After years of advocating for a national disabilities act in Canada, the calls from disability-rights activists and persons with disabilities have been answered.
Carla Qualtrough, minister of sport and persons with disabilities, initiated a pending national act for people with disabilities that will be enacted sometime within a year and a half. The law will establish a standard for federally regulated employers and service providers, such as banks, telecommunications, trains, and airlines, in order to ensure accessibility and fairness in the workplace for Canadians with a disability.
According to an interview with the Free Press, Qualtrough has placed this law as her “No. 1 deliverable to the prime minister.” This push for the national law was deeply rooted in the displeased voices of people with disabilities, for half of all the complaints received by the Canadian Human Rights Association were filed by people with disabilities.
Although Canada has the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a principle that provides some protection for people with disabilities, one has to challenge a violation (if one arises) with the Canadian Human Rights Association. This creates an additional barrier that can discourage a person with disability from challenging a potentially harmful situation. “A national disabilities act could make the process more proactive,” Qualtrough said.
Additionally, some provinces in Canada provide some protections, but this national act would extend protections to all Canadians.
The new legislation will is expected to be introduced in the fall of 2017 or spring 2018. In the meantime, the more than 4 million Canadians with disabilities can look forward to a more equitable society.
For more information about employment rights in Canada, visit: http://www.monster.ca/career-advice/article/employment-law-knowing-your-employee-rights.