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Manitoba Legislature now one of most accessible chambers in Canada

Oct 03, 2017

renovated assembly

Here’s the headline and first paragraph from today’s coverage in the Free Press:

“Changes in legislature chamber barely noticeable, but monumental for disabled

A major renovation project making most of Manitoba's legislative chamber accessible is historic and could influence governments in Canada and beyond, Speaker Myrna Driedger said Monday morning.”

And here are the first paragraphs from CBC’s coverage:

”A person with a disability can now take his or her place in Manitoba's Legislature as Speaker, premier, senior minister or leader of the opposition — with no access barriers.

The floor of the 96-year-old chamber was lifted in a $1.45-million renovation, making the majority of the room accessible to people in wheelchairs.”

Kudos to Manitoba. Kudos to the Legislative Assembly. Kudos to Speaker Myrna Driedger and the 24 members of the Accessibility Advisory Committee that played lead roles in the project.

Notably, this giant step forward was acheived by thinking outside the box. According to the CBC:
As recently as last year it seemed almost impossible to find a solution that would avoid using lifts and still create easy access.
Then one day an Accessible Advisory Committee member said: 'Why don't you just raise the floor?'

That recommendation was studied and eventually put into place.

As a result, Not only is the space far more accessible, but there was no need to introduce what were seen as intrusive and noisy lifts and the project cost less than expected.

Work also included making the first and last rows of the government and opposition benches wider and a ramp allowing wheelchairs to ride on to the floor of the chamber. The chamber's sound system has been upgraded as well.

Read the full Free Press story at:

Read and view the full CBC coverage at:

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