These recommendations have been developed by the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance
Oct 22, 2018
Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance
The Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance (FALA) is 56 disability-related organizations joined together to help develop strong and effective legislation.
FALA requests that the proposed Accessible Canada Act (Bill C-81) be strengthened by the recommendations provided in this document. We want Bill C-81 to receive Royal Assent in the current Parliament, no later than the spring of 2019.
Guiding Principles for this Document
- FALA recommendations use the term “people(s) with disabilities” to describe individuals, groups and organizations of people with disabilities. The phrase includes people who do and do not identify as having a disability and Indigenous Peoples.
- We support the definition of disability used in Bill C-81: “a physical, mental, intellectual, learning, communication or sensory impairment – or a functional limitation – whether permanent, temporary, episodic in nature, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society”. However, we recommend that the words “evident or not” be added to the description of a functional limitation in this definition.
- Typically, FALA recommendations have been developed to address issues raised by, and relevant to, people(s) with disabilities. We defer to reports from David Shannon Law, ARCH Disability Law Centre and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance to provide legal and technical recommendations.
- FALA promotes a clear understanding of Bill C-81. This can be achieved by reading FALA’s plain language explanation developed in partnership with People First of Canada. Link to: https://include-me.ca/BillC81-plain-language
- FALA recognizes that there is a depth of rich input from organizations of and for people with disabilities. There is value in considering all submissions for improvements to Bill C-81.
- FALA welcomes feedback on these recommendations. This is a living document and changes to the recommendations may occur as the legislative process progresses. Please send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Recommended Strategies for Implementation of the Accessible Canada Act
1. SUBSTANTIAL FUNDING:
The successful implementation and sustainability of the new legislation depends on the Government of Canada allocating significant funding to all areas of federal jurisdiction in the public sector to ensure that they are accessible to all people(s) with disabilities. Funds must be subject to control by the Minister of Accessibility. This includes, but not limited to:
- full implementation of accessibility policies and procedures
- education and training
- provision of accommodations and supports
- evaluation activity to remove existing barriers and prevent new barriers in infrastructure and customer services
2. DIGITAL SERVICES - INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES:
Standards, regulations and guidelines must be implemented that require all information communication technologies developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal entities be accessible for people(s) with disabilities. Examples include but are not limited to:
- telecommunications equipment
- multifunction office machines
- information kiosks
- Internet access
- transaction machines
Standards and regulations must harmonize with international versions that deliver greater accessibility worldwide, enhance uniformity, and heighten market incentives for integrating accessibility into information and communication technology. For example, the European Commission’s “Accessibility requirements for public procurement of information communication technologies products and services in Europe (EN 301 549)” has established functional performance criteria relating to vision, hearing, color perception, speech, cognition, manual dexterity, reach, and strength. Standards, regulations and guidelines must follow those used by many countries around the world which include Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 (or the most recently ratified version of WCAG).
Implementation must include:
- monitor and review departments and agencies for accessibility compliance
- provide an annual compliance report to Parliament
- employ people with disabilities in user research and user testing
- ensure funding is available to support these standards being in place in the shortest time line for all departments and agencies.
3. INVOLVEMENT OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES:
The federal Office of Disability Issues and the Accessibility Secretariat must be provided with substantially increased funding to enable people(s) with disabilities and organizations of people with disabilities to be employed in:
- development of standards and regulations
- development of prescribed framework for accessibility plans and progress reports
- development of guidelines and training resources
- provision of training
- domestic monitoring of the CRPD
- implementation of the new legislation
- identifying barriers, preventing new barriers, and ending stigma
- advancing social inclusion
4. NATION-WIDE CONSISTENCY OF STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS:
There must be consistency of standards and regulations across the country to ensure that:
- accessibility standards and regulations are uniform and enforced nationwide
- people with disabilities have equal access in all areas regardless of their location in Canada
The Minister of Accessibility must lead a consensus building process with federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for accessibility in order to adopt and enforce the same standards and regulations across Canada.
5. STANDARDS DEVELOPMENT:
Canadian Association of Standards Development Organization (CASDO) will first examine existing provincial and international standards before developing new ones if those existing are insufficient. Standards developed should be reviewed for congruence or potential conflict with existing provincial standards.
6. DISABILITY RELATED SUPPORTS:
Implementation of the new legislation must include standards and regulations for the provision of disability related supports. Support services must be accredited and/or authorized by the user including but not limited to:
- CART/text communications
- sign language interpretation
- communication assistance
7. INDEPENDENT REVIEW BOARD:
To achieve due diligence in reviewing the new legislation, the Government of Canada must appoint an independent review board made up of 2/3 of people(s) with disabilities, including Indigenous peoples, and must include people with a diverse range of disabilities.
8. ENGAGE PEOPLE(S) WITH DISABILITIES:
People(s) with disabilities, organizations of people(s) with disabilities and Indigenous peoples must be involved throughout all steps of the design, implementation, and review of the new legislation. Appropriate remuneration must be provided.
9. MANDATORY TRAINING:
All people employed by the federal public sector including parliamentarians and their staff, must receive training grounded in a human rights model of disability and an intersectional understanding of the experience of disability. Employees must have the competencies necessary for providing exemplary customer services that maximizes access and inclusion for all people, and must have the skills necessary for implementing accessibility standards and regulations. Training must also address the benefits for all people in Canada of the positive impact of increased access and inclusion.
10. SUPPORT FOR COMPLAINANTS:
A funding assistance program for individual complainants must be established to support their active participation in presenting a complaint. This includes access to a navigator to assist complainants at all stages of managing their complaint.