This federal legislation, Bill C-81 the An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, was first proposed on June 20th, 2018, and has received second reading and was referred to Committee in the House of Commons. This Act when enacted is to be the first federal accessibility law in Canada to further assist people with disabilities. Canada’s goal in implementing this Act is to identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities to enhance full and equal participation of those with disabilities.
Barriers are defined within this Act as “anything architectural, physical, technological or attitudinal … that hinders the full and equal participation in society of persons with a physical, mental, intellectual, learning, communication or sensory impairment or a functional limitation.” Since this will be a federal piece of legislation, most federally regulated employers and service providers will now be required to have accessibility plans. Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, will require accessibility and barrier removal in the following areas:
- The built environment
- Information and communications technology
- Procurement of goods and services
- Delivery of programs and services
Bill C-81 the An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada will govern and enforce the act through:
- Inspections and investigations
- Implementing rights for individuals to file complaints
- Monetary penalties
- Compensation for those harmed due to violators of this legislation
When this Act is made law and implemented, employers in federally regulated workplaces should prepare themselves and their organizations by actively identifying and addressing barriers that have the potential to affect people with disabilities. Employers should focus on how to best provide accessibility and accommodation in all aspects of their organization.