Launching the Accessibility Strategy – What’s Next?

June 7, 2019

What a week it was! The Government of Canada’s work to become the most accessible and inclusive workplace in the world was recognized and celebrated in a series of events with which I was thrilled to be involved.

Sunday, May 26 marked the beginning of National AccessAbility Week 2019. So on Monday, May 27, the timing was perfect to celebrate the launch of Nothing Without Us: An Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada. Guided by the principles in the proposed Accessible Canada Act and informed by extensive consultations, the strategy aims to prepare the public service to lead by example and become a model of accessibility in Canada and abroad. The goal of the strategy is to transform the culture of the public service from one that views accessibility as an obligation to accommodate individuals with “special needs” to one that creates the environment in which everyone can contribute to their full potential.

The launch event for the Strategy was held at Library and Archives Canada and featured speakers who shared their inspirational words and experiences. I was delighted to share the stage with Minister Qualtrough, our Parliamentary Secretary Greg Fergus, and the Clerk of the Privy Council, Ian Shugart. There was also the opportunity for all of us to visit informative kiosks and learn about various accessibility initiatives across the federal government.

Close on the heels of the launch event was the Open Government Partnership (OGP) 2019 Global Summit, which took place in Ottawa from May 29 to 31. I was very proud to participate in this event, which brought together participating OGP countries and Canadians as part of Canada’s 2018-20 National Action Plan on Open Government. I took part in a lively panel discussion titled, “Releasing Constraints to Participation: Designing an Accessible Open Government” on Thursday, May 30, which focused on how accessibility and inclusion can strengthen Open Government. We learned how governments, civil society and companies around the world are investing in openness and accessibility by design to better understand and meet the expectations of an increasingly diverse, mobile and interconnected global population.

Next up for me is a trip to the United Nations in New York City on June 10 to participate in the 12th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This is a chance to learn from leaders in accessibility and inclusion from around the world and to share what the Government of Canada is doing to remove barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities.

I welcome your questions and feedback on these efforts, and I encourage you to share any thoughts here, or follow our conversation on social media by using #LetsTalkAccessibility. You can also learn more about accessibility in the public service, including the accessibility strategy, on our AccessibleGC website.

Yazmine Laroche

Yazmine Laroche
Deputy Minister of Public Service Accessibility and DM Champion for employees with disabilities

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