New Accessibility Act Proposed for Newfoundland and Labrador

Americas, Built Environment, News, October 13 2021

New proposed legislation entitled ‘An Act Respecting Accessibility in the Province’ began second reading in the House of Assembly today. This new enabling legislation would allow government to outline the principles and goals for an accessible Newfoundland and Labrador.

An extensive engagement process with the community of and for persons with disabilities, community organizations, the business and tourism sectors, municipalities, Indigenous governments and organizations, and the public helped to inform the development of the proposed accessibility legislation. This process has been identified as the most inclusive engagement process ever held in the province and is now a model for community engagement sessions.

Throughout the entire engagement process, the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, the community of and for persons with disabilities and key stakeholders advised on the importance of getting the legislation right, with a ‘made in Newfoundland and Labrador approach’ that builds from experiences in other provinces, but ensures it meets the needs of the residents of this province.

The purpose of this proposed legislation is to improve accessibility by preventing, identifying and removing barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from full participation in society. The proposed Bill would:

  • Authorize the establishment of accessibility standards to improve accessibility;
  • Establish an advisory board to make recommendations to the minister regarding accessibility standards;
  • Require an individual, organization or public body that is subject to an accessibility standard to take actions to prevent barriers from being created and to identify and remove barriers;
  • Require public bodies to prepare accessibility plans every three years and make them publically available; and
  • Provide inspection and enforcement powers to enforce accessibility standards.

This proposed accessibility legislation would allow Newfoundland and Labrador to join five other provinces – British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec – as well as the Federal Government, in having such legislation focused specifically on advancing accessibility and inclusion throughout the province.

Quotes
“As a government, we are strongly committed to delivering provincial accessibility legislation to create a more accessible and inclusive province for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. I am very proud to have the opportunity to introduce this new groundbreaking piece of legislation in the House of Assembly. I would like to thank the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and the community of and for persons with disabilities for your ongoing advice and input into the development of this made in Newfoundland and Labrador Accessibility Act.”
Honourable John G. Abbott
Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development

“I am very pleased to see that the Accessibility Act is being introduced in the House of Assembly. This legislation is the result of engaging people with disabilities, their families and community groups throughout the province. The fact that the proposed legislation includes a reference to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will help to make our communities and province truly inclusive.”
Fraser Piccott
Chairperson of the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

“The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities in Newfoundland and Labrador applauds the creation of accessibility legislation. The proposed Accessibility Act is the result of extensive consultation with persons with disabilities in this province. This legislation represents the beginning of a new era of accessibility and sets the framework for true equity in our society.
Craig Reid
President of Coalition of Persons with Disabilities Newfoundland and Labrador

Media contacts
Michelle Hunt Grouchy
Children, Seniors and Social Development
709-729-5148, 682-6593
michellehuntgrouchy@gov.nl.ca

Fraser Piccott
Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities
709-330-2659

Nancy Reid
Coalition of Persons with Disabilities
709-722-7011
nancy@codnl.ca

Share this post: