February 19, 2021
Almost one out of every four Manitobans faces challenges with accessibility.
Manitoba is one of only three provinces in Canada to enact accessibility legislation, through the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. The legislation sets out a path to remove and prevent barriers through the development of accessibility standards in five fundamental areas, including: customer service, employment, information and communication, transportation, and the design of public spaces.
On November 1, 2015 the Customer Service Standard Regulation
came into force, requiring organizations to develop policies, practices and other measures aimed at eliminating barriers and creating a more accessible customer service for persons of all abilities.
The Accessibility for Manitobans Act calls for a review of the effectiveness of accessibility standards five years after their creation – and we want to hear your thoughts on what is working, and what is not.
About the Customer Service Standard Regulation:
Leading organizations understand that improving accessibility is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do. The combined purchasing power of persons with disabilities and their families represent a $366 billion market in Canada.
In Manitoba, the regulation applies to more than 41,000 Manitoba organizations in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Every business with at least one employee must comply.
Under the Standard, organizations are required to:
- Meet the communication needs of its customers;
- Accommodate the use of assistive devices;
- Welcome support persons;
- Allow service animals;
- Maintain accessibility features;
- Let the public know when and why an accessibility feature is unavailable;
- Welcome and respond promptly to feedback;
- Provide the required training to employees, volunteers and management; and,
- If you have 50 or more employees, keep a written record of your accessibility and training policies.
About the Review Process:
The Manitoba government has mandated its Accessibility Advisory Council (Council) to undertake this review, in consultation with Manitobans with disabilities and obligated organizations.
The Council wants to hear from impacted Manitobans about their experience with the Standard, including what is working, and how you feel it should be updated in order to help remove customer service barriers.
For both obligated organizations providing customer service, and those the Standard is designed to support, we hope to learn if the Standard has resulted in improved accessible customer service, what barriers exist to achieving its objectives, what barriers need to be removed or addressed, and ultimately, how could the Standard be improved.
Share Your Thoughts Now!
Public engagement is a critical aspect of the review, and there are many ways for you to share your perspective, including through a written submission, public survey, live virtual event, and direct communication.
Your comments and feedback are also welcome via briefs and submissions to the attention of the Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council at email@example.com. The deadline to submit your insight is Friday, May 14, 2021.
Live Virtual Public Consultation:
To ensure COVID-19 safety precautions are maintained, the Council will host a virtual consultation session where we hope impacted Manitobans will share their perspective. The session will be held in April 2020. For more information, contact the Manitoba Accessibility Office.
Sector Focus Groups:
The Council will also be the reaching out directly to sector associations to contribute via virtual focus groups. If your association would like to participate in a personalized session, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Council will soon launch a public survey on EngageMB.ca, the Manitoba Government’s online portal. EngageMB.ca provides an easy way for all Manitobans to share their insights.
If you require assistance or would prefer to provide your comments by speaking with an individual, please call the Manitoba Accessibility Office, which acts as secretary to the Council. Phone (204) 945-7613 or toll-free at 1- 800-282-8069, Ext. 7613.
We hope you will contribute to this important discussion. We all have a role to play in creating a more inclusive and accessible province for all Manitobans.
Accessibility Advisory Council
c/o Manitoba Accessibility Office
Phone: 204-945-7613 or Toll Free: 1-800-282-8069 (Ext. 7613)