The Accessibility for Manitobans Act

There are new accessibility laws that affect all Manitoba businesses and organizations including RMTs. From the sole proprietor RMT working from a home based business, to the independent contractor or clinic owner working in a multi-disciplinary practice, all businesses should have a policy in place to ensure that they are in compliance with the standards of the Act as they are implemented. 

The Accessible Customer Service Standard is the first of five standards which will require businesses and non-profit organizations to introduce new policies and practices to ensure barrier-free access to goods and services by November 1, 2018. 

MTAM members have been getting their policies in place to ensure they are in compliance with the first standard. Members of the public are encouraged to speak with their RMT if they have specific Customer Service access needs.

Introduction to the Accessibility for Manitobans Act
Manitoba's Accessibility Standard for Customer Service


NEW! Accessibility for Manitobans: Everyone Benefits Free Online Training
http://www.accessibilitymb.ca/online-training.html


FAQs

Q. Does the Accessibility for Manitobans Act apply to my practice as a massage therapist?
A. Yes. The standard applies to public, private and non-profit organizations in all work settings (i.e., massage therapy clinics, home-based or mobile practices, solo practictioners).

Q. How does this affect me (as a member of the public)?
A. As a member of the public with a disability, you should expect that the massage therapy organization / place of business has met the Customer Service Standard by November 1, 2018. 

Q. How does this affect me (as an RMT)?
A. Businesses will need to have an Accessible Customer Service plan/policy created and all staff trained by November 1, 2018. A sample policy can be found in the Member Portal under Handy Clinic Tools. Creating your own policy can be as easy as inserting your business name into the sample policy. Use this Compliance Checklist to see what areas of your practice/clinic need improvement.

Q. Is there a sample plan my business can use?
A. The MTAM has created a sample plan/policy available exclusively to MTAM members and available in the members-only web space.

Q. What are the 5 standards of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act?
A. The five standards are:

  1. The Accessible Customer Service standard, which addresses business practices and training needed to provide better customer service to people with disabilities.
  2. The Accessible Information and Communications standard, which will address the removal of barriers in access to information; which includes information being provided in person, through print, websites or other means.
  3. The Accessible Built Environment standard, which will address outdoor spaces, including sidewalks, curbs, roadways, and parks.  This proposed standard complements the current Manitoba Building Code.
  4. The Employment Accessibility standard will address paid employment practices relating to employee-employer relationships, which could include recruitment, as well as hiring and retention practices.
  5. The Accessible Transportation standard will address aspects of accessible public transportation.

Q. Will we need to ensure we have all 5 standards implemented by November 1, 2018?
A. No. The Accessible Customer Service Standard is the first standard that requires compliance. Advance notice will be given regarding the deadline dates for the other 4 standards. All are expected to have been implemented by June 2020.  To keep up to date, you can sign up for the Accessibility newsletter.

Q. What is Accessible Customer Service?
A. Accessible customer service means that organizations and businesses provide products or services in an efficient, fair and respectful manner to people of all abilities. Examples of accessible customer service can include, having your history form available in a large print format, advising your clients if your business is wheelchair accessible or not, and simply by asking your clients, "How can I help you? We can adapt our treatment/service in different ways".

Q. What do businesses and organizations need to do to meet the standard?
A. A good resource to understand what to do is the Customer Service Standard brochure.

Q. Are there resources to help create an accessibility plan?
A. The Disability Issues Office has created an Employer Handbook and an Employee Tips sheet to aide organizations in creating the necessary policies and documents for their business

Q. I operate a mobile massage business. How does this apply to my situation?
A. The Customer Service Standard still applies to your business, and you can outline in your plan for accessible and open communication, a willingness to work with clients in their home with service animals present, a willingness to learn more about accessibility devices, and adapt your treatment to your clients needs.

Q. Who do I contact if I have more questions?
A. For more information, please read the Government of Manitoba FAQ document or contact the Disability Issues Office directly at (204) 945-7613. For more free on-line resources and information about Manitoba’s accessibility legislation, visit Accessibility Manitoba.


DISABILITY STATISTICS: The FACTS By Numbers

  • 3.8M Canadians identify as having a disability.
  • 13.7% of Canadians self-identify as having a disability.
  • 443,900 job-ready Canadians with disabilities are available for work in Canada.
  • 180,500 job-ready Canadians with disabilities have a post-secondary education.
  • $40 billion estimated buying power of the disability community in Canada.
  • $1 trillion estimated buying power of the disability community globally.
  • 53% of Americans have a disability or have a close family member who has a disability.
  • 6% of people with disabilities use a wheelchair – that’s 1% of the general population.
  • 90% of people with disabilities rated average or better in job performance.
  • Almost 60% of people with disabilities require no accommodations at all. Of those who do, the typical one-time expenditure by employers was $500.

    2017 Canadian Business SenseAbility