People with disabilities forgotten in Quebec’s election campaign

Hand putting a ballot into a ballot box. Quebec flag in the background.
Provincial elections

The provincial elections are fast approaching! Last month, Quebec Accessible wrote to the leaders of all four political parties asking them to commit to adopting a strong accessibility law based on our twelve principles. So far, we’ve only received responses from two parties: Québec solidaire and the Liberal party. Québec solidaire committed to adopting a strong new law with timelines and penalties for non-compliance. The Liberal party refused to commit to do so. The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) and the Parti Québécois did not take the time to respond to our request.

Quebec Accessible recently published letters in Ricochet and the Huffington Post (in French) denouncing the lack of attention paid to this issue in the political campaign. Our letters were signed by over sixty people with disabilities and allies.

On October 1st, let’s show politicians that we are mobilized! Make your vote count! If you face barriers in the voting process, feel free to share your experiences in the Facebook group Vote accessible – Élections 2018 – Québec.

Together, we can create a more accessible and inclusive Quebec!

Candidates’ Debate on Disability Issues: Party Québécois Candidate Commits to Working on a New Accessibility Law!

Débat des candidats
Débat des candidats

Quebec Accessible attended the political candidates’ debate on disability issues on Monday night. We were pleased to see such a great turnout from the disability community! The room was packed. This shows that we’re politicized and that we’re an important constituency in this election.

Candidates from all four major parties answered questions on issues ranging from health care and employment to transportation and the built environment. Some candidates were clearly more prepared than others. They all mostly stuck to their parties’ platforms, not making many new commitments.

Candidates were specifically asked if and when their party will adopt a new accessibility law. We were thrilled that the Parti québécois committed to working on a new accessibility law! (We’re working on getting that commitment in writing.) Québec solidaire also reaffirmed its commitment to adopt a new law. The liberal party refused to make this commitment and the Coalition Avenir Québec did not answer the question.

A video of the debate is available online (in French). You can also listen to Melanie Benard, co-founder of Quebec Accessible, give her impressions of the debate in an interview for CKUT radio (in English). Next week, she will be appearing on the show Accès libre on Canal M to discuss the debate.

Quebec Accessible hopes all people with disabilities and their allies will consider parties’ approaches to accessibility when they head to the ballot box on October 1st. Let’s elect candidates who will proactively work to make our province more inclusive for everyone!

Provincial Elections: Tools to Lobby Candidates for a New Accessibility Law!

Hand putting a ballot into a ballot box. Quebec flag in the background.
Provincial elections

Quebec Accessible has created bilingual tools to help you lobby political candidates for a strong accessibility law during the upcoming provincial elections. They’re available on our website. Please share these tools with your networks. Use them to convince candidates and parties to commit to adopting a strong provincial accessibility law.

Fact Sheet

We’ve created a fact sheet that explains why Quebec needs a strong accessibility law. It gives an overview of the disability community and the barriers we face. It points out the gaps in Quebec’s current legal framework and gives examples of stronger accessibility laws in other provinces and countries.

Principles

We’ve also put together a list of twelve principles that should guide the development of Quebec’s new accessibility law. They address issues like the goal, scope and enforcement of the new law. They demand that people with disabilities be involved in every stage of the law’s development and oversight.

Commitments from Candidates

Quebec Accessible has written to the leaders of the main political parties asking them to commit to adopting a strong provincial accessibility law guided by our twelve principles during their first mandates. We’ll keep you updated on their responses.

We encourage you to ask other political candidates to also commit to adopting a strong provincial accessibility law guided by our twelve principles. Raise this issue during political debates and meetings. The more often candidates hear about the need to adopt a new law, the more likely they are to make this a political priority.

 

Good Memories: Quebec Accessible at the World Social Forum in 2016

Four women holding a banner with the words "Quebec Accessible".
Quebec Accessible at the WSF in 2016

Two years ago, Quebec Accessible contributed to the World Social Forum (WSF). The WSF is the largest gathering of civil society organizations aimed at finding solutions to the problems of our time. Every year, it brings tens of thousands of participants together for more than a thousand activities (workshops, conferences, etc.) on various themes.

Two of Quebec Accessible’s co-founders (Marie-Eve Veilleux and Pierre Lemay) co-facilitated the FSM’s Disability, Deaf Culture and Barrier-Free Society Committee in 2016. This committee encouraged the development of activities on issues that affect people with disabilities and Deaf people.

Quebec Accessible co-organised a few events at the FSM, including the Grand Conference on ableism and audism. Videos of the three speakers (Laurence Parent, Lawrence Carter-Long and Pamela E Witcher) are available online with captions and interpretation in ASL and LSQ.

With the provincial elections fast approaching, this is a great time to get familiar with the concepts of ableism and audism. Let’s question our elected officials and political candidates about their commitments to ensure real inclusion of people with disabilities!

Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming campaign for the provincial elections.

New Tools That Explain Ontario’s Accessibility Law

Ontario flag
Ontario flag

Did you know that Ontario adopted a strong accessibility law over ten years ago? The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) from 2005 aims to make the province fully accessible by 2025. Unlike Quebec’s disability law, the AODA applies to both the public and private sectors. It also includes penalties to ensure compliance.

Quebec Accessible has developed bilingual plain language tools to help you understand Ontario’s accessibility law. They explain what businesses, non-profits and government agencies must do to make their services accessible to people with disabilities.

What can Quebec learn from Ontario’s groundbreaking law? Find out by using the new tools on our website! Be sure to share them with your networks.

And if you have already done so, check out our tools on Quebec’s disability law.

Stay tuned for information about our campaign for the provincial elections this fall!