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What does an Accessible Canada mean to you?
This is something I’ve been thinking about since long before I took on my current role as Canada’s first minister dedicated to Canadians with disabilities. Recently we launched a national consultation where I asked Canadians this question as I believe it’s an important question that will help to inform the development of legislation that will transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility. An accessible Canada is more than how we build our spaces; it is about what and how we think. We must look at accessibility differently — as individuals — as communities and as a government.
Together with other government initiatives, the planned legislation will help to increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians with disabilities and promote equality of opportunity by removing barriers and improving accessibility in areas of federal jurisdiction.
Today, the Government is releasing a Discussion Guide to support the consultation process. The Guide introduces the Government’s vision for the legislation, provides some background and context, and includes a series of questions to solicit the views of Canadians on what the legislation could look like. I am looking for input on topics such as:
· the overall goal and approach of the legislation;
· whom the legislation should cover;
· what accessibility issues and barriers the legislation should address;
· how implementation of the legislation could be monitored and enforced;
· how and when the Government of Canada should report to Canadians on the implementation of the legislation; and
· how to more generally raise accessibility awareness and support organizations in improving accessibility.
Canadians with disabilities, their families, and the organizations that represent them have been integral to many of the advancements Canada has made in accessibility and disability over the past decades. Your voices, your knowledge and your experience are incredibly important to help inform and develop legislation that matters and will make a real impact in the years to come. You can participate in the online consultation by completing a questionnaire in the language of your choice (English, French, American Sign Language or Langue des signes québécoise) and preferred format such as digital, handwritten, video or audio submissions. You can provide your input online or by telephone, mail, email, fax and TTY.
Please visit our consultation website to access the Discussion Guide and visit regularly to get updates as they are posted: www.canada.ca/Accessible-Canada.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and for your continued leadership on this issue. We hope that this Discussion Guide will serve as a tool to help you further the conversation in your networks and communities across Canada.
I’m looking forward to hearing your views.
Together, we will make history!
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
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