On June 21, 2019 the Accessible Canada Act received Royal Assent, making it law in Canada. The Accessible Canada Act is federal accessibility legislation and 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 federal accessibility.
The Accessible Canada Act applies to organizations under federal responsibility (“regulated entities”):
- the Government of Canada, including government departments, Crown Corporations and agencies
- the federally regulated private sector, including organizations in the transportation sectors, broadcasting and telecommunications services, and the banking and financial sectors
- Parliament, including the Senate, the House of Commons, the Library of Parliament and the Parliamentary Protective Service
- the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The accessibility standards requirements will roll out in stages, with the objective of achieving full accessibility compliance by 2040.
Similar to other provincial accessibility legislation, such as in Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, the regulations made under the ACA will establish standards for how organizations are to identify, remove and prevent barriers in the following areas:
- Built environment
- Information and communication technologies
- Communication, other than information and communication technologies
- Procurement of goods, services and facilities
- Design and delivery of programs and services
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 federal accessibility.
Compliance and enforcement powers rest with the Accessibility Commissioner who, under the ACA, has the ability to conduct inspections, make production and compliance orders, and impose administrative monetary penalties up to $250,000.