Manitoba to Introduce Historic Accessibility Rights Bill in Legislature

April 23, 2013

On Wednesday, April 24, the Honourable Jennifer Howard, Minister responsible for persons with disabilities, will introduce a historic Accessibility Rights Bill in the Manitoba legislature.

The long-awaited bill will be a giant leap forward toward Manitoba becoming an international leader in promoting and protecting the human rights of persons with disabilities. The bill will require the removal of existing barriers for people with disabilities and prevent the creation of new ones.

Nearly 200,000 Manitobans with disabilities face barriers everyday that prevent their full participation in activities that most others take for granted. These barriers harm individuals, families and communities. These barriers are also in fundamental conflict with the basic rights of persons with disabilities established in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and in federal and provincial human rights codes. It’s the sad and unjust reality, but this bill sets Manitoba on the road to change it.

Introduction of this new bill is the culmination of a long process of lobbying and campaigning by Barrier Free Manitoba, a non-partisan, non-profit, cross-disability movement to secure strong and effective accessibility-rights legislation in Manitoba. The Manitoba Federation of Labour has been pleased to support this campaign in the interest of equality and fairness for injured workers, for workers with disabilities, and indeed for all Manitobans with disabilities.

The tabling of the bill kicks off a historic legislative process that will unfold over the next two months. If all goes well, this process will end by the end of June 2013 with the passage and proclamation of the landmark law.