Throughout 2020, the Commission continued to establish its new roles and responsibilities under the Accessible Canada Act, which received Royal Assent in 2019. The Commission is one of several partner agencies mandated to promote and oversee the enforcement of this law.
Accessibility is about creating communities, workplaces and services that enable everyone to participate fully in society without barriers, as is our human right. The ultimate goal of the Act is to achieve a barrier free Canada by 2040. A barrier is anything that hinders the full and equal participation of a person in Canadian life. Barriers can be physical, architectural, technological, informational or attitudinal.
The Accessible Canada Act will require federally regulated employers and service providers to proactively identify and remove current barriers to accessibility, and to prevent new ones.
In 2020, in anticipation of the law's first set of regulations, the Commission worked to develop an oversight program that will promote compliance with the Accessible Canada Act, and where necessary, apply enforcement action to ensure compliance. The Commission also worked in 2020 to develop regulatory guidance to help federally regulated organizations meet their obligations.
As well in 2020, the Commission continued to work with partners, through the Council of Federal Accessibility Agencies, to ensure a coordinated approach to implementation of responsibilities under the Act.
Canada's first Federal Accessibility Commissioner, who will be a full-time member of the Commission, is expected to be appointed by the Governor in Council in 2021.