Bill 26, The Accessibility for Manitobans Act, Becomes Law
Landmark legislation that will remove barriers and improve accessibility for all Manitobans passed third reading in the House on December 3, 2013 and will receive royal assent on December 5, 2013.
"Nearly one in six Manitobans has a disability and this number is expected to increase, due in part to an aging population," said Jennifer Howard, Finance Minister and Minister responsible for Persons with Disabilities. "This legislation will lay out a framework to guide the development and implementation of accessibility standards to improve the independence and social inclusion of Manitobans where they live, learn, work and play."
The main goal of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act is to prevent barriers by working with the public and private sectors on long range plans. "Now that the legislation has become law, we will need to create a greater public awareness of the benefits of full accessibility by working with stakeholders and the general public to change attitudes, policies and practices,” said Jim Derksen, chair, Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council.
Under the legislation, accessibility standards will be developed to help eliminate physical, systemic and other barriers in such areas as building design, information services, transportation and employment practices. "We're pleased to be able to take part in improving accessibility by providing input and advice," said Lanny McInnes, prairie director, Retail Council of Canada. "Knowing what needs to be done will help retailers in Manitoba take concrete steps to improve accessibility for their customers."
It is significant that the third reading of the legislation took place on December 3, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. "In 2013, the theme of the day was to break barriers and open doors for an inclusive society for all," said Minister Howard. "We are proud of the legislation and of our record in helping improve the lives of Manitobans with disabilities." This is a historic and significant day for Manitoba’s disability community and a day all Manitobans can all celebrate.
More information on disability issues and services in Manitoba is available at www.gov.mb.ca/fs/pwd/