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Who We Are

Barrier-Free Manitoba is a non-partisan, non-profit, cross-disability initiative that was formed in 2008. We believed that the time had come for the Province of Manitoba to enact strong and effective legislation that requires the removal of existing barriers and prevents the creation of new ones.

  • We believed that enacting such legislation is a basic matter of human rights.
  • We believed that the removal of barriers is an entirely realistic and attainable duty.
  • We believed that the removal of barriers is good basic public policy that will benefit everyone.
  • We believed that enacting such legislation is about doing what is right and doing what is reasonable.

So Barrier-Free Manitoba launched and sustained a 5+ year campaign to secure this legislation based on the following principles:

  • Cover all disabilities.
  • Reflect a principled approach to equality.
  • Move beyond the complaints-driven system to comprehensively address discrimination and barriers.
  • Establish a definite target date to achieve a barrier-free Manitoba.
  • Require the development of clear, progressive, mandatory and date-specific standards in all major areas related to accessibility that will apply to public and private sectors.
  • Establish a timely and effective process for monitoring and enforcement of the standards.
  • Incorporate ongoing leadership roles for the disability community.
  • Supersede all other provincial legislation, regulations or policies which provide lesser protections.
  • Not diminish other legal and human rights protections.

This legislation was passed and proclaimed on December 5, 2013 in the form of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. The long and spirited campaign took a whole lot of work and was only successful because of the widespread support provided by organizations and individual from and beyond Manitoba's disability communities.

In May of 2014, Barrier-Free Manitoba began the next stage of work - ensuring the timely and effective implementation of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

Barrier-Free Manitoba has been and continues to be led by a Steering Committee with members spanning Manitoba's disability communities. The founding (and current) members of the Steering Committee and their organizational affiliations are:

  • Dale Kendel (Community Living Manitoba)
  • David Steen (Society for Manitobans with Disabilities)
  • Jeannette DeLong (Abilities Manitoba)
  • Janet Forbes (Children's Coalition)
  • Oly Backstrom (Manitoba Supported Employment Network)