Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC) supports Barrier-Free Canada’s initiative to call upon the Canadian Parliament to enact a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act (CDA) to achieve a barrier-free Canada for all persons with disabilities.
There are half a million Canadians who have speech and language disabilities not caused by hearing loss that significantly impact on their ability to access goods, services and opportunities. There is ample research that attests to the significant communication barriers experienced by this population.
People who have speech and language disabilities face major barriers accessing services because most people:
- assume they are hard of hearing,
- underestimate their abilities,
- do not know how to communicate with them, and
- do not know or do simple things to provide access to services.
Many of these barriers can be addressed through stronger, more inclusive legislation, clearer guidelines and educational resources that support businesses and organizations to communicate effectively with people who have speech and language disabilities.
In her letter of support to Barrier-Free Canada, CDAC Executive Director Barbara Collier writes, “The accessibility requirements of people with speech and language disabilities, not caused by hearing loss, are currently omitted or inadequately represented in existing provincial accessibility legislation. We support the need for a national Canadian with Disabilities Act that mandates the inclusion of all people with disabilities, including people with speech and language disabilities to equal access to goods, services and opportunities. Such an Act must address not only the removal of barriers, but the provision of appropriate supports that people with speech and language disabilities need in order to effectively communicate in critical situations such as healthcare, emergencies, education, legal and justice services.”
CDAC supports Barrier-Free Canada in making Canada accessible for all people with disabilities, including those with speech and language disabilities.