With more than 1 in 5 people in Canada (aged 15 years and over) living with one or more disabilities, we need strong accessibility laws. Fortunately, Canada has a strong track record of passing legislation protecting the rights of people with disabilities.
But that’s where the problem lies – while we have the legislation, our laws are far from easy to understand (and, arguably, not sufficiently far reaching).
Making Canada’s Disability Act More Accessible
To address just that, the Law, Disability and Social Change Project at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law has released ‘The Annotated Accessible Canada Act’ (2021). It’s a laudable effort, one that hopes to explain the Accessible Canada Act in plain language.
There are two parts to any law:
- The rights it gives you; and
- Your ability to understand and enforce those rights.
So what is the annotated version and what does it aim to achieve? Simply, it wants to make Canada disability rights easier to understand. Laws are written in legalese – language that’s difficult for anyone other than practicing lawyers to understand.
The Project provides a background and explanation to the Act, better explaining what rights it provides people with disabilities. It’s meant to be used by:
- ‘Members of the disability community’
You can read The Annotated Accessible Canada Act PDF here. But keep a few things in mind when you do read the annotated act (discussed below).
What is the Accessible Canada Act?
The Accessible Canada Act was passed in 2019, becoming the first federal legislation for people with disabilities. It’s motto is a “Canada without barriers”, i.e. ensuring people with disabilities have equal access to things such as:
- Goods, services and facilities
Is accessibility a legal requirement in Canada? Yes, the Accessible Canada Act requires employers, businesses, the government, and other entities to make spaces and opportunities accessible for people with disabilities (without undue hardship).
The Act works in hand-in-hand with the Ontario Human Rights Code that further prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.
What You Should Watch Out for When You Read the Annotated Act
The annotations are a helpful resource but they aren’t a perfect resource. They provide high-level guidance, making them less suitable for the general public.
The annotations are also an interpretation of the law and, like with other laws, interpretations will vary. Decisions of Ontario and federal courts (case law), succeeding amendments, provincial laws, will change the effect of legislation and how it’s applied.
What that means is if you have a question about your rights or if you feel you’ve been discriminated against on the basis of your disability, you should talk to qualified disability lawyers in Ontario.
Discuss Your Concerns With Experienced Trauma Lawyers in Ontario
At Thomson Rogers, our trauma lawyers in Ontario take a hands-on approach to helping catastrophic accident victims recover and rehabilitate.
Our relationship with clients extends far beyond the case or settlement. We protect the rights of clients who have suffered disabilities due to a catastrophic accident.
If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of your disability, talk to our disability lawyers in Ontario today.
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