BC Releases Draft Accessibility Standards - Retail Council of Canada
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BC Releases Draft Accessibility Standards

June 5, 2024

Engage BC, an initiative of the Government Communications and Public Engagement (GCPE) arm of the provincial cabinet has released draft Accessibility B.C. Act Standards consultation: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/engagement/accessible-bc-standards/. The standards have been developed by the Provincial Accessibility Committee (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/accessibility/committees/provincial-accessibility-committee) under the Accessible BC legislation (https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/21019) passed by the legislature in 2021.

The Province created standards for provincial government bodies in 2022 through regulation. Government has indicated that the final standards may be enacted as regulations under the Accessible BC Act.

The consultation period runs from May 31 to July 31, 2024. Members can send their own response, or they can contribute to the RCC response coordinated by Greg Wilson (gwilson@retailcouncil.org). RCC is considering asking the Ministry of Social Development for a RCC member-specific question and answer session (likely this would happen in June). A summary provided by government is found here: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/892/2024/05/Executive-Summary-Accessibility-Standards_plain.docx.

The consultation includes two sets of draft standards:

  1. Accessible Service Delivery Standard: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/892/2024/05/Accessible-Service-Delivery-Standard_plain.docx.
  2. Employment Accessibility Standard: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/892/2024/05/Employment-Accessibility-Standard_plain.docx.

The two documents outlining the standards are, despite their length, relatively easy to read. RCC notes (with some caution) that there are a number of retail-specific examples in each document (as well as one restaurant-specific example in each document).

While these documents are based on similar legislative requirements in Manitoba and Ontario, in some cases they appear to go further. RCC’s initial reading is that much of this is relatively straight-forward – but that some of the Accessible Service Delivery standards will cause unique issues in some retail environments. Where members can help provide specific examples of issues to RCC, these would help RCC provide.