Issue 24 | May 2022


Manitoba Accessibility Office Announcements 


The Manitoba Accessibility Office congratulates Yutta Fricke on her retirement from Manitoba’s Public Service on March 31, 2022.

Yutta served with the Manitoba government since September 2003, working for the Disabilities Issues Office, and was the Executive Director for the Manitoba Accessibility Office for nearly a decade. She helped lead the implementation of accessibility legislation in Manitoba and has been a devoted advocate for disability rights. Yutta’s enthusiasm and passion have inspired many.

We are very pleased to welcome Darren Macdonald as our new Executive Director effective April 25, 2022.  Darren brings his experience working with disability organizations, but mainly as a supervisor and director with the Manitoba government, most recently with Employment and Income Assistance.  We look forward to Darren’s new leadership and the experience he brings to our work!

On behalf of the Manitoba government, we thank Yutta for her dedication and commitment, and we welcome Darren to our team!

Image colage of woman interacting with local community



Introducing the Accessibility Standard for Information and Communication - May 1, 2022 

Manitoba’s Accessibility Standard for Information and Communication is the third standard under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

The aim of the Standard is to remove and prevent barriers that exist digitally, in-print or through interaction with technology or people. 

The MAO has created the following resources to help organizations understand and comply with the standard’s regulations. More tools will be shared in future newsletters:



Compliance Deadlines

  • Manitoba government will demonstrate leadership, complying within one year, by May 2023.
  • Public sector organizations must comply by May 2024.
  • Private sector, non-profit organizations and small municipalities must comply by May 2025.



May 1, 2022 Compliance Deadline - Accessibility Standard for Employment                                             


The Accessibility Standard for Employment calls on all employers to have measures, policies and practices to provide reasonable accommodations for employees and applicants.

On May 1, 2022, all organizations are required to comply with the Standard, including private sector, non-profit organizations and small municipalities.


Resources for Business & Non-Profit Organizations

Keep employees sage. Consider accessibility during emergencies.

Save the Date - National AccessAbility Week is May 29 to June 4, 2022

Celebrating Manitoba Access Awareness Week - May 29 to June 4, 2022 


The Manitoba Accessibility Office and the Manitoba Employment Equity Practitioners Association (MEEPA) are pleased to co-host a free Zoom webinar for Manitoba Access Awareness Week (MAAW) 2022.

The webinar will focus on the importance of digital accessibility, the basic of accessibility legislation in Canada and Manitoba, as well as practical tips for how to make your information and communication more accessible. 

Manitoba Access Awarness Week May 29 - June 4, 2022


Title: MAAW 2022: Accessible Information & Communication – Good for Everyone

Date & Time: Thursday, June 2nd 1 to 3 p.m. CDT


Accessibility Accommodations: English ASL and auto captions will be provided


  • Introductory remarks by the Honourable Rochelle Squires, Minister of Families and Minister responsible for Accessibility
  • Presentation by the Manitoba Accessibility Office on the new Accessibility Standard for Information and Communication
  • Keynote presentation by Lisa Snider, Senior Consultant, Trainer and Owner of Access Changes Everything Inc.
  • Question and answer period (for pre-submitted and live questions)


Please submit your questions for our presenters, in advance of the webinar, by contacting, or by calling 204-945-7613. Visit MAAW


Budget 2022: Investing in Disability Supports for Manitobans

As part of Budget 2022’s commitment to invest in communities, the Manitoba government is committing nearly $29 million toward supporting disability services and increasing wages of staff that provide them.

Premier Heather Stefanson and Families Minister Rochelle Squires highlighted investments in Budget 2022: Recover Together that will improve wages for employees providing residential and community supports to adults with intellectual disabilities, decrease wait times for accessing services for children and youth with disabilities and their families, and build additional capacity in the disability sector.

For more information, please see the official Manitoba government news release.


2022/23 Manitoba Accessibility Fund 


Manitoba Accessibility Fund

Thank you to everyone involved in making the 2022/23 Pilot Year of the Manitoba Accessibility Fund a success!  A special thanks to all Manitoba organizations that applied for funding this year.

We received over 90 applications, and decisions will be made in the coming weeks. We were impressed by the breadth and depth of submissions. Stay tuned for project profiles and updates in future Accessibility News editions.

The MAF will be offered again in 2023/24, and we encourage applications from all eligible organizations with ideas for implementing new and innovative projects that make our province more accessible for everyone. Learn more about MAF.


Accessible Customer Service Policies - Large Businesses in Manitoba    

Manitoba’s Accessibility Compliance Secretariat monitors compliance of accessibility legislation among stakeholders in the private, non-profit and public sectors. The Secretariat also works directly with organizations to raise awareness about accessibility and ensure adherence with existing requirements.

In 2021, the secretariat began to issue tailored Achieving Compliance Plans to organizations. These plans outline the specific areas of the legislation requiring compliance and provide organizations with access to free tools and resources that will assist them to achieve compliance. The plans also include the date by which compliance will be re-assessed by the secretariat.

Accessibility is not only the right thing to do; it is also good for business. Nearly one in four individuals in this province, or approximately 234,000 people, identify as having a disability. Together, with their families and friends, Manitobans with disabilities represent a growing market segment in our province. As our population ages, this market is expected to further expand.

A business that commits to accessibility sends a strong message that people with disabilities are welcome. For this reason, it is much more likely to attract people with disabilities and their families.

In winter 2021, the secretariat connected with large companies to inform them about the legal obligation to document their accessible customer service policies and make these policies available upon request. Thirty-four companies received tailored Achieving Compliance Plans and 86% of those with a deadline to comply by March 31, 2022 were successful in doing so. Among some of these companies are:        


Made in Manitoba tools and resources to help your business comply with the Accessible Customer Service Standard Regulation are available.

Would you like to ensure your company’s employees meet the training requirement on accessible customer service? Access free online training.  


Eye on the Community - Accessibility Champions

   Man interacting with terminal in a airport

Manitoba Accessibility Award Winner Profile

Winnipeg Airports Authority – Large Business 

The Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) is an accessibility champion which has demonstrated outstanding technical innovation in removing accessibility barriers, all tested by the real experts:  Manitobans with disabilities. 

“WAA is proud of the leadership role we have been able to play through development of a local accessibility committee to guide informed decisions to offer a more accessible and inclusive airport environment to serve our community.” said Barry Rempel, former president and CEO, Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA).

In 2019, Winnipeg Airports Authority established the “mYWG” Accessibility Committee including representatives from CNIB, Manitoba Possible, Inclusion Winnipeg, and St. Amant Centre.  In 2020, the committee assisted the WAA in developing and introducing the “Passenger Rehearsal Program”, which offers travellers with disabilities an opportunity to “rehearse” their travel plans prior to departure and anticipate travel-related needs.

“True community accessibility requires the entirety of the supply chain effectively working together to ensure the services offered at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport reflect the diverse needs of our community,” said Rempel     

Manitoba travellers with mobility and sensory disabilities are invited to use one of two self-assessment tools to plan their air travel. One of the options for people with mobility disabilities is an autonomous wheelchair that uses

LiDAR technology to navigate the airport. Travellers who are visually impaired are invited to use an app called AIRA to assist them in navigating the large building. The Winnipeg airport was also the first in Canada to introduce accessible border control gates to support passengers with mobility disabilities arriving from international destinations. 

Winnipeg Airport Authority


Events, Opportunities, & Resources 


Microsoft Ability Summit – May 10, 2022: This free, virtual, community event brings together people with disabilities, allies, and industry professionals to Imagine, Build, and Include the future of disability inclusion and accessibility.

Canadian Congress on Disability Inclusion. May 26-27 2022

Employment & Social Development Canada (ESDC) First Annual Canadian Congress on Accessibility – May 26 to 27, 2022: This free, virtual event brings together persons with disabilities, disability organizations, public and private sector organizations, employers, innovators and thought leaders to exchange ideas and ground-breaking insights to help shape accessible and inclusively designed communities and workplaces across Canada.

Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce - Commitment to Opportunity, Diversity, and Equity (CODE) Conference - May 26, 2022: This conference will provide an introduction to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace. Through facilitated workshops, we explore the benefits of having an inclusive, equitable and diverse workplace. We will also discuss how we can be proactive within our organizations to remove systemic barriers that equity deserving groups face in accessing opportunities and resources.

Canadian Association for Supported Employment (CASE) Conference 2022 - Unlocking the Inclusive Economy – June 7 to 9, 2022: Through 30+ sessions and workshops led by leaders and innovators in the field of supported employment, we will explore shared best practices, innovative solutions to common challenges, the latest trends and research findings, and opportunities for networking and community building.

Opportunities & Funding

Government of Canada - Funding for the National Operating Funding stream - Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability (closes May 13, 2022)

  • The Social Development Partnerships Program - Disability Component (SDPP-D) is a grants and contributions program that seeks to improve the participation and social inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of Canadian society. SDPP-D provides operating and project funding to not-for-profit organizations.

Government of Canada - Skills and Partnership Fund - Funding to support skills development and training-to-employment for Indigenous people (closes May 9, 2022)

  • As a complement to the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training program, the Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF) is a project-based fund that supports partnerships between Indigenous organizations and industry employers to provide skills training for Indigenous peoples linked to economic opportunities at the local, regional, and national level.

Manitoba Possible - MPower: Manitoba’s Accessibility Challenge (closes May 13, 2022)

  • MPower: Manitoba’s Accessibility Challenge is a project that encourages students in Manitoba to share their voice and vision of accessibility for our schools and communities today and for years to come. 


These resources provide helpful tips and training for making information and communications accessible:

This newsletter is available in alternate formats on request.

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Manitoba Accessibility 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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Manitoba Accessibility Office