Raise Public Transit Accessibility Barriers at the December 13, 2018 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit -and – The AODA Alliance Sends the Ontario Government a Written Submission for the Provincial Consultation on Education in Ontario


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

www.aodaalliance.org  [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

Raise Public Transit Accessibility Barriers at the December 13, 2018 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit –and – The AODA Alliance Sends the Ontario Government a Written Submission for the Provincial Consultation on Education in Ontario

December 7, 2018

          SUMMARY

1. Your Chance to Alert TTC to Public Transit Barriers in Toronto

Have you run into accessibility barriers when using public transit in Toronto? Here is a great chance to try to press for reforms at TTC.

Below you can find the Toronto Transit Commission’s announcement of its 2018 Annual Public Forum on Accessible Transit. It will be held on the evening of Thursday, December 13, 2018 from 7 to 9 pm. You can come one hour earlier if you want to speak to TTC officials, one on one. We encourage one and all in the Toronto area to come to this event and raise accessibility problems you have experienced on the TTC. It is important to shine the light on accessibility issues that continue to plague people with disabilities on public transit in Canada’s biggest city.

Over two years ago, the Ontario Government appointed a new Transportation Standards Development Committee under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act to review the 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard, and to recommend any needed changes to strengthen it. That Committee’s final reform recommendations are very weak. They won’t significantly improve that very limited accessibility standard.

Please contact your local media and encourage them to attend the TTC forum. Video record or photograph barriers on TTC you have experienced. Send them to the media. Publicize them on social media like Twitter and Facebook. Use the ever-popular hashtag #AODAfail in tweets about these barriers, as part of our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign.

TTC will again stream the event live. This may only be for those who pre-register for this event. Check out details below in the TTC announcement.

This TTC Public Forum originated in 2008 as a result of the 2007 Human Rights Tribunal order in Lepofsky v. TTC #2. Eleven years ago, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ordered TTC to hold one such event per year for the three years after the Tribunal ruled against TTC in Lepofsky v. TTC #2.

After starting to hold these events, to its credit, TTC decided to keep holding these events once per year, even though TTC originally and strenuously opposed David Lepofsky when he asked the Human Rights Tribunal to make this order.

Since 2011, TTC and all public transit providers in Ontario are required by law to hold a similar event each year in your community under section 41(2) of the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation, enacted under the AODA. If you live outside Toronto, ask your public transit provider when they are planning to hold their annual public forum on accessible transit. If your public transit authority has not done so, please contact Raymond Cho, Ontario’s Minister for Accessibility and Seniors. He is the Ontario cabinet minister responsible for enforcing the AODA, to ask that this provision be strictly enforced. That section provides:

“41(2) Every conventional transportation service provider shall annually hold at least one public meeting involving persons with disabilities to ensure that they have an opportunity to participate in a review of the accessibility plan and that they are given the opportunity to provide feedback on the accessibility plan.”

Let us know if your public transit authority in Ontario is holding a similar event this year, or did so last year. Email us at [email protected]

There has always been a great turnout of hundreds of people at TTC’s public forums on accessible transit. Each wants a chance at the microphone to tell their story. Unfortunately, TTC each year uses up far too much time, as much as a third of the time in some instances, making speeches on what a great job TTC says it’s doing on accessibility. We have urged TTC to keep all of those speeches down to a total of five or ten minutes, maximum, to give as much time as possible to the attendees to speak, since they made the effort to come to this event. We hope TTC will listen to this suggestion this time. They have not done so in the past.

Under the Human Rights Tribunal’s order, all TTC Commissioners were required to attend each public forum. Since that order expired, many if not most TTC Commissioners have skipped these TTC accessible transit public forums. This is wrong. TTC chose the forum’s date well in advance. Its Commissioners should be able to make it. If hundreds of people with disabilities take the time out of their busy day to come to speak to the TTC Commissioners, the least that those TTC Commissioners can do is to themselves take the time to show up to this TTC community event and listen to the front-line experiences of TTC riders with disabilities.

2. AODA Alliance Sends the Ontario Government a Written Submission for the Government’s Current Consultation on Education in Ontario

The Ontario Government is holding a public consultation on how it should reform Ontario’s education system. On December 7, 2018, the AODA Alliance sent the Ontario Government a 34-page written submission.

Our submission makes 14 recommendations. In our submission, we emphasized points we have made time and again. Ontario’s education system has far too many barriers that hurt one third of a million students with disabilities. Ontario’s Ministry of Education needs to be substantially reformed to make it far more responsive to the needs of students with disabilities. the Government needs to lift its 170-day old freeze on the work of Standards Development Committees working on recommendations for an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA.

You can download the December 7, 2018 AODA Alliance brief to the Ontario Government on the Provincial Consultation on Education by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/December-7-2018-AODA-Alliance-Submission-to-Ontario-Government.docx

Please email the Government to support our brief. Write the Ontario Government at: To: [email protected]

You can find out more about the Government’s consultation by visiting https://www.ontario.ca/page/for-the-parents

You can send in your own submission by emailing the Government at [email protected]

You can learn lots more about the AODA Alliance’s years of campaigning for accessibility for students with disabilities by visiting www.aodaalliance.org/education

3. It’s Time For a Break!

The time has come for the AODA Alliance to take a short holiday break, after this, our 76th AODA Alliance Update this year. We will be off-line and not answering emails, tweets, or even messages by carrier pigeon, until early in the new year.

We want to wish everyone a happy, safe, healthy and barrier-free holiday season and new year. We thank one and all of our many supporters for their encouragement, support and help over the past year. After a good rest, we’ll be ready to swing into action on the provincial and federal fronts with the same tenacity for which we are reputed. Thanks for being part of this important cause.

          more details

TTC Announcement of the 2018 Accessible Transit Public Forum

You are invited to the 2018 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit.

New date: Thursday, December 13, 2018

One-on-One Discussions: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Open Public Forum: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

New location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre

255 Front Street West, North Building

Rooms 205/206 (Main floor)

The purpose of the Forum is to update customers about TTC accessibility initiatives, including the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy, Family of Services, Travel Training Pilot Program, and the Easier Access project, and gather feedback about possible improvements to the TTC’s accessible conventional and specialized services.

Customers can meet one-on-one with TTC staff, management, and the TTC’s Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. The open Public Forum will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The closest subway stations to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre are Union and St Andrew (both are accessible). For assistance in planning your trip using the conventional TTC call 416-393-4636.

Wheel-Trans customers may book trips to the Public Forum starting one week prior to the event. Please note that all return trips will be organized after the event finishes at 9:00 p.m. and will not be scheduled in advance.

ASL, captioning, and attendants will be available. Refreshments will not be provided.

Can’t attend in person? Join our webcast and participate from the comfort of your home. More information on the webcast is available at https://www.meetview.com/ttc20181213/



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Click here to download in an accessible MS Word format the AODA Alliance’s December 7, 2018 Submission to the Ontario Government’s Provincial Consultation on the Future of Ontario’s Education System



Click here to download in an accessible MS Word format the AODA Alliance’s December 7, 2018 submission to the Ontario Government’s Provincial Consultation on the Future of Ontario’s Education System



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Excellent Toronto Star Article Reports on Our Call for Canada’s Senate to Hold Public Hearings and Amend the Weak Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

www.aodaalliance.org  [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

Excellent Toronto Star Article Reports on Our Call for Canada’s Senate to Hold Public Hearings and Amend the Weak Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act

December 5, 2018

Summary

Page A-3 of the December 4, 2018 Toronto Star included a great report on our call for Canada’s Senate to hold public hearings early in 2019, and to amend the weak Bill C-81. That bill is the Federal Government’s proposed Accessible Canada Act. We set out the Toronto Star article below.

Proposed by the Federal Government, Bill C-81 is supposed to make Canada become barrier-free for people with disabilities. However, its well-intentioned provisions are quite weak. They let the Federal Government do a lot of things to advance the goal of accessibility, if it wishes. However this bill doesn’t require the Federal Government to do very much. It allows for the bill’s enforcement. However it creates a confusing and complicated enforcement process that people with disabilities will often find hard to navigate.

We will have lots more to say about this in the New Year. In the meantime, we welcome your help with this effort. Please contact any senators you can. Send them this article, and the AODA Alliance’s December 3, 2018 news release. Senators are identified by the province they represent. Feel free to reach out to any senator, whether or not they come from your province. You can find out which senators come from your province. For each senator, you can find out their political party affiliation, if any, and their contact information such as their email address and Twitter handle by visiting https://sencanada.ca/en/senators/

Emphasize to them that this is all about equality for people with disabilities, a vulnerable population in our society. Urge senators to agree to hold public hearings on Bill C-81 early in 2019. Urge them to amend Bill C-81, especially in light of the concerns set out in the October 30, 2018 Open Letter to the Federal Government on Bill C-81, which is included in our December 3, 2018 news release.

Let us know what you do and what response you get. Email us at [email protected]

In the build-up to the holiday break, there will be more AODA Alliance Updates than usual this week. All the news we will share is important. Please circulate our updates to your friends.

For tons of background on our campaign to get Bill C-81 strengthened, and to read all the debates in the House of Commons on this bill, visit www.aodaalliance.org/canada

          MORE DETAILS

The Toronto Star December 4, 2018 Page A-3

Originally posted at: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/12/03/advocates-urge-senate-to-improve-national-accessibility-law.html

News

National accessibility legislation ‘falls short’

Advocates for disabled cite lack of timeline in asking Senate for change

Laurie Monsebraaten Toronto Star

Disability activists say Ottawa has ignored their calls to strengthen Canada’s first national accessibility legislation and are urging the Senate to intervene.

More than 90 groups, including the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and Ontario-based ARCH Disability Law, say the proposed Accessible Canada Act, passed by Parliament on Nov. 27, is too weak to achieve its goal of making Canada barrier-free for over five million Canadians with disabilities.

They want the Senate to hold public hearings next year and make amendments to improve the legislation before it becomes law.

“People with disabilities still face too many accessibility barriers in areas that the federal government regulates, like air or train travel, cable and internet TV service, and dealing with the federal government,” said David Lepofsky, head of the AODA Alliance, an Ontario disability coalition working to ensure the province achieves its goal of becoming fully accessible by 2025.

“The federal legislation has good intentions, but falls short on implementation and enforcement,” said Lepofsky, whose coalition is leading the disability community’s appeal to the Senate.

Carla Qualtrough, minister for public services and procurement and accessibility, said the government is grateful for the participation and contribution of Canadians with disabilities in developing the law.

“Like other members of the disability community, I am eager to see meaningful progress in a timely manner,” said Qualtrough, who is blind.

“For that reason, we are working to achieve significant progress within the first year following the passage of the act. This includes opening the doors of the new Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization in the summer of 2019.”

The Accessible Canada Act, introduced in June, covers federally regulated sectors such as banking, interprovincial and international transportation, telecommunications and government-run services such as Canada Post.

In an open letter Oct. 30 to Qualtrough and the federal standing committee studying the legislation, disability activists urged the government to make nine amendments to beef up the law.

Currently, the legislation sets no timetable for Ottawa to meet its goal of a “barrier-free” Canada and nothing in the legislation compels the government to act, activists say.



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In the Legislature Yesterday, the Ford Government Refused to Lift Its 168-Day Freeze on Standards Development Committees that Were Working on Recommendations to Remove Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Education and Health Care System – Yet Two Years Ago Tomorrow, It Was the Tory Party That Had Demanded in the Legislature that Ontario Create the Very Education Accessibility Regulation that the Ford Government Has Now Frozen Work on Developing


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

www.aodaalliance.org  [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

In the Legislature Yesterday, the Ford Government Refused to Lift Its 168-Day Freeze on Standards Development Committees that Were Working on Recommendations to Remove Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Education and Health Care System – Yet Two Years Ago Tomorrow, It Was the Tory Party That Had Demanded in the Legislature that Ontario Create the Very Education Accessibility Regulation that the Ford Government Has Now Frozen Work on Developing

December 4, 2018

         SUMMARY

In light of events yesterday in the Ontario Legislature, tomorrow, December 5, 2018, looks to be a troubling anniversary in our non-partisan campaign in Ontario for accessibility for people with disabilities. Here is why!

Two years ago tomorrow, back on December 5, 2016, we were delighted that Ontario’s Conservative Party, then the opposition in the Ontario Legislature, rose during Question Period on our behalf, to demand that the Wynne Government finally agree to create an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. We need an Education Accessibility Standard enacted under the AODA because over one third   of a million students with disabilities in Ontario continue to face far too many disability barriers in Ontario’s schools, colleges, universities and other education organizations, when they try to get an education. You cannot get a good job unless you first get a good education.

We were also delighted two years ago tomorrow, when Premier Wynne at last agreed, in the face of the Conservatives’ demands, to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA. Premier Wynne’s agreement in the face of questions from Conservative MPP Bill Walker two years ago, came after years of dithering by the former Ontario Government in this area. We document those years of dithering in Chapters 4 and 5 of our draft brief to the David Onley AODA Independent Review. Below we set out the transcript of the historic exchange that took place in Ontario’s  Legislature back on December 5, 2016.

Fast-Forward two years, to the present. We still do not have an Education Accessibility Standard. Why is this? After a year of further delay, the former Ontario Government finally appointed two Education Standards Development Committees under the AODA last winter. These independent committees are mandated under the AODA to develop recommendations on what the promised Education Accessibility Standard should include. One Education Standards Development Committee was appointed to make recommendations on the disability barriers that need to be removed in Ontario schools. The other Standards Development Committee was appointed to develop recommendations on the barriers that need to be removed in Ontario’s colleges and universities. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky was appointed as a member of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee.

Those Standards Development Committees, as well as three others, were busy at work last spring, right up to the spring 2018 election. Then everything was called to a sudden and total halt. After the June 7, 2018 Ontario election, all the work of any Standards Development Committee under the AODA was frozen. We have been tenaciously campaigning to get this freeze lifted.

Over three months ago, on August 29, 2018, we wrote Minister for Accessibility and Seniors Raymond Cho a detailed letter. It spells out why The Ford Government should immediately lift its freeze on the work of AODA Standards Development Committees. The Ford Government has not answered that letter.

This freeze has garnered media attention, including CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning program on August 30, 2018, CBC Radio Ottawa’s All in A Day Program on August 30, 2018, and CBC TV and Radio news reports on November 13, 2018.

Last month, the Ford government finally lifted its freeze on the work of two AODA Standards Development Committees. One is addressing barriers in employment. The other is addressing barriers in information and communication.

However, three important Standards Development Committees are still frozen. They have remained frozen for 168 days, right up to this day. This freeze includes the work of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee and the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. This freeze also includes the work of the Health Care Standards Development Committee. This latter committee has been working for some two years on recommendations to the Ontario Government on what the Government should include in a Health Care Accessibility Standard. That accessibility standard would tear down disability barriers that hurt patients with disabilities in Ontario’s health care system.

So what happened yesterday? Yesterday, December 3, 2018, was the International Day for People with Disabilities. To mark that day, opposition NDP MPP Joel Harden, the NDP critic for disability issues, rose in the Ontario Legislature on behalf of Ontarians with disabilities to raise this important issue. In the exchange, set out in full below, MPP Harden called on the Ontario Government to lift the freeze on the Education and Health Care Standards Development Committees.

Minister for Accessibility and Seniors Raymond Cho was not in the Legislature. Conservative MPP Sylvia Jones dodged the question, stating in part:

“There is no doubt that everyone in Ontario deserves to fully participate in our lives, in the everyday lives, and that includes recreation, that includes our work force, that includes our families, our schools and our justice system.

But we need to do it in a reasonable and measured way. That is what my colleague is doing, that is what he is working on. We will make sure that work gets done, but we need to make sure that the stakeholders are involved and engaged in the process.”

So in sum, two years ago tomorrow, the Tories stood for people with disabilities, to demand that the Ontario Government create an Education Accessibility Standard. Yesterday, almost two years later, the Tories are in power and can do something about it. Yet instead of moving forward on this, they have frozen work on it, with no end in sight.

What reasons has the Ford government given over the past 168 days for this freeze? These include:

* The Government earlier said the Government needs time to brief the new Minister for Accessibility and Seniors, Raymond Cho. He has now had 157 days since Ontario’s new Cabinet was sworn in. That is sufficient time to brief a minister. This is especially so, since, to the new Government’s credit, Ontario now has a full-time Minister for Accessibility and Seniors. This is a top priority in his portfolio.

* Yesterday, in the Legislature, the Ford Government said it needs to proceed “in a reasonable and measured way.” We respectfully suggest that this protracted delay is neither reasonable nor measured. It hurts hundreds of thousands of students with disabilities. It also hurts vulnerable patients with disabilities in Ontario’s health care system.

Yesterday, the Government also said:

“We will make sure that work gets done, but we need to make sure that the stakeholders are involved and engaged in the process.”

Yet, the Education Standards Development Committee has the stakeholders directly involved in the process. Each Standards Development Committee is made up of disability c community representatives as well as representatives from the education or health care sectors. Each Standards Development Committee is required to consult the stakeholders as a core part of its work.

In answer to an earlier question from NDP MPP Joel Harden yesterday that called for the Government to create a plan to get Ontario to full accessibility by 2025, the Government said in part:

“It’s important that we work with all of our stakeholders. We need to make sure that we have the most open and accessible province, but we need to do it in a reasonable way that makes sure that no one gets hurt along the way. So we’re working with stakeholders, we’re working with the accessibility citizens and we’re making sure that we’re getting it right.”

This is the first time the Ford Government said it is concerned that “no one gets hurt along the way.” We do not know why or how anyone would “get hurt along the way” for the Education Standards Development Committees and the Health Care Standards Development Committee to get back to work.

During last spring’s Ontario election, Doug Ford wrote the AODA Alliance to set out his party’s election commitments on accessibility for people with disabilities. His May 15, 2018 letter included:

“Your issues are close to the hearts of our Ontario PC Caucus and Candidates, which is why they will play an outstanding role in shaping policy for the Ontario PC Party to assist Ontarians in need.”

We encourage you to contact your member of the Ontario Legislature. Urge them to help us press The Ford Government to end its freeze on the work of the Health Care Standards Development Committee and the two Education Standards Development Committees.

         MORE DETAILS

Ontario Hansard December 3, 2018

Question Period

ACCESSIBILITY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Mr. Joel Harden: Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and, as I pose this question, I want to acknowledge some of our friends from the disability rights community in the Speaker’s gallery. Thank you for being here.

My question is to the Deputy Premier.

Today is a day that should be reminding us that our province is on a deadline. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act has to be set in place with a legitimate plan by 2025, but every disability rights leader and organization I’ve met has told us that we’re way behind in meeting that objective.

Does the minister believe that we’re on track to have a fully accessible province by 2025?

Hon. Christine Elliott: To the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Hon. Sylvia Jones: I’m really glad that you’ve asked this question, because my colleague, the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, has been working full out on these issues, and he’s actually away today doing a speech on this very issue.

It’s important that we work with all of our stakeholders. We need to make sure that we have the most open and accessible province, but we need to do it in a reasonable way that makes sure that no one gets hurt along the way. So we’re working with stakeholders, we’re working with the accessibility citizens and we’re making sure that we’re getting it right.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Supplementary.

Mr. Joel Harden: Back to the Deputy Premier:

Achieving full accessibility, according to experts who I’ve talked to, requires two things: a commitment and a plan. But right now, three out of five AODA standards committees, which are actually doing the work about accessible and inclusive health care and education for people living with a disability, their work has been frozen since the election. It’s one thing to say we support accessibility, but it’s another thing to actually make it a priority by putting those AODA committees to work.

My question is very simple: Will the minister unfreeze the committees and will the minister work with people with disabilities to develop a multi-year accessibility plan so Ontario is fully accessible by 2025?

Hon. Sylvia Jones: There is no doubt that everyone in Ontario deserves to fully participate in our lives, in the everyday lives, and that includes recreation, that includes our work force, that includes our families, our schools and our justice system.

But we need to do it in a reasonable and measured way. That is what my colleague is doing, that is what he is working on. We will make sure that work gets done, but we need to make sure that the stakeholders are involved and engaged in the process.

Ontario Legislature Question Period December 5, 2016

ACCESSIBILITY FOR THE DISABLED

Mr. Bill Walker: My question is to the Premier. It has been 11 years since this Legislature passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Yet, today, over a third of a million students with disabilities continue to face far too many barriers when they try to go to school, college or university in Ontario.

Today’s Toronto Star reports that 22 respected community organizations wrote the Premier, urging her to finally say “yes” to creating an educational accessibility standard and tear down those unfair barriers.

Premier, on October 31, you told this House that you were considering this. Will you agree to do it today?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: As the member has said, I have already indicated that I think that this is important. I had a meeting with David Lepofsky, who is, I know, mentioned in the article. The Minister of Education and the Minister responsible for accessibility have also met with David Lepofsky and many other groups.

We recognize that, as we have developed standards in other areas, as a health standard is being developed, that also there needs to be a standard developed in the education sector.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Mr. Bill Walker: Back to the Premier: You’ve had 10 years and you spent $8 billion on the eHealth registry. I hope that this isn’t going to be another fiasco like that.

This government’s continued inaction on this file is inexcusable. This government has no comprehensive plan to ensure that our education system will become fully accessible by 2025, as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires. The AODA Alliance has pressed you for over half a decade to agree to develop the standard under the AODA to tackle these barriers.

Can you tell a third of a million students with disabilities and their families what the holdup is, after the five years of this issue being before your government?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: It’s interesting. Since we came into office in 2003—and when we came into office, under the previous Premier, there was legislation that was in place that had no teeth and would have produced no results in terms of accessibility. We scrapped that and started again, and put in place legislation that has, over time, developed standards and has put in place acceptable standards across our society.

There’s a lot more to do, which is why we are working in the health sector right now. There are billions of dollars that are spent within the education system, whether it’s on special education or the $1.1 billion in additional funding that is going into building and renovating schools—all of which goes toward building schools that are more accessible.

Because the reality is, when many of the schools were built—particularly in the Toronto District School Board, where there are many old buildings that are still being used as schools—they were not up to standard. They were not accessible in any way.

We recognize that there’s more to be done, and there will be an education standard developed.



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On The International Day for People with Disabilities, December 3, the AODA Alliance Calls on the Senate to Amend the Weak Bill C-81, the Proposed “Accessible Canada Act” After the Trudeau Government Voted Down Key Amendments in the House of Commons


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On The International Day for People with Disabilities, December 3, the AODA Alliance Calls on the Senate to Amend the Weak Bill C-81, the Proposed “Accessible Canada Act” After the Trudeau Government Voted Down Key Amendments in the House of Commons

December 3, 2018 Toronto: A tenacious Ontario-based disability rights coalition, the AODA Alliance, unveils its plans to take a campaign for Canada to enact a strong national accessibility law to Canada’s Senate! The proposed “Accessible Canada Act” which the House of Commons passed last week, is too weak to achieve its goal of making Canada barrier-free for over five million people in Canada with disabilities. Therefore the Senate needs to hold public hearings next year, and to make key amendments that the Trudeau Government blocked in the House of Commons, according to the AODA Alliance, a non-partisan Ontario disability coalition.

To mark December 3, the International Day for People with Disabilities, the AODA Alliance calls on the Senate to hold public hearings and to substantially strengthen Bill C-81, to fix its major deficiencies. Key deficiencies in the bill are spelled out in a powerful October 30, 2018 Open Letter to the Government, signed by 91 disability organizations including the AODA Alliance. (set out below)

“People with disabilities still face too many accessibility barriers in areas that the Federal Government regulates, like air or train travel, cable and internet TV service, and dealing with the Federal Government,” said David Lepofsky, who led the decade-long grassroots campaign for Ontario’s 2005 accessibility legislation, and now chairs the AODA Alliance which campaigns to get that Ontario law effectively implemented. “It’s good that the Trudeau Government said it wants to become a leader on accessibility by enacting a great law that will make Canada barrier-free, putting the disability community in a central role and relieving individuals with disabilities from having to battle each barrier they face, one at a time. However Bill C-81 is strong on good intentions but weak on implementation and enforcement. It’s strong on symbolism, but weak on substance.”

In October many disability organizations, of which the AODA Alliance is but one, each repeatedly pressed for substantial amendments during House of Commons Standing Committee hearings. Despite this, the Trudeau Government only allowed limited improvements to the bill, while systematically voting down opposition amendments that would have made this a strong law. Key problems with the bill include, e.g.

* It’s good the bill sets the goal of a barrier-free Canada, but it doesn’t set a deadline for achieving this, unlike Ontario’s accessibility law. People with disabilities must indefinitely wait for accessibility, possibly forever.

* It’s good the bill aims to be enforced, but it creates a confusing and complicated enforcement maze for people with disabilities to navigate. Many asked the Federal Government to simplify the bill, by designating one federal agency, the proposed new Accessibility Commissioner, to lead the bill’s enforcement. Instead, over strong objections from many, the bill splinters the bill’s enforcement among fully four federal agencies. Of these, the Canada Transportation Agency and the CRTC have poor track records and no expertise on accessibility. They and their procedures are feared to lean in favour of the industries they regulate.

* It’s good that the bill lets the Government enact enforceable regulations to set accessibility standards. However, the bill doesn’t require that any accessibility standard regulations ever be enacted, unlike Ontario’s accessibility law.

“We wouldn’t want the Canada Transportation Agency to ever enact an accessibility regulation under this legislation, as is,” said Lepofsky for the AODA Alliance. “That’s because the bill  preserves the CTA’s harmful power to set rules on accessibility that could weaken our access rights, and that would take away our right to seek greater accessibility at a hearing under the CTA’s legislation.”

During House of Commons Third Reading Debates, the Trudeau Government claimed that people with disabilities are “very happy” with this bill. Yet in a showing of a powerful consensus, 91 disability community organizations wrote the Federal Government the Open Letter, set out below, that details major problems with the bill that need to be fixed. The Trudeau Government’s limited amendments to the bill didn’t solve these concerns.

“The AODA Alliance chose the powerfully symbolic and internationally-celebrated International Day for People with Disabilities, December 3, to call on the Senate to hold public hearings early in 2019 on this bill, to listen to the disability community, and to pass amendments needed to make this bill live up to the Federal Government’s stated intentions,” said Lepofsky. “If the Senate does so, the amended bill can return to the House of Commons for a final vote, with the 2019 federal election looming.”

At least five million people in Canada now have a physical, sensory, mental, intellectual, communication, learning or other disability. All others in Canada are bound to get a disability as they age. Especially on the eve of a federal election, no politician can disregard the needs of people with disabilities, the minority of everyone.

Contact:  David Lepofsky, [email protected]

Twitter: @aodaalliance

All the news on the AODA Alliance’s campaign for accessibility in Ontario is available at: www.aodaalliance.org

Twitter hashtags: #AccessibleCanada #accessibility #IDPD #AODA

Key Background Links

For an updated list of the disability organizations that have signed the Open Letter (which is updated as more organizations sign on), visit http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/socialpolicy/fda/Open-Letter-30October2018

To read the AODA Alliance’s detailed September 27, 2018 brief to the House of Common’s Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, showing the full spectrum of amendments that the AODA Alliance itself requested, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/please-tell-the-federal-government-if-you-support-the-aoda-alliances-finalized-brief-to-the-parliament-of-canada-that-requests-amendments-to-bill-c-81-the-proposed-accessible-canada-act/

For further background on the campaign for a strong national accessibility law in Canada, and to see all the debates on Bill C-81  gathered in one place, visit www.aodaalliance.org/canada

Open Letter Regarding the Need to Strengthen Bill C-81 – Accessible Canada Act forwarded to the Federal Government by the Council of Canadians with Disabilities

October 30, 2018

Dear Minister Qualtrough and HUMA Committee Members:

We the undersigned commend the Federal Government for committing to enact national accessibility legislation.  As provincial and national disability rights organizations, we write to express significant concerns regarding Bill C-81. The following highlights our key concerns and reflects the concerns raised by our communities before the HUMA Committee. Amendments are essential to effectively remedy these concerns.

  1. Bill C-81 requires timelines. Timelines are essential to ensure that key accessibility measures are taken. Timelines are also required so that progress on accessibility can be measured. In particular, we support recommendations for the Bill to include a timeline for achieving a Canada without barriers, and timelines by which accessibility standards are developed and enacted into law. Timelines are also needed for establishing the infrastructure necessary to implement the Bill.
  1. Bill C-81 imposes no duty on Government to use the powers available in the Bill. We support recommendations to change the word may to shall to ensure that the Government implements key steps for achieving accessibility.
  1. Bill C-81 requires federally-regulated organizations to establish accessibility plans. However, the Bill does not require these to be good plans. It does not require an organization to implement its accessibility plan.
  1. Bill C-81 wrongly splinters the power to make accessibility standards (regulations) and the power to enforce the Bill across numerous Federal agencies. This splintering will make the Bill’s implementation and enforcement less effective, more confusing, more complicated, more costly, and will increase delay.
  1. Bill C-81 wrongly gives the Federal Government and various federal agencies the sweeping, unjustified and unaccountable power to exempt organizations from a number of important accessibility obligations. The Government can even exempt itself.
  1. The Bill does not require the Federal Government to use its readily-available power to ensure that federal money is never used by any recipient to create or perpetuate barriers. The Bill must be amended to leverage the federal spending power, in order to promote accessibility.
  1. The Federal Government is the largest organization that will have to obey this legislation. Therefore, the key federal agencies that will develop accessibility standards, oversee and enforce this legislation must be independent of the Federal Government. Under the Bill, they are not. They all report to the Federal Government. We support recommendations for amendments to ensure that CASDO, the Accessibility Commissioner and other key agencies are sufficiently independent.
  1. Bill C-81 does not sufficiently address barriers created by poverty and intersectional discrimination. Nor does it address the unique barriers experienced by Indigenous and First Nations persons with disabilities.
  1. Bill C-81 does not recognize ASL/lsq as the official languages of people who are Deaf.

We believe that if these priority changes are made, among the amendments to Bill C-81, this Bill has the potential to truly advance accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities in Canada. We ask that the Bill be amended to address the concerns and objectives outlined above. These amendments are indispensable to ensure that the Bill achieves its purpose and potential.

In Solidarity,

Council of Canadians with Disabilities – Conseil des Canadians avec déficiences (CCD)

Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)

In addition to the concerns outlined in this open letter, CDAC recommends that Bill C-81 address communication as a domain across all federal jurisdictions and includes the needs of people with speech and language disabilities. ARCH, CCD and other disability organizations support CDAC’s recommendations.

DAWN-RAFH Canada

Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL)

National Network for Mental Health (NNMH)

Independent Living Canada (ILC)

March of Dimes Canada

Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)

Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)

People First of Canada

Canadian Centre on Disability Studies

Canadian Epilepsy Alliance/ L’Alliance canadienne de l’épilepsie  (CEA/ACE)

National Coalition of People who use Guide and Service Dogs in Canada

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)

Muscular Dystrophy Canada

Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Association (CASDA)

Canadian Association of the Deaf – Association des Sourds du Canada

L’Arche Canada

Hydrocephalus Canada        

AODA Alliance

ARCH Disability Law Centre

Québec Accessible

Views for the Visually Impaired

Physicians of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Advocacy (PONDA)

Unitarian Commons Co-Housing Corporation

Citizens with Disabilities Ontario (CWDO)

Community Living Ontario (CLO)

Barrier-Free Manitoba

Regroupement des associations de personnes Handicapées de l’Outaouais (RAPHO)

Barrier Free Saskatchewan

DeafBlind Ontario Services

Community Living Toronto (CLT)

Ontario Autism Coalition

Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec (COPHAN)

Canadian Multicultural Disability Centre, Inc. (CMDCI)

Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)

Northwest Territories Council for Disability

Voice of Albertans with Disabilities

Ontario Disability Coalition

SPH Planning and Consulting Ltd.

The Law, Disability & Social Change Project

Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD)

Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO)

Nova Scotia Association for Community Living

Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunity

Disability Alliance of British Columbia 

Disability Positive 

Coalition of Persons with Disabilities (NL)

Realize / Réalise

Calgary Ability Network Human Rights

Down Syndrome Association of Ontario

Southern Alberta Individualized Planning Association

Gateway Association (Edmonton)

BALANCE for Blind Adults

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians Toronto Chapter (AEBC Toronto Chapter)

The Keremeos Measuring Up Team

Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)

Altergo

Aphasie Québec – Le réseau

Association multiethnique pour l’intégration des personnes handicapées

DéPhy Montréal

Ex aequo

Regroupement des organismes de personnes handicapées du Centre-du-Québec

Regroupement des Usagers du Transport Adapté et accessible de l’île de Montréal (RUTA Mtl)

Réseau international sur le Processus de production du handicap (RIPPH)

Société logique

North Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre Inc.

Older Women’s Network

Association d’informations en logements et immeubles adaptés (AILIA)

Association du syndrome de Usher du Québec (ASUQ)

Réseau québécois pour l’inclusion sociale des personnes sourdes et malentendantes (ReQIS)

Regroupement des aveugles et amblyopes du Québec (RAAQ)

Saskatoon Alliance for the Equality of Blind Canadians

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (C.I.L.T.) Inc

The League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada – Ligue des driots de la personne de B’nai Brith Canada

Barrier-Free New Brunswick

Canadian Association of Professionals with Disabilities

The BC Disability Caucus

The Independent Living Centre London and Area

Ontario Association of the Deaf (OAD)

Handicapped Action Group Inc. (HAGI)

Community Services for Independence North West (CSINW)

Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy

Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities (NSLEO)

Alberta Disability Workers Association

reachAbility Association 

Champions Career Centre

The Peterborough Council for Persons with Disabilities

Guide Dog Users of Canada

Action des femmes handicapées – Montréal



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Transcript of the Vote in the House of Commons on Third Reading of Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act, on November 27, 2018


Transcript of the Vote in the House of Commons on Third Reading of Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act, on November 27, 2018

(Note from the AODA Alliance: During Third Reading debates, the opposition Conservatives brought a motion to have Bill C-81 referred back to the Standing Committee, so it could consider further amendments to address the unmet concerns that the disability community had raised. As set out below, describing it as a vote on “the amendment,” all opposition members voted in support of that motion. The federal Liberals all voted against it, so it was defeated. As also set out below, the House of Commons then voted to unanimously pass the bill, on Third Reading.)

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

Canadian Accessibility Act

The House resumed from November 22 consideration of the motion that Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment.

The Speaker:

Pursuant to order made Friday, November 23, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment of the member for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte to the motion for third reading of Bill C-81.

The question is on the amendment.

(The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif

Albas

Albrecht

Alleslev

Anderson

Arnold

Aubin

Benson

Benzen

Bergen

Bezan

Blaikie

Blaney (North Island—Powell River)

Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)

Block

Boucher

Boutin-Sweet

Brassard

Brosseau

Calkins

Cannings

Caron

Carrie

Choquette

Clarke

Cooper

Cullen

Davies

Deltell

Diotte

Donnelly

Dreeshen

Dubé

Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)

Dusseault

Duvall

Eglinski

Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)

Falk (Provencher)

Finley

Gallant

Garrison

Genuis

Gladu

Godin

Gourde

Hardcastle

Harder

Hughes

Jeneroux

Johns

Jolibois

Julian

Kelly

Kent

Kmiec

Kusie

Kwan

Lake

Laverdière

Liepert

Lobb

Lukiwski

MacKenzie

Maguire

Malcolmson

Martel

Mathyssen

May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)

McCauley (Edmonton West)

McColeman

McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)

Moore

Motz

Nantel

Nater

Nicholson

Nuttall

Obhrai

O’Toole

Paul-Hus

Poilievre

Quach

Rankin

Rayes

Reid

Rempel

Richards

Saganash

Sansoucy

Saroya

Schmale

Shields

Shipley

Sopuck

Sorenson

Stanton

Stetski

Strahl

Stubbs

Sweet

Tilson

Trost

Trudel

Van Kesteren

Vecchio

Viersen

Wagantall

Warawa

Warkentin

Waugh

Webber

Weir

Wong

Yurdiga

Total: — 115

NAYS

Members

Aldag

Alghabra

Amos

Anandasangaree

Arseneault

Arya

Ayoub

Badawey

Bagnell

Bains

Barsalou-Duval

Baylis

Beaulieu

Bennett

Bibeau

Bittle

Blair

Bossio

Bratina

Breton

Brison

Caesar-Chavannes

Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)

Casey (Charlottetown)

Chagger

Champagne

Chen

Cuzner

Dabrusin

Damoff

DeCourcey

Dhaliwal

Dhillon

Drouin

Dubourg

Duclos

Duguid

Duncan (Etobicoke North)

Easter

Ehsassi

El-Khoury

Ellis

Eyking

Eyolfson

Fergus

Fillmore

Finnigan

Fisher

Fortin

Fraser (West Nova)

Fraser (Central Nova)

Freeland

Fuhr

Garneau

Gerretsen

Goldsmith-Jones

Goodale

Gould

Graham

Hajdu

Hardie

Harvey

Hébert

Hehr

Hogg

Holland

Housefather

Hussen

Hutchings

Iacono

Joly

Jordan

Jowhari

Kang

Khalid

Khera

Lambropoulos

Lametti

Lamoureux

Lapointe

Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)

LeBlanc

Lebouthillier

Lefebvre

Leslie

Levitt

Lightbound

Lockhart

Long

Longfield

Ludwig

MacAulay (Cardigan)

MacKinnon (Gatineau)

Maloney

Marcil

Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)

May (Cambridge)

McCrimmon

McDonald

McGuinty

McKenna

McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)

McLeod (Northwest Territories)

Mendès

Mihychuk

Morrissey

Murray

Nassif

Nault

Oliphant

Oliver

O’Regan

Ouellette

Paradis

Pauzé

Peschisolido

Petitpas Taylor

Philpott

Picard

Plamondon

Poissant

Qualtrough

Ratansi

Rioux

Robillard

Rodriguez

Rogers

Romanado

Ruimy

Rusnak

Sahota

Saini

Sajjan

Samson

Sangha

Schiefke

Schulte

Serré

Sgro

Shanahan

Sheehan

Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)

Sidhu (Brampton South)

Sikand

Simms

Sorbara

Spengemann

Ste-Marie

Tabbara

Tan

Tassi

Thériault

Tootoo

Trudeau

Vandal

Vandenbeld

Vaughan

Virani

Whalen

Wrzesnewskyj

Yip

Young

Zahid

Total: — 163

The Speaker:

I declare the motion lost.

Pursuant to order made on Friday, November 23, 2018, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-81.

The hon. Chief Government Whip.

Hon. Mark Holland:

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it you will find consent to apply the result of the previous vote to this vote, with Liberal members voting for.

Mr. Mark Strahl:

Mr. Speaker, we agree to apply, with Conservative members voting yes.

Ms. Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet:

Mr. Speaker, the NDP agrees to apply the vote and will vote yes.

Mr. Simon Marcil:

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois agrees to apply the result of the previous vote and will vote yes.

Ms. Elizabeth May:

Mr. Speaker, the Green Party agrees to apply the result of the previous vote and will vote yes.

Hon. Hunter Tootoo:

Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply and will be voting yes.

Mr. Darshan Singh Kang:

Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply and will be voting yes.

Mr. Erin Weir:

Mr. Speaker, CCF is in favour of applying and of the motion itself.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif

Albas

Albrecht

Aldag

Alghabra

Alleslev

Amos

Anandasangaree

Anderson

Arnold

Arseneault

Arya

Aubin

Ayoub

Badawey

Bagnell

Bains

Barsalou-Duval

Baylis

Beaulieu

Bennett

Benson

Benzen

Bergen

Bezan

Bibeau

Bittle

Blaikie

Blair

Blaney (North Island—Powell River)

Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)

Block

Bossio

Boucher

Boutin-Sweet

Brassard

Bratina

Breton

Brison

Brosseau

Caesar-Chavannes

Calkins

Cannings

Caron

Carrie

Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)

Casey (Charlottetown)

Chagger

Champagne

Chen

Choquette

Clarke

Cooper

Cullen

Cuzner

Dabrusin

Damoff

Davies

DeCourcey

Deltell

Dhaliwal

Dhillon

Diotte

Donnelly

Dreeshen

Drouin

Dubé

Dubourg

Duclos

Duguid

Duncan (Etobicoke North)

Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)

Dusseault

Duvall

Easter

Eglinski

Ehsassi

El-Khoury

Ellis

Eyking

Eyolfson

Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)

Falk (Provencher)

Fergus

Fillmore

Finley

Finnigan

Fisher

Fortin

Fraser (West Nova)

Fraser (Central Nova)

Freeland

Fuhr

Gallant

Garneau

Garrison

Genuis

Gerretsen

Gladu

Godin

Goldsmith-Jones

Goodale

Gould

Gourde

Graham

Hajdu

Hardcastle

Harder

Hardie

Harvey

Hébert

Hehr

Hogg

Holland

Housefather

Hughes

Hussen

Hutchings

Iacono

Jeneroux

Johns

Jolibois

Joly

Jordan

Jowhari

Julian

Kang

Kelly

Kent

Khalid

Khera

Kmiec

Kusie

Kwan

Lake

Lambropoulos

Lametti

Lamoureux

Lapointe

Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)

Laverdière

LeBlanc

Lebouthillier

Lefebvre

Leslie

Levitt

Liepert

Lightbound

Lobb

Lockhart

Long

Longfield

Ludwig

Lukiwski

MacAulay (Cardigan)

MacKenzie

MacKinnon (Gatineau)

Maguire

Malcolmson

Maloney

Marcil

Martel

Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)

Mathyssen

May (Cambridge)

May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)

McCauley (Edmonton West)

McColeman

McCrimmon

McDonald

McGuinty

McKenna

McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)

McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)

McLeod (Northwest Territories)

Mendès

Mihychuk

Moore

Morrissey

Motz

Murray

Nantel

Nassif

Nater

Nault

Nicholson

Nuttall

Obhrai

Oliphant

Oliver

O’Regan

O’Toole

Ouellette

Paradis

Paul-Hus

Pauzé

Peschisolido

Petitpas Taylor

Philpott

Picard

Plamondon

Poilievre

Poissant

Quach

Qualtrough

Rankin

Ratansi

Rayes

Reid

Rempel

Richards

Rioux

Robillard

Rodriguez

Rogers

Romanado

Ruimy

Rusnak

Saganash

Sahota

Saini

Sajjan

Samson

Sangha

Sansoucy

Saroya

Schiefke

Schmale

Schulte

Serré

Sgro

Shanahan

Sheehan

Shields

Shipley

Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)

Sidhu (Brampton South)

Sikand

Simms

Sopuck

Sorbara

Sorenson

Spengemann

Stanton

Ste-Marie

Stetski

Strahl

Stubbs

Sweet

Tabbara

Tan

Tassi

Thériault

Tilson

Tootoo

Trost

Trudeau

Trudel

Van Kesteren

Vandal

Vandenbeld

Vaughan

Vecchio

Viersen

Virani

Wagantall

Warawa

Warkentin

Waugh

Webber

Weir

Whalen

Wong

Wrzesnewskyj

Yip

Young

Yurdiga

Zahid

Total: — 278

The Speaker:

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)



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Transcript of the 2nd and Final Day of Third Reading Debates on Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act in the House of Commons, on November 22, 2018


Transcript of the 2nd and Final Day of Third Reading Debates on Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act in the House of Commons, on November 22, 2018

Parliament of Canada House of Commons

Hansard November 22, 2018

Originally posted at https://openparliament.ca/debates/2018/11/22/procedural-2/

Debates of Nov. 22nd, 2018

House of Commons Hansard #356 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker   Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte has 11 minutes left in his remarks.

Conservative

Alex Nuttall   Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly an honour to continue talking about a bill that has a lot of hope in it from Canadians across the country who are living with disabilities. I started yesterday into my speech regarding Bill C-81, which is essentially an accessibility act for all Canadians.

The minister said we would be co-operating and working together, and that her department would provide us with the information that was needed in order to ensure the bill actually delivers for Canadians living with disabilities. Stakeholders from across the country, from all sides of this debate, whether they have hearing or sight disabilities or physical or cognitive disabilities, are all saying the same thing, that the bill is not actually doing anything.

There are no teeth in the bill, and there are no dates to deliver teeth or policies or regulations so that we know what is going to be done to actually help people living with disabilities.

One of the things I said at the first debate we had on this subject and repeated at committee was that my hope for the bill was that at the end of it I would be able to call my mother and tell her how her life is going to change after it is passed.

Unfortunately, all I can do today is call her and tell her that within two years a single regulation will be adopted. That single regulation will trigger a five-year time period, and within that five-year time period the government will then have to report back and essentially do an audit of the regulations it has in place. However, we are not going to see any tangible benefits out of this bill on day one.

We have asked why, and the Liberals have said regulations do not need to be in the bill. The staff in the department and the minister have said we need to consult more. That is not good enough. We have had three years of consultation on this subject. Surely at least one regulation could have come into effect with this accessibility legislation.

The minister said yesterday the good news is there are benchmarks. She said that Ontario, Nova Scotia and British Columbia had put very forward-thinking legislation into place, and she commended their legislation. Their legislation had timelines.

She commends it, and she tells us there is a benchmark and we know what we need to do, but then does not include any of it in the bill, saying we might have one regulation within two years. It is just not good enough for Canadians living with disabilities. It is not good enough for Canadians who are living with either cognitive or physical disabilities.

It is incredible when we start thinking about all the things the most vulnerable in our society have to live and cope with. When we look at the issues of the day, such as Canada Post, we see another barrier put up. With Canada Post union employees going on strike, it creates a barrier for people living with disabilities, who perhaps cannot even get outside of their home to go and collect items they may need.

However, the minister does not put anything in place that will change things as of day one. It is not good enough, and stakeholders know it is not good enough.

Stakeholders were telling us they wanted change. That is why roughly 240 amendments were drafted and submitted. That is why so many amendments were adopted. Unfortunately, they were only from the Liberal side.

However, what the minister, the department and the Liberals on the committee could not understand is that stakeholders want to know when things are going to change. They want measurables in place.

Stakeholders do not just want to see a bunch of employees hired, a building gone, rented or bought, and perhaps a promise of “one day”. They are not looking for a promissory note. The stakeholders are looking for real defined benefits, defined regulations, defined policies that will help them in their day-to-day lives, and that is what the Conservative Party, the New Democrats and the Green Party all tried to do at committee to no avail, because, unfortunately, they were not part of the right party. It is disgusting when we think about the throne speech that we had in this House of Commons by the Prime Minister, which said that all members would be respected no matter where they are from, no matter what party they represent. Unfortunately, that is just not the case. The co-operation that the minister has consistently said would be in place was not.

The answers that the minister said she would be getting for members of the opposition never came. The costs related to these changes were never brought forward. However, if all of the benchmarks are in place in Ontario, Nova Scotia and British Columbia, surely we know what the costs are to make the changes necessary to make lives better for people in Canada who are living with disabilities.

We either have the information or we do not. Yesterday, we were told we had the information. A few weeks ago, we were told we did not. At committee, we were told that we did not. Even when the Liberals do have the information, they say that it is privileged between the cabinet minister and the staff. These are things as simple as whether any timelines were recommended. We could not even get that. The stakeholders are asking these questions one after another. They want to know and need to understand how and when these actions are going to be taken.

I brought something up at committee that the minister was not actually present for, which is normal, and I did not bring it up in a previous speech, but I would like to make sure that this is brought before the House. What happens if a different government is elected? What happens if there is no minister who is like-minded on this issue?

One of the things the Conservative Party was asking for was to put measurables in place to ensure that there would be follow-through from successive governments. The current government’s mandate ends in less than one year. Unfortunately, by not putting measurables in place, by not having a time by which all of these things need to be completed, by not putting a target in place for a barrier-free Canada, we do not know when or how this proposed legislation could fall off the road. This means there is a lack of accountability contained within legislation, because the government wants to avoid being accountable for real results. However, it would not just affect the current government but all governments going forward. If there is not a like-minded government going forward, that means there is a potential for it to completely collapse, and we do not want this to collapse.

We like the fact that there is an accessibility act coming forward. We supported the fact that there was an accessibility act coming forward. We championed an accessibility act coming forward. We requested that it be brought forward as soon as possible when it became very clear that the six-month timeline that the government put in order to provide the legislation to the House for persons in Canada with disabilities was not coming forward. We asked where it was. Why was it not here yet? We knew the work had been done. The Liberals told us they had been consulting for over a year. They told us they were consulting for over two years, and yet still we did not have legislation in front of us.

What happens if it is not the mindset that is provided by the government today, the mindset that is provided in the Conservative benches opposite? There is a real possibility that the intent of this legislation would fall off the road just so the government could avoid the accountability of providing real results for real Canadians living with real disabilities. It is just shameful that a government would walk away from its responsibility to be accountable to Canadians who are taking care of the most vulnerable and accountable to the most vulnerable themselves. It is absolutely shameful.

Going forward, we know that there need to be changes. Therefore, I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, be not now read a third time, but be referred back to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities for the purpose of reconsidering:

  1. clauses 5, 11, 18, 23, 111 and 148 with the view to include dates and timelines to ensure that the Bill will advance accessibility in Canada;
  1. clauses 15, 75, 93 and 95 with the view to remove permissive language to ensure that accessibility requirements are made and enforced;
  1. clauses 46, 55, 59, 64, and 68 with the view to not allow organizations to be exempted from complying with accessibility requirements; and
  1. clause 207 with the view to require the government to act.

Liberal

The Speaker   Geoff Regan

Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport.

Kate Young  Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport and to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility (Accessibility), Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his comments on this very important bill. However, I have to take exception to what the hon. member was saying, because he is in fact misleading Canadians. He is saying that this bill has no teeth. It definitely has teeth. He is saying this bill has no timelines. It definitely has timelines. I think we need to underscore how important the amount of input from Canadians with disabilities has been, in order to get where we are today.

I want to say specifically that our government wants to hit the ground running when this bill passes. New regulations will be in place very quickly, within two years after the act comes into force. That means that we are going to start moving right away and that the regulations will be enacted. Once Bill C-81 receives royal assent, the Canadian accessibility standards organization would be up and running within one year.

Therefore, there are timelines and to say anything different is wrong. You cannot mislead Canadians to think that this does not have teeth. This is a step in the right direction. We know that people with disabilities are very happy with this bill, and we are very committed to making sure we follow through on this bill.

Conservative

Alex Nuttall   Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if it was you that the member was actually referring to, as I get called out on that all the time. I just wanted to be able to do that with somebody else for once.

In terms of misleading Canadians, I would question who it is who is misleading Canadians.

First, I take exception to that, because it is basically trying to imply that I was lying.

Second, when we look to Patrick Faulkner from Barrier Free Manitoba, Patrick said, “While representing a commendable effort with honourable intentions, we are concerned the bill is deeply flawed. Based on our decade of experience and our careful review, BFM strongly supports the recommendations for significant amendments”. What were those significant amendments? They were for timelines and more teeth in the bill.

We still do not know why the Liberal Party shot down every single attempt to listen to the Canadian stakeholders who asked for more teeth in this bill.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport and to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility (Accessibility), Lib.

Kate Young

Mr. Speaker, following through on that, I want to talk about common themes. We heard a number of stakeholders at the committee. There were common themes and we did listen. Many of the amendments that came from the NDP and Conservatives were very similar to amendments we put forward. I hope the member will agree we came to an understanding in a number of areas and put forward amendments that had teeth and really moved this legislation forward.

Conservative

Alex Nuttall   Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the question was, but certainly I can comment on the statement. No, we do not agree that there were teeth in this bill. That was the whole point of the last 20 minutes I spoke in the House of Commons. There are no teeth and stakeholders are saying there are no teeth. Stakeholders are concerned there are no timelines. The member can stand and say it over and over again, perhaps until blue in the face, but it does not change the fact the legislation does not have any teeth, except maybe a regulation within two years.

I have seen ministers and parliamentary secretaries walk through organizations many times during question period, so let me talk about some of them that are asking for more teeth. They include Ability New Brunswick, Ability Online, Active Aging Canada, Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians Toronto Chapter and AODA Alliance. I have about another 250 of them to go through, when ready.

Conservative

Erin O’Toole   Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am concerned by the comments from the Liberal parliamentary secretary suggesting my colleague and friend is misleading people. I spoke to my friend just yesterday about the conversation I had last week with David Lepofsky, probably the most prominent Canadian in terms of disability advocacy. He has the Order of Ontario and Order of Canada, as a constitutional lawyer and disability advocate.

What my friend is saying to the House today is exactly what is being said by people like David Lepofsky. One of the things I heard from him was the fact that there is no end date for accessibility within Bill C-81, no timeline. Ontario has set a 20-year goal of making sure accessibility is paramount. The other thing I heard from him was that there is no clear commitment in Bill C-81 to ensure no infrastructure dollars would go to new projects unless accessibility is at the centre of the project. There are no timelines and no teeth.

The Liberal member is suggesting that my friend is misleading Canadians. This is what disability advocates are asking for. Will my friend comment on the fact that we have an opportunity with Bill C-81 to get it right, if only the Liberals will listen?

Conservative

Alex Nuttall   Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to commit to the member that we will get it right, right after the next election. This will be among the first things we ensure we put right, because it is concerning the most vulnerable Canadians. It is interesting the member brought up Mr. Lepofsky, because he said the following:

…the bill that is now before you is very strong on good intentions but very weak on implementation and enforcement…When you come to vote on amendments before this committee and when you go back to your caucuses to decide what position you’re going to take, we urge you not simply to think of the immediate political expediency of today; we do urge you to think about the imminent election a year from now and the needs of the minority of everyone, for whom no party or politician can go soft.

Those are the words of Mr. Lepofsky. It is unfortunate that the Liberal Party did not listen to them.

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk   Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to sit on the HUMA committee and listen to testimony for Bill C-81. It was very disappointing to see how the government was rushing through testimony of witnesses and clause by clause. We heard alarming things in testimony. For example, we heard that 40% of indigenous people have or will have a disability within their lifetime. Indigenous people are not mentioned whatsoever in the bill. Consultations were done for three years and they failed to recognize indigenous people and failed to recognize timelines. I do not think making departments have one standard within two years is an acceptable “teethy” timeline. There is failed accountability, exemptions and the list goes on.

On this side of the House, we had brought forward an amendment for the government to have a barrier-free Canada. I know my colleague had mentioned a little about this, but how is this going to be measured? How are we going to measure the progress or lack of progress, and how are we going to keep future governments accountable?

Conservative

Alex Nuttall   Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank the member for her incredibly hard work on this subject and on the committee. She brought a lot of amendments to the table. Unfortunately there was not a co-operative attitude to put those amendments into place. The member’s question actually speaks directly to those amendments.

There are two questions that need to be answered there. I believe when the member says “we”, that she is referring to the government of today. The government of today is going to measure its success by how much money it spends and how many staff members it hires. Those are the only measurables we have seen in the bill.

We cannot measure the results for Canadians living with disabilities by the amount of money the government spends on hiring new staff or finding new offices. We have heard that story before and it does not work.

The second part to that is how are we, as a Conservative government in 2019, going to measure it? We will measure it by the number of lives changed and the number of people who have accessibility to hope and opportunity that they do not have today.

NDP

Charlie Angus   Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is extremely important that we move forward with a plan to ensure everyone has the right to access the services they need if they have disabilities.

In the communities I represent in the far north, children are continually being denied basic services, like special education and health services. Unless we start with a rights-based focus, and indigenous children have a right to this, they are always going to be nickel-and-dimed by government. The government is always going to say, “Well, this is what we have available.” No other kid puts up with it. Why should we have two standards in the country for indigenous children and other children?

Alex Nuttall Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, the subject matter is incredibly important.

I have the honour to serve in the capacity of the shadow minister for youth. Seeing the disparity between different geographical locations or demographics based on where or how individuals live is incredibly difficult.

Even more than that, we have seen it play out where we have young aboriginal youth denied basic dental surgery. How? Why? This should not be happening in our country. We pay a lot of taxes. We have an incredible country. We believe in taking care of our own, yet it just does not seem to happen. The worst part of it is that this bill does not get us any closer. Well, maybe in two years.

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak of historic opportunities lost. An important component of our Canadian population is being sold short.

Canadians and other persons living with disabilities understandably were excited by the government’s plan to bring forward Bill C-81, an act to ensure a barrier-free Canada. After years of neglect by previous governments, they were cautiously optimistic. Alas, once the media has moved on to other issues and Canadians begun to look at the fine print in the bill, they will unfortunately find a lot less to celebrate than the government would have them believe.

As I have stated before on Bill C-81, the bill requires substantial amendments. While we commend the government for tabling it, the bill will need to be altered dramatically in order to become good legislation. I committed to working with the government to provide good faith amendments so the bill could become a historic accessibility legislation that Canada’s people living with disabilities deserved.

When the Minister of Accessibility was asked during committee if she would be open to amendment, this was her response:

I definitely want to see this law being the best it possibly can. I don’t want to prejudge the outcomes or recommendations of the committee, but I am certainly open to hearing what you all have to say and what stakeholders have to say.

Over the course of eight meetings, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities heard from leading experts and civil society groups on the things that needed to be changed if Bill C-81 were to become good legislation.

In one presentation after another, the committee heard that the bill needed implementation timelines. One such expert was none other than the former Ontario Liberal government minister responsible for shepherding Ontario’s Accessibility Act into law. We heard again and again that all of the exemptions for obligated organizations, and the bill was shot through with those, by the way, should be eliminated.

We heard repeatedly that enforcement should be solely in the hands of the accessibility commissioner and not splintered across various organizations, such as the CRTC and CTA, groups that, as was pointed out numerous times, had a storied record of implementing the few accessibility obligations they already had, never mind new ones. However, as the testimony concluded, it was as if no one had uttered a single world. Not one of these recommendations was taken up by the government.

Despite what the minister clearly said, the Liberals had already decided what they were going to do. Despite this, they nevertheless expended the treasury and witness efforts to bring experts to Ottawa to provide testimony that the government had already chosen to ignore. The Liberals ignored the excellent testimony from a former provincial Liberal minister, the highly respected Marie Bountrogianni, a person with actual experience implementing expansive accessibility legislation.

Let us hear some of this. Ms. Bountrogianni said:

During the consultation phase, we studied Great Britain’s Disability Discrimination Act and were taught three critical lessons. We would need a clear deadline for an accessible Ontario. There would need to be regulations established through which to enforce the law, and public education would be key for creating awareness about the bill.

When I was studying them, it was from their challenges. I don’t want to use the word “mistakes” because they were pioneers. They were Great Britain, Australia and the United States. They told me, “Have a timeline, definitely have timelines.”

How can this testimony be ignored? It is a shame. I get frustrated just thinking about it. All of the expertise and people so succinctly explaining to us what needed to be done to bolster the legislation was ignored.

I cannot stress enough that another critical issue is the way in which Bill C-81 splinters the power to enforce the legislation among four federal organizations: the accessibility commissioner, the Canadian Transportation Agency, also known as the CTA; the CRTC, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission; and the tribunal that regulates federal employment. This snarl of enforcement in administration would result in very similar regulations being enacted by the different agencies involved, rather than by one single agency.

The duplication would not just risk inconsistencies, it would create them, causing even further delays. The predictable result is the real possibility that some sectors of the economy will have these regulations ready before other sectors. This bill should be looking to eliminate the interdepartmental patchwork system that is already in place, rather than making it more complex. After all, that is the purpose of national strategies, of national legislation, which this is supposed to be fulfilling.

Again, this splintered formula is a confusion. The government’s response was to say this, and it boggles the mind. This is from the testimony of a government representative:

“We’ll have a policy that there will be no wrong door. Whichever agency you go to, no matter how confusing it is to figure it out—and believe me, it is confusing—if you go in the wrong door, we’ll send [the complaint] to the right door. Problem solved.”

Once again, there is not really a clear understanding by the government of the lived reality of people living with disabilities having to advocate for themselves and access these so-called doors. The purpose of the accessibility commissioner is laid out for us. This should be perfect synergy, and the government has chosen to ignore that, unfortunately.

The esteemed David Lepofsky, who has been mentioned in the chamber already by my hon. colleagues, is the chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians Disabilities Act Alliance. He points out that the problem is not solved at all:

…because all that does is fix the problem of which door you go in. It does not solve the substantial problem that happens once you’re inside that door. It means we have to lobby four agencies to get them up to the necessary level of expertise. It means we have to learn four different sets of procedures…It means we have to go to agencies that [have little to no] expertise in disability and accessibility.

This would be the expertise we would envision an accessibility commissioner would be fulfilling. This is what all of these organizations, advocacy groups and experts, with lived experience in the community as a person living with a different ability, understood. They understood that an accessibility commissioner would achieve this very basic sentiment they had, because they were worn out from having to advocate. It would have been the one-stop shop. It would have been cleaner.

From a bureaucratic perspective, it would have been a lot cleaner to give one concise responsibility to the new accessibility commissioner, but rather, we are going to hold them back and it is going to be approached in four different ways. For example, it will be said that this is not someone’s territory, but someone else’s. It is just going to invite more chaos. I want to go back to the fact that it would make far more sense to simply mandate the new accessibility commissioner with all of the accessibility enforcement under this act.

The design of this legislation, which splinters responsibility among agencies, only serve two interests: first, protecting bureaucratic turf; and second, easing back on the expectations on obligated organizations so that they can have weaker standards, slower implementation and flimsy enforcement. That is not consistent with the federal government’s commendable motivations and intentions under this legislation. It does not make sense. It is not consistent.

Before I heard my hon. colleague across the way table his amendment, I anticipated tabling an amendment of my own at the end of my speech today. For the record, I will explain what it is in the time I have remaining, so that all Canadians who are listening and following this debate understand that a last ditch effort was made by both opposition parties to revisit Bill C-81 to give it some teeth.

Today, in a last ditch effort to try to help Bill C-81 become the kind of bill the government professes it to be, but which it clearly is not, I offered a good faith amendment about implementing timelines and having enforcement so that we could go back to committee and look at implementing those timelines. Eliminating exemptions would be another one that we would need to do. I expect the government to reject any such amendment, just as it rejected the nearly 120 other ones that were brought forward at committee in complete good faith by opposition parties. I want to take this last chance to do the right thing and be on the record as having done so.

The NDP has long been committed to the rights of persons with disabilities. It has been our long-standing position that all of government, every budget, every policy, every regulation and every grant should be viewed through a disability lens. Our ultimate goal has always been to help foster a society in which all of our citizens are able to participate fully and equally. This cannot even begin to happen until all of our institutions are open and completely accessible to everyone.

The NDP has supported the establishment of a Canadians with disabilities act for many years. The call for a CDA can be found in our 2015 platform. The language is important: it is the Canadians with disabilities act.

Any accessibility bill tabled by the government should essentially be enabling legislation for Canada’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Canada ratified this convention in 2010 and a Canadians with disabilities act would include language consistent with implementing this convention.

Until now, Canada has done nothing to bring our laws into conformity with the convention. I tabled Motion No. 56 in this very chamber, calling on the government to implement these obligations.

The convention sets out the legal obligations on states to promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities. It does not create new rights. There are a number of principles and articles within the CRPD that are extremely important to people with disabilities. These principles address rights such as the ability to live independently, freedom from exploitation and violence, the right to an adequate standard of living, social protections and more.

Rather than considering disability an issue of medicine, charity or dependency, the convention challenges people worldwide to understand disability as a human rights issue. It establishes that discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the rights, inherent dignity and worth of the human person.

The convention covers many areas where obstacles can arise, such as physical access to buildings, roads and transportation and access to information through written and electronic communications. The convention also aims to reduce stigma and discrimination, which are often why people with disabilities are excluded from education, employment and health and other services.

It is important here to note that the convention is our ideal. It is up to governments to bridge the distance between these ideals and the lived reality of people with disabilities. One such bridge is supposed to be Bill C-81. That is the bridge we are debating here today.

A major lapse on the part of the government is that it did not include language in Bill C-81 requiring all federal government laws, policies and programs to be studied through a disability lens. In other words, the language of the bill is not in keeping with our obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, so we would still need more legislation to bridge that gap, which we anticipated we were closing. Now, we are taking a step that is basically a false gesture toward doing that.

One of the things I wanted to really get into is that this disability law lens is a strange omission. I say this because we find it is hard to create a lived reality on the ground if all of us who are developing policy and legislation are not using that disability lens.

One way the disability lens can be used is to analyze public policy. One way to make sure of that is to ask the following. Does the policy view disabled people as members of a minority group with special needs, or does it view disability as one of many variables in the population, and thus aim to structure society to ensure universal access and coverage? This is such a profound aspect of what our accessibility legislation needs to be able to do.

In seeing my time left, I am improvising a bit here. My understanding of our procedure is that once an amendment has been tabled, I cannot table another one. However, I would just like people to have a general idea of the text of what my amendment would have been if tabled, even though it is very similar to my hon. colleague’s. This amendment is my last plea on behalf of people with disabilities and those of us who care about them, for us to go back and get Bill C-81 right.

I would have moved that the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, be not now read the third time but be referred back to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities for the purpose of eliminating exemptions for obligated organizations and including implementation timelines.”

Conservative

John Barlow Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I look at Bill C-81 as a missed opportunity. It was a chance for us to all work together at committee, which I think was what the minister wanted to see. She wanted to see good amendments brought forward by all parties.

I think it is no surprise that the bulk of the more than 200 amendments to Bill C-81 that were brought forward were almost word for word from the NDP, the Green Party, and the Conservative Party. That highlights some of the issues with this bill.

There is one area that I would like my colleague to talk about, and we heard this from a lot of stakeholders. It was really disappointing that she did not have a chance to talk about this in her presentation. Here I refer to the concerns we heard from stakeholders that Bill C-81 is a two-tiered system with the number of exemptions that are in it.

What it does is to ask federally regulated private sector businesses to adhere to the very minimal standards and accountability in Bill C-81, but every federal department can ask for an exemption. That means that some areas will have to abide by Bill C-81 and that the federal government will not have to.

Every stakeholder we heard from wanted consistency and wanted to eliminate those exemptions. I would like to hear the member’s comments and thoughts on the exemptions included in Bill C-81.

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his diligence in chairing those meetings.

As a product of circumstance, we were all there in the best interests of a vulnerable community that has long anticipated that the experts on this would be heard. Maybe indulgently, maybe naively, I thought that the very candid witness testimony by a former minister in a provincial Liberal government, who said that we have to have timelines, would work.

It is true that some of our amendments were very similar to ones put forward by the government. Let me give an example. We changed “Canadians with disabilities” to “all persons with disabilities”. Some of it these were just wording changes.

The substantive amendments that we as legislators recognized needed to be made would have given these powers to the accessibility commissioner, to the chief officer, and to the new standards regulator. That was not done. There is no accountability to Parliament. It is done by government. It is actually very indulgent, and will create and manifest this two-tiered system that my hon. colleague does indeed describe.

Kate Young Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport and to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility (Accessibility), Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her intervention today and for speaking about this very important bill.

I wanted to ask her about the fact that as far as the Canadian accessibility standards development organization, CASDO, is concerned, it will establish Canada as a national and global accessibility leader by putting Canadians with disabilities in control of setting the accessibility standards that affect their lives. Does the member agree with that?

I know that our minister has always felt that people with disabilities have not had a say, but that now this bill gives them a say. They have a majority stand on this committee. Does the member not agree that this bill gives people with disabilities a stake in this bill and will have them at the table making decisions about them?

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise framing that question.

First of all, when is this organization going to be established? There is nothing in the legislation that says it has to happen. When this bill is passed, nothing has to happen. There is no timeline.

There is no legacy or resiliency language. Let us just say that the minister decided, of her own good will and gumption, that this would be established in 12 weeks. Where is the legacy that would guarantee that governments down the road have to achieve certain benchmarks? There is nothing. There is no language that requires anybody to do anything. As a matter of fact, organizations under federal jurisdiction must have an accessibility plan. It does not have to be a good plan, and it does not have to be implemented.

There we go. That is the language we are dealing with in Bill C-81. This is why people like me get worked up.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I really want to commend my colleague from Windsor—Tecumseh for her passionate work on this. I can say that throughout this process, she really did have hope that the government would take seriously its obligation to people in our country who are living with disabilities. She was crestfallen to find that after many amendments, which she described in her great speech here today, to try to improve this legislation, what the minister had been stating in committee and outside committee was completely false. The Liberals had no intention of improving the lives of Canadians with this bill.

The NDP and the member for Windsor—Tecumseh stand strongly in having the ultimate goal of fostering a society in which all citizens are able to participate fully and equally.

This bill would give several public agencies and officials sweeping power to grant partial or blanket exemptions from important parts of this bill to specific organizations. This is one of the more questionable things in this legislation. I would ask for the member’s thoughts on why that is in the bill.

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, why is it in there? It is gesture politics once again, because this legislation is not really trying to achieve our obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. There may be bona fide reasons for exemptions, but here is the kicker. There is no appeal process and there is no requirement that a rationale be given for it. If a reason is given, it can go to a minister. Nobody is accountable to Parliament in the federal jurisdictions that can get exemptions.

I hate to be cynical, but if any of us have done our homework for people living with disabilities, we already know the track record of these organizations. Why not use the new accessibility commissioner? It is so confounding.

Conservative

John Barlow Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I worked very well and very hard together on this bill, and I share her frustration. As I said, I think the minister wanted to do the right thing with this bill, but for whatever reason, got cold feet in the end and was not able to follow through.

I have a list of dozens of stakeholders who have written me since the committee finished its work. They are extremely upset with the inability to pass any of the amendments. One really stuck out for me, and I would like the member’s comments on it. It was from representatives of a first nation community. They said that over the last three years, the Liberal government had consulted them on Bill C-81 and talked to them about some of their needs and the issues they face with accessibility in first nations communities, but they were extremely shocked when Bill C-81 was tabled and first nations were not mentioned even once in the legislation, not once. It was a false hope for first nation communities that participated in good faith in the negotiations, but then the bill was tabled, and they were not mentioned once.

I would like the member’s comments on the frustration she is hearing from her constituents in first nation communities.

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more. The bill is missing certain language. That was our fair warning when it was left out in the first place, then we had to go back to revisit it and put all these amendments in. It was problematic to bring together from stakeholders so many of what we thought were comprehensive amendments. We were confounded that they had to be there in the first place. For a government that is trying to establish a new and healthy relationship with indigenous communities, and that makes that declaration on a regular basis, I was really let down to see that omission.

Members may never have thought they would hear someone from the NDP caucus say this, but we should write letters to the Senate. This is our only chance to use the Senate. Let us think about what that is worth. Send cards and letters, people, because the Senate is our last chance now.

Conservative

John Barlow Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-81. Those of us who are members of the HUMA committee worked extremely hard to come up with a bill that we thought would address the needs of disabled Canadians across the country.

As I said at the outset, I look at this bill as a missed opportunity. I think the minister had the best intentions. This is something she was passionate about and something she wanted to achieve. I assume that the minister is also extremely disappointed with what is missing from Bill C-81.

Earlier in the debate, she talked about all the consultations the government had with stakeholders over the last couple of years. What was the point of having consultations if the Liberals did not follow through on what the stakeholders were telling them? That is extremely clear from the amendments that were put forward by members of the committee. As has been said several times today, there were more than 250 amendments put forward, almost an equal number from every party, which I think highlights some of the glaring holes in this legislation. The government can do all the consultation in the world, but if it is not going to follow through in good faith with its stakeholders, then really, what is the point?

I have letters from dozens of stakeholders who participated at committee as witnesses or who provided submissions to the study. If the government is going to consult, why would it not accept a single one of the amendments that were so important to those stakeholders? When we have what is very rare, and my colleague joked about it, the Conservatives, the NDP and the Green Party all in agreement on where a piece of legislation should go, I think the government should embrace that moment. Absolutely, this piece of legislation is historic, because we had this entire side of the House all on the same page. However, where it is not historic is in what it would achieve, because it simply would not achieve anything. That is the frustrating part.

When we go back to our constituents and tell them that we appreciate the Liberal government bringing forward Bill C-81, they will ask what it will do for them as disabled Canadians. Unfortunately, my answer is going to be that it will get royal assent and the changes will be actually nothing. There is no accountability in this legislation whatsoever that would hold the government to do anything.

Today some of my Liberal colleagues, and the minister herself, said that all of the federally regulated businesses and federal departments would have to come up with one standard in the first two years. A building could put in an accessibility ramp, and it would have met its obligation under Bill C-81. As the minister said, one bank branch could put in a new ATM that was accessible for people with vision disabilities or hearing problems, and it would have done its part under Bill C-81. That is not what our stakeholders and disabled Canadians were expecting from this legislation. It falls well short of the promises that were made by the current government.

I want to talk about four or five glaring problems that came up with respect to Bill C-81 through our committee study. I am going to talk about the two-tiered system and the exemptions found throughout this legislation. We heard almost unanimously from our stakeholders that this is not something they want to see in this legislation.

What I mean by a two-tiered system is that government departments could apply for an exemption. Therefore, government departments would not be obliged to meet the standards in Bill C-81. Of course, there are none. There are no standards. There are no regulations. There are no benchmarks. Private sector businesses that are regulated by the federal government would have to abide by whatever standards were developed, whenever they were developed, but federal government departments could ask for an exemption. They would not have to meet those standards.

If we are supposed to have this historic legislation that would change the lives of disabled Canadians, then everyone should have to live by those standards. If anyone should, it should be the Government of Canada and the departments of the federal government. If anyone should not be given an exemption, it is the federal Government of Canada. If anything, this legislation goes in the wrong direction.

The second thing I am going to touch on today is standards, or the lack thereof. Again, it was unanimous from those who appeared at committee that the lack of any kind of standards in this legislation was disheartening. The minister said that they did not want to put standards in there because things change, and they wanted this to be fluid. Absolutely, technology changes. Accessibility innovations change, and that is outstanding. However, how are we supposed to measure the success of any legislation if we do not have a baseline, somewhere to start? If the starting point is to meet just one standard, any standard, a standard we make up ourselves in the first two years, how is that supposed to give any credibility to this legislation? Why did the stakeholders who came to Ottawa to appear at committee or who sent in their submissions bother? That is not what this is about.

Obviously, we are going to have different points of view and we are going to have disagreements, but coming up with standards that are going to improve the lives of disabled Canadians is something we all should be able to agree on. It was frustrating to see at committee, when our amendments were brought up one after another, the Liberal members vote against them each and every time. During several moments at the committee meetings, when they turned down or voted against amendments, I could not understand why. I did not see any political gain. I did not see any reason they would not want to include some of the amendments or even the vocabulary in the legislation.

Another issue that came up time and again was timelines to implement any standards or even any of the organizations that would be overseeing this legislation. The one thing the legislation would do is start four new levels of bureaucracy: CASDO, an officer of accountability, a commissioner and people in all these different levels of government who really would not have any jobs or anything they were supposed to do.

The bill would not even put in a timeline, which is another amendment we asked for, to at least ensure that the CASDO board was in place within six months of this legislation receiving royal assent. The Liberals could not even agree to that. They did not even want to have a timeline for when the organization that would be overseeing this legislation would be in place. I do not understand the lack of wanting to have some accountability as part of this legislation.

What concerns me is the coming into force clause in the bill. After 10 years, if nothing was done, the bill would become moot. We would announce that this legislation had royal assent. We would have an amazing photo op with Canadians with disabilities and members of the Liberal government, and then that would be the end of it. I truly hope that this will not be the case, that the Liberal members of the committee and the minister genuinely want to make change.

I want to give the minister the benefit of the doubt. She is someone I have a great deal of respect for, but I feel that, unfortunately, knowing the integrity and character she possesses, that her hands were severely tied when it came to implementing some of the thing she wanted from the bill. Unfortunately, she was unable to get them.

We have heard from Liberals that the bill would have teeth and that they listened to stakeholders. I want to take a few minutes to talk about some of the stakeholders we heard from at committee who communicated with us afterward. They talked about their concerns about the inability to pass any of the amendments to add structure or accountability to the bill. We heard from countless witnesses. Almost every single witness we heard from raised issues with the bill.

I have to admit I was actually quite surprised with the comments from some of the witnesses. They were not holding back. They were quite clear and quite aggressive in their criticism of Bill C-81. They put a lot of work into providing feedback to the Liberal government and to the minister on what they wanted to see and what would work for disabled Canadians, and to see very little, if anything, of their feedback in the bill obviously frustrated them as much as it did members of the committee.

For example, Patrick Falconer from Barrier Free Manitoba, who has done a lot of this work in Manitoba previously, commented:

While representing a commendable effort with honourable intentions, we are concerned the bill is deeply flawed. Based on our decade of experience and our careful review, BFM strongly supports the recommendations for significant amendments…[to this bill].

Mr. Falconer was talking about the fact the bill fails to outline any timelines for the implementation of new accessibility measures. There is use of permissive language, which does not require the government to actually act on any of the regulations put in place, and it does not hold the government to account to do anything that improves the lives of Canadians with disabilities. That is not right. It is not what this was intended to be, and it is certainly not the impression the Liberal government was giving to Canadians who participated in this process.

I would also like to speak about Professor Michael Prince, who is a professor of social policy in the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria, who said:

There are also areas of concern with this bill…these include the absence of [any] measurable targets with specific deadlines; the permissive language in the bill in many sections; the extent of exemptions; the lack of a disability lens; the absence of duties on the Government of Canada for promoting accessibility on the 600-plus first nation communities across the country; the status of ASL and LSQ and rights to communication; the complex model of federal bodies involved in enforcement and adjudication; and, the status of the proposed chief accessibility officer as a Governor in Council appointee rather than an officer of Parliament.

He goes on to say:

This bill, to me, with respect, reflects that it was written in the bubble of Ottawa. This is written from the point of view of traditional management focus, organizational focus. This is not people-centred. This is about departments making sure that in the negotiations and drafting of this bill, exemptions and deals were cut.

This is basically a machinery-of-government bill. There’s not much social policy or public policy in this bill. This should be about people front and centre. I get that we have to have administrative enforcement and compliance, and on that note I’d like to see a lot more about incentives and education.

That is a very harsh assessment of Bill C-81, and it comes from a professor at the University of Victoria who is an expert on this issue and has participated in the stakeholder communications and alleged consultation that happened as part of developing Bill C-81.

Mr. Speaker, you may be wondering what some of these egregious amendments were that we asked for, that the Liberal Party rejected. I want to go through a couple, just to give Canadians who are listening today perspective. We were not asking for the moon, we were asking for very common-sense amendments brought forward specifically by our stakeholders.

One of those amendments was to ensure the head office of the new Canadian accessibility standards development organization, CASDO, was accessible and without barriers. That would make sense. If anywhere in Canada should be accessible and barrier free, it would be the head office of CASDO, the organization that would be overseeing this legislation, that would develop and enforce the standards of accessible buildings and offices of the federal government and private sector businesses regulated by the federal government. Shockingly, the Liberals voted against it, so we cannot even have standards on the office of CASDO.

We also tried to remove permissive language from the bill that would require the power granted to the government and other bodies to make and enforce accessible requirements to be used. The Liberals also voted against those amendments.

Jewelles Smith from the Council of Canadians with Disabilities commented that:

What we would like to see is that CASDO be responsible for developing the regulations and that the reporting of any complaints go through one organization.

Frank Folino and James Roots from the Canadian Association of the Deaf added that:

Bill C-81 is currently a bit confusing in terms of where these complaints go. Some complaints may go directly to CRTC, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, CTA or then, fourth, to the accessibility commissioner officer.

Nearly every witness echoed those comments.

We put forward amendments to try and fix this, because we heard from some of the bureaucrats that the complaint or concern may come to one of these various other departments. They said that it may come in this door or that door, but not to worry, they knew it was confusing, and would make sure that concern or complaint got to the right person. Problem solved.

However, to a person with disabilities, whatever that disability may be, we need to make that as easy as possible. I would argue that it should be as easy as possible for every single Canadian to access a federal government department but certainly one that is specifically developed for one’s needs, but that was also voted against. When we are trying to make navigating the proposed accessibility act and Bill C-81 as easy as possible, the Liberal members on the committee could not even find their way to accept that.

We mentioned David Lepofsky today who is with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance. I really want to put in his comment here today. He said:

The bill that is now before you is very strong on good intentions but very weak on implementation and enforcement…When you come to vote on amendments before this committee and when you go back to your caucuses to decide what position you’re going to take, we urge you not simply to think of the immediate political expediency of today; we do urge you to think about the imminent election a year from now and the needs of the minority of everyone, for whom no party or politician can go soft.

Mr. Lepofsky was speaking for Canadians across the country asking us as parliamentarians to not get cold feet. This is an opportunity to make some substantial, historic change for Canadians with disabilities, and we failed.

I have to share a little of the frustration on this, as we will be voting in support of Bill C-81. For those organizations, those stakeholders listening today, the reason we are voting in support of Bill C-81 is certainly not because we agree with it. In fact, I have outlined today in my speech the many reasons why we are not. We heard from the stakeholders time and time again of their disappointment. But their comments were always that, although it fell well short of what they wanted, it was a start, and I will grant them that, it is a start.

I know they were expecting much more from the minister, the Liberal government and from us as members of that committee. Therefore, my promise to those Canadians in the disabilities community across the country is that when a Conservative government comes into power, we will do everything we can to address the shortcomings of Bill C-81. I know how much work they have put into this proposed legislation. I know how much time and effort they put in working with us on the committee. I know what their vision was for Bill C-81. Unfortunately, this falls short. We will not make that same mistake in 2019.

Kate Young Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport and to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility (Accessibility), Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. member for his speech on this very important issue. I also want to thank him for chairing the last meeting of the committee on Bill C-81. It really showed that we were working together as a team. However, I disagree with him when he said that we have failed.

We have not failed. We have done exactly what we needed to do. I think it is rather unfortunate that when the former government was in place, for 10 years the Conservatives did nothing. Now we are finally doing something, and the people with disabilities can finally say that their government has their back.

I also want to mention something that Jane Arkell from the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance said. She said, “Canada is taking a bold step forward with this proposed legislation. We’ve waited for legislation like this for a very long time. Truthfully, this gives our community hope. We are finally able to say, my Canada includes me.”

Can the hon. member not agree that this is a move in the right direction?

Conservative

John Barlow Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has always been very good to work with. I do agree that we work well on the committee. However, unfortunately, she does have to take some responsibility for what this bill is. To go back to what the Conservative government did in the past, the minister herself said that the disability tax credit that was brought forward by the previous Conservative government, as well as a disability savings plan, were game-changers. Those were the minister’s words, exactly. She said they were game-changers.

Bill C-81 could have been that type of legislation that would have had an impact on Canadians’ lives, but unfortunately it falls well short. That is not just coming from me. That is coming from dozens of letters I have had from stakeholders who are echoing that same sentiment.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague, particularly about the issues of accountability and the failure of the Ottawa bubble to help people with special needs.

I was in Grassy Narrows in September and I saw the horrifying effects of Minamata disease, mercury poisoning, on children. We can see it in the motor damage to their bodies. We can see it in eye problems, hearing problems, and major issues of cognitive impairments of perhaps 80%. The most heartbreaking was being told that a child might learn “2+2=4” one day and not be able to remember it the next day.

When we were in Grassy Narrows, we were told that the government had not approved the high-needs special education funding because the community was not able to fill out all the forms. The minister said she would look into it. I approached her in late October and she said all the money had flown. In late November, it took us taking this issue to the media to get this funding flowing.

As long as indigenous children with horrific needs like we see in Grassy Narrows have to meet the needs of bureaucrats rather than bureaucrats serving children, this country will continue to fail. Until we start establishing the basic right of children to have the rights of education and special needs dealt with without having to go through processes that are protecting the minister and protecting the department, children will fail. What does my hon. colleague feel on this issue?

Conservative

John Barlow Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I did not have an opportunity to address that in my speech and I appreciate my hon. colleague’s bringing that up.

One of the biggest frustrations with Bill C-81 is that we had representatives from first nations communities come to committee and it is almost like they did not want to provide feedback and input. Their comments were that they consulted with the government on the needs of first nations communities, especially when it came to people with disabilities. There is no question they have unique needs. Many of them are in remote areas of the country. It is very difficult to access the communities, let alone for some of their buildings to be accessible.

What was shocking to them when Bill C-81 was tabled was that the accessibility requirements for first nations were not mentioned in Bill C-81, even once. In fact, first nations were not mentioned in Bill C-81, even once. When we asked for amendments to include first nations and the special requirements to address first nations’ accessibility needs, they were also voted down. It was very disappointing.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr, Speaker, I am encouraged that we have the legislation here to debate. We have waited for decades. Many stakeholders would recognize that at least we have a good starting point. No doubt, into the future there will be some potential for changes.

I would ask my colleague across the way to recognize that, for many of the stakeholders, just having legislation of this nature is somewhat historic. Is it perfect? I will be one of the first to admit that it is not perfect. I suspect even our minister, who has done a phenomenal job in bringing it before us, would recognize that. However, it does move the issue forward. Would he not agree at least on that point?

Conservative

John Barlow Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary brings up a good point. On his direction, he is right. This could have been a great starting point. However, if it was a great starting point, why do we have letters from dozens of stakeholders who are upset with the bill and questioning why the Liberal government would not approve any of those amendments? If we had been able to add some of those amendments, I agree that this could have been an excellent starting point. However, to have a starting point we need a point to start at, and the problem with Bill C-81 is there are no benchmarks. There is nothing to measure any success or failure by. There are no standards, no timelines, no regulations. That is what our stakeholders were asking for.

Absolutely, Bill C-81 could have been a fantastic piece of legislation, but it falls short of what our stakeholders wanted. We could have done better, and I am disappointed that we were not able to achieve what our stakeholders were looking for.

Conservative

Martin Shields Bow River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the presentation by my neighbour and colleague from Alberta. The amount of information he provided and the way he presented it went right to the issues.

The member started out by talking about consultation. One of the things I learned throughout my career both professionally and as a politician was to always be careful. If we are going to ask people for their opinion, we need to be prepared to deal with what they will say. If they do not see any positive thing coming out of that exercise, they become jaded and cynical about what we really want to do.

My colleague has described this process and I would like him to revisit the importance of consultation and that people to see the results of it and what they were willing to come forward to give to him.

Conservative

John Barlow Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is something we all have to take to heart. When we ask Canadians to come to Ottawa or to participate in a study because we want to consult with them and get their opinion and their input to help build legislation, and they come up with something that we then ignore, we lose their confidence. We start to lose the confidence of Canadians if we do not listen to what they tell us.

As I said in my presentation, this was not something that was divided along party lines. Conservatives, New Democrats and members of the Green Party put forward recommendations that were almost identical. Most of us agreed on the direction this bill had to take.

It was just extremely disappointing to us and our stakeholders to see the government’s inability to take those extra couple of steps to really take Bill C-81, the accessibility act, to where it could have really made a definitive difference in the lives of Canadians with disabilities.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak today to Bill C-81.

Before I do so, I have to share with the House that my wife and I last Friday became grandparents for the third time since I was elected to the House of Commons. I know that my kids are working hard in Nova Scotia to populate the country. That is very important.

I want to thank my daughter, Janelle, and her husband, Trevor, for having their first baby girl, named Emma Ruth. It was a quick delivery, only two hours and 15 minutes, which is not necessarily normal for a first child but a great experience. I am proud to again be made a grandparent.

This bill is extremely important to Canadians, as an act to ensure a barrier-free Canada. It is important to know that this is the first piece of legislation aimed at improving access for people with disabilities. When I hear the Conservatives speak about how it could have been better, I ask a simple question. Why did they not do anything about it during the 10 years they were in government? They had 10 years to do something. We are bringing something extremely important to support all Canadians and those, of course, with disabilities. Our government has their backs.

This is an inclusive bill that brings fairness, which is extremely important for all Canadians. All Canadians will be in a much better position to contribute and succeed as a result. That is what our job is as a government. Many Canadians, at times in their lives, will have disabilities. Even today if someone breaks a leg or arm it can be challenging. Sometimes one has to experience that to really understand.

In my speech today I will talk about some individuals and organizations in my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook in a personal but concrete way.

People probably do not know this, but one in seven Canadians has some type of disability. That is almost 15% of Canadians. Thus, we are not talking about a few people; we are talking about many Canadians. We also have to recognize that in Canada, especially in Atlantic Canada with our demographic there, we have more seniors every day. I say that because by 2031, one-quarter of all Canadians will be over 65 years old. That is a large number. Of course, they will have challenges as well. We need to be there for them.

Individuals with disabilities have a lot to offer to all Canadians. They have a lot to offer to the economy. Only 50% of people with disabilities are working today and many of the rest would like to work. Indeed, the large majority of them would like to work, pay taxes, and contribute directly to our economy and our great country. That is extremely important. With some disabilities, such as with people on the autism spectrum, the margin is even worse, as 80% of those individuals are not working.

We need to do something and this legislation will help to ensure that more individuals will be able to contribute. The business community needs more people working in this country and we can tap into this market, which is extremely important.

I want to share a story about a friend of mine. He happens to be the Speaker of the Nova Scotia Legislature. His name, of course, is Kevin Murphy. He is in a wheelchair, because at a young age, in high school, he had a hockey accident. He is now in a wheelchair for life. When that happened, the school had to make some preparations. It was extremely difficult, as members can understand. This was about 30 years ago. There was no elevator, and that was problem. Everything had to be brought down to him because we could not get him upstairs. That is not having equal rights. Going to the washroom was very difficult, as well. Having a desk. Those were situations we were faced with.

We will need to make sure that the federal institutions have those in place. He was lucky that when he became Speaker of the Nova Scotia House, there had been a Speaker before him who had a wheelchair, so all the preparations had been made. He said to me that it was unbelievable. He thought he was going to have many challenges, but he was able to roll his wheelchair up.

Mr. Murphy is also a Canadian lead on the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association that has a mandate to encourage people with disabilities to offer to become public servants or politicians. Of course, they also encourage people to be engaged in democracy. That is extremely important.

I also want to touch on the program set up by the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance and the Canadian Association for Community Living. They have a program, Ready, Willing and Able. They have been working with the private sector to look at ways they can hire and support more people with disabilities, ensuring that they get some skills programming. Since 2014, over 2,000 people with disabilities who were previously not working are now working, and about 265 of them are from Nova Scotia. That is about 12%. I want to thank them for their good work in their phase one project. I know they have applied for a phase two.

I want to talk about the Building Futures Employment Society, right in my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. This organization is four social enterprises that work with people with cognitive challenges. I had an opportunity last month to visit them. Impressed is not the word; I was mesmerized by the work these individuals are doing and the support they have through this society.

There are four social enterprises. One, Assembly Plus, has been in place for over 30 years. It has been pretty impressive that for more than 30 years, these individuals have built and assembled equipment and materials for companies. They are contributing directly. They get all kinds of contracts and do excellent work.

There is also the Futures Copy Shop. They have been doing printing and copying for individuals and for companies for over 30 years. That is impressive, again.

The two other companies, one that was started in 2013, Future Birds, is where individuals with disabilities create custom artwork. These are being sold, and again that is contributing directly to society. The final, the Futures Cafe, has all kinds of different baking and cooked options, as well as coffee, tea and whatnot being served.

These four enterprises make major contributions to the Sackville region and to the riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. Last week they had an auction. Over 200 people attended in support of these organizations. These are the types of organizations the bill would help in ensuring support for Canadians with disabilities and other challenges.

The bill was also structured to ensure that people with disabilities were involved. They were consulted and involved with it from day one. They will continue to contribute in various ways, for example, in the Canadian accessibility standards development organizations. This bill answers “Nothing About Us Without Us”, which is extremely important.

Our government is putting money forward, over $290 million over the next six years, to ensure we move forward with the plan in the bill, which is extremely important to all Canadians. Also, every five years there will be a review to ensure we can fine tune it and make the adjustments that are necessary and important. Also, to support the minister, an independent chief accessibility officer will be appointed who would help review and do the assessment.

The creation of a Canadian accessibility standards development organization is crucial. These individuals have the majority and will be ensuring these standards are set and that we continue to meet them, which is extremely important.

Also important are the duties of the bodies regulated under the act, the federal authorities. They would have the responsibility to create their own plans, which would ensure greater success. They would be engaged from day one in the consultations and in giving feedback, which is crucial. Also, they would be engaged in ensuring they share the successes, what is working, what is not working and how we can make it better.

I want to share a quote from Raymond Chang, the dean of the School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University. He said:

Without a doubt, I believe that the Accessible Canada Act presents excellent potential for economic growth. All Canadians will benefit when the accessibility legislation is properly implemented and enforced. Furthermore, it is a great opportunity for us to emphasize the best attributes of this great country.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, when everybody is consulted and everyone works together to ensure success, then the chance of success is much greater.

The government will quickly build standards, those standards will set the bar and all involved will work toward that. As I said, people with disabilities will play a great role in the development of the Canadian accessibility standards and in supporting this process.

I am confident, but I have to ask this question. Why did the Conservatives do nothing for 10 years in this area?

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to ensure that members of the House have a full appreciation for what is at stake and how much Canadians were counting on the Liberal government to get this accessibility bill right. It is long overdue. It is true that the Conservatives should have done it in the 10 years they were in power, but Bill C-81 is so far from what our constituents and fellow Canadians need.

Terry Wiens, a man in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith, was a victim of polio. He wrote to me, saying, “Remember that Paul Martin Sr. made a promise to polio victims in 1955 that they would never have to pay for the cost of health care that resulted from the federal government’s failure for two years to introduce the polio vaccine.” That was a solemn commitment. He says, “Now that polio has been so successfully eradicated, the federal government has forgotten that polio should be part of health care.” This man who has worked all of his life. Now he finds that from the effects of polio, he has increasing disabilities. He has not been able to get the support he needs to get a specialized mattress and wheelchair. He pulled $10,000 out of his RRIF, his registered retirement income fund, to pay for these things.

He further described the cascade of impacts that happened from that. He said, “I didn’t realize the ripple effects of that decision. It raised my annual income enough to eliminate me from the guaranteed income security, all $18 a month worth. I have no doubt that next year I’ll qualify again, but in the meantime, we are penalized for our independence. To add insult to injury, losing that GIS also cost me my premium medical services subsidy, another $420 a year cost. My opportunity for subsidized assisted living, the GIS qualification is required for the payment and on it goes.”

Therefore, what in this legislation will fix things for Terry and the many other Canadians who were counting on the government to take their advice and get this bill right?

Liberal

Darrell Samson Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, as I said throughout my speech, we have committed $290 million over the next six years to achieve many of these objectives. Also, as we move forward, there will be more initiatives in the budget to support seniors and people with disabilities. I am confident we will be able to achieve some success in those areas.

I want to quote Rick Hansen. He has a standard program and Nova Scotia uses it. It has been successful. About this bill, he said that it was wonderful news announced by the minister on the accessibility Canada act that would provide funding for accessibility initiatives so all Canadians could benefit. I believe that answers the question.

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, could the member tell us what will come into effect the day the bill receives royal assent and how soon the CASDO board will be established?

Libeeral

Darrell Samson Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, we are confident that the standards will be in place within one years, so things will get moving as soon as the bill passes. We expect regulations to be in place no later than two years.

I think back to the discussions with the Conservatives in committee. They seem to have shifted. When they first started to talk about the bill, they were concerned about how much it would cost to implement it. Now, all of a sudden, they have joined the NDP and the Green Party. Therefore, I am not sure where they stand today.

People with disabilities are extremely proud of the bill. It will improve as we move forward. There are reviews set up every five years. This is what is needed to move forward as quickly as possible.

Kate Young Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport and to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility (Accessibility), Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my hon. colleague on becoming a grandparent, I believe, for the third time. That is wonderful and it is always a happy day when that happens.

I also want to thank him for the personal stories. He mentioned his friend who had been disabled for over 30 years. It reminded me of my mother who was also disabled. She had a massive stroke in her late sixties and was in a wheelchair for over 10 years. She struggled and my dad struggled with that. It would be 20 years ago and not much has changed. We are really happy, and I know my mother would be very proud and very happy, with this legislation.

I wanted my hon. colleague to talk about his friend, Mr. Murphy, and how he would feel, knowing this legislation is forthcoming.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her personal comments. I spoke with Mr. Murphy a month ago about this legislation and again yesterday. I wanted to get his feedback. He said that this was a major step forward to ensure we would support people with challenges. He was anxious. He said that he would either listen to the debate today or at least watch it over the weekend with his family, because this was a strong step forward.

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, a couple of things stood out to me in what my colleague said in his responses. The first one was that the Conservative government apparently did nothing over the last 10 years, but that is just not the case. In fact, members of the governing party were actually hailing the changes that were put in place by the late Hon. Jim Flaherty in regard to the disability savings plan and the disability tax credit. These things were literally life changing for persons living with disabilities. We look to the Abilities Centre as well.

The member talked about working together. The NDP, the Conservatives and the Green Party all worked together. It was the Liberals who failed to show up and work with the opposition in a non-partisan manner to make the bill better and to finally put measurements in place.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, there is a difference between small initiatives and a bill. This bill now would cement the process. It would put in place standards. My colleague said that he was supporting the bill because it was a strong step forward. I appreciate his comments and I know the Conservatives will support the bill. It is a very good bill for people with disabilities. I thank him for that.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is with deep regret that I inform the House that an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Order 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the third reading stage of Bill C-81, an act to ensure a barrier-free Canada.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours to the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stage.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Bruce Stanton

Is the House ready for the question?

Some hon. members

Question.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Bruce Stanton

The question is on the amendment. Shall I dispense?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.



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Transcript of the 1st Day of Third Reading Debates on Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act in the House of Commons, on November 21, 2018


Transcript of the 1st Day of Third Reading Debates on Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act in the House of Commons, on November 21, 2018

Parliament of Canada House of Commons Hansard

Debates of Nov. 21st, 2018

Originally posted at https://openparliament.ca/debates/2018/11/21/procedural-2/

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, as reported (with amendments) from the committee.

Accessible Canada Act

Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker   Geoff Regan

There being no motions at report stage, the House will now proceed, without debate, to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.

Carla Qualtrough  Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, Lib.

moved that the bill be concurred in.

The Speaker   Geoff Regan

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

The Speaker   Geoff Regan

(Motion agreed to)

When shall the bill be read a third time? By leave, now?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Carla Qualtrough Minister of Accessibility, Lib. moved that Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to stand in the House of Commons for the third reading debate of Bill C-81, the proposed accessible Canada act.

Bill C-81 is, without any doubt, a game-changing piece of legislation for Canada, especially for Canadians with disabilities. It sends a strong message that our government is taking action to advance accessibility and inclusion. We are leading the way to make Canada a barrier-free country for everyone.

I am very proud of all the work we have done getting Bill C-81 this far. We have seen from the debate at second reading that everyone is wholeheartedly invested in presenting the best piece of legislation on accessibility for Canadians. I would like to thank the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and my distinguished colleagues for the work they have done to move this much-anticipated bill forward and for providing their valuable input to make it even better.

I am particularly thankful for the deliberate efforts of the committee to make their hearings accessible, both in person and through televised broadcasts. In addition to the standard captioning, sign language interpretation in ASL and Langue des signes du Québec were consistently available. This allowed more Canadians to have the opportunity to participate in hearings in real time and signalled Parliament’s capacity to better incorporate accessibility moving forward.

Perhaps most importantly, I want to recognize the efforts of the disability community to make Bill C-81 happen. More than 55 witnesses testified and many more made written submissions. Groups like the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance, which began in 2018 as a partnership of 56 organizations, have shown remarkable inclusive and intersectional leadership.

In particular, I refer to the valuable support and engagement of the alliance’s leadership team, Spinal Cord Injury Canada, the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society, Communications Disabilities Access Canada, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Canadian Association of the Deaf, the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities. These organizations have been with us every step of the way since the beginning of this process. Their continued dedication to help us bring this historic legislation to life knows no bounds. I hope they see themselves in this bill, because it is truly theirs.

From the very first day of consultations right up until our recent committee meetings, we have heard informed and moving testimonies about the struggles that Canadians with disabilities face on a regular basis. We have also consistently heard the same key themes of what our legislation should cover, though sometimes with differing opinions on the approach. These key messages are that this legislation should be ambitious, that it should lead to more consistent experiences of accessibility, that it should apply to all areas of federal jurisdiction, that it should be enforceable, including penalties for non-compliance, and that it should have a mechanism for complaints and oversight.

Each of these key messages serves as the backbone of the proposed act. Bill C-81 creates a framework for developing accessibility standards, establishing and enforcing accessibility requirements and monitoring implementation. This framework is an effort to address barriers to accessibility. The proposed act strikes a balance between bolstering compliance and enforcement measures of existing agencies, such as the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, and creating new roles such as the accessibility commissioner and the chief accessibility officer. This would ensure broader accountability through complaints mechanisms, compliance and systemic monitoring and oversight.

This bill is designed to strengthen the system, better regulate accessibility, and bolster each sector’s enforcement capacity and ability to manage complaints. This will help develop a system in which the Government of Canada and the industry are required to anticipate barriers before they can limit access to persons with disabilities.

Our government’s objective moving forward is to get Bill C-81 passed. We know that we need to make this bill a law as soon as possible so that we can all get to work on building a truly accessible future for all Canadians.

There are certain things we can all agree on, one being that the realization of a Canada without barriers is long overdue. We all agree that Canadians need this legislation.

The proposed accessible Canada act would enable the creation of three critical new roles that would drive the advancement of accessibility in Canada: the Canadian accessibility standards development organization, the accessibility commissioner as part of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the chief accessibility officer. I have been pleased to hear the overwhelming support for their creation, as these roles will allow for a Canada without barriers to be realized in an unprecedented way.

The new Canadian accessibility standards development organization, CASDO, would be a forum for technical experts, industry and Canadians with disabilities to come together to develop accessibility standards that would work for everyone. Once accessibility standards are developed, the Government of Canada would adopt them into regulations to make them law. Having regulations based on standards rather than enacting regulations directly in the proposed act would ensure that rules could be changed more fluidly over time to reflect new advances and best practices.

We want to make the Canadian accessibility standards development organization available to the provinces and territories, and even other countries, so that they can create and adopt standards in their respective jurisdictions. We want to show that Canada can be a world leader in accessibility and that we are prepared to work as a team to accomplish that goal.

The accessibility commissioner within the Canadian Human Rights Commission would be responsible for complaints, compliance and enforcement measures in areas other than those currently regulated. Finally, the chief accessibility officer would serve the important role of systemic monitoring and oversight. Responsible for producing a report each year, the chief accessibility officer would be able to identify trends and emerging issues across all agencies and areas of government.

We expect that CASDO, the accessibility commissioner, and the chief accessibility officer would be up and running within 12 months of the legislation’s coming into force. We also plan that the first set of regulations under the legislation would come into force in 2020-21.

The significant and sustained culture change on accessibility that we need depends on getting everyone involved.

Here I would like to recognize the important testimony, debates and discussions that took place in committee. I am happy that the discussions initiated on the accessible Canada consultations continued throughout the parliamentary process.

Since the introduction of Bill C-81 in Parliament back in June, we have received over 120 proposals for amendments. Throughout this process, we have heard from dedicated community activists, experts and industry leaders. Each brought unique and thought-provoking perspectives about their concerns and wishes for Bill C-81.

Bill Adair of the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance spoke inspiring words about the disability community’s perspectives during his committee testimony. Bill said:

We are counting on you to make changes that will have a significant impact on our lives. This is a huge responsibility. We’ve opened up, we’ve advised and we’ve taken a lot of time to present the right recommendations. Listen to us. This is your opportunity to be the change.

I am very eager to see Bill C-81 pass so that we can get to work on advancing the accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities in Canada. I am also aware that there is a clear and sincere desire to move this bill quickly, and we will need everyone in the House to collaborate to get this proposed legislation through. Accessibility clearly transcends partisanship and clearly transcends any one government.

The changes made to Bill C-81 in committee advanced the vision we had for the law. The suggestions of stakeholders were incorporated into the bill in a spirit of collaboration and co-operation, the same spirit that has guided the evolution of the bill to date.

The testimony from witnesses and written submissions informed the 74 amendments accepted at committee. I am supportive of the changes not only because they came from the community, but also because I believe they have made this good legislation into great legislation.

I would like to highlight four key changes that were made at committee to strengthen Bill C-81.

First, the current purpose clause was amended to add communication as a priority area. We heard compelling testimony in committee that spoke to the impact of barriers to communication, particularly for persons with communication and language disabilities. This amendment prioritizes the barriers experienced by people with communication and language disabilities that can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder and learning disabilities.

By making communication a priority in and of itself, we can guarantee a consistent, harmonized approach to addressing the barriers to accessibility faced by people with communication disabilities in every federally regulated sector.

Second, while legislation applies to federally regulated entities, we know that achieving a barrier-free Canada means that accessibility needs to extend beyond federal jurisdiction. Accessibility is an area of shared federal, provincial and territorial responsibility, and realizing a truly accessible Canada would require working with our provincial and territorial partners. Stakeholders have echoed the sentiment, stressing the need for collaboration to harmonize accessibility practices across the country and the importance of making sure that the minister responsible for these are required to work with provinces and territories.

Third, the disability community has made it very clear that accessibility is everybody’s responsibility. The community asked for increased accountability and transparency on exemptions. Like stakeholders, I agree that exemptions should never provide a loophole from accessibility. This would be counter to the spirit of Bill C-81. That is why I am pleased that Bill C-81 has now been changed in two key areas: first, by placing a three-year limit on all exemptions; and second, by requiring that the rationale for any exemptions be published. We must bolster transparency in the exemptions process, and in doing so we would ensure that the public and the disability community can hold authorities accountable on exemptions.

I believe that stricter provisions regarding accountability and transparency strengthen Bill C-81.

Finally, I want to make clear that our intent with this bill has always been to hit the ground running on day one. I am pleased to see that an amendment was made to reflect this intent in the bill. It requires all bodies with authority to make regulations under this act to make their first regulations within two years of the act’s coming into force. The establishment of these regulations would also trigger the clock for the five-year review of the act by Parliament. This will ensure that the review would begin by 2025. In like manner, there is no end date for accessibility. Accessibility requires consistent, conscious and continual effort. The bill also provides mechanisms that require people with disabilities to be at the table to monitor implementation and support meaningful progress, independent of the government of the day.

We listened to people in the disability community who told us that accessibility in Canada has been long outdated, and I know that we need to take action right away. That is why I want to reiterate that we are strongly committed to ensuring that this bill translates into significant progress in terms of accessibility in a timely manner. We are determined to do what it takes to accomplish that.

These approaches will help to ensure that we are operational as soon as the bill is passed. Encouraging a spirit of collaboration between our government and all people with disabilities was fundamental to informing the development of this bill.

For too long, Canadians with disabilities have had to fight on their own when it came to advancing their rights. By bringing in new measures to improve accessibility, with a focus on accountability and transparency, we are moving toward a new culture of accessibility. The accessible Canada act would work to put an end to the practice of exclusion. With Bill C-81, we can have a system where our institutions, not individuals, are responsible for enabling change. We can move on from the principle of “nothing about us without us” to simply “nothing without us,” because everything is about us.

As Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, and as a person with a disability, I could not but I know that with this proposed legislation, our goal of building a Canada without barriers, where people with disabilities participate fully and equally in their communities, is within reach.

Conservative

John Barlow   Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to ask the minister questions about Bill C-81. First, I appreciate very much the minister bringing this legislation forward. I think it is a very important document and is something we worked very hard on at committee.

However, what I want to focus on is that almost every single stakeholder who came to committee said that Bill C-81 would do nothing. In fact, if the bill is given royal assent, the minister probably will not be able to point to a single thing that will change, because there are no timelines, no standards and no definitive regulations in it.

I would like to bring to the minister’s attention one really quick quote from Professor Michael Prince, who said, “There are…areas of concern with this bill…. these include the absence of measurable targets with specific deadlines; the permissive language…; the extent of exemptions”.

I would like to ask the minister this: The day Bill C-81 is given royal assent, how will it change anything for Canadians with disabilities?

Minister of Accessibility, Lib.

Carla Qualtrough

Mr. Speaker, on day one, Canadians with disabilities will know that there is a system there for them that will proactively address barriers to inclusion. We know, as a matter of fact, that the best way we can develop standards is with the community and with industry and by putting in place the mechanisms that will be established by this law so that we will not have to wait until Canadians are discriminated against before we can help them.

Each standard will be developed in concert with the disability community and through the board of the Canadian accessibility standards development organization, or CASDO. We will decide. We will let the community decide which standards and what the priorities of the community are as we move forward with them to ensure that everyone comes along for this journey.

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle   Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, in listening to the minister describe her expectations for what is going to happen with Bill C-81, I have to say that it is very disconcerting to know that there is a misunderstanding about the lack of language in the bill that will actually ensure the things she has described. Canadians have waited long enough. There is no language of resilience or legacy within what we have now.

In one presentation after another, the committee heard that the bill needed implementation timelines. One such expert was none other than the Ontario minister who was responsible for shepherding in the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. We heard again and again that we needed implementation timelines. We heard again and again that all the exemptions for obligated organizations needed to be removed. We also heard again and again that we needed enforcement measures and to be looking through a disability lens in all our federal jurisdictions.

The lack of language within this legislation is more than just an oversight. I would like to hear the minister talk about some of the concrete steps that would be taken so that we can hear about some of the language that even today she aspires to have this legislation attain.

Minister of Accessibility, Lib.

Carla Qualtrough

Mr. Speaker, with the amendments brought forth at committee, the obligated entities would have to create their first set of regulations within two years. Thus, the CRTC, the CTA and the accessibility commissioner would have to put forth their first set of regulations within two years. Out of necessity, quite frankly, this means that these organizations would have to be up and running. That first regulation being created would trigger the five-year review timeline in the act.

There definitely would be timelines. We are looking at timelines to begin. This is a journey. We cannot put an end to this.

Let me give my colleagues an example of how the life of a Canadian with a disability would change because of this. Right now, as someone who is legally blind, I walk into a bank, and I cannot access an ATM. What do I do? What are my options? I have to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. I file that complaint. I say that this particular ATM is not accessible. Two years from now, someone may tell me, “You are right. That wasn’t accessible. You were discriminated against”, and order that this one ATM in that one bank be changed.

With this new regime we would be setting up, the accessibility commissioner would set up a standard for ATMs so that every ATM and every bank in this country would be accessible. We would not be relying on the individual to fight these fights alone. It is our system that we are acknowledging is broken, not the people.

Conservative

Alex Nuttall   Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for her speech and her contributions to this bill, and certainly for bringing it forth to the House after it was finally tabled, about three years too late, at the end of the spring session.

As we look down the road, after the bill receives royal assent, we know that nothing will change on day one. We now know that within two years, the Liberals would commit to a single regulation. It could be with respect to the ATMs the minister has been talking about. Maybe ATMs would have different regulations for accessibility by then. At that point, there would be a five-year trigger on a review, meaning that it could be seven years before a regulation actually hit the books in a specific market sector that had been outlined.

Can the minister please outline this for Canadians? If she says that it has been too long, how is it acceptable that they would have to wait another seven years?

Minister of Accessibility, Lib.

Carla Qualtrough

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that we took the time we did to consult with Canadians, particularly those with disabilities, on what their accessible Canada would look like to them. I will not apologize for the efforts we took to do a nationwide consultation to ensure that the voices of these Canadians, who have never been heard before on these issues, were heard and were heard to the fullest extent possible.

I can assure the member opposite that we are committed to hitting the ground running with respect to the creation of these standards and organizations. We know that there are existing standards that will be easy to adopt, but I am not going to compromise on ensuring that the voices of Canadians with disabilities continue to be heard through these processes and that they continue to have places at our tables as we move forward with the creation of standards. If it takes a year or two to get this started, it will be worth it.

Green Party

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. minister will know that I was very pleased and excited when the no-barriers bill came forward, but I remain disappointed that despite over 200 amendments being submitted, and over 75 being passed, those amendments came primarily from government members of the committee. We would still have no unified complaints bureau. We would have no unified standards bureau. We would not have a backstop. By that I mean that the bill, as constructed, would give cabinet permission to appoint a minister to be in charge of the act, but it would not say that this must happen. Of course, the government cannot compel the Governor in Council to do anything in a bill, but it could say that if there was no appointment, there would be a de facto appointment to another minister so that there would never be a gap. Therefore, I am concerned that the bill does not begin to meet our early expectations. I do not doubt the minister’s good intentions, but I am very disappointed.

I know that we do not usually do this in this place, but I wonder if we could perhaps consider encouraging the Senate to identify, from the government side, what amendments the minister could live with when it comes back to this place.

Minister of Accessibility, Lib.

Carla Qualtrough

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question and her passion on issues related to people with disabilities.

We built the system contained in Bill C-81 on the existing system. This system was not drawn up on a whiteboard. We have existing regulators. We are trying to be efficient. We have expertise within government organizations. We have complicated regulatory frameworks within the CRTC and the CTA. We have a Canadian Human Rights Commission that is very well respected and that does very good work. Building on those existing entities, we had to fill in the gaps. We knew that there were areas within federal jurisdiction that were not covered, so we would create the position of the accessibility commissioner.

We would enshrine in this law, and we would have agreements between these organizations, that there would be no wrong door. Wherever people went to state their concern or file a complaint, they would be pointed in the right direction. Canadians can be assured of this.

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly an honour to rise today on a subject that is incredibly important to Canadians and that is certainly important to me as a member of Parliament and as the son of someone who was disabled in a car accident in 1996.

As we look across our country, we know that there is a broad set of regulations that govern accessibility, that govern improving the lives of persons who are living with disabilities. When Canadians heard that the Liberal government was going to introduce a bill within six months of taking power in 2015, they were excited, because this was not just any bill; this bill was the accessibility bill.

Here we are, three years later, and we are debating the bill. It was actually introduced about two and a half years after the government took office. Liberals say that they consulted and are not going to apologize for that consultation. I agree, in some sense, that it is actually better to do things right and do them slowly rather than rush and do them wrong.

However, the reality is that it has been two and a half to three years at this point. They consulted, we were told, across the country with stakeholders. After that entire process, when the bill was finally brought forward, there were still 260 amendments moved at committee. Those amendments were not just concocted in some partisan backroom office where they come up with amendments to slow things down. They were actually brought forward by stakeholders who had apparently been consulted the entire time.

When those amendments were actually brought forward, it was not the New Democratic amendments that were adopted by the committee. It was not the Green Party amendments that were adopted by the committee, when the member who does not sit on the committee showed up and was able to actually contribute, which I thought was very meaningful to the process. It was not the amendments brought forward by the Conservative Party that were adopted, even though many of these were the same amendments.

The amendments that were adopted, almost 100% of them, were brought forward by the Liberal members. When I heard the minister talk about co-operation, I remembered that there was a similar pitch in the speech when debate on the subject was launched. That co-operation never came. In fact, we had the opportunity to speak over the phone. I think we had a couple of quick chats in the hallways of Parliament, but we were not actually given the opportunity to contribute. When it came down to it, it was about partisanship. It was not about helping Canadians when it came to the committee.

These amendments were not partisan amendments. They were things like putting a timeline on when to report back or putting a timeline on when we were going to achieve measurables so that Canadians could understand how this accessibility bill would actually help them. Some of the amendments put specific regulations or specific timelines for reporting back on specific regulations. These regulations were designed to help Canadians, perhaps with hearing impairments, visual impairments, other physical impairments or perhaps cognitive impairments of some kind.

There was no co-operation from the Liberal government on this bill. As a result, this bill is not perfect. I would venture to say that it is not great. It is a first step towards recognizing that we need to do better for persons with disabilities.

I have to say that the one piece of co-operation this minister actually managed to achieve was co-operation among the Green Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Conservative Party of Canada, and that should be recognized, because that is a job well done.

We know that when this receives royal assent, nothing will change from day one, except that there will be a huge price tag and 250 new employees for the Government of Canada. We know that new office space will be found. We know that the office space, hopefully, will be either 100% accessible or as accessible as possible. We also know that within two years, there will be a single regulation adopted by Canadians. All of this will be for a price tag in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

When I talk to stakeholders across the country, they tell me that if we are going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on them, and they want us to do that because they need it, they want to see something for that money. They would like to see a more accessible environment in the sectors that matter, whether in airlines, government services offices, Service Canada or even these Parliament buildings. They want to see the effect of those dollar spent. It is incredible that the accountability of this bill became the thing that actually stopped co-operation.

When we asked the minister or the minister’s designated staff members whether it was at an information panel in the Wellington building or at committee, we were stonewalled. We asked questions like whether they recommended that the minister put timetables on this legislation. They responded that this was confidential between the minister and his staff. I do not understand what is being we hidden, because I think we all have the same goals at hand. Those goals are to help Canadians living with disabilities.

We do a lot for people around the world who are going through very difficult times. What I want to see, and what Canadians would like to see, is for the Government of Canada to take care of those who are most vulnerable in our society, those people living with disabilities. Unfortunately, the minister and the Liberal Party did not listen. They did not even listen to their own legislation. They did not listen to their own throne speech, in which they said that each member of the House would be respected and that partisanship games would not be played in committee. However, we have seen that happen time and again.

When groups and stakeholders from across the country came forward and asked us to do something about the exemptions, not to leave these massive holes in the legislation, the real result was no change. The result was “No, we’re not going to listen”. The result was “We’ll come up with regulations later on”. The result is that nothing is going to change upon royal assent.

As we move forward on this subject, consultation certainly needs to continue. The minister is actually correct about that. Consultation cannot stop. The barriers that we see in places throughout our society will continue to be there. They will be forever changing, but that does not mean that we do not create a starting point, a line from which we can measure going forward. Unfortunately, this accessibility bill as it stands is literally just the paper. It does not make any of those changes or create those lines or measurements so we can measure against them going forward.

We tried at committee to amend the bill. When I say “we”, I think I speak for the entire opposition. This was such important legislation, affecting so many people, that we needed to ensure we got it right. When we asked for a timeline to come back so we could really monitor and measure what was happening, the answer was no. The result of that is that not even future governments will be held to account on the legislation. There is, unfortunately, a hole the government could drive a bus through that would leave it by the wayside.



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Transcript of the November 8, 2018 meeting of the House Of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities – Day 2 of the Standing Committee’s Clause-by-Clause Consideration of Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act


Transcript of the November 8, 2018 meeting of the House Of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities – Day 2 of the Standing Committee’s Clause-by-Clause Consideration of Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act

Notice of meeting Amended

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA)

42nd Parliament, 1st Session

Meeting 124

Thursday, November 8, 2018, 8:00 a.m.Amended

Room 415, Wellington Building, 197 Sparks Street

Televised

Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada

CLAUSE-BY-CLAUSE CONSIDERATION

Witnesses

Department of Employment and Social Development

  • James Van Raalte, Director General, Accessibility Secretariat
  • Benoît Gendron, Director, Accessibility Secretariat
  • Erik Lapalme, Senior Policy Analyst, Accessibility Secretariat

Clerk of the Committee

Stephanie Feldman (613-996-1542)

2018-11-06 11:07 a.m.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities

EVIDENCE

Thursday, November 8, 2018

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

(0800)

[English]

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow (Foothills, CPC)):

It’s good to see everyone again. I missed all of you. It’s been at least a minute since we saw each other.

Once again, I will go through the introductions for those who are new guests to our committee.

Today’s meeting is on C-81, an act to ensure a barrier-free Canada. The objective of today’s meeting is to resume the committee’s clause-by-clause consideration of this bill.

I would like to take a moment to remind those participating in the proceedings as well as those observing the proceedings in person or on video that the committee adopted a motion on September 18 that included instructions for the clerk to explore options to allow for the full participation of all witnesses and members of the public on this study. As a result, the committee has made arrangements to make all meetings in relation to the study of Bill C-81 as accessible as possible in a variety of ways. This includes providing sign language interpretation and near real-time closed captioning in this room.

Please note that both American sign language and Quebec sign language are being offered to our audience. For those who would like to watch the American sign language interpretation, please sit on the benches to my left. For those who would like to watch the Quebec sign language interpretation, please sit on the benches to my right.

In addition, please note that the first two rows of benches have been reserved for those who wish to avail themselves of these interpretation services. Screens displaying a near real-time closed captioning have also been set up, with the English text to my left and the French text to my right. The sign language interpreters in the room are also being video recorded for the eventual broadcast of this meeting on ParlVu through the committee’s website.

In light of these arrangements, the committee would like to ask, if you need to leave the room during the meeting, please do not walk in front of the sign language interpreters. Instead, please use the extremities of the room. In addition, we would ask that those in the room remain seated as much as possible during the meeting to ensure that everyone in the audience can clearly see the sign language interpretation. Finally, if a member of the audience requires assistance at any time, please notify a member of the staff or the committee clerk.

Once again, I would like to welcome our officials from the Department of Employment and Social Development, James Van Raalte, director general, accessibility secretariat; Benoît Gendron, director, accessibility secretariat; and Erik Lapalme, senior policy analyst, accessibility secretariat.

We will now continue with the clause-by-clause consideration.

I want to let everyone on the committee know that we’re going to try to get done by one or two o’clock, before question period. According to the clerk, our sign language interpreters will only be here until 6 p.m. today. That gives us a deadline there as well. I know we are going to try to finish earlier than that.

With that in mind, if you don’t feel you have to read out some clauses in the amendments, if it’s pretty straightforward, we’ll try to move through those as quickly as possible.

We will now pick up where we left off.

(On clause 21)

The Chair: We were on clause 21, PV-6.

(0805)

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Mr. Dan Ruimy (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, Lib.):

Chair, just for confirmation, with the motion we passed that one o’clock was the deadline and after one o’clock we would just read and go through, is there a plan to stay until six o’clock?

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

According to the motion, today is open. We have that motion on file.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Maybe I’m misunderstanding.

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

If we can be done by one…but we’ve only gone through 20 clauses.

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Mr. Dan Ruimy:

The debate on the amendments will go until one o’clock.

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Right, but the votes could take until past two, depending on how far we get.

It’s not going to be open for debate or anything like that; it’s just that the voting could take us past two.

Moving on to amendment PV-6 on clause 21, is there any discussion?

Mr. Diotte.

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Mr. Kerry Diotte (Edmonton Griesbach, CPC):

I was voting.

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

The legal counsel was just telling me that CPC-20 is pretty much identical to the previous amendment. Because we would be voting on Green Party amendment PV-6, CPC-20 would not be tabled. If you wanted to comment on CPC-20, I would do it now.

Ms. Hardcastle.

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Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle (Windsor—Tecumseh, NDP):

Mr. Chair, it’s important for us to have as much independence as possible for the organizations that are going to be established under Bill C-81. Some independence from the minister is important, and that’s reflected in both of these amendments.

I just want to say, in regard to PV-6, that I know Ms. May would be here to speak to these motions herself, but she did have to get home for the Kristallnacht commemorations that are taking place.

It does reflect how important it is to all of the members here that we have some independence in the agencies that are going to be established for the work that they’re going to do.

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. Hardcastle.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 21 agreed to)

(On clause 22)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We now move to Green Party amendment PV-7.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, once again we see the importance of having timelines reflected and our expectations for the mandate of Bill C-81 being carried out in a reasonable fashion with this amendment.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 22 agreed to)

(On clause 23)

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have CPC-21.

Ms. Falk.

(0810)

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Mrs. Rosemarie Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster, CPC):

Basically, clause 23 would be amended by:

(1.1) The Chair is to be appointed on a full-time basis and the other directors are to be appointed on a part-time basis.

This is just to make sure that this is a full-time position, and it should be a full-time position with the substantial work that is involved.

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Again, Ms. Hardcastle, yours is identical.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Yes. I believe it is important for us to articulate in this bill that it is a full-time position due to the importance of that place.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We move to Green Party amendment PV-8.

Ms. Falk.

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Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Is this going to cancel out other ones?

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, it will, amendment CPC-22.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Okay, based on that, may I speak to it, then?

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Absolutely.

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Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Basically, this would provide fixed-term appointments for CASDO directors, with removal based on behaviour or competence standard.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

On CPC-22.1, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Basically the amendment is as follows:

The directors are to be appointed no later than six months after the day on which this subsection comes into force.

Again, as we reiterated last night, our stakeholders who have flown from all over the country to come as witnesses expressed their concern and the importance for timelines. This would just be respecting the testimony that we heard.

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any other discussion?

Seeing none, I’ll call the vote.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Could we have a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will now move to CPC-23. If CPC-23 is moved, CPC-24 cannot be moved due to consistency.

Ms. Falk.

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Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I know from testimony we have heard there was a varying degree of recommendations from witnesses. Some organizations wanted to have full representation; others were okay with the 50.1. We are suggesting an amendment that two-thirds of all the directors of CASDO be persons with disabilities.

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Are there any further comments on CPC-23?

Ms. Falk again.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Sorry, it’s really early. My nap was short.

Also, with regard to testimony that we heard, the fact that 40% of indigenous people have or will have a disability within their lifetime, it is also, we believe, important there be at least one indigenous person on the board representing indigenous people with disabilities.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Seeing no further comments, I’ll call the vote.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We’d like a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings ])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’ll move to CPC-24.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

The amendment states:

that at all times, as far as possible, one of the directors is an Indigenous person; and

Again, it’s that we have at a minimum one person on the CASDO board who is an indigenous person who has a disability.

(0815)

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The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on CPC-24?

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I think that this is so important. We heard in testimony that indigenous people weren’t even referenced in this bill. With all the consultation that was done and the nation-to-nation relationship this government has, I would think it’s imperative that there be support for this amendment.

Thank you.

We would like a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will now move to LIB-12.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long (Saint John—Rothesay, Lib.):

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and good morning to everybody.

During our witnesses’ presenting, I asked a lot about having a diversity of disabilities represented on the board. We would like to add:

(c) the importance of having directors that are representative of the diversity of disabilities faced by Canadians.

It’s a separate lens, so we’d like it just as a paragraph (c), not added to paragraph (b).

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, this is more innocuous language added to innocuous language. We just defeated amendments that would have been more specific about the two-thirds and actually added indigenous peoples. The language that we actually need to enforce your intent here has been defeated and this is more innocuous language.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 23 as amended agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is everybody okay with applying the vote on clauses 24 and 25?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 24 and 25 agreed to)

(On clause 26)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We have amendment PV-9.

Are there any comments on PV-9? I’m seeing none.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): No amendments were made to clause 26, so could I get unanimous consent for clauses 26, 27, 28 and 29 to be done together?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 26 to 29 inclusive agreed to)

(On clause 30)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): That gets us to PV-10.

Are there any comments on PV-10?

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Did we do PV-9?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We just did it. It was defeated.

We’ll call the vote on PV-10.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’re on CPC-25.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Basically, CPC-25 amends this clause for a term of up to eight years. This would provide that the CASDO chief executive officer’s term, subject to renewal, is for up to eight years instead of five. To secure talented candidates, these candidates should be able to have an assurance of a longer term in office. Moreover, especially in the early years, the new CEO could acquire expertise that Canada won’t want to lose.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 30 agreed to)

(On clause 31)

(0820)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’re on CPC-26.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Is it clause 31 that we’re looking at?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That’s the clause.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Right. Basically, we feel that the bill should be amended to require the minister to designate an acting replacement for the CEO within 90 days of the CEO’s absence or incapacity, unless the CEO is known to be returning to the office within 90 days. We would ask for a wording change there. It’s pretty straightforward.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 31 agreed to)

(On clause 32)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’re on to CPC-27.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

The amendment proposes subclause 32(1.1).

We feel the bill should be amended to require the CASDO CEO to consult with the CASDO board when selecting membership of an advisory committee to assist CASDO with developing accessibility standards. Again, it’s pretty straightforward.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 32 agreed to)

(On clause 33)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’re on to CPC-28.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

The amendment states:

Officers and employees must be provided with appropriate training in matters related to accessibility.

I think this is a recurring theme. Even when this committee studied Bill C-65, we saw the importance of training. It’s part of that education component. We should amend this clause so that all officers and employees receive training on accessibility. Even though it seems redundant, and a cliché, even, it’s important to make sure we don’t make any presumptions or assumptions that people have all the education they need. It’s about being able to provide that extra top-up.

(Amendment negatived)

(Clause 33 agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now have amendment CPC-29.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We’re asking that Bill C-81 be amended by adding before line 18 on page 12 the following new clause:

33.1(1) In carrying out its mandate, the Standards Organization must, on a continuing basis,
(a) hold public consultations on the accessibility standard it should next develop and on any proposed accessibility standard; and
(b) make available to the public progress reports respecting the development of accessibility standards.
(2) The Standards Organization must make available to the public the minutes of meetings of the board of directors and of advisory or other committees.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), the minutes of meetings must include the text of all proposed accessibility standards considered at the meeting.

This is basically adding a level of transparency and accountability to the CASDO board.

(0825)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Again, Ms. Hardcastle, yours is very similar. Do you want to speak to this now?

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Yes, Mr. Chair.

In order to increase or ensure the transparency, it’s not unreasonable to expect the standards organization to have public meetings, to make public their minutes, to make public their progress reports and to include the text of any standards that are being deliberated on at meetings. That’s very reasonable to expect. Unfortunately, unless it’s articulated, it may not happen and that transparency may not be achieved.

(Amendment negatived)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I will now ask for unanimous consent for the vote to be applied for clauses 34 and 35 as is. Is everybody okay with that?

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Agreed.

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk: Clause 34 was not amended?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

It was not amended.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We’re running these two together?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, clauses 34 and 35 together.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

No.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

You want to do them separately?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Yes.

(Clause 34 agreed to)

(Clause 35 agreed to)

(On clause 36)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That brings us to clause 36 and NDP-7.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Here again, this amendment is a way for us to ensure transparency:

The Minister must publish the report on the departmental website within 10 days after the day on which the report is received by

(Amendment negatived)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have clauses 36, 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 that are as is. I’m going to ask for unanimous consent to apply the vote to all of those.

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 36 to 41 inclusive agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Look at what we can get done. There’s not as much fight in everybody in the morning.

(On clause 42)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We will go to LIB-13.

Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey (Egmont, Lib.):

Mr. Chair, these are consequential as a result of the amendments made and approved in LIB-5 and LIB-6.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have CPC-30.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

This clause would be amended to say:

The accessibility plan must include a statement on how it will contribute to the realization of a Canada without barriers.

Basically, it’s adding a provision requiring accessibility plans to relate to the purpose of the act and to be prepared and implemented in accordance with the principles of the act. Plans should address how they will contribute to achieving a Canada without barriers by the date specified in the act. These changes would strengthen the effectiveness of the accessibility plans and help to ensure that barrier identification, prevention and removal address issues of intersectionality and poverty.

(Amendment negatived)

(0830)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have NDP-8.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, once again, this amendment is just underscoring the need for the effectiveness of Bill C-81 moving forward, and the accessibility commissioner is the rightful office that should be notified, not the CRTC.

Basically the CRTC is enforcing and notifying itself where they need to be answerable to the accessibility commissioner.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Ms. Hardcastle.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle, you get two in a row. We have NDP-9.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

There are several of these.

I do want to underscore that the way it’s articulated here, because it is federal jurisdictions, these will be people who work in the public sector and have a collective agreement so we need to be able to work that in just for the logistics of being able to carry out these specifics. For people who have collective agreements, these agreements also need to be included in the process.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on NDP-9?

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Could we have a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 7; yeas 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will now move to LIB-14.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, when we had witnesses before the committee, there was a concern expressed that regulated entities are not required to develop an effective accessibility plan. Even before regulations are in place, this amendment which I will read in a second will help ensure that accessibility plans developed under the act are effective and consistent with the principles that define our approach to accessibility.

I move that Bill C-81, in clause 42, be amended by adding after line 3 on page 17 the following:

(9) The regulated entity must take into account the principles set out in section 6 when it prepares an accessibility plan or an updated version of its accessibility plan.

(Amendment agreed to)

(Clause 42 as amended agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Mr. Chair, we’re moving quite quickly. Is it okay if we have a three-minute suspension just so we can catch up?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Sure. Is everybody okay with that?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’ll suspend for three minutes.

(0830)

(0840)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’re back.

I’m sure everybody is refreshed after a few minutes’ break. Another handful of bacon will get everyone’s energy up for sure.

(On clause 43)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We now move to clause 43, on which we have NDP-10.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Once again, any regulated entity that is expected to comply with this accessibility act and seeks an exemption or is going to fall short of the mark doesn’t report to the CRTC in this case but reports to the accessibility commissioner.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Hogg.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg (South Surrey—White Rock, Lib.):

I’m in agreement with a number of the principles that have come forward, but the procedure or the placement of them becomes questionable, whether it’s legislation, regulation, or as we heard yesterday, with respect to accreditation and the other areas and responsibilities that they fall in.

As a principle, a number of things that have been said are positive. I just don’t believe they should be placed in the legislation. I believe they should be followed through another place. I just need to clarify that for my own sense of well-being—which, of course, goes with the bacon.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 43 agreed to)

(On clause 44)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have NDP-11.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Once again, I do appreciate that we’re going to have nuanced and finessed regulations that are going to be constantly evolving. This is the foundation. This is historic legislation that needs to create the strong foundation of how this is going to take place.

Once again, it is extremely important that the accessibility commissioner be the one who is notified. That has to be in the legislation. That is foundational; that is not regulation.

(0845)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion?

Do you want to wait until they have more bacon and then we’ll see?

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Good one.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

If not, I’ll call the vote.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Ms. Hardcastle, on NDP-12.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I saw that this was not recognized throughout. As we heard from testimony and specifically from PSAC, sometimes what’s happening with the public sector employees is that there are already collective agreements in place with a process. We need to include that in the legislation. It has to be recognized that there is a framework in place under collective agreements for most of these employees that creates a synergy.

When you include them, it does create that synergy. If you don’t include them, it becomes conflict and confusion, and we don’t need that when we have a new piece of legislation and new offices. It’s better to be clear and articulate that collective agreements are part of the process; they’re not separate.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 44 agreed to)

(On clause 45)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have LIB-15.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, this change is for clarity. The amendment ensures the bill is consistent and clear in the language it uses, particularly in granting regulation-making authority, regarding publication of feedback processes to the different regulators under this act.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

They shouldn’t be making any regulation. It should be the accessibility commissioner who does that. That’s why this has to be articulated in legislation.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will now move to LIB-16.

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Currently, there is no regulation-making authority set out in Bill C-81 regarding requirements for feedback processes. This amendment will ensure regulators are granted the authority to make regulations in relation to feedback processes.(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will move to LIB-16.1.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, this is about timelines. This amendment will address stakeholder concerns about the delayed regulations, by creating an obligation for all bodies with regulation-making authority under this act to have their first regulations under the act within two years of the act coming into force.

We think the amendment makes the bill stronger and gives—

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

The CRTC—

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

—there’s going to be one for each.

We think this gives the bill a little more teeth for timely implementation.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 45 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 46)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I will start with LIB-17.

(0850)

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Excuse me, Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I believe that clause 46 must be omitted from the bill. My understanding in the procedure is that I could not put that in the form of an amendment, so I have to make that statement now. I hope I’m correct in this process now.

Clause 46 must be omitted from the bill. This clause permits the minister, the CRTC, or the CTA to exempt organizations from complying with requirements to prepare and publish accessibility plans, create feedback processes and develop progress reports.

For all of the stakeholders who have testified and given us their input and from consultation across the country, that speaks for itself.

I’d like that exempt please.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle, you’ll have your opportunity to make that vote when we vote on that clause.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Okay.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Now, if LIB-17 is adopted, it will make CPC-31 unable to be moved because of consistency.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We want to put a three-year limit on exemptions.

This amendment recognizes that accessibility solutions evolve over time. It also prevents entities from slipping through the cracks, thereby ensuring that everyone does their part to achieve an accessible Canada. Exemptions can’t be unlimited, so that’s why we want to move this one forward.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

From what I understand, if LIB-17 is passed it will cancel out—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

CPC-31.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Okay.

If the bill allows for regulated entities to be exempted from complying with accessibility requirements and if exemptions are to be granted, the reasons should be made public and they should be time-limited.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Yes, we agree.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

LIB-17 and CPC-31 are quite similar. There’s a difference in the timelines. The difference between the two is that the exemption is either five years or three years.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I’d also like to clarify, Mr. Chair, there is nothing that says that the reasoning be made public.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That is correct.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Through you, Mr. Chair, to the member who made mention of stronger…. I was wondering if he could explain why their amendment is stronger.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We’re saying that you can’t have unlimited exemptions and that there’s an automatic trigger after three years. I think yours said five.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

There’s no mention of making anything public.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

We’ll address that in the next one.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Yes.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

For Ms. Falk’s benefit, if one of the next two—LIB-17 or LIB-18—are adopted, CPC-31 will be inadmissible. If you want to try to make an amendment to LIB-17 or LIB-18, you would have to do that before.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We’re on LIB-17.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, but she can do it to LIB-18 as well. LIB-18 will be the same issue.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’ll move to LIB-18. If it is adopted, CPC-31 is inadmissible due to consistency.

(0855)

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Mr. Chair, as we were just discussing, there’s always a need for additional transparency. This seeks to require and make public why the exemptions are there. This ensures transparency. We heard that if there were going to be exemptions, they need to know why they’re there and the rationale behind them. The two together actually make it stronger. It speaks directly to it.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Mr. Chair, we will be voting down clause 46 in Bill C-81. The bill allows for regulated entities to be exempted from complying with accessibility requirements. There is no principled reason why some organizations should be exempted. Any exemptions will weaken the overall purpose of the act.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

We don’t believe in exemptions in this. This section needs to be eliminated entirely.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion before I call the vote on clause 46?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I’d like a recorded vote.

(Clause 46 as amended agreed to: yeas 5; nays 3)

(On clause 47)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

The first amendment is LIB-19.

Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Mr. Chair, this is just a continuation of ensuring consistency with previous amendments.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’re on CPC-32.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Mr. Chair, we feel the bill in clause 47 should be amended by adding after line 21 on page 19 the following:

(1.1) The accessibility plan must include a statement on how it will contribute to the realization of a Canada without barriers.(Amendment negatived)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to LIB-20.

Mr. Sangha.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha (Brampton Centre, Lib.):

Mr. Chair, we prefer to withdraw this motion.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much.

Is there any further discussion on LIB-20?

Oh, you want to withdraw it. Sorry, I thought you said you want to move on with the motion.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

That’s fine.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Okay, we’ll move to NDP-13.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Can we suspend for just a minute?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, we’ll suspend for a minute.

(0855)

(0900)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Okay, we’ll reconvene.

Just so we’re clear, LIB-20 has been withdrawn.

We’re still on clause 47, but we move to NDP-13.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Has LIB-20 been withdrawn?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

LIB-20 has been withdrawn, yes.

On NDP-13, Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, the government claims to place importance on its relationship with labour. This is an example of having public service employees, from PSAC in particular, talk to us about this issue. In most cases, the people living with disabilities who are coming forward will be doing so through a bargaining agent, because they are part of a collective agreement. They are part of, for instance, the PSAC. Therefore, we need to acknowledge that collective agreements are a part of this.

The interface that will take place because of this legislation will include collective agreements, and it must be articulated.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Next is LIB-21.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, this is consequential to the amendments we made in LIB-14. I can read it, but it’s basically the same.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

No. I appreciate that.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Chair, before we vote on clause 47, could I have consent to go back just to clarify on LIB-19, it was a subamendment? I’m not sure it that was clear when it was voted on. I can read in the exact text.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

There was a subamendment to LIB-19?

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

It was referenced as a subamendment.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We meant to do a subamendment, but we didn’t. So we’re looking for consent to—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

So you need unanimous consent to go back.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Yes.

An hon. member: No.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

No, you don’t have it. Sorry.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Can we enter that as a separate amendment? No? Do we just leave it?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We leave it if it is too similar.

(0905)

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We’ll withdraw it.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Good decision.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

You’re welcome.

Now we’ll have the vote to carry clause 47 as amended.

(Clause 47 as amended agreed to)

(Clause 48 agreed to)

(On clause 49)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We have NDP-14.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, once again, as I discussed earlier, we have an example where we have the opportunity for synergy without potential conflict. A regulated body in preparation of its progress report should be enlisting the collective agreement, should be enlisting the bargaining agent to prepare this report.

Otherwise, you’re going against a current. If we’re trying to move this legislation forward and have it be impactful and ensure that we are evolving, then we have to include a very important component of the employer-employee synergy, which is the bargaining agent, the collective agreement.

Under federal jurisdiction, the majority of the people we’re talking to in this legislation have such relationships. These employer-employee relationships include public sector employees who have collective agreements.

I urge you once again to please look at this and let common sense reign and include the collective agreements in these stipulations.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 49 agreed to)

(On clause 50)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have LIB-22.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, again, this is consequential to LIB-17. It’s the same thing for three-year time limits.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Next is LIB-23.

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Chair, this is the publication of rationales on exemptions, a consequential amendment to LIB-18.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 50 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 51)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Next is amendment LIB-24.

Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Again, this is consequential to the amendments made earlier.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Next is amendment CPC-33.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

We’d like clause 51 amended by adding after line 2 on page 23, the following:

(1.1) The accessibility plan must include a statement on how it will contribute to the realization of a Canada without barriers.

(Amendment negatived)

(0910)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to NDP-15.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Once again, what we’re trying to do is make the accessibility commissioner the one who is responsible for this. Right now it’s splintered. We have these different entities who have responsibility. It’s very problematic for a variety of reasons that I don’t need to go into because we heard a lot of testimony about it.

We have an opportunity here to make sure that we’re moving the position of the accessibility commissioner into the position it should be in, in overseeing all of these different entities—not different entities in charge of themselves. The CRTC or the CTA shouldn’t be notifying itself or enforcing itself, or entities within its jurisdiction. If it’s carrying out direction from the accessibility commissioner, that’s an entirely different matter. That is more in keeping with this legislation.

Right now, as it’s splintered, it is extremely problematic.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I will follow up on those comments.

I think it’s important, too, that within the accessibility commissioner there’s that level of accountability and transparency. I think that sends a statement to the people in the disability community that we’re taking this seriously.

We heard from witnesses, too, on the importance of having the one body being the accessibility commissioner. It was referenced over and over again.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to NDP-16.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Here’s another example of where we need to be embracing our relationship within the labour community which has very clearly told us that they do see opportunity for synergy. Right now they can be included. The collective agreement, the bargaining agents of employees, can certainly be included in a very meaningful way in the preparation of an accessibility plan.

That just makes for smooth sailing for everybody, so include them. You have to prepare an accessibility plan. Why wouldn’t you want your bargaining agent for your employees involved? It makes no sense to me to not include this.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

The final amendment for clause 51 is LIB-25.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, this is consequential to amendments LIB-14 and LIB-21.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 51 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 52)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have NDP-17.

Ms. Hardcastle.

(0915)

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Once again we have an issue where it is the accessibility commissioner who should be in charge here, not the CRTC. The issue of splintering the regulatory oversight is a misguided approach and we can correct course with an amendment like this and the others that were already defeated.

I sound like I’m taking a defeatist attitude. But it is important that the accessibility commissioner is the entity that is in charge—truly in charge.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 52 agreed to)

(On clause 53)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to NDP-18.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Once again, this amendment reflects the importance of the accessibility commissioner and that we are not splintering enforcement and regulatory oversight.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to NDP-19.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Once again, it’s important that this bill not undermine workers’ rights and that we do include collective agreements in partnership with realizing our barrier-free Canada.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 53 agreed to)

(On clause 54)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to amendment LIB-26.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, again, this is consequential to amendment LIB-15. We want consistency in language.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

On LIB-27, we have Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

The amendment, Mr. Chair, ensures the bill is consistent and clear in the language it uses, particularly in granting regulation-making authority to the different regulators under this bill. The amendment prevents any uncertainty as to the authority of regulators to make regulations in relation to feedback processes by specifically establishing this authority. Regulators must be able to define, adjust and adapt requirements for the feedback process, as necessary, to ensure that all Canadians, especially persons with disabilities, have an effective tool to communicate with regulated entities on accessibility.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Don’t we want the accessibility commissioner doing this job?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Through the chair, yes.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I am trying to get more rationale for this. Shouldn’t it be the accessibility commissioner?

Just going back to some of my arguments and my amendments, what is the accessibility commissioner going to do?

(0920)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I just want to follow up with that, too, because in almost all of the testimony that we heard from stakeholders who either came to us by video or flew across the country to come to speak with us, they had said how their….

We consulted with the stakeholders, but the stakeholders consulted with their people, and they had all said that they wanted this to be a simpler process and the accessibility commissioner to just be in charge.

Through you, Mr. Chair, I am also confused with my colleague. What is the reasoning?

Through you, Mr. Chair, could the Liberals please give an explanation for this amendment as to why we wouldn’t have the accessibility commissioner in charge?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, we feel the sectoral approach is the best approach to move forward with this.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Through you, Mr. Chair, I feel that this actually goes against what stakeholder witnesses have testified to us.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. Falk.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We now move to LIB-27.1.

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Mr. Chair, again, this is just a consequential amendment to LIB-16.

LIB-27.1 makes timelines for regulations.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 54 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 55)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’ll start with LIB-28. If LIB-28 is adopted, CPC-34 cannot be moved due to consistency with LIB-28 and LIB-29. I just want to give the CPC members of the committee a heads up on that.

On LIB-28, we have Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, again, it’s consequential to LIB-17 and LIB-22. It’s the same discussion.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

On LIB-29, we have Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Mr. Chair, again, it relates to the publication of the rationale for exemptions, consequential to amendments LIB-18 and LIB-23.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I’ll now call the vote on clause 55 as amended.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Sorry, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We believe that clause 55 in Bill C-81 should be voted down. This bill allows entities to be exempted from complying with accessibility requirements, as Britain has regulated. There is no principled reason why some organizations should be exempted and not others. Any exemptions will weaken the overall purpose of the act, and we believe that there should be no exemptions in this bill.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, I concur with my colleague. Clause 55 must be omitted from the bill. This clause permits the minister, the CRTC or the CTA to exempt organizations from complying with requirements to prepare and publish accessibility plans, create feedback processes and develop progress reports.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

May I ask for a recorded vote, please.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I figured you would.

(Clause 55 as amended agreed to: yeas 5; nays 3)

(On clause 56)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): The first amendment to clause 56 is LIB-30.

Mr. Morrissey.

(0925)

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

This is simply adding communication.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, I’d like to propose a subamendment, please.

I want to ensure consistency with similar motions. May I read it?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Please amend LIB-30 to read:

ferred to in paragraphs 5(a), (b), (f) and (g) and in the area referred to in paragraph 5(c.1) as it relates to the areas referred to in those paragraphs; and

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is everybody clear on the subamendment to LIB-30?

Can you read it again, Mr. Long?

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

It reads:

ferred to in paragraphs 5(a), (b), (f) and (g) and in the area referred to in paragraph 5(c.1) as it relates to the areas referred to in those paragraphs; and

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

That’s a subamendment.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I’m just wondering what that changes in this clause.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Long, do you want to respond to that?

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

I think it just adds more clarity to the amendment.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Consistency with communication.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Okay.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on the subamendment?

(Subamendment agreed to)

(Amendment as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Next is CPC-35.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

We feel that clause 56 should be amended by adding, after line 21 on page 26, the following:

(1.1) The accessibility plan must include a statement on how it will contribute to the realization of a Canada without barriers.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

To clarify, LIB-14, LIB-21 and LIB-25, which we’ve already passed, are actually more comprehensive than what’s being proposed right now. I just wanted to point that out.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Ruimy.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I just want to make a statement through you, Mr. Chair.

That contradicts a bit of what we’ve heard, We’ve heard that we want simplicity in the legislation and comprehension in the regulations. That’s what we’ve been hearing from the government. I’m a little confused by that last statement.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Next is NDP-20.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Once again, Mr. Chair, we have an opportunity where, if applicable, the bargaining agent of employees is included in the preparation of the accessibility plan.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to LIB-31.

Mr. Long.

(0930)

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, again, this one is consequential to amendments LIB-14, LIB-21 and LIB-25.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 56 as amended agreed to)

(Clause 57 agreed to)

(On clause 58)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

The only amendment is NDP-21.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, as you’ve noted, there are many clauses of this bill that need to be amended to recognize that many affected people will be public workers with collective agreements. It is important that their rights not be undermined, and it is important that we work in synchronicity in this foundational legislation.

Once again, this amendment is an example of areas where the bargaining agents of employees are included in the preparation of a progress report.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 58 agreed to)

(On clause 59)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Again, we have three amendments proposed: LIB-32, LIB-33 and CPC-36. If LIB-32 and/or LIB-33 are adopted, CPC-36 cannot be moved due to consistency.

We will start with LIB-32 as put forward by Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, again, this is consequential to LIB-17, LIB-22 and LIB-28, previously discussed.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

On this side of the table, we have spoken several times about exemptions and how we feel. That’s all I’m going to say.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will now move to LIB-33, submitted by Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Once again, this is regarding publication of rationales for exemptions and are amendments consequential to LIB-18, LIB-23 and LIB-29.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on LIB-33? Seeing none, I will call the vote.

Ms. Falk?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Go ahead.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I will now ask if there are any discussion on clause 59 as amended.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Mr. Chair, thank you for assuming what I was going to do.

We believe that clause 59 of Bill C-81 should be voted down. Again, this bill allows for regulated entities to be exempted from complying with accessibility requirements. There is no principled reason why some organizations should be exempted. Any exemptions will weaken the overall purpose of this act.

Again, we do not agree with exemptions. There shouldn’t be any in this act.

I would also request a recorded vote, please.

(Clause 59 as amended agreed to: yeas 5; nays 3)

(On clause 60)

(0935)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

The first amendment is LIB-34, submitted by Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Mr. Chair, this amendment serves to bring this in line with amendments from the Liberal side: LIB-5, LIB-6, LIB-13, LIB-19, LIB-24 and LIB-30.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to CPC-37.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Mr. Chair, we feel that clause 60 should be amended by adding after line 31 on page 29 the following:

The accessibility plan must include a statement on how it will contribute to the realization of a Canada without barriers.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I feel like a broken record, but again, just to reiterate, these changes would strengthen the effectiveness of accessibility plans, which I’m sure we all believe is important and would help ensure that proper barrier identification is done, which I’m sure we all agree with. Also, the prevention and removal address issues of intersectionality and poverty, which I would assume—but I don’t want to assume—we would all agree with.

Thank you.

(Amendment negatived)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have NDP-22.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, similar to our concerns about exemption with the CRTC, the Canadian Transportation Agency should not be the one that is notified by a regulated entity in terms of the publication and update of its accessibility plan. It should be the accessibility commissioner.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Mr. Chair, I just want to be on record that we also agree. We heard from the stakeholders in testimony here and also the ones who have reached out to our offices that this is important. They want that accessibility commissioner to be there and to be accessible to them so the process isn’t confusing. So, again, on the record, I just want to say yes.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have NDP-23.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Once again, Mr. Chair, the bargaining agents of employees must be part of this legislative process; otherwise, you are not using synergy. You are undermining people’s rights. You are splintering again, and you are not maximizing infrastructure and relationships that are already in place. You’re not leveraging those relationships for this new bill.

Once again, bargaining agents of employees must be included as partners in preparing an accessibility plan.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Our final amendment on clause 60 is LIB-35, submitted by Mr. Long.

(0940)

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, this is repetitive, but consequential to LIB-14, LIB-21, LIB-25 and recently LIB-31.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 60 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 61)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

For clause 61 we have one amendment submitted, NDP-24.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Once again, Mr. Chair, this is another example of a problematic area when we don’t have the accessibility commissioner being the authority that is notified. The regulated entity doesn’t notify their own organization, in this case, the Canadian Transportation Agency. They notify the accessibility commissioner. It’s pretty straightforward.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 61 agreed to)

(On clause 62)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have two amendments submitted, NDP-25 and NDP-26.

Ms. Hardcastle, let’s start with NDP-25.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, once again, I will just underscore the point that we are establishing with Bill C-81 an accessibility commissioner who needs to be given all of the strength and focus in order to be able to implement effectively. That’s who should be notified when these organizations are going through the process to comply with Bill C-81. There’s no other agency that should be in charge of that kind of compliance with Bill C-81.

As you’ll see in further amendments, I keep underscoring this point of an accessibility commissioner. The importance of the accessibility commissioner needs to be bolstered. We have language here that does not substantiate the office and the mandate of the accessibility commissioner without these amendments.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Next is NDP-26.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Briefly again, Mr. Chair, we have to leverage our partnerships and the collective bargaining agent for many of the employees who are going to be affected by Bill C-81. A partner needs to be included.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 62 agreed to)

(On clause 63)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have three amendments proposed. We’ll begin with LIB-36 submitted by Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, this is consequential to LIB-16. It provides more clarity.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

On amendment LIB-37, Mr. Long.

(0945)

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, it’s consequential to LIB-15.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

On LIB-37.1, Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

It’s a timeline to making regulations, consequential to amendments LIB-16.1 and LIB-27.1

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I just have a question. It’s to make at least one regulation—at least one regulation—within the period of two years.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

That’s the trigger point.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

One.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

At least one, yes.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

One.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

At least one.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I just wanted clarity to make sure I wasn’t seeing wrong. It says to make at least one in two years.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

That’s the trigger point. It has to be able to—

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Sure. Yes, okay.

Thanks, Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

They can do more.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings] )

(Clause 63 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 64)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have three amendments proposed, which we have seen previously. Again, LIB-38 and/or LIB-39, if they are adopted, CPC-38 cannot be moved due to consistency.

We will begin with LIB-38 submitted by Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, this one is as previously discussed with Liberal amendments LIB-17, LIB-22, LIB-28, and recently, LIB-32.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy, you have LIB-39.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Once again, this is regarding publication of the rationale for exemptions, consequential to LIB-18, LIB-23, LIB-29 and LIB-33.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any discussion on clause 64 as amended?

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Mr. Chair, we believe that clause 64 in Bill C-81 should be voted down. We have heard from our witnesses over and over in the briefings that we have received that this bill as is allows for regulated entities to be exempted from complying—exempted from complying—with accessibility requirements. There is no principled reason—no principled reason—why some organizations should be exempted at all. Again, we don’t believe there should be any exemptions.

We would request a recorded vote, please.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, I too want to specify that my stance was that clause 64 should be omitted from the bill. Just in the order of the process, where we express those exemptions comes after….

I’ve seen a pattern of what’s happening now in the meetings. I’m trying to keep myself engaged so that I don’t become cynical. In reality, I did vote for the amendments to clause 64 because my colleagues across the way did propose some time limits on exemptions, and publication in the Canada Gazette, which is important transparency that I do support. It’s the lesser of two evils.

I just want to clarify that for anybody else who actually is paying attention to how we are voting today. We actually have to move forward and make the best of this. I will continue trying to be engaged and put forth the amendments that I think will make this meaningful, but indeed clause 64 should be omitted entirely.

(0950)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’ve had a request for a recorded vote.

(Clause 64 as amended agreed to: yeas 5; nays 3)

(On clause 65)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We have several amendments proposed to clause 65.

We will begin with LIB-40, submitted by Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

I move it as it is.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Perfect.

Oh, Mr. Long. We were so close.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

I know.

Mr. Chair, I’d like to propose a subamendment, please. It’s to address a drafting error.

I’d like to strike out the number “20” in line two of subparagraph 65(1)(a)(ii).

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Okay, so in “passenger 20 trains”, you want to take that “20” out.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Yes, please.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

You have a good eye.

(Subamendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Amendment as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Next is CPC-39.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

We’d like clause 65 to be amended by adding after line 25 on page 33 the following:

(1.1) The accessibility plan must include a statement on how it will contribute to the realization of a Canada without barriers.

Basically, the rationale is that part 4 should include an additional provision requiring accessibility plans to relate to the purpose of the act, and to be prepared and implemented in accordance with the principles of the act.

Plans should address how they will contribute to achieving a Canada without barriers by the date specified in the act. These changes would strengthen the effectiveness of accessibility plans and help ensure that barrier identification, prevention and removal address issues of intersectionality and poverty. That’s why we Conservatives believe that should be changed.

(Amendment negatived)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Next is NDP-27.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, once again, the employees of the regulated entities of, in this case, the Canadian Transportation Agency, need to have the bargaining agents of those employees included in the preparation of its accessibility plan.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Now we’ll have the final amendment to clause 65, which is LIB-41, submitted by Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, I’m being repetitive and I apologize for that. This is consequential to amendments LIB-14, LIB-21, LIB-25, LIB-31, and recently, LIB-35.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 65 as amended agreed to)

(Clause 66 agreed to)

(On clause 67)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have one amendment proposed, NDP-28.

Ms. Hardcastle.

(0955)

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Once again, Mr. Chair, in the preparation of a progress report, a regulated entity that has employees who have bargaining agents, those bargaining agents need to be included. It’s pretty straightforward.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 67 agreed to)

(On clause 68)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Clause 68 is similar to what we have addressed a few times. We have LIB-42 and LIB-43. If they are both adopted, CPC-40 cannot be moved due to consistency.

We will start with LIB-42.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, again, this is consequential to LIB-17, LIB-22, LIB-28, LIB-32 and recently LIB-38.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’ll go to amendment LIB-43.

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Mr. Chair, again, this is for the publication of rationale for exemptions, and is consequential to LIB-18, 23, 29, 33 and 39.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any discussion on clause 68 as amended?

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Mr. Chair, I’m going to repeat myself, but that’s okay; I’m on record.

We believe that clause 68 in Bill C-81 should be voted down. We just don’t believe that exemptions should be granted. Again, there’s no principled reason why some organizations should be exempted, especially if accessibility is the goal, and we’re trying to shift the culture. I don’t think that any federally regulated organization should be exempted.

Could we have a recorded vote, please.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’ll have a recorded vote.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, once again, clause 68 is one that gives the power to exempt to the minister on any terms that the minister considers necessary. That must be omitted from the bill.

(Clause 68 as amended agreed to: yeas 5; nays 3)

(On clause 69)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will finish this clause and then take a bit of a break at 10 o’clock.

We have three amendments proposed for clause 69, and we’ll begin with CPC-41.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Mr. Chair, this is all about strengthening CRTC accessibility plans. We propose that clause 69 be amended by adding after line 29 on page 36 the following:

(1.1) The accessibility plan must include a statement on how it will contribute to the realization of a Canada without barriers.

(Amendment negatived)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Next is NDP-29.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Once again, Mr. Chair, in the preparation of an accessibility plan, the collective agreement bargaining agents for the employees need to be included.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(1000)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

The final amendment on clause 69 is LIB-44.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, this is consequential of LIB-14, LIB-21, LIB-25, LIB-31, LIB-35 and recently LIB-41.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 69 as amended agreed to)

(Clause 70 agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will suspend for about five minutes.

(1000)

(1015)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, everyone. We’ll get back to it.

I’ve been looking through the rest of the clauses. There are quite a few that don’t have amendments, so although it doesn’t look like it, we are getting a bit closer.

I think the plan will be that we’ll be pushing through until about 11:30 or 11:45, in there somewhere, and taking another five-minute break at that point. They are bringing lunch. Lunch will come and we’ll grab it and come back to the table. We’ll keep going through it and will not take a lunch break, if that’s okay with everyone. We will take another five- or 10-minute break closer to noon. It will be for five or 10 minutes and that’s all. We’ll try to get done by that one o’clock deadline.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

The goal should be 12:30.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

The goal should be 12:30?

Mr. Gordie Hogg: Higher expectations.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Well, that depends on you guys.

(On clause 71)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): The only amendment we have to clause 71 is NDP-30.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, as you know, a lot of times in employer-employee relationships there are a lot of reasons why people are on two different sides of a fence, so to speak. This is a situation where we are removing barriers for people living with disabilities, and some of those people who are affected are indeed employees in these federal jurisdictions.

Why wouldn’t we want to strengthen the relationship with labour? Why wouldn’t we want to include them in some of the requirements that are laid out in the bill, for instance, to prepare a progress report? This amendment includes the bargaining agents of the employees in the preparation of the progress report. I can’t see why that would be something that isn’t embraced.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 71 agreed to)

(On clause 72)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

There are two amendments proposed, and we will begin with LIB-45.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, again, this has been discussed before. It is consequential to LIB-17, LIB-22, LIB-28, LIB-32, LIB-38 and recently, LIB-42.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now have LIB-46.

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Mr. Chair, this is referring back to the publication of rationales for exemptions and is consequential to amendments LIB-18, LIB-23, LIB-29, LIB-33, LIB-39 and LIB-43.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 72 as amended agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

No amendments were proposed for clauses 73 and 74. Do I have unanimous consent to apply the vote? Is everybody okay with that?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 73 and 74 agreed to)

(On clause 75)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We have amendment CPC-42.

Ms. Falk.

(1020)

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

This would just change some language, so it would be “must” instead of “may”. This would ensure that the accessibility commissioner makes a compliance order every time there is reasonable grounds to believe that an organization is not complying.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle, your amendment is identical.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Absolutely, Mr. Chair. Throughout the bill we have language such as “may” where we need to have the word “must”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

As we saw last night, and as we heard from our officials, it’s more that the language is consistent throughout.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Mr. Chair, I would like to respond.

With something like this, even though it has always been, sometimes we need to evolve if we’re trying to shift a culture and make a statement and show we care about this. We have expectations and want to add accountability. I think the language we use is very important.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Since clause 75 was not amended, I will ask for unanimous consent that the vote be applied on clauses 75 to 92 inclusive.

Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

No.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will start with clause 75.

(Clause 75 agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We will try that again. Is there unanimous consent to apply the vote to clause 76 to clause 92 inclusive?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 76 to 92 inclusive agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Great, thank you.

(On clause 93)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We have amendment CPC-43.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I have the same argument as before. The language used in this bill is going to set the tone for compliance and for people with disabilities to know we are serious about having this whole process be transparent and about keeping the accessibility commissioner transparent and accountable.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

We have all heard the expression, “words matter”. These words very much matter. “May” should be changed to “must” so we can have some teeth in this bill.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle, yours is an identical amendment.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Yes, Mr. Chair. I want to reword for the sake of stakeholders who are listening to the debate between the words “must” and “may”. Right now we’re talking about the accessibility commissioner and enforcement, so the fact that the accessibility commissioner must make public certain notifications of violations and if a penalty were imposed on other information that’s already been specified, it is extremely reasonable to expect in any kind of legislation that they have to do it, which means we will be using the word “must”, not “may”.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 93 agreed to)

(On clause 94)

(1025)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have amendment CPC-44.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Mr. Chair, I move that Bill C-81, in clause 94, be amended by replacing line 9 on page 51 to line 3 on page 52 with the following:

(2) For greater certainty, complaints in respect of a contravention of any provision of regulations made under subsection 117(1) may only be filed with the Accessibility Commissioner in accordance with subsection (1), and in the event of any inconsistency between the provisions of this Act and the provisions of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, the Public Service Employment Act or any other Acts of Parliament, the provisions of this Act prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

This amendment is to designate the accessibility commissioner as the one body to handle compliance with accessibility standards and adjudication of complaints. This bill as it stands does not designate one central agency to oversee compliance with accessibility requirements and adjudicate accessibility complaints. Instead, if this amendment is not passed, enforcement will be done by multiple agencies. These would include the accessibility commissioner, CRTC, CTA and the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board.

As we’ve heard from stakeholders, they requested that the process be simplified and that we have just one body to which complaints would be directed. Stakeholders testified that it would be easiest and more accessible for them if this was achieved through the accessibility commissioner.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Seeing no further discussion, I will call the vote on CPC-44.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Could we have a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

(Clause 94 agreed to)

(On clause 95)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have a few amendments.

Again, Ms. Hardcastle, amendments CPC-45 and NDP-32 are identical.

We’ll start with amendment CPC-45.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Mr. Chair, again, it’s very similar. We Conservatives believe that in order to give this bill some teeth, the word “may” should be changed to “must” in clause 95. This change would ensure that the accessibility commissioner does investigate all complaints that fall within its purview. There is no justification for the accessibility commissioner to decline to investigate if all the criteria described in the bill are met, since there would be no other legal mechanism available for pursuing the complaint.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, I would like to reinforce that this language change to the more assertive use of the word “must” is under investigation under the section for investigation when there is no other recourse. We’re saying that the accessibility commissioner must investigate when someone has no other recourse under the provisions that are outlined in this section.

(1030)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

We’d like a recorded vote on this as well.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will now move to amendment CPC-46.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

We Conservatives believe that clause 95 must be amended to make it clear that the one-year limitation period to file an accessibility complaint begins from the time the complainant became aware of the act or omission that caused them to suffer a loss.

This change will ensure that people are not prevented from filing an accessibility complaint because they were not aware of the organization’s failure to comply with that act that occurred more than one year ago.

(Amendment agreed to)

(Clause 95 as amended agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I will now ask for unanimous consent to group the votes on clauses 96 to 102. No amendments were proposed.

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 96 to 102 inclusive agreed to)

(On clause 103)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We will now move to clause 103 and amendment CPC-47.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Thank you, Mr. Chair. We propose:

    That Bill C-81, in Clause 103, be amended by adding after line 6 on page 56 the following:
     The review must be conducted by a different officer or employee than the one who made the decision under review.
     The complainant must be given the opportunity to make representations to the officer or employee conducting the review in a manner that is accessible to the complainant.

With this amendment we are asking to require that the person who reviews the decision not to investigate or to discontinue an investigation of a complaint is not the same person who had made the original decision. Part 6 must include a section that provides that complainants who request a review of the accessibility commissioner’s decisions will have an opportunity to make submissions in a manner and form that is accessible to them.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We’d like to propose a subamendment where we will remove the text in subclause (1.1) and replace it with the text currently in subclause (1.2), so subclause (1.2) becomes subclause (1.1).

(1035)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any discussion on the proposed subamendment to CPC-47?

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Subclause (1.1), as it is, states:

(1.1) The review must be conducted by a different officer or employee than the one who made the decision under review.

That seems like common sense to me. That’s keeping impartiality. There is no conflict of interest in this. What is the reasoning for this amendment? I feel that this subamendment would actually weaken what is trying to be accomplished with this amendment.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We want the Human Rights Commission to keep its independence. It’s just a suggestion. If you would strike (1.1), we would support it.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Do you guys have a comment down at the other end? I thought yesterday that the Human Rights Commission already had that right. They’re above this. I don’t understand, because yesterday, I’m pretty sure, unless I dreamt it in my short nap last night, I understood that the Human Rights Commission would already have the final say.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I understood that the Human Rights Commission was already immune to having its independence eroded, so I don’t understand. I think it’s redundant then.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Because we have the interpretation, I’m asking you to go one at a time.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We don’t want to bind the Human Rights Commission’s hands, but again, we can certainly go back to your proposal if you want.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have the subamendment on the floor.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

That, to me, implies that there are aspects that could be potentially binding the Human Rights Commission’s hands, then. I thought the Human Rights Commission was untouchable. I need to clarify some of this, because we’re going to need another lens to look at this through, if it is true that we indeed can tie its hands.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

I’ll defer to the department.

(1040)

[Expand]

Mr. John Barlow:

Mr. Van Raalte.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte (Director General, Accessibility Secretariat, Department of Employment and Social Development):

Mr. Chair, maybe I’ll just clarify the point.

The Human Rights Act will always prevail. This is an administrative procedure amendment. The Human Rights Commission has a great deal of independence in how it operates and how it sets its rules from an administrative justice perspective. The distinction, I believe, if I’m hearing things correctly, and I could be wrong…. This is about telling the Human Rights Commission how to conduct its business as opposed to how it applies human rights laws and its human rights lens to different decisions.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mr. Van Raalte.

(Subamendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Amendment as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 103 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 104)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): On clause 104, we have several amendments proposed, beginning with LIB-47.

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal expressed concern that there might be insufficient detail set out in Bill C-81 in relation to appeals and that there was a risk there could be future legal challenges regarding what the tribunal can do and cannot do with an appeal.

It has also been raised by the Department of Justice that 30 days may not be a sufficient amount of time for persons with disabilities who are self-represented to file an appeal.

The effects of this motion would amend clause 104 to provide greater detail for the appeal power of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and provide the tribunal with the ability to extend an individual’s time to make an appeal if the circumstances warrant it.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any discussion on LIB-47?

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Is this giving a suggestion to the Human Rights Tribunal? I thought we had heard discussion in the last one, in which we had the subamendment debate, from the department about telling CHRT what to do.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

The CHRT, in consultations on all of this, are the ones who are actually recommending this to avoid future legal challenges regarding what the tribunal can or cannot do. It’s something they feel they need to have in there to protect their process.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Just to clarify, because I don’t feel my question was answered, in discussion of the subamendment to the previous clause, we somewhat were told that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal does not want to be told how to do its job, but this amendment here would suggest to it what to do. I’m just trying to understand, because I’m feeling there’s not a consistency.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

This actually comes from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. I will say it again. They are the ones who feel that, without this amendment, it could create problems down the line. This is just trying to speak to where they feel there may be court challenges. It gives them the ability to continue doing what they are doing.

(1045)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I find it quite interesting that there was reason before not to change something, or to change something, whatever it was. There’s this inconsistency. I don’t understand.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Van Raalte.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

I hope I can make the distinction.

The previous amendment concerned the review process carried out by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Your first level of recourse is through a process within the commission. It was an amendment that would prescribe how the commission was to conduct its work. There are always concerns about the independence of the commission and telling the commission how to undertake its work.

This is an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which is the appeal body to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It is my understanding from the testimony and the submission that they have requested flexibility in their appeal powers.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Okay, thank you. That clarifies some things. It’s interesting that we’re taking some things we hear and we’re not taking other things we hear, for example, timelines. We’re cherry-picking what we want to take.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move LIB-48 submitted by Mr. Hogg.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

This is consistent with the discussion we’ve just had. It puts us in line with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and subclause 104(1.1) would read:

The appeal lies on any ground of appeal that involves a question of law or fact alone, or a question of mixed law and fact, including a principle of natural justice.

This is to go in alignment with the CHRT and their actions, so it’s to come into compliance and alignment with them.

(Amendment agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We are on LIB-49.

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

We’re suggesting adding in:

the grounds of appeal and set out the evidence that supports those grounds.

It’s just keeping in line with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any discussion on LIB-49?

(Amendment agreed to)

(Clause 104 as amended agreed to)

(Clause 105 agreed to)

(On clause 106)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): I understand that there will be some changes to the amendments in clause 106. We’ll start with LIB-50.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

I would like to withdraw LIB-50 and replace it with a new amendment, reference 10151430. Copies have been distributed.

Clause 106 would be amended by replacing lines 9 and 10 on page 57 with the following:

may, by order, confirm, vary, give the decision that the Accessibility Commissioner should have given or rescind the decision or order to which the appeal relates or refer the complaint back to the Accessibility Commissioner for reconsideration in accordance with any direction the Human Rights Tribunal may give.

(1050)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I will call the vote on the new reference 10151430.

(Amendment agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Now we move to LIB-51.

Mr. Hogg, that was submitted by you.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

Despite the principles and brilliance of the original intent, it has been pointed out to me that it is not consistent with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

I would recommend that we withdraw and replace.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Does everybody have a copy of the replacement amendment, reference 10151332? No.

Mr. Hogg, I’ll get you to read your new amendment, please.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

It would be subclause 106(1.1):

An appeal shall be on the merits based on the record of the proceedings before the Accessibility Commissioner, but the member or panel of members of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal shall allow oral argument and, if he, she or it considers it necessary for the purpose of the appeal, shall hear evidence not previously available.

That is wording to put us in alignment with the CHRT.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

It says, “allow oral argument”. What about deaf persons?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Hogg.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

My belief is that sign language will be accepted within that, as part of that.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Van Raalte, I know it’s not your amendment.

Does that stipulate other options being used, or is it being very specific that only oral arguments—

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Or I would assume, written arguments.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Mr. Chairman, may I have a moment to confer?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, absolutely.

While they’re conferring, we’ll have Ms. Falk.

(1055)

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I was just assuming that it would be written, and then say, “including oral”.

If this is coming from the tribunal, have they used an accessibility lens? Are they already using an accessibility lens? I don’t know if that makes sense, but it would be a shame to take something, and then if somebody comes who is deaf and has to sign….

It would be unfortunate if in the bureaucracy they’re not able to—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

It seems that the focus of the amendment is new evidence not previously available. If that is the focus, maybe we can play with that oral part, that it’s being overly specific.

Mr. Sangha.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

Mr. Chair, the word here is, shall “hear”. It’s not just to hear with the ears. It’s the word used technically for the term, legally, to give them an opportunity to represent. It’s to give him, her or it an opportunity to represent.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I see what you’re saying, but the concern here is that it’s very specific with “oral” arguments and I don’t think that’s necessarily the goal from the discussions on the Liberal side.

Mr. Van Raalte, do you have any input?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Thank you for your patience, Mr. Chair.

From an inclusion perspective, I believe “oral” would be better, more inclusive, if it were “in person”, which can be by video conference or by telephone. The person doesn’t have to appear physically. The words “in person” would facilitate the accommodation necessary for anybody who was appearing in person.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mr. Van Raalte.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

When I hear “in person” that means a person with disabilities has to appear in person, so I think “or by video conference” should be spelled out. That’s very specific.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Can’t we just change “oral” to “appropriate format”? “Shall allow alternate”….

“Appropriate formatted arguments” sounds wordy. How do they word that? “Braille and alternate formats in oral and alternative formats”…. “Accessible”…. Yes, whatever is accessible to the person. Maybe we should change “shall allow”.

What happens if you take out the word “oral”? I think the chair mentioned that. “Shall allow argument”…. If “oral” limits us, in saying “argument”, does it then imply sufficiently in the context of accessibility legislation that all appropriate accessible formats are acceptable?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Sangha.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

There are technically two ways to express yourself in the courts or in the tribunals: written and oral. Written is a written presentation. Oral can be speaking directly to the court or presenting where you want to present to the court. I think “oral” is technically for every other thing except the written representation.

(1100)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is “oral” a legal term?

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

I said two terms only: “oral” and “written”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I appreciate that feedback. That concern with the disability accessibility act is where we—

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

“Oral” will include everything.

You can’t give one specific term for every…not even to listen, not even to speak and not even to see. Orally using other instruments…to express to the tribunal.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I don’t want to get too involved but because we’re dealing with a disability accessibility act, we don’t want to be very specific on “oral”. I think that’s where the confusion is coming from, even if it may be a legal term. That’s great input. I appreciate that.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I find that comment a little ironic because we had witnesses here who couldn’t speak and they signed. That was their language.

This is obviously a greater problem if our only two definitions are “oral” and “written”. This is much deeper and bigger than this act.

I’m really concerned about that, because, as I said yesterday, to have this pass and look 20 years down the road and have people not being able to access because we didn’t do our job here would do an injustice to people who need accessibility.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Hogg.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

If we were to replace “allow oral” with “accommodate or accept arguments” that would accommodate arguments that he or she considers necessary for the purpose of the appeal.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Maybe we could get some clarification from the legislative clerk regarding their opinion on whether “hear” suffices for “accept”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thus far they don’t believe that “oral” is sufficient to include everything. The feeling is that “oral” is specific.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

It does.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

They don’t want to give advice on that. It’s a legal question, not a procedural one, but we do have another suggestion on the table.

Mr. Sangha.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

As Mr. Hogg says, it can be “oral, with accommodations, and written”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That’s not what I heard from Mr. Hogg.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Can we just take one minute?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Sure, we’ll suspend for one minute.

(1100)

(1105)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have a couple of different suggestions. Mr. Hogg had put a bit of a change forward.

Do you have a new suggestion?

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

If we were to take out “oral” and just say “allow arguments”, make that plural, then I think that’s probably the simplest way of addressing it and allowing the intent that Ms. Falk put forward.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much. That was a roundabout way of getting to where we started.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

We’re not exactly where we started.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

No, we added the plural.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

And we took “oral” out.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That’s right. That’s the most important part. It’s a huge leap.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Thank you.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

Thank you for bringing that up.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I will call the vote on reference 10151332.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Thank you, everyone. That was a good discussion.

We now move to amendment LIB-52. That was put forward by Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

This refers back to the appeals of the CHRT and is consequential to amendments LIB-47, LIB-49 and LIB-50.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I’m just wondering if it has to state “in accessible format”, because pending even the accessibility commissioner…, and if they are somebody who has disabilities, that’s just so that it would be in a format that’s accessible.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

So you’re adding that as a suggestion for subclause 106(3) and that’s after “and the parties to the appeal”? So it’s “A copy of the order…must be…in accessible format”.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Yes.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

It would be “A copy of the order made by the”—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

—“must be provided in accessible format” is what I think they are—

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

I think that’s implied.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Sangha.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

When we read the definitions at clause 2 of the bill, I think it’s totally described there who is in need of the benefits and how they are to be provided. If it is not, that has to be in the definitions. The rest, everything, will flow throughout the whole act.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I think right now we’re looking at everything through an accessibility lens. But even, for example, with the prior amendment, we can’t assume that it’s implied, because it clearly wasn’t previously. I think that we just have to be extra cautious that we are looking through the lens and putting that accessibility hat on, and looking through every one of these clauses just so we don’t become complacent.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

It hasn’t been put forward as a subamendment. I think it’s just a discussion right now.

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

No, no. What we’re trying, number one, is to keep it consistent with the rest of the motions we have been putting through on the CHRT. This motion will facilitate by clearly setting out what the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal can and cannot do in dealing with an appeal, avoiding confusion and uncertainty in the process.

Perhaps James can help us here, because from my recollection of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, 60% of complaints came from disability.

We need to keep consistent throughout the whole bill with this. What can you tell us about that?

(1110)

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Apologies, Mr. Chair, I’m not clear on the question.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Yes, I’m not clear on the question either.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Does it have to be specific in the wording, James, that submissions to the commission or the tribunal have to be accessible documents that can be accessed by people with various disabilities?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

No it does not. Further, I would say the tribunal’s administrative structure that sits in behind it would be a regulated entity, and so it would be subject to the regulations and standards brought forward under the act.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

Mrs. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I guess this goes back to my question. If this is coming from other departments or the tribunal or whatever it is, I don’t see them looking at something with the disability or accessibility lens. Again, I just really hope that there is not going to be a hole in there, and 10 or 20 years down the road we find out that, oh look, they’re providing inaccessible documents, and the commissioner can’t even access them, maybe because of their disability or accessibility requirements.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Sangha.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

Again, the big lens is this act. This act provides everything about barriers: how to be barrier-free, what a disability is, what a barrier is. Everything is explained in clause 2. Let’s leave everything for subclause 117(1) to form the regulations and bylaws under that. That’s where things will be regulated.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 106 as amended agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I will ask for unanimous consent to group the votes on clauses 107 to 110.

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 107 to 110 inclusive agreed to)

(On clause 111)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): On clause 111, the first amendment is NDP-33.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Just for the record, this section deals with the appointment of the chief accessibility officer. It says, “the Governor in Council may appoint”. We propose to change the wording to “must appoint”.

(Amendment negatived)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move on to CPC-47.1.

Mrs. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Bill C-81 must include timelines for when the chief accessibility officer is to be appointed. The amendment proposes to add:

The Chief Accessibility Officer is to be appointed no later than six months after the day on which this subsection comes into force.

I think that by agreeing to this amendment, it’s not only going to show our stakeholders that this is something the government cares about, but also that it’s something the government will take action on immediately after it receives royal assent.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I think it’s important to note that, throughout our amendments, we’ve been talking about the chief accessibility officer based on the premise that this officer exists. With the previous motion being defeated, we don’t have decisive language that says “must”.

I would hope that my honourable colleagues would at least consider a timeline. This chief accessibility officer isn’t going to exist without that language. We’re discussing based on the fact that the officer does exist. Let’s give it a timeline. The way it stands now, if the Governor in Council doesn’t have to appoint a chief accessibility officer…. They may, but there’s no timeline.

It’s too precarious for this legislation. This is foundational legislation

(1115)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’ll have a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

(Clause 111 agreed to)

(Clause 112 agreed to)

(On clause 113)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): For clause 113, we have LIB-53.

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

In effect, this motion would create an amendment to the existing duty to the chief accessibility officer. It will provide the officer with the authority to give information and advice to the minister.

(Amendment agreed to)

(Clause 113 as amended agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any discussion on PV-11?

(Amendment negatived)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): I’m going to ask for unanimous consent to group the vote on clauses 114 to 116.

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 114 to 116 inclusive agreed to)

(On clause 117)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We have several amendments on clause 117. I will begin with LIB-54, which was submitted by Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

This is consequential to amendments already discussed: LIB-15, LIB-37.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to CPC-48.

Whatever the vote is on CPC-48 will also apply to CPC-53, which is on page 136 of your package. The vote is consequential and it deals with both clauses.

Ms. Hardcastle, on this one, your NDP-33.1 is identical.

(1120)

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Yes.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We are suggesting with CPC-48:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 117, be amended by deleting lines 3 to 15 on page 61.

These should be omitted from the bill. This section permits the government to exempt certain organizations or undertakings from producing and publishing accessibility plans, feedback processes and progress reports.

This is just another opportunity for transparency and accountability.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

As we heard again and again from our witnesses, there is simply no good reason why any parliament or obligated organization should be exempted from these requirements or any requirements imposed under the bill.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I’d like a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to Liberal amendment 54.1, submitted by Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Again, this is just referencing back to the timeline to making regulations in the consequential amendments of LIB-16.1, LIB-27.1 and LIB-54.1.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, last night in our discussion I believe the timeline described to us was that it would be the summer of 2020. Is this the same timeline? No?

Okay. Never mind.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to CPC-49.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

With this proposal from the Conservatives, Parliament would see every regulation to be made under paragraph 117(1)(c) providing more oversight. We suggest amending clause 117 by adding, after line 28 on page 61, the following:

(5) The Minister must table in each House of Parliament every regulation that the Governor in Council proposes to make under paragraph 117(1)(c).
(6) Each House may refer the proposed regulation to any commitee that is appropriate under the rules of that House and, if the proposed regulation is so referred, the committee may review it and report its recommendations to the House.
(7) A regulation may not be made before the earliest of
(a) 30 sitting days after the proposed regulation is tabled in both Houses;
(b) 160 calendar days after the proposed regulation is tabled in both Houses; and
(c) the day after the committee reports its recommendations or, if the proposed regulation was referred to more than one committee, the day after the last report.
(8) For the purposes of subsection (7), sitting day means a day on which either House sits.
(9) The Minister must take into account any report of the committee of either House. If a regulation does not incorporate a recommendation of the committee of either House, the Minister must table before that House a statement of the reason for not incorporating it.
(10) A proposed regulation that has been tabled in Parliament need not be tabled again before the regulation is made, whether or not it has been altered.

(1125)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I believe I have a similar or the same amendment, so I would just like to concur with my colleague, who spoke before me on his amendment and underscore a few added points to that.

This amendment is under general regulations. That is part 8, for those people who are listening and following along today. Under general regulations, right now, it is the Governor in Council. This amendment creates transparency and some independence by providing stipulations that these documents be tabled in Parliament, independently of the Governor in Council. That way we do have some transparency as well, which is extremely important in building the indoctrinated support that we need in this legislation.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

We’d like a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 4; yeas 3)

(Clause 117 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 118)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to clause 118. There is one amendment proposed, LIB-55.

Go ahead, Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

We need to ensure consistency with a subamendment.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

I’d like to propose a subamendment, please, to ensure consistency with similar motions. Please amend LIB-55 to read: “paragraphs 5(a), (b), (f) and (g) and in the area referred to in paragraph 5(c.i) as it relates to the areas referred to in those paragraphs.

(Subamendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Amendment agreed to as amended [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Clause 118, and incidentally clauses 118 to 121, of the bill should be removed along with any similar provisions in the bill, where they limit federal regulations under this act from reaching all aspects of all obligated organizations under this act. The bill should be amended to repose all power to make accessibility standard regulations in the federal cabinet and to remove the bill’s grant of the power to make some accessibility standard regulations to the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission.

Once again, I will repeat that clause 118 should be removed.

(1130)

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Is it the communication part that you want removed?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

No, she doesn’t want clause 118 in the legislation.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

The communication part.

(Clause 118 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 119)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

On clause 119, there is one amendment proposed, LIB-56.

Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Again, it’s to ensure consistency with similar motions, and it will be subamended.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

I have a subamendment.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

For crying out loud.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Do you want me to read this or can we all mouth it together here? Please amend Liberal—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Sorry, Mr. Long, just one second.

Are you going to have a few of these throughout as we go?

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

I have one more.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

One more? Okay, then we’ll just carry on.

I’m assuming it’s the same. Okay.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

“As it relates to”.

(Subamendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Amendment agreed to as amended [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I just want to note that clause 119 is another one of these provisions in the bill that should be removed because it limits federal regulations under this act from reaching all aspects of all obligated organizations that are supposed to be under this act.

(Clause 119 as amended agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

(On clause 120)

We’re into clause 120. There are two amendments proposed.

The first is LIB-57, by Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Mr. Chair, these are consequential to amendments LIB-5, 6, 13, 19, 24, 30, 34, 40, 55 and 56.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now turn to LIB-58.

Mr. Morrissey again.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

This is to ensure consistency with similar motions related to the mobility of persons, with a subamendment.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Long, the same subamendment?

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

The same subamendment, yes.

(Subamendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Amendment as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Clause 120 of the bill should also be removed. It is another one of those provisions in the bill that limits federal regulations under this act. It limits them from reaching all aspects of all obligated organizations.

(Clause 120 as amended agreed to)

(1135)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

(On clause 121)

I’ll move to clause 121. Again, there are two amendments proposed, beginning with LIB-59.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Again, exemptions can’t be unlimited, so we propose what we proposed in 17, 22, 28, 32, 38, 42 and recently 45.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

On LIB-60, Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Again, it’s just referring back to publication of rationale for exemptions, consequential amendments to LIB-18, 23, 29, 33, 39, 43 and 46.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Clause 121 of the bill should be removed, and any other similar provisions in the bill should be removed because they limit federal regulations under the act. They limit these regulations from reaching all aspects of all obligated organizations under this act.

(Clause 121 as amended agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have two amendments, PV-12 and PV-13.

I will begin with PV-12. PV-12 is identical to CPC-54, page 137. If the decision on PV-12 will impact CPC-54, it would not be admissible.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Do we have to make comments on that now?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

It’s the same amendment. It’s being added to a different part of the bill, but because it’s the same amendment, the Green Party has put theirs ahead of the CPC. Therefore it’s dealt with first. So any decision on PV-12 will be reciprocated on CPC-54.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

So if it fails, does CPC-54 fail?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

If it fails, CPC-54 fails.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I’m going to speak in support of this amendment as put forth by the member from Saanich—Gulf Islands. I know that she wanted to be here today but can’t be, because she had an important event in her riding for Kristallnacht.

I do concur with my colleagues in their similar amendment. It is extremely important that we have accountability and transparency worked into this bill in a more substantial way and that we have timelines. This does help us do that, and it rolls in the independence aspect in answering to Parliament rather than to the Governor in Council. I think it’s a very significant amendment and an improvement that I welcome.

(1140)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Mr. Chair, we Conservatives agree, for instance, that if no regulations are made under paragraph 117(1)(c) within 12 months after the day on which this clause comes into force, the minister must cause a report to be tabled before each House of Parliament, on any of the first 10 days on which that House is sitting after the expiry of that 12-month period.

Two, if no such regulations are made within 12 months after tabling the report referred to in subclause (1), the minister must cause a report to be tabled before each House of Parliament on any of the first 10 days on which the House is sitting after the expiry of the 12-month period, and at least once every subsequent 12-month period, as long as no regulations have been made.

Three, the reports must include an explanation for regulations not being made and must establish a schedule for the making of such regulations.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I just want to add, too, that I don’t believe that this is partisan legislation. I think we should all have the best intentions for people who need accessibility. That being said, I want to somewhat repeat my colleague’s comments yesterday. We don’t know who the government is going to be in 10 or 20 years, and this ensures that accessibility is going to be a priority and that it’s not going to be something that is overlooked. It holds that level of accountability and transparency.

We request a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to PV-13.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): No amendments were made to clause 122, so I’m going to ask for unanimous consent to group the votes on clauses 122 to 130. Do I have unanimous consent to do so?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

No.

(Clause 122 agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I’ll give it one more try and ask for unanimous consent to group the votes on clauses 123 to 130.

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 123 to 130 inclusive agreed to)

(On clause 131)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

On clause 131, the first amendment is PV-14. Again, if this one is adopted, CPC-50 cannot be moved due to a conflict, as the Green Party amendment will change the same lines as CPC-50. That’s only if it’s adopted.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(1145)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will move on to CPC-50.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We are requesting an amendment stating, “Five years after the day on which this Act receives royal assent, or as soon as feasible after that day, a comprehensive review of its provisions and operation is to be commenced by a”.

What we’re saying is that clause 131 should be amended to require that the committee conduct its first review five years after the date on which the act is proclaimed into law. This change will prevent the review from being delayed if the regulations are not promptly passed.

We request a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 131 agreed to)

(On clause 132)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

On clause 132, we’ll start with PV-15, which is identical to amendments put forward as CPC-51 and NDP-34, so whatever decision is made on PV-15 will be reciprocal on CPC-51 and NDP-34.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I think that what we heard from witnesses and testimony was that timelines were important. It is important to measure how well the government is doing with accessibility. It is important to make sure that there’s direction given that will prompt people to move forward and want to move forward.

This amendment would require the first independent review of the act to be held in 2025 and every four years thereafter. This will coincide with Canada’s reporting obligations under the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

We know that a timeline for independent review is an important component, not only to our stakeholders but to ready us for the day when we implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which we are signatories to, but this bill falls short of implementing.

It will position us so that we can evolve into that position. I think all of us here want to see this legislation be effectual. I would hope that we’re all prepared for a compromise here. If there is a compromise on a specific date that would provide for the passing of this amendment, then I think we should discuss that. I’m open to that.

I’ll like a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will move to LIB-61 put forward by Mr. Ruimy.

(1150)

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

This motion would provide an amendment to the independent review of the act to ensure that the person or persons conducting the independent review is required to consult all implicated parties.

With this amendment, we make sure that the minister responsible under this act is not limited in executing their responsibility to appoint a single independent reviewer.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 132 as amended agreed to)

(Clause 133 agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We go to Green Party-16. The feeling is that it is inadmissible due to making specific declaration on the specifics of sign language that is beyond the scope of the bill. It introduces new concepts that were not included in other parts of the bill. That would include PV-16 and CPC-52 as inadmissible.

I’ll now be asking for unanimous consent to group the votes on clause 134 to clause 141.

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

No. I have something to say about clause 138.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Okay, do I have unanimous consent to group clauses 134 to 137?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 134 to 137 inclusive agreed to)

(On clause 138)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We will now go to clause 138. Is there any discussion?

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Clause 138 of the bill should be removed because it gives the Speaker of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Commons the power to exempt a parliamentary entity from certain aspects of the bill’s requirements.

That’s not good.

(Clause 138 agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I’m asking for unanimous consent to group the votes on clauses 139 to 141.

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 139 to 141 inclusive agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): That takes us to clause 142.

Because these two amendments were dealt with in previous proposals, can I get unanimous consent to group the votes on clauses 142 to 146?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 142 to 146 inclusive agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): New clause 146.1 has already been dealt with.

(Clause 147 agreed to)

(On clause 148)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’ll now move to clause 148. We have two amendments proposed. We’ll begin with CPC-54.1, on page 137.2.

Ms. Falk.

(1155)

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Basically, this amendment is again on timelines:

The Accessibility Commissioner is to be appointed no later than six months after the day on which this subsection comes into force.

It’s pretty straightforward, just timelines, accountability.

Can we have a recorded vote?

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Now we’ll go to amendment CPC-55.

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

The amendment is:

Section 26 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (5):
(6) The Accessibility Commissioner must receive appropriate training in matters related to accessibility and discrimination.

I know I spoke to something such as this earlier. Knowledge is power. Sometimes it’s just even having a conversation or some type of additional training that makes people more aware of their words and actions.

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on CPC-55?

Mrs. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

The accessibility commissioner should receive anti-racism, anti-oppression and cultural competency training to ensure that a complaint process does not perpetuate systematic discrimination experienced by ethno-racial persons with disabilities, or even indigenous persons with disabilities.

It’s just becoming aware that different things have different meaning in different cultures. In some cultures, you don’t make eye contact with people—it’s actually disrespectful to do that. Unless people are educated and aware, they are causing more harm than good.

(Amendment negatived)

(Clause 148 agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

As you can see, lunch is being set up now. We have a bunch we can carry here. If we can get through those really quickly in the next two minutes before noon, we’ll do that. Then we’ll break for 10 minutes to grab lunch.

(On clause 149)

On clause 149, we have CPC-56.

Mrs. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Clause 149 should ensure that persons with disabilities participate meaningfully in the monitoring and implementation of the CRPD. Such participation is required under article 33(3) of the CRPD.

Clause 149 must be amended to require the Canadian Human Rights Commission to monitor in accordance with articles 33(2) and 33(3) of the CRPD.

Sufficient resources must be provided to the commission and disability communities to support them in their roles.

(Amendment negatived)

(1200)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Can I have unanimous consent to group the votes on clauses 149 to 153?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

No.

(Clause 149 agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I’m asking for unanimous consent to group the votes on clauses 150 to 153.

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 150 to 153 inclusive agreed to)

(On clause 154)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Mr. Ruimy, please present LIB-62.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

This is replacing the word “emotional” with the word “psychological”. The bill generally refers to psychological harm, except in two instances where it interchangeably refers to emotional harm. This amendment will ensure the bill consistently uses the term “psychological harm”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mrs. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I understand consistency, but why can’t it be psychological and emotional harm?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

I know we had conversations. I’m just trying to think of what the witnesses were telling us.

Honestly, it’s because there are two instances of “emotional harm”. We’re making it more consistent throughout the entire act. Why would you have two sections referring to it as “emotional harm”, when we’re referring to it as “psychological harm”?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mrs. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I see psychological and emotional as two different things.

Is the government proposing that we specifically remove “emotional harm”?

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Yes. We’re replacing “emotional” with “psychological” to make it consistent throughout.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

They’re two different things, I’m just wondering about this. Is psychological harm more important than emotional harm? I’m just trying to understand.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Can I ask Mr. Van Raalte to chime in here a bit?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Our apologies to the committee. It is a drafting error. The intent all the way through was to use “psychological”. It is a broader and more accepted term and it encompasses the emotional aspect.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

That’s how the department sees it.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much for your intervention.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 154 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 155)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’ll move to clause 155. If we get through this, you can go and have lunch, probably, by the looks of it.

We have LIB-63, with Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Again, this is referring back to replacing “emotional” with “psychological” as a consequential amendment to LIB-62.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Again, it’s just changing “emotional” to “psychological”.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 155 as amended agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Can I have unanimous consent to group the votes on clauses 156 to 162?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 156 to 162 inclusive agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’ll take a 10-minute recess to grab some food and take a break. We’re now suspended.

(1205)

(1220)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you. We’ll come back in session.

We will start back at clause 163. I appreciate everybody’s diligence in getting through this. I feel very good about our finishing this by one o’clock, so we’ll see how well we do.

We’re on LIB-64.

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

The bill incorrectly refers to the accessible Canada act in French as La loi sur l’accessibilité fédérale. The amendment will ensure that the bill is consistent and correct by referring to the correct title, which should be La loi canadienne sur l’accessibilité.

[Translation]

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

[English]

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

They gave it to me because of my French.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, I could tell.

[Translation]

Me too.

[English]

Are there any comments?

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 163 as amended agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Could I get unanimous consent to group the votes on clauses 164 to 168?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 164 to 168 inclusive agreed to)

(On clause 169)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’ll now move to clause 169. Two amendments are proposed. We’ll begin with LIB-65.

Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

LIB-65 is a consequential amendment in reference to LIB-1 and LIB-2, which have already been approved.

(Amendment agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’re on to LIB-66.

Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Many stakeholder groups have reacted positively to the definition of “disability” in Bill C-81, and some have stated that the definition advances beyond the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by recognizing that certain impairments may cause the experience of barriers to be episodic. This amendment recognizes that.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 169 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 170)

(1225)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to clause 170 with proposed amendment LIB-67.

Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

This is a consequential amendment resulting from amendments LIB-5, LIB-6, LIB-13, LIB-19, LIB-24, LIB-30, LIB-34, LIB-40, LIB-55, LIB-56, LIB-57 and LIB-58. They broaden the scope by including communication.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’re on to LIB-68.

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Exemptions can’t be unlimited, and consequential to previous amendments, we’d like to change this part.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 170 as amended agreed to)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Can I get unanimous consent to group the votes on clauses 171 to 206?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 171 to 206 inclusive agreed to)

(On clause 207)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Is there any discussion on CPC-57?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

This amendment basically would make it so that “on the 90th day after the day on which this Act receives royal assent” it would come into force. It’s giving 90 days for this act to come into force.

The current coming into force provision does not require the government to act. Additionally, if this clause is left as is, according to the Statutes Repeal Act, this act would be automatically repealed within 10 years of receiving royal assent.

I would like a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Can I move an amendment, if possible?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

It’s that Bill C-81, in clause 207, be amended by replacing lines 28 and 29 on page 301 with the following, “206, come into force on the 60th day after the day on which this Act receives royal assent.”

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Sorry, I’ll just say, it’s the same amendment, different day.

(1230)

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I would like a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mrs. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

May I move another amendment?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

It’s that Bill C-81, in clause 207, be amended by replacing lines 28 and 29 on page 301 with the following, “206, come into force on the 30th day after the day on which this Act receives royal assent.”

Again, the current coming into force provision does not require the government to act. Additionally, if the clause is left as is, according to the Statutes Repeal Act, this act would be automatically repealed within 10 years of receiving royal assent.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Hogg.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

Can we ask Mr. Van Raalte what the practices normally are in these instances in terms of the dates coming into effect and whether there’s a rationale for this?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

There are a range of practices. Some pieces of legislation are left to the discretion of the Governor in Council. Some pieces of legislation have different coming into force dates for different sections, depending on the requirements.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

That will remain silent on it now?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

The Governor in Council will come forward with a coming into force date.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

Make a determination, thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Further to that, is there a timeline when the Governor in Council does bring forward that timeline or that date? Do we have that, then?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

No, as the bill sits now, my understanding is there is no timeline.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Right, that’s how I understand it too, but we just heard in an explanation that this was going to be provided later, a timeline.

Is that not what you just said, Mr. Van Raalte, that a timeline would be provided later?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

The Governor in Council will have to come forward, publish through the Canada Gazette, with the coming into force date.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

There is no requirement right now. Nothing changes. That explanation doesn’t change our situation at all. We still have nothing. We still don’t have any dates for anything required.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle, as it sits now, the bill will sunset in 10 years if there are no steps taken or regulations or anything in force. However, from Mr. Van Raalte, that possibly could change.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Okay, that’s all. I wanted to make sure we heard.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We request a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We believe that clause 207 in Bill C-81 should be voted down. We have tried to improve it, through a few amendments here, and that didn’t work so we weren’t able to improve it. Again, the current coming into force provision does not require the government to act. Additionally, if the clause is left as is, according to the Statutes Repeal Act this act would be automatically repealed within 10 years of receiving royal assent.

(1235)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

It will be a recorded vote.

(Clause 207 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 3)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

I’d like to ask my colleagues if we could get unanimous consent for a subamendment to LIB-19, which we missed earlier, just for consistency.

A voice: No.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will move on to the preamble. We had a couple of amendments proposed earlier in the process last night that were withdrawn, dealing specifically with the interpretation of indigenous peoples of Canada. That was LIB-3, so it was very early on in the process.

We have two proposed amendments as part of the preamble, LIB-69 and CPC-58, but they are deemed to be inadmissible because they deal with the preamble but there is no coordinating part of the bill itself. You can’t have something in the preamble that doesn’t have a coordinating portion or amendment within the bill itself.

Does anybody need any additional clarification on that?

Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Mr. Chair, I think we need clarification. What about paragraphs (b) and (c) of amendment LIB-69?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That amendment is coming up next as CPC-59, which would be almost identical to what you’re proposing, but that CPC amendment would have precedence over yours because it was submitted prior. It would have to be a new amendment.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Can we just have a moment?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, we’ll suspend for one minute.

(1235)

(1240)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

The Liberal amendment is inadmissible, as well as CPC-58.

You could not make an amendment to that one as CPC-59 is pretty much identical and would have precedence.

We now move to CPC-59.

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

This is an amendment to the preamble to change “Canadians” to “persons in Canada”. The change is necessary to help ensure that everyone in Canada, regardless of their citizenship, status or identification with Canada, gets benefits from accessibility requirements under the act.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Again, Ms. Hardcastle, this amendment is identical to yours right after. If you want to make a comment, I would suggest you do it now.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Okay. As it reads now, somebody could interpret that if they’re in Canada but are not a Canadian, the rules don’t apply to them either way. I think it’s pretty simple and straightforward.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

I would move a subamendment to strike “abilities or” in part (b) of CPC-59.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Okay, so it would just be “regardless of their disabilities”.

Is there any discussion on the proposed subamendment?

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I had a similar amendment early on, and there was some debate. Didn’t we keep that in? We kept “abilities” in for some reason, or did that…?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We took it out.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

We did? Okay.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I believe that we were keeping “disabilities” throughout the bill to retain that consistency, so “abilities” was removed in favour of “disabilities”, if I recall correctly.

(Subamendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Amendment as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): I have to commend all of you on your diligence. We’re almost there. We just have the last few to go.

(Preamble as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Shall the short title carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Shall the title carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Shall the bill as amended carry?

Mrs. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

First of all, I am very disappointed that this bill does not have teeth. We heard very clearly from our stakeholders that they cared about timelines, about accountability, about transparency, about ease of accessibility, about having one body to oversee complaints, about enforcement—all of that. Two amendments were adopted that weren’t Liberal amendments, but I’m disappointed that this seemed to turn into a partisan issue and what the minister wanted—we heard that a couple of times, that “the minister wanted this”.

We serve Canadians. We serve our stakeholders. I’m terribly disappointed that we brought them in here. We heard them speak passionately. These are people who have lived with disabilities. They lack accessibility to the majority of everything. That they were being heard at the table was historical, in the sense of groundbreaking. I’m just so disappointed that we as a committee couldn’t add more teeth.

(1245)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I know intimately that in the disabilities community people are very pleased to be asked and to be engaged, and they are actually very easy to please. They’ve done without so much and they have so many struggles; they take what they can get.

They are watching closely today. They know some of the fundamental problems with this bill, one of them being that the government can exempt itself from many of these regulations; another being the splintering of implementation and enforcement, which is really insensitive to the actual, lived experience of people living with disabilities. The bill needed to be greatly simplified. However, I know that people are going to be ecstatic. They’re going to want to see us be diligent in moving forward on this.

I’m feeling very mixed emotions right now for people, just because we had expected that in earnest we were going to come here to debate these amendments. It was very clear that there was a preconceived notion of what should be happening and an agenda, which has been realized, that really didn’t take into account that testimony.

I know it sounds harsh, but I need to say this in a very clear and concise way, because we have stakeholders listening who are very frustrated and who want to have an acknowledgement that we know that they know that we know that they know that these amendments and the language in this bill do not meet their needs sufficiently.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Since we’re all having a say here, I first of all want to thank all the stakeholders in the disability community for the months of consultations that went on to get us to where we are today. We heard testimony and recommendations for amendments from multitudes of people, and we put forward 69 of our own amendments. Many of them were very similar to what the opposition had put forward, but which were improved upon.

While it’s easy to say right now that there’s disappointment, I think there’s excitement for what we have accomplished.

We heard from every witness who came through that while they wanted to see amendments, they were excited that we were moving forward. This is the end result. On our side we heard, we listened and we made adjustments to the legislation.

I want to thank everybody for all their hard work and for getting us to where we are today.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

It is a start, I would say, but it falls far below the bar. We could have done far better. I think we Conservatives fought very hard to try to get some real teeth, but this is really like a toothless guard dog.

I believe that the Liberals are failing Canadians with disabilities. I think the fact that there are no implementation timelines is a huge thing. It’s just unacceptable. We certainly heard some pretty strong language from the countless witnesses who came here. I was quite shocked at how strong their language was, but they’re the people we are trying to serve. We listened to them and I truly don’t think that, overall, they were heard.

It is not nearly as good as it could be, and I’m quite disappointed. The very fact that there are no timelines and there are exemptions where entities can get out of even having to deal with the bill is shameful, I think.

Of the amendments, how many were taken? Two or three, perhaps, were taken of the 60 amendments that I think would have improved the bill. It’s quite disappointing. As I say, it’s a start, but it falls far below the bar.

(1250)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Hogg.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

The timelines and extensions have been referenced a number of times, and I think there’s a lot more commonality than is being portrayed.

There are a number of principles that we talked about, and the principles can be implemented in a number of different fashions. Not everything should be in legislation. We’ve referred to the standards, the practices and to accreditation. All of those are important variables in the provision of any types of disabilities.

I was an active participant in the development of disabilities legislation in British Columbia, where we created Community Living B.C. We went through a very similar process and we relied heavily upon input from the people who were part of it. Any good public policy has to have the people who it impacts having not just an important say in it, but also a say in the process by which it becomes implemented.

I believe we have followed the majority of principles that have been put forward. I think there is pretty good agreement on both sides of the House, or all around the House, in terms of those principles. I think there’s a disagreement in terms of how they can best be implemented to respond most effectively to the needs of making our country most accessible.

We heard many people coming before us say that we are leading the world in terms of moving forward with this legislation. We’re really at the forefront and I think we should be relying on those people who have the ability and the skills within the framework of the legislation, and the practices and the accreditation that we have available to us. I think we have come to a very good balance in terms of being able to do that.

I’m very pleased, delighted and darned excited about what we’ve been able to achieve.

An hon. member: Hear, hear!

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Chair, thank you for your leadership over the last two days. It’s very much appreciated.

Certainly on behalf of my riding and on behalf of countless groups across New Brunswick, and in particular southern New Brunswick, we are absolutely thrilled to move forward with Bill C-81.

I’m proud to be part of a government that is moving forward with this legislation after what I would call the previous government’s 10 years of non-action—no action. I’m very proud of Bill C-81 and the movements we are taking to move this forward.

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion?

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

I’d like to add that you did a marvellous job as the chairperson. You handled that extremely well.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thanks very much.

Now we will continue on with the vote.

Shall the bill as amended carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Shall the chair report the bill as amended to the House?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Shall the committee order a reprint of the bill as amended for the House at report stage?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Excellent.

Well done, everyone.

I appreciate everyone’s support to get us through what I have to say is probably a pleasant surprise to all of us, to get this done as expediently as we did.

Certainly, my final comments would be that our thoughts are with Bryan May and his family. I know he was watching last night. Apparently, he is a glutton for punishment.

But, again, just on the number of amendments that were brought through on Bill C-81, I think all of us saw that there was work to do on this bill to ensure it met the goals that were brought forward by our stakeholders. I think as parliamentarians, and as this committee, it now behooves us to ensure that we hold this government, and whatever the next government is, accountable to ensure that they follow through with what we heard from our stakeholders and certainly from the discussions we had here among us as a committee.

Thank you very much for everyone’s commitment to this.

Thank you very much to the staff, the clerk and our legislative clerks who guided me through this over the last two days.

I hope everybody has a great constituency week and spends some time with their family and friends.

The meeting is adjourned.



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Transcript of the November 7, 2018 meeting of the House Of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities – Day 1 of the Standing Committee’s Clause-by-Clause Consideration of Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act


Transcript of the November 7, 2018 meeting of the House Of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities – Day 1 of the Standing Committee’s Clause-by-Clause Consideration of Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act

Notice of meeting Amended

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA)

42nd Parliament, 1st Session

Meeting 123

Wednesday, November 7, 2018, 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.Amended

Room 415, Wellington Building, 197 Sparks Street

Televised

Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada

CLAUSE-BY-CLAUSE CONSIDERATION

Witnesses

Department of Employment and Social Development

  • James Van Raalte, Director General, Accessibility Secretariat
  • Benoît Gendron, Director, Accessibility Secretariat
  • Erik Lapalme, Senior Policy Analyst, Accessibility Secretariat

Clerk of the Committee

Stephanie Feldman (613-996-1542)

2018-11-06 10:01 a.m.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities

EVIDENCE

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

(1950)

[English]

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow (Foothills, CPC)):

I call the meeting to order.

We have a long night ahead of us, so we’re going to get started. We have a bit of an introduction before we get started on clause-by-clause study.

I also want to take a quick moment to say for all of us that our thoughts are with our chair Bryan and his family. To our Liberal colleagues, please pass that on to Bryan when you see him.

We’ve gone through this in previous meetings, and I understand that most of you know about it, but we will just go through the introduction to explain a bit about some of the infrastructure that’s here in the committee room with us.

Welcome to today’s meeting on Bill C-81, an act to ensure a barrier-free Canada. The objective of today’s meeting is to begin the committee’s clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.

I would like to take a moment to remind those participating in the proceedings, as well as those observing the proceedings of the committee in person or on video, that the committee adopted a motion on September 18 that included instructions for the clerk to explore options to allow for the full participation on this study of all witnesses and members of the public.

As a result, the committee has made arrangements to make all meetings in relation to Bill C-81 as accessible as possible in a variety of ways. This includes providing sign language interpretation and near real-time closed captioning in the room.

Please note that both American Sign Language and Quebec Sign Language are being offered to those who are in our audience. For those who would like to watch the American Sign Language interpretation, please sit on the benches to my left, and for those who would like to watch Quebec Sign Language interpretation, please sit on the benches to my right.

In addition, please note that the first two rows of benches have been reserved for those who wish to avail themselves of these interpretation services. Screens displaying the near real-time closed captioning have also been set up, with the English text to my left and the French text to my right. The sign language interpreters in the room are also being videorecorded for the eventual broadcast of this meeting on ParlVU via the committee’s website.

In light of these arrangements, the committee asks that if you need to leave the room during the meeting, please do not walk in front of the sign language interpreters. Instead, please use the extremities of the room. In addition, we would ask that those in the room remain seated as much as possible during the meeting. We want to ensure that everyone in the audience can clearly see the sign language interpretation.

Finally, if a member of the audience requires assistance at any time, please notify a member of the staff or a committee clerk and we will try to address the issue.

In addition, for my colleagues, as you are well aware, please speak in a relatively slower tone so that our interpreters can keep pace with the discussion that’s happening here this evening.

I’d like to take a moment to welcome the officials who are with us here this evening and are going to be helping us with any questions that we may have on some of the amendments in the clause-by-clause study. Also, we have some guests with us this evening. We’ll get to that in a moment.

From the Department of Employment and Social Development Accessibility Secretariat, we have with us James Van Raalte, director general, accessibility secretariat. James, thanks very much for being with us again. We also have Benoît Gendron, director, and Erik Lapalme, senior policy analyst.

Also, we have with us Ms. Elizabeth May. Thank you very much for joining us this evening, Ms. May. You’ll have some opportunity to put your amendments forward.

Pursuant to the order of reference for Wednesday, September 26, 2018, Bill C-81, an act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, is what we are discussing this evening.

(1955)

We’ve introduced our witnesses from the department, and now we will begin our clause-by-clause discussion.

Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of clause 1, the short title and the preamble are postponed, and we will now begin with clause 2.

(On clause 2)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We have amendment CPC-1 on clause 2. Is there any discussion?

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte (Edmonton Griesbach, CPC):

Yes, Mr. Chair.

I think clause 2 should be amended by adding the word “law” to the definition of “barrier”. This change would help ensure that the barriers created by federal laws are identified, removed and prevented. I move that Bill C-81 in clause 2 be amended by replacing line 11 on page 2 with the following:

that is the result of a law, a policy or a practice—that hinders

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mr. Diotte.

Is there any discussion on CPC-1? Seeing none, I will call the vote.

(Amendment negatived)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’ll move to LIB-1. Is there any discussion on LIB-1?

Go ahead, Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey (Egmont, Lib.):

The amendment to this particular clause is to add

and it continues. This will ensure that the list of impairments in the definition is not an exhaustive list.

We’re also adding “cognitive” to the list of potential impairments that, in interaction with a barrier, could hinder a person’s full and equal participation in society.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mr. Morrissey.

Is there any further discussion on LIB-1? Seeing none, I will call the vote.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Moving on to LIB-2, is there any discussion?

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Mr. Chair, we’re adding the word “cognitive” to the list of potential impairments that, in interaction with a barrier, could hinder a person’s full and equal participation in society.

As well, it adds “evident or not” to ensure that invisible disabilities are recognized in the definition, and “any impairment, including” to ensure that the list of impairments in the definition is not an exhaustive list.

(2000)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mr. Morrissey.

I want to mention that if LIB-2 is adopted, CPC-2 cannot be moved as it will be in conflict.

Is there any further discussion on LIB-2?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster, CPC):

I’m wondering about the difference here between having “cognitive” and “intellectual”.

You’re proposing to add “cognitive” there?

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Yes.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

How does that affect “intellectual”?

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

This simply adds to the list on interaction with a barrier that could hinder a person’s full and equal participation. This came from testimony that was given during the witness hearing process.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on LIB-2? Seeing none—

Sorry; go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I’m just trying to gather my thoughts. I feel that we’re moving very quickly. I want to make sure this gets done correctly, if that’s okay.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Can you reread the amendment, please?

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

We’re adding the word “cognitive” to the list of potential impairments.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Could we propose an amendment to your amendment? If we added “disability includes”, it would be “includes any impairment, including”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Can you clarify where exactly in the amendment you would want that added?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Right at the beginning, so it would read “disability includes any impairment, physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I see what you’re saying. Rather than saying “disability means” you want to say “disability includes” any impairment.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

That’s correct.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, Lib.):

Does that change the essence? We have it as an “impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication…”. Does the way that you’re proposing it actually change anything because of the order that it’s going in? I don’t know.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

The clerks are just taking a look.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

The clerks are doing what clerks do.

Voices: Oh, oh!

Mr. Dan Ruimy: I’m trying to understand why the flip of words.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I feel that adding it at the beginning gives it purpose. It includes. It’s right off the bat.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

My challenge is that we’re basically saying that an impairment would include all these things, whereas I think flipping it around might change the intent.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I guess when they…. They’re talking right now, so when they—

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

I won’t talk, then.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

To Ms. Falk’s question, it is fine. It’s not an issue with the clerk, but if I may, I’ll ask the department officials.

Does changing it to “disability includes any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive…” change the intent in any way ?

(2005)

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte (Director General, Accessibility Secretariat, Department of Employment and Social Development):

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I don’t think it changed the intent. It is a way of drafting definitions. If you go back to the legislation and the interpretation section, you see “Accessibility Commissioner means”, “barrier means” and “broadcasting undertaking has the same meaning….” It is an interpretation issue from a drafting perspective, from the use of the word: a definition “means” something and includes the following list.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

Go ahead, Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

I had the same question, Mr. Chair. Ms. Falk, are you…?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We have to first vote on the proposed amendment from Ms. Falk, which is that disability “includes” instead of “means”. I’ll call the vote on that amendment to the amendment.

(Subamendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow) Now we’ll go to the vote on LIB-2 as it stands.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow) CPC-2 now cannot be moved.

We’ll now move to LIB-3. I do have to say that conversation with the clerks suggests that LIB-3 does feel inadmissible; however, since it has been put forward by almost everyone on the committee, I would be willing to open the discussion on LIB-3.

Go ahead, Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

By adding the definition of “Indigenous peoples of Canada” we’re providing the clarity. That was one of the issues from the testimony that was given before the committee.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion?

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I’m not sure from what I remember with regard to the testimony that they were asking for a definition. They were asking to be in the bill, which they weren’t at all. I don’t know if they were necessarily asking to be defined. They were just asking to be placed into the bill or to have some type of recognition in the bill.

I don’t know. Does just adding a definition of indigenous people suffice for that? I don’t think so. I guess it depends what comes after this, because I really don’t believe that adding a definition was what they meant by their testimony.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Morrissey, if I can add before further discussion, the reason that it was felt to be inadmissible is that there’s no context to the definition of aboriginal people anywhere else in the bill.

It is much broader than what is—

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

We’re using “indigenous”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, “Indigenous peoples of Canada”. There’s nothing else in what is a broad bill that would address that. I’m passing that on to you.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

The definition is added to support the amendment that comes later to the preamble.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Could you repeat that, please?

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

The definition is added to support the amendment coming later to the preamble. There’s a further amendment later on.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

If it’s okay with Mr. Morrissey, I’ll read the ruling on LIB-3.

Amendment LIB-3 seeks to add a definition of Indigenous peoples of Canada in the interpretation clause. The expression is not used elsewhere in the bill or in other amendments, except in a proposed amendment to the preamble, LIB-69.
As House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states on page 773:
The interpretation clause of a bill is not the place to propose a substantive amendment to a bill unless other amendments have been adopted that would warrant amendments to the interpretation clause.
Regarding the amendment to the preamble, the same book states, on page 774:
In case of a bill that has been referred to committee after second reading, a substantive amendment to the preamble is admissible only if it is rendered necessary by amendments made to the bill.

(2010)

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Mr. Chair, based on that, I will withdraw it.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

If there is no further discussion, we will withdraw amendment LIB-3.

(Amendment withdrawn)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’ll move to the Green Party amendment, PV-1.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP):

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I first want to put on the record, although it was very polite of you to welcome me to the committee as though I enjoyed the invitation, the motion that was passed by this committee is identical to motions passed by every committee. It uses a backdoor method to deprive me of my rights that I would otherwise have at report stage.

I don’t hold any of you personally responsible for this. It’s top-down. It happened in the 41st Parliament and it happened again in this Parliament. It means that my only opportunity to present amendments is by coming here at clause-by-clause consideration, where my amendments are deemed to have been moved. I don’t have the right to exercise the rights I would otherwise have to put them forward at report stage.

I have to put that disclaimer on the record. I plan to continue to ask for these motions that were passed by every committee to be lifted at some point, because they operate in a way that is onerous and unfair to smaller parties.

In any case, the amendment I’m putting forward, Parti vert 1, deals with an issue that certainly you heard about in witness testimony. There is at this point the possibility, although I would admit it’s unlikely, that a Governor in Council will fail to appoint a minister responsible for this legislation.

In the definition section—and I come back to this in another part of the bill—I propose an amendment that allows for a backstop,so that if the Governor in Council hasn’t appointed a minister, the Minister of Justice will fill that role to ensure that there is a minister responsible for the implementation of this bill.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. May.

I’m just going to ask you to slow down a bit for the interpreters again.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

Shall I start over with the reason that I wish I wasn’t here?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

No, I think we’re okay.

Thank you.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

The amendment I’m putting forward deals with the fact that as a result of the way the bill is currently drafted, there’s a possibility that the Governor in Council doesn’t appoint a minister responsible for this future act. In point of fact, you can’t have legislation that requires the Governor in Council, that being the cabinet, to do anything.

There’s the expectation that a cabinet would appoint someone to be the minister responsible for this legislation for a barrier-free Canada, but nothing requires that there be a minister responsible. If cabinet, through some unusual fluke, did not appoint a minister, then my amendment, which right now appears in the definition section, is to achieve a backstop, so that there would always be a minister responsible if cabinet hadn’t acted to appoint one.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. May.

Is there any further discussion?

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will move on to the vote on clause 2. We just went through clause 2 and made some amendments. We have made two amendments to clause 2. We are now voting on clause 2 as amended.

(Clause 2 as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We are now moving on to clause 3. There were no amendments tabled on clause 3.

(Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’re almost there. My count is 237 clauses.

(On clause 5)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We now move on to clause 5 and amendment LIB-4.

Go ahead, Mr. Morrissey.

(2015)

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

This amendment, Mr. Chair, removes the word “progressive” from the clause. This is in response to stakeholder concerns that the use of “progressive” may lead to delayed implementation. This amendment makes clear a commitment to the goal of seeing a barrier-free Canada.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any discussion on LIB-4?

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We now move on to CPC-3. Is there any discussion on CPC-3?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We’re proposing that clause 5 be amended by replacing line 11 on page 3 with the following:

realization over a ten-year period, within the purview of matters coming within

The reason we’re suggesting this change is that we must include a specific year or period of time by which a Canada without barriers will be achieved, so it’s 10 years after coming into force.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall (Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, CPC):

Thank you.

Further to Ms. Falk’s comment, one of the things we saw in the bill was an overall lack of teeth in timelines and in reporting back. I think this amendment is speaking to that very subject. I certainly would like to see it included.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion?

Go ahead, Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle (Windsor—Tecumseh, NDP):

Just to note, Mr. Chair, that’s also my amendment, the next one, if that matters to any of you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Take that as you will.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-3?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Can we have a recorded vote?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Okay, we’ll have a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

As a result of the previous vote, NDP-1 cannot be moved as it’s identical to the previous amendment. That will be the same with CPC-4.

We now move to CPC-4.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

The amendment reads:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 5, be amended by adding after line 18 on page 3 the following:
(c.1) communication

We believe it’s essential to identify, remove and prevent barriers related to communication. The bill must be clarified to ensure that communication is addressed within each of the areas enumerated in clause 5 in a manner that complements existing legal obligations to accommodate persons with disabilities.

(2020)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

I want to be clear on CPC-4. If it is adopted, LIB-5 cannot be moved, for reasons of consistency.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-4?

(Amendment negatived)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We now move to LIB-5. If LIB-5 is adopted, CPC-5 cannot be moved because of a line conflict.

Is there any discussion on LIB-5?

Go ahead, Mr. Morrissey.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Mr. Chair, many members of the disability community came to the committee and identified accessibility and communication as a priority for their community. These amendments will strengthen the bill in those areas and deal with the concerns that were addressed to this committee during the testimony stage.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Morrissey.

Is there any further discussion on LIB-5?

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We adopted LIB-5, so CPC-5 cannot be moved; therefore, we are finished with clause 5.

(Clause 5 as amended agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We now move on to LIB-6.

Is there any discussion, Mr. Morrissey?

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Mr. Chair, this motion clarifies that communications does not include broadcasting or telecommunications.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion?

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(On clause 6)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We will move on to LIB-7. If LIB-7 is adopted, NDP-0.2, LIB-8 and PV-2 cannot be moved, because there is a line conflict.

Is there any discussion on LIB-7?

Go ahead, Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long (Saint John—Rothesay, Lib.):

Thank you, and thank you for stepping in tonight, Mr. Chair, on behalf of MP May.

Through amendment LIB-7, we would like to remove all reference to “abilities” within clause 6. I can read that if you like.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Does anybody need that read, or have you already read the amendment?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

That would be nice.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

It reads:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 6, be amended by
(a) replacing line 4 on page 4 with the following:
“of their disabilities;”
(b) replacing line 7 on page 4 with the following:
“wish to have regardless of their disabilities”
(c) replacing line 12 on page 4 with the following:
“disabilities;”
(d) replacing line 15 on page 4 with the following:
“desire, regardless of their disabilities; and”
(e) replacing line 17 on page 4 with the following:
“must take into account the disabilities of”

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I’m just wondering what the purpose is of taking out “abilities”.

(2025)

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We want the preamble to ensure that the focus of the bill remains on persons with disabilities. We think it’s clearer that way.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Thank you very much. I just want to point out that this is the same as the amendment I have proposed. One way to look at it is that when you have the words “abilities” and “disabilities” in there, it creates problems from a disability perspective in that somebody with no disability can, under the act, claim to be entitled to certain kinds of accommodations. It just makes it less clear when you say “abilities” and “disabilities”. In a disability act you just need to say “disability”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Can I, through you, ask James to provide us with a rationale?

I did speak with you and the minister, and this was brought up in our conversations regarding focusing on, as a whole, not just the disabilities but also the abilities of the individuals who are being helped through this bill. Could you provide us with a little bit of background on why the words “abilities” and “disabilities” were put into the bill?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

There’s a consistency issue with the definitions of “barrier” and “impairment” that have been adopted. This becomes far more consistent with the issue of defining “impairment”.

People with abilities, by definition, do not have an impairment. I would defer to the member who raised the previous comment that the legislation focuses on disabilities. I would also add that during testimony, both written and in person, there have been, I believe, concerns over issues around “ableism”, which I think is a cause for concern within the stakeholder community.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Mr. Chair, my question was about the thinking involved in having it in there in the beginning.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The intention from the very beginning was to be as inclusive as possible, recognizing a full range of abilities and disabilities, but as has been pointed out through witness testimony, that’s not necessary.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on amendment LIB-7?

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Mr. Chair, I want to suggest to you that amendment LIB-8 is still movable if we pass LIB-7. All we’re doing is adding paragraph 6(f) and substituting the language in LIB-7.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Long.

I think we can proceed with LIB-8. I think we could just do some work on the amendment. We’ll keep LIB-8 on the books right now and we’ll get through LIB-7 first.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Okay.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on LIB-7?

(Amendment agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’ll move on to LIB-8.

Mr. Long, is there any discussion?

(2030)

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

I’ll read it out.

I move that Bill C-81, in clause 6, be amended by replacing lines 15 to 20 on page 4 with the following: “desire, regardless of their abilities”—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Sorry, Mr. Long.

The issue is on LIB-8. Your goal in the previous LIB-7 was to remove the word “abilities”. It is still in LIB-8, which causes a bit of a conflict with your previous—

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We’ll strike “abilities”, right?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

It will be “structures must take into account the disabilities of persons”. Do you want to take out “the abilities and”?

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We want to make it “desire, regardless of their disabilities”, so we’ll take out “abilities or”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Right.

Mr. Long, we’re going to go to paragraph (e) as well. You have—

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Yes, it will be exactly as the other, except that we’re removing “abilities and”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I think we’re okay there.

Does everybody understand what we’re amending with the amendment, before we go too far?

We will suspend for a couple of minutes so the legislative clerks can take a peek at it. We’re in suspension.

(2030)

(2035)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’ll come back.

After some heated discussion with my legal counsel, I have proven them incorrect. No.

Mr. Long, we are able to vote on LIB-8 as is and they will make the change. It just makes it a little simpler.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Yes.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

If there is no further discussion on LIB-8, we’ll go to the vote.

Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Mr. Chair, I have a question for the mover of the motion. You’ve added on paragraph (f), right?

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Can you say that again?

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Paragraph (f) is added to clause 6. What is the difference between…is there any change related to this in the bill?

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

The reason for paragraph (f) is it ensures the highest level of accessibility prevails in the event there are two standards. To us it clarifies the language. It tightens it up.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Can you give me an example? I’m trying to understand the need. In the preamble itself, the point is made.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

There could be a conflict between provincial and federal standards. If it’s a ramp versus the lift, or what have you, this will ensure the highest level of accessibility would prevail. That came out of our conversation.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

But who defines that, and what does it mean? It’s not between federal and provincial. We’re just talking about federally regulated marketplaces where the provincial standards don’t matter.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We discussed this internally and we felt that this was the best language going forward.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

It may be that it’s good and needs to be there; just help me understand that. Is this clause changing anything in the bill?

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

It ensures the highest level of accessibility is the standard that’s used. It’s pretty straightforward.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Could you guys go one at a time and a little slower for our interpreters? I will give you the floor when it’s your turn.

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Mr. Chair, I’m trying to drive home the understanding behind the amendment. I think it should go without saying, but it doesn’t. Then does it get covered in the preamble? I’m just trying to understand why we’re adding this in here at this point in the bill. It feels as if we could add this in almost every clause, because that’s the point of the bill.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Mr. Long.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

I think I’ve said it, but the intention is to define that regulations need to be made to the highest standards. CASDO would be compelled to accept the highest standard if there’s a provincial or a federal standard. I think what we’re trying to do here is pretty clear.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Just to clarify, because I’m going to work with it—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Nuttall—

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Sorry about that, Mr. Chair. I’m a repeat offender at this point, and I’m probably going to continue to be.

What you’re trying to say is if there are multiple sets of standards governing any organization or sector of the marketplace or government building, the higher of those two standards needs to be enforced. Is that correct?

(2040)

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Yes.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

I think it can be more clearly defined than this.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Mr. Vaughan.

[Expand]

Mr. Adam Vaughan (Spadina—Fort York, Lib.):

I can give you an example as it relates to the building code. At one point the highest and best standard for elevators was to have Braille on the buttons. Since then, it’s Braille, and the audio announces floors.

In an evolving environment around universal design, with input from people’s lived experience, standards elevate—if I can use the elevator analogy again—and as they elevate, they’re saying if the newest, highest and best standard has two dimensions as opposed to a single dimension, that prevails.

The standard that constitutes accessibility in accommodation migrates to the highest possible standard at all times, and that’s the goal of the legislation. Instead of having to constantly revisit the standards and constantly detail the standards piece by piece and change by change, when a new benchmark is achieved, that is the new benchmark—

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

It essentially sets the bar higher.

[Expand]

Mr. Adam Vaughan:

—that it’s measured against. There’s no retroactive requirement, but if you’re putting in a new elevator and you say that’s the highest and best standard, that’s what we do.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Okay, Mr. Vaughan.

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Mr. Chair, I do completely understand why you’re being very definitive on who is speaking. It’s because when they’re doing the interpreting, we want to make sure it’s the right person saying the right thing.

On that, I’m 100% supportive of that measure and I can’t even vote, but I’m not sure that’s captured in this exact wording. If that is the intent, can we get wording that captures that intent?

It’s not very clearly communicated; maybe that’s a better way to describe it, or perhaps it’s just me.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Just one second.

Mr. Long, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

We’ve certainly batted this around our table, and we feel that the language is appropriate. We think it is clear, and I think we should vote on it as is.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Nuttall, do you mind if I ask the department officials?

Have you seen the discussion on that? Is there any input on the clarity of that clause?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

No, Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

Mr. Nuttall, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Without being combative, I’ll say that the mover had a difficult time explaining it, so it can’t be that clear. If he’s unable to actually explain it, then that makes it very difficult.

I do understand what they’re trying to achieve—and I support what they’re trying to achieve—but the language can’t be very clear if not even the mover can explain it.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Long, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

Chair, I think that’s an unfair comment. That’s just his interpretation. That’s just cause for further debate.

Again, let’s vote.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on LIB-8.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Because LIB-8 was carried, PV-2 cannot be moved due to conflict.

We move to CPC-6.

Mrs. Falk, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

The amendment reads:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 6, be amended by adding after line 20 on page 4 the following:
“(2) For greater certainty, in the event of any inconsistency between the provisions of this Act and the provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the provisions of that Act prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.”

We believe that Bill C-81 must clarify that nothing in the act lessens the existing human rights obligations of federally regulated entities under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and that where a conflict arises between the act and another law, the law that provides the greatest accessibility for persons with disabilities will apply.

As the bill is currently written, our fear is that the CTA and the CRTC—more so the CTA—would create standards that wouldn’t live up to the provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Even though the CTA could create standards that meet the low bar set by this legislation, it might not meet the high bar of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

(2045)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mrs. Falk.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-6?

Ms. Hardcastle, go ahead.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I’d also like to point out that this is the same substance as my amendment, which follows, and the theme is very similar to what we just dealt with. It means that in no way can already existing human rights be taken away, that they prevail, in terms of the discussion we had earlier. Nothing can supersede the Human Rights Act.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on CPC-6?

(Amendment negatived)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): NDP-0.3 is identical to the previous amendment, which was denied.

Ms. Hardcastle, go ahead.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Can I just have clarification? We don’t vote on mine when the two are the same. Is that right?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That’s correct.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Is there any way that we can still comment or come back to it?

I’m just asking for a suggestion. How would you suggest that we ensure language so that the Human Rights Act does prevail?

[Expand]

Mr. Adam Vaughan:

[Inaudible—Editor]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle: We don’t have that language right now.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

One at a time, Mr. Vaughan. One at a time, guys.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Okay, thanks.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

To answer that, it actually does do that. If you put it into this bill, you’re setting a precedent that it needs to be put into every single bill. It already does, in fact, do what it’s supposed to do.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

Mrs. Falk, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I don’t know if the clerks can answer this question, but could it be interpreted otherwise? If this isn’t in there, could that be interpreted that…?

Oh, sorry. It’s late.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’re not even halfway there.

Can the department shed some light on that at all?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

The Canadian Human Rights Act will prevail.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Even if it’s not…?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

It’s quasi-constitutional.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Okay.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much.

Okay. That is—

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

If I may add, Mr. Chair, when this bill was tabled, the Minister of Justice tabled a charter statement associated with the bill, and any of those issues would have been required to be flagged when that charter statement was submitted.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thanks, Mr. Van Raalte.

Now, we have made a couple of amendments to clause 6, so I’d like to call the vote on approving clause 6 as amended.

(Clause 6 as amended agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Mr. Ruimy, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Could we just group clauses 7, 8, 9 and 10, because they all stay the same?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy, would you allow the chair to do his job, please?

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

I’m sorry.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy, that is a fantastic idea.

Voices: Oh, oh!

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): May I get unanimous consent from the committee to apply the votes for the next four?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Clauses 7 to 10 inclusive agreed to)

(On clause 11)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Thank you, Mr. Ruimy. That was a fantastic idea.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

I’m just doing my job. I do the best I can.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We will now move to LIB-9.

Is there any discussion?

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Mr. Chair, this is simply consequential to the change made in LIB-4 dealing with removing “progressive”.

(2050)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any other discussion LIB-9?

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): On CPC-7, we have Mrs. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We are suggesting the following:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 11, be amended by replacing line 2 on page 6 with the following:
“tion of a Canada without barriers over a ten-year period.”

We would be adding in that timeline.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle, you were asking about what happens if this is passed or denied. Your next amendment is very similar. I would suggest, when you see it, maybe have your comments to that amendment that’s ahead of yours so you have the opportunity to do that. If you want to comment on that now, it would probably be your best opportunity.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

It’s a darn good idea.

Voices: Oh, oh!

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Hear, hear!

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Was that all?

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle: That’s it.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): You encapsulated it very well.

Mr. Dan Ruimy: Great job.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

This is going to be a long night if you give me free rein all the time.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-7?

Mrs. Falk, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

May we request a recorded vote, please?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’ll move to PV-3.

Ms. May, go ahead.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

Thanks, Mr. Chair.

This definitely has the same spirit to it as the CPC-7 amendment that was just defeated. As we heard from numerous witnesses and groups advocating for the rights of the disabled and calling for a barrier-free Canada, there is tremendous disappointment in this bill for its lack of timelines and for the notion of progressive realization of a Canada without barriers.

I’ll remind you of some of the testimony. As Dr. Paré, a contributor to the United Nations “Handbook for Parliamentarians”, mentioned, a term like “progressive realization” has its place in international law to facilitate consensus, but she says, “I find that reference to progressive realization is acceptable only if it is tied to a timeline or something else tangible. ”

Of course, David Lepofsky, from the AODA Alliance, has been very clear that progressive realization within this bill could mean that we don’t see a barrier-free Canada for a very long time.

My amendment here, PV-3, is to insert, under the mandate of the minister, after the proposed subsection on powers, new proposed subsections 11(3) and 11(4). This is to ensure that the minister must prepare a plan to set out these objectives, that the plan must be ready within 10 years after the section comes into force, and that the plan must be prepared within one year after the day on which the section comes into force.

Again, it creates a one-year timeline to develop objectives so that they are achieved within 10 years of the bill coming into force.

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thanks, Ms. May.

Mr. Nuttall, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Mr. Chair, I just have a question for the mover of the motion. Just to confirm, as of today, in what decade will we reach a barrier-free Canada?

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

This would depend on when the bill enters into force, but assuming it entered into force in 2019, the barrier-free Canada objectives should be met by 2028.

(2055)

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Without your amendment, is that still the case?

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

No.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Just to be clear, we don’t have a defined timeline on when we’re trying to reach the goals this bill is advocating.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

As it now stands—and this was one of the consistent criticisms of the legislation—there’s good intention but without a timeline. As I recall one comment, progressive realization of a barrier-free Canada could be one disability ramp installed somewhere in Canada once a year. That would get us a barrier-free Canada sometime in the next few centuries.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Maybe.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. May.

Mrs. Falk, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I just wanted to add for the record, too, that without having a timeline, how do we measure? How do we hold either the department or the government accountable, because there’s no way to measure that? We heard this countless times throughout testimony.

I think that it is so important, and we’ve heard from our stakeholders loud and clear that it is important to have timelines in this bill.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thanks, Mrs. Falk.

Mr. Diotte, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Yes, I would certainly concur with that. It’s a bit of an insult to all the people who testified here and called out for timelines that we wouldn’t adhere to such a very basic thing as to include a timeline when Canada would become accessible. It’s an absolute must.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

We actually heard quite a few different things. We heard different types of timelines. In speaking to Ms. May’s “progressive”, we’re actually removing the word “progressive” from “progressive realization”. We’re removing that anyway.

There was a lot of testimony that also spoke to an evolution to get to where we need to go, because it’s ongoing. That’s part of the challenge right now. Lots of people talked about timelines, but they weren’t specific, and they were for both sides.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle, go ahead.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I have to respectfully disagree with my honourable colleague. When people were presenting the idea of how this was going to evolve, it was because we know, just by the very nature of it, that there are going to be innovations and new ways in which we’re increasingly removing barriers to participation for people living with all these different abilities, and we’re going to find them. That was the whole point.

Without some kind of a timeline here, there’s no impetus for this to actually move forward. Unless there is an amendment coming from my colleagues on the governing side further on, this is our chance right now. Ten years is extremely reasonable to reach certain objectives or mile markers, and that’s what we need. For this bill to pass, to be tabled, we have to hit the ground running for certain markers to be hit by a certain timeline. Otherwise, we know what will happen—nothing. We’ll just keep moving without a deadline. The deadline doesn’t have to be a stop-dead, drop-dead deadline. This is a marker where you hit certain objectives and then you move forward from that.

I understand the conundrum about having realization, but if we use the word “realization” rather than “progressive realization” it still doesn’t do the job for us that we need, which is something that is more defined in terms of where we’re going to meet certain objectives in a certain period of time. This is a very reasonable period of time. A decade is very reasonable.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Nuttall, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I think there’s a fundamental issue here that I believe Ms. Ruimy has heard me talk about in a different committee, which is targets and goals and measurement. The problem right now is that, if it’s left as is, the only measurement we will have in place is actually the amount of money spent. If a plan doesn’t have a threshold, in terms of the timeline of when it should be achieved, it will keep going on for ever and ever.

I would actually ask my Liberal colleagues around this table to really consider this. Those measurements are not actually in place for you as Liberals. They’re in place for the Government of Canada. The Government of Canada can comprise many different iterations. We don’t know what the next government will look like, and we don’t know what the government after that will look like. In six years, it could be the Communist Party of Canada that could be forming the government.

At that point, maybe there won’t be a continuation of the good will that’s sitting in your caucus, but you do want that good will to be legislated so that work is actually continued. If it’s not going to be met and not going to be continued, then they should have to change it legislatively and then report back to the people of Canada and be held accountable for that change in direction. Right now, they could just walk away and not do anything, throw their hands in the air, and nothing will have been actually achieved. Then what was the purpose of the bill in the first place?

That’s actually the problem we’ve heard about from stakeholders over and over again. I wasn’t at committee the whole time, but I definitely met with quite a number of stakeholders who were all saying that there are just not enough teeth. There’s not enough detail. There’s not enough telling us when and how this is going to be instituted. There are not enough teeth to determine when and how everything that’s outlined in this bill is actually going to be achieved.

If it’s not 10 years, then when? I think that’s the question. If it’s unreasonable that the Green Party, the New Democrats and the Conservatives are all saying 10 years—if that’s not a reasonable thing to vote for—then how long is it? Is it 15, 20 or 100 years? What’s the number? There has to be one in order to ensure accountability, not just for this government but for every successive government in the future.

(2100)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thanks, Mr. Nuttall.

Ms. Young, go ahead.

[Expand]

Ms. Kate Young (London West, Lib.):

Thank you.

I just wanted to remind the committee of what Minister Qualtrough said when she appeared before the committee at the very beginning of this discussion. She was very concerned about setting timelines. One of the reasons is that if there’s a 10-year timeline, it tells people they don’t have to do anything for nine years.

The fact of the matter is that we want this to start immediately, once the law becomes enacted. Timelines should be part of the regulations, not part of legislation. I think that will determine any timelines moving forward.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Nuttall, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

I have a quick question for Ms. Young. Will your regulations then be brought back to Parliament, in order for us to vote on the timelines related to each of the regulatory changes that will be taking place?

[Expand]

Ms. Kate Young:

No, that would not—

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Then there’s no accountability.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. May, go ahead.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

I appreciate the chance to engage again, Mr. Chair.

In response to Kate’s points, that’s why I have a double-barrelled amendment here. The 10 years doesn’t hang out by itself in the abstract. It requires a plan prepared within one year. That plan speaks to achievables over time, with a 10-year deadline.

I don’t think it would be possible, without a great deal of political risk, for a minister to design a plan that didn’t start until year nine. You’d have to design a plan that’s going to meet that objective. It’s a 10-year objective. You have measurables that you’re going to develop for years one, two, three and so forth.

I think that is not uncommon in legislation at all. Otherwise, we have something just hanging out there that could fade into the background.

Waiting for regulations…. This is just one example, but Vanessa’s Law, which was passed in the last Parliament, still has no regulations attached to it. We’re waiting to make sure we’re reporting symptoms from pharmaceuticals that might be killing people. We still have no regulations, and it’s four years later.

I don’t want to wait for regulations. Honestly, I think members around this table could make a huge contribution to a barrier-free Canada by accepting my amendment, which is then reviewable by Parliament on a regular basis.

(2105)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. May.

Mr. Ruimy, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

I’d like to say a couple of things.

We heard from the Province of Ontario, which has a 10-year time limit. We heard directly from the witnesses that it was woefully inadequate. They’re nowhere close to being barrier-free.

Speaking to other specific timelines, we actually do have deadlines that we will be introducing as we move further down.

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Diotte, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Further to that, we heard from David Lepofsky, the chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance. Here are some quotes from him: “Timelines are needed…. [T]he bill is lacking an ultimate deadline for achieving full accessibility…. We need an end deadline. Without it, progress will be slower.”

Mr. Lepofsky goes on to say:

You’ve heard from many groups that have said we need that, and I don’t know if you’ve heard from any groups that said we don’t. The only person who’s come before this committee, I believe, to make a case against doing that, and correct me if I’m wrong, is Minister Qualtrough, who may have said, or someone may have said, “Well, we don’t have a timeline in the Criminal Code to be crime free.” It’s a wrong comparison.
We have a criminal code because we know that unfortunately in our society, there will always be violence and so on. We need laws to protect us when that happens. On the other hand, we can achieve full accessibility by a deadline if we set the deadline.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mr. Diotte.

Is there any further discussion on PV-3?

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk: Mr. Chair, can we have a recorded vote, please?

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 11 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 12)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We move to NDP-2.

Is there any discussion on NDP-2? Ms. Hardcastle, go ahead.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The amendment is proposed for the purpose of ensuring that there is independence for the entity created in the bill—reporting to Parliament, not to government.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. Hardcastle.

Is there any further discussion on NDP-2?

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 12 agreed to)

(On clause 13)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’re on lucky 13.

I feel like a bingo caller.

Voices: Oh, oh!

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): No one’s called bingo, though.

We now move to CPC-8.

Mrs. Falk, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

The amendment reads:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 13, be amended by adding after line 17 on page 6 the following:
“(2) Priority should be given to ensuring that any information, product or service that he or she provides is without barriers and that any document he or she creates is in an accessible format and in plain language.
(3) The Minister must not refuse any document that is in an accessible format or in plain language.”

Basically we’re requesting that the focus be on making all government documents accessible—documents coming to government and those available from government. I know we heard a lot, especially in terms of intellectual disabilities, with regard to having a simplicity of plain language and more accessibility for people with intellectual disabilities.

(2110)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mrs. Falk.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-8?

(Amendment negatived)

(Clauses 13 and 14 agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Yes, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Is it possible for us to take a quick break?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes.

Is everybody okay with a five-minute break? We’ve been at it for just over an hour. Is five minutes good with everybody?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Okay. We’ll suspend for five.

(2110)

(2125)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’ll come back.

I appreciate your finishing this bill during the break. It’s much appreciated. Thank you very much. Maybe we won’t have to stay until 11 o’clock tonight if you keep getting that work done. The stakeholders watching at home or listening here might actually be able to get to bed early tonight instead of having to stay up and listen to the proceedings.

(On clause 15)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We will go back to where we were. We will come back to CPC-9 in clause 15, line 21. Are there any comments on CPC-9?

Mr. Diotte, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Mr. Chair, the amendment reads:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 15, be amended by replacing line 21 on page 6 with the following:
“15 Subject to the Statistics Act, the Minister must collect,”

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Again, Ms. Hardcastle, this is identical to yours, which is next. Do you want to make a comment?

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Yes, “the Minister must collect”, and not “may collect”, is important.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. Hardcastle.

Are there any other comments on CPC-9?

Mr. Diotte, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

It’s not a comment, but I’d like a recorded vote on this.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Nuttall, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

I think this is on the same topic of accountability down the road.

We don’t have a timeline, and we don’t really have a plan for a timeline. The only thing we really have is information updates that tell us how well this is being implemented or not implemented.

It would require StatsCan because, out of the public sector, markets are going to be affected by this, so we want to know what the reporting is, how well they’re doing, etc. If there’s no mandatory trigger to pull that information out, I’m not sure how we’re going to stay on top of it, except for somebody saying somewhere that they think it’s in this place but they don’t actually have the data to back it up.

That, I think, is where the feeling was in terms of “must” versus “may”. And I don’t want “may” to equal 20 years. I want “must” to equal continuously.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Nuttall.

Mrs. Falk, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I also think that language will continue and maybe even accelerate culture change. I think changing the language to something that’s more accountable is going to send a strong message that this is something that must be done and will help influence that culture change for accessibility.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mrs. Falk.

Are there any other comments on CPC-9?

Mr. Ruimy, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

My understanding is that we can’t change “may” to “must”, because we can’t compel the agency or the Queen to do that. I think the folks at the other end can explain that, the “may” to “must”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Van Raalte, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The use of “may” is consistent with Westminster democracies, and it’s consistent with drafting. It is enabling legislation. But the decision is the choice of the committee.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Van Raalte.

A recorded vote has been requested.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): It is denied, and therefore NDP-2.1 is also denied, as it is identical.

We now move to CPC-9.1.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Mr. Chair, I have a question.

Mine was coming next, NDP-2.1.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That’s correct.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Can I change mine, then, to “shall” instead of “must”?

(2130)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Do you want to make an amendment to your amendment?

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Yes. That way we can try this again—with “shall”. This language is really important. I feel that we need to revisit this and get a grip again, because we’re losing some of the traction that we started building on.

Would you consider the word “shall”? That will be my amendment.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I’m sorry, Ms. Hardcastle, but the feeling from the clerk is that it is still the same amendment, so because it was voted on in the previous one, it cannot be brought back forward. You could have made the amendment to the CPC amendment, but because of how it works, once that was denied, the following one, which was identical, was denied. We cannot go back.

Does that explain it?

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Yes, it explains it.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

We now go to CPC-9.1. If CPC-9.1 is adopted, NDP-2.2 cannot be moved because of consistency.

Is there any discussion on CPC-9.1?

Mr. Diotte, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

The amendment reads:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 15, be amended by adding after line 23 on page 6 the following:
“(2) The Minister must elaborate a plan establishing the objectives to be reached in order to progressively realize a Canada without barriers over a ten-year period.
(3) The Minister must cause the plan to be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the report is completed.
(4) The Minister must, on a continuing basis, collect, analyse, interpret, publish and distribute information in relation to progress made in achieving a Canada without barriers.”

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Diotte.

Is there any further discussion on that?

Ms. Hardcastle, go ahead.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I just want to clarify this. Is my amendment coming forward at the same time, then? Are we working on them now? Is it too late for me to change mine now?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Are you asking to change your NDP-2.2?

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Yes, the one that’s the same as this one now, CPC-9.1. Mine is NDP-2.2.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

If CPC-9.1, which we are discussing now, is not passed, we will still go to NDP-2.2. However, if CPC-9.1 is passed, that will make yours basically passed as well.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Okay. Is there any—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We can get the will of the committee. If there’s a feeling that CPC-9.1 will not pass, then you can still make changes to yours, because we will be discussing it next.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Okay. Thank you for indulging me.

After that, I don’t know when the appropriate time to do this will be. At what point can I give notice that…? This is going to keep coming up. I want to use a different word than the one before.

If I give notice to you that I want to use the word “shall”—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

On several of your—

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Yes, for the ones that are coming up, will I have to deal with it in a group?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

May I make a suggestion, Ms. Hardcastle? Rather than do that, because we would be jumping back and forth…. The reason we’re in this predicament is that they’re so similar. I would suggest you make an amendment to the CPC or Liberal amendment before yours—

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Okay.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

—which is also what you’re dealing with. Try to get that done as part of the amendment that comes before yours.

The reason we’re in this predicament is that they’re very similar. If you try to amend the one before yours, that would address your problem.

(2135)

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Do mine always come after?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

It’s about whose were submitted first, and yours were submitted last.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Okay. Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

You’re welcome.

Is there any further discussion?

Mrs. Falk, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I want to add, on this amendment, that we believe it will help hold the minister accountable, so the minister would be establishing benchmarks for realizing a Canada without barriers, and the minister should establish timelines for meeting those benchmarks. An additional subsection would be added requiring the minister to collect, analyze, interpret, publish and distribute information regarding progress being made towards meeting those benchmarks.

It’s another opportunity to hold the minister accountable.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thanks, Mrs. Falk.

Mr. Nuttall, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

When we’re looking at all of these—because I think there are going to be quite a number of them and they are coming from multiple parties, in fact all parties except the Liberal Party—I think it’s important to answer the question why. Why do we want timelines? Why do we want accountability of the minister?

We would like accountability of the minister not just for some political gain or for some political purpose or any “gotcha” game in the House of Commons or in this committee. We want accountability for the same reason that all of us care so much about this bill, which is that it’s here to help Canadians who are living with disabilities be able to live a more fulsome life and have access to so many more things.

When we don’t have accountability, we know what happens. The problem is that when we don’t have accountability, the idea we’re trying to achieve will not be achieved. It’s not just some political game in the House of Parliament. It’s real people at home with real issues who are going to be affected by our not putting into place the right triggers, timelines and deadlines to ensure that there is accountability for what is happening on the ground across this country.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mr. Nuttall.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-9.1?

Ms. Hardcastle, is there an amendment you want to bring up on this one? I’m just trying to give you the opportunity in case this passes. It may not, but….

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I don’t know. I’m lost procedurally. I can’t amend mine; I have to amend the one that’s here before we know whether it passes or not.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That’s correct.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Okay.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I know it sounds confusing, but if this one is not passed, we will discuss your next one, NDP-2.2. However, if this….

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

But I won’t get to amend it.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

When we discuss it, you will.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Oh, I will get to amend mine if this one doesn’t pass. Okay.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That’s correct.

Mr. Diotte, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

I would like a recorded vote on this as well.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

Is there further discussion on CPC-9.1?

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): It is defeated, and therefore we go to NDP 2.2.

Is there any discussion?

Ms. Hardcastle, go ahead.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

May I make an amendment to this one, then?

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Yes.

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle: I would like to change the word to “shall”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That’s in proposed subclauses 15(2) and 15(3).

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Yes. I would like to change the word “must” to the word “shall”, in the hope that it will be more palatable to my colleagues across the way so that it will pass.

(2140)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. Hardcastle.

The concern with “shall” is that it’s ambiguous language. We have been using “may” or “must”.

Mr. Van Raalte, do you have any concerns with the word “shall” in place of “must”? We’re giving you a lot of “may”, “must” and “shall” tonight.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The current drafting protocol is “must” versus “may”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Where would “shall” come into that?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

It’s old. It is too ambiguous from an interpretation perspective, which is why the drafting has moved toward “may” versus “must”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

I think, then, the feeling would be that—

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

We’ve already given this a go with the word “must”. I’ll stand with my amendment with the word “shall”, and let’s see what happens—with a recorded vote, please.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Okay.

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

I have a point of clarification, because I do want to speak to the main motion. Are we on an amendment to change it to “shall” in the motion—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That’s correct.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

—or is it that the motion is the amendment to the clause right now?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’re going to be doing an amendment to the amendment.

Ms. Hardcastle will have to move an amendment to the amendment to change “must” to “shall”.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Can she not move it with “shall”?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Because it’s your amendment, Ms. Hardcastle, you can’t make the amendment unless we have unanimous consent to do that.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Okay.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

It won’t be an amendment to the amendment. Your amendment will now be “shall” instead of “must”. We will be doing one vote on that.

Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

I think she has moved the motion with the word “shall”. Is that what’s happened?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Right, but before we do that, we have to have unanimous consent to allow it to happen.

Do we have unanimous consent for Ms. Hardcastle to change the word in her amendment from “must” to “shall”?

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Yes. I’m agreeing.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I’m sorry. I thought you had a comment.

I need unanimous consent for that to happen. No?

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

We’ve already heard the reason that “shall” should not be used. That’s why I thought you were overruling that.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We are dealing with NDP-2.2, with the word “must” as part of the amendment. Is there any further discussion?

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Could I ask a question to Mr. Van Raalte?

In terms of timelines, obviously the broader picture wasn’t put into the bill. We’ve heard part of the explanation about that.

Is your staff open to any timelines that would provide accountability?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Mr. Chair, I think that’s a question better addressed to the minister. That’s a political question—

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

It’s a—

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

The public service loyally implements.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Mr. Van Raalte, is it your recommendation that there be timelines within the bill that provide an opportunity to understand how successful the private sector and public sector are being in achieving a barrier-free Canada?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Again, Mr. Chair, the role of the public service…. We have provided our advice to the minister and we will loyally implement.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Mr. Van Raalte, is it your recommendation, or has it been recommended by you and your staff, that there be timelines attached to the goals that this bill is trying to achieve?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Just a second, Mr. Nuttall.

Go ahead, Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Mr. Chair, on a point of order, he’s asked the same question, and they’ve answered. He’s asking it a third time. I don’t understand why we keep asking the same question and getting the same answer.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thanks, Mr. Ruimy.

I’ll let Mr. Van Raalte answer, and then we’ll go to Mr. Sangha.

(2145)

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

With respect, Mr. Chair, the advice that has been provided is a cabinet confidence.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

Go ahead, Mr. Sangha.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha (Brampton Centre, Lib.):

Mr. Chair, this is not the stage to ask questions. I think we are just delaying everything. We should be deciding whether amendments should be allowed or not, but not all these questions and then debating and delaying things. If we have to move forward, then we have to move forward with the facts, whether we are ready to accept them or not.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Sangha, to your question, the department officials are here specifically to answer questions from the committee members. That is what they are here for. If committee members have questions of the department on the amendments, they are more than welcome to ask those questions.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

Okay. It’s your ruling.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I want to respond to that through you, Mr. Chair, if allowed.

Our job is to make sure this is done to the best quality that it can be. Our opportunity to have wholesome debate should be allowed. I think we should respect where each side is coming from and allow debate to happen.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thanks, Ms. Falk.

Are there any other comments on NDP-2.2?

Seeing none, I will call the vote—

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Can we have a recorded vote, please?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Right—sorry. Ms. Hardcastle requested a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 15 agreed to)

(On clause 16)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We now move to LIB-9.1

Go ahead, Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

We heard quite a bit from stakeholders that the duty for the minister to collaborate with provinces and territories should be mandatory. In this case, the amendment is the following:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 16, be amended by replacing line 24 with the following:
“16 The Minister must make every reasonable effort to collaborate with provincial or territorial”

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thanks, Mr. Ruimy.

There are amendments from the CPC and the NDP that are very, very similar. If we approve LIB-9.1, those other two amendments will be moot. I’m assuming we will have a lot of support for LIB-9.1.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Let’s see.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Well, the mood may have changed.

(Amendment agreed to)

(Clause 16 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 17)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We move to amendment CPC-11 and Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We are suggesting that clause 17 be amended by deleting lines 4 and 5 on page 7. This would be amended to state that CASDO is an organization independent or at arm’s length from the government.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Hardcastle, your amendment NDP-3.1 is identical. Whatever happens with this one will also be with yours.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-11?

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Next is CPC-13.

Is there any discussion on CPC-13?

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

(2150)

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I move:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 17, be amended by adding after line 8 on page 7 the following:
“(4) The head office must be without barriers.”

It’s not mentioned at all in the bill that the CASDO head office should be accessible. We think it should be a building that has no barriers and is accessible to the people who would be using it.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on CPC-13?

Go ahead, Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

It’s actually already being addressed by ESDC policy. It’s not really for legislation.

That’s our comment.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Could you repeat that, Mr. Ruimy?

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

It’s already being addressed in ESDC policy. The head office must be barrier-free, and we don’t believe it should be in the legislation, because it’s already being addressed through a different policy.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion?

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Do you have the policy that you’re referring to? It will just really suck if it’s one of those things that gets overlooked and then it’s not even made accessible to the people on the CASDO board, hopefully two-thirds of which will be people with disabilities, right? That’s what we heard from stakeholders, so….

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Perhaps we can get a response from our trusty folks on the other end.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Could you comment, Mr. Van Raalte?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

We can get that policy for the committee. We’ll get it very quickly for you.

The Government of Canada, from an accommodations perspective, is bound by the building codes. We are, to the extent possible for the standards that are available, accessible.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Just to clarify, the CASDO building will just meet the current standards.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

That would be the minimum. The objective would be to exceed current standards where possible.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

I just want to point something out.

Whatever the percentage of the board is made up of, whatever accessibility or disabilities are there, it’s hard to say what’s going to be needed for that. Whatever those minimum standards are, they are already there. If you have somebody who is part of the board and for whatever reason the criteria are not met, they have to meet those criteria, or else that person’s not getting into the building.

Part of the challenge is that there are so many different types of disabilities, and you have to allow for an ongoing evolution. This is why we keep coming back to timelines. It’s an evolution. We’re finding out more and more the different types of disabilities that are out there.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Ms. Falk is next.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Interrupt me if I’m wrong—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

No, please don’t interrupt.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I’m sorry.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I’m trying to keep things—

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Correct me if I’m not hearing this right. What I’m hearing is that we have policy in place for this already.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

We have building code policy in place for Government of Canada institutions.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Okay.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

To clarify, right now that building code is based on the National Building Code, which is province by province.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Okay.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

In our setting in the national capital region, you can have buildings that reflect Quebec building codes and you can have buildings that reflect the Ontario Building Code. You can also have an older building that was built to the building code standard of the time, and until there’s a large renovation of that building, it isn’t captured.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

If the codes are good now the way they are, what are we doing with this legislation? I’m just a little bit confused. This is an opportunity for us to make sure this building is barrier free for people with disabilities, and if we’re just relying on the code that’s there now…. I’m just trying to understand what we’re doing.

(2155)

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

If I could give an example beyond the building code, which is the standard or example everybody relates to, my own office space within the accessibility secretariat goes beyond and has been assessed beyond building code issues. We have sound dampeners in the ceiling for people with cognitive disabilities. We have put in special rooms for people who have sensory impairments so that they can work in quiet. We have carpeting and contrasting wall colours for people with visual impairments. We have, from a leadership perspective, gone above and beyond the minimum standards. Those are built environment issues.

You may recall, Mr. Chair, that in my testimony a number of weeks ago, I also talked about issues that go beyond the building code, such as wayfinding and policies around allergies such as perfume and food allergies.

There’s a lot that goes into consideration when we are designing and working with spaces. Our colleagues in Public Service and Procurement Canada are helping the Government of Canada itself, from a leadership design perspective, to make sure those workplaces are in conformity with the building codes.

The important part from a go-forward perspective is that CASDO itself will be a regulated entity. Not only will it be recommending standards to the minister, but it will also be subject to those regulations going forward as the regulations evolve and improve.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

In the department’s opinion, does it do any harm to have it in the legislation that the head office must be without barriers?

I’m having a hard time grasping this, because I feel that’s very progressive. It’s making a statement. It’s actually even saying something to people within the disability community—that this is an expectation.

Is there a hindrance? Does the department feel or believe that having this in the legislation is a hindrance?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Van Raalte can respond.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Again, Mr. Chair, we will loyally implement.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

I’m really struggling. I don’t understand how the department that writes a bill doesn’t have an opinion, and in this case I don’t believe it would be an opinion involving cabinet confidence, because it’s an amendment that’s coming up on the floor of committee. It’s really hard to understand how the department that is going to be affected doesn’t have an opinion or doesn’t have anything to bring to the table on a certain subject.

In terms of this exact motion, I think one of the things I’m struggling with, after hearing the initial answer that James provided, is essentially that there are older buildings that basically comply with the building code without a significant renovation because it’s not a retroactive code and it’s on a go-forward basis. Does that mean that in dealing with an existing building, perhaps a historic building, it’s not mandatory to update to the standards of today, let alone to achieve what we’re telling the country we want and actually pushing the private sector across the country to implement?

It seems pretty basic to say that we’re creating a new organization and that this organization is going to enforce standards, and that the head office of that organization should live by those same standards. I think that’s just a case of practice what you preach.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Nuttall. I don’t know if that was a question.

Mr. Hogg is next.

(2200)

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg (South Surrey—White Rock, Lib.):

As I understand it, the principle is the same whether it’s in policy or legislation. I don’t want you you to interpret, but with respect to policy, what flexibility does that give us? I think we want to achieve the same thing. The principle, I think, is the same, as you’re trying to express it or as you are expressing it, in terms of being able to ensure that we accommodate anybody who’s going to be going into that building. I think that’s a principle you’re espousing.

Am I correct?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

That is correct, Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

Does having it in policy provide any more flexibility? Can the principle that is contained in it be achieved more rapidly through a policy perspective or through a legislative perspective?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

In practice, Mr. Chair, policies can always be updated much more quickly and have far more flexibility than in a legislative or even a regulatory perspective.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

You’re saying that if changes are occurring in terms of more effective responses to the needs of people with disabilities, a policy would allow you to adapt to those going forward, whereas legislation would require a change in legislation. Is that correct?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

That is correct, Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I just want to reply, through you, to my colleague across the way.

This particular line doesn’t have timelines. It doesn’t have anything that really is controversial at all. It’s just stating that the head office would be without barriers, so I really don’t understand what the push-back is to making the statement in the legislation that this is what it’s going to be. Then it’s in the legislation.

I could never see this in the foreseeable future needing to be amended, especially if the CASDO board has a minimum of 50% plus one members on it who have some type of disability. I’m really struggling to understand why this is such a complicated issue. We don’t have timelines, which we know aren’t happening. It’s literally just making a statement that the head office must be without barriers, and it literally sets a standard, because what happens if we do have an older building and it doesn’t need to be retrofitted, depending on building codes or whatever the case may be?

I’m just trying to understand.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. Falk.

Go ahead, Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

This is my two cents, and then I’m done with this one.

First of all, how do you even define what is barrier free? You want to put “barrier free” in legislation, but we don’t know what that means, because that definition is always changing, right?

The proper place for that to be is in the regulations. If somebody has, as James mentioned, an allergy to perfume, or a problem with wireless, and they have the electromagnetic piece, these things haven’t even come to the table yet.

If you’re putting in a statement that head office must be barrier free, what does that mean?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

That can be decided in the regulations.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

That’s why it’s in regulations.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Okay.

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

To be fair, Dan, you started this off by saying that this was already covered in ESDC, which basically was interpreted as building code—

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Yes—

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

—and now you’re saying, “Oh, it can actually be covered in regulation changes.” Before; it wasn’t needed; now, in the same conversation, you’re saying it can be put into regulation and let’s deal with it there.

At the start of this conversation, there was actually nothing to be dealt with.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

I said at the start of the conversation that it shouldn’t be in legislation. That’s what I said.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Right, and it’s already covered—

[Expand]

Mr. John Barlow:

Sorry, guys; speak one at a time.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Sorry.

You said it’s already covered by…I can’t remember—

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

ESDC policy.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

It was ESDC. Thank you.

I think the intent that the mover is trying to push here is that the space should constantly be at least at the standards of the day. Further, it scares me that the standards of today would not be retroactive to a historic building or an older building.

You’re basically saying that we’re going to leave it to the organization to go out and find the space and make sure it’s all done, but without delineating the goals in the legislation and then the actual details in the regulation.

The legislation outlines the broader picture, as you’re saying, and then the regulation you’re saying outlines the details, so it’s “Here’s the broader picture, and then come back with the details.”

(2205)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

I have nothing left to say.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on CPC-13?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Mr. Chair, can we have a recorded vote?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’ll have a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): The amendment is denied.

We’ll be hopeful that the CASDO building doesn’t just meet standards but is the trendsetter of those standards when it comes to accessibility.

All amendments to clause 17 were denied, so I will call the vote on clause 17 as is.

(Clause 17 agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Okay, we’re cooking with butter.

An hon. member: Is that good?

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): It’s very good for you. We have to support our dairy farmers.

(On clause 18)

On clause 18, if LIB-10 is adopted—just so we’re clear on this—then Green Party 4, CPC-14, and NDP-4 cannot be moved due to conflict. I want to make sure that’s clear before we move to LIB-10.

Are there any comments on LIB-10?

Mr. Morrissey, it’s your amendment.

[Expand]

Mr. Robert Morrissey:

Mr. Chair, this is a consequential change being made that reflects the changes made in LIB-4 and LIB-9, removing the word “progressive”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on LIB-10?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

If this passes, this will cancel out the next three consecutive—?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Since there’s a difference, are we able to debate?

There’s obviously no timeline in their amendment, and we have timelines here. Is that able to be—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

If it is adopted, I would suggest that you have that discussion to try to amend LIB-10 now, because I am guessing that LIB-10 will pass. I would suggest you try to amend LIB-10 with some of the concerns you may have.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I would like to suggest making an amendment.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Ms. May.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

The committee’s motion puts you in a rather difficult position. I haven’t raised it earlier tonight because I know you had to go very quickly, but the motion that compels me to be here also guarantees me an opportunity to speak to each of my amendments, which are deemed to have been tabled, whether or not they conflict with another member’s amendments.

If we’re on this point that Rosemarie has raised, I have a right to speak to my motion under the terms of that motion. I haven’t asserted it before tonight, because it’s a long night.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. May.

Yes, Ms. Falk?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

If I suggest an amendment, it needs unanimous consent, right?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

No, because we are on this amendment and you are not the mover.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

You just move an amendment to the amendment.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

You can try to amend LIB-10.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I suggest amending an amendment.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

It is a subamendment.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

The subamendment would be “tribute to the realization of a Canada within 10 years after the day on which this section comes into force of a Canada without”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Does everybody understand the subamendment?

Is there any further discussion on the subamendment?

Go ahead, Mr. Diotte.

(2210)

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

I would like to make that amendment so that Bill C-81 in clause 18 be amended by—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Diotte, we can only have one amendment at a time. There are some amendments on the table.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Okay.

Yes, it was the wrong amendment that she—

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

How about we go to Ms. Falk?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Can I withdraw it?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’ll withdraw that subamendment.

Give that another go, on what you’re trying to achieve here.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Can I just take a minute? Is that okay?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes. I know it’s late.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I think I’m ready. The subamendment would read “tribute to the realization, over a 10-year period, of a Canada without”.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Does everybody understand the subamendment?

We’ll call the subamendment to a vote.

Did you ask for a recorded vote?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Yes.

(Subamendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on LIB-10?

Seeing none, we’ll call the vote on LIB-10.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We now move to LIB-11.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

Excuse me, Mr. Chair; I’ve not been allowed to speak to amendment PV-4.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

My understanding is that it’s been deemed moved, and because it was part of the previous one and the way it has been changed, you…. No.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

That is a violation of the terms of the motion that compels me to be here. I have very limited rights in these circumstances, but if you review the motion you passed, I believe you’ll find that I have a right to speak to each amendment. Whether they conflict with others or not, they are deemed moved, and the only right I have is to be able to speak to them.

Now, if you want to take that position, I’m not in a position to challenge the chair, but you all passed this motion. I objected to it at the time. It’s onerous and unfair and it’s coercive, but the one thing I have is a right to speak to each of my amendments in clause-by-clause study.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. May. I appreciate that, and I will keep that in mind as we move forward. I know you have a few more. I will make sure that we give you the floor at the beginning when we start the discussion. Okay?

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

Okay.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Amendment LIB-11 is Mr. Long’s. Is there any discussion?

[Expand]

Mr. Wayne Long:

It’s a very minor grammar change. I’ll read it out:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 18, be amended by replacing, in the English version, line 11 on page 7 with the following:
“barriers through, among other things,”

That is as opposed to “barriers by”. We want to change that to “through”.

(2215)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Is there any further discussion on amendment LIB-11?

(Amendment agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We’re on amendment CPC-15. Is there any discussion?

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

It reads:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 18, be amended
(a) by replacing line 12 on page 7 with the following:
“(a) the development and revision of all accessibility stan-”
(b) by adding after line 25 on page 7 the following:
“(2) When developing accessibility standards in the areas of information and communication technologies or transportation, the Standards Organization must consult the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission or the Canadian Transportation Agency, as the case may be.”

The reasoning for this amendment is that the bill gives powers to more than one body to create accessibility requirements in many areas. The CTA and the CRTC have powers to enact accessibility standards in certain areas and the CASDO has powers to create proposed accessibility standards, which the federal government may enact into law. This creates a legally complex scheme. It may be difficult for the public to identify which accessibility requirements apply to which organizations. It risks creating inconsistent accessibility requirements.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. Falk.

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

I think this is actually what Mr. Long’s amendment was about earlier. It is that you have multiple regimes, multiple organizations overseeing a single idea of accessibility within a sector or a space and needing the ability to determine which one actually matters. I think the intent of the amendment that we passed earlier was that the greater of the two would be the one adopted.

Further to that, it would make sense that we conduct or force a conducted consultation throughout that process, because it is likely going to be very complex, but ignorance shouldn’t be an excuse at any point throughout this process. If there are multiple oversight mechanisms, then you do want the consultation taking place with those organizations that are going to be affected.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Nuttall.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-15?

Seeing none, I’ll call the vote.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I’d like a recorded vote, please.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We’ll have a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We now move on to CPC-16.

Is there any discussion on CPC-16?

Go ahead, Mrs. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

It reads:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 8, be amended by adding after line 25 on page 7 the following:
“(2) The Standards Organization must, within six months after the day on which this Act comes into force, develop and implement an education and information program for the dissemination of information to the public under paragraph (1)(e).”

I know we have heard testimony from many different witnesses about having some type of public education rolled out. I know that Mr. Christopher Sutton of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association mentioned it. We also had Ryerson University mention it. There were a few. I think it’s important that the opportunity for public education be rolled out to inform Canadians.

(2220)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mrs. Falk.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-16?

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Mr. Van Raalte, in terms of your implementation of this bill, what is your expected timeline for starting the education surrounding the legislation changes?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Thanks for the question, Mr. Chair.

The expectation is that the new organization would open its doors this summer. It’ll take about a year to stand up the organization in terms of infrastructure, getting staffed up and getting everything in place. It will be fully operational a year from this summer.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Then education would start when?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

The powers under the mandate of CASDO are stated in paragraphs 18(a) through 18(e). Once the bill becomes law, they will come into force. The infrastructure required—the hiring and getting the office all set up and so on—would be a year from this summer.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Then summer 2020 is when you would begin…?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

That’s when we would begin technical committees for standard development, information, sharing of best practices, innovation work on standards of the future.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

Ms. Falk, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I just want to follow up.

On October 22, in committee, Ms. Barbara Collier, the executive director of Communication Disabilities Access Canada said:

I just want to say that I was stressing the scope of the issue of communication access, but I think it’s very doable. Ninety per cent of what I am talking about is education, and I think we have the education resources that could be put in place. What we need is a standard stating that everyone needs training about how to communicate with people who communicate in different ways. It’s very doable.

I just want to emphasize that we heard from our stakeholders and our witnesses that public education is so important. I’m a little concerned, from what I’m interpreting and hearing from the department, that this public education might not happen for a year or so—a year and a half to two years. I think it’s important that we have some timelines in there, because two years from now is quite a while.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. Falk.

Are there any more comments on CPC-16?

Seeing none—

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I would like a recorded vote.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

I will call a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):: We now move to PV-5.

Go ahead, Ms. May.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

What this does to clause 18 is add a subclause. The amendment, PV-5, would ensure that there is some degree of a timeline attached to carrying out the mandate and reviewing an accessibility standard. The mandate of the Canadian accessibility standards development organization under paragraph 1(a) is the development and revision of accessibility standards. This amendment would have that accessibility standard reviewed within five years after the date it was implemented or on an earlier date if the minister so specified.

This is to ensure that as the accessibility standards are rolled out, they’re reviewed in a timely fashion to see how they’re working and if they’re meeting the needs of the of those for whom they are designed.

(2225)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Ms. May.

I need to be clear as well on PV-5. If it is adopted, CPC-17 and NDP-4.1 will not be moved due to consistency.

Is there any issue or any discussion on PV-5?

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I think I would very much like this amendment to be adopted. If we’re not going to put actual timelines in place to achieve something, then at least putting timelines in place to review accessibility makes sense. If we’re not going to put in timelines to achieve, hopefully we can have timelines to review, and maybe we can put timelines to achieve at that point.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mr. Nuttall.

Go ahead, Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I think this is a very important amendment if we are going to embrace the concept of a barrier-free Canada being something that evolves. We need to be responsive and we need a mechanism in place to ensure that we are responsive as we’re evolving, adjusting to best practices and learning and improving constantly, because there is no real end point to all of this. That point has been made on all sides of the committee table here tonight, and it is extremely important for us to respond to it.

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Ms. Hardcastle.

Is there any further discussion on PV-5?

Go ahead, Mr. Hogg.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

I’ll ask the experts. In terms of looking at policies, the implementation of policies and the issue of timelines, which has been pretty controversial as we’ve gone through this, what is the current practice with any legislation you receive in terms of the implementation processes that you follow?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

I’m not sure I understand the question, Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

The question is this: if there’s a piece of legislation that comes out that doesn’t have a hard timeline in it, how does the ministry respond to it? How do you carry out the principle? I think we all want to see this, as a principle, achieved as quickly as possible. If you don’t have a timeline, how do you manage that?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

I’m still not sure I understand the question, Mr. Chair, as it pertains to the proposed amendment. As it pertains to the proposed amendment, the Standards Council of Canada already has this requirement. Under the accreditation process, standards have to be reviewed every five years. That is a requirement. It’s already built in. By creating a new standards organization that will fall under the rules of the Standards Council of Canada, this review will already be occurring. I don’t want to overuse the word “standard”, but it is a standard practice. It is a requirement for the updating of standards.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Mr. Hogg.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

You’re saying that putting something in this would be redundant because you’re already bound to that with the standards that you have to comply with now.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Yes. Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Are there any further comments?

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

This is to officials and Mr. Van Raalte.

What legal status does the Standards Council of Canada have? We’re talking in a legislative frame. You mentioned earlier that the human rights code, of course, has quasi-constitutional status. There’s no statutory status to the council’s standards.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

It’s an accreditation standard.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

Then it’s voluntary and outside the laws of Parliament and could be violated without any recourse for parliamentarians to pursue.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

I believe that is correct, Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

Ms. Elizabeth May:

Thank you, Mr. Van Raalte.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Ms. May.

Is there any further discussion on PV-5?

(2230)

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We’d like a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We now move to CPC-17. Is there any discussion?

Ms. Falk, would you like to present the amendment?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

It reads:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 18, be amended by adding after line 25 on page 7 the following:
“(2) The Standards Organization must develop accessibility standards for every area referred to in paragraphs 5(a) to (g) no later than five years after the day on which this subsection comes into force.
(3) The Standards Organization must develop an action plan ranking in priority every area for which accessibility standards are required and provide the action plan to the Minister.
(4) The Standards Organization must update the action plan annually and provide the updated version to the Minister.
(5) The Standards Organization must review each accessibility standard every five years from the date on which it was established.”

Obviously we’ve been talking about timelines in this bill. We believe that it should include timelines by which CASDO must develop accessibility standards in employment, the built environment, information and communication technologies, the procurement of goods and services, the delivery of programs and services, and transportation five years after coming into force.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Ms. Falk.

Is there any discussion on CPC-17?

I should also mention, Ms. Hardcastle, that if this is adopted, NDP-4.1 will not be moved, for consistency. I believe they are very similar.

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Thank you.

Mr. Chair, through you to Mr. Van Raalte, are these requests in terms of standards likely to be achieved in any ways within the purview of what you’re hoping to achieve when you’re implementing the act?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

These are all within the purview of the proposed board of directors that would govern the standards development organization.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Nuttall.

Are there any further comments?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

We’d like a recorded vote, please.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, it’s a recorded vote. Thank you very much for your request.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We will now move to CPC-18.

Is there any discussion?

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

The amendment reads:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 18, be amended by adding after line 25 on page 7 the following:
“(2) In carrying out its mandate, the Standards Organization must exercise leadership at the national level by ensuring that any information, product or service it provides is without barriers and that any document it creates is in an accessible format and in plain language.
(3) The Standards Organization must not refuse any document that is in an accessible format or in plain language.”

Basically, as justification for this, I think this would just reiterate that CASDO must show leadership in terms of accessibility. Again, plain language and the ability of people with intellectual disabilities to access and understand should be part of the CASDO mandate.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Once again, we really believe that this should not be in legislation but is an area of policy, because it’s ever-changing. Documents are changing and the types of readers are changing all the time.

If you lock things into legislation, it’s a massive procedure to change it. We believe it belongs in policy.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Ruimy.

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I don’t believe that this is actually giving definite ways that literature could be accessible. I think it’s actually just stating that it will be accessible, however that may be, in plain language. We had heard from stakeholders that this was important because people with intellectual disabilities aren’t able to access the majority of information. I think having this in there is just setting a starting point.

This isn’t everything, right? This is literally just the starting point. The regulation can come in and be a little bit more definitive.

(2235)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Yes, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

I think it also applies to the regulations too, in the sense that when the regulations are put in place, they should be in easily understood language as well. It’s actually the point that maybe I didn’t do a great job of making earlier about the differing standards in different organizations. If I didn’t understand it and maybe everyone in this room didn’t understand it, then it’s not necessarily in plain language, which is one of the things we’re actually trying to tackle through this bill. It’s very ironic.

Putting this into the legislation would, therefore, define it going into the wording of the actual regulations.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Nuttall.

Go ahead, Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Again, just to respond to that, time and time again we heard that of all the pillars, the one that was missing was communications. That will be one of our amendments. We will be introducing a communication pillar, because we kept hearing that the pillar of communication was so critical. We will be introducing that through this long complicated process.

We have PDF documents that can’t be read through machine learning. The technology is always changing. That’s why, again, it’s a policy thing, not a legislation thing.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

I hear you and I totally hear you, but this doesn’t actually say anything about specific documents. It’s actually setting a clear policy, which is what this act is doing. It’s setting up a policy that the standards must reach a certain level—

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

You’re saying a policy.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

—just to even begin the writing of the actual standards.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Nuttall.

Go ahead, Mr. Sangha.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

Can I ask one question to James?

Does this timeline thing fall under the paragraph 117(1)(b), where the regulations will be framed?

We are just dealing with the act here and the regulations will be framed later on. All of these questions that are now coming with these motions are to be considered under the regulations.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The issues around accessible format and plain language would be addressed through standards development and then regulation. I would also point out again that from an operating policy perspective, the organization itself, CASDO, can get out ahead of that and set those requirements within their own bylaws, as set out in the legislation.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

Bylaws and regulations will be framed later on, when this act is already enacted.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

That is correct.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

My next comment to you, then, is that these motions that keep coming forward with all the timelines are redundant. They are not of any value because the regulations will be coming later on.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I don’t believe this is related to the current amendment that’s on the floor, which doesn’t have a timeline in it.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mr. Nuttall.

Mr. Sangha, we will be dealing with every amendment. If you’re trying to say that we shouldn’t be dealing with every amendment because in your opinion they’re redundant, that’s not going to happen. The amendments were submitted to the committee and the chair in a reasonable fashion. They will be addressed, every single one, as we go through the process. I hope that’s clear.

(2240)

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

Chair, I’m clear…but with all due respect, let me say it again. Regulations are made after the act is made. Regulations will be dealing with all these things that we are tackling here now.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That’s your opinion, Mr. Sangha. I appreciate that you’re free to make that your question.

Mr. Ramesh Sangha: Thank you.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Is there any further discussion on CPC-18?

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Mr. Van Raalte, maybe this seems redundant, but I’m not sure. As it stands today, would everything that’s done currently out of your department, and with the standards that would then be put in place regarding the construction of any of the regulations and standards going forward, all be done in plain language? Would they be all in an accessible format?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Thanks for the question, Mr. Chair.

I would have to say we make best efforts. We are still learning and evolving as we go in terms of the range of accessible formats that are available.

I can give an example. When we led the consultation process across the country that served to inform the development of the legislation, at each and every stop we learned from new barriers that we had not encountered before. We made best efforts. We adapted as quickly as we could. We incorporated those changes into the next stop so that we could bring down those barriers at the next consultation process.

It is an evolving learning process for us. We make accessible formats and plain language available to the best of our ability. We often get that wrong. The disability community will reach out to us and ask if something can be adjusted, and we make those changes.

I’m not sure I’m answering fully your question, Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

I do appreciate the answer.

As you were saying this, it struck me why it is I’m struggling with this so much. It’s because sometimes when the Liberal members are talking about how that’s a regulation and this is the act, I’m starting to buy into some of the things that are being said.

It actually takes me back. If I think about acts in previous governments, the transparency act clearly delineated what the expectations were of members of the government.

I’ll give you an example. If you serve as a cabinet minister, you can’t lobby five years thereafter. That wasn’t something that came in two years down the road when they figured out what they wanted to do. They set a clear and concise set of standards within the act itself. To sit here and say we’re scared that we can’t actually meet everybody’s barrier-free

We’re saying we don’t want to set a standard on anything in case we miss somebody; the reality is that when you take that approach, you miss everybody.

I am struggling with this. I’ve listened. I’ve listened to what you’ve said. I’ve listened to what other members have said. I get it. I 100% get what you’re trying to say. It’s going to be constantly moving, so if we try to peg it down, we’re going to miss people, as it’s constantly moving. New technologies are coming forth. New ideas are coming out. Universities and colleges are doing new studies that are providing new information. I get it, 100%.

However, if we don’t put the peg in somewhere—in here, and I actually do believe it’s the right place—then we don’t set the tone for the standards. That’s a difficult thing to swallow when it comes to accessibility.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Nuttall.

Go ahead, Mr. Ruimy.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

With respect, that was the point of creating CASDO in the first place. Their job is to create the standards and to work through policy and the departments. That’s what they’re doing. It’s not being left up to Parliament to create standards. You have a whole new board and a whole new framework, and their mandate is to continue to look at increasing the standards and moving the bar forward.

That’s the whole point of CASDO. They’re an entity on their own. That’s why the board will be made up of members of that community. We’ve been living this for a while now.

(2245)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Sangha is next.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

Chair, we are sitting here to legislate. We are legislators. As legislators we don’t have to think of all of the nitty-gritty because we have to leave something for the regulations and the bylaws to play with.

Our intention is to prepare the bill in the best possible way to serve the purpose for which we are sitting here. It is not to go deep into the things that other people are required to do, but we are trying to do that now. In that way, we are not serving the purpose of the bill.

I think it would be better to legislate the main parts of this act, not to legislate the subamendments that are required and later on will require changes from time to time. Our intention is to prepare the best possible legislation so it is applicable in a nice way.

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mr. Sangha.

I think all of us are here to do the best job we possibly can. I think we’ve heard tonight some discussions on what the framework looks like, what the baseline is, where we start. I think everybody put in about 80 amendments, so a lot of nitty-gritty things were brought by everyone. I think it’s important that we have that discussion. If we want to do this right, we’re going to go through them.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-18?

Go ahead, Mr. Nuttall.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Yes, Mr. Chair, I completely agree with what you just said. I think everyone wants the best piece of legislation possible. I don’t think anyone sitting around the table is saying they don’t want a good piece of legislation. We may disagree on what that looks like, but I think everyone wants the same thing.

I’m still struggling with plain language and accessible formatting. This is pretty basic.

There are two issues that somebody would have with this; number one, that it can’t be met; and number two, that it’s redundant. If it’s redundant, then it’s just as likely to be voted for as against. If it can’t be met, then that would be a sad day.

I’m struggling with…. We’re going to have many amendments coming forward to say we just want plain language. If we change the language to say that all communications going forward…that the organization be set up in plain language and in accessible format, does that do the deal? I’m trying to understand why it’s a no.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

You’re right that we all want to do what’s right, and different philosophies are on the table here.

On our side, this is why we’re creating CASDO. Their role is to create those standards, because they will always change. If we start putting things into legislation, the only time it gets changed is by Parliament having to make those changes, and that’s not a very nimble way to do it.

Part of CASDO is to make sure that disabled people are at the table, helping to make those decisions. That’s the whole point. If they’re at the table making those decisions, then those are the things that we should let…. That’s why we have CASDO. It’s because we want to put this together.

Again, we all agree on accessible documents, but the proper place for it is through policy, not through legislation, because it will always change.

(2250)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

Just as a tidbit, as something interesting, I just learned the other day that petitions can’t be submitted to the House of Commons on large paper with large print. It shows you how far we have to go.

I think what we’re trying to get is plain language and accessible format. I think those are important issues to talk about.

Go ahead, Mr. Sangha.

[Expand]

Mr. Ramesh Sangha:

This bill is giving certain powers to CASDO and other organizations. The bill is giving the powers, and those powers are to be used as and when they are required, so that’s the way we should be at this time. Yes, we are giving powers to someone, and what is the actual intention behind this? The minister has come here, and she has said everything about how she wants this act to go and what types of timelines she’s looking for. Let’s leave something further for the person to whom this act is giving the powers.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Mr. Sangha.

I would just say that this shouldn’t be about how the minister wants the legislation to go. That’s why this committee is here, and that’s why we hear testimony from witnesses. They have their feedback as well. That’s why this process is important.

I appreciate your input. Is there any further discussion on CPC-18?

Do we want a recorded vote?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

No.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

No? All right.

(Amendment negatived)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): We will go on to NDP-4.1.

Go ahead, Ms. Hardcastle.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.

Well, this is pretty self-explanatory. We’ve seen repetitively here tonight that good opportunities for substantive language have been defeated. I would plead with this committee to look at this once again. We have an opportunity to replace some of the superficial language with substantive language, and here’s an area where we can do that.

As a matter of fact, we have people here listening tonight who may be misled, even from the previous conversation, about CASDO. CASDO is only as strong as we allow it to be, and at this point, it is only going to be answerable to itself.

We have a great opportunity to begin looking at amendments coming forward as we turn the pages in the future, looking for ways that we can do something in a more substantive way. This is a repeat of a theme that we’ve already been seeing, but it’s something I think that we really have to look seriously at. That’s why the amendment is there.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you very much, Ms. Hardcastle.

The vote is on NDP-4.1.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Can I have a recorded vote, please?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

You may.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)

(Clause 18 as amended agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Look at the clock. We’re going to go to 11 o’clock. If I can indulge my colleagues to get through clauses 19 and 20, which should be fairly quick, that should get us to 11 o’clock.

Is everybody okay with that?

(2255)

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Mr. Chair, I know you need unanimous consent for this, but we are very into ensuring that this bill gets through, so we would move to extend past 11 p.m. if possible. However, I think we need unanimous consent to do that.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

We do.

We have a motion on the floor to…we don’t need it?

[Expand]

The Clerk of the Committee (Ms. Stephanie Feldman):

We don’t. We just need a motion.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

It’s just a motion. All right.

We have a motion to continue till midnight. Is there any discussion?

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Yes, absolutely. Let’s go.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Okay.

All those in favour of continuing till midnight? Opposed?

(Motion agreed to)

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

Can you fall asleep here, though?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Absolutely.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

Can we have a motion to that effect?

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Yes.

Mr. Gordie Hogg: Does it have to be in policy or not?

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Should we have asked the staff?

Voices: Yes.

Mr. Dan Ruimy: They’re okay with staying?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

They’re in with us.

Okay, we’re moving on to CPC-19.

Is there any discussion on CPC-19?

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

Yes, Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Mr. Diotte.

[Expand]

Mr. Kerry Diotte:

The motion reads:

That Bill C-81, in Clause 19, be amended by deleting lines 15 to 17 on page 8.

Basically it’s removing power for the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization to charge fees.

I think charging fees is wrong. It’s the wrong way to try to generate revenue. Any accessibility standard that CASDO develops should always be made available to the public for free. I don’t think charging a fee is in anybody’s best interest. This fee will actually be a barrier for people with disabilities who want to get a copy and spread the word to other people with disabilities.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Just before I get to Mr. Ruimy, I have a couple of quick housekeeping notes for our audience and viewers. The sign language interpreters will not be able to stay until midnight. Just so those of you who are in the audience are aware, the sign language option will cease before midnight.

[Expand]

The Clerk:

We’ll do it after the meeting in post-production.

[Expand]

Mr. Alexander Nuttall:

Mr. Chair, I think then that we should vote not to extend, to undo our vote.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

That’s a good point. In fairness, we didn’t know that at the time. I would entertain a motion to end at 11 p.m. or when we’re done with clauses 19 and 20.

Is that okay with everybody?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Okay. Thank you for bringing that to our attention.

Also, I just wanted to mention to Ms. Hardcastle that if CPC-19 is carried…yours is identical, so you may want to speak to this one now. If this is approved, yours will not be brought to the table. They’re identical.

Does it make sense?

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

If it’s approved, I’m going to miss out on my opportunity to speak on it. Is that what you’re saying?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

You can speak on it now, because they’re identical. That is what I’m saying.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

Okay, thanks.

It seems to be counterintuitive to the spirit, intent and purpose of this historical legislation to charge a fee for any accessibility standard that it develops or revises and for any information, product or service that it provides under this act.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Ms. Hardcastle.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-19?

Go ahead, Mr. Ruimy. Sorry.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

That’s okay. The other chair likes to ignore me too.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

So do your friends.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Yes, so do my friends.

An hon. member: Not me, Dan.

Mr. Dan Ruimy: I’d like to ask the good folks on the other end to actually go into why CASDO would be charging a fee. Could you explain that a little bit more for us, please?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Thank you for the question, Mr. Chair.

This provision would allow CASDO to charge fees for its efforts. There will be limited resources in terms of standards development. Another organization, whether it be a province, territory or municipality or whether it be from the private sector, could ask CASDO to take on extra standards development work, and they would be able to charge back to that organization for that work.

(2300)

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

This is specifically to organizations that will come to CASDO and say, “Hey, can you develop this policy for us?” or ”Can you develop a standard for us?” In essence, it’s contracting out its services.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

It would be above and beyond its regular workload.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Okay. It’s above and beyond its regular workload. Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Thank you, Mr. Chair. If there’s a way to make that distinction in the legislation….

We heard from many of the witnesses that many people who have disabilities live in poverty or have very limited income. If there is somebody who has disability who wants to access this, this would be a barrier preventing them from accessing it, because who’s to say they have extra money lying around to pay for paper?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

We’ll go to Mr. Hogg first.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

As I heard the explanation, nobody with a disability would be approaching this; these are done through organizations. Is that correct, Mr. Van Raalte?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

I’m just going to take a moment to consult, if I may, Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

I’m sorry.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

I apologize for the delay, Mr. Chair. I just needed to confirm, and I would direct the committee’s attention to “Other powers”, clause 20. It says this work can be done for:

any person or entity, including any government in Canada or elsewhere.

The point I would make is that once the standard is adopted into regulation, then it is a free good and it’s made public to anybody who may need or want to use it.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you.

Mr. Ruimy, are you happy with that answer?

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

I’m kind of happy with that answer. Are you?

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Does that include non-profits having access?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

To the regulation? It would.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

Would there ever be an instance of a non-profit needing to request something and having to pay?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

If any organization wishes the standards development organization to undertake work above and beyond its regular business, this provides the flexibility for the standards organization to charge for that. It’s flexibility. It’s a “may”.

The board of directors could set policies about who it would charge for what.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Are you okay?

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I’m collecting my thoughts, so go ahead.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Mr. Ruimy, go ahead.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Just to clarify, because I think this is where you might be going, CASDO will create the standards, but it’s not incumbent upon them to print and give out the material to people—or is it? Will I be able to call CASDO and say, “I’m this organization. Give me 500 copies of the standards act”, for example?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Ideally, Mr. Chair, the standard would be published. It would be online, so people would be able to access it.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

I don’t understand. I don’t care what the organization is; if they’re trying to remove barriers or be an active part of a barrier-free Canada, why would we put a fee in their place to do that? We just heard that we’re legislating and we’re leaving regulations up to CASDO. They’re not going to be independent and they’re going to be answerable to the government, and now they’re going to charge a fee? It’s counterintuitive to every other argument you’ve made earlier tonight.

(2305)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thanks, Ms. Hardcastle.

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

CASDO is technically going to be a specialty board where people with lived disabilities, who’ve experienced it, are going to be writing regulations and standards and that type of thing.

If there’s a non-profit in a small town somewhere in northern Saskatchewan, for example, and they want to reach out to this…. We did hear that 40% of indigenous people have a disability. If we have a non-profit that is there, helping, trying to do good with limited resources, they technically, theoretically, would not be able to tap in to have CASDO make something for them, because there will be a fee associated with it.

Is there going to be any give with that? It just seems that this is another barrier, except it’s a monetary barrier, not just a physical one. It’s counterintuitive to this bill.

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Again, Mr. Chair, it’s permissive. CASDO will set its priorities in consultation with the minister. It will follow out those priorities.

The challenge will be that it can’t be working on everything for everybody at the same time.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Van Raalte.

Mr. Ruimy is next.

[Expand]

Mr. Dan Ruimy:

Could you maybe give us an example of who would pay for something? Just give me an example. If I am an organization and I go online and you have the resources, I can download those resources for free. What would be a situation in which you would charge me to do something? What would be an example?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

Off the top of my head, Mr. Chair, an area of technology that is very important to everybody is point-of-sale machines. We access those in businesses, we use them in banks. You use your debit card or your credit card.

Many different governments and jurisdictions have a role to play in the regulation of point-of-sale machines. You may have leadership from Canadian banks that says, “We want to get out from under all the red tape of the different regulators and we want CASDO to give priority to us so that we can offer our citizens and our clients accessible point-of-sale machines. We don’t want to wait for the next round of standards, because you’re developing standard one and standard two. We want CASDO to develop the standards on those point-of-sale machines.”

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Ruimy.

Go ahead, Ms. Falk.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

It just sounds as though there are a lot of things left to the assumption that they are going to be done, and we all know the saying with assumption, right? It’s really going to suck if 10 years down the road the stuff that’s being debated here today and tomorrow doesn’t get done or is overlooked.

I would really just plead with this committee that we don’t leave it all up to discretion and presumption, because we heard from the disability community about how they have been waiting and waiting. They have never had a voice at the table and they finally do, and it’s going to be a real shame if we leave everything on presumption.

[Expand]

Ms. Cheryl Hardcastle:

We heard from the financial service community actually, and not to put you on the spot, Mr. Van Raalte, but they have the impetus to develop their services and not wait for CASDO. They told us that they are trail-blazing and they are innovating.

I don’t see how allowing an opportunity for a fee is not going to translate to another barrier or another insurmountable object that an organization or a community advocating for the rights of people living with disabilities is going to have to overcome, when there are already so many other things they have to overcome.

It’s evident with this legislation they’ve been waiting for that there are no teeth and no enforcement. We just heard that it’s going to be up to a discussion or rapport with a minister, not even the transparency and the accountability that we anticipated.

(2310)

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thanks, Ms. Hardcastle.

Go ahead, Mr. Hogg.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

More than 50% of the CASDO board is made up of with disabilities, so they’re the face and the voice of making some of these decisions. If we’re looking at the continuum, when a person with disabilities is applying for something, I think it’s pretty clear that those people would not have to be charged. At the other end of it, if it’s Canadian Tire or some big international corporation asking for a whole bunch of things, there is that level of discretion.

I think there is a long continuum there. Some judgments have to be made with respect to that. I think in those instances, the principle of those people in need…. Am I interpreting this correctly in terms of the range?

[Expand]

Mr. James Van Raalte:

I believe you are, Mr. Chair.

[Expand]

Mr. Gordie Hogg:

Thank you.

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

Thank you, Mr. Hogg.

Is there any further discussion on CPC-19?

Seeing none, I will call the vote.

[Expand]

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:

I would like a recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 3 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Expand]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow):

There are no amendments to clause 19. We’ll vote on it as it is.

(Clause 19 agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): Can I ask that we do clause 20 very quickly, as there are no amendments tabled?

(Clause 20 agreed to)

The Vice-Chair (Mr. John Barlow): It is now a quarter after 11. We will now end the meeting this evening and reconvene tomorrow at 8 a.m.

The meeting is adjourned.



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