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BFM Releases Final Call for Stronger Employment Standard

Jan 12, 2018

Staff meeting

Disability discrimination in employment is one of Manitoba’s most serious and pervasive human rights issues. It is also among the most expensive, resulting in the estimated annual loss of $520 million to the provincial economy in lost employment earnings alone.

That's why it's so important that the government develop and enforce a strong and effective accessible employment standard under the landmark Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

We have reviewed the government's final proposal for this standard and, unfortunately, have found that it does not go nearly far enough to address the persistent labour market inequities facing Manitobans with disabilities. Accordingly, Barrier-Free Manitoba (BFM) submitted a brief (see the links at the bottom) to government this morning calling for stronger and broader measures.

Our Recommendations

Barrier-Free Manitoba recommends that the government revise its proposal to ensure that:

  1. All employees in the province are covered by return to work policies.
  2. All employers are required to develop, implement and maintain explicit policies that clearly state their commitment to the human right to accessible employment.
  3. All employers promote workplace cultures that acknowledge and support the human right to accessible employment.
  4. The standard addresses the accessibility barriers faced by persons with disabilities related to volunteer, internship and unpaid positions.
  5. Employers are required to make reasonable efforts to reach out to agencies that specialize in disability employment services as part of recruitment activities.

Barrier-Free Manitoba also recommends that the government commit to develop and enforce a strong accessible education standard. This standard is required to address the many barriers still faced by Manitobans with disabilities in our educational systems that contribute to limited labour force opportunities and outcomes.

Finally, Barrier-Free Manitoba also recommends that the government:

  1. Commit to developing a robust strategy for the implementation of the accessible employment standard, including identifying and ensuring the availability of the requisite financial and human resources.
  2. Require that large employers participate in a measurement system to track the effectiveness of the standard and to support evidence based decision-making.
  3. Speed up its efforts to develop and release the details of the regime required to monitor and enforce compliance with the standard.

We Need Your Help

This is the third brief we have submitted regarding the proposed accessible employment standard. While our earlier briefs included these same recommendations, government has yet to act upon them. This is very concerning to us. If the government choses to bypass them once again, it will mean that we will be stuck with a much less effective standard for the next five years. 

That's a long time. And we are very concerned that the standard as proposed will result in very modest progress rather than acheiving the significant progress toward full accessibility by 2023 as is required by the AMA.

So we are asking for your help. If you agree that a more effective standard is needed and support our call for these stronger measures, please take a couple of minutes to complete our online form at:

While today (January 12, 2018) is the deadline for public comment on the government's proposal, we think we still have until the end of January to get government's attention and to ensure that it takes our recommendations very seriously.

Please sign on in support of our call for stronger measures today.

We believe that our recommendations will make an appreciable contribution to increasing the standard’s effectiveness.

We believe that doing less will represent a huge opportunity cost – one that government, taxpayers and Manitobans with disabilities simply cannot afford. 

We also strongly encourage you to review the brief we submitted today.

  • Full version (22 pages) Word / PDF
  • Executive Summary (7 pages including a 4-page Appendix) Word / PDF

 Click here to view a post that includes links to BFM's two earlier briefs.

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