The government of Manitoba has introduced new legislation that would remove barriers for people with disabilities, with the goal of having a fully accessible province, said Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard.
“Nearly every Manitoban has a disability, knows someone with a disability or will acquire a disability as they age,” Howard said. “We all benefit from preventing new barriers where we live, learn, work and play and by implementing long-term plans to remove existing ones.”
Bill 26, the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, would set out a framework for collaborative, long-range planning between governments, the private sector and accessibility advocacy groups to make proactive and innovative solutions that enhance accessibility, independence and social inclusion of all Manitobans, Howard said.
The legislation would outline principles such as access, equality and universal design to guide the development of accessibility standards and regulations in the future, Howard said, adding the introduction of standards would help eliminate many existing barriers in such areas as building design, information services and employment practices.
The proposed legislation is based on recommendations from the Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council, which is made up of members with diverse backgrounds and experiences including representatives of organizations of people with disabilities, business and municipalities.
The minister said public education would be key to introducing the new proposed legislation, to boost public awareness of the benefits of full accessibility and to create a clear understanding of the obligations individuals and organizations would have under standards established by the act. The proposed act would ensure compliance would be attained through a graduated enforcement system.
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