The federal government wants to hear your thoughts and ideas about how to make Canada more accessible and inclusive for everyone. Now is your chance to help the government develop new legislation to do just that.
Following on the rear wheels of the province of BC’s Accessibility 2024 public consultation process, the Government of Canada is asking Canadians what could be done federally to make our great country more accessible and inclusive.
On November 26, the Honorable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, will lead a public consultation from 2 – 5:30 pm at the Vancouver Convention Centre West Building, giving you an opportunity to directly inform the government as to how you would make Canada more accessible and inclusive. The government will use the collective feedback from all who participated in the national consultation process to draft new laws that advance access and inclusion – not just for Canadians with disabilities but for all who will benefit from such legislation (ie, Canadians).
This last point is important. Some of you may recall my editorial in the Fall 2015 issue of the Spin magazine in which I argued that the provincial and federal governments should focus on creating Access and Inclusion Acts as opposed to Persons with Disabilities Acts. My reasoning was that legislation focusing on persons with disabilities don’t promote inclusion beyond the laws they contain; whereas, access and inclusion legislation promotes social change that leads to a Canada that is more accessible and inclusive for everyone.
For this reason, I am pleased that Minister Qualtrough changed the focus of her to-be-developed legislation to access and inclusion. I strongly believe that this is the right approach. Of course, it still must focus on addressing the barriers to access and inclusion faced by Canadians with disabilities, but through the approach being taken, there is a genuine interest in fostering positive changes to Canadian society’s attitudes and perceptions of people with disabilities.
Will the federal government’s accessibility legislation consultation process be the cure-all for Canadians with disabilities? No. But is an critically important step in advancing real change in Canada. However, the only way to help make this happen is to provide your thoughts and ideas about how to make Canada more accessible and inclusive.
With this in mind, I strongly encourage those of you in Metro Vancouver to register for the November 26 consultation in Vancouver. Click here to register.
For those of you who can’t make it to this consultation, don’t fret! There are other ways you can participate. For example, SCI BC is one of 28 nonproft disability sector organizations partnering with SCI Canada on a federally funded, national accessibility legislation consultation project of its own (the Canadian Access & Inclusion Project) that will inform the government’s broader consultation process. As part of this, SCI BC will be hosting consultation meetings starting in January.
More on this will be shared with you in the coming weeks, but if you are itching to have a say now, you can get started by filling out SCI Canada’s Rant, Rave, Recommend form on the include-me.ca site it created for its consultation.
Now is the time to have your say in what will be historic legislation that will represent a major step forward in enshrining the rights of access and inclusion for Canadians with disabilities and, indeed, for all Canadians. Don’t miss this opportunity – let your thoughts be known!