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 (passed May 1, 2022)
- Built Environment
As the five accessibility standards are introduced, there will be new requirements and deadlines for affected organizations to remove barriers.
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.
Accessibility Standard for Customer Service Checklist (Nonprofits/Businesses)
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:
May 1, 2022 Compliance Deadline – All organizations are required to comply with the standard, including private sector, non-profit organizations and small municipalities.
Effective May 1, 2022, all businesses and non-profit organizations with at least one employee in Manitoba are required, among other things, to
- offer reasonable accommodations when recruiting new employees
- inform candidates of available accommodation policies and practices when making an offer of employment
- establish policies and processes for determining reasonable workplace accommodations for employees
- develop and implement individual accommodation plans for employees and policies setting out the process by which employees can request such plans
- develop and implement policies on the return-to-work process for employees who have been off work due to disability
- provide appropriate training about accessible recruitment and employment, accommodation policies and practices, and related legislation to Human Resources staff
Information and Communications
The Accessible Information and Communication Standard Regulation (Manitoba Regulation) came into force on May 1, 2022.
The Accessible Information and Communication Standard Regulation is the third standard under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. It reduces barriers related to accessing information provided in print, in-person, on websites or in other formats. The standard covers a broad range of information and communications, and allows individuals to request information from Manitoba organizations in an accessible format or through a communication support. Under the standard, organizations must develop policies and practices to enhance accessibility in their organizations, and provide training to relevant staff.
Organizations are required to enhance accessibility to websites and web applications by adhering to globally recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) Level AA.
There are different compliance deadlines for organizations to meet the standard:
- Manitoba government by May 1, 2023
- Public sector organizations, libraries and educational institutions by May 1, 2024
- Private sector, non-profit organizations and small municipalities by May 1, 2025
Effective May 1, 2025, all businesses and non-profit organizations with at least one employee in Manitoba will be required, among other things, to
- establish and implement measures, policies and practices respecting accessible communication
- provide accessible communication training to staff in public-facing and/or communication-based roles, including with respect to (i) the identification, prevention, and removal of barriers to accessible communication, (ii) the provision of information through a communication support or accessible format, and (iii) the Manitoba Act and provincial human rights legislation
- offer to provide information, on request, through a communication support or accessible format as part of providing reasonable accommodations, to the point of undue hardship
- inform the public and employees that information may be provided through a communication support or accessible format
- develop and implement measures, policies and practices for receiving and responding to feedback about accessible communication and for documenting same
Effective May 1, 2025, Manitoba’s large private sector employers (i.e., those with 50 or more employees in Manitoba) will also be required to keep written records of their accessible communication training policies, including summaries of related training content and records of when the training has been provided. Large employers will also need to ensure that their accessible communication policies and practices are available to the public and in accessible formats.