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Ontario’s ‘Disconnecting From Work’ Policy and Manitoba’s New Accessibility Requirements – Deadlines Approaching

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

Employers in Ontario and Manitoba have important compliance deadlines in May and June 2022.

In Manitoba, effective as of May 1, 2022, employers must comply with the new Accessibility Standard for Employment. In the case of larger employers (defined as those with fifty or more employees in Manitoba), this means having a written policy in place to ensure compliance with those standards.

Ontario employers with twenty-five or more employees have thirty days to prepare and give to employees a policy on ‘disconnecting from work’ as required by the Working for Workers Act, 2021. This requirement comes into effect on June 2, 2022. The Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has published general guidance on what these policies should contain; however, the content of the policy is largely left to the discretion of individual employers.

Manitoba Government Enacts Accessible Information and Communication Standard Regulation

Regulation Supports Government’s Commitment to Significantly Increasing Accessibility by 2023: Squires

The Manitoba government has enacted the Accessible Information and Communication Standard Regulation under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, Families Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for accessibility, announced today.

“The ability to receive information and communicate effectively are fundamental aspects of our society, and it is imperative that all Manitobans are able to receive information and communicate in accessible ways,” said Squires. “This regulation supports our government’s commitment to making significant progress towards addressing accessibility by 2023.”

AMI Announces the Opening of The Disability Screen Office

NEWS PROVIDED BY Accessible Media Inc. (AMI)
Apr 28, 2022

Disability Screen Office will support and amplify the creative voices of Canadians with disabilities nationally and internationally

TORONTO, April 28, 2022 /CNW/ – AMI, in partnership with the Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Telefilm Canada, is excited to announce the launch of the Disability Screen Office (DSO).

With our commitment to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, AMI is currently facilitating the creation of this industry office with funding from the CMF and Telefilm Canada.

The DSO will provide services that:

  • increase accurate and meaningful disability representation on and off screen throughout the Canadian media landscape

New Website Accessibility Guidance a Welcomed Tool for Businesses and Agencies

DOJ Has Declared Enforcement of Website Accessibility is Priority

The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) has issued web accessibility guidance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While many courts have historically held that business and public agency websites are required to be accessible under respective provisions of the ADA, there are no enforceable standards on website accessibility, as there are under Section 508 for federal government websites. Because the DOJ has noted that enforcement of website accessibility is a priority, businesses and public agencies should immediately become familiar with this new guidance and ensure that all components of their websites are in compliance.

In Memory of OPSEU/SEFPO Activist John Rae

April 21, 2022
Disability Rights Caucus

OPSEU/SEFPO Disability Rights Caucus has chosen to honour one of our most valued members that had served on our caucus, also a member who cherished all injured workers and their plight towards fair and equitable treatment, John Rae.

John was totally blind most of his life and lobbied on eliminating existing barriers with an overarching goal of creating a fully accessible inclusive society where those with disabilities could participate with dignity both within their workplace and the broader society or and in their communities.

How to Be a More Accessible Employer

With eyes set firmly on a return to offices, is it time for HR leaders to look at their inclusivity? BY Emily Douglas 20 Apr 2022

As offices begin to tentatively re-open, and employers consider a more hybrid approach to work, questions around inclusivity, accessibility, and disability policies are coming to light. And, according to recent research, HR leaders ignore these priorities at their own peril.

Data from the Institute of Corporate Productivity found three in four businesses ranked employees with disabilities to be just as good or even better than their co-workers. What’s more, McKinsey and Company’s research highlighted that companies that hire diverse and differently-abled workers enjoy increased revenues of up to 35%.

Mixed Reviews for New, Accessible Courthouse in Bay St. George

Advocate for disabled pleased; mayor doesnt want it moved out of town CBC News · Posted: Apr 19, 2022

The former College of the North Atlantic building in Stephenville Crossing will be refurbished to included provincial government services and the courthouse serving the Bay. St. George area. Work on it is expected to be complete some time in 2024.

Stephenville resident Bill Jones says it’s a step in the right direction. Now he’s hoping government will follow through on plans to build an accessible government services building in Bay St. George.

Lack of Sidewalk Clearing Leaves Winnipeggers With Mobility Impairments Trapped Inside

Sidewalks remain uncleared after last week’s storm, with more on the way Cameron MacLean · CBC News · Posted: Apr 19, 2022

The ice and slush covering the sidewalk in front of Peter Tonge’s Grant Avenue apartment building make the wheels on his wheelchair spin and catch in deep ruts.

He hasn’t been able to leave his house for a week, ever since a spring snowstorm dumped nearly a foot of snow on the city.

“It’s a challenge, mentally, because we’re already dealing with a pandemic and COVID, and those sort of limitations, and then we’ve got this on top,” he said.

Op-Ed: It’s Easier Than You Might Think to Make Birding More Accessible to More People

A wheelchair user with binoculars looks for birds from a wooden path with a low railing
Birdability founder Virginia Rose and other wheelchair users can see over railings like these at Bayside Birding and Walking Trail in San Diego. BY FREYA MCGREGOR
APRIL 12, 2022

Birds bring so much joy to so many people. Their presence and our delight in them can connect us to the natural world. And with so many health benefits to spending time outside, birds can be the prompt to get a dose of nature therapy.

Some have turned this connection into a verb: “to bird.” As a bird lover and an occupational therapist, I think it’s time we expanded how we think about birding, and who can be a birder.

Canadians With Disabilities Feeling Left Behind by Federal Budget

Ted Raymond
CTV News Ottawa Digital Multi-Skilled Journalist
Published April 10, 2022

Canadians living with disabilities say they’re being left behind by the Liberal government, after a promised disability benefit was not included in last week’s budget.

The Liberals promised in a Speech from the Throne in 2020 to create a Canadian Disability Benefit, modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement for Seniors. A bill to create the benefit was introduced in Parliament in June 2021, but it died on the order paper when the September election was called.

The Liberal re-election platform included a promise to reintroduce a Disability Benefit Act, and the benefit was included in the post-election mandate letter for Carla Qualtrough, as Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.