We All Need Accessibility!

  • August 1, 2023

    Posted by: Corinne Napper

    Nearly every Manitoban either has a disability, knows someone with a disability or will develop a disability in the coming years. Disabilities have no social, economic or educational boundaries. A disability can occur at any stage of life and be temporary or permanent. Making improvements to accessibility isn't only the right thing to do, but it's now a requirement in Manitoba and everyone plays a role in making the province more accessible for all.

    Did you know that Manitoba was among one of the first provinces in Canada to enact accessibility legislation? Introduced in December 2013, The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) is a landmark legislation introduced by the Manitoba government to provide a process to remove barriers affecting people with disabilities and many other citizens.

    The AMA affects all Manitobans - people who confront barriers every day, as well as those in a position to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility. The five accessibility standards under the AMA are the building blocks for making real, measurable, and effective changes to accessibility. Each standard outlines specific requirements and timelines for organizations that have a responsibility to comply with the AMA. In developing accessibility standards, the Manitoba government has worked with representatives from the disability community, as well as the public and private sectors.

    The Accessibility Standards Focus on Five Key Areas of Daily Living

    1. The Accessibility Standard for Customer Service addresses business practices and training requirements to provide better customer service to people with disabilities. This standard came into force for all organizations on November 1, 2018.
    2. The Accessibility Standard for Employment addresses practices related to employee recruitment, hiring and retention. This standard has been in force for all organizations since May 1, 2022.
    3. The Accessibility Standard for Information and Communication addresses barriers to accessing and providing information. This includes information provided in print, in person, on websites, or in other formats. This standard is in force for the Manitoba government and comes into force for all other organizations over the next two years.
    4. The Accessibility Standard for Transportation, which is currently in development, will apply to public transportation to address barriers Manitobans might encounter while getting to work or school, shopping, socializing and other aspects of daily life.
    5. The Accessibility Standard for the Design of Outdoor Public Spaces, which is also in development, will focus on access to areas outside the jurisdiction of The Manitoba Building Code. This includes sidewalks, pathways, parks, and other aspects of the environment that are designed and constructed.

    To learn more about The Accessibility for Manitobans Act, access resources and compliance deadlines, visit the Manitoba government website dedicated to accessibility, AccessibilityMB.ca.

    Submitted by the Manitoba Accessibility Office


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