With the adoption of An Act to Ensure a Barrier-free Canada (Accessible Canada Act), the Government of Canada worked with persons with disabilities and the disability community, as well as with provinces and territories, towards the realization of an accessible Canada.
This legislation benefits Canadians, especially persons with disabilities, by helping to create a barrier-free Canada through the proactive identification, removal and prevention of barriers to accessibility wherever Canadians interact with areas under federal jurisdiction. The Accessible Canada Act provides for the development of accessibility standards and gives the Government of Canada the authority to work with stakeholders and persons with disabilities to create new accessibility regulations that will apply to sectors within the federal jurisdiction, such as banking, telecommunications, transportation industries and the Government of Canada itself. These new regulations will set out requirements for organizations to follow in order to identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility. The Accessible Canada Act will also put in place compliance and enforcement measures, as well as an accessibility complaints mechanism.
During the consultations, Canadians identified the following key areas where the Government of Canada should focus its efforts under the legislation: programs and service delivery, employment, the built environment, information and communications technology, procurement and transportation. During the parliamentary process, the disability community identified communications as another key priority area and it was added to the list.
The Accessible Canada Act will help to change the way that the Government of Canada and organizations within federal jurisdiction address disability and accessibility and interact with Canadians.