Earlier this year, the federal government held consultations on what should be included in new legislation dealing with accessibility for people with disabilities.
On May 29, the government released a report on its consultations. While the report contains some important recommendations, they remain vague. There is also no timeline for when the legislation will be put forward.
Federal government should be a leader
The report states that the new legislation should apply to all areas under the control of the Government of Canada, including the government as an employer.
It also emphasizes that “the Government of Canada should be a leader in accessibility by hiring and supporting employees with disabilities.”
Employment a top concern
Employment was listed by participants as one of the top issues when it comes to accessibility. While current legislation, such as the Federal Employment Equity Act, is positive, participants in the consultation felt that more needed to be done.
Participants stressed the importance of such things as:
- accessible recruitment and hiring processes
- requirements to support employees’ return to work if they acquire a disability while employed
- inclusive workplace policies that do not result in more barriers to accessibility
Enforcement and monitoring
The report notes that the new legislation could include a variety of tools to monitor progress, including actions plans, progress report, reviews, and a complaint process.
Participants supported the idea of creating a new, independent body, which would be responsible for oversight, response to individual complaints and ensuring organizations are following the legislation. As well, the results of any reporting process should be done regularly and made public.
PSAC made recommendations
During the consultations, PSAC submitted a brief focusing on our members in the federal jurisdiction, which identified key priorities, including strengthening employment equity, accommodation, and staffing processes for persons with disabilities.
PSAC will continue to push for strong legislation that ensures accessibility for Canadians with disabilities.
- Read the full report: Creating new national accessibility legislation: What we learned from Canadians