Free new online resource released to help public understand Accessible Canada Act

People with disabilities make up around 22 per cent of Canada’s population, says Statistics Canada

Free new online resource released to help public understand Accessible Canada Act
The Law, Disability and Social Change Project at Windsor Law was established in 2014

The Law, Disability and Social Change Project at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law has marked Canada’s National AccessAbility Week, which took place from May 30 to June 5, with the release of The Annotated Accessible Canada Act.

The free new online resource covers the key parts of An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, SC 2019, c 10, commonly known as the Accessible Canada Act, from the perspective of interested individuals who may use it, including people with disabilities, advocates, lawyers, disability rights researchers and scholars, to assist them in interpreting and understanding the implications of the legislation and the rights arising under it.

Dr. Laverne Jacobs, director of the Law, Disability and Social Change Project and professor and associate dean at Windsor Law, led the development of the resource, which was co-authored by Tom Perry and Rachel Rohr (JD 2020), student researchers, and Martin Anderson (LLB 1997), lawyer, supported by Nadia Shivratan, a second-year law student.

“Our annotated statute provides information for many different types of knowledge-users, including members of the disability community, disability rights advocates, people interested in the history of the statute and in comparisons with other accessibility legislation (such as researchers and scholars), and the general public,” said Jacobs, who noted that annotated statutes have usually been very legalistic and designed for practising lawyers.

The Law, Disability and Social Change Project released an excerpt of the resource in December 2020 and has now posted the complete text version on the project’s website, on the University of Windsor’s Scholarship Repository and through the Canadian Legal Information Institute.

The Accessible Canada Act, which came into force on July 11, 2019, is the country’s first federal legislation that focuses on accessibility for persons with disabilities. It seeks to work toward achieving a “Canada without barriers” by Jan. 1, 2040 by eliminating disability barriers in the economic sectors within federal jurisdiction under s. 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867, including federal works and undertakings; parliamentary entities like the Senate and the House of Commons; the Canadian Forces; businesses and organizations like banks, airlines, railways and interprovincial transportation carriers; and Crown corporations like Canada Post. The legislation provides numerous exceptions, leading to a patchwork approach.

Statistics Canada reported in 2017 that people with disabilities comprise 22 per cent of Canada’s population who are 15 years old and above, or over seven million people, out of the population of approximately 38 million.

The Law, Disability and Social Change Project, established in 2014, aims to respect the voices of people with disabilities, to help empower them to fully attain their rights, to promote inclusive communities and to advance the motto “nothing about us without us.”

Related stories

Free newsletter

Our newsletter is FREE and keeps you up to date on all the developments in the Ontario legal community. Please enter your email address below to subscribe.

Recent articles & video

Long term care home residents greatly impacted by COVID detention measures.: Advocacy lawyer

Judge accused of bias rejects disbarred lawyer's motion to overturn dismissed appeal

Evidence obtained at photo line-ups ruled admissible in robbery case

Mother brought children to Ontario and refused to return home to UAE, order to return stayed: court

Auto insurers' profit increase during COVID demonstrates need for transparency: lawyer

Donation of $12,000 to promote urban studies efforts at Windsor Law

Most Read Articles

Ontario's top court stays decision in case involving Indigenous child in need of protection

Hearsay probative value must be measured against prejudicial effect and not by case strength: ONT CA

Auto insurers' profit increase during COVID demonstrates need for transparency: lawyer

Tenant ordered to pay rent arrears after COVID-19 restrictions triggered force majeure clause