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Accessibility is the Law / Participation is Your Right

Oct 11, 2017

Accessibility is the Law / Participation is Your Right

The "Accessibility is the Law / Participation is Your Right" public information campaign was launched at a noon hour press conference today. 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.

Under the AMA, provincial government departments have been responsible to ensure the full accessibility of public meetings and events since November 1, 2016. Starting next month, all provincial public sector organizations, universities and colleges, school divisions and schools, and large municipalities must do the same.

That means that all these organizations are required to ensure that:

  • notices and promotions of public meetings and events are accessible to Manitobans with disabilities
  • public meetings and events are held in spaces that are accessible
  • Manitobans with disabilities are invited to request that accommodations required for their full participation be provided.
  • the physical and communication needs of persons disabled by barriers are met on request.

These organizations include:

  • All government boards, commissions, associations, agencies, or similar bodies for which all board members are appointed Act of the Legislature or by the Lieutenant Governor in Council
  • All colleges and universities
  • All regional health authorities
  • All school divisions and schools
  • The cities of Brandon, Dauphin, Flin Flon, Morden, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, Steinbach, Thompson, Winkler and Winnipeg.

(We're pleased to offer a fact sheet covering this Word / PDF.)

This is a huge and long overdue step forward.

Up until now, thousands and thousands of Manitobans may never have had a realistic opportunity to know what or when public meetings and events were planned. Even if they knew about them, many thousands were excluded from participating because required accommodations were not even offered.

In short, while all Manitobans with disabilities have the same legal right to participate as everyone else, many thousands of them, in practice, were denied their human rights to full citizenship. 

These requirements established under the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act have now changed this. We think that this is wonderful news. 

But we need your assistance. We are asking for you to help by:

Celebrating and Exercising Your Rights 

The information campaign launched today encourages you to celebrate and exercise your longstanding but just recently respected rights. And there is no better time to do this than at the upcoming Department of Finance's public meetings being held to consult Manitobans on the upcoming $15B provincial budget. Indeed, this is the very first fully accessible budget consultation process in Manitoba history.

Please consider going to the meeting closest to you (click here for the list) and, if you need any physical or communication accommodation, make sure you request these in advance. 

Becoming an Accessible Public Meeting Champion

Change is hard, even a really important change like this. So we invite you to become an accessible public meeting champion who helps ensure that organizations are meeting these new requirements. If you see a notice in newspapers, online or elsewhere of public meetings and events being held by the organizations listed above and it does not include an open and clear invitation for Manitobans with disabilities to request accommodations, call the group and express your concerns. And if you want to attend and need an accommodation, request it in advance. 

Or if you see that a public meeting or event is scheduled to be held in a space that you know is not fully accessible, call the group and express your concerns.

If you still have concerns after speaking with the group and/or if the group tells you that they won't provide the requested accommodation, we strongly encourage you to contact the Province's Disability Issues Office:

  • By phone at: 204-945-7613 
  • Toll Free: 1-800-282-8069 (Extension 7613)
  • By email at:

Spreading the Word

There's lot of ways to do this. Here are two:

  • Copy and send the link to this article to those you know who are affected by or are concerned with disability issues and accessibility rights.
  • Download the campaign poster (shown below) and put it up your home, workplace or community (Word / PDF).

BFM would like to thank the partner groups that have helped organize this information campaign:

  • Deaf Centre Manitoba Inc.
  • Manitoba Deaf Association
  • St.Amant
  • Manitoba Deaf-Blind Association Inc.
  • Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities,
  • Canadian Hard of Hearing Association - Manitoba Chapter

For more information on the government's policies on accessible meetings, event and customer service, go to: 


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