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The Smoking Gun

Jun 04, 2018

Hand drawn like a gun with smoke coming out of one finger

Who knew what, when?

It seems that government knew about the under-resourcing of the landmark AMA and that they have known about this for at least years now and have chosen not to meaningfully address the problem.

How do we know? We found the evidence by digging into the transition book developed in the Spring of 2016 by the Department of Family Services to brief the newly appointed Minister Scott Fielding on the scope of, and the urgent issues faced by his new department. It's a thick 160-page binder that was released to the public in response to a Freedom of Information request (not from BFM).

One of the urgent issues listed and described in the Transition Book (on page 56) starts like this:

"Issue: Implementation Challenges -The Accessibility for Manitobans Act

Issue overview:

The AMA prescribes specific implementation timelines. Without additional resources, Manitoba may fail to meet the timelines set out in The Act."

The description goes on to add:

  • The DIO is challenged to provide adequate implementation support. (Lack of funds for a public awareness and marketing campaign a lack of staff to respond to training requests, do outreach with private sector organizations that must comply with the AMA by 2018; and create an AMA compliance regime).
  • In addition, the GOM [Government of Manitoba] and DIO face pressure from disability organizations and advocates, such as Barrier Free Manitoba, to move forward with' full implementation quickly.

The Transition Book provides the Minister with three options to address this urgent issue


  • Increase the DIO's staffing and financial resources, to further public awareness, marketing, training, standards development and compliance efforts.
  • Modify existing grants or introduce new public funding to support the Implementation of the AMA.
  • Move the DIO into Jobs and the Economy, to capitalize on existing GOM-private sector networks and relationships that will help to facilitate AMA implementation." 

We are not privy to high level government discussions. Nor do we have complete information. But from what the information we do have, it appears that the Minister chose not to pursue any of the options.

There has been some increases in the DIO's budget. These have been welcomed but are very limited in terms of absolute dollar values.

No new grants that we know of have been established. Even more worrisome, this year's Community Places Program and other related capital funding programs did not even include accessibility as a funding criterion (click here to see our recent FaceBook ppost on this)

Finally, the DIO remains in the massive Department of Family where attention of both the Minister and Deputy seem to be near monopolized by other priorities.

So it appears that Minister responsible know about the current and intensifying implementation issues in the Spring of 2014. It seems very unfortunate that BFM has had to organize the Broken Promise campaign to call for immediate action now two years later. Think what could have been acheived if the Minister and the goverment had prioritized fufulling the promise of the AMA, as well as the AMA election commitments made by the Progressive Conservative party in the 2016 election.

This does not take the previous government off the hook. The NDP government is responsible for under-resourcing the AMA before the election. But that government ended two years ago. The new government has had its turn for more than two years now. 

It's still not too late to get the AMA's implementation back on track. But they better get a serious move on. That's exactly what the Broken Promise campaign is calling for.

We are please to post Page 56 for your review:

The full version of theTransition Book can be downloaded as a PDF from a government website. Just click here (note that it is a very large file). 

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