The provincial government is seeking input through an engagement process to inform the development of new provincial accessibility legislation.
The purpose of this legislation is to prevent and remove barriers faced by persons with disabilities.
In partnership with the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial government will be gathering information on the principles of accessibility, the barriers to accessibility, as well as solutions to these barriers, and how to ensure ongoing feedback regarding the legislation.
“Our government is committed to safe and sustainable communities, and a key component is ensuring inclusion and accessibility for all people,” said Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities Lisa Dempster. “We are pleased to partner with the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities Newfoundland and Labrador to take the next steps in developing a made-in-Newfoundland and Labrador approach to new accessibility legislation.
“With the start of our engagement process, we will raise awareness about how inclusion and accessibility benefit everyone. We will also gather valuable input and advice which will inform the development of new accessibility legislation. I encourage all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to contribute and participate in this important process.”
The engagement process will provide key stakeholders, such as members of the community of persons with disabilities, as well as any other group or individual interested with the opportunity to share their thoughts and perspectives on accessibility legislation for the province.
“The voices of persons with disabilities will be integral to informing this legislation,” said Marie Ryan, chair, Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. “We have expertise to bring to these discussions.
“I am hopeful that, with the many platforms available for input, persons with disabilities, as well as their families, supporters and organizations who work with them, will provide their perspectives and opinions. Nothing about us, without us.”
To ensure transparency, inclusion and accessibility, the engagement process will consist of a variety of methods so all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have the opportunity to participate.
The process includes: engagement sessions being held in Corner Brook, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, St. John’s and Gander; a webinar being provided to the public, particularly targeted to those in rural and remote communities; and a discussion guide being posted on EngageNL.ca with alternate formats available from the Disability Policy Office. The engagement process will continue through until Feb. 28, 2019.
“The planned public engagement process will remove barriers to participation for individuals throughout the province and make it possible to authentically capture the concerns and ideas of our residents,” said Nancy Reid, interim executive director, Coalition of Persons with Disabilities Newfoundland and Labrador. “Through this process people will have opportunity to be included like never before. It is an incredible time to be living in Newfoundland and Labrador."
A schedule of engagement sessions taking place throughout the province will include afternoon and evening sessions, and will take place as follows:
Thursday, Jan. 24 — Civic Centre — Corner Brook
Tuesday, Jan. 29 — Hotel North 2 — Happy Valley-Goose Bay
Tuesday, Feb. 5 — Holiday Inn — St. John’s
Thursday, Feb. 7 — Quality Inn and Suites — Gander
To ensure all individuals interested in providing input on the accessibility legislation during the engagement process, in particular individuals from rural and remote communities, a webinar will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
In addition to the engagement sessions and webinar, input can be provided to the Disability Policy Office of the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development by email, phone, fax, or by written or video submission (video relay calls welcome). Please send your feedback by February 28, 2019.
To register for an engagement session or webinar, and obtain a copy of the discussion guide and/or provide a submission:
Telephone: 1-888-729-6279 (toll-free)/709-729-6279 (direct)
Mail: Disability Policy Office
Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development
P.O. Box 8700
St. John’s, NL A1B 4J6