Proposed Regulations to the Accessible Canada Act Now Available Online

  • March 12, 2021
  • BakerLaw
  • Comments Off on Proposed Regulations to the Accessible Canada Act Now Available Online

On February 13, 2021, the Federal Government released a series of proposed regulations for the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) (link). The ACA establishes a framework to make Canada barrier-free by 2040 through the identification, removal and prevention of barriers. Under the ACA, federally regulated entities must prepare and publish accessibility plans, and update them every three years. Within these plans, the entity must outline specific policies, programs, and practices in relation to the “identification and removal of accessibility barriers.”

The proposed regulations, which apply to seven key areas including transportation and information and communications technologies (ICT), provide details on how federally-regulated entities would comply with the ACA, such as the preparation and publication of accessibility plans, progress reports and descriptions of feedback processes. You can view the full regulations here (link).

These entities must also establish processes for receiving feedback from persons with disabilities regarding the implementation of these accessibility plans, as well as any accessibility barriers encountered by their employees and others who deal with them.

Timing

The proposed regulations would set dates by which entities would be required to publish their initial accessibility plans by. Additionally, the proposed regulations would require entities to publish a progress report on the “first and second anniversary of the publication of their initial and updated accessibility plans.”

Publication

The proposed regulations require that accessibility plans, progress reports and descriptions of feedback processes “be written in simple, clear and concise language.” Any of these items that are published online must be regulated in a format that is compliant with Level AA of version 2.0 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

If the federally-regulated entity does not have a website or digital platform, then printed copies of these accessibility plans, progress reports and descriptions of feedback processes must be displayed in their place of business.

Furthermore, the proposed regulations would require (on request) that plans and reports be provided in print, large print, braille, audio format and “an electronic format that is compatible with adaptive technology and is intended to assist persons with disabilities.” Depending on the size of the entity, the proposed regulations call for these alternative formats to be provided within 15-20 days from the initial request.

Penalties

The proposed regulations would also establish monetary penalties for the failure of these entities to comply. The regulations also call for the development of three classifications of penalties – minor, serious or very serious – and propose to establish a range of penalties for each of these categories.

On March 15, 2021, from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm (ET), ARCH Disability Law Centre will be holding a webinar about the ACA draft regulations.  For more information about the webinar and to RSVP click here (link).

– This post is current as of the time of writing. Readers should not rely on this post as legal advice. –

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