Understanding the Accessibility for Manitobans Act
Updated: December 7, 2022
The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) became law in December 2013, and makes up just one facet of Canada’s provincial accessibility standards. The AMA provides a process and outlines specific requirements to remove barriers affecting people with disabilities in key areas of daily life.
In this blog, we’ll break down the Accessibility for Manitobans Act – including who it applies to, what it requires, and on what timeline organizations must become compliant.
What is the AMA?
The Accessibility for Manitobans Act is landmark legislation that provides a process for identifying, removing, and preventing barriers to accessibility across the province. Introduced in 2013, the AMA represents a commitment from the Manitoba government to achieve significant accessibility progress within a decade.
In order to do this, the AMA delineates accessibility standards in five key areas that affect the daily lives of all Manitobans, not only those with disabilities. These standards are intended to serve as “building blocks for making real, measurable, and effective changes to accessibility.”
What are Accessibility Standards?
Each Accessibility Standard in the Accessibility for Manitobans Act outlines specific requirements, as well as the schedule on which organizations are expected to become compliant.
Where possible, the Manitoba government is leading by example – often assigning themselves the first (and soonest) compliance deadline. Also subject to AMA regulations are the second group identified in rolling compliance deadlines, organizations in the public sector. Finally, organizations in the private sector, small municipalities, and non-profits must demonstrate compliance.
Currently, three of the five Accessibility Standards include published requirements and a corresponding timeline, while the remaining two standards have yet to elaborate on a compliance timeline. The five areas of Accessibility Standards categorized by the AMA include:
Effective in 2015 (with full compliance expected by 2018), this standard introduced policies addressing training and communication with the goal of achieving respectful, barrier-free customer services experiences across the province. Some of the ways organizations might exemplify this standard include:
- Allowing assistive devices and ensuring sufficient space to use them (i.e. wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen tanks)
- Welcoming service animals and the people working with them
- Ensuring maintenance of accessibility “as intended” (including ramps, wide aisles, and clutter cleanup in functional areas in/around your business)
Effective in 2019 (with compliance expected by 2022), this standard was intended to remove and prevent barriers affecting current and potential members of the Manitoba workforce. This standard builds on existing requirements named in Manitoba’s Human Rights Code, and ultimately aims to help organizations hire, support, and keep employees – including those who are full-time, part-time, apprentices, and seasonal.
Information and communication
Coming into effect this year (2022), compliance with this standard is expected by 2025. Focused on barriers “that exist digitally, in-print, or through interaction with technology or people,” this standard helps organizations create a better user experience and implement globally recognized WCAG guidelines for digital accessibility.
Design of Public Spaces and Transportation
As of 2020, recommendations have been made as the first foundational step toward more comprehensive documentation on accessibility standards for the Design of Public Spaces and Transportation.
- The Design of Public Spaces refers to areas outside the jurisdiction of the Manitoba Building Code, which includes sidewalks, pathways, parks, and other designed or constructed aspects of the environment.
- The accessibility standard for Transportation applies to public transportation barriers that may impact Manitobans’ ability to go to work, school, shopping, or conduct any other aspect of their daily life.
Interested in learning about other provincial accessibility requirements?
Read our eBook on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act:
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