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The Voice of Albertans with Disabilities actively promotes full participation in society and provides a voice for Albertans with disabilities.

Action Notes April 2016


An Alberta Accessibility Act
   Through the years ACCD has received calls from community members asking if we are advocating for accessibility legislation in Alberta. Our response was, “Although we think it would be a good idea, we are not actively promoting accessibility legislation.” The steps necessary to have legislation drafted and enacted is a daunting task and one that ACCD has not pursued. However, given what is happening across Canada, now might be the time for Alberta to get on board and start the discussion about an Alberta Accessibility Act.
  
   Accessibility legislation is taking place in three provinces across Canada: British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario. In addition, the federal government earmarked two million dollars over the next two years that will result in the introduction of a Canadians with Disabilities Act.
 
   The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was enacted in 2005 for the purpose of improving accessibility standards for Ontarians with physical and mental disabilities to all public establishments by 2025. It requires government to adopt practices that eliminate barriers to participation of individuals with disabilities. It included building structure guidelines, websites, public transportation, hospitals, government agencies and government ministries and municipal governments.
  
   There was no enforcement, imposed penalties and required deadlines so groups lobbied for improved legislation. The new Act, which included both public and private institutions, targets the removal of barriers to participation. By January 2015, five standards were established as regulations enacted by the government.
  
   The Customer Service Standard requires that individuals with disabilities are able to, ”obtain, use and benefit from goods and services.” The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation consists of three component standards addressing accessibility of Information and Communications, Employment and Transportation. The Design of Public Spaces standard became part of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation on January 1, 2013.
 
   Accessibility 2024 British Columbia began in December 2013 when the BC government held consultations with communities, businesses and government to ask questions about reducing barriers and increasing accessibility for persons with disabilities. In June 2015, the Premier released Accessibility 2024: Making BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities. Accessibility 2024 is a ten year action plan designed around 12 building blocks that represent the themes that emerged through the consultation process.
 
   BC’s ten building blocks include: Inclusive Government, Accessible Service Delivery, Accessible Internet, Accessible Built Environment, Accessible Housing, Accessible Transportation, Income Support, Employment, Financial Security, Inclusive Communities, Consumer Experience and Emergency Preparedness.
 
   Each of these building blocks has a goal which states that under that particular building block, BC will be the most accessible across Canada.
 
   The Accessibility for Manitobans Act is an initiative of the Disabilities Issues Office, whose vision is a fully accessible Manitoba, where all abilities are valued, diversity and independence are celebrated, barriers are removed and human rights are protected. Accessibility simply means giving people of all abilities opportunities to participate fully in everyday life.
 
   The Accessibility for Manitobans Act became law in December 2013, which was government’s first step to fulfilling its vision of full participation and inclusion for all Manitobans. There are five key areas of daily living in Manitoba’s Act. They are: Customer Service, Employment Accessibility, Information and Communications, Built Environment and Transportation.
    
   ACCD is interested in your ideas about an Alberta Accessibility Act. Please let us know by sending us your thoughts through email to execdir@accd.net  or by post to ACCD. We look forward to hearing from you.
 
Alberta Disabilities Forum Accessibility Meeting
 
   The Alberta Disabilities Forum floated the idea of an Alberta Accessibility Act at its forum meeting on March 17, 2016. Six groups brought forward their accessibility challenges: physical disabilities, deaf and hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired, mental health, progressive disabilities and developmental disabilities.
 
Physical Disabilities: Lack of accessible single family, multi-family and rental housing, lack of parking availability/parking enforcement, lack of modified vehicles and accessible public buildings/spaces.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing: Lack of “hearing” access at public venues such as schools, hospitals, banks, stores, city hall, libraries, hotels, museums, lack of visual fire alarms, lack of hearing devices and lack of leaders in the community who will listen and champion the cause.
Blind and Visually Impaired: Lack of access to information, both print (size, type, colour contrast) and electronic (formatting, adaptive software, accessibility features), lack of environment accessibility (street designs, maintained sidewalks), transit systems (audio stop alerts, barrier free bus stops) and the built environment (lighting, signage).
Mental Health Disabilities: Lack of quality mental health services, supports and therapy and lack of housing, employment and medical treatment causing poverty, homelessness, stigma and discrimination.
Progressive Disabilities: Lack of access to care supports and services, disease modifying therapies and neurologist support, lack of a fully integrated system of care and lack of housing, employment, income supports, systems navigators and care for the caregiver.
Developmental Disabilities: Lack of inclusive education in a regular classroom with necessary supports, lack of customized employment and targeted job creation and lack of access to generic community activities for children and adults such as recreational, leisure, cultural, learning opportunity programs and organizations.
 
   The Alberta Disabilities Forum will be gathering information about what accessibility means to its member organizations and people with disabilities and their families. If you would like to put forward your accessibility issues and solutions, please contact Claudette at 780-488-9088 or email her at adf@accd.net.
 
Apply Now! Education for Life Bursary!
  
   July 15, 2016, is the application deadline for ACCD’s 2016-2017 Education for Life Bursary. Individuals with disabilities seeking to continue their education as post-secondary students are eligible to receive bursaries ranging from $500 to $1,000. All full- and part-time post-secondary students are eligible for the bursary. Details and an application form can be found on our web site at www.accd.net, or you can contact the ACCD office at 780-488-9088 or toll free at 1-800-387-2514.
 
SAVE THE DATE: ACCD’s annual meeting will take place on May 28, 2016, in Edmonton. Join us to meet our board of directors and learn more about ACCD’s work. Call 780-488-9088 or 1-800-387-2514 for more information.
 
Renew Your ACCD Membership for 2016-2017!   It’s that time of year again! You can renew your ACCD membership by completing the membership renewal form available at www.accd.net. ACCD members enjoy benefits such as the opportunity to participate in our Annual General Meeting, updates on disability issues through our newsletters and information about ACCD’s bursaries and awards. We thank you for your continued support!
An Alberta Accessibility Act
   Through the years ACCD has received calls from community members asking if we are advocating for accessibility legislation in Alberta. Our response was, “Although we think it would be a good idea, we are not actively promoting accessibility legislation.” The steps necessary to have legislation drafted and enacted is a daunting task and one that ACCD has not pursued. However, given what is happening across Canada, now might be the time for Alberta to get on board and start the discussion about an Alberta Accessibility Act.
  
   Accessibility legislation is taking place in three provinces across Canada: British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario. In addition, the federal government earmarked two million dollars over the next two years that will result in the introduction of a Canadians with Disabilities Act.
 
   The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was enacted in 2005 for the purpose of improving accessibility standards for Ontarians with physical and mental disabilities to all public establishments by 2025. It requires government to adopt practices that eliminate barriers to participation of individuals with disabilities. It included building structure guidelines, websites, public transportation, hospitals, government agencies and government ministries and municipal governments.
  
   There was no enforcement, imposed penalties and required deadlines so groups lobbied for improved legislation. The new Act, which included both public and private institutions, targets the removal of barriers to participation. By January 2015, five standards were established as regulations enacted by the government.
  
   The Customer Service Standard requires that individuals with disabilities are able to, ”obtain, use and benefit from goods and services.” The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation consists of three component standards addressing accessibility of Information and Communications, Employment and Transportation. The Design of Public Spaces standard became part of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation on January 1, 2013.
 
   Accessibility 2024 British Columbia began in December 2013 when the BC government held consultations with communities, businesses and government to ask questions about reducing barriers and increasing accessibility for persons with disabilities. In June 2015, the Premier released Accessibility 2024: Making BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities. Accessibility 2024 is a ten year action plan designed around 12 building blocks that represent the themes that emerged through the consultation process.
 
   BC’s ten building blocks include: Inclusive Government, Accessible Service Delivery, Accessible Internet, Accessible Built Environment, Accessible Housing, Accessible Transportation, Income Support, Employment, Financial Security, Inclusive Communities, Consumer Experience and Emergency Preparedness.
 
   Each of these building blocks has a goal which states that under that particular building block, BC will be the most accessible across Canada.
 
   The Accessibility for Manitobans Act is an initiative of the Disabilities Issues Office, whose vision is a fully accessible Manitoba, where all abilities are valued, diversity and independence are celebrated, barriers are removed and human rights are protected. Accessibility simply means giving people of all abilities opportunities to participate fully in everyday life.
 
   The Accessibility for Manitobans Act became law in December 2013, which was government’s first step to fulfilling its vision of full participation and inclusion for all Manitobans. There are five key areas of daily living in Manitoba’s Act. They are: Customer Service, Employment Accessibility, Information and Communications, Built Environment and Transportation.
    
   ACCD is interested in your ideas about an Alberta Accessibility Act. Please let us know by sending us your thoughts through email to execdir@accd.net  or by post to ACCD. We look forward to hearing from you.
 
Alberta Disabilities Forum Accessibility Meeting
 
   The Alberta Disabilities Forum floated the idea of an Alberta Accessibility Act at its forum meeting on March 17, 2016. Six groups brought forward their accessibility challenges: physical disabilities, deaf and hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired, mental health, progressive disabilities and developmental disabilities.
 
Physical Disabilities: Lack of accessible single family, multi-family and rental housing, lack of parking availability/parking enforcement, lack of modified vehicles and accessible public buildings/spaces.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing: Lack of “hearing” access at public venues such as schools, hospitals, banks, stores, city hall, libraries, hotels, museums, lack of visual fire alarms, lack of hearing devices and lack of leaders in the community who will listen and champion the cause.
Blind and Visually Impaired: Lack of access to information, both print (size, type, colour contrast) and electronic (formatting, adaptive software, accessibility features), lack of environment accessibility (street designs, maintained sidewalks), transit systems (audio stop alerts, barrier free bus stops) and the built environment (lighting, signage).
Mental Health Disabilities: Lack of quality mental health services, supports and therapy and lack of housing, employment and medical treatment causing poverty, homelessness, stigma and discrimination.
Progressive Disabilities: Lack of access to care supports and services, disease modifying therapies and neurologist support, lack of a fully integrated system of care and lack of housing, employment, income supports, systems navigators and care for the caregiver.
Developmental Disabilities: Lack of inclusive education in a regular classroom with necessary supports, lack of customized employment and targeted job creation and lack of access to generic community activities for children and adults such as recreational, leisure, cultural, learning opportunity programs and organizations.
 
   The Alberta Disabilities Forum will be gathering information about what accessibility means to its member organizations and people with disabilities and their families. If you would like to put forward your accessibility issues and solutions, please contact Claudette at 780-488-9088 or email her at adf@accd.net.
 
Apply Now! Education for Life Bursary!
  
   July 15, 2016, is the application deadline for ACCD’s 2016-2017 Education for Life Bursary. Individuals with disabilities seeking to continue their education as post-secondary students are eligible to receive bursaries ranging from $500 to $1,000. All full- and part-time post-secondary students are eligible for the bursary. Details and an application form can be found on our web site at www.accd.net, or you can contact the ACCD office at 780-488-9088 or toll free at 1-800-387-2514.
 
SAVE THE DATE: ACCD’s annual meeting will take place on May 28, 2016, in Edmonton. Join us to meet our board of directors and learn more about ACCD’s work. Call 780-488-9088 or 1-800-387-2514 for more information.
 
Renew Your ACCD Membership for 2016-2017!   It’s that time of year again! You can renew your ACCD membership by completing the membership renewal form available at www.accd.net. ACCD members enjoy benefits such as the opportunity to participate in our Annual General Meeting, updates on disability issues through our newsletters and information about ACCD’s bursaries and awards. We thank you for your continued support!
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