Saskatchewan introduces accessibility legislation: Hiring and workplace standards are on the menu
Saskatchewan has introduced new legislation it says is designed to prevent and remove accessibility barriers for people with disabilities.
If passed, The Accessible Saskatchewan Act will allow government to establish accessibility standards and regulations in the following areas:
- built environment (buildings, places, and spaces)
- information and communications (standards that make giving and receiving information accessible for persons with disabilities).
- employment (hiring and workplace standards)
- transportation (buses and taxis)
- service animals (public education and public access)
- procurement (buying goods and services)
- service delivery (getting goods, services, or programs)
“Yesterday’s introduction marks another important step in creating a more inclusive and accessible province for all people in Saskatchewan,” Social Services Minister Gene Makowsky said. “As we proceed on this journey, we remain committed to the principle of ‘Nothing about us, without us’ and will continue to engage with persons with disabilities on this important work. We are working to create a Saskatchewan where persons with disabilities can fully participate because a strong province is one where everyone is included.”
What’s in the legislation?
A few highlights in the proposed legislation are:
- The Government of Saskatchewan will take the lead. To ensure organizations are supported, the proposed legislation will apply to government first, including rolling out an accessibility plan for the government.
- If passed, an Accessibility Advisory Committee will be appointed, with at least half of the members being persons with disabilities or from organizations that represent people with disabilities. This committee will advise government on the development of accessibility standards.
- A Saskatchewan Accessibility Office will be established to increase public awareness and education of the new Accessibility Act. In addition, this office would be responsible for monitoring compliance and enforcement of the legislation.
- The proposed act recognizes sign languages as the main form of communication for people who are deaf.
- Publishing an annual report on the actions taken to implement the new legislation.
The government will continue to engage with the public, persons with disabilities and the private sector to develop accessibility regulations and standards, it said.
Accessibility legislation was a recommendation in the Saskatchewan Disability Strategy released in 2015. If passed, this legislation will also fulfil a promise in the 2020-30 Saskatchewan Growth Plan.
More information about the proposed legislation can be found at accessiblesk.saskatchewan.ca.
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