3rd Session, 62nd General Assembly
66 Elizabeth II, 2017
The Honourable Joanne Bernard
Minister of Community Services
First Reading: November 2, 2016 (LINK TO BILL AS INTRODUCED)
Second Reading: November 3, 2016
Third Reading: April 27, 2017 (WITH COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS)
Royal Assent: April 28, 2017
WHEREAS, under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Canada agrees to take appropriate measures to achieve accessibility and to develop and monitor minimum accessibility standards;
AND WHEREAS the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants equality rights to all persons without discrimination on the basis of a disability;
AND WHEREAS the Human Rights Act recognizes that the Government, public agencies and all persons have a responsibility to ensure equal opportunity for every individual to enjoy a full and productive life;
AND WHEREAS persons with disabilities disproportionately live in conditions of poverty;
AND WHEREAS there is diversity among persons with disabilities;
AND WHEREAS persons with disabilities continue to face attitudinal and environmental barriers that prevent them from achieving their full and equal participation in society;
AND WHEREAS persons with disabilities who are subject to multiple forms of discrimination face additional barriers;
AND WHEREAS achieving accessibility will improve the independence and well-being of persons with disabilities;
AND WHEREAS the Government acknowledges it must take a leadership role in the process of achieving an accessible Nova Scotia;
THEREFORE be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 This Act may be cited as the Accessibility Act.
2 The purpose of this Act is to
(a) achieve accessibility by preventing and removing barriers that disable people with respect to
(c) facilitate the timely implementation of accessibility standards with a goal of achieving an accessible Nova Scotia by 2030;
(d) monitor, review and enforce compliance with accessibility standards; and
(e) establish an Accessibility Directorate that is responsible for supporting accessibility initiatives and advancing broader disability-related issues.
3 (1) In this Act,
(a) "accessibility plan" means a plan to address the identification, removal and prevention of barriers in the policies, programs, practices and services of a public sector body;
(b) "accessibility standard" means an accessibility standard established under this Act;
(c) "barrier" means anything that hinders or challenges the full and effective participation in society of persons with disabilities including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice;
(d) "Board" means the Accessibility Advisory Board established under this Act;
(e) "built environment" means the human-made space in which people live, work, learn and play and includes buildings, rights-of-way and outdoor spaces;
(f) "committee" means a committee established under this Act;
(g) "Court" means the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia;
(h) "Director" means the Director of Compliance and Enforcement appointed pursuant to Section 45;
(i) "disability" includes a physical, mental, intellectual, learning or sensory impairment, including an episodic disability, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders an individual's full and effective participation in society;
(j) "Government" means Her Majesty in right of the Province;
(k) "inspector" means an inspector appointed under this Act;
(l) "Minister" means the Minister of Justice;
(m) "organization" includes the Government, a sole proprietorship, corporation, society, association, partnership and limited liability partnership, any association of individuals and any similar body;
(n) "order" means an order made under this Act;
(o) "prescribed" means prescribed by the regulations;
(p) "public sector body" means
(2) Where a provision of this Act or the regulations conflicts with a provision of another enactment, the provision of this Act or the regulations prevails unless the other enactment provides a higher level of accessibility for persons with disabilities.
(2) Within one year of the coming into force of this Act the Minister shall adopt, and make publicly available, an implementation strategy setting out how the Minister plans to achieve the goal of an accessible Nova Scotia by 2030.
(a) specify how the power or duty is to be exercised or performed and impose any requirement in relation to or restrictions on the exercise or performance of the power or duty that the Minister considers appropriate; and
(b) address broader disability-related initiatives by acting as a central government mechanism to ensure that the concerns of persons with disabilities respecting policy, program development and delivery are advanced and considered by the Government.
18 (1) The Board shall, with the approval of the Minister, establish standard development committees to assist the Board with making recommendations to the Minister on the content and implementation of accessibility standards.
(c) representatives of those engaged in the activity or undertaking, or the individuals or organizations, or representatives of the class that may be made subject to the proposed accessibility standard;
26 Upon receipt of the recommendations, the Minister may prepare a proposed accessibility standard adopting the recommendations in whole, in part or with any modifications the Minister considers appropriate.(c) require the individuals or organizations that are subject to the standard to implement those measures, policies, practices and other requirements within the period specified in the standard.
30 An accessibility standard may apply to different classes of individuals or organizations or aspects of the built environment and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, may apply to classes with respect to any attribute, quality or characteristic, or any combination of those things, including
(c) a particular characteristic of an aspect of the built environment, such as the type of infrastructure or the size of a building, a structure or premises, that is owned, operated, maintained or controlled by an individual or organization.
31 An accessibility standard may define a class to include or exclude an individual or organization, or an aspect of the built environment, having the same or different attributes, qualities or characteristics.
34 Within 60 days after a proposed accessibility standard is made publicly available, or within any other longer period specified by the Minister, an individual or organization may submit comments about the proposed standard to the Minister.
35 After consulting with the Board with respect to any comments and, if the Minister considers it appropriate, revising the proposed accessibility standard, the Minister shall recommend the standard to the Governor in Council for approval as a regulation.
38 Where the Minister believes it is in the public interest to do so, the Minister may recommend that the Governor in Council prescribe incentive-based measures to encourage and assist an individual or organization, or a class of individuals or organizations, to meet or exceed an accessibility standard.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the Minister may engage, upon such terms and conditions as the Minister considers necessary, the services of such persons as the Minister requires for administering compliance with and enforcement of this Act and the regulations.
(iii) a person has prevented the inspector from doing one or more things set out in Section 48 or denied the inspector access to something, as a result of which the inspector is unable to do one or more things set out in Section 48,
(iv) there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person may prevent an inspector from doing one or more things set out in Section 48, or may deny the inspector access to something as a result of which the inspector may be unable to do one or more things set out in Section 48,
(v) it is unpractical, because of the remoteness of the premises to be inspected or because of any other reason, for the inspector to obtain an order under this Section without delay if access is denied, or
(vi) there are reasonable grounds to believe that an attempt by the inspector to do anything set out in Section 48 without the order might defeat the purpose of that Section or cause an adverse effect,
(2) The period referred to in subsection (1) may not extend beyond 30 days after the date on which the order is made, but the order may be renewed for any reason set out in subsection (1) for one or more periods, each of which may not be more than 30 days.
52 (1) An inspector who finds that this Act or the regulations are being or have been contravened may issue an order, in the form prescribed, requiring the individual or organization responsible for the contravention to remedy it.
(2) Where an inspector carries out an inspection and finds that this Act or the regulations are not being or have not been contravened the inspector shall document the finding and any relevant information leading to the finding.
53 The Director may, on the Director's own motion, review any decision of an inspector that does not result in the issuance of an order and may confirm the inspector's decision or direct the inspector to issue an order under subsection 52(1).
(2) A request must be made in writing and must include the individual's or organization's name and address, the reasons for requesting the review and any additional information that the individual or organization wants to be considered by the Director.
55 (1) Subject to Section 56, where the Director is of the opinion that an individual or organization has failed to comply with an inspector's order within the period specified in the order, the Director may issue a written notice requiring the individual or organization to pay an administrative penalty in the amount prescribed.
56 No penalty may be issued by the Director more than three years after the act or omission that renders the individual or organization liable to a penalty first came to the knowledge of the Director.
(2) A certificate filed under this Section has the same force and effect as if it were a judgment obtained in the Court for the recovery of a debt in the amount set out in the certificate and may be enforced in the same manner as a judgment of the Court.
58 An individual or organization who pays an administrative penalty for an incident of non-compliance may not be charged with an offence with respect to that non-compliance unless the non-compliance continues after the penalty is paid.
64 (1) The Director shall maintain a database of all complaints of non-compliance, inspector visits, orders issued, Director reviews, notices of administrative penalties and appeals and shall provide the Minister with a summary report annually or at any more frequent interval as requested by the Minister.
(3) The Minister may issue public reports disclosing details of orders and decisions made and administrative penalties issued under this Act which may include personal information as defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
66 (1) Within four years after the coming into force of this Act, and at least every five years thereafter, the Governor in Council shall appoint a person to undertake a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the Act and the accessibility standards and report on the person's findings to the Minister.
67 No action lies against the Minister, the Accessibility Directorate, the Board, the Director, an inspector or any other person acting under the authority of this Act for anything done, or omitted to be done, in good faith, in the exercise or intended exercise of a power or duty under this Act or the regulations.
69 In a prosecution of an offence under this Act, it is sufficient proof of the offence to establish that it was committed by an employee or agent of the accused whether or not the employee or agent is identified or has been prosecuted for the offence, unless the accused establishes that the offence was committed without the knowledge or consent of the accused.
70 Where an organization commits an offence, a director, officer or agent of the organization who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in the offence is also guilty of the offence and liable on summary conviction to the penalty set out in Section 68, whether or not the organization has been prosecuted or convicted.
(e) exempting an individual or organization or a class of individuals or organizations, or an aspect of the built environment, from the application of any provision of this Act or the regulations and prescribing terms and conditions for the exemption;
(ii) respecting the determination of amounts of administrative penalties, which may vary according to the nature or frequency of the contravention and whether it is an individual or organization in non-compliance, and