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Accessibility for Business & Non-Profit

Business & Non-Profit

Accessibility for Business & Non-Profit

Ensure your business or non-profit is open to everyone. Removing barriers benefits all Manitobans.

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About Accessibility for Businesses
& Non-Profit Organizations

The Accessibility for Manitobans Act was created to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. This law affects all people, including Manitoba businesses and non-profit organizations that employ at least one person.

  • Businesses include shops, restaurants, hotels, legal, healthcare and other professional services.
  • Non-profit organizations include, but are not limited to charities, unions, community organizations, places of worship, and member associations.

Accessible Customer Service Standard

Nearly one out of every four Manitobans face challenges with accessibility.

Offer improved customer service that complies with The Accessibility for Manitobans Act. Your organization is required to address any barriers that may prevent customers from receiving your goods or services.

Requirements

Under the Accessible Customer Service Standard, businesses or non-profit organizations with one or more employees had to comply with all requirements by November 2018 . By this date, Manitoba businesses or non-profit organizations were required to:

  • meet the communication needs of customers, clients, or members
  • allow assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, walkers and communication devices
  • welcome customers with support persons, who are there to help
  • welcome customers with service animals
  • maintain accessibility features, such as automatic doors, ramps, or elevators, so they can be used as intended
  • let the public know when and why an accessibility feature is unavailable
  • invite customers to give feedback about accessibility features
  • train staff on accessible customer service, including reasonable accommodations under The Human Rights Code (Manitoba)

Requirements for Large Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations

If your organization has 50 or more employees, you must :

  • keep a written record of your Customer Service Standard Regulation policies
  • provide notice to the public that it is available upon request
    • the notice must be displayed in a prominent way on-site at your organization and on your organization's website, or through another reasonable means

If a person requests your documentation, you must provide it:

  1. in a manner that addresses the barrier
  2. within a reasonable time and at no cost to the person

Accessible Employment Standard

The Accessible Employment Standard requires all employers to have measures, policies and practices to provide reasonable accommodations for employees and applicants.

This standard requires employers to consider reasonable accommodations at various stages of employment, as it applies to their organization. This includes recruitment, offer of employment, on the job, return to work and training.

Requirements

Workplace Emergency Response Requirements

To ensure the safety of employees with disabilities, all Manitoba businesses & non-profit organizations had to comply by May 1, 2020 , with the following two requirements:

  1. Workplace Emergency Response Information
    • Create emergency response information to help employees with disabilities stay safe during emergencies.
  2. Workplace Emergency Assistance
    • Ask employees who require assistance during an emergency for permission to share information with individuals who agree to help.

Reasonable Accommodation Requirements

All businesses & non-profit organizations had to comply by May 1, 2022 with the following two requirements:

  1. Employers must have measures, policies and practices to provide reasonable accommodations for employees and job applicants.
  2. Employers need to consider reasonable accommodations at various stages of employment, including recruitment, offer of employment, on the job, return to work and training.

Requirements for Large Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations

If your organization has 50 or more employees , you had to comply by May 1, 2022 with the following two requirements:

  1. Document (in-print) your accessible employment policies and practices, including the content and timeframe for training.
  2. Make these documents publicly available in accessible formats, upon request.

Accessible Information and Communication Standard

Enacted on May 1, 2022, the Accessible Information and Communication Standard is the third standard for organizations and all Manitobans to consider the ways in which people interact with or access information they provide (including digitally), to develop measures, policies and practices and to provide barrier-free information and communication.

Requirements

All businesses & non-profit organizations must comply by May 1, 2025 .

To comply with the Accessible Information and Communication Standard Regulation, all employers must meet the following requirements:

Web Applications

  • If an organization is launching or significantly refreshing a web application it must meet WCAG 2.1 level AA, at minimum.
  • Web application is defined as a software application that is run on a web server and accessed by a user through a web browser (does not include mobile apps).
  • Significant refresh means an update to an existing web application that changes the functionality, user base or purpose.

Website Content:

  • If an organization is publishing or updating website content, it must meet WCAG 2.1 level AA guidelines.
  • This applies to any website content published on or after this standard comes into force.
  • Older website content must be updated, if it is required in order to access information related to an organization's goods and services.

Feedback process - Organizations must:

  • must have a process to receive and respond to feedback about accessible information and communication
  • process must be appropriate to the circumstances and suitable for people with disabilities
  • must document resulting actions and make that documentation available on request

Organizations must provide training to:

  • a person who communicates directly to the public or to another organization in Manitoba on behalf of the organization, including employees, agents and volunteers
  • if the organization is an educational institution, a person who is an educator
  • a person who develops or maintains the organization's web content
  • a person who purchases or procures information technology or communication tools
  • a person who develops or implements the organization's measures, policies and practices respecting accessible communication

Training content must include:

  • how to identify, prevent and remove barriers to accessible communication
  • how to provide information through a communication support or accessible format
  • a review of The Human Rights Code, The Accessibility for Manitobans Act and this Standard
  • must provide training to a person as soon as reasonably possible after that person is assigned the applicable duties
  • ongoing training needs to be provided whenever an organization updates or changes their accessible communication policies, measures or practices

Documentation - Certain organizations are required to:

  • write down all policies, measures and practices related to accessible information and communication, including the content and timeframe for training.
  • make these documents publicly available.

Documentation requirements apply to:

  • Private organizations, including businesses and non-profits with 50+ employees.
  • Although businesses with under 50 employees are not required to create written policies, it is best practice to have a written policy in place.

Accessible Transportation Standard

Enacted on January 1, 2024, the Accessible Transportation Standard is the fourth standard under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act. The objective of this standard is to help operators of conventional and paratransit service providers, schools, vehicles-for-hire and municipalities create a system of transportation that is more inclusive for all Manitobans, regardless of abilities.

Requirements

The Accessible Transportation Standard includes measures related to training, policy development, equipment, vehicle design and operating matters such as fares, hours of service and routes.

Under the Accessible Transportation Standard, the following organizations will be required to adhere to basic accessibility standards with respect to transportation:

  • conventional service providers
  • paratransit service providers
  • schools
  • vehicles-for-hire
  • municipalities
Learn about Requirements

All businesses & non-profit organizations must comply by January 1, 2027, with exception that conventional transit operators who have until January 1, 2042 to upgrade existing buses to meet physical accessibility requirements. Any new buses purchased after January 1, 2027 will have to meet accessible design requirements.

Accessible Design of Outdoor Public Spaces Standard

The Accessibility Standard for Design of Outdoor Public Spaces is currently in development. Check back for compliance deadlines.

Creating & Updating Accessibility Plans

Private and non-profit organizations are not required to have an accessibility plan under the legislation, but it is best practices.

Making accessibility a part of your organization's operations ensures that all Manitobans have full access to programs and services designed to meet their needs.

An accessibility plan outlines measures your organization has taken and will take to identify, remove, and reduce barriers to accessibility. Accessibility plans should describe how public sector organizations are complying with existing standards introduced by The Accessibility for Manitobans Act. Plans should include:

  • a review of the progress made in advancing accessibility, in the last 24 months.
  • future priorities and action items for accessibility in the next 24 months, and any
  • necessary updates to policies and procedures

Accessibility plans must be created and updated in consultation with people with disabilities, or representatives from organizations of people with disabilities.

How to Update an Accessibility Plan Video


  • Video Transcript
  • Disclaimer: ASL interpretation for the following content was presented live and was not pre recorded.

    Hello, this brief presentation has been developed to assist public sector organizations in Manitoba to comply with a requirement to update their accessibility plants.

    Alternate formats upon request. This information is available in alternate formats on request, please contact the Manitoba accessibility office by email at mao@gov.mb.ca. Or by phone at two zero four nine four five seven six one three. You can also contact toll free at 1-800-282-8069. Extension 7613. Or visit accessibilityMB.ca.

    The accessibility for Manitoban’s act. Accessibility legislation is important to have in place because nearly one in four Manitobans face barriers to accessibility in daily living and with an aging population, this number continues to grow. All Manitobans regardless of their abilities, have the right to participate fully in society and to be treated with dignity and respect.

    And with the introduction of accessibility legislation, organizations must all collaborate to make Manitoba accessible.

    Well, what is an accessibility plan? An accessibility plan is a written document that is required to be developed by all public sector organizations under the accessibility for Manitoban’s act. This includes small and large municipalities, crown corporations, regional health authorities, post-secondary institutions, school divisions, and the government of Manitoba. An accessibility plan outlines measures your organization has taken and will take to identify, remove, and reduce barriers to accessibility.

    The document lists the measures in place to ensure your organization assess its policies, programs, practices, services, rules, or bylaws to determine their impact on accessibility. While accessibility plans can have an internal audience, they must be made available to the public.

    Did you know that 87% or 165 out of 189 public sector organizations across Manitoba have created an accessibility plan. This is encouraging and worth celebrating as it is showing a commitment towards accessibility by many organizations.

    Important. Accessibility plans must be updated every two years per the accessibility for Manitoban’s act.

    Why should your organization update your accessibility plan? We'll updates to accessibility plants are needed because they help focus an organization to consider and eliminate new barriers. Updates also ensure that all Manitobans have full access to programs and services designed to meet their needs and updates are required by law and failure to do so may lead to compliance and enforcement activities.

    Steps for updating your accessibility plan. Begin by reading through your current accessibility plan and then reviewing progress on any policies, actions, or measures your organization has taken to create accessibility in the past two years. Set future priorities, including compliance with requirements under accessibility standards and identify the actions your organization will take to advance accessibility in the next two years. Lastly, make your updated accessibility plan publicly available.

    Accessibility plan tips. It is helpful to include the following in your accessibility plans, a contact person with ways to get in touch by email or phone number, the time period the plan covers how your organization meets or exceeds accessibility standard requirements.

    Accessibility plan tips continued. Prioritize accessibility when discussing corporate and strategic planning and integrate your accessibility plan into quarterly or annual reporting periods and or board meetings. You may choose to update your accessibility plan by editing the original plan that acts as a baseline, or you can use the free template titled “how to update your accessibility plan” available at accessibilityMB.ca.

    Organizations can copy and paste from this template and adapt it to meet their needs. Resources and contact information. For more information and accessibility plan resources, including sample plans developed by organizations, visit accessibilityMB.ca. For accessibility plan requirements and information related to compliance, contact the accessibility compliance secretariat at accessibilitycompliance@gov.mb.ca or at 204-792-0263.

    For all other information, contact the Manitoba accessibility office at mao@gov.mb.ca or at 204-945-7613 or toll free at 1-800-282-8069. Extension 7613.

    Thank you. Accessibility is good for everyone, it's the law in Manitoba. So let's collectively recognize accessibility achievements in our province and prioritize accessibility plans to ensure an accessible Manitoba.

    Remember submit your updated accessibility plan to accessibility compliance secretariat by email at accessibilitycompliance@gov.mb.ca.

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