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.
Accessible Customer Service
The Accessibility Standard for Customer Service was the first accessibility standard enacted under the AMA. To meet the Customer Service Standard, organizations must:
- Meet the communication needs of customers, clients or members
- Allow assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks
- Welcome support people, who are there to assist
- Welcome people with service animals
- Ensure accessibility is maintained as intended (ramps, wide aisles, removal of clutter)
- Let customers know when accessible features and services are not available
- Invite customers to provide feedback
- Train staff on accessible customer service, including reasonable accommodations under The Human Rights Code (Manitoba).
- Make public events accessible (large public sector organizations only)
All public sector organizations and private sector organizations with more than 20 employees must document their customer service policy and provide notice that it is available on request.
Compliance deadlines are:
- The Manitoba Government had one year to comply: November 1, 2016
- The public sector had two years to comply: November 1, 2017
- Private, small municipalities and non-profit organizations had to comply within three years: November 1, 2018
Accessibility Plans are an additional requirement set out by the AMA for public sector organizations. Accessibility Plans must be updated every two years.
The Accessibility Standard for Employment requires businesses and non-profit organizations with at least one employee to create and act on measures, policies and practices to increase accessibility in the workplace.
Enacted on May 1, 2019, Manitoba’s Accessibility Standard for Employment is the second standard under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act. Its purpose is to remove and prevent barriers that affect current and potential members of Manitoba’s labour force. The Accessibility Standard for Employment:
- Builds on existing requirements of Manitoba’s Human Rights Code
- Helps organizations hire, support and keep employees
- Applies to paid employees who are:
The Accessibility Standard for Employment calls on all employers to have measures, policies and practices to provide reasonable accommodations for employees and job applicants. Employers need to consider reasonable accommodation at various stages of employment as it applies to their organizations. This includes recruitment, offer of employment, on the job, return to work, and training.
To ensure the safety of employees with disabilities, all employers in the public, private and non-profit sectors must comply by May 1, 2020 with the following two requirements:
- Workplace Emergency Response Information
- Create emergency response information to help employees with disabilities stay safe during emergencies.
- Workplace Emergency Assistance
- Ask employees who require assistance during an emergency for permission to share information with individuals who agree to help.
For all other accessible employment requirements:
- Manitoba Government: May 1, 2020
- Public sector organizations: May 1, 2021
- Private sector, non-profit organizations and small municipalities: May 1, 2022
Private sector includes Manitoba businesses and organizations with one or more employees, such as shops, restaurants and professional services. Non-profit organizations include charities, places of worship, community organizations and membership associations.