Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Building Accessibility Regulations Take Effect September 30

Sept. 30 is the deadline for business owners and operators in the province to comply with new regulations, requiring properly identified and accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities.

The provincial government made amendments to its accessibility regulations in February.
Blue zone parking spaces for public buildings will be required to have permanent signage when the new regulations take effect.

Previously the regulations contained signage requirements, but were not clear on the need for signs to be permanently fixed on a post, building or other structure. The province said this resulted in some temporary signs being removed, for example during snow clearing operations, and the parking spaces being difficult to identify.
The regulations also require the parking space itself to be painted blue and designated with the international symbol for accessibility.

Companies that violate these signage requirements could face fines between $1,000 and $25,000, while fines for building owners range from $500 to $5,000.

“We have listened to the concerns of persons with disabilities in communities throughout this province and have strengthened our regulations to make buildings more accessible,” said Paul Davis, minister of Service NL. “These new regulations have been designed to ensure that building owners and operators are conforming with the new legislation to provide barrier-free parking to individuals with disabilities and I am pleased to see full implementation of the regulations.”

The amendments were made following consultation with organizations, including the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities.

Davis said the regulations support the provincial strategy for the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

“While we recognize that more communication and awareness need to be done around blue zone parking, we are pleased that the Provincial Government has taken steps to strengthen the building regulations,” said Michelle Murdoch, president of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities. “These changes will ensure that proper signage will be erected to designate parking spaces for persons with disabilities.”

More information on building accessibility requirements can be found online at

Source: The Telegram, GAATES

Basics of Electronic Document Accessibility - October 10

The Accessibility Committee of the Chief Information Officers Council is sponsoring a webinar on October 10, 2012 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

The new interagency Accessible Electronic Document Community of Practice will address how to produce accessible electronic documents and will provide resources for agencies to use to make sure electronic documents are accessible. Register online.

Source: GAATES

Governments of Canada and New Brunswick Celebrate Accessible, Affordable Housing

Mike Allen, Member of Parliament for Tobique – Mactaquac, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), along with the Honourable Sue Stultz, New Brunswick Minister of Social Development and Minister Responsible for Housing, today participated in the official opening of a 24-unit development in Grand Falls, that provides a total of 12 affordable housing units for seniors and persons with disabilities.

Funding in the amount of more than $1.4 million has been made available for this housing development through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the federal government’s plan to stimulate the economy and create jobs during the global recession. The federal and provincial governments are contributing equally to this overall investment of $75 million under the amended Canada – New Brunswick Affordable Housing Program Agreement.

“Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the Harper Government is taking concrete action to help ensure economic recovery and create the conditions for long-term growth,” said MP Allen. “Funding projects like Place de la Gare will not only improve the overall housing conditions for seniors and persons with disabilities, but also helps to stimulate the local economy and create jobs.”

“Adequate, accessible and affordable housing is a significant factor in helping to enhance the quality of life of New Brunswickers and their families,” said Stultz. “Projects such as this one are good examples of how governments and the community can work together to rebuild New Brunswick.”

Place de la Gare is a 24-unit complex, located at 510 Chapel Street, in Grand Falls. In addition to the federal housing funding of $480,000 for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities provided through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the project received close to $960,000 in rent supplements from the provincial government for 12 units.

The Government of Canada, through CMHC, will invest more than $2 billion in housing this year. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of almost 605,000 households living in existing social housing. In New Brunswick, this represents some 16,300 households. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people.

To find out more about how the Government of Canada, through CMHC, is working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642.

Source: GAATES