PSAC calls on the federal government to take action on accessibility legislation
The federal government concluded its consultation on accessibility legislation earlier this year. Now is the time to take the opportunity to remove accessibility and inclusion barriers faced by persons with disabilities in the public service by improving legislation, processes and policies that can serve as a model for all employers in the federal sector.
“It has been six months since the government issued its consultation report and now it’s time for action,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President. “Our union is ready to work with the government to make the changes that are needed to improve working conditions for members with disabilities.”
PSAC supports actions in the consultation report
The report – Creating new national accessibility legislation: What we heard from Canadians states that there was broad agreement the government should monitor how well the legislation is working and make changes to improve legislation, if needed. As well, current laws are not reviewed frequently enough to improve accessibility, including the Employment Equity Act which has missed several legislated reviews.
PSAC also agrees there should be monitoring, reviews and audits, a complaints mechanism, progress reports, action plans, enforcement mechanisms and a focus on prevention tools.
There are key areas of concern
During the government’s consultation, PSAC provided recommendations in four key areas of concern:
- employment equity
- termination of employment due to disability
More people with disabilities are leaving the federal public service than are being hired and at a higher percentage than their representation rate. Yet, there have not been enough measures to address this issue despite the fact that, as of 2015-16, persons with disabilities were leaving at twice the rate they were being hired.
Public service employee survey results have shown that workers with disabilities have significantly higher rates of negative answers to survey questions such as having the materials and equipment to do their job, having the training and equipment needed to ensure their health and safety at work, and receiving meaningful recognition for work well done.
Workers with disabilities also were more likely than workers without disabilities to have a negative experience in being accepted as an equal member of the workplace ‘team’ or in being selected for a position. They were almost twice as likely to have suffered harassment on the job in the previous two years.
Since 1992, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has raised awareness of the daily barriers faced by persons with disabilities, as well as, the important contributions that persons with disabilities can make when there is an inclusive society.