Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


The New Brunswick legislature in Fredericton. Image: Brad Perry

N.B. introduces first accessibility legislation

By Brad Perry May 17, 2024 | 1:53 PM

It is being described by some disability advocates as a historic day for New Brunswick.

On Friday, the province unveiled the Accessibility Act, its first piece of accessibility legislation.

Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Greg Turner unveiled the details during a news conference.

Turner said the bill affirms New Brunswick’s commitment to implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“This new legislation will establish requirements for the development and implementation of accessibility standards regulations that have a broad application in the public and private sectors,” Turner told reporters.

“The goal behind the legislation is simple: to create the conditions for full and effective participation in society for all by focusing on identifying, removing and preventing barriers.”

The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour will be responsible for the administration of the act, including a renewable five-year strategic plan.

It would be supported by an accessibility board, comprised of up to 12 appointed members who have lived experience, and an accessibility office.

The accessibility office will have a role to play in education and capacity building, receiving and investigating complaints, and working on compliance and enforcement.

Accessibility standards regulations would be created in several areas, including: government services; transportation; education; employment; “built environment” such as trails, parks and beaches; housing; information and communications; and sports and recreation.

Haley Flaro is the executive director of Ability New Brunswick, a community-based non-profit advocacy group.

Flaro said this proposed legislation is the foundation to making accessibility a priority in our province.

“This province has the second-highest rate of disability in Canada, so it is essential that New Brunswick place an accessibility lens on public policy,” Flaro said in a news release.

Turner said the introduction of the Accessibility Act follows several years of consultation and is in response to a recommendation in the 2020-2025 Disability Action Plan.

A select committee on accessibility was created, which heard from several different stakeholders and issued an interim report in December 2022.

One year later, in December 2023, the provincial government released a framework of accessibility legislation.

It is expected the accessibility office would be established by the end of August, a minister’s five-year strategic plan would be released by next spring, and public sector accessibility plans would be established by the end of 2025.