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The Broken Promise Campaign's First Breakthrough

Jun 12, 2018

Plant sprouting through white surface

The Broken Promise campaign has been operating for a little over two weeks and we're pleased to report the first breakthrough. It's an important one but represents only the first of many actions that will be required to reverse the slow, weak and incomplete implementation of the AMA to date.

In a response during Monday's question period, Minister Fielding stated that work on the three remaining standards (Information and Communication, Transportation and the Built Environment) would be done concurrently so that they all five of the initial standards will be in place before April 2020.

Deputy Minister Jay Rodgers, also the appointed Director of the AMA, similarly reported at the MAAW public forum today that work on the standards would be conducted concurrently.

That's good news.

Achieving this will be quite a stretch given the very limited resources available to the Disability Issues Office (DIO) to support the standard development process and the lack of any resources provided to disability communities to participate and provide expert input.

Indeed, there are only 18 months left before the anticipated communication blackout period in January 2020 (in the lead up to the next election). The reality is that it took more than 2 years to develop the single standard that is currently in place. Finalizing and rolling out a total of 4 additional standards (the final employment standard has yet to be released) in 18 months is a pretty tall order.

While the standards are essential, so too is the development and implementation of a strong and effective compliance regime which the Minister had planned to have in place in September 2017.

Other areas where real progress is required is addressing limitations in the Province's Customer Service Policy and Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, expanded and more effective communication campaigns focused on the public and obligated organizations, and the development of supports to help organizations comply with the standards.

Those timely developments will be required to fulfill the AMA's promise of major progress toward full accessibility by 2023.

Yesterday's news is a welcomed start. But much more needs to be done so that the AMA's promise does not remain broken.

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