Alberta’s government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Accessibility Standards Canada.

The announcement came on Monday, with the province underlining that Albertans with disabilities deserve to have safe and reliable access to public buildings and spaces everywhere they go. 

"To ensure safe and reliable access, it is critical that provincial and national partners work together to improve accessibility in Alberta communities. To collaborate and coordinate efforts to further develop accessibility standards for provincial building codes, Alberta’s government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Accessibility Standards Canada," the province stated.

Ric McIver, Minister of Municipal Affairs said that the province is pleased to be working more closely with Accessibility Standards Canada.

"... To support our commitment to creating more accessible, inclusive communities. Accessibility standards in our building codes mean greater accessibility in all our communities, and I’m grateful to our partners for helping us advance accessibility in Alberta."

Philip Rizcallah, Chief Executive Officer of Accessibility Standards Canada welcomed the agreement with the province, saying that it will help advance equity and accessibility for all people with disabilities.

"Our unwavering commitment to inclusivity fuels our work, and we take pride in our shared vision. By aligning our efforts to achieve an accessible society, regardless of jurisdiction, we are doing what is right. Thank you to the Province of Alberta for actively participating in this momentum toward a barrier-free Canada."

Under the agreement, Alberta’s government and Accessibility Standards Canada may share research and results, as well as work together on developing and implementing accessibility standards.

"By advancing standards for barrier-free design, Alberta can help eliminate barriers to accessibility and improve safety and quality of life for people with sensory, cognitive, communication and physical disabilities."

Accessibility Standards Canada is a federal organization responsible for developing standards, advancing accessibility research and sharing accessibility information.

"Through this partnership, Accessibility Standards Canada and Alberta’s government are better positioned to deliver on the mutual goal to improve accessibility in building development – whether that’s homes, community facilities or other buildings."

Dominic Shaw, Chair, of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities underlined that ensuring all people, regardless of ability, have access to public and private spaces is a cornerstone of all accessibility work.

"The Premier’s Council is pleased to see the government listening to the voices of the disability community and taking this step forward in jurisdictional collaboration and appreciate the dedication this shows to inclusion for all Albertans."

According to the province, In Alberta, accessibility requirements in buildings are contained in the Alberta edition of the National Building Code, which is adopted by regulation under the Safety Codes Act.

"Alberta’s safety codes establish a minimum standard for the safe design, construction and accessibility of buildings in the province. Alberta’s Safety Codes Council includes a barrier-free sub-council that helps make recommendations to the Minister of Municipal Affairs on issues related to barrier-free access."

Organizations represented on the council include persons with disabilities groups, seniors, designers and municipal associations.

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