Accessibility Standards Canada: 2022 to 2023 Departmental Plan - Operating Context

Accessibility Standards Canada is the first organization of its kind in Canada. It obtained Standards Council of Canada accreditation at the end of 2021. Accessibility Standards Canada is a departmental corporation created under the Accessible Canada Act (Act). It has the mandate to help build a Canada without barriers. It will do this by:

  • developing and revising accessibility standards;
  • providing information, products and services about new and revised standards;
  • supporting and conducting research on accessibility barriers; and
  • sharing best practices for removing and preventing accessibility barriers.

The Act creates a framework for developing, reporting on, and enforcing accessibility requirements. Accessibility Standards Canada is one of many federal organizations that will play a role in creating a Canada without barriers.

The Act established an Accessibility Commissioner, within the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and a Chief Accessibility Officer. The Act also expanded the accessibility mandates of the following organizations:

  • Canadian Transportation Agency;
  • Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission;
  • Canadian Human Rights Tribunal; and
  • Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board.

Several provinces have accessibility legislation and others are developing it. The organization will work with provincial and territorial governments to encourage consistent standards.

The organization will also seek to collaborate with:

  • people with disabilities;
  • representatives from disability organizations;
  • Indigenous people, their organizations and governments;
  • other federal departments and agencies;
  • national and international bodies;
  • other standards development organizations; and
  • industry.

There are internal and external factors that could affect the achievement of the organization’s planned results for 2022 to 2023. These are:

  • Internal
    • Capacity – The organization will continue to hire new employees with the goal to reach a steady state. The organization would not be able to reach this goal if it has difficulty recruiting new people.
  • External
    • Credibility - Accessibility Standards Canada has obtained Standards Council of Canada accreditation, a key factor in establishing its institutional credibility. This positions Accessibility Standards Canada as a leader in the field, which continues to attract the participation of people with disabilities and other experts and partners.
    • Research – Those awarded funding through the grants and contributions program are responsible for providing research projects. The organization would not be able to use the findings from the funded research projects to set priorities and create standards if they are not finished on time.
    • Collaboration – The organization is one of several government departments working on accessibility and collaborating with stakeholders. Progress on its planned results depends in part on broad collaboration.
    • Coordination – Accessibility Standards Canada operates within federal jurisdiction. Other levels of government in Canada can create accessibility standards within their own jurisdictions. Creating a barrier-free Canada, where everyone can expect a consistent, high level of accessibility across in the country, requires governments to work together to align standards.
    • COVID-19 – There is a possibility that COVID-19 could affect timelines around the delivery of certain outcomes. This is a greater risk for those outcomes that rely on collaborative activities.
    • It is at the discretion of the Minister to make regulations that will render standards created by Accessibility Standards Canada mandatory.

The organization is putting measures in place to mitigate these factors.