What does an Accessible Canada mean to you? Government of Canada launches consultation on planned new accessibility legislation

June 22, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario - Employment and Social Development Canada  -

The Government of Canada is committed to eliminating systemic barriers and delivering equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities.

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities announced the launch of a national consultation process to inform the development of planned legislation that will transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility.

Minister Qualtrough highlighted the critical importance of accessibility and affirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to ensuring all Canadians are able to participate equally in their communities and workplaces. She outlined that many Canadians continue to face barriers that affect their ability to participate in daily activities that most people take for granted. Barriers could include:

- physical, architectural and electronic barriers that impact the ability of people with disabilities to move freely in the built environment, to use public transportation or to access information or use technology;

- attitudes, beliefs and misconceptions that some people may have about people with disabilities and what they can and cannot do; and

- outdated policies and practices that do not take into account the varying abilities and disabilities that people may have.

The Government of Canada is seeking input for this planned legislation, including: feedback on the overall goal and approach; to whom would 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. Canadians from around the country have already begun sharing their views on what an accessible Canada means to them. Minister Qualtrough encouraged all Canadians to have their say in the consultation process, either by attending an in-person engagement session or by participating in the online consultation which will be launched in the coming weeks. In-person consultations, including roundtables and town halls, will start in September across Canada. Canadians are also encouraged to follow @AccessibleGC on Twitter, Accessible Canada on Facebook and to follow the #AccessibleCanada hashtag. The consultation process will run until February 2017.

Quick Facts -

The Government of Canada has launched a consultation process that will be open until February 2017. Canadians are encouraged to participate in the consultation by visiting

- Approximately 14% of Canadians aged 15 years or older reported having a disability that limited them in their daily activities.

- There are approximately 411,600 working-aged Canadians with disabilities who are not working but whose disability does not prevent them from doing so; almost half of these potential workers are post-secondary graduates.

- Many Canadians with disabilities and functional limitations face challenges that other Canadians do not in accessing buildings and services from the Government of Canada and organizations within federal jurisdiction. For example, between 2011 and 2015, disability-related complaints represented just over half of all the discrimination complaints received by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Of these, at least six percent touched on issues of accessibility in service delivery.

- More broadly, an analysis of data from the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability found that, approximately 2.1 million anadians aged 15 years or older are at risk of facing barriers in the built environment and/or in relation to information and communications.

- The Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) provides funding for projects in Canadian communities and workplaces to help improve accessibility. Since the creation of the EAF, the Government of Canada has funded over 2,300 projects, helping thousands of Canadians gain access to their communities’ programs, services and workplaces. The program has an annual budget of $15 million. Budget 2016 committed to providing an additional $4 million over two years, starting in 2016-17. A Call for proposals is presently open until Tuesday, July 26th. 

- Bill C-11 An Act to Amend the Copyright Act will make changes to the Copyright Act to ensure that it is fully in line with the Marrakesh Treaty and to enable Canada to accede to the treaty. This treaty aims to bring the global community together to better address the universal challenge of ensuring timely access to, and wider availability of, alternate-format published materials for those with print disabilities.


“We have made considerable progress in making our society more inclusive, but there is still work to do. Canadians with disabilities continue to face barriers in their daily lives. What does an accessible Canada mean to you? Please take the time to participate in our online consultation or to attend one of our public sessions in person. Together, we will make history.” – The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

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