OTTAWA, July 13, 2016 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is leading a national consultation process to inform the development of legislation that will transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility. Starting today, Canadians can participate in the online component of this national consultation process and share their ideas on how to improve accessibility and the inclusion of Canadians with disabilities. Canadians are encouraged to participate in the online consultation by completing a questionnaire available in English, French, American Sign Language or Langue des signes québécoise and in their preferred format such as digital, handwritten, video or audio submissions. Canadians can provide their input online or by telephone, mail, email, fax and TTY.
The Government of Canada is seeking input to inform the development of this planned new legislation, including:
- feedback on the overall goal and approach;
- to whom it could apply;
- what accessibility issues and barriers it could address;
- how it could be monitored and enforced; and
- what else the Government of Canada could do to improve accessibility.
In-person consultations, including roundtable and public sessions, will start in September across Canada. Canadians are also encouraged to follow @AccessibleGC on Twitter, Accessible Canada on Facebook and to follow the hashtag #AccessibleCanada. The consultation process will run until February 2017.
The Government of Canada is committed to eliminating systemic barriers and delivering equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities and to ensuring all Canadians are able to participate equally in their communities and workplaces. This consultation is an important step in this direction.
"I am excited to start hearing from Canadians on how we can better address accessibility issues. This is a big step in helping to ensure our communities become more inclusive for all Canadians. From the beginning, it has been our goal to do things differently; to involve Canadians in the matters that affect them. The feedback we hear through this process will help shape the new legislation."
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
Consultation to Inform the Development of Accessibility Legislation
Minister Qualtrough, Canada's first Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, was mandated by the Prime Minister to lead an engagement process with Canadians – including Canadians with disabilities, provinces, territories, municipalities, and other stakeholders – that would inform planned legislation to transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility.
The consultation process is open from July 2016 until February 2017. Starting now, Canadians are able to participate in the online consultation by completing a questionnaire available in English, French, American Sign Language or Langue des signes québécoise and in the preferred format such as digital, handwritten, video or audio submissions. Canadians can provide their input online or by telephone, mail, email, fax and TTY.
Starting in September, in-person public consultations are planned to take place in the following cities:
- St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
- Moncton, New Brunswick
- Québec City, Quebec
- Montréal, Quebec
- Ottawa, Ontario
- Toronto, Ontario
- Thunder Bay, Ontario
- Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Regina, Saskatchewan
- Calgary, Alberta
- Edmonton, Alberta
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- Victoria, British Columbia
- Iqaluit, Nunavut
- Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
- Whitehorse, Yukon
As well, Minister Qualtrough is planning a number of more focused roundtable discussions with key stakeholders.
For the most up-to-date information on in-person venues and dates, and to participate online, please visit www.Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada .
On June 30, Canada became the 20th country to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, which will bring the Treaty into force in three months' time on September 30, 2016.
The accession to this Treaty comes after the Act to Amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works for other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities) has received royal assent. These amendments mean that Canadians who are visually impaired or print disabled will have better access to books and other copyrighted materials.
The Government of Canada is providing $2 million in funding this year to Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) through the Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability component to continue to support CNIB in its production of alternate format published materials for people with print disabilities. People with print disabilities include those with visual impairments, people with impairments which affect reading comprehension (such as learning disabilities), and people who are unable to hold or turn the pages of a book.
Enabling Accessibility Fund
The Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) was originally announced as a three-year, $45-million program to support community-based projects across Canada. It was then renewed for another three years prior to being renewed on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to continue to improve accessibility for Canadians with disabilities. Since its creation, the EAF has funded over 2,300 projects.
The EAF offers up to $50,000 in funding. Project costs will be shared between the recipient and government. Contributions equal to or greater than 35 percent of the total eligible costs of the project must be provided by sources other than the federal government (which can include the applicant's own organization). This call for proposals will close on July 26, 2016.
For more information about how to submit proposals, please visit www.Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: Contacts : Ashley Michnowski, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, 819-934-1122, TTY: 1-866-702-6967; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]