I am so pleased to share my first blog post with you, and hope that you will be just as excited as I am about the Government of Canada’s work on accessibility and inclusion! With National AccessAbility Awareness Week beginning on Sunday, May 26, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to launch Nothing Without Us: An Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada in a special showcase event on Monday, May 27.
What better time to celebrate the government’s efforts than during a week specifically devoted to accessibility? What better time than this to highlight the government’s commitment to lead by example in building an accessible and inclusive workplace?
Since last summer, when the Office of Public Service Accessibility at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat was established, we have consulted extensively with public servants and disability stakeholders to guide the government’s work on accessibility. I am proud to say that we received input from over 7,000 individuals and groups across Canada. Above all, this consultation demonstrated the need for a culture shift in the federal public service that allows all employees to feel a sense of belonging in their workspace. And our Accessibility Strategy is fundamentally about fostering such inclusion. Indeed, the title of the strategy, Nothing Without Us, reflects the importance of having people who have personally experienced living with disability at the centre of the Government of Canada’s accessibility and inclusion efforts.
This work extends nationwide, and supports work to make governments more inclusive, responsive and accountable. In a happy coincidence, next week Ottawa is playing host to the 2019 Open Government Partnership Summit and nearly 2,000 international government officials and Canadians. As the current chair of the Open Government Partnership, which brings together government reformers and civil society leaders, the Government of Canada is advancing the fundamental principles of openness, transparency and inclusion.
This is just the beginning of a journey. Watch this space as I am committed to providing you with ongoing updates as actions outlined in the strategy are taken by government departments and agencies. I welcome your questions and feedback on our efforts, and encourage you to email us at: Accessibility.Accessibilite@tbs-sct.gc.ca.