Principles for Quebec’s New Accessibility Law

Quebec Accessible has developed a list of twelve principles that should guide Quebec’s new accessibility law.

We invite you to share these principles with your networks. Ask political candidates, parties and representatives to commit to adopting an accessibility law that respects our twelve principles.

1)   Goal and Deadline

The goal of the new law should be to create a fully accessible province by a specific deadline through the identification, removal and prevention of barriers facing people with disabilities.

2)   Scope

The law must apply to all public- and private-sector organizations, including not-for-profit organizations.

The law must cover all types of disabilities, including physical, sensory, cognitive, communicational and mental health disabilities, whether they are visible, invisible, permanent, temporary or episodic.

Barriers are anything that prevents people with disabilities from fully participating in all aspects of society, including physical, attitudinal, structural, legal, informational, communicational, technological and other obstacles.

3)   Standards

The law must include detailed accessibility standards in all areas where barriers exist, including transportation, the built environment (buildings), communications, employment, customer service, education, health and social services and housing. The standards must include timelines for their implementation.

 4)  Enforcement

The law must be proactively enforced by an independent body. This body must conduct inspections and impose significant monetary penalties for non-compliance. It must be adequately resourced and include people with disabilities. Information about enforcement activities must be made public, including information about any penalties imposed.

Individuals must also be able to file complaints regarding non-compliance with the law.

 5)  Public Reviews

The law must require an independent person to be appointed to review the law’s effectiveness every four years. These reviews must entail public consultations, including consultations with people with disabilities.

6)   Participation of People with Disabilities

People with disabilities must participate in every stage of the law’s development and implementation. They must set the priorities and goals for accessibility standards.

7)   Municipal Accessibility Committees

The law must require each municipality to create an Accessibility Committee composed primarily of people with disabilities. City councils must consult their Accessibility Committees regarding the implementation of accessibility requirements.

 8)  Other Laws and Policies

The law must require the government to review all existing laws and policies to identify and remove any barriers within a specified time.

The law must also require the government to review all future legislation and regulations before they are enacted to ensure they don’t create any new barriers.

The law must provide the maximum protection to people with disabilities. It must not reduce any rights they enjoy under other legislation, regulations or policies. The strongest provisions on accessibility must always prevail.

9)  Public Funding

The law must ensure that public money isn’t used to maintain or create barriers. Public funding (including transfer payments, subsidies, loan or grants) must only be available to organizations that comply with accessibility requirements.

10) Public Education

The law must require the government to provide public education, information and resources to help organizations meet their accessibility requirements.

11) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The law must ensure that Quebec meets its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

12) Intersectional Discrimination

The law must target the multiple (intersectional) forms of discrimination experienced by certain groups of people with disabilities, such as women and members of racialized, Indigenous and LGBTQ communities.