February 22, 2021 Ref: 161LC (72-21)
Robin East, President
Barrier Free Saskatchewan
Dear Robin East:
I am disappointed to hear of the cancellation of our upcoming meeting. I was looking forward to meeting with you and the Barrier Free Saskatchewan membership to discuss issues and concerns related to the disability community. Having officials reach out to stakeholders to ensure productive meetings is a normal practice.
Our government remains committed to implementing our 10-year Disability Strategy, with the goal of making Saskatchewan the best place to live in Canada for people with disabilities. Although there is more work to do, we have made significant progress on a number of recommendations in the Disability Strategy, including:
- Establishing a universal newborn screening program for hearing tests to all newborns across Saskatchewan;
- Establishing DeafBlind Community Services to assist Saskatchewan citizens who are deafblind;
- Continuing investment and expansion of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Individualized Funding (ASD-IF) program;
- Implementing an accessible medical examination table initiative with more than 200 physicians accessing the program; and,
- Committing to the creation of new accessibility legislation for Saskatchewan that will remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities
As you know, the Ministry of Social Services has just launched the public engagement phase of the accessibility legislation. We are reaching out to people with disabilities, third-party service providers, other government departments and agencies, the private sector, and the public to gather broad input on the development of accessibility legislation.
It is important to us that our online engagement is accessible. We had CNIB test our entire online platform site (accessiblesk.saskatchewan.ca) with a screen reader. We also had Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services translate Saskatchewan’s Discussion Guide for Accessibility Legislation into American Sign Language (ASL).
I would like to thank you for your initial feedback on our accessibility engagement plan and discussion guide, and I look forward to Barrier Free Saskatchewan’s continued engagement and valuable input on this legislation. We will continue to work with our stakeholders who represent people with disabilities in Saskatchewan, because it is important that this legislation is created with those it will affect most.
I would be pleased to meet with Barrier Free Saskatchewan in the future to discuss and better understand your organization and its priorities.
Minister of Social Services
cc: Shelley Reddekopp, Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Disability Programs
Daryl Stubel, Executive Director, Office of Disability Issues