The Accessible BC Act Needs Teeth

Updated: Jul 17, 2021


What the Accessible British Columbia Act needs, writes Paul Caune, is some grizzly bear teeth


By Paul Caune

Executive Director, Civil Rights Now!

Producer, Hope is Not a Plan


May 25th, 2021


The BC NDP government's proposed Accessible British Columbia Act (ABCA) (Bill 6) will not remove the barriers that prevent disabled Canadian citizens from the full and equal participation in their society.


Why?


In the analysis of Andrew Robb, the staff lawyer at Disability Alliance B.C., and Isabel Grant, a professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, at UBC:


“The biggest problem with Bill 6 is its lack of enforcement. There is no complaint mechanism requiring the government to respond to violations of standards. Impacted individuals may complain to the organization responsible for the violation, but there is no process for independent investigation. The government may hire inspectors to monitor compliance with accessibility standards, but without a complaint mechanism, how will inspectors know what to inspect?”


If disabled citizens can't use the ABCA to force the most powerful public, private and not-for-profit organizations in BC to be obey the ABCA, it's useless. When your civil rights are violated you need a shark, not a hug from a wanker wearing a pink T-shirt.


If disabled citizens can't use the ABCA to force the most powerful public, private and not-for-profit organizations in BC to be obey the ABCA, it's useless

Let's compare the proposed ABCA with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.


As reported in the Baltimore Sun (Dec. 16, 2020):


The Maryland Board of Public Works approved Wednesday a $360,000 settlement to a group of six inmates who alleged in a lawsuit that the state prison system failed to provide necessary accommodations to prisoners with disabilities.


The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore last year, alleged a culture of noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and a pattern of discrimination impacting inmates with disabilities...


Officials have since taken “substantial measures to address ADA accessibility” at Dorsey Run Correctional Facility, said Latoya Gray, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, in a statement.


The department has tripled the amount of ADA-compliant housing space and reduced the number of bunks in each dormitory, Gray said. In addition, bunks designated for people with disabilities have been fitted with rails.”