Public Input Will Help Province Design Made-in-Manitoba Accessibility Legislation: Howard

November 2, 2010

Public discussions over the next few months will help the province design made-in-Manitoba accessibility legislation that would improve access for seniors and people with disabilities, Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard, minister responsible for persons with disabilities, and Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors Minister Jim Rondeau announced today.“The Manitoba government strongly supports full inclusion for people with disabilities and seniors. We have made strides toward fulfilling this vision, but there is more work to do,” Howard said. “We believe Manitobans share a vision of a province where we can all work, live and play without barriers. Legislation can help us put together the plan that will achieve this vision.”

The ministers released a discussion document that outlines the province’s vision of a barrier-free society, the benefits of achieving this vision and the existing barriers that can be addressed through new legislation.

“The proposed legislation will enable people of all ages and abilities to live up to their greatest potential,” Rondeau said. “We want to create an age-friendly environment where all Manitobans can work, learn and play without obstacles to their participation in society.”

In 2009, almost one-half of the formal complaints made to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission related to disability discrimination and 37 per cent of formal complaints to the commission were related to disability discrimination in the previous six years. The number of Manitobans with disabilities is expected to increase by 38 per cent between 2006 and 2031, while the number of seniors is expected to increase by 43 per cent in the next 20 years.

“We plan to remove barriers by working with the public and private sectors on long-term proactive solutions rather than only relying on human rights complaints to address issues,” Howard said. “We want to work with everyone to find practical ways to reduce barriers and prevent new ones. We believe that this approach will ultimately benefit everyone.”

Manitobans are encouraged to provide written submissions after reviewing the discussion paper, which is available on the Disabilities Issues Office website at www.gov.mb.ca/dio and the Seniors and Healthy Aging website at www.gov.mb.ca/shas.

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