Human Rights and Accessibility Laws
The rights of persons with disabilities to be able to live free of discrimination in Canada are enshrined in the Constitution of Canada, and in federal, provincial and territorial human rights legislation, such as the Human Rights Act of Canada and the Manitoba Human Rights Code.
In 2010, Canada ratified the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which protects the rights of persons with disabilities by ensuring they are full and equal members of society. The Convention ensures that persons with disabilities have access to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications technology, and to other services.
Governments at all levels in Canada are required to implement the Convention. Accessibility laws, along with policies, programs, and services are put in place to meet this requirement .
Canadian Accessibility Laws
Ontario became the first Canadian jurisdiction to enact accessibility legislation with the passing of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in 2005. Manitoba was the second when the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) came into law in December 2013. Nova Scotia passed the Nova Scotia Accessibility Act in 2017 and is currently conducting public consultations to inform the development of their accessibility standards.
The Government of Canada conducted public consultations in 2016 and 2017 to inform the development of a federal accessibility act. Legislation is expected to be presented to parliament in spring 2018.
The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) attempts to ensure people of all abilities have opportunities to full and effective participation in everyday life. The AMA has five standards that address how to identify, remove and prevent barriers in each domain.
The AMA standards:
- Customer Service
- Information and Communication
- Built Environment
The Customer Service Standard came into effect on November 1, 2015. The deadline for public sector organizations, like Red River College, to comply with the requirements outlined in the standard was November 1, 2017. The standard addresses training, communication, and respectful, barrier-free customer service.
The guides supporting the standard are written in plain language for better understanding of your role in removing barriers and provide ways you can ensure a accessible service.
Customer Service Standard guides:
- Employers’ Handbook on Accessible Customer Service (PDF) (Word)
- Tips for Employees on Accessible Customer Service (PDF) (Word)
- Consumer Guide on Accessible Customer Service (PDF) (Word)
Proposed recommendations for the Employment Standard were recently submitted to the Minister of Families following public consultations and a public review.
Recommendations for the Information and Communication Standard are currently in development. This standard addresses the authoring, design, delivery and procurement of information and communications products, services, systems and environments.