British Columbia Accessibility Act

Last updated: 2020-07-21 — Accessibility

Accessibility in British Columbia and the Accessibility 2024 Plan

In 2014, the Government of British Columbia announced its Accessibility 2024 plan. The goal is to make British Columbia (B.C.) the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by 2024. Included in the plan is the objective to make internet access in B.C. the most accessible in Canada.

The Government of British Columbia has committed to ensuring its website and online content meet the international web standards, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA).

What is the British Columbia Accessibility Act?

In 2018, four years after the Accessibility 2024 plan was revealed, B.C. proposed the British Columbia Accessibility Act, also known as Bill M 219. The idea is to establish accessibility standards law in the province. Leading the charge are a group of volunteers throughout the province, called Barrier-Free BC.

The purpose of the act is to achieve accessibility by preventing and removing barriers in:

  • The delivery and receipt of goods and services
  • Information and communication
  • Public transportation and transportation infrastructure
  • Employment
  • The built environment
  • Education
  • A prescribed activity or undertaking

The act will also facilitate the implementation of accessibility standards with the goal of achieving an accessible British Columbia by 2024. The Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction of British Columbia, the Honourable Shane Simpson, stated that the legislation will complement Canada's Accessible Canada Act, which passed in June 2019.

Website Accessibility and the British Columbia Accessibility Act

Website accessibility falls under the purpose of removing barriers in information and communication. Since the Government of British Columbia is adhering to internationally accepted web standards (WCAG 2.0 AA), it is expected that the act will include the same requirements.

Current Status

In May 2018, the British Columbia Accessibility Act had its first reading. 

To gather feedback in preparation for the development of the law and its standards and policies, Shane Simpson held a public engagement from September 16 to November 29, 2019, allowing citizens to provide feedback and ideas to help inform the legislation.