Letter to the Editor: Bill doesn’t go far enough

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As concerned citizens, I am writing to you to bring light to the proposed amendments to Bill C-81: Barrier Free Canada (Accessible Canada Act).
Improvements to accessibility for Canadians with disabilities is important and should be undertaken with consultation of those that they affect. Bill C-83 appears to address this on the surface, but it is not the legislation many Canadians with disabilities asked for or need. It does not establish a timeline for when Canada without barriers will happen.
Over 90 disability organizations have signed an open letter in October 2018 pointing out weaknesses in the bill which have not been addressed. The Act repeatedly uses the word “may” instead of “shall”, thus rendering application of the Act optional, open to repeal and abuse.
It fails to consider the additional and unique barriers created, when disability intersects with poverty for example, thus it would benefit some but marginalize others.
In short, this Act is hardly a serious attempt at providing legislation that is effective, but rather appears to be an effort to push through a Liberal election promise, ahead of October, to win votes. Additionally, the Liberal government is more interested in promoting their acceding of Canada to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations, than helping Canadians with disabilities.
Considering all the aforementioned, this Act should not be passed in its current state. Canadians with disabilities deserve better from our government.

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