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BFM's Letter to Minister Scott Fielding

Jun 28, 2018

Following is the full text of the letter sent to Minister Scott Fielding earlier today

Honourable Scott Fielding
Minister of Families
Room 357 Legislative Building
450 Broadway
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8

June 28, 2018

Dear Minister Fielding:

Barrier-Free Manitoba (BFM) is sending this letter to accompany our delivery today of post cards completed to date as part of our Broken Promise campaign and an updated list of organizations and individuals who signed up online in support of this campaign.

As you may be aware, BFM launched the Broken Promise campaign on May 29, 2018. The campaign was launched in response to growing concerns regarding major shortfalls in the government’s implementation of the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA), as well as serious fears that the AMA’s promise of major progress toward full accessibility was becoming increasingly unattainable.

While the Broken Promise campaign featured a sense of public urgency, we had raised all the campaign’s issues and concerns with your departmental officials over the last year. These issues and concerns had not been resolved by the date of the campaign’s launch. Delays in the start of the compulsory four-year comprehensive review of the AMA further added to our concerns.

Accordingly, the campaign focused on sending two clear messages, one to you as Minister responsible for the AMA, and one to Ms. Theresa Harvey Pruden, the independent consultant who you appointed to conduct the review.

Minister Fielding:

  • I/we ask that you provide the immediate leadership and resources required to meet the promise of the AMA. This means the timely development and enforcement of strong accessibility standards with more meaningful roles for Manitoba’s diverse disability communities.

Ms. Harvey Pruden:

  • I/we ask that you recommend the key changes required to ensure that the promise of the AMA is realized by 2023.

The results from our limited four-week campaign indicate just how broadly our concerns are shared within and beyond Manitoba’s diverse disability communities, as well as the huge importance that is placed on achieving the promise of the AMA.

As of yesterday morning, 78 organizations and over 570 individual citizens, collectively representing more than one in every ten Manitobans, have signed up online to join us in sending these messages. Another 1,103 individuals have completed and sent in one of the campaign’s printed post cards.

While we are no longer promoting the campaign, we expect that hundreds of additional organizations and individuals will lend their support in the months ahead. We will forward these in due course.

By way of this letter, we are requesting a formal response to the campaign message that has been sent to you. We respectfully request that your response commit to and/or provide detailed comment on the following major deliverables and timelines for the remainder of this calendar year:

Immediate through to the End of September 2018

  • The public release of the your 2018-19 AMA implementation plan.
  • The launch of major communication/marketing initiative to promote awareness by 35,000+ obligated organizations of the November 1, 2018 deadline for compliance with the Customer Service Standard.
  • The completion and public posting of a revised Provincial Customer Service Policy that better meets the requirements set out in the Customer Service Standard.

By September 30, 2018:

  • The finalization of the Accessible Employment Standard with it having come into force as a regulation.
  • The establishment of the Standard Development Committees for the Transportation and the Built Environment Standards, including the release of Terms of Reference for these two committees and a development schedule that will ensure that these standards are finalized and in force as regulation before April 2020.
  • The development and release of a compliance framework that includes consultation with disability communities.

By October 31, 2018

  • The completion and public release of a comprehensive and detailed implementation plan to at least April 2020 that includes major milestones, timelines and a resource plan.
  • The release of a plan to support more meaningful opportunities for participation of disability communities in the implementation of the AMA, as well as independent community capacity for consultation and research.

By December 31, 2018

  • The posting and public release of an expanded Government of Manitoba Multi-Year Accessibility Plan that includes departmental level detail.

We acknowledge that this list of key deliverables may appear prescriptive. We also acknowledge that considerable preliminary work has already been done to support the progress outlined above. Indeed, we have been very impressed by the skills and dedication of departmental officials who are working to support the implementation of the AMA. However, the effectiveness and breadth of their work has been severely hampered by the lack of resources, especially human resources, as well as a clear plan and prioritization within government.

It is our considered opinion that the deliverables outlined above provide a road map for getting the full and timely implementation of the AMA back on track. This includes meeting the Progressive Conservative Party’s AMA-related commitments made as part of the 2016 general provincial election, as well as fulfilling the AMA’s promise of major progress toward full accessibility by 2023.
Your commitment to and follow up on these deliverables and timelines would represent a significant turn around in the implementation of the AMA. We know that this type of turn around is both realistic and achievable and we look forward to the opportunity to recognize your leadership in moving this forward.

Finally, we want to reconfirm by way of this letter the commitment we originally made during our June 13, 2016 meeting with you that we will do all we can to support you and your department in the effective implementation of the landmark AMA.

We look forward to your formal response to this letter and the message from the Broken Promise campaign. We understand you may not be in a position to respond prior to the end of the St. Boniface by-election that was called recently.

Please contact me in the interim if you would like to meet with us about issues covered in this letter or if Barrier-Free Manitoba can be of immediate assistance.


Patrick Falconer
Consultant to the Barrier-Free Manitoba Steering Committee

cc: Premier Brian Pallister
Mr. Jay Rodgers
Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council
Ms. Theresa Harvey Pruden

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