On May 29, 2019 the Accessible Canada Act (C-81) passed unanimously in the House of Commons, and shortly thereafter received Royal Assent, making it the official law of the land. Although Canada already has human rights legislation on the books, until the passage of this act it had nothing similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act. This legislation marks the start of the creation of more accessible communities, workplaces and services throughout the country.
The Accessible Canada Act applies to organizations under federal jurisdiction including:
- All government departments and agencies
- Federally regulated organizations in the private sector including transportation, telecommunications and banking
- Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Furthermore it identifies how to eliminate access barriers in:
- Buildings and public spaces
- Information and communication technologies
- Procurement of goods and services
- Programs and services
- Air, rail, ferry and bus carriers that operate across a provincial or international border
The act also makes way for the creation of the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization, which will develop accessibility standards. Additionally, it provides for a method of implementation and enforcement of those standards.
And although the Accessible Canada Act will largely benefit Canadians through increased employment opportunities and better access to government buildings and facilities, visitors will also benefit with increased access in rail, ferry and bus services throughout the country.
For more information about the Accessible Canada Act, and to read the legislation in its entirety, visit https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-81/first-reading.