Issue 20 | August 2021
Manitoba's Proposed Information & Communications Accessibility Standard Public Consultation
The Manitoba government is seeking your feedback on its Proposed Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications during a 60-day period, as required by the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA). Learn more about how standards are created.
The Accessible Information and Communications Standard Regulation will outline requirements for organizations to create, provide and receive information and communications in ways that are accessible for people with disabilities. The proposed standard aims to address barriers to accessibility of information and communication in Manitoba, for those most affected by the prevention and removal of those barriers. Similar to other accessibility standards, the goal of this standard is to promote greater independence and inclusion for people with disabilities.
Submit your comments using the Manitoba Regulatory Consultation Portal before October 5, 2021. If you require an alternate format of the regulation, please contact the Manitoba Accessibility Office.
Read the Manitoba government news release
New Resource! Online Learning Portal
The Manitoba government encourages organizations to meet their employee accessibility training requirements by completing standard-specific learning modules on its new online learning portal. Complete this free training anytime from anywhere.
The first module explains the requirements of the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service, with examples on how to achieve compliance, tips for best practices and useful resources. You can show that your employees are complying with the standard by downloading a certificate after completing the module.
Stay tuned for the Learning Management Software (LMS) version and a second module to support training for the Accessibility Standard for Employment.
To access the online learning portal, visit: AMALearningMB.ca
Minister's Annual Plan 2021/22 & 2022/23
Since 2015, the Minister responsible for the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) has set out a Plan with priorities for AMA implementation.
As part of the plan, the Summary of Commitments sets out activities for your organization’s benefit and involvement, such as:
- The Manitoba Accessibility Fund - this fund will support community and business initiatives beginning in 2022-23, with a targeted stakeholder consultation set for 2021-22, to ensure maximum impact of the new fund (Section 1)
- consultation on the remaining three standards and enactment of these standards in 2023 (Section 3)
- the second Manitoba Accessibility Awards in 2022-23 (Section 6)
View the Minister’s Annual Plan in English or French
What is the Accessibility Compliance Secretariat?
A compliance framework related to the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) was released in 2020. The first step in this framework is to educate organizations towards compliance. Manitoba’s Accessibility Compliance Secretariat monitors compliance of accessibility legislation among stakeholders in the private, non-profit and public sectors.
The secretariat communicates about compliance matters with the public and the Manitoba Accessibility Office, the Accessibility Steering Committee, the Minister of Families, the Director of the AMA (currently the Deputy Minister of Families) and federal accessibility counterparts. Key activities of the Accessibility Compliance Secretariat include:
· monitoring and overseeing compliance with accessibility requirements
· spreading awareness about upcoming compliance deadlines
· undertaking audits and reviews of policies and accessibility plans
· helping the public to understand accessibility requirements
· providing guidance to organizations on how to comply with the legislation (e.g., reviewing draft accessibility plans)
· issuing Achieving Compliance Plans
· responding to public concerns about alleged non-compliance
The Accessibility Compliance Secretariat continues to support organizations to comply with accessibility legislation. It ensures that organizations are given ample resources, information and expertise to guide them as they adapt to the AMA’s requirements. The secretariat monitors compliance, but it also seeks to create and maintain accessibility-oriented connections between Manitoba businesses, public and private sector organizations and non-profits.
To reach the secretariat, call 204-792-0263 or email email@example.com.
Eye on the Community - Accessibility Champions
Manitoba Accessibility Aware Winner 2021 Profile
RM of Victoria Beach - Small municipality
The Rural Municipality (RM) of Victoria Beach goes above and beyond to identify, remove and prevent accessibility barriers in the community. Victoria Beach Mayor Penny McMorris explains:
“Accessibility means improving the ability of all persons with disabilities to achieve their best and to participate in and enjoy their surroundings in a safe and respectful manner. Investing in and contributing to accessibility in our community brings tremendous benefits and rewards to our residents and visitors with disabilities and enriches the entire fabric of the municipality.”
McMorris and her Council credit their community’s enthusiastic Accessibility Committee for much of the progress since the community’s development of its first Accessibility Plan (required of public sector organizations by The Accessibility for Manitobans Act). Some of the accessibility enhancements include ramps, automatic doors and upgrades to washrooms in public buildings. Future improvements are incorporated into the RM’s yearly budget and include more accessible paths, beach access and enhancement to website accessibility.
Victoria Beach is unique in Manitoba, and much of the world, in that it restricts vehicle use in a portion of the municipality during the summer months. This presents unique challenges for residents who are unable to bike or walk around the community. The Rural Municipality does offer a taxi service and vehicle passes for residents who cannot get in and out of the taxis, which are available to take luggage from the community parking lot to cottages. Residents and visitors who can access taxis but still have difficulty getting around have enjoyed the recent addition of a mobility scooter rental service and covered charging station for mobility devices. These services are conveniently located at the community parking lot.
Photo Description: Harold Wiens, one of many Victoria Beach residents who have benefitted from the scooter rental service and charging station, conveniently located at the Victoria Beach Parking Lot.
New Opportunities for Outdoor Enthusiasts who Face Mobility Barriers
Save Our Seine recently celebrated its 30th anniversary of water stewardship by building an accessible dock - the first of its kind in Winnipeg. The non-profit organization raised close to $200,000 ($75,000 from Manitoba’s Building Sustainable Communities Program) to build the dock, which is located at the John Bruce Bridge, near Bishop Grandin Boulevard and St. Anne's Road in Bois-des-Espris (Spirit Woods) Park.
The dock is built into the riverbank, allowing users to comfortably embark their watercraft from solid ground and then launch it into the river. The design is perfect for people with disabilities, families and people new to boating. It is also a welcome option for boaters who prefer not to retrieve their footwear from Winnipeg’s muddy riverbanks. “It was a very exciting journey,” said designer Bob Somer, Principal at Scatliff + Miller + Murray. “Most notably, it’s turned into a truly universal kayak launch. It’s simply better and easier to use for ALL.”
While Nichole Riese’s summer holidays typically include a canoe trip, advancing symptoms of ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) mean there will be no overnights in the Whiteshell this summer. Instead, there have been several trips to Bois-des-Espris.
“With a friend’s arm to lean on, I am am easily able to maintain my balance getting in and out of the canoe,” said Nichole.
Picture description: A canoe sits in the accessible boat dock, allowing users to easily walk into the vessel. One person is helping another person out of the canoe. Two people stand by watching.
Events, Opportunities, & Training
Safe & Accessible Vaccine Clinic – Manitoba Possible & St. Amant