The Accessibility for Manitobans Act: Ambitions and Achievements in Antidiscrimination and Citizen Participation

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Publication Date

December 2016

Publication Title

Canadian Journal of Disability Studies





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disability, accessibility legislation in Canada, human rights, discrimination, proactive regulation


The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) was enacted in December, 2013. Manitoba is the second Canadian province to enact accessibility standards legislation. The first province was Ontario which enacted the Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2001 and later a more fortified and enforceable Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. In this article, we provide an overview of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act highlighting its purpose, philosophical and social goals; the standards to be developed and the process for developing the standards; information on the compliance and enforcement of the statute (including penalties and appeal mechanisms) and statutory review of the statute and standards. Throughout, we provide commentary on the statute from the perspective of its effectiveness as a means for protecting persons with disabilities from discrimination, fostering the independence of PWDs and the statute’s efficacy as a consultation tool for citizen participation. We argue that the AMA’s structure illustrates some of the fault lines in the theoretical literature regarding the social model of disability. Increased attention to the experience of impairment coupled with a more robust understanding of disability discrimination would assist the legislation to achieve its overall goal of removing accessibility barriers. These findings may be useful for the implementation of the AMA and for the design of future accessibility legislation in Canada or elsewhere.