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Feature Issue: Models for Accessibility-Rights Legislation

The Public Interest Law Centre has prepared the following analysis of existing models of legislation for Barrier-Free Manitoba. The introduction is below and the complete report is downloadable in three files:  the Table of Contents (.pdf or Word), the Paper on Model Legislation (.pdf or Word) and the Analysis of Different Models of Legislation (.pdf or Word).

Analysis of Accessibility Legislation Models and Recommendations Regarding Accessibility Legislation in Manitoba

Prepared for Barrier-Free Manitoba by the Public Interest Law Centre, April 2009


The purpose of this paper is to identify key elements that should be included in accessibility legislation in Manitoba. It is intended to provide general information, highlight particular issues, and pose specific questions that should be answered before suggesting possible wording of accessibility legislation. This paper is intended to provide Barrier-Free Manitoba with a broad framework for further discussion and to plan next steps, for instance obtaining input from focus groups or at community events.

This paper is based on a review of accessibility legislation in the U.S., Britain, Australia and Ontario. It does not include an analysis of the regulations or standards issued under these statutes. The paper is informed by some of the reports prepared by government agencies or disabilities groups in jurisdictions that have accessibility legislation, however it is by no means based on a complete analysis of all of the available information. Once further input is received from Barrier-Free Manitoba and other interested stakeholders, a more comprehensive analysis and opinion regarding the form that accessibility legislation in Manitoba should take can be completed.

When contemplating each of the elements identified in this paper and answering the specific questions raised, consideration should be given to Barrier-Free Manitoba’s “9 Principles for Legislation”, namely accessibility-rights legislation that will:

• cover all disabilities;
• reflect a principled approach to equality;
• move beyond the complaints-driven system to comprehensively address discrimination and barriers;
• establish a definite target date to achieve a barrier-free Manitoba;
• require the development of clear, progressive, mandatory and date-specific standards in all major areas related to accessibility that will apply to public and private sectors;
• establish a timely and effective process for monitoring and enforcement of the standards;
• incorporate ongoing leadership roles for the disability community;
• supersede all other provincial legislation, regulations or policies which provide lesser protections;
• not diminish other legal and human rights protections.

This paper explores 10 key elements that should form part of accessibility-rights legislation in Manitoba. There are certainly more that should be considered, however these are thought to be the most essential, as they will comprise the framework of the statute. The 10 key elements are:

1. Preamble
2. Purpose
3. Definition of “disability”
4. What the law covers
5. What is required to comply with the law
6. Regulations
7. Standards
8. Consultation/public input
9. Monitoring/reporting
10. Enforcement

The following abbreviations have been used throughout the paper:

ADA - The Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990
ODA – The Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001
AODA - The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
DDA of Australia – The Disability Discrimination Act of Australia, 1992
DDA of U.K. – The Disability Discrimination Acts of the U.K., 1995 and 2005