Hello Partners and Members of FALA / Bonjour partenaires et membres d’ALFA:
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So, here is an update on how our Bill C-81 is doing. Things are moving super-fast now.
On May 13th, the Senate passed 3rd reading of Bill C-81. Woot. Woot.
To catch you up, the Social Affairs, Science and Technology (SOCI) Senate Standing Committee has recommended the following amendments to strengthen Bill C-81. We have not got all the changes we asked for, but the changes are pretty good.
- A timeline was added and 2040 is the deadline for Canada to become accessible
- American Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language and Indigenous Sign Language are recognized as the primary languages used by Deaf people
- Intersectionality was added to the principles section of the bill
- Bill C-81, and regulations made under it, will not lessen the human rights of people with disabilities guaranteed by the Canadian Human Rights Act
To find out about all the recommended amendments by the Senate, and to get more detail, you can visit our partner, ARCH Disability Law’s site at: https://archdisabilitylaw.ca/update-senate-committee-adopts-amendments-which-strengthen-bill-c-81-accessible-canada-act/
Bill C-81 has now been sent to the House of Commons for another vote by the Members of Parliament (MPs). We’re happy to report that the Government is ok with all of the changes the Senate suggested. They have submitted Bill C-81 to the Notice Paper saying so… Goose bumps.
Figuring out when this will all happen is a bit tricky. Here’s what we know:
- Bill C-81 is on the Notice Paper which means the Government has said to the rest of the MPs: “Heads up. We want to debate this bill sometime soon.”
- No one can control the parliamentary process, but debate will most likely happen the week of May 27. MPs are not sitting in the House next week.
- When it does happen, the process will start with a message from the Speaker, followed by a speech from Minister Qualtrough, followed by debate, followed by a vote.
- After the debate and vote, the bill still requires Royal Assent. The Governor General has to get involved. It can be a big deal where the bill is walked over to the Governor General in parade-like fashion, or not a big whoop and just a letter is signed. We love a parade… so fingers crossed. This date is also a moving target so it is anyone’s guess when this will happen but it is usually a few weeks after a bill is passed in the House.
Here’s what you can do to help move our Bill C-81 along:
- Send this letter to Members of Parliament asking them to accept the amendments made by the Senate: https://www.include-me.ca/federal-accessibility-legislation-alliance/action/calling-mps-pass-accessible-canada-act-senates
- If you represent an organization, you can add your organization’s name to an open letter at: https://archdisabilitylaw.ca/open-letter-on-the-need-to-swiftly-pass-all-senate-amendments-to-bill-c-81-accessible-canada-act/
We’re so close. Let’s get it done.