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Government of Manitoba
Disabilities Issues Office

Accessibility Advisory Council

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 12:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

Present: Jim Derksen (Chairperson), Yvonne Peters (Vice-Chairperson),  Judy Redmond, Diane Scribe Niiganii, Diane Driedger, Jim Baker, Lanny McInnes, Scott Jocelyn, Doug Momotiuk, Eileen Clarke,  John Wyndels, Andrew Donachuk

Absent (with regrets): Karen Pirnie, Chris Summerville

The Agenda, Summary of Discussions and Minutes of the Meeting on February 13 were approved by all members without changes.

The Chairperson discussed the Planning Committee’s (Jim Derksen, Yvonne Peters, Andrew Donachuk, John Wyndels) meeting with Jennifer Howard, Minister responsible for Persons with Disabilities on February 17. One of the areas of discussion was how broadly or narrowly the Council should interpret “accessibility”. She encouraged the Council to focus their immediate attention on those areas where barriers have traditionally prevented persons with disabilities access (customer service, built environment, transportation, information and communication). She indicated that it would not be out of the scope of the Council in the years to come to provide advice in other areas, such as program provisions for persons with disabilities.

The Minister gave her blessing to the formation of a committee with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to assist and provide harmony between the work of the two groups. A letter from the Chairperson has been prepared and will be forwarded to the MHRC in the coming week.

Meetings will be scheduled between the Planning Committee and the Legislative Drafter of the Working Document to discuss how The Accessibility Advisory Council Act will associate with subsequent accessibility legislation. It will also serve as an opportunity to discuss wording used in sections and the legal process as the legislation moves forward.

There may be a need to schedule additional Council meetings between now and the middle of April when a discussion paper for consultations with the public is to be completed. This will be discussed further at the next meeting.

The Council undertook a considerable discussion on possible strategies for achieving compliance with future accessibility standards among people and organizations in Manitoba.  The Council discussed the advantages and disadvantages of requiring reports to be submitted to the government by obligated organizations as is done in Ontario under the AODA. 

There was agreement that the focus should be on ‘the doing’ – creating greater accessibility and awareness– rather than on creating paper work.  At the same time, some form of auditing and feedback will be necessary to ensure progress on compliance with the requirements under the act.  Council members were encouraged to continue brainstorming on ways to encourage and monitor compliance.

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