Canada’s ranked second best country in the world in a survey of best countries in the world, but are we?
While the country surpassed all countries based on categories like Adventure, Cultural Inclusion, Open to Business, etc; our society waited long on the Accessibility law for disabled people.
What’s going to change? Canada’s New Accessibility Law 2018
While some provinces already have laws in place for disabled people, it’s the first time we are in the process to make it uniform across the whole country. This would increase access to the federally regulated sectors like banking, transportation, telecommunications and mail services (like Canada Post).
The minister for persons with disabilities, Kent Hehr, seems to be optimistic about the legislation. Although Hehr refused to reveal any specifics on the bill since they are still in works, he asserted that the bill’s on track as promised in last spring.
” I hope we don’t have to be as creative in future”, said the quadriplegic minister referring to the ways disabled people develop to move forward without proper resources in place.
How does it work ?
A lot has to be done to balance the restrictions for people and places that have to adhere to the law, with being specific enough to get results at the same time. Flexibility is the key, said Professor Michael Prince of University of Victoria. He said we are still in the early stage, referring to the way Canadian government is approaching the law implementation.
Prince argued that some governments have gone as far as taking measures to set up resources to develop the balance, pointing to the example of Ireland’s Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, an agency to conduct research and help shape accessibility practices.
Some other experts say that Ottawa may go in a similar direction as Ontario, developing standards focused on broad areas like customer service.
Well , who knows !
Common people’s account
Jim Derksen says when he visits a local bank, he’s uncertain if he’ll be able to complete his tasks. Being in wheelchair, it’s hard to reach the bank keypads that are placed on high counters.
John Rae hears many problems from his fellow disabled people that prevent them to travel without accessibility barriers. As visually impaired, he argues that every time he has to rely on flustered airline counter staff to help him check-in.
Experts and Advocates say that broad standards are not going to work on their own. A standard in an area would push organizations to prioritize disability issues. As they are being implemented, they add a potential benefit of bringing other laws in line. Michael Bach, managing director of the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society, cited statutes that prevent people with intellectual disabilities from accessing their funds or account.
The new law should make it mandatory for the government to access disability analysis for implementing legislation and program decisions.
The question that still looms is: Does the government consider it access (or excess) for the disabled Canadians?