Summary Note: Bill C-81 Parliamentary Study - Wednesday October 24, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

As you are aware Parliament is presently holding hearings on Bill C-81 (The Accessible Canada Act).  The CNIB has undertaken to provide brief daily summaries of these hearings, and they have generously agreed to allow CCD to have them translated for circulation across the country, in both English and French.  Therefore, please find attached the CNIB summary for the hearing on October 18, 2018.  We will continue to translate and share these summaries as quickly as we are able.  Meantime thanks to the CNIB for this collaboration! 

Steven Estey
Government & Community Relations Manager
Council of Canadians with Disabilities
343 Preston Street, 11th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1S 1N4

Summary Note: Bill C-81 Parliamentary Study - Wednesday October 24, 2018

Please find a summary of the Parliamentary Committee study on Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act. Thank you to Alice Clark, Specialist, Government Relations and Policy, for monitoring and reporting on these meetings.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA)

Committee Meeting October 24, 2018
6:45pm – 8:45pm
Witnesses included:

As an Individual: Marie Bountrogianni, Dean, Chang School, Ryerson University
Barrier-Free Manitoba: Patrick Falconer, Consultant, Steering Committee
British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society: Neil Belanger, Executive Director
Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec: Monique Beaudoin, Administrator, Board of Directors and Camille Desforges, Records Manager
Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance: Bill Adair, Executive Director and Jane Arkell, Project Director

Marie Bountrogianni told the Committee that the highlight of her tenure as an Ontario cabinet minister was in June 2005 when the AODA received royal assent. She said a clear deadline, regulations established to enforce the law, and public education would be key to the success of the bill. She said she wanted to see greater emphasis on web accessibility to facilitate equal access to opportunities. She briefly mentioned the CNIB for their partnership in two entrepreneur courses for people with vision loss at the Change School at Ryerson. She said this type of partnership and collaboration are critical for realizing a barrier free Canada.

Patrick Falconer from Barrier-Free Manitoba said Manitoba is halfway through the 10 year mandate of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, and only 1 of 5 accessibility standards have been developed. He said the Manitoba government rarely meets its own deadlines, and that implementation efforts are under resourced and behind schedule. He said Bill C-81 contains permissive language, and enables but doesn't require any action.

Neil Belanger from the British Colombia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society said he wanted to see a 5 year timeline for implementation. He said CASDO should be composed with a minimum 2/3 representation of persons with disabilities, including indigenous peoples with disabilities. He said there is an absence of any reference to First Nations communities under the legislation, and wants clarity as to how Bill C-81 will impact First Nations Communities.

Camille Desforges from the Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec said they want to see disability needs looked at with all future policies, and that the federal government should leverage funding that supports public and private agencies by having an accessibility criteria attached to all transfers.

Bill Adair, representing FALA, said all people employed by the public sector must engage in an education program, and that the legislation should be expanded to include landed immigrants and other who do not hold Canadian citizenship. He also added that he wanted to see all standards and regulations implemented within 5 years, and that communications needs to be added to the list of targeted barriers.

MP Barlow asked why the groups had suggested 5 year timelines. Mr. Falconer said the experience in Manitoba is that the government has dragged its feet, and said the longer it goes on, the less likely it is that the legislation will be taken seriously.

MP Hardcastle asked if the legislation should stipulate staff and other supporting roles surrounding the board be designated persons with disabilities. Ms. Desforges said the board and committees have to be comprised by persons with disabilities with protected positions for Quebec.

Please share with staff you would be interested.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact myself or Alice Clark.


Thomas Simpson
Head, Public Affairs
1355 Bank St, Ottawa ON, K1H 8K7