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Report of the committee

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its


Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, has, in obedience to the order of reference of March 21, 2019, examined the said bill and now reports the same with the following amendments:

1. Preamble, page 1: Replace line 15 with the following:

“bility without delay complements the rights of persons with disabil-”.

2. Clause 5, page 3: Replace line 13 with the following:

“ers, on or before January 1, 2040, particularly by the identification and removal of bar-”.

3. Clause 5.1, page 4: Replace lines 1 to 5 with the following:

5.1 (1) The area of communication referred to in paragraph 5(c.1)

(a) includes the use of American Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language and Indigenous sign languages; and

(b) does not include broadcasting as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Broadcasting Act or telecommunications as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Telecommunications Act.

(2) American Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language and Indigenous sign languages are recognized as the primary languages for communication by deaf persons in Canada.”.

4. New clause 5.2, page 4: Add the following after line 5:

5.2 Nothing in this Act, including its purpose of the realization of a Canada without barriers, should be construed as requiring or authorizing any delay in the removal of barriers or the implementation of measures to prevent new barriers as soon as is reasonably possible.”.

5. Clause 6, page 4:

(aReplace lines 12 to 14 with the following:

“wish to have regardless of their disabilities;”; and

(breplace lines 22 to 26 with the following:

“must take into account the disabilities of persons, the different ways that persons interact with their environments and the multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization and discrimination faced by persons;

(f) persons with disabilities must be involved in the development and design of laws, policies, programs, services and structures; and

(g) the development and revision of accessibility stan-”.

6. Clause 11, page 6: Replace line 6 with the following:

“Canada without barriers on or before January 1, 2040.”.

7. Clause 18, page 7: Replace line 14 with the following:

“tribute to the realization of a Canada without barriers, on or before January 1, 2040,”.

8. Clause 94, page 54:

(a)  Replace lines 9 to 17 with the following:

(4) An individual is not entitled to file a complaint in re-”; and

(breplace line 22 with the following:

(5) The Accessibility Commissioner must cause a written”.

9. New clause 121.1, page 67: Add the following after line 21 :

121.1 For greater certainty, nothing in any provision of this Act or the regulations limits a regulated entity’s duty to accommodate under any other Act of Parliament.”.

10. Clause 143, page 77: Replace line 10 with the following:

“subsection 94(5), 96(1), 100(2), 101(2) or 103(3), the Ac-”.

11. Clause 172, pages 88 to 91:

(aOn page 88, replace line 37 with the following:

172 Section 172 of the Act is replaced by”;

(bon page 89,

(i) replace lines 3 to 12 with the following:

(2) On determining that there is an undue barrier to the”, and

(ii) replace lines 34 and 35 with the following:

(3) If the Agency is satisfied that regulations made under subsection 170(1) that are applicable in relation to a matter have been complied with or have not been contravened, the Agency may determine that there is an undue barrier in relation to that matter but if it does so, it may only require the taking of appropriate corrective measures.”;

(c on page 90, replace line 25 with the following:

172.2 (1) For the purpose of paragraphs 172(2)(d) and”;

(don page 91, replace line 5 with the following:

“graphs 172(2)(b) and (c) and 172.1(2)(b) and (c) may in-”; and

(erenumber the remaining clauses and amend all references to them accordingly.

Your committee has also made certain observations, which are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,


Deputy Chair


to the thirty-fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (Bill C-81)

Federal Contracts:

Your committee heard concerns that despite this legislation, federal funding may continue to be spent on projects that do not always meet accessibility standards. Therefore, we encourage the federal government to ensure that when public money is spent or transferred, the funding should never be used to create or perpetuate disability-related barriers when it is reasonable to expect that such barriers can be avoided.


Your committee is concerned that while the goal of this legislation is to prevent, identify and remove disability-related barriers, this legislation does not sufficiently emphasize how important the education and training of front-line personnel is in accomplishing that end. Your committee strongly encourages the government to create standardized, effective training that will ensure that all persons in Canada can expect the same level of access to all government services.