Assented to 2019-06-21
An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada
Her Excellency the Governor General recommends to the House of Commons the appropriation of public revenue under the circumstances, in the manner and for the purposes set out in a measure entitled “An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada”.
This enactment enacts the Accessible Canada Act in order to enhance the full and equal participation of all persons, especially persons with disabilities, in society. This is to be achieved through the realization, within the purview of matters coming within the legislative authority of Parliament, of a Canada without barriers, particularly by the identification, removal and prevention of barriers.
Part 1 of the Act establishes the Minister’s mandate, powers, duties and functions.
Part 2 of the Act establishes the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization and provides for its mandate and structure and its powers, duties and functions.
Part 3 of the Act authorizes the Accessibility Commissioner to provide the Minister with information, advice and written reports in respect of the administration and enforcement of the Act. It also requires the Accessibility Commissioner to submit an annual report on his or her activities under the Act to the Minister for tabling in Parliament.
Part 4 of the Act imposes duties on regulated entities that include the duty to prepare accessibility plans and progress reports in consultation with persons with disabilities, the duty to publish those plans and reports and the duty to establish a feedback process and to publish a description of it.
Part 5 of the Act provides for the Accessibility Commissioner’s inspection and other powers, including the power to make production orders and compliance orders and the power to impose administrative monetary penalties.
Part 6 of the Act provides for a complaints process for, and the awarding of compensation to, individuals that have suffered physical or psychological harm, property damage or economic loss as the result of — or that have otherwise been adversely affected by — the contravention of provisions of the regulations.
Part 7 of the Act provides for the appointment of the Chief Accessibility Officer and sets out that officer’s duties and functions, including the duty to advise the Minister in respect of systemic or emerging accessibility issues.
Part 8 of the Act authorizes the Governor in Council to make regulations, including regulations to establish accessibility standards and to specify the form of accessibility plans and progress reports. It also provides, among other things, for the designation of the week starting on the last Sunday in May as National AccessAbility Week.
Part 9 of the Act provides for the application of certain provisions of the Act to parliamentary entities, without limiting the powers, privileges and immunities of the Senate, the House of Commons and the members of those Houses.
Parts 10 and 11 of the Act make related and consequential amendments to certain Acts.
Whereas the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, discrimination on the basis of disability;
Whereas the Canadian Human Rights Act recognizes that all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have and to have their needs accommodated without discrimination and, in particular, discrimination on the basis of disability;
Whereas a proactive and systemic approach for identifying, removing and preventing barriers to accessibility without delay complements the rights of persons with disabilities under the Canadian Human Rights Act;
Whereas Canada is a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Canada has agreed to take appropriate measures respecting accessibility and to develop and monitor minimum accessibility standards;
Whereas barriers to accessibility can impact all persons in Canada, in particular those with disabilities and their families, and can prevent persons with disabilities from achieving their full and equal participation in society;
And whereas Parliament considers that it is essential to ensure the economic, social and civic participation of all persons in Canada, regardless of their disabilities, and to allow them to fully exercise their rights and responsibilities in a barrier-free Canada;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
Marginal note:Short title
2 The following definitions apply in this Act.
- Accessibility Commissioner
Accessibility Commissioner means the member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission that is appointed under subsection 26(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act and that is referred to in that Act as the “Accessibility Commissioner”. (commissaire à l’accessibilité)
barrier means anything — including anything physical, architectural, technological or attitudinal, anything that is based on information or communications or anything that is the result of a policy or a practice — that hinders the full and equal participation in society of persons with an impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment or a functional limitation. (obstacle)
- broadcasting undertaking
broadcasting undertaking has the same meaning as in subsection 2(1) of the Broadcasting Act. (entreprise de radiodiffusion)
- Canadian carrier
Canadian carrier has the same meaning as in subsection 2(1) of the Telecommunications Act. (entreprise canadienne)
disability means any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment — or a functional limitation — whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society. (handicap)
Minister means the member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada designated under section 4. (ministre)
- personal information
personal information has the same meaning as in section 3 of the Privacy Act. (renseignements personnels)
- regulated entity
regulated entity means an entity or person referred to in subsection 7(1). (entité réglementée)
- Standards Organization
Standards Organization means the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization established under subsection 17(1). (organisation de normalisation)
- telecommunications service provider
telecommunications service provider has the same meaning as in subsection 2(1) of the Telecommunications Act. (fournisseur de services de télécommunication)
Marginal note:Binding on Her Majesty
3 This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada.
Marginal note:Designation of Minister
4 The Governor in Council may, by order, designate a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada as the Minister for the purposes of this Act.
Purpose of Act
5 The purpose of this Act is to benefit all persons, especially persons with disabilities, through the realization, within the purview of matters coming within the legislative authority of Parliament, of a Canada without barriers, on or before January 1, 2040, particularly by the identification and removal of barriers, and the prevention of new barriers, in the following areas:
(b) the built environment;
(c) information and communication technologies;
(c.1) communication, other than information and communication technologies;
(d) the procurement of goods, services and facilities;
(e) the design and delivery of programs and services;
(f) transportation; and
(g) areas designated under regulations made under paragraph 117(1)(b).
Marginal note:Recognition of sign languages
(2) American Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language and Indigenous sign languages are recognized as the primary languages for communication by deaf persons in Canada.
5.2 Nothing in this Act, including its purpose of the realization of a Canada without barriers, should be construed as requiring or authorizing any delay in the removal of barriers or the implementation of measures to prevent new barriers as soon as is reasonably possible.
6 This Act is to be carried out in recognition of, and in accordance with, the following principles:
(a) all persons must be treated with dignity regardless of their disabilities;
(b) all persons must have the same opportunity to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have regardless of their disabilities;
(c) all persons must have barrier-free access to full and equal participation in society, regardless of their disabilities;
(d) all persons must have meaningful options and be free to make their own choices, with support if they desire, regardless of their disabilities;
(e) laws, policies, programs, services and structures must take into account the disabilities of persons, the different ways that persons interact with their environments and the multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization and discrimination faced by persons;
(f) persons with disabilities must be involved in the development and design of laws, policies, programs, services and structures; and
(g) the development and revision of accessibility standards and the making of regulations must be done with the objective of achieving the highest level of accessibility for persons with disabilities.
(c) every portion of the federal public administration that is designated under subsection (3);
(d) the Canadian Forces;
(e) any person, partnership or unincorporated organization that operates a work or carries on an undertaking or business that is within the legislative authority of Parliament, other than a work, undertaking or business of a local or private nature in Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut; and
(f) any entity or person — including a trustee, executor, administrator, liquidator of the succession, guardian, curator or tutor — that acts in the name of, or for the benefit of, any entity or person in the operation of a work or carrying on of an undertaking or business that is within the legislative authority of Parliament, other than a work, undertaking or business of a local or private nature in Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut.
Marginal note:Parliamentary entities
(2) This Act also applies, to the extent provided for in Part 9, to the entities referred to in the definition of parliamentary entity in section 134.
(3) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(c), the Governor in Council may, by order, designate any portion of the federal public administration that is not named or set out in any of Schedules I to V to the Financial Administration Act.
8 Nothing in this Act applies to the Yukon Government, the Government of the Northwest Territories or the Government of Nunavut or a corporation established to perform any function or duty on behalf of any of those Governments.
- Date modified: