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BFM 3.0

Working to Ensure the Timely and Effective Implementation of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act

After trying to take a 6-month 'hibernation' break after the passage and proclamation of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) in December 2013, we were awoken by April 2014 the release of the initial discussion paper on the proposed Customer Service Standards. We have now recommitted ourselves to support the full and meaningful participation of Manitoba disabilities communities to ensure the timely and effective implemention of the AMA. 

BFM Announces Refreshment of Leadership

Following considerable discussion and consultation, the decision was made to launch a new, refreshed version of BFM 3.0, rather than have the initiative cease operations as of December 31, 2018.

The next iteration of BFM will be referred to as BFM 4.0. For more information on the refreshed leadership, please visit:

Implementation of the AMA Featured for First Time in Throne Speech

On November 20, 2018, for the first time in its mandate, the provincial government included reference to the Accessibility for Manitobans Act inits Speech from the Throne. Though the reference is much less clear than one might have hoped, this is better than no mention at all - as had been the case in the government’s first three Throne Speeches.

For more on the Throne Speech, visit:

BFM Submits 13 Recommendations to the AMA'sFour-Year Review

BFM submitted a final brief dated October 26, 2018 to the four-year review being completed of the AMA and its implementation. Our brief included 13 recommendations for measures that need to be taken to ensure that implementation efforts don't fall off the tracks again.

To review our brief and the 13 recommendations, please visit:

Responsibility for Timely Implementation of AMA Included in Minister's Updated Mandate Letter

Premier Pallister took another promising step toward getting the full and timely implementation of the AMA back on track by including this responsibility in the revised October 2018 mandate letter for the Honourable Heather Stefanson, the recently appointed Minister of Families.

Get more information on the revised mandate letter at:

Letter Sent On Behalf of New Families Minister Heather Stefanson Promises Steps to Ensure Timely Progress on AMA Implementation

BFM received a letter dated September 13, 20187 sent on behalf of the Honourable Heather Stefanson, the new Minister of Families as of August 1, committing the provincial government to important steps forward to provide for the full and timely implementation of the landmark Accessiblity for Manitobans Act (AMA). We are hopeful that these commitments (or near commitments and confirmations) represent a significant breakthrough in our collective efforts to more fully realize the basic human rights of 200,000 Manitobans with disabilities.

See more on this important development at:

Broken Promise Campaign Winds Down with Delivery to Legislative Building and Letter from BFM to Minister Fielding

BFM's Broken Promise campaign formally ended with the delivery of 1,100+ completed campaign post cards to the Legislative Building on June 29, 2018, along with an updated list of the 78 organizations and 570 individuals (collectively representing more than one in every ten Manitobabs) who signed up online to support the campaign. 

The delivery also included a letter from BFM to Minister Scott Fielding that provided a roadmap of major milestones and timelines that would be expected to be completed over the next six months to get the implmentation of the AMA back on track. A final update on the four-week campaign, including a copy of BFM's letter, is posted at:

Barrier-Free Manitoba Launches Broken Promise Campaign

BFM launched the Broken Promise campaign on May 29, 2018 due to increasing and serious concerns related to the slow, weak and incomplete implementation of the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act. The AMA makes the government responsible to ensure that significant progress toward full accessibility is achieved by 2023. The great promise of the AMA is for a decade of real progress toward creating a truly inclusive province that fully respects the human rights of persons with disabilities.

Almost half way into this decade of progress, there is clear and growing evidence that the government’s implementation of the AMA is falling well short of meeting this promise. Read more about the Brkoen Promise campaing at:

Barrier-Free Manitoba Releases Principled Report Card on AMA Implementation

On March 1, 2018, BFM released a report card on governemnt's implementation to date of the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act. The report card is based on government's performance relating to the nine principles that BFM developed for the full, timely and effective implementation of the AMA. The report gave failing grades on five of the nine principles.

Information on the report card is posted at: BFM released an updated version of the report card on May 8, 2018 that gave government a failing grade on a sixth principle. The updated version of the report card is posted at:

Barrier-Free Manitoba Releases Findings from Research on the Pervasive Barriers in Manitoba's Educational Systems

On February 22, 2018, Barrier-Free Manitoba released a major report from recent research on accessibility issues facing students with disabilities across our province’s educational systems – from child care through to post-secondary. Over 660 students with disabilities, parents of students with disabilities and educational staff working with students with disabilities completed the online surveys that were part of the research.

The findings suggest how very far our educational systems still have to go in order to meet their basic human rights obligation to provide Manitoban students with equitable access to quality education. Fulfilling these rights that are enshrined in provincial, national and international law will require a serious and realistic appraisal of systemic limitations by government, educational stakeholders and Manitobans with disabilities, followed by action and accountability for results.

The research provides yet more evidence of the need for the development and enforcement of a strong accessible education standard under the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

For more information on the research and a copy of the findings, go to:

Barrier-Free Manitoba Releases Independent Review of Accessible Information and Communication Standards in Place in Other Jurisdictions

On December 13, 2017, in anticipation of the results of initial work on Manitoba's accessible information and communication standard, BFM released comparative review of similar standards in place in other jurisdictions. The review was completed by by two lawyers, Andrew Buck and Kathleen McCandless, from Pitblado Law, who worked on a pro bono basis in conjunction with the Public Interest Law Centre. The review raises and discusses many of the critical issues that will need to be addressed by the Development Committee charged with the responsibility to develop recommendations for Manitoba's standard.

Links the review have been posted at:

Minister Releases Final Proposal for the Accessible Employment Standard

On November 3, 2017, Minister Scott Fielding, the Minister responsible for the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act, has released his final proposal for the Accessible Employment Standard. The final proposal represents the next to last step in a long process that started way back on March 14, 2016 with the first meeting of the Standard Development Committee for Employment. The public and interested parties are invited to review and provide feedback up until Friday, January 12, 2018.

The final proposal and background information are posted at:

Barrier-Free Manitoba Launches "Accessibility is the Law / Participation is Your Right" Campaign

On October 11, 2017, Barrier-Free Manitoba, in conjunction with disability community parters, launched the "Accessibility is the Law / Participation is Your Right" public information campaign. The campaign's goal is to promote awareness of new accessibility requirements established under the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) for all public meetings and events held by government departments, public sector organizations and large municipalities.

Information on the campaign is posted at:

Barrier-Free Manitoba Sends Minister Letter on the AAC's Recommendations for the Accessible Employment Standard

Barrier-Free Manitoba sent a seven-page to Minister Fielding ton July 24, 2017 asking him to consider including stronger measures in his forthcoming final proposal for the accessible employment standard.

The letter was prepared and sent in response to the recent release of the Accessibility Advisory Council's report to the Minister that included the Council's recommendations for this crucially important standard.

Links to the letter and background information are posted at: 

Minister Releases Third Annual Implementation Plan

In July 2017, Minister Scott Fielding released the third annual plan (2018-18) for the implementation of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. The plan outlines the activities the government will undertakne in 2017-18 to ensure the full and timely implementation of the AMA. The plan is posted at:

Barrier-Free Manitoba Sends Letter to Minister Calling for an Accessible Education Standard Supported by Thousands of Manitobans

On June 30, 2017, a small delegation delivered the letter to Minister Fielding requesting the government's commitment to develop and enforce an accessible education standard under the AMA to the Legislative Building. Copies of the letter were also delivered for Premier Pallister and Minister Wishart at this same time.

The signatories in support of the letter included more than 1,100 concerned citizens and 59 organizations, both large and small and representing over 100,000 Manitobans.

The letter and other background information are posted at: 

Barrier-Free Manitoba Submits Final Comments on Proposed Accessible Employment Standard

Barrier-Free Manitoba submitted our final comments on the discussion paper on the proposed accessible employment standard on February 10, 2017. The discussion paper itself is a mere 13 pages long. Our response is a thorough one and runs to almost 100 pages. It presents 19 detailed recommendations for measures needed to build on the key strengths and address the many limitations of what was proposed. The documents and related information have been posted at: 

Barrier-Free Manitoba Sends Formal Requests for Public Sector Accessibility Plans

Barrier-Free Manitoba sent messages to the 80+ obligated organizations on February 1, 2017 formally requesting copies of the accessibility plans. We have asked that the plans be provided to us by February 28, 2017 (two months past the compliance deadline) and advised them that we will be posting those we receive on our website. For more information, see: 

Deputy Minister Appointed as Director of Compliance

Minister Scott Fielding announced on January 18, 2017 that the Deputy Minister of Families has been appointed as the Compliance Director. This is a major step forward as, for the first time since there AMA became law in December 2013, there is now clear accountability for developing and implementing the compliance and enforcement regime. More information on this development is posted at:

Barrier-Free Manitoba Releases Preliminary Comments on Proposed Accessible Employment Standard

Barrier-Free Manitoba released our comments based on a preliminary review of the proposed accessible employmenty standard on January 10, 2017. The related documents have been posted at: Organizations and inidividuals are invited to provide feedback to BFM by January 24, 2017.

Government Releases Initial Proposal for Accessible Employment Standard

The Accessibility Advisory Council (AAC) released "Discussion Paper on a Proposed Accessibility Standard for Employment" (Word / PDF) on November 16, 2016. This discussion paper 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.

Minister Releases Second Annual Implementation Plan

On November 7, 2016 the Honourable Scott Fielding, Minister of Familes and responsible for the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA), released the second annual implementation plan as required under the AMA. Links to the plan and related information is posted at: 

Major Political Parties Share Election Commitments Related to AMA and Other DMV2016 Priorities

Each of the major political parties participating in the general election provided responses to the questions on prioritiy issues that were asked by the Disability Matters: Vote 2016 campaign. The positions and messages from each of the party leaders are posted at:

Disability Matters: Vote 2016 Prioritizes Five Key Disability-Related Issues for Provincial Election

On february 16, 2016, the Disability Matters: Vote 2016 (DMV2016) campaign identified five key issues for priority attention in the April 2017 general provincial election. DMV2016 sent descriptions of each of the issues and questions regarding positions and commitments to each of the major political parties (Word / PDF). 

Public Launch of Disability Matters: Vote 2016

The Disability Matters: Vote 2016 (DMV2016) campaign was formally launched at the celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities at the Legislative Building on December 3, 2105. It was an extraordinary event attended by an overflow crown for 1,600+.

Barrier-Free Manitoba Co-hosts Community Workshop on Public Sector Accessibility Plans

In partnership with United Way of Winnipeg, Barrier-Free Manitoba co-hosted a workshop on November 20, 2015 to explore the roles that community-based disability agencies can play in ‘consulting’ with the public sector organizations.

Disability Matters: Vote 2016 Announced

On November 12, 2016 Barrier-Free Manitoba announced its partnership with Abilities Manitoba to organize Disability Matters: Vote 2016, a non-partisan, cross-disability community project to more fully engage Manitobans with disabilities in the next Manitoba general election.

Barrier-Free Manitoba Launches Drive Thru Five

Barrier-Free Manitoba launched Drive Thru Five on October 26, 2015 to sustain and strengthen community advocacy throughout the critical first five years of the AMA's implementation.

Manitoba's First Accessibility Standard Completed

On the morning of October 21, 2015, Minister Irvin-Ross announced that Manitoba's first accessibility standard, the Customer Service Standard (Word / PDF), has now been made into regulation and will come into force on November 1st.

Minister Releases First Annual Implementation Plan

On May 19, 2015, the Honourable Kerri Irvin-Ross, Minister responsible for persons with disabilities and the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA), released the first annual implementation plan (Word / PDF) as required under the AMA. The plan sets out six strategic priorities and actions that Province will take on these by March 31, 2016.

BFM Submits Final Comments on Consultation Draft of Customer Service Standard

Barrier-Free Manitoba submitted our final comments on the 'consultation draft' of the proposed customer service standard this morning (May 11, 2015).

Full version (Word / PDF)
Executive Summary (Word / PDF)

Our comments call for seven specific improvements before the regulation is finalized and comes into force.

Minister Released Final Consultation Draft of Customer Service Standard

In mid-March 2015, the Minister released what is referred to as the “Consultation Draft” (Word / PDF) of the proposed accessible customer service regulation. Members of the public have until May 11, 2015 to provide comment on this Consultation Draft. Thereafter, the Minister will review the public feedback and consider revising the regulation before forwarding it to Cabinet for final approval. Once approved by Cabinet, the regulation will have the force of law and be binding on all public, private and non-profit organizations with one or more employees that operate in Manitoba.

Accessibility Advisory Council Releases Revised Recommendations for Standard

The Accessibility Advisory Council released a report providing it's revised recommendations to the Minister for the proposed Customer Service Standard (Word / PDF). Dated October 3, 2014, the report incorporated eight of Barrier-Free Manitoba's 17 recommendaitons, remaining slient on four others and seemingly not adopting another five. 

Still one more review cycle to push for further changes.

Barrier-Free Manitoba's Final Brief on the Proposed Customer Service Standard

On July 10, Barrier-Free Manitoba submitted its final brief on the Accessibility Advisory Council's discussion paper on the proposed Customer Service Standard. As with all our documents, we are pleased to publicly post the brief.

Full Report (Word / PDF)
Executive Summary (Word / PDF)

We understand that the Accessibility Advisory Council will be making recommendation to Minister Jennifer Howard on the proposed standard later this summer.

Barrier-Free Manitoba's Preliminary Comments

On May 30, 2014, Barrier-Free Manitoba released the findings from our preliminary review of the proposed standard making 16 recommendations for improvement.

Full Report (45 pages) Word / PDF
Executive Summary (11 pages) Word / PDF

Based on a further review of the proposed standards and feedback we receive by June 20th on our preliminary report, Barrier-Free Manitoba will be preparing and submitting our final comments by July 15th.

Release of First Proposed Standard: The Customer Service Standard

 On April, 19, 2014, the Accessibility Advisory Council released the first proposed accessibility standard under the new Accessibility for Manitobans Act. We are pleased to post the discussion document for your review (Word / PDF).

With public consultation events planned for June 18 and 19, comments in the form of written submissions and briefs in response to the proposed standard can be submitted up to July 15, 2014 to:

   Disabilities Issues Office
   630-240 Graham Avenue
   Winnipeg, MB R3C 0J7