Everything You Need to Know About the Accessible Canada Act
A disability has the capacity to severely limit an individual’s capacity to lead a healthy, functional life just like everyone else. Contrary to the popularly held belief, disability is not uncommon to the point of irrelevance. According to Statistics Canada, a staggering 14% of all individuals over the age of fifteen are currently suffering from a disability. To make matters worse, some of these individuals are suffering from multiple types of disabilities. It is obvious to those who understand the significance of a disability that leading a life gets considerably more difficult. Understanding these difficulties, the Canadian government at provincial and federal levels have introduced a series of Canadian accessibility laws that aim to present the disabled with a leveled playing ground. Here’s all you need to know about the creation of an Accessible Canada Act:
The Existing Framework
The existing framework consists of the following Canadian accessibility laws:
- The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees equal protection for all Canadian citizens and categorically states that those suffering from "mental or physical disability" face no discrimination
- The Employment Equity Act allows those with established disabilities to freely participate in the workforce and urges employers to help make their employment period more convenient
- The Canadian Human Rights Act protects members of eleven marginalised groups or sections from discrimination or harassment that they might suffer at the hands of public or private entities
Furthermore, each Canadian province has a Human Rights Act that acts as further protection for those belonging to marginalized groups. The only problem with the existing framework is that none of the laws are focussed exclusively on those suffering from disabilities.
In the Pipeline
To narrow down its focus on those suffering from a disability, the Canadian accessibility laws framework is expected to add further laws centered on the objective.
The Federal Accessibility Act is the working title for the soon-to-come accessibility legislation that is expected to come to force by the end of 2018. Those with disabilities, alongside advocates and organizations, were consulted to identify the primary objective of the legislation. Technology was identified as the most important utility in the discussion and it was established that technology needed to be made more accessible to those with disabilities in order to better facilitate equal participation within the society. The final report that was released stressed on the need for a set standard to be implemented for "information and communication technologies for all digital content" that includes the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
These reforms are accompanied by other legislation that has been introduced on a provincial level that aims to safeguard the rights of the disabled. To understand more about the nature of the Accessible Canada Act and about the set of rights that you’re entitled to as a disabled person, contact our team of professionals. We are eager to help you with our diverse range of legal practices.