On June 21, 2019 the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) received Royal Assent, making it law in Canada. The Accessible Canada Act is federal accessibility legislation. Its stated purpose is to achieve a barrier free Canada by 2040. The Act gives powers to the Government of Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency, and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to create new legal requirements to advance accessibility in federal employment, the built environment, transportation, procurement of goods, services and facilities, information and communication technologies, communication, and the design and delivery of programs and services.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) aims to identify, remove, and prevent barriers for people with disabilities. The AODA became law on June 13, 2005 and applies to all levels of government, nonprofits, and private sector businesses in Ontario that have one or more employees (full-time, part-time, seasonal, or contract).
The AODA includes requirements that all organizations must meet, with deadlines specific to an organization’s type and size. The AODA is made up of five parts, or Standards, and deadlines for compliance began as of January 1, 2010.
The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) became law in December 2013 and it outlines a proactive process to identify, remove and prevent barriers in key areas of daily living. The Manitoba Government is committed to achieve significant progress by 2023.
There will be five accessibility standards under AMA: Customer Service, passed November 2015; Employment, passed May 1, 2019; Information and Communications; Built Environment (which will consider the design of public spaces); and Transportation. As the five accessibility standards are introduced, there will be new requirements and deadlines for affected organizations to remove barriers.
In 2017 Nova Scotia passed the Act Respecting Accessibility in Nova Scotia. The Accessibility Act aims to make Nova Scotia inclusive and barrier-free by 2030 and include six accessibility standards which are currently under development. Nova Scotia was the third province to enact an accessibility legislation, after Ontario in 2005 and Manitoba in 2013.
In 2018, British Columbia proposed the British Columbia Accessibility Act, otherwise known as Bill M 219. The act facilitates the implementation of accessibility standards in the province, aiming for an accessible British Columbia by 2024. This goal is in line with the Government of British Columbia’s earlier 2014 ‘Accessibility 2024’ plan, which includes an accessible internet and WCAG 2.0 AA web standards.
The British Columbia Accessibility Act had its first reading in May 2018.