New accessibility legislation received royal assent in November 2021
The Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly has passed new legislation which will improve accessibility by identifying, preventing and removing barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from full participation in the community, according to the Ministry for Children, Seniors and Social Development.
The announcement coincided with the celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, 2021.
The new legislation, or the Accessibility Act, will authorize the establishment of accessibility standards to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities. It will also establish an advisory board which will be primarily responsible for advising and making recommendations to the minister responsible for the status of persons with disabilities regarding the establishment and content of accessibility standards and the time periods for implementation.
“Through the establishment of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Board people with disabilities and organizations that represent them will help make this province more accessible and inclusive,” said Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development John Abbott in the announcement.
The new legislation will require public bodies to prepare accessibility plans every three years and make them publicly available. It will also provide inspection and enforcement powers to enforce accessibility standards.
“The significance of this accessibility legislation coming into force on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities can’t be understated,” said Fraser Piccott, chair of the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. “It is an excellent day to celebrate human rights and accessibility for all in this province.”
“The Network of Disability Organizations Newfoundland and Labrador is pleased to join the Provincial Government in celebration of both International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the proclamation of the Accessibility Act,” said Nancy Reid, chair of the Network of Disability Organizations. “We embrace and celebrate new accessibility legislation as the means toward a future of full inclusion for persons with disabilities in this province.”
The new legislation will 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.