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Accessibility in Manitoba

According to the Royal Bank of Canada, people with disabilities represent an estimated annual spending power of $25 billion across Canada. Having businesses take steps to accommodate that market is not only the right thing to do, it is now legally mandated and a sound financial thing to do.

On November 1st, 2018 The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (“The Act”) will take full force and effect on organizations that:

  1. Provide goods or services directly to the public or to another organization in Manitoba; and
  2. Have one or more employees in Manitoba.

The legislation contemplates multiple different types of barriers both visible and invisible;

  • Architectural or Structural: such as the design of a building, stairs, doorways, width of the hallway, and even room layout;
  • Information and communication: such as small print size, confusing design of printed materials, and the use of language that is not clear or plain;
  • Technology: a lack of technology can prevent people from accessing information. Tools such as computers, telephones and other aids can also prevent a barrier to some;
  • Systemic: can occur through rules and policies such as denying access to someone with a service animal;
  • Attitude: Some people simply do not know how to interact with people with a disability, whether they are visible or not. They may feel that they could offend the individual by offering help, others may choose to ignore or avoid people with disabilities altogether.

The Act seeks to make organizations accessible to all people regardless of their disabilities, by having the organizations identify, remove, provide alternates to, and prevent future barriers. This is achieved through policies and training which are mandated by The Act.

While being accessible to people with disabilities is a great business decision, not complying with The Act can lead to fines that reach up to $250,000.00.

With that said, if your organization has not yet begun to plan for the new legislation, it would be wise to commence right away. Smith Neufeld Jodoin LLP and Mathieu Lafreniere can assist your organization in being compliant with this new legislation.

Contact Mathieu via email at [email protected] or call him at 204-346-5105. 

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Notice: The articles on our website are provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or opinion. They reflect the current state of the law as at the date of posting on the website, and are subject to change without notice. If you require legal advice or opinion, we would be pleased to provide you with our assistance on any of the issues raised in these articles.