BC accessibility law by 2017? Columnist Caune says maybe

Mia’s thoughts- Below is another story from my activist colleague from British Columbia Canada Paul Caune. To the government of Canada and all it’s provinces, the disabled are citizens. It’s simple,if you take their tax money then you fill their needs! They elected you, they can un elect you.
The world over disabled rights are on the forefront of the human rights fight, catch up now or watch from the sidelines as someone else does it for you. be warned.

Plenty of precedents for BC accessibility law in USA, Europe

There should be a BC accessibility law by 2017. Premier Christy Clark has said with regard to passing accessibility legislation: “we aren’t starting from scratch.”

BC Premier Christy Clark. Photo: Handout.
The Premier is right: BC can benefit from the lead taken by Australia, Ireland, Manitoba, New Zealand, Ontario, the United Kingdom and the USA.

At the June 16 Accessibility Summit, at which the Provincial government announced how it will make British Columbia the most progressive place in Canada for disabled voters, Premier Clark said: ”We will look for options for a made-in-B.C. approach with legislation that will improve access for persons with disabilities. It’s important that we don’t see that as a way to increase red tape, but there is a way to do it, a way that makes sure it’s doable and that it works for people who need it. And it’s important to note as well that we aren’t starting from scratch here.”

To repeat, Premier Clark is right that “we aren’t starting from scratch.”

The BC Government knows other so-called comparable jurisdictions have accessibility legislation. For example: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed by the Congress of the United States of America and signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. This means there is twenty-four years of experience in a nation of over 300 million people for us to learn from. The US Congress amended the ADA in 2009 to rectify some flaws in the original law which had unintended negative consequences for Americans with disabilities. BC can learn from the Americans’ willingness to correct their own mistakes.

There are laws other than the ADA which can guide us on what to do, and what not to do, in British Columbia.

For example: USA’s 1980 Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, Australia’s 1992 Disability Discrimination Act, the UK 1995 Disability Discrimination Act, the UK 1996 Direct Payments Act, the Republic of Ireland’s 1999 National Disability Authority Act, New Zealand’s 2000 Public Health and Disability Act, Ontario’s 2001 Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the Republic of Ireland’s 2005 Disability Act, Ontario’s 2005 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Australia’s 2006 Disability Act and Manitoba’s 2013 Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

All these laws were passed by small-c conservative, liberal or social democratic parties within the Western mainstream. Each of these parties concluded that their societies needed legislation to guarantee the full inclusion of disabled voters.

Beacon columnist Paul Caune.
I’ve proven that Premier Clark is right that we don’t need to start from scratch in regards to the accessibility law she has committed to pass. The relevant experts working for the BC Government have no doubt already made cost/benefit studies of each of the laws I referred to above and given executive summaries of these studies to the relevant ministers.

We already know what some world-class disability experts have recommended: Spinal Cord Injury British Columbia and the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing have both told the Government that BC needs a BC accessibility law similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Rick Hansen Foundation told the Government it “should develop a legislative framework to buttress and support its [disability action plan] and ensure its adoption and implementation.”

And since 2009 Civil Rights Now has pushed for a BC accessibility law similar to the UK’s 1996 Direct Payments Act to give disabled voters the power to make the providers of taxpayer-funded disability services genuinely accountable and for a law similar to the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act.

Given the fact that so many comparable jurisdictions already have accessibility legislation and that Premier Clark has made a commitment to pass legislation to improve access for disabled voters, I think it’s reasonable for voters to expect the Clark Government to pass an effective BC accessibility law before the May 9, 2017 general election.

Paul Caune is the Executive Director of CIVIL RIGHTS NOW! He can be contacted at civilrightsnow@yahoo.ca or through CRN’s website

Author: disabledaccessdenied

I am a disabled woman who through no fault of my own has wheels under my ass. I rely on the decency and common sense of local, state and federal goverments, as well as the retail community to abide by the disabled access laws and provide adequate ramps, disabled toilets, and not use them as store rooms or broom closets. This blog exists to find the offenders and out them, inform them, and report them if necessary and shame them into doing the right thing when all else fails.

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