GATINEAU – Over the past five months, the Government of Canada has held public sessions across Canada as part of a consultation process to inform planned federal accessibility legislation. The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, is leading discussions on the barriers to accessibility that Canadians face in their daily lives.
Since the launch of the consultations, Minister Qualtrough has received feedback from Canadians and stakeholders through thousands of online submissions and in-person sessions in 17 cities, touching every province and territory. The Government of Canada has also held roundtable discussions with stakeholders across the country, and has engaged with more than 100 stakeholder organizations that are running or participating in complementary consultation activities.
On February 8, 2017, the Government of Canada will hold a final in-person session in Toronto at the Chelsea Hotel from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to ask Canadians what an accessible Canada means to them.
The public consultation will continue online at Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada until February 28, 2017.
All Canadians are encouraged to participate in the consultation by completing an online questionnaire. More information and a link to the questionnaire can be found at Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada.
“This consultation process is an incredible opportunity and one that will have a historical impact on millions of Canadians. I’m looking forward to developing new planned accessibility legislation that promotes equality of opportunity and increases the inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in a truly accessible Canada.” – The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
Select quotes from across Canada
“I am very pleased to participate in discussions on accessibility. This is the first public meeting where I could participate with my son. It was innovative and the resources were present—interpreters and real-time captioning! It was very engaging and experiential.” – Sandy Kownak, Nunavut Deaf Society, Nunavut
“I appreciate the opportunity we in Regina have been given to discuss and express our concerns regarding accessibility in all areas of our lives. Accessibility is critical to improving the quality of lives of people with disabilities.”
– Georgina Heselton, Provincial and Local Chairperson of DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN), Saskatchewan
“It was a sincere honour to be involved in today’s discussion in Edmonton. I have no doubt that Edmontonians were heard loud and clear. The amount of positivity and passion for implementing accessibility legislation was incredible and inspiring. It is days like this that are recorded in history that we will one day be able to look back on and be proud of.” – Zachary Weeks, Communications Coordinator, Spinal Cord Injury, Alberta
“The consultation sessions on the proposed national accessibility legislation held in Moncton provided a very useful forum for community stakeholders and private-sector representatives to get together to discuss issues around current barriers to the inclusion of citizens with disabilities, as well as how such accessibility legislation could be framed to provide a mechanism to create national standards and to ensure ongoing compliance to better serve the needs of citizens with different disabilities.” – Randy Dickinson, Co-Chairperson of New Brunswick Disability Awareness Week, New Brunswick
“It’s incredible to have people with disabilities from across Montréal come together and share their thoughts. This is the first time I’ve seen so many people with such a variety of disabilities in one room talking about accessibility. What’s great about these consultations is that they are happening in cities across Canada, giving people with disabilities a voice.” – Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli, Hip Hop Dancer, Community Champion for Persons with Disabilities, Quebec
“Being the Community Champion was a humbling experience and afforded me a unique opportunity to hear from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people living with disabilities in our province. Participants shared their experiences, current priorities, frustrations and possible solutions, complemented by their clear support for the development and implementation of new accessibility legislation for Canada.” – Stephen G. Lytton, Board President, British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society, British Columbia
- Canadians are encouraged to participate in the consultation by visiting Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada.
- Approximately 14 percent of Canadians aged 15 years or older reported having a disability that limited them in their daily activities. There are approximately 411,600 working-age Canadians with disabilities who are not working but whose disability does not prevent them from doing so; almost half of these potential workers are post-secondary graduates.
- Many Canadians with disabilities and functional limitations face challenges that other Canadians do not in accessing buildings and services from the Government of Canada and organizations within federal jurisdiction. For example, between 2011 and 2015, disability-related complaints represented just over half of all the discrimination complaints received by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Of these, at least 6 percent touched on issues of accessibility in service delivery.
- More broadly, an analysis of data from the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability found that approximately 2.1 million Canadians aged 15 years or older are at risk of facing barriers in the built environment and/or in relation to information and communications.