The Manitoba Government made a commitment to provide a clear, proactive process to identify, prevent and remove barriers to accessibility. In December 2013, the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) became law.
The AMA establishes the requirement to develop, apply and enforce accessibility standards in the following five areas.
- Customer Service Standard
- Information and Communication
- Built Environment
These standards, which will be developed by the Manitoba Government, will identify goals and related actions, within a specified timeframe. In November 2015, the Customer Service Standard Regulation was passed into law in Manitoba; compliance is required by November 1, 2017.
The AMA legislation requires each public organization to create an accessibility plan and to update it every two years.
What are Barriers to Accessibility?
- Attitudinal Barriers – may result in people with disabilities being treated differently than people without disabilities (e.g., talking to an individual’s support person assuming the individual with a disability will not be able to understand; assuming a person who has a speech impairment or speaks a different language cannot understand you; thinking a person with an intellectual or mental health disability cannot make decisions, etc.).
- Informational and Communication Barriers – arise when a person with a disability cannot easily receive and /or understand information available to others (e.g., print is too small to be read by a person with impaired vision; public address systems alert only people who can hear, etc.).
- Technological Barriers – occur when technology, or the way it is used, is not accessible (e.g., websites not accessible to people who are blind and use screen reader software; accepting only online registration forms for programs, etc.).
- Systemic Barriers – are policies, practices or procedures that result in some people receiving unequal access or being excluded (e.g., not considering the needs of persons with disabilities at the event planning stage; not being aware of policies that support accessibility, etc.).
- Physical and Architectural Barriers – in the environment prevent physical access for people with disabilities (e.g., a door knob cannot be turned by a person with limited mobility or strength; aisles are narrowed by displays or equipment making them impassable by a person using a wheelchair or walker, etc.).