Canada’s unions celebrate historic accessibility legislation

May 27, 2019

Canada’s unions are marking National AccessAbility Week – May 26 to June 1 – by celebrating the historic passage of Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, the first national accessibility legislation in Canada. Bill C-81 is expected to receive royal assent in the coming weeks.

“Canada’s unions and workers with disabilities are gratified to see federal accessibility legislation implemented in this country,” said Larry Rousseau, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). “We are extremely pleased to see the efforts of our allies in the disability rights movement finally realized.”

The introduction of national accessibility legislation is a key aspect of the provisions and mandates in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for all signatory countries. Canada ratified the Convention in 2010.

Almost a decade later, the Congress joins advocates in the disability rights movement across the country as they celebrate the implementation of a national strategy and vision to better the lives of persons with disabilities in Canada.

Since the introduction of Bill C-81 in June 2018, the CLC has participated in numerous government consultations on the employment-related aspects of the legislation, calling for amendments to enshrine the role of unions and protect members’ bargaining rights. You can read our submission here.

 “Although we did not see all of our recommended amendments reflected in the legislation that was presented in the House of Commons for third reading, we remain committed to working with this government to develop regulations that protect the rights of workers with disabilities,” said Rousseau.

National AccessAbility Week is marked each year as the last week of May, and is an opportunity for all Canadians to recognize the efforts of the disability rights community, and celebrate the contributions of persons with disabilities. You can learn more about the origins of National AccessAbility Week here.

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