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Issue 34 | June 2023

Manitoba Access Awareness Week (MAAW) Celebrations Continue

Originally recognized in the 1980s, Manitoba Access Awareness Week (MAAW) is celebrated annually each June. This weeklong awareness celebration promotes accessibility and inclusion. It also acknowledges the people who are working to prevent, identify and remove barriers to accessibility, while also raising awareness about accessibility issues within the province that affect people with disabilities and many others.

The 2023 celebrations run from May 28 to June 3. Nearly every Manitoban either has a disability, knows someone with a disability, or will develop a disability at some point in their life. People with disabilities come from all social, economic and educational backgrounds. A disability can occur at any stage of life and may be temporary or permanent. Removing barriers benefits all Manitobans.

It’s not too late to join us for our free webinar in celebration of Manitoba Access Awareness Week

Webinar Details: Reducing Barriers to Web Accessible Information and Communications

Date: June 1, 2023

Time: 1:00 – 3 pm

Location: Virtual via Zoom


Andrew Boardman (Manoverboard) will speak about the Make-it-Accessible website and resources for Manitobans.

Krystal Stokes (Victoria Lifeline) will talk about the Victoria Lifeline web refresh project, which created new content and resources for Manitoba’s senior and disability communities.

Lisa Snider (Access Changes Everything) will present findings from a survey asking Manitobans about their experiences with digital online business platforms and the tips and best practices when providing accessible customer service to people with disabilities.

Cindy Titus (Marymound Inc.) will share more about their new refreshed website.

Accessibility Features:

Accessibility accommodations such as ASL and Closed Captioning will be available during this Zoom webinar. French interpretation is also available upon request by contacting MAO@gov.mb.ca.

Register Now:

To register for the webinar, please visit the Eventbrite page to sign up to attend. A Zoom link to the event will be emailed to you before the event.

Continue the celebrations of Manitoba Access Awareness Week beyond the week-long celebrations. Help spread awareness about accessibility issues during Manitoba Accessibility Week.

  • Encourage conversations within your community, at home, in the workplace or online about issues affecting Manitobans with disabilities.

  • Learn more about The Accessibility for Manitobans Act and access a wide range of accessibility resources on AccessibilityMB.ca.

  • Take part locally by participating in an event hosted by the Manitoba Accessibility Office or a community organization.

Community MAAW Celebrations:

Community Futures Manitoba

Community Futures Manitoba is excited to be celebrating Manitoba Accessibility Awareness Week (MAAW). During MAAW, their social media will feature entrepreneur success story videos and will be showcasing best practices for the Accessible Customer Service Standard. Funding for these videos was provided by the Manitoba Government through the Manitoba Accessibility Fund. Follow their conversation on their Facebook and YouTube channels.

Community Futures Manitoba Facebook

Community Futures Manitoba YouTube channel

Abilities Manitoba

Abilities Manitoba is sharing videos about the importance of accessibility in a social media ad campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger until June 3, 2023. 

View the videos at: Making Manitoba Accessible | Abilities Manitoba

National AccessAbility Week

National AccessAbility Week celebrates and highlights the important initiatives aimed at creating an accessible Canada for all. This year, National AccessAbility Week takes place from May 28 – June 3.

Join in the celebrations: Red Shirt Day on Wednesday, May 31

Red Shirt Day of Action for AccessAbility and Inclusion is a day when Canadians come together to wear red. This day creates a visible show of support and solidarity for people with disabilities and their families, celebrates their achievements and pledges a commitment to helping create a fully accessible and inclusive society.

Red Shirt Day is an Easter Seals initiative and was first celebrated in 2019. It takes place on the Wednesday of National AccessAbility Week each year.

On Wednesday, May 31, 2023, Canadians are invited to wear their red shirts and post a selfie or a group photo on social media. Include the hashtags: #RedShirtDay #RedForAccessAbility to show your support for the day.

National AccessAbility Week website

Easter Seals website

Accessibility Standards Canada and Manitoba take action for a barrier-free Canada

Accessibility Standards Canada and the Manitoba Department of Families have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The agreement will improve efforts, coordination, and the sharing of resources dedicated to creating a Canada without barriers.

Harmonizing standards across Canada is especially important for accessibility. National collaboration on accessibility brings benefits for all Canadians:

It reduces the potential for differing accessibility standards across Canada.

It ensures that standards fully reflect the needs of people with disabilities, regardless of jurisdiction.

It promotes equity, and consistency of accessibility for people with disabilities as they live, work, and travel in Canada.

More precisely, this MOU encourages both parties to consider each other’s respective accessibility priorities. This may include aligning or harmonizing work on the development, review, and implementation of accessibility standards, where possible. It may also include the promotion, support, and conduct of research.


“Collaborating with provinces and territories is key. Working together to share best practices, research and tools will lead to stronger standards, time and cost savings, and better results for people in Manitoba and all Canadians. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that accessibility standards reflect the needs of people with disabilities—regardless of jurisdiction. We are making true progress on that front.”

– Philip Rizcallah, Chief Executive Officer, Accessibility Standards Canada

“This agreement is an important step in removing accessibility barriers in Manitoba. Harmonizing accessibility standards will ensure consistency between federal and provincial jurisdictions. The partnership with Accessibility Standards Canada will strengthen accessibility legislation, both here at home in Manitoba and across Canada.”

– Darren Macdonald, Executive Director of The Manitoba Accessibility Office

Quick facts

The MOU between Accessibility Standards Canada and the Manitoba Department of Families formalizes a mutually beneficial working relationship. It acknowledges their complementary roles relating to accessibility standards and research.

In Canada, federal, provincial, and territorial governments develop policy and other instruments within the irrespective jurisdictions. On occasion, there is potential for two or more jurisdictions to establish a collaborative approach. This allows for coordinated efforts and resources to achieve similar or complementary policy objectives.

Where possible, the harmonization of standards seeks to optimize everyone’s individual and collective objectives. Sharing knowledge and best practices reduces and eliminates the duplication of resources and efforts to the benefit of all Canadians.

Accessibility Standards Canada is committed to working with all provinces and territories to create similar agreements. Together, we can better deliver on our respective accessibility mandates while contributing to a Canada without barriers.

Accessibility Standards Canada has signed six MOUs with provinces to date. Similar agreements have been signed with the Government of Saskatchewan (1), British Columbia (2), and Ontario (2).

Source: Accessibility Standards Canada

View Full Press Release

Thank You for Sharing Your Feedback on:

The Accessibility for Manitobans Act

Thank you to everyone that provided their feedback on The Accessibility for Manitobans Act during the recent Five-Year Review consultations.

Sarah Lugtig, the appointed reviewer, has concluded her public consultations on the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. She is now at work analyzing the feedback and compiling her recommendations. Her report will include her findings on the effectiveness of the act and will present recommendations to the Minister responsible for Accessibility.

The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) sets out a path to remove, reduce, and prevent barriers through the development of accessibility standards in fundamental areas of daily living.

The AMA was enacted in 2013, and affects all Manitobans – both people impacted by barriers in their every day lives and people in a position to remove and prevent these barriers.

The findings from the 2023/24 Review will be posted on AccessibilityMB.ca, once available. 

Spotlight on Manitoba Accessibility Fund Projects

The Manitoba Accessibility Fund is proud to spotlight these amazing projects this month – Marymound, St. James-Assiniboia School Division and Bibliothèque Régionale Jolys Regional Library. All these projects were funded during the pilot year of the program.


Marymound is a youth and family social services organization serving the Winnipeg and Thompson regions.  Since 1911, Marymound has provided a number of programs and services for vulnerable children, youth and families.

In July 2022, Marymound was approved for funding through the Manitoba Accessibility Fund to rebuild the organization’s website to ensure that the site meets accessibility standards outlined under WCAG 2.1 Level AA.

“It was important to us to work with Manitoba-based businesses to rebuild our website and to involve and hear directly from Manitobans living with different disabilities, and adequately compensate them for their time and expertise.  We hired people living with disabilities to consult on the process and to test the accessibility of our website and engaged with the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD) to conduct additional testing. We are grateful for their time and expertise on this project.”

— Cindy Titus Project Lead, Marymound

Marymound’s new WCAG 2.1 Level AA compliant website was launched at the end of April 2023. Moving forward, they will continue meeting the accessibility guidelines when uploading new content and images to the site.  Marymound’s team intends to review the site with the developers on a quarterly basis by doing accessibility scans and addressing any fixes as they come up. They remain open to hearing from the community feedback on barriers to accessing the website, and have a plan in place to address all concerns brought forward.

Thank you to the Manitoba Accessibility Fund for their support of this project.

Marymound’s new accessible website

St. James-Assiniboia School Division

The St. James-Assiniboia School Division recognizes the importance of ensuring that schools are accessible.

Wayfinding signs help ensure students or staff can navigate around the buildings.

Thanks to funding provided by the Manitoba Accessibility Fund, the school division was able to purchase and post highly visible room ID signs, hallway directional signs and informational signs in Strathmillan School. The signs feature raised print, braille and pictograms.

Most people realize the importance of identifying emergency exits, but it’s also important to identify accessible emergency exits and any non-accessible emergency exits.

Wheelchair users need to know what to do and where to go during an emergency evacuation. By posting “Not Accessible” exit signs they know there are likely stairs at the end of a particular hallway. Now they will know in advance which exit they should use thanks to the new signs.

In addition, front-line staff have been trained using The Accessibility for Manitobans Act online training modules. Anyone entering the school can speak to them about the division’s accessibility initiatives. Way finding signs enhance many of the supports already in place such as wheelchair ramps and lifts. The school division plans to do similar wayfinding projects in two other schools should they receive future funding.

Bibliothèque Régionale Jolys Regional Library: Library adds devices to support those with print disabilities

Excerpted from The Carillon article by: Greg Vandermeulen

Accessibility devices available at Jolys Regional Library

A library in St Pierre is hoping three new devices will make a world of difference to those with print disabilities. Beginning May 1, the Jolys Regional Library will have additional accessibility services thanks to a $7,000 grant from the Manitoba Accessibility Fund from the Manitoba government.

Head librarian Nicole Gregoire explained that several new devices will help people dealing with print disabilities, ranging from seniors to children and including those with challenges reading small print, those with dyslexia or others who can benefit from audio books.

The new acquisitions to the library’s collection include three Yoto Players, Victor Readers and iPads. The Yoto Players are small devices in which books stored on a card can be inserted. They are used to play the audio book, giving the user a screen-less mobile device.  The library currently has 150 cards with 1/3 of their Yoto .  They have also purchased two Victor Readers. These media players have access to over 500,000 titles through CELA (Centre for Equitable Library Access). The library currently has over 100 CDs and continues to grow their collection in both official languages. Two iPads have also joined the library’s resources.

The new devices were shown to the community for the first time at a community presentation on Wednesday, April 12 at Chalet Malouin, a supported housing facility in St Pierre. They will also host a presentation at 1:30 p.m. on April 28 at Manoir St Pierre, a local independent living facility in advance of their May 1 launch. The devices and associated materials will be available to be checked out by library members. Membership is free for those who live in St Pierre and the RM of De Salaberry.

The library has a wish list when it comes to addressing print disabilities. Gregoire said there’s a lack of print material for people with dyslexia, for both kids and adults. More French large print books are required. She also hopes to keep getting more titles for the Yoto Players and Victor Readers.

View other full articles published by Steinbach Online and La Liberté.

In the News:

Orion Remonquillo, a Garden City Collegiate student, won the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award for his dedication to inclusion. Remonquillo volunteered over 600 hours at Garden City Collegiate to increase inclusion at the school, while also coaching at Special Olympics events. He plans to study physical health and education at the University of Winnipeg and hopes to one day return to Garden City Collegiate as a gym teacher.

Read the full article

Share Accessibility Stories with Your Network

We would love to connect with you to share stories about accessibility with your network, organization or team. If you or someone on your team manages a newsletter or internal communication piece, we would like to connect with you. We have a library of articles on accessibility that are available for you to share. Please email mao@gov.mb.ca if you’re interested in connecting with us to share stories about accessibility.


Awareness Dates:

  • Manitoba Access Awareness Week (May 28 – June 3)

  • National Access Awareness Week (May 28 – June 3)

  • Red Shirt Day (May 31)

  • National Indigenous History Month (June 1 - 30)

  • National Indigenous Peoples Awareness Day (June 1)