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Onward to Full Accessibility

David Lepofsky To Speak in Winnipeg During The Year's Manitoba Access Awareness Week

David Lepofsky

Get your FREE tickets to these event as we're quickly reaching capacity.

Barrier-Free Manitoba is very pleased that David Lepofsky, one of Canada's leading disability advocates, will be in Winnipeg in early June to share insights from his decades of work promoting and protecting the human rights of persons with disabilities. BFM willl be hosting two FREE public events that will feature keynote presentations by David.

The first event, "Realizing the Power and Promise of Accessibility-Rights Legislation: Lessons from Ontario’s Struggles" is scheduled for:

  • 5:30 to 7 pm
  • Wednesday, June 7
  • Canadian Museum for Human Rights

For more information on this event, please go to: http://www.barrierfreemb.com/whatsnew/173/372

This event is now SOLD OUT!

Please check back soon for details on live and accessible streaming that we are working to finalize in the coming days.

The second event, "A Conversation on Accessibility in Education With David Lepofsky", is being planned for the morning of Friday, June 9th. This event will focus on the need for stronger measures to address the barriers to accessible educational opportunities and outcomes that conitune to face many students with disabilities and their families - from child care through to post-secondary institutions.

The second event, "Accessibility in Education: A Conversation with David Lepofsky" is scheduled for:

  • 8:30 to 11:30 am
  • Friday, June 9
  • West Kildonan Collegiate (101 Ridgecrest Avenue)

This event is also FREE but advanced registration is required. To register, contact Education Solutions Manitoba at:

For more information on this event, please go to: http://www.barrierfreemb.com/whatsnew/173/373

Both of these events are being held in conjunction with Manitoba Access Awareness Week (MAAW) that runs from June 4 to 10. We are pleased to post the calendar of the many MAAW events (Word). For updates on MAAW, please visit: http://accessibilitymb.ca/.

BFM Makes 19 Recommendations to Strengthen Proposed Standard

expect, employ, empower

Barrier-Free Manitoba has submitted the report with our final comments on the proposed accessible employment standard. The report is based on our best efforts to answer one essential question:

  • If implemented as described, will the proposed employment standard ensure that substantial progress toward a fully accessible labour market is achieved by 2023 as required under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act?

Our answer to this question is an unequivocal ‘No’. While what is proposed in the discussion paper may ‘inch’ us forward, achieving the substantial progress that is required under the Act will depend on much stronger and considerably expanded measures.

Accordingly, we are making 19 recommendations to build on key strengths, address significant limitations and complete further work that will be needed to establish and implement a strong and effective accessible employment standard in Manitoba.

For more info and to download a copy of the report, click here.


Proposed Accessibility Standard for Employment
The word job in block letters

The Accessibility Advisory Council (AAC) has released "Discussion Paper on a Proposed Accessibility Standard for Employment". This sets out the AAC's proposal for an accessibility standard to address the myriad of barriers to equitable employment opportunities and outcomes faced by Manitobans with disabilities.

This is the second of five accessibility standards that will be developed under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA). The first of the standards, the Customer Service Standard, came into force in November 2015.

Interested stakeholders and the public are asked to provide comment and feedback on the proposed standard by February 15, 2017. Barrier-Free Manitoba will be preparing a detailed review.

For more information on the proposed standard, the consultation process and Barrier-Free Manitoba's plans to respond, click here.


Fast Approaching AMA Compliance Deadlines

The first deadlines for action under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act are finally arriving.

1. The very first deadline is November 1, 2016. This is when all of the 14 provincial government departments are required to:

  • Have developed policies that ensure accessible customer service and make these policies available on request.
  • Have trained or ensured that all staff that provide services are trained in The Manitoba Human Rights Code and accessible customer service.
  • Ensure that all public meetings are accessible to persons with disabilities.

2. The second deadline, December 31, 2016, relates to multi-year accessibility plans. By that date, all provincial government departments, crown corps, health authorities, colleges, universities, school divisions and many large municipalities are required to have developed comprehensive plans on what measures that they have taken and will take in the coming years to identify, prevent and remove barriers that disable people. And these plans must have been developed in consultation with Manitobans with disabilities.

Click here for more on the compliance requirements and deadlines, and the related information that Barrier-Free Manitoba has formally requested from government.


December 3, 2016 - SAVE THAT DATE

Remember the 1,600 persons who crammed into the Legislative Building last December 3 to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (and to launch the Disability Matters: Vote 2016 campaign). It was a great and powerful event - see the picture below to jog your memory!

Plans are now in place to hold a similarly large scale event to mark the International Day this year.

Time/Date/Place

  • 1 pm to 3 pm
  • Saturday, December 3, 2016
  • Canadian Museum for Human Rights

ASL and computer note taking supports have been already booked. Please contact Jennifer Rodrigue if you require other accommodations.

Please help us make this a scent-free event.

Stay tuned for more details.


Thank You

Front table at consultations

Thanks to all who were able to attend the federal government's consultation held in Winnipeg on October 3rd. And thanks to all those who even considered attending given the extermely short notice that was provided by the government.

We believe that Minister Qualtrough is committed to addressing disability rights in Canada. Let's hope that they listened to what we had to say.

We encourage all who were unable to attend and/or have more they want to say to complete the online survey posted at: https://hrsdc-rhdcc.sondages-surveys.ca/s/Accessibility_accessibilite_TXT/?l=en

For more information on the consultation process and participation options, please view our primer.


Details on the October 3 Federal Consultation

The federal Office of Disability Issues has finalized arrangements for the consultation event to be held in Winnipeg on October 3, 2016.

4:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Monday, October 3rd
Room: Delta AB
Delta Hotel by Marriott
350 St. Mary Avenue

The following is the agenda for the public sessions:

Agenda

  • Welcome and opening remarks
  • Public discussion
  1. What are the main barriers to accessibility that Canadians with disabilities face?
  2. What would it take to fix those barriers?
  3. How can we change attitudes in Canada to better include and respect people with disabilities?

Pre-registration for the public event is optional but recommended, especially for individuals who require accessibility accommodations. Persons and organizations wishing to pre-register have been asked to contact the Office of Disability Issues:

Phone: 1-844-836-8126
TTY: 819-934-6649
Fax: 819-953-4797
Email address: accessible-canada@hrsdc.gc.ca
Mailing address:
Consultation - Federal Accessibility Legislation
c/o Office for Disability Issues
Employment and Social Development Canada
105 Hotel-de-ville St., 1st floor, Bag 62
Gatineau QC K1A 0J9

For more complete information on how to particiate in the consultation process, view our primer or visit the federal government website.


National Consultation Events / Options

Barrier-Free Manitoba encourages Manitobans to use any or all of three available options to participate in the consultation process to inform the legislation that will transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility.

1. Complete an online questionnaire.

2. Apply to attend the National Youth Forum schedule to be held in Ottawa on Nov. 1, 2016 (application deadline is Sept. 15).

3. Attend the in-person consultation event that will be held in Winnipeg on Monday, Oct. 3, 2016.

Please click here for more information on each of these options.


Consultation Process Launched on Proposed National Disability Act

On June 22, 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.

All Canadians are encouraged to have their say in the consultation process, either by attending one of the 18 in-person engagement sessions, which will start in September and be held across Canada, or by participating in the online consultation which will be launched in the coming weeks. 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.

For more info on the annoucement, please click here.

Watch the You Tube video here.

Minister Qualtrough


Recent Changes for BFM's Steering Committee

A number of changes have recently been made to Barrier-Free Manitoba's Steering Committee. Following is a revised list of the members of the Steering Committee and, where applicable, their organizational affiliations:

  • Dale Kendel
  • David Steen
  • Jeannette DeLong (Abilities Manitoba)
  • Janet Forbes (Children's Coalition)
  • Jennifer Frain (New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families)
  • Marion Cooper (Canadian Metal Health Association, Manitoba and Winnipeg Branch)
  • Oly Backstrom (Manitoba Supported Employment Network)

For more information, please click here.


CHANGE and CONTINUITY
Train tracks at swtich

The election of a new government and the swearing in of Premier Pallister and his smaller cabinet on May 3rd have ushered in a period of significant change. The change will provide new opportunities, as well as new challenges.

At this point, the contours of these opportunities and challenges remain unclear. Forming a new government and assuming new responsibilities for a $15+ billion operation are massive tasks. There are thousands of priorities competing for immediate attention, a host of foundational decisions are required, and the Premier and the Ministers need to be briefed on all their key areas of responsibility.

Barrier-Free Manitoba will also be making some changes. We look forward to announcing these soon. And those who have had leadership roles in the historic Disability Matters: Vote 2016 campaign will need to decide what comes next.

Despite these changes, there will also be many areas of continuity. The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) will be one of these. The AMA passed Third Reading in December 2013 with all-party, unanimous member support. As part of the 2016 election campaign, the Progressive Conservative Party committed to the timely and effective implementation of the AMA (click here to see the party's responses to questions about the Act) and pledged, if elected, to establishing standards in the following areas during their first term in office:

  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • Information and communication
  • Built environment

This means that the next four years will be very busy ones in realizing a fully accessible Manitoba. One of the first steps will be the tabling of an annual implementation plan by the Minister responsible for the AMA (as required by the Act). But as Cabinet announcement on May 3 did not include a Minister Responsible for Persons with Disabilities, we don't yet know which Minister will be tabling the plan.

We look forward to providing updates to you as developments unfold.


Thanks to the thousands of Manitobans who shared their passion and commitment for rights, equity and justice through the wondrous Disability Matters: Vote 2016 campaign.


The Provincial Election

While disability issues affect almost every Manitoban, these issues have historically been overlooked in provincial elections. With an estimated 168,000 Manitobans with disabilities eligible to vote this April, and with significant representation in all constituencies (including those that will be most closely contested), Disability Matters: Vote 2016 (DMV2016) is already changing this history.

As DMV2016's has demonstrated, disabilities matter a great deal.

Focus on Priority Disability Issues

DMV2016 asked each of the major political party to provide clear position statements and commitments on five priority issues of greatest importance to Manitobans with disabilities.

Click here to see the responses from the four major parties.

DMV2016 also asked each and every candidate (with a campaign email address) running in the election for answer two questions about their personal experience with, and views about, disability issues. Almost two-thirds of the candidates answered these questions.

Click here to see candidate responses.


WOW!
We Rocked It!

An estimated 1,600+ Manitobans literally jam-packed the Legislative Building today to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and launch Disability Matters: Vote 2016.

Indeed, it was an overflow crowd with some folks turned back at the front door (including a few media staff).

An extraordinary turnout to be sure. Sister events were also held throughout the province (Brandon and Thompson for sure).

Thanks to all who turned out or watched the live stream. Apologies to all who experienced communication and other barriers that limited their participation - our plans for accommodations were overcome by the sheer size of the crowd.

And thanks to all who helped us promote the event.

With the provincial election scheduled for April 19, 2016, we have an awful lot of work ahead.

If you want to help out, please sign up as a volunteer at: http://www.disabilitymatters2016.ca

For more coverage of the extraordinary day, click here.


The Next BIG Thing: Disability Matters: Vote 2016

DMV2016 Logo

In partnership with Abilities Manitoba, Barrier-Free Manitoba is pleased to announce Disability Matters: Vote 2016, a non-partisan, cross-disability community project to more fully engage Manitobans with disabilities in the next Manitoba general election.

The official launch of Disability Matters: Vote 2016 will coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

December 3, 11am – Noon
Manitoba Legislature – Rotunda
Refreshments will be served

Please join us. Note taking and ASL supports have been arranged for the event.

Work on this important community project has really only started and there is just so much to do.


Drive Thru Five

Gears

Barrier-Free Manitoba has launched Drive Thru Five to ensure strong community advocacy throughout the critical first five years of implementation of the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) that was passed in 2013.

Two years have already passed and we need to step up our game for the three years that remain before 2018. And we need your help.

We are urging all Manitobans committed to disability and human rights to now endorse the call for the AMA's timely and effective implementation. It's one thing to have a new law on the books. It's quite another to ensure timely and game changing action.

Not only is this very important but it is also really easy. Just complete the webform at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BFMandAMA

We've made an incredible difference by working together to secure passage of the AMA in December 2013, and last week’s completion of the Customer Service Standard. We now need to redouble our collective efforts to further disability rights through to 2016 and beyond.


First Manitoba Accessibility Standard Finalized

100% Service

After over 7 years of spirited advocacy, Manitoba finally has its very first Accessibility Standard. On the morning of October 21, 2015, Minister Irvin-Ross announced (see the Press Release) that the Customer Service Standard has now been made into regulation and will come into force on November 1st. Following are links for downloadable versions of the new regulation: (Word / PDF).

This a major step forward in the implementation of the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA). We are very pleased that the regulation addresses three of the primary concerns identified in our final May 2015 brief. The regulation also addresses the majority of the recommendations we made in earlier reports stretching all the way back to May 2014. Read our primer for a summary of highlights of the standard.

There are plenty of reasons for celebration! The Customer Service Standard will provide real and lasting improvements in the lives of the 175,000 Manitobans with disabilities, their families and their communities. These improvements will continue as the first legacy of our work to date, benefiting Manitobans throughout the decades to come.

Please join us in celebrating this accomplishment!


Public Sector Charged with Lead Role in Making Manitoba Fully Accessible

Abstract of umbrellas

The development and enforcement of accessibility standards is the best known feature of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA). But another key requirement under the AMA is the creation of Accessibility Plans by public sector bodies. The plans are on top of the standards.

In 2016, all government of Manitoba departments and large public sector bodies with significant interaction with the public are required to create Accessibility Plans. This includes government departments, crown corporations, regional health organizations, colleges, school divisions and cities of more than 10,000.

Each of these plans must be made in consultation with the disability community and must incorporate the following:

  • A report on the measures taken to identify, prevent and remove barriers that disable people.
  • Measures that will be taken in the period covered by the plan to identify, prevent and remove barriers.
  • Measures that are in place to assess the effect on accessibility for persons disabled by barriers when new policies, activities or initiatives are undertaken.

These plans must be made public. The plans must also be reviewed and renewed every two years.

What's New

Ensure the Accessibility of Arts and Culture in Manitoba

May 28, 2017 The Province has launched a culture policy review and has included accessibility as one the issues to be considered
Read More...

Announcing Second Event: Accessibility in Education - A Conversation with David Lepofsky

May 13, 2017 Details have now been finalized for the second FREE public event featuring leading Canadian disability advocate David Lepofsky
Read More...

Poll

Which of the following areas should the federal government prioritize for immediate progress?