The Accessibility Standards Canada (ACS) has signed two memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with the Ontario government to improve efforts and coordination and facilitate sharing of resources dedicated to creating a barrier-free Canada.
“People with disabilities deserve accessible, equitable, and inclusive systems regardless of jurisdiction,” said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development & Disability Inclusion. “Accessibility Standards Canada is doing vital work with provincial and territorial governments, like the Government of Ontario, to ensure that accessibility standards are more harmonized across the country.”
The agreements, which were signed with a leading disability law firm and a prominent disability rights organization, aim to strengthen the implementation of disability laws in Canada and improve access to justice for those with disabilities. The memoranda will also help to promote awareness and understanding of Canadian disability law, including disability insurance law, among legal professionals and the general public. This is an important step towards ensuring that the rights of individuals with disabilities are fully protected and upheld in Ontario and across Canada.
ACS officially signed the first MOU with the Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility on April 28. The agreement aims to optimize each organization’s objectives by reducing or eliminating the duplication of resources and efforts. The organizations could achieve this by sharing information and collaborating on joint research needs.
“The Ontario government is identifying, removing, and preventing barriers for people with disabilities to help make our province and country more inclusive,” Ontario Minister for Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho said. “Working together with Accessibility Standards Canada, we will help create a society where everyone can participate in their communities and the economy.”
Meanwhile, the latest MOU with the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing focuses explicitly on the built environment and encourages collaboration on developing accessibility standards for building codes. ACS formally signed it on October 19.
“Ontario’s new agreement with Accessibility Standards Canada is a significant step forward in our goal to create an accessible, barrier-free province for all of our citizens,” Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark said. “Our partnership will also help inform changes to be included in the next edition of Ontario’s Building Code and strengthen our already high standards for ensuring buildings and public spaces are accessible for people with disabilities.”
The ACS confirmed that it had signed five MOUs, having similar agreements with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services, the British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing, and the British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.