In 2019, the Government of Canada passed a new law called the Accessible Canada Act. There is also a plain language version of this law. This is the first time we have had a law like this in our country. People with disabilities and other advocates have been asking for a law like this for years. 

The Accessible Canada Act’s goal is to create a country without barriers for all people – especially people with disabilities. It aims to do this before January 1, 2040. The law applies to programs and services that the federal government controls. 

The law will create a Canada without barriers by:

  • Identifying and removing barriers that already exist, and 
  • Preventing new barriers from being created.

The law focuses on barriers in seven main areas. One of these areas is employment. 

Having a law is the first step to creating an accessible Canada. The next step is to create Accessibility Standards. Accessibility Standards are rules that help organizations find and remove barriers. The federal government has given funding to community groups to help them with this work. 

Inclusion Canada, People First of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Citizenship and Inclusion received funding for a new project to research employment barriers and the needs of people with intellectual disabilities. Advancing Equal Access for People with Intellectual Disabilities in the Workplace began in Nov 2020 and will run for three years. 

We will use surveys, interviews, and focus groups to learn about employment barriers. We will also research how to make employment accessible for people with intellectual disabilities. Our project will involve people with lived experience and their supporters, employers, employment agencies, and other disability community members. Our research will look at all stages of employment: recruiting; hiring; training; accommodating; and evaluating employees.

At the end of the project, we will provide the federal government a report about barriers and best practice for accessible employment for people with intellectual disabilities. The federal government can use this information to help create Accessibility Standards for employment. 

We will also share what we learn with you by creating resources in a variety of accessible formats. Stay tuned for more updates on this project!