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Data from most developed countries show that people with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed than the population in general. In the past 30 years, legislation has been passed in Canada and the United States to deal with discrimination in the workplace against persons with disabilities. One legislative approach is to prohibit discriminatory behaviour and establish remedies that individuals can pursue when they believe discrimination has occurred. A second approach is systemic in nature looking at how to create and sustain barrier-free workplaces that allow people with disabilities to fully participate in the workforce.
This legislation is intended to lead to a society in which people with disabilities can fully participate. A barrier is generally defined in the legislation as anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, any information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, or a policy or practice.
Certain provincial governments have established accessibility standards that persons and organizations specified in that legislation have to follow to reduce these barriers.
Legislation requiring barrier identification, removal, and prevention exists only in some provinces, such as Ontario. Manitoba is also considering similar legislation and has released their Initial Recommendations of the Accessibility Advisory Council On Accessibility Legislation.
Please note: This is provided for the purpose of general information only and is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice.
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