Accessibility Standards Canada has launched a public consultation to help identify priorities for research, outreach and addressing current and future needs of a growing segment of the population. The federal agency, established in 2019, is mandated under the Accessible Canada Act to develop accessibility standards for all federally regulated organizations and to more widely promote accessibility and inclusiveness through research and public engagement.
“As we aim to contribute to a barrier-free Canada, we must learn from the expertise and lived experience of persons with disabilities, other experts and partners,” says Phillip Rizcallah, chief executive officer of Accessibility Standards Canada. “We are thrilled to launch our first consultation, which will inform priority-setting for all of our programs.”
All interested parties are invited to submit responses to questions related to improving accessibility in:
- the built environment;
- information and communication technologies;
- communication, other than through technology;
- the purchasing of goods, services and facilities;
- the design and delivery of programs and services; and
They can comment until September 25 via an online portal or mail, email, American Sign Language or Langue des signes québécoise. In particular, the consultation seeks insight from: people with disabilities; organizations working with people with disabilities; technical experts; municipal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous governments; community-based and Indigenous organizations; and private industry.
The first four accessibility standards, now in development, will address: language in communications; outdoor spaces; emergency egress from buildings; and employment. In addition to federal departments, agencies and Crown corporations, federally regulated sectors include banks, broadcasting and telecommunications and the federal transportation network, including airlines and airports, port services and sea vessels, railways and road services that span inter-provincial borders.
Approximately 6.2 million residents of Canada over the age of 15 report having a disability that limits their daily activities.