CNIB Welcomes New Federal Accessibility Legislation

CNIB applauds the Government of Canada for tabling historic accessibility legislation aimed at breaking down barriers for Canadians with disabilities. Bill C-81, known as the Accessible Canada Act​, will ensure more than 500,000 Canadians living with sight loss can fully participate and have equal opportunity within federally regulated jurisdictions. The federal government has committed $290 million over five years to implement this legislation.

CNIB especially supports the Act’s focus on increasing employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Specifically, the federal government has committed to hiring at least 5,000 new employees with disabilities over the next five years, and to introduce a federal internship program. Additionally, Public Service and Procurement Canada will ensure all goods and services procured by the Government of Canada are accessible and will create an accessible procurement resource centre.

Diane Bergeron, CNIB’s vice president of engagement and international affairs, has been legally blind since age 10. She says this legislation is a great leap forward.

“Canada’s disability community has been waiting a long time for this,” said Bergeron. “I’m thrilled this legislation promotes and builds proactive compliance activities rather than forcing people with disabilities to bring forward barriers and discrimination.”

“Also, by establishing accessibility bodies where persons with disabilities are the in majority, there will be more of a focus on standards, regulations and practices being accessible at their creation,” she added.

With less than 12 months until Parliament is dissolved ahead of the next federal election, CNIB will be meeting with as many parliamentarians and senators to educate and ensure timely passage of this Bill.

“The last thing we want is for all of this hard work to go into this legislation, and for it to die on the Order Paper,” said Bergeron.

Click HERE to read the full press release.

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