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Manitoba announces timelines to implement employment accessibility standard

The Manitoba government has enacted its second of five accessibility standards, the Accessibility Standard for Employment which will focus on ensuring workplaces have appropriate processes and plans in place to reasonably  accommodate the removal of barriers related to recruiting, hiring and retaining employees with a disability.

The standard requires safety protocols for workers with a disability to be in place by May 1, 2020, however Manitoba businesses will have an additional two years to ensure compliance of all remaining employment requirements.

Background:

In 2013, the Manitoba government committed to making Manitoba more accessible for all Manitobans by enacting The Accessibility for Manitobans Act in support of the one in four Manitobans that has a disability.

Manitoba’s Accessibly Standard for Customer Service came into effect for Manitoba businesses on November 1, 2018 and outlines ways to ensure all organizations create an accessible and welcoming service environment for those with disabilities.

Safety Requirements – May 1, 2020

The accessible employment standard will be phased in over the next three years.  However, to ensure the safety of all employees, these requirements must be in place by May 1, 2020 in all workplaces:

  • Plans to provide individualized emergency response information to keep employees with disabilities safe; and
  • Permission from all employees who require assistance during an emergency to share that information with other individuals in the organization who have agreed to provide support.

All employers will be required to review the individualized emergency response information provided to employees with disabilities when changes are made to the employee’s workspace or the employer reviews the general emergency response plans in a way that would affect the employee’s response to a workplace emergency.

Further Requirements – May 1, 2022

Manitoba businesses and non-profits will also be required to have additional employment-related requirements in place by May 1, 2022, which include:

  • Offering reasonable accommodations when recruiting new employees;
  • Informing applicants about workplace accommodation policies and practices when making an offer of employment;
  • Considering workplace barriers that may affect employees as part of performance management or career development processes;
  • Developing and implementing individualized accommodation plans at an employee’s request;
  • Sharing information about policies and practices related to employment accessibility with employees, and ensuring this is available in accessible formats or with support upon request,
  • Having a return-to-work policy for employees who have been away due to a disability, with a process to determine reasonable workplace accommodations, and
  • Training human resources management and staff about accessible employment and related legislation.

Under the Human Rights Code (Manitoba), employers are required to provide disability-related workplace accommodations.  The provincial standard will require employers to have policies in place to ensure these accommodations are made, and to formalize how they notify employees about their accessibility policies.

The employment accessibility standard will apply to full and part-time employees, apprentices and seasonal employees and all employers with one or more employee.

Small Business Exception:

As a direct result of RCC’s advocacy, the threshold for the following additional requirements being placed on businesses will increase from 20 to 50 employees for both the customer service and employment standards.

  • By 2022, larger businesses (50+ employees) must also keep written records about their accessible employment policies, including a summary of training content and when it has been offered.
  • Large employers must also have a written policy on individualized accommodation plans and let the public know their policies are available on request and in accessible formats.

Free Resources:

Free resources to help prepare for the employment accessibility standard are available at www.accessibilitymb.ca including:

  • A Workplace Emergency Response Toolkit that will assist in adhering to the Standard’s safety requirements.
  • A compliance checklist that will help ensure members understand how to comply with all of the legal requirements under this standard.

Next Steps:

  • RCC will ensure training information and support is available in preparation for the approaching deadlines, including a future RCC hosted webinar.
  • Manitoba’s Minister of Families has appointed RCC to represent business interests on the standards development and review committee and we are committed to remaining an effective advocate for RCC members.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: John Graham, Director, Government Relations (Prairie Region) at 204-926-8624 or jgraham@retailcouncil.org

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