Re Bill 103 – The Accessible Saskatchewan Act

Members of Barrier Free Saskatchewan (BFSK) engaged in a thorough examination of the current Bill 103 – The Accessible Saskatchewan Act. We are respectfully submitting our recommendations for change within the act (attached to this letter). BFSK recommendations are bolded, numbered, and italicized.

Furthermore, Barrier Free Saskatchewan (BFSK) would like to bring to your attention that although the promise of accessibility legislation gave heart to so many disabled people in Saskatchewan, Bill 103 does not live up to our expectations. BFSK created and presented a list of fourteen Principles for an Accessibility Act in Saskatchewan. These principles ensure that any legislation that will serve the needs of people with disabilities. We find the proposed act lacking in all, areas described in these principles.

Accessibility is a basic human right of disabled people in Saskatchewan. The proposed Bill 103 merely presents vague potential future regulations. Moreover, this bill appears to put more effort into creating new bureaucracy than removing barriers and lacks any mechanism to ensure that people with lived experience are meaningfully consulted on future regulations.

Disabled people make up between 24-40% of Saskatchewan’s population. Bill 103 as it stands does nothing to serve most people with lived experience in this province. If the goal is to “make our province the very best place in Canada to live for those with disabilities,” the proposed legislation falls very short of it.

BFSK is also concerned for Indigenous Peoples and especially “Status Indians” who do not often receive the same benefits or accessibility to equipment and other accessibility necessities. This needs to be rectified and addressed. The Assembly of First Nations and the Native Women’s Association of Canada are working diligently on this matter on a national level. We support them and ask that the Accessible Saskatchewan Act pays close attention to what comes forward in order to ensure that Indigenous Peoples in Saskatchewan are party to a barrier free existence.

Finally, Barrier Free Saskatchewan insists that you consult with and take heed of what people with lived experience bring forth regarding Bill 103 before putting it into law. Together we can truly make Saskatchewan the best place in Canada for people with disabilities to live in.