Canadian senate passes Accessible Canada Act, Dawson Creek Mayor wants a more barrier-free city

Christian D'Avino 

Our country is one step closer to becoming barrier-free for all Canadians. 

The third reading of Bill C-81, or the Accessible Canada Act, was passed by the Senate on Monday, May 15.

According to the government, this would benefit all Canadians, especially those living with disabilities, by helping to create a barrier-free Canada. 

"Seniors, accessibility, visual, auditory, all of those disabilities are aspects of life for individuals with disabilities," said Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead. 

"We need to ensure that we take those into consideration as we build infrastructure and build development in our community."

Mayor Bumstead said one of the key issues in Dawson Creek, from an accessibility perspective, is safety for pedestrians. 

Right now, not all crossing signals have an audible or braille solution for those who are visually impaired.

"That's a big one for me, because I know that you hear that traffic gets busy in a community," Bumstead said.  

"So, you really want to find a way to ensure that you allow, one, an appropriate time for people to cross those busy intersections, but also ensure that you have the auditory and countdown signals in place." 

11 amendments were made to the original bill. Of those 11, four speak on the date of January 1, 2040; the date that Canada is mandated to be accessible. 

In order to become law, bill C-81 must be passed by the House of Commons in its current state.

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