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Legislation Summaries

    Creator: Accessible Libraries

    Date Updated: March 26, 2024


    Accessibility Legislation across Canada, provincially and federally, impacts libraries. To meet the legislative requirements, creating an accessible space and providing accessible services must be prioritized. In this resource, we summarize the existing and, when possible, upcoming accessibility legislation in Canada to help you familiarize yourself with what your federal and provincial government requires your library to have.

    Accessibility Legislation

    Accessibility legislation is one reason libraries should commit to being completely accessible. Read on to find the legislation that applies to your library.

    1. Federal Accessibility Legislation
    2. Provincial Accessibility Legislation
      1. British Columbia
      2. Manitoba
      3. Newfoundland and Labrador
      4. Nova Scotia
      5. Ontario
      6. Quebec
      7. Saskatchewan
    3. Glossary
    4. References

    Federal Accessibility Legislation

    The Accessible Canada Act is “an act to ensure a barrier-free Canada” (Legislative Services Branch, 2019). Its purpose is to ensure that Canada is barrier-free by 2040. The act applies to the federal government and organizations that the federal government regulates (including private companies like banks and airlines).

    The act states that organizations must ensure that persons with disabilities are treated with dignity and have equal access to participate and make their own choices. They must be consulted and involved in creating and designing the services/programs/policies/laws to ensure a fully accessible experience.

    The seven areas that the Accessibility Canada Act focuses on are:

    • The physical spaces and buildings.
    • Communications and communication technologies.
    • Information technologies
    • Procurement
    • Programs and services
    • Transportation
    • Employment

    To comply with the act, organizations need to create and publish accessibility plans, have a feedback plan (for people to both report and for the organization to respond), and publish progress reports.

    This section summarizes information from the Summary of the Accessible Canada Act, the Overview of the Accessible Canada Act, and the Consolidated Federal Laws of Canada, Accessible Canada Act.

    Provincial Accessibility Legislation

    Summaries of the provincial accessibility legislation are organized alphabetically.

    British Columbia

    The Accessible British Columbia Act outlines accessibility requirements that organizations need to fulfill. The current requirements for organizations are:

    • Accessibility Committee: A group that identifies and determines the accessibility barriers in their organization. The committee should have a wide range of people on board, including people with lived experiences, persons from organizations that support persons with disabilities, and indigenous persons.
    • Accessibility Plan: This plan works to solve the barriers identified by the accessibility committee. It must be updated every three years in consultation with the accessibility committee.
    • Public Feedback: To ask for, gather feedback, and consult the public about the accessibility of your organization.

    (Government of British Columbia, 2023; Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Province of British Columbia, 2022)

    This section summarized information from the Accessible British Columbia Act (Chapter 19 – Section Accessible Organizations) and the Accessibility legislation.


    The Accessibility for Manitobans Act legislation aims to prevent and remove the barriers people with disabilities experience concerning employment, accommodation, buildings and spaces, public transportation, services and information, and prescribed activities (Manitoba Justice, 2013).

    The Manitoba standards apply to the “5 key areas of daily living”:

    • Employment: To ensure that recruitment, hiring, and employment practices are accessible.
    • Customer Service: To ensure that business and staff training provide accessible customer service to persons with disabilities.
    • Buildings and Spaces: Aspects of the built environment that are not part of the Manitoba Building Code should be made accessible.
    • Transportation: Ensure that public transportation is accessible.
    • Information and Communication: To ensure that any information and communication (digital and physical) is accessible.

    This section summarizes information from The Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

    Newfoundland and Labrador

    The Newfoundland and Labrador Accessibility Act legislation identifies, removes, and prevents accessibility barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from participating fully. The Accessibility Act created an “Accessibility Standards Advisory Board” to advise and recommend the establishment of accessibility standards (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2024).

    Under this act, organizations must create an accessibility plan that includes how they will remove accessibility barriers and how to assess whether the action items to remove the barriers are working (including assessment measures). Persons with disabilities must be included in the development of the plan. The standards, when established by the “Accessibility Standards Advisory Board,” need to be incorporated into the accessibility plan.

    This section summarizes information from the Newfoundland and Labrador Accessibility Act.

    Nova Scotia

    The Nova Scotia Accessibility Act aims to prevent and remove accessibility barriers in services, information and communications, transportation, employment, buildings and spaces, education, and activities in Nova Scotia by 2030 (Government of Nova Scotia, 2018).

    As part of the Act, an “Accessibility Directorate” and “Accessibility Advisory Board” will be established to support the removal of barriers in the above areas. Persons with disabilities must be included throughout the process.

    This section summarizes information from the Nova Scotia Accessibility Act.


    The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ADOA) is legislation that develops, implements, and enforces accessibility standards created by the Ontario government involving persons with disabilities. The standards apply to the following areas:

    • Customer service: To ensure staff are properly trained, and customers’ documents are accessible to everyone.  
    • Information and communications: This includes safety information in accessible formats, accessible websites and digital content, and more.
    • Transportation: Considerations include accessible seating, on-board announcements, and accessible signage.
    • Employment: Ensure that employees are properly supported in their workplace.
    • Public buildings and spaces: Both exterior and interior spaces, including paths, parking, aisles, etc., need to be accessible.

    (Government of Ontario, 2018; Government of Ontario, 2015)

    This section summarizes information from the About Ontario Accessibility Laws and Integrated Accessibility Standards.


    Quebec’s accessibility legislation, the “Act To Secure Handicapped Persons In The Exercise Of Their Rights With A View To Achieving Social, School And Workplace Integration” (Légis Québec, 2004), aims to ensure equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

    The legislation mandates accessibility standards for various sectors, such as transportation, buildings and spaces, communication, and employment. It requires public and private organizations to remove barriers and provide accommodations to facilitate the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of life, including education, employment, and social participation.

    This information is summarized from the Act To Secure Handicapped Persons In The Exercise Of Their Rights With A View To Achieving Social, School And Workplace Integration.


    The Accessible Saskatchewan Act aims to prevent and remove accessibility barriers for persons with disabilities. The act applies to buildings and spaces, information and communications, employment, transportation, procurement, service animals, and services and activities (Government of Saskatchewan, 2023).

    The government will consult persons with disabilities, public organizations, and other stakeholders in developing and implementing the accessibility standards and ensuring their compliance.

    Currently, this Act only involves the Saskatchewan Government as they work to assemble the accessibility committee and create the accessibility standards.

    The information in this section is summarized from the Accessible Saskatchewan Act.


    Accessibility: Accessibility means that there are no barriers for anyone to participate in society in the way they choose (this includes the interior/exterior spaces, content, programming, website, marketing, and more).

    Accessibility Committee: This is a group assembled by the government or by individual organizations (depending on the legislation) that identifies and works to fix barriers in Canada/provinces.

    Accessibility Plan: A plan on how a province/organization can fix the barriers identified by the accessibility committee (generally).

    Accessibility Standard: These standards must be applied/met, when applicable, to ensure that the services, spaces, communications, websites, etc., are accessible.

    Disability: As defined in the Accessible Canada Act, disability “means any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication, or sensory impairment – or a functional limitation – whether permanent, temporary, or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society” (Legislative Services Branch, 2020).


    Canadian Human Rights Commission. (2023, September 19). Overview of the accessible Canada act. Accessible Canada Act.

    Employment and Social Development Canada (2022, December 13). Summary of the Accessible Canada Act.

    Government of British Columbia. (2023, November 29). Accessible British Columbia Act.

    Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. (2024, January 3). Accessibility Act. Children, Seniors and Social Development.

    Government of Nova Scotia. (2018, December 18). Accessibility Act. Nova Scotia Legislature.

    Government of Ontario. (2015, June 3). About accessibility laws.

    Government of Ontario. (2018, November 19). Integrated Accessibility Standards.  

    Government of Saskatchewan. (2023, December 3). The Accessible Saskatchewan Act. Accessibility Legislation for Saskatchewan.

    Légis Québec. (2004). Act To Secure Handicapped Persons In The Exercise Of Their Rights With A View To Achieving Social, School And Workplace Integration.

    Legislative Services Branch. (2019, July 11). Consolidated Federal Laws of Canada, Accessible Canada Act. Accessible Canada Act. Retrieved January 17, 2023, from

    Legislative Services Branch. (2024, March 15). Consolidated federal laws of Canada, Department of Employment and Social Development Act. Department of Employment and Social Development Act.  

    Manitoba Justice. (2013, December 13). The Accessibility for Manitobans Act. Manitoba Laws. 

    Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Province of British Columbia (2022, April 13). Accessibility Legislation.