November 8th, 2018

New Democrats Profoundly Disappointed with Liberals' Partisanship on Accessibility Legislation

OTTAWA – During clause by clause for the Liberal government's much-touted accessibility bill, C-81, New Democrats were profoundly disappointed with the Liberal's partisanship on display. If done properly, this could have become a historic civil rights law. Unfortunately, the Liberal government chose to ignore the advice of nearly every leading expert in the country.

"Despite the impressive unanimity in the testimony from leading experts in the field of disability advocacy, this Liberal government chose to ignore all of it," said NDP Sports and Persons with Disabilities Critic Cheryl Hardcastle. "This kind of partisanship has no place when dealing with a bill that will affect the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in Canada. The Liberals have missed an important opportunity to do something truly historic."

Based on the advice of leading experts, opposition parties put forward over 100 good faith amendments. These amendments were designed to eliminate loopholes in the act allowing obligated organizations to exempt themselves from many of its provisions, to include implementation timelines where none exist, and to make the bill recognize the rights of workers with collective agreements. All were systematically shot down by the Liberal government.

"The Liberal government had an opportunity to work with us to make this legislation better for the good of people and families throughout the country," added Hardcastle. "New Democrats will continue to stand up for people living with disabilities and will continue to press the government to make a real difference in their lives."