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Minister Responds to Request for Commitment to Develop and Enforce a Strong Accessible Education Standard

Jul 13, 2017

Scott Fielding

Barrier-Free Manitoba was proud to be part of a small and committed delegation that delivered a letter to Minister Fielding on June 30 (click here for more details). Prepared on June 15 and signed within two weeks by individuals and organizations representing over 100,000 Manitobans, the letter requested a commitment from government to develop and enforce a strong accessible education standard.

We are pleased to share the response (see below for the full text) we received from Minister Fielding. We are also pleased to post the Minister's response for download (Word / PDF), as well as the June 30 letter (Word/ PDF).

As you will see, the Minister does not say "yes" and he does not say "no".

His tone, however, is very positive and appreciative. He acknowledges the important points made in the letter and commits to monitoring progress made on a similar standard in both Ontario and Nova Scotia. He also suggests that concerned citizens and groups raise the need for this crucial standard during an independent review of the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act that will begin later this year.

BFM and others who took lead roles in developing and circulating the letter will be meeting over the coming weeks to consider and plan next steps.

So stay tuned.

The Letter

July 12, 2017

Mr. Patrick Falconer
Consultant to the Steering Committee
Barrier-Free Manitoba

Dear Mr. Falconer:

Thank you for forwarding the June 30, 2017 joint letter with over 1,100 signatories, including 1,100 individuals and 59 organizations, requesting that the Government of Manitoba establish an accessibility standard in education under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA).

I appreciate the support of the AMA expressed by Barrier-Free Manitoba and the many signatories to the letter. Indeed, public sector accessibility plans are evidence of the AMA’s impact on identifying, preventing and removing barriers for Manitobans. I am pleased to report significant progress is being made in the development of the five accessibility standards identified by government in 2013. The accessibility standard for customer service was established as a regulation in November 2015. The Accessibility Advisory Councils (Council) recommendations for the second accessibility standard for employment has recently been released to the public. I have asked the Council to begin developing a third standard in the area of information and communication. The final two standards will address transportation and the built environment.

The letter you forwarded offers important points for considering an additional accessibility standard for education. Later this year, I will appoint someone to review the implementation of the AMA and make recommendations on the way forward. As this review will include public consultation, it will be an ideal opportunity to show your support for an education standard. The Disabilities Issues Office will continue to monitor the development of an accessibility standard for education in Ontario and Nova Scotia, as referenced in your letter.

The government is proud of what it has accomplished in its first 15 months in office to support the AMA. At the same time, we fully understand considerable work remains to make Manitoba accessible and inclusive of all citizens.

Thank you for Barrier-Free Manitoba’s contribution to our shared vision of full participation of persons with disabilities in all sectors of society and your diligent work to monitor progress in the development and implementation of the AMA.


Scott Fielding
Minister of Families

The Honourable Brian Pallister
Honourable Ian Wishart

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