GATINEAU, QC, May 16, 2019 /CNW/ - Accessibility in Canada is about building a country where all people, regardless of disability, can fully participate and be included in society.
As the Government of Canada's central purchaser, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is responsible for ensuring the goods and services the government buys are as accessible as possible at the best value to Canadians.
To support this goal, PSPC has launched a plan to increase awareness, understanding and application of accessibility criteria in federal procurement, among both buyers and suppliers. The cornerstone of the plan is the creation of an Accessible Procurement Resource Centre, to serve as a centre of expertise for accessibility in federal procurement. Specifically, the Accessible Procurement Resource Centre:
- develops guidelines and training material for PSPC procurement officers;
- examines industry accessibility standards and best practices that could be applied to federal procurement; and
- conducts market analysis to identify goods and services for which accessibility can be considered in procurement (such as vehicles, telecommunications and voice products, and professional services).
PSPC continues to actively engage with the disability community to better understand the needs of persons with disabilities in federal procurement. For example, the department launched a Request for Information seeking feedback from suppliers and the disability community on their experience with international accessible information and communications technology standards and products. Information gathered through this process will help assess suppliers' readiness to incorporate accessible standards into their own information and communications technology products.
In addition, the Treasury Board updated the Contracting Policy to include accessibility requirements in public procurements. As a result, all government procurement decisions must now take into account accessibility as a key consideration, both at the planning and delivery phases.
With the introduction of the proposed Accessible Canada Act, PSPC is contributing to the significant and sustained culture change that is needed so that no Canadian is left behind. This builds on the measures the Government of Canada is putting into place to harness its purchasing and contracting power to advance accessibility. With over $22 billion in spending power each year, the government has the ability to apply a far-reaching accessibility lens on every purchase, service and program it invests in, thus having a long-term impact on the removal of barriers within the Government of Canada and across the country.
"Canada is at its best when everyone is included. The Accessible Procurement Resource Centre is an important part of our government's plan to modernize procurement and ensure that what we buy, and how we buy it, is accessible to all Canadians, without the need for adaptation after the fact. When we recognize how influential and powerful procurement is in our efforts to break down barriers, we create a more accessible and inclusive Canada."
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
"Canadians expect their government's goods and services to be accessible to everyone. By amending the Contracting Policy, which governs how we secure goods and services for people, we have made accessibility part of the procurement process."
The Honourable Joyce Murray
President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
- In June 2018, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act, signaling its commitment to setting the highest standard of accessibility and inclusiveness for persons with disabilities in Canada.
- In August 2018, the Office of Public Service Accessibility was created within the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to develop a public service accessibility strategy and implementation plan, confirming the Government of Canada's commitment to lead by example in building an accessible and inclusive workplace.
- In September 2018, PSPC established the Accessibility Office to lead and oversee the department's efforts to strengthen accessibility and inclusion by removing barriers to full participation in the way PSPC works and in the services it provides.
- Accessibility requirements were added to the Treasury Board's Contracting Policy in April 2019, requiring departments to include accessibility criteria when purchasing goods and services.
- PSPC manages 75% of the $22 billion in annual purchases made by the Government of Canada.
Office of Small and Medium Enterprises
Request for Information on information and communications technology standards
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Bill C-81, Accessible Canada Act
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SOURCE Public Services and Procurement Canada