In 2019, the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) came into effect. This is a landmark federal law to make Canada barrier-free by 2040.
The law requires all federally regulated organizations to develop and publish accessibility plans in 2022 and 2023. This includes federal government ministries and agencies, broadcasters, Canadian carriers or telecommunications service providers, transportation networks, government-owned enterprises, and others.
Organizations governed by this law are required not only to publish their initial accessibility plans, but also to regularly publish public progress reports and updated accessibility plans for years to come. Non-compliance risks heavy fines and reputational damage.
While the Act directly impacts these organizations and industries, it will work with federally regulated organizations in areas such as digital technology and transformation, procurement, customer service, communications, transportation, employment, and the built environment to It also affects everyone you interact with (facilities and physical spaces).
The ACA, other state laws, and cultural indicators send a clear message. Accessibility should be on everyone’s radar.
As a result, companies wishing to work with the federal government and state-owned enterprises in the Ottawa region face new pressures. Simply put, it should instill confidence in some degree of disability.
What is trust in disability and why is it important for businesses?
Trust in disability encourages organizations to think differently about disability. It requires organizations to take action to improve how they engage with their employees and how they deal with people with disabilities.
To gain confidence in disability, accessibility should not be an afterthought or a reaction. It has to be intentional and proactive.
Nearly 22% of Canadians identify as having a disability, and almost everyone will experience a disability in their lifetime. Accessibility is an increasing priority in Canada with strong ties to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) frameworks.
Organizations that take accessibility seriously can reap significant financial and reputational benefits.Here is BDO come in.
Accessibility compliance requires the right people with the right experience
Accessibility affects all areas of business. This impacts both the physical and digital spaces in which businesses operate, from how employees are hired and onboarded to how customer service is delivered.
It takes a lot of effort to become truly confident in disability, but it’s something every organization needs to embrace, and it takes people with the right experience to be successful.
BDO’s accessibility team has experience with disabilities and offers a unique perspective to help Ottawa businesses navigate their requirements and reach a new level of confidence in their disability.
Our team is led by BDO Vice President Max Brault, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). In addition to his more than 35 years of experience advocating for people with disabilities in the federal and private sector, Max has also been a key participant in the Canadian legislative process.
The team also includes Mandy Crespo, who has disability experience. She has 18 years of experience in post-secondary education and the private sector working in the areas of accessibility, strategy, change management and team development.
Our deep knowledge of Accessible Canada law enables us to help clients and partners navigate ACA requirements and develop the attitudes, structures and practices necessary to foster confidence in their disability. We have connections with the disabled community across the country and understand their needs. We have an in-depth knowledge of accessibility barriers and work with leaders in the accessibility industry to support our clients.
For more information, please contact Max Brault at MBrault@bdo.ca.