Skip to Content

BFM 2.0

Through to Passage of Strong and Effective Accessibility-Rights Legislation

After taking a short break following the passage of The Accessibility Advisory Council Act, Barrier-Free Manitoba resumed its advocacy efforts following the October 2011 general provincial election. Our goal continued to be securing the passage of strong and effective accessibility-rights legislation in Manitoba. But what originally started out as a three-year effort became a five-year mission.

Landmark Bill 26 Given Royal Assent

Passed, proclaimed and given Royal Assent on December 5, The Accessibility For Manitobans Act is now the law in Manitoba and has come into force.

And with this, we have finally achieved the goal of securing strong and effective provincial accessibility-rights legislation. It's been five long, joyous and challenging years.

Now we all can CELEBRATE the successful completion of this historic project began back in 2008.

Bill 26 Passes Third Reading with All-Party Unanimous Support

Bill 26 passed Third Reading on the afternoon of December 3, 2013 (The International Day of Persons with Disabilites). The bill received all-party, unanimous support.

Minister Jennifer Howard introduced the bill for Third Reading and spoke about the historic importance of the legislation. Here's how she concluded her remarks:

"It [Bill 26] is going to benefit generations and generations and generations of Manitobans, and I am so thankful that we will stand united today in this Chamber and give approval to third reading of this bill, because I think today we are changing the world and those opportunities don't come along that often in this line of work.

So I want to thank the members opposite of all parties who've been along on this journey, who've offered helpful advice and their support. This is a good day, Mr. Speaker. We should celebrate. Thank you."

Both Leanne Rowat (PC) and Jon Gerrard (Liberal) also spoke with passion in support of the bill while noting several areas where they would like to have seen it strengthened.

Links to Hansard from Third Reading are posted here

What a great day for Manitobans! 

Bill 26 Strengthened through Review at Standing Committee

The Standing Committee meeting to review Bill 26 was held on October 29, 2013. The place was beyond packed and they had to open an 'overflow room to accommodate the crowd. The meeting featured a range of thoughtful, moving and passionate public presentations in support of both Bill 26 and of the measures still needed to strengthen it.

Click here for links to Hansard for the meeting and here for highlights of the community presentations.

The Standing Committee's review of the Bill ended a little after 11:30 pm (the meeting itself went on to 4 am). The Committee passed the Bill with six government sponsored amendments. Three amendments moved by PC Critic Leanne Rowat were debated but defeated.

Click here for a summary of amendments passed and defeated.

Bill 26 Passes Second Reading

Bill 26 (The Accessibiity for Manitobans Act) passed Second Reading in the Legislative Assembly yesterday on September 13, 2013. The debate featured powerful words from four opposition MLAs that expressed strong support for the Bill while calling on the Government to strenghten it before it comes back to the Legislature for Third (final) Reading.

Click here for more details.

Barrier-Free Manitoba Releases Review of Bill 26 Identifying Significant Room for Improvement

Barrier-Free Manitoba released the report from its preliminary review of Bill 26. The report from the review identifies sixteen very positive features of Bill 26 (see below). The report also highlights six areas were changes can and should be made to make Bill 26 even better. The complete report from the review is available for download (Word / PDF).

Accessibility for Manitobans with Disabilities Act (Bill 26) Tabled for First Reading

On the afternoon of April 24, 2013, Minister Jennifer Howard tabled historic Bill on accessibility-rights in Manitoba’s Legislative Assembly. The Bill (The Accessibility for Manitobans Act) represents a major breakthrough in the promotion and protection of the human rights of over 200,000 Manitobans with disabilities.

Bill 26 has been posted as a HTML document and as a PDF.

Government Releases White Paper Response

On January 21, 2013, Minister Jennifer Howard released the government's response to the MAAC's recommendations for accessisbility-rights legislation and the public comment received on the MAAC's report. The response commits government to: move forward with accessibility legislation [in 2013] and make the vision of an inclusive society a reality for all Manitobans."

The response is posted on the DIO website. The response is available here as a PDF and Word document.

Council's October 2012 Meeting Summary Posted

Discussion summaries for the MAAC's 14th meeting held on October 22, 2012 has been posted on the DIO website.

Barrier-Free Manitoba Calls for Stronger Measures in Five Areas

On October 1, Barrier-Free Manitoba released our response to the MAAC's recommendations which calls for stronger measures in five areas. Our findings were presented in two documents.

Comprehensive Review

The detailed findings from our comprehensive review of the MAAC’s report
- Executive Summary (7 pages: PDF / Word)
- Full Report without Appendices (50 pages: PDF / Word)
- Full Report with Appendices (134 pages: PDF / Word)

Position Paper

Our position in each of the MAAC’s 43 individual recommendations and 5 broader comments (27 pages: PDF / Word)

Province Releases MAAC's Recommendations for New Landmark Legislation

The Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council's (MAAC) recommendations for new provincial accessibility-rights legislation were released on September 6th. The MAAC has made 42 recommendations for the legislation, as well as two policy recommendations. These are contained in an 11-page report that is now posted on the Disability Issues Office (DIO) as a PDF and Word (English) documents.

Barrier-Free Manitoba Forwards Global Messages of Encouragement

As deadline for public feedback came to a close on June 5, 2012, Barrier-Free Manitoba forwarded messages of encouragement sent in from advocates around the world to Minister Howard and the Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council. The messages were forwarded in an electonic document (Word / PDF).

Two More Council Meeting Summaries Posted

Discussion summaries for the MAAC's meetings on May 14th and May 28th have been posted on the DIO website.

Barrier-Free Manitoba Releases Detailed Response

On May 24, Barrier-Free Manitoba released our detailed response to the Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council's discussion paper. The response was distributed in a full 38-page version (Word / PDF) and as a 3-page Executive Summary (Word / PDF).

Barrier-Free Manitoba's Preliminary Review Released

Working to meet very tight time lines, Barrier-Free Manitoba conducted a preliminary review of the Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council's discussion paper. The results from the review were sent to endorsers and subscribers on the evening of May 7, with public distribution started on the morning of May 8.

The results were provided in two different documents - a five-page summary (Word / PDF) and a one-page report card (Word / PDF). The report card is a quick reference which assesses the discussion paper against the nine principles that have been proposed for the new legislation.

Advisory Council's Discussion Paper Released

The Advisory Council has released it's long awaited initial discussion paper. It is available as a PDF and is posted as an on-line text version.

Summary of Meeting No.11 Posted

The discussion summary from the Advisory Council's 11th meeting, held April 23rd, has been posted. You can view these on the Disability Issues website.

Meeting No.10 in the Books / Summary

The discussion summary from the Advisory Council's 10th meeting, held April 10th, has been posted. You can view these on this website or the Disability Issues website.

Consultation Date Confirmed / The Invite is Out

On April 17, the the Disability Issues Office distributed an invitation and poster from the Accessibility Advisory Council for its public consultation event scheduled for May 8th.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
1:00 to 4:00 pm
Main Floor, Embassy Rooms A, B and C
Victoria Inn, 1808 Wellington Avenue in Winnipeg

The Council is encouraging early registration with a deadline of May 1.

Many important details related to the event are still pending including the release of a discussion paper.

Latest Summary Out / Public Consultation Scheduled for May 8th

The AAC's March 26th meeting summary announces that a session has been scheduled for May 8th to provide the Council with the chance to consult with the public prior to finalizing its recommendations for legislation for the Minister.

A discussion paper and details on the location and programme for the consultation session (as well as on other opportunities for feedback) are pending.

You can view these on this website or the Disability Issues website.

Summary of Council Discussions at 8th Meeting Posted

The discussion summary from the Advisory Council's 7th meeting, held March 12, 2012, have been posted. You can view these on this website or the Disability Issues website.

Upcoming Consultations by the Accessibility Advisory Council

The discussion summary from the AAC's February 27th meeting reports that the Council will be releasing a discussion paper in the next short while (mid-April or shortly thereafter). The paper will provide the basis for public consultations before the Council finalizes its recommendations. Details on both the scope and probable content of the paper and the dates and plans for consultations are expected shortly.

We will forward information on the consultations as soon as this becomes available. We expect that we will be developing and submitting a brief in response to the discussion paper. We will share an initial draft with those who have endorsed the call for strong and effective legislation. We will also work to provide other materials to support your participation in the consultation process.

Summary of Council Discussions at 7th Meeting Posted

The discussion summary from the Advisory Council's 7th meeting, held February 27, 2012, has been posted. You can view these on this website or the Disability Issues website.

Summary of Council Discussions at 6th Meeting Now Posted

The discussion summary from the Advisory Council's 6th meeting, held February 13, 2012, has been posted. You can view these on this website or the Disability Issues website.

Summary of Council Discussions at 5th Meeting Now Posted

 The discussion summary from the Advisory Council's 5th meeting, held January 30, 2012, has been posted. You can view these on this website or the Disability Issues website.

Summary of Council Discussions at 4th Meeting Now Posted

The discussion summary from the Advisory Council's 4th meeting, held January 16, 2012, has been posted. You can view these on this website or the Disability Issues website.

Summary of Council Discussions at 3rd Meeting Now Posted

The discussion summary from the Advisory Council's 3rd meeting, held December 12, 2011, was posted on Boxing Day. You can view these on this website or the Disability Issues website.

BFM Launches into Social Media with Facebook Page and Twitter Account

Barrier-Free Manitoba launched a Facebook page and started a Twitter account in November 2011 to support its ongoing campaign to secure strong and effective accessibility-rights legislation in Manitoba.

Summary Discussions of Council's First Two Meeting Now Posted

An important commitment made in the Terms of Reference established for the Accessibility Advisory Council is that a summary discussion report from each of council meeting would be posted within two weeks on the Disability Issue Office website. A summary of discussions from the Counci's first meeting held on November 15, 2011 was posted on December 2nd.

The summary of discussions at the Council's second meeting held on November 29, 2011 is also now available and was posted within the two week time frame that was set out.

Schedule Set for Accessibility Advisory Council Meetings

At it's first meeting, the Accessibility Advisory Council has set the following schedule for subsequent meetings through to April 23, 2102.

- Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

- Monday, December 12, 2011, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

- Monday, January 16, 2012, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

- Monday, January 30, 2012, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

- Monday, February 13, 2012, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

- Monday, February 27, 2012, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

- Monday, March 12, 2012, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

- Monday, March 26, 2012, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

- Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

- Monday, April 23, 2012, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. 

Minister Formally Annouces Council Membership / Terms of Reference

Minister Jennifer Howard announced the appointment of members to the Accessibility Advisory Council on December 2, 2011, as well as of range of other details related to the work of the Council. Perhaps most appreciated was background intormation on the skiils, expereince and interests that members were bringing to the Council.

Jim Derksen, Chair
Jim has played key roles in the development of the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD), the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), Disabled Peoples' International (DPI) and the Canadian Disability Rights Council (CDRC). Jim also served as the first Executive Director of the Disabilities Issues Office.

Yvonne Peters, Vice Chair
Yvonne practices as a lawyer in Winnipeg, specializing in equality rights and human rights law. Her practice offers a blend of legal advice and social policy development. She has worked with numerous organizations, including the CDRC, Women's Health Clinic and the National Association of Women and the Law.

Eileen Clarke, Association of Manitoba Municipalities
Eileen is the Mayor of Gladstone, Manitoba, and currently serves as the Urban Vice President on the Executive Committee of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities. Eileen was a business owner of a jewellery and gift shop in her community for 33 years, retiring in August of 2005. She was awarded the Manitoba Women Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998 and the Westman Woman of Distinction in 2000.

Dianne Driedger, Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities
Diane is Provincial Coordinator of the MLPD. She is author or editor of six books on the disability movement in Canada and internationally. She teaches Disability Studies at the University of Winnipeg and holds a PhD in Education.

Jim Baker, Manitoba Hotel Association
Following a career in private Chartered Accountancy practice as a partner in a regional accountancy firm, Jim accepted the position of President, CEO for the Manitoba Hotel Association in October 1999. Mr. Baker also is a member of the Executive Committee of the Hotel Association of Canada.

Scott Jocelyn, Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association
For the past five years Scott Jocelyn has been the Executive Director of the Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association. A major component of his role is ensuring the concerns of foodservice operators are considered in dealings with legislators, educators, media and the general public. Prior to this, Scott worked for over 20 years in the food service industry running hotels and restaurants in the province. He is a graduate of the University of Manitoba where he majored in Political Science.

Lanny McInnes, Retail Council of Canada
Lanny joined the Retail Council of Canada in August 2003 and currently serves as the Director of Government Relations & Member Services for Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Lanny is also currently Vice-President of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society of Canada and is a former President of the ALS Society of Manitoba. Mr. McInnes is a graduate of Brandon University and alumni of the Manitoba Legislative Internship Program.

Doug Momotiuk, Canadian Association of the Deaf
Doug attended and graduated at the Manitoba School for the Deaf from elementary to high school and graduated from the Gallaudet College of liberal arts for the deaf at Washington, DC. Mr Momotiuk was previously employed at Imperial Roadway Ltd and Deaf Centre Manitoba, and is currently employed at the Finance Department of SMD Alliance. Doug has participated in deaf organizations and committees on the local, provincial, and national levels for over 35 years, including the Manitoba Deaf Association, where he acts as secretary. Doug is currently president of the Canadian Association of the Deaf

Chris Summerville, Manitoba Schizophrenia Society
Chris has been the executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society since 1995 and is also the CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada. In 2007, Prime Minister Harper appointed Chris to the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. As a provincial and national leader and advocate for a transformed, recovery-oriented mental health system, he has served on numerous provincial and national boards including the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, The National Network for Mental Health, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Canada and the Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health.

Diane Scribe Niiganii
Diane is originally from Norway House Cree Nation and has had arthritis since a very young age. Diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (Arthritis of the spine), Diane has focused her career on Community Development and First Nation disability issues. Diane commits her time to raising awareness about Ankylosing Spondylitis and disability issues through social media and social networks. Diane is a graduate from Brandon University with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of General Studies.

Judy Redmond, City of Winnipeg
Judy Redmond is the Universal Design Coordinator for the City of Winnipeg. She is an active member of numerous local and provincial disability organizations and committees, including the City of Winnipeg’s Access Advisory Committee. In 2006, she played an instrumental role in the in the development of the City of Winnipeg’s Facility Accessibility Design Manual, which established accessibility requirements for the design and construction of new facilities, as well as the retrofit, alteration or addition to existing facilities, owned, leased or operated by the City of Winnipeg.

Karen Pirnie, Manitoba Council on Aging
Karen is a former athlete with a lifelong commitment to physical activities in various capacities. Ms. Pirnie has served on numerous boards related to health and fitness, and has been involved in various initiatives promoting healthy, active living among older adults. She was formerly Executive Director of the St. James 55 Plus Centre and the Manitoba Association of Seniors Centres.

The initial details on the Accessibility Advisory Council are very promising. They suggests that the government is serious about tackling the systemic reform required to make Manitoba a leader in promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.

Clearly there is a lot of hard work ahead - for those concerned with disability rights and particularly for the Council - to move this agenda forward. 

Chair and Vice-Chair Appointed Along with an 11th Member

Through Order In Council 00365 / 2011, the Minister of Labour and Immigration has appointed:

Jim Derksen as Council Chair

Yvonne Peters as Council Vice-Char

Eileen Clarke as Counci's 11th member (maximum size of 12)

With the election now over, we expect that information will soon be made available by the Minister on:

The Council's Terms of Reference

The Council's members, their responsibilities and their respective backgrounds

The opportunities that those affected by disabilities (and other concerned stakeholder groups) will have to support the Council as it works over the next nine months to develop its recommendations for strong and effective accessibility-rights legislation.

Initial Set of Advisory Council Members Appointed

The first ten members of the new Accessibility Advisory Council were appointed by Order in Council 00329 / 2011 on August 23, 2011. (Click here to view the Order in Council.)

The members of the council are:

Jim Derksen

Diane Scribe Niiganii

Judy Redmond

Yvonne Peters

Doug Momotiuk

Lanny McInnes

Chris Summerville

Diane Driedger

Jim Baker

Scott Jocelyn

The appointments of these members became effective as of September 1, 2011.

Under The Accessibility Advisory Council Act, the council has until June 2012 to provide the Minister with its recommendations for legislation to ensure the systemic and timely identification, prevention and removal of barriers that disable people.

Barrier-Free Manitoba will provide updates as information on the work of the council becomes available.