In A Flash

Canada Finalizes New Workplace Accessibility Standards as Bill C-81 Receives Royal Assent

In June 2018, the Canadian Government introduced Bill C-81, aimed at establishing new accessibility standards applicable to federally regulated organizations with the goal of identifying, removing and preventing barriers to inclusion experienced by persons with disabilities.  Bill C-81 has received royal assent and is set to come into law as the Accessible Canada Act (the “ACA”) on a date to be set by the Governor in Council.

The requirements of the accessibility standards will roll out in stages, with the objective of achieving full accessibility compliance by 2040.

Similar to provincial accessibility legislation already in force in Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, regulations made under the ACA will establish accessibility standards setting out how organizations are to identify, remove and prevent barriers in the following areas:

  • Employment
  • The built environment
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Communication, other than information and communication technologies
  • The procurement of goods, services and facilities
  • The design and delivery of programs and services
  • Transportation

The ACA outlines 3 primary duties for federally regulated employers, which include:

  1. Accessibility Plans: Creating and publishing accessibility plans in consultation with persons with disabilities
  2. Feedback Tools: Establishing and publishing a feedback process, detailing ways to receive and respond to feedback from both employees and customers
  3. Progress Reports: In consultation with persons with disabilities, preparing and publishing progress reports that detail how they fulfill their accessibility plans

It is important for federally regulated employers to understand and comply with the ACA, as well as be aware of the compliance and enforcement powers of the Accessibility Commissioner. The ACA provides the Accessibility Commissioner with the ability to conduct inspections, make production and compliance orders, and impose administrative monetary penalties up to $250,000 for a contravention of the legislation.

Keep an eye out for future In A Flash email publications on this subject, as more information becomes available about the accessibility standards themselves and the various compliance deadlines that are expected to be established.

A copy of the language of the ACA can be found here.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.

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