Discussion Paper- A Canadians with Disabilities Act

*Posted on behalf of Barrier Free Canada

We are delighted to share with you a new Discussion Paper on what the
Canadians with Disabilities Act, promised to Canadians by Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau, should include. This Discussion Paper draws on experience
with accessibility laws in Ontario and Manitoba, and elsewhere around the
world. It is built on the 14 principles for the Canadians with Disabilities
Act which Barrier-Free Canada has put forward, on Canada’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and aon feedback from our supporters.

 

Below, we set out a summary of this 48-page Discussion Paper. You can
download the new Discussion Paper on What the Canadians with Disabilities
Act Should Include, in an accessible MS Word document, by clicking here:

<http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/march-15-2015-Discussion-
Paper-on-Canadians-with-Disabilities-Act.doc>
http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/march-15-2015-Discussi...

This Discussion Paper was written by Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David
Lepofsky, to help Barrier-Free Canada and others across Canada come up with
ideas on what the Canadians with Disabilities Act should include.

We encourage you to:

* Send us your feedback on this Discussion Paper. Do you agree with the
ingredients for the Canadians with Disabilities Act that it proposes? Are
there other things you think should be included in the Canadians with
Disabilities Act?

Send your feedback to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org

Please try to get us your feedback by the end of May 2016. We will use your
feedback as Barrier-Free Canada formulates its full brief on what the
promised Canadians with Disabilities Act should include, that we will send
to all political parties.

* Please widely circulate this Discussion Paper. Send it to friends, family,
community organizations, and religious communities in which you are
involved. Encourage as many people as possible to send us feedback and
ideas. Use it to help build support in the community for a strong and
effective Canadians with Disabilities Act.

 

* Send this Discussion Paper to your Member of Parliament. Talk to your MP
about what you would like a strong Canadians with Disabilities Act to
include.

 

* Please encourage your MP to support Barrier-Free Canada’s proposals on how
the Federal Government should hold open, inclusive and accessible public
consultations on what the Canadians with Disabilities Act should include.

 

Back on January 12, 2016, we wrote Canada’s new Disabilities Minister, Carla
Qualtrough. We offered her ideas on how she should consult with Canadians on
the contents of the Canadians with Disabilities Act. Prime Minister Trudeau
has assigned to her the responsibility to lead the development of this
legislation. So far, she has not answered our letter, and has not, to our
knowledge, announced any consultations on the Canadians with Disabilities
Act.

 

To read Barrier-Free Canada’s January 12, 2016 letter to Minister
Qualtrough, visit
<http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/01212016.asp>
http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/01212016.asp

 

To read Barrier-Free Canada’s 14 principles for the Canadians with
Disabilities Act, visit <http://barrierfreecanada.org/principles/>
http://barrierfreecanada.org/principles/

 

We will keep you posted on any new developments. To read a time line of
major events to date on the road to a strong and effective Canadians with
Disabilities Act, visit
<http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/01212016.asp>
http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/01212016.asp

 

Summary of the March 15, 2016 Discussion Paper on What the Canadians with
Disabilities Act should Include

By Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David Lepofsky

a) The purpose of the Canadians with Disabilities Act should be to ensure
that, as far as Parliament can achieve this, the Federal Government should
lead Canada to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by a
deadline that the law will set. It should effectively implement the equality
rights which the Charter of Rights and the Canada Human Rights Act guarantee to people with disabilities, without their having to battle accessibility barriers one at a time, and one organization at a time, by filing individual human rights complaints or Charter claims.

 

b) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that all
federally-regulated organizations provide accessible goods, services,
facilities and employment.

 

c) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should put the Government of Canada
in charge of leading Canada to full accessibility.

 

d) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should create an independent Canada
Accessibility Commissioner, reporting directly to Parliament, that will lead
the Act’s implementation and enforcement.

 

e) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should establish a clear, broad,
inclusive definition of “disability.”

 

f) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require the Federal Government to create the mandatory, enforceable accessibility standards that will lead Canada to full accessibility.

 

g) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure a prompt, effective and
open process for developing and reviewing Federal accessibility standards.

 

h) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure the effective
enforcement of the Canadians with Disabilities Act.

 

i) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure strong centralized
action on disability accessibility among Federal Regulatory Agencies.

 

j) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that the strongest
accessibility law always prevails.

 

k) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that public money is
never used to create, perpetuate or exacerbate accessibility barriers.

 

l) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that no Federal laws
authorize or require disability barriers.

 

m) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that Federal elections
become fully accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities.

 

n) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure a fully accessible
Federal Government.

 

o) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure full accessibility of
all courts within federal authority.

 

p) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should mandate a national strategy
for expanding international trade in Canadian accessible goods, services and
facilities.

 

q) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should establish initial and interim
measures to promote accessibility pending development of Federal
accessibility standards.

 

r) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that efforts at
educating the public on accessibility under the Canadians with Disabilities
Act don’t stall or delay needed implementation and enforcement action.

 

s) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should mandate the Federal Government to assist and encourage Provincial and Territorial Governments to enact comprehensive, detailed accessibility legislation.

 

t) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should mandate the Federal Government to create national model Accessibility Standards which provinces, territories and other organizations across Canada can use.

 

u) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should set time lines for Federal
Government action on implementing the Canadians with Disabilities Act.

 

v) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require periodic Independent
Reviews of progress under the Act.

 

w) The Canadians with Disabilities Act should be meaningful, have teeth, and not be mere window-dressing.

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