The Manitoba government has released an independent review of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA).
“The review’s recommendations will help inform how the province will continue to improve accessibility and remove barriers,” said Families Minister Heather Stefanson. “I’d like to thank Theresa Harvey Pruden for her expertise and dedication to this important issue, as well as the Manitobans who participated and shared their views. Accessibility remains a top priority for our government and we are committed to making improvements based on the findings of this review.”
The AMA became law in 2013 with a goal to identify, prevent and remove barriers encountered by people with disabilities. The legislation calls for the development of standards to ensure accessibility in important areas of everyday life, such as customer service, employment and transportation. The province first developed its customer service standard, which was phased-in to apply to government and public sector organizations first. It came into effect Nov. 1, 2018, for businesses, non-profits and small municipalities.
Harvey Pruden was tasked with reviewing this legislation in January 2018. She held consultations to inform her work including stakeholders such as Manitobans with disabilities, service providers, organizations affected by the legislation and members of Manitoba’s accessibility advisory council. The review focused on the work that has been done since the AMA was established and the structures that support its implementation. Her recommendations focus on how to improve the effectiveness of the AMA including:
- improving the process to develop accessibility standards;
- enhancing efforts to increase awareness about the legislation;
- exempting small organizations (under 50 employees) from documenting accessibility measures, policies and practices, which is consistent with the approach taken in Ontario; and
- providing practical, user-friendly tools to help with implementation of accessibility standards.
“The review revealed legislation that Manitobans can be proud of and which is already contributing to improved accessibility,” said Harvey Pruden. “There is evidence that stakeholders, government, businesses, municipalities, public-sector organizations, non-profits and citizens have embraced the concept of maximizing accessibility for all Manitobans and have embarked on the journey to full implementation of the AMA. It has been a privilege to be a part of this process.”
The minister noted the province is committed to moving forward with many of Harvey Pruden’s recommendations.
The review is available at accessibilitymb.ca.