility legislation include:
The process should develop clear and achievable goals.
Accessibility standards should affect both public and private sectors.
People with disabilities and other stakeholders, such as businesses and municipalities, should play a central role in the development of legislation standards.
Guarantees in human rights codes should not be affected.
A regular review of progress should take place.
The main goal of the new accessibility legislation would be to prevent barriers by working with public and private sectors on long-range plans to ensure accessibility, said Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard, adding there are more than 180,000 Manitobans who face such barriers.
"Education will be key to introducing the new legislation, to boost public awareness of the benefits of full accessibility and to create a clear understanding of the obligations individuals and organizations will have under standards established by the act," she said.
The government is also examining broader questions surrounding compliance with the new legislation such as inspections and penalties for non-compliance.
More information on the 43 recommendations of the Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council and the Manitoba government's response is available at www.gov.mb.ca/dio.