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Fifth Session, Thirty-Ninth Legislature

This version is based on the printed bill that was distributed in the Legislature after First Reading.   It is not the official version.   If accuracy is critical, you can obtain a copy of the printed bill from Statutory Publications or view the online bilingual version (PDF).

Bill 47

THE ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COUNCIL ACT AND AMENDMENTS TO THE GOVERNMENT PURCHASES ACT


Table of Contents Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

WHEREAS under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Canada ratified in 2010, member states are expected to take appropriate measures to ensure accessibility and independent living;

AND WHEREAS the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that every person has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination based on age or mental or physical disability;

AND WHEREAS most Manitobans will confront barriers to accessibility at some point in their lives;

AND WHEREAS achieving accessibility will improve the health, independence and social inclusion of persons disabled by barriers, and of seniors;

THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

INTRODUCTORY PROVISIONS

Definitions

1           The following definitions apply in this Act.

"barrier" means a barrier described in section 3. (« barrière »)

"council" means the Accessibility Advisory Council established by subsection 4(1). (« Conseil »)

"minister" means the minister appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to administer this Act. (« ministre »)

"organization" means any organization in the public or private sector and includes an unincorporated association, partnership, sole proprietorship or trade union. (« organisme »)

Purpose

2           The purpose of this Act is to enhance accessibility by identifying barriers that disable people and the ways in which those barriers can be prevented and removed.

What is a barrier?

3(1)        For a person who has a long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment, a barrier is anything that interacts with that impairment in a way that may hinder the person's full and effective participation in society on an equal basis.

Examples of barriers

3(2)        The following are examples of barriers:

(a) a physical barrier;

(b) an architectural barrier;

(c) an information or communications barrier;

(d) an attitudinal barrier;

(e) a technological barrier;

(f) a barrier established or perpetuated by an enactment, a policy or a practice.

ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COUNCIL

Accessibility Advisory Council

4(1)        The Accessibility Advisory Council is hereby established.

Appointment of members

4(2)        The council is to consist of at least 6 and not more than 12 members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

First appointments

4(3)        The Lieutenant Governor in Council must make the first appointments to the council within three months after the coming into force of this Act.

Members to be included

4(4)        In appointing members to the council, the Lieutenant Governor in Council must include

(a) persons who are disabled by barriers or representatives from organizations for persons who are disabled by barriers; and

(b) representatives of persons or organizations that have the ability to prevent and remove barriers that disable people.

Term of office

4(5)        A member of the council is to be appointed for a term not exceeding three years.

Appointment continues

4(6)        A member whose term expires continues to hold office until he or she is re-appointed, the appointment is revoked or a successor is appointed.

Chair and vice-chair

4(7)        The Lieutenant Governor in Council must designate one member of the council as chair and another member as vice-chair to act if the chair is absent or unable to act.

Meetings

4(8)        The council must

(a) meet at least six times each year; and

(b) meet with the minister at least once every 12 months.

Establishing committees

5(1)        Subject to the approval of the minister, the council may establish one or more committees and assign to them the functions that it considers appropriate.

Committee membership

5(2)        Members of a committee are to be appointed by the council and may include persons who are not members of the council.

Remuneration and expenses

6(1)        The minister may approve the payment of remuneration and reasonable expenses to the members of the council and a committee of the council.

Departmental support

6(2)        The minister may provide resources from his or her department to support the work of the council or a committee of the council.

MANDATE OF THE COUNCIL

Mandate of the council

7(1)        The council is to advise and make recommendations to the minister respecting

(a) provisions that may be enacted by legislation or regulation that, once enacted, will put in place a process for the systematic identification, prevention and removal of barriers that disable people;

(b) other measures, policies, practices and requirements that may be implemented by the government to improve accessibility;

(c) long-term accessibility objectives for furthering the purpose of this Act; and

(d) any other matter relating to accessibility on which the minister seeks the council's advice.

Accessibility principles

7(2)        In carrying out its mandate, the council must have regard for the following principles:

1.  Access: barriers should not prevent a person from accessing places, events and other functions that are generally available in the community.

2.  Equality: barriers should not prevent a person from accessing those things that will give the person equality of opportunity and outcome.

3.  Universal design: access should be provided in a manner that does not establish or perpetuate differences based on a person's impairment.

4.  Systemic responsibility: the responsibility to prevent and remove barriers rests with the public or private organization that is responsible for establishing or perpetuating the barrier.

Advisory council must consult

7(3)        In preparing its recommendations, the council must

(a) consult with

(i) persons who are disabled by barriers or representatives from organizations for persons who are disabled by barriers, and

(ii) representatives of persons and organizations that have the ability to prevent and remove barriers that disable people; and

(b) have regard for

(i) the nature of the barriers that the measures, policies, practices and other requirements are intended to identify, prevent or remove, and

(ii) any technical and economic considerations that may be associated with identifying, preventing or removing a barrier.

Timing of recommendations

7(4)        The council must

(a) make its initial recommendations to the minister within 12 months of the day this section came into force; and

(b) after the initial recommendations are made, make additional recommendations whenever the council considers it appropriate to make additional recommendations.

Recommendations to be by consensus

7(5)        The council must attempt to achieve a consensus among its members on the recommendations made to the minister, but one or more members may submit separate recommendations if a consensus is not achieved.

Recommendations to be made public

8(1)        The minister must make the council's recommendations available to the public by posting them on a government website and by any other means the minister considers advisable.

Public comments

8(2)        Within 45 days after the council's recommendations are made public, a person may submit written comments about the recommendations to the minister.

Response of minister

8(3)        Within 90 days after the period for public comment ends, the minister must provide a written response to the council about

(a) the council's recommendations; and

(b) any written comments received by the minister in respect of those recommendations.

Council to submit annual report to minister

9(1)        The council must submit to the minister an annual report of its affairs and activities at the time specified by the minister.

Annual report to be included

9(2)        The minister must include the council's annual report in the annual report of his or her department.

AMENDMENTS TO GOVERNMENT PURCHASES ACT

C.C.S.M. c. G90 amended

10(1)       The Government Purchases Act is amended by this section.

10(2)        The following is added after clause 7(1)(b):

(b.1) whenever possible, purchases must be made in accordance with the barrier-free purchasing guidelines, if such guidelines are prescribed by regulations made under this Act;

10(3)        The following is added after clause 17(c):

(c.1) establishing barrier-free purchasing guidelines for the purpose of clause 7(1)(b.1);

C.C.S.M. REFERENCE AND COMING INTO FORCE

C.C.S.M. reference

11          This Act may be cited as The Accessibility Advisory Council Act and referred to as chapter A1.7 of the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba.

Coming into force

12          This Act comes into force on the day it receives royal assent.

Explanatory Note

This Bill establishes the Accessibility Advisory Council. The council is to advise and make recommendations to the minister about ways to improve accessibility for people who are disabled by barriers.

In addition, an amendment is made to The Government Purchases Act to enable the establishment of barrier-free purchasing guidelines.

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