Issue 7 | January 2019

It’s that time – Happy 2019!

Can you believe two years have passed since Manitoba’s large public sector organizations created their accessibility plans? If you work for a university, college, Crown corporation, regional health authority or one of Manitoba’s 10 larger municipalities, then it’s time to update and post your 2019/2020 accessibility plan. 

For help, please see our Accessibility Plan Update Guide and Template for Public Sector Organizations.

Read the Manitoba Government Accessibility Plan: 2019 and 2020.

Be Prepared! 

Consider accessibility in emergency planning.

Winter can be a tough time of year for many Manitobans whose mood is affected by the short, dark, cold days.  For the one in four Manitobans with disabilities, winter weather conditions may also pose some serious safety risks.  Blizzards, extreme cold and freezing rain make it difficult or impossible to get around, can cause power outages, and may result in emergencies.

Manitoba’s disability and seniors’ organizations can help you identify barriers and solutions to consider during an emergency.  For example, Manitoba’s Independent Living Resource Centre (ILRC) offers training and information targeting emergency managers and Manitobans with disabilities.  

The ILRC’s approach to disability in emergency management spells RESCUE

Respect individual difference and respond to unique needs.

Engage the disability community in disaster planning.  

Supports come in a variety of forms, including attendants, service animals, interpreters, transportation and the built environment. 

Communicate warnings, response and recovery information in a variety of formats to meet individual needs. 

Understand that stereotypes result in inappropriate treatment of people with disabilities. 

Everyone benefits from an inclusive approach where people with disabilities provide expertise to address their circumstances.

Accessibility Tips

One way Manitobans can prepare for emergencies is to prepare an emergency kit

Another way is to consider the needs of friends, families and neighbours.  Keep in touch when it is minus 35 or minus 5 and icy, especially with individuals who are isolated at home.

Change Makers 

Woman in a wheelchair being assisted with her wristband by a Winnipeg Folk Festival volunteer. Photo by Matt Sawatzky.

Congratulations to this month’s Change Maker, Winnipeg Folk Festival (WFF), on creating an accessibility plan that considers accessibility in emergency planning and preparedness. 

The WFF chose to develop an accessibility plan to fulfill one of its core values:  inclusiveness. WFF’s accessibility webpage lists accessible emergency planning as an accessibility achievement.

  • Community disability organizations provide training to security volunteers to support patrons and volunteers with accessibility needs in the event of an emergency.
  • The WFF emergency system includes a specially designed communication plan, predetermined safety points, and exit and safety strategies for people with disabilities.

Other achievements include the Accessibility Pass that allows a patron with a disability to bring along a support person for free.  The WFF print program is also available electronically and in other accessible formats. The WFF continues to improve facilities and customer service among its staff and volunteers to create an environment that is welcoming, safe, accessible and respectful.

Good work, WFF, in striving for a great festival experience for all individuals, regardless of their abilities.

Challenge:  Have you considered accessibility when planning for emergencies or evacuations? Are you prepared?

Congratulations also to the World Trade Centre Winnipeg and the Deaf Centre Manitoba for collaborating together to offer a Sign Language Interpreter for their February 13, 2019 seminar entitled How to Start a Business in Manitoba.

Upcoming Events

Free Workshops 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday, March 18, 2019

Friday, April 5, 2019

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Disabilities Issues Office holds monthly workshops for employers to learn how to meet the requirements of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act. 

Register now to learn how you can develop policies and practices to comply with Manitoba’s accessibility law. For information about workshops held outside Winnipeg, please contact the DIO.

Frequently Asked Question

Who may need assistance to evacuate a building during an emergency?

Anyone who faces barriers – regardless of whether or not their disability is temporary or permanent – may need help to evacuate a building in an emergency. For example:

  • someone who uses a wheelchair, walker or crutches.
  • an individual who has difficulty walking long distances due to injury, medical condition or pregnancy.
  • a person who has difficulty understanding verbal or written instructions.
  • someone who is severely affected by stress due to PTSD, mental health issues, or a brain injury.

If in doubt, ask in advance if anyone in your office, organization or building (including condominiums) needs assistance in an emergency. Talk to your building manager to learn about the evacuation plan.  Make sure your emergency plan is ready to go when you need it most! 

This newsletter is available in alternate formats upon request.

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Disabilities Issues Office
630 - 240 Graham Avenue
Winnipeg MB R3C 0J7
Phone: 204-945-7613
Toll free: 1-800-282-8069, ext. 7613 

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