Header for Accessibility News - What you need to know about Manitoba's accessibility laws.

Issue 33 | May 2023

Manitoba Access Awareness Week 2023: How is Manitoba Making Web Information and Communication More Accessible

Join us for a free webinar on June 1, 2023

Manitoba Access Awareness Week Join this Free webinar Reducing Barriers to Web Accessible Information and Communications. Speakers Andrew Boardman from Manoverboard, Krystal Stokes from vicrotia lifeline, List Snider from Access changes everything, and Cindy Titus from Marymound. Presented by the Manitoba Accessibility Office on June 1st 2023 at 1:00pm - 3:00pm

The Province of Manitoba is proud to proclaim Manitoba Access Awareness Week (MAAW). 

Celebrated annually in conjunction with National AccessAbility Week (May 28 to June 3) its purpose is to raise awareness of accessibility barriers experienced by Manitobans with disabilities and to promote removal of these barriers.

The Manitoba Accessibility Office will be celebrating MAAW 2023 with a zoom webinar on Thursday, June 1, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The theme of the event is “Reducing Barriers to Web Accessible Information and Communications”.  It will include four short talks with organizations that received Manitoba Accessibility Fund (MAF) grants in 2022/23 to complete activities enhancing web accessibility and experiences for end users.

  • Andrew Boardman (Manoverboard) will speak about the Make-it-Accessible website and resources for Manitobans.

  • Krystal Stokes (Victoria Lifeline) will talk about the Victoria Lifeline web refresh project, which created new content and resources for Manitoba’s senior and disability communities.

  • Lisa Snider (Access Changes Everything) will present findings from a survey asking Manitobans about their experiences with digital online business platforms and the tips and best practices when providing accessible customer service to people with disabilities.

  • Cindy Titus (Marymound Inc.) will share more about their new refreshed website.

The Manitoba Accessibility Office is taking this opportunity to spotlight several projects from the new Manitoba Accessibility Fund (MAF) grant program. The purpose of MAF is to support organizations across Manitoba to raise accessibility awareness, remove barriers, and support compliance with accessibility legislation and existing standards.

All thirty projects supported by MAF during 2022/23, address gaps or accessibility barriers, or improved delivery of the Accessible Customer Service, Accessible Employment and Accessible Information and Communication Standards.

To register for the webinar, please visit the Eventbrite page to sign up to attend.  A zoom link to the event will be emailed to you prior to the event. 

Share Your Feedback on The Accessibility for Manitobans Act: Five-Year Review Consultations

The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) sets out a path to remove, reduce, and prevent barriers through the development of accessibility standards in fundamental areas of daily living.

The AMA was enacted in 2013, and affects all Manitobans – both people impacted by barriers in their everyday lives and people in a position to remove and prevent these barriers.

Sarah Lugtig has been appointed as the reviewer for the Accessibility for Manitobans Act five-year review. As a lawyer, Ms. Lugtig has worked as in-house counsel for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and Legislative Counsel in Manitoba’s public service before 2020. Ms. Lugtig is currently involved part-time with Legislative Counsel for ongoing special projects. Under the AMA, the reviewer must consult with the public, specifically people with disabilities and representatives from disability organizations.

The AMA requires regular reviews to occur every five years. The first review of the AMA occurred in 2018/2019. The second five-year review is required to take place in 2023.

Share your feedback on The Accessibility for Manitobans Act

Bilingual In-Person Public Forum - Winnipeg

Date: May 15, 2023

Time: 1:00 – 3:30 pm

Location: Viscount Gort Hotel - 1670 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, MB

Room: A & B

If you are unable to attend the Winnipeg in-person event and would like to join us virtually online, please contact mao@gov.mb.ca to receive access to a Zoom link to join the meeting online.

This event will include small group discussions that will then be summarized and presented to the larger audience, and carefully captured for subsequent analysis.

An essential part of planning the forum is ensuring accessibility. This event will have accessibility measures such as Braille documents, ASL, Closed Captioning, the provision of personal care attendants and French interpretation services. To assist with our planning, please email mao@gov.mb.ca if you plan to attend this forum and require accessibility measures or French interpretation services.

Virtual Public Forum:

A Virtual Public Forum is planned to take place online over Zoom on May 16, 2023, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

The Virtual Public Forum will offer the opportunity to provide your perspective and feedback on The Accessibility for Manitobans Act.

ASL interpretation and Closed Captioning will be available and a recording will be available to those unable to participate in real-time in the near future.

Please contact mao@gov.mb.ca to receive access to the Zoom link to the Virtual Public Forum.

Provide Your Feedback Online:

Visit the Engage MB website for an opportunity to provide feedback and participate in an online survey on the AMA.

Share Your Story:

We’re interested in hearing from all Manitobans, including people with disabilities, persons with long-term health conditions or illness, seniors, caregivers, family, friends, and natural supports and others interested in this area. Share your story by emailing mao@gov.mb.ca.

Spotlight on Manitoba Accessibility Fund Projects

The Manitoba Accessibility Fund and its grant program provides municipalities, non-profit organizations and businesses in Manitoba with financial support for projects that remove barriers experienced by people with disabilities and promote accessibility across the province. This month, we are happy to share projects from:

  • Abilities Manitoba

  • Border Land School Division


Abilities Manitoba

Submitted By: Jeannie Alexander, Capacity Builder, Abilities Manitoba

Abilities Manitoba is a network of 69 organizations across Manitoba who provide vital support services to Manitobans living with an intellectual disability. This network understands that removing most barriers is not difficult – it’s easy if we first acknowledge and identify these barriers and start to think differently about how we can do things, so all Manitobans have access to live their lives fully.

Barrier Town isn’t a club anyone wants to be a part of — and no business, employer or website wants to run with this reputation. But the way the world is currently set up often excludes large segments of people. Manitobans living with disabilities are the hardest hit, but everyone benefits when things are made simple and accessible. By introducing people to the ways that we create a “Barrier Town” and how certain decisions and practices impact people and leave them out, Abilities Manitoba has set out to entice business owners to take another look at the accessibility of their practices.

Made possible through support from the Manitoba Accessibility Fund, a series of video shorts and informational one-pagers have been developed to be shared on social media throughout the month of May. These plain language resources and tools will support Manitobans to identify and remove barriers for people experiencing disability. These resources will continue to be available on the Abilities Manitoba website even after the project ends.

Abilities Manitoba will continue to enhance accessibility going forward by including Manitobans facing barriers in the design and delivery of the services they receive from Manitoba organizations.

Border Land School Division

A Playground Board with various symbols representing actions

The Border Land School Division is a Southern Manitoba rural school division serving roughly 2,000 students across 13 schools.  We received funding from the Manitoba Accessibility Fund to install communication boards on school playgrounds and identified eight playgrounds to target with this support.  A communication board has pictures on it that can facilitate communication in a visual way.

The playground communication boards allow for opportunity and access to communication regardless of ability.  It is an important tool in bridging the gap with communication differences.  The users of the board can communicate in an alternate way by pointing to the pictures to convey their message. This is especially helpful for children who are non-verbal and for families that speak different languages.  Being able to communicate is important informing friendships between all children regardless of their communication ability. It provides an opportunity to practice reading, learn new words, build picture object relationships and learn about children who are different from them.  Socialization is important in child development. 

Going forward, we hope that raised community awareness of the benefits of communication boards will lead to increased demand for these types of supports in other community settings. It is easy to imagine how these types of augmentative and alternative communication supports can play a helpful role at community centers, shopping areas and anywhere groups of people meet. Thank you again to the Manitoba Accessibility Fund for making these communication boards possible.

E-Quality Communication Centre of Excellence Inc. (ECCOE)

A female sitting in front of a computer providing ASL services

ECCOE is a not-for-profit organization established in 1985 whose primary purpose is to promote and provide professional interpreting services of a high caliber that meet the needs of the Deaf and Deaf-Blind consumers throughout Manitoba.

ECCOE’s interpreters comply with the Code of Ethics as setout by the Canadian Association of Sign Language Interpreters (CASLI).

The agency liaises with other organizations and agencies promoting the advancement, enhancement, and continued development of the profession of interpreting as well as equal participation in communication.

The goal of ECCOE’s Manitoba Accessibility Fund (MAF) project was to provide online resources in English to be translated into American Sign Language (ASL) ensuring the information was the same in both formats. This project also built capacity and employment opportunities for Deaf Interpreters.

In keeping with the three MAF objectives, this project raised awareness about the prevention and removal of barriers by developing tools, resources, and training to support compliance with the AMA standards. It also removed barriers to information and communication by providing ASL electronically and in person.

With great appreciation for the invaluable financial support of the Manitoba Accessibility Fund, ECCOE has honed the skills of the Deaf and non-deaf Interpreters, along with the technical skills of the staff and contractors to provide quality translation from English content, both print and video, into ASL. Not only has this supported the ability to provide this service but also the capacity to support the AMA standards.

The Deaf Interpreters and non-Deaf Interpreters have collaborated and learned together how best to facilitate taking the source material and ensuring the fidelity of the interpretation is maintained in the translation. Learning about strategies via technology, i.e., tele prompters, screenshots of materials from English to a version of ASL, lighting, makeup, backdrops, backgrounds, etc., has been a lengthy but fruitful process thus far. ECCOE continues to mentor Deaf Interpreters new to this process who want to develop their skills. Vetting interpretation for produced materials to ensure quality and accuracy in ASL has been a learning journey for everyone involved in the project which will continue moving forward.

In the News:

Parents of children with disabilities play a vital role in finding opportunities for their child to find social connection with others through sport. One study examines the lengths parents with children competing on an international level in parasports went to in order to get their children involved. The study outlines experiences and the pathways parents took to support their children’s dreams.

Read the full article

Manitoba Accessibility Office Announcement:

The Manitoba Accessibility Office congratulates Tracy MacMillan on her retirement from Manitoba’s Public Service on April 28, 2023.

Tracy served with the Manitoba government since November 28, 1989, and was the Office Manager for the Manitoba Accessibility Office for over twenty years. She helped provide valuable administrative support to the Manitoba Accessibility Office. Tracy’s enthusiasm, passion and support will be greatly missed.

On behalf of the Manitoba government, we thank Tracy for her dedication and commitment, and wish her a very happy retirement.


Public Engagements:

  • EngageMB – The Accessibility for Manitobans Act Five-Year Review: Visit EngageMB.ca to share your feedback on the Act and participate in an online survey.

  •  The Accessibility for Manitobans Act Five-Year Review – Public Forums

    • Winnipeg Event:

      • Date: May 15

      • Time: 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm

      • Location: Viscount Gort Hotel - 1670 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, MB

      • Room: A & B

    • Virtual Event:

      • Date: May 16

      • Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

      • Location: Online via Zoom

Upcoming Webinars:

Important Dates:

Awareness Dates:

  • Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month: May 1 - 31

  • Bear Witness Day: May 10

  • Manitoba Access Awareness Week: May 28 - June 3