Elections Canada must make its polling sites accessible to people with disabilities, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal says.This after Peter Hughes arrived at a Toronto polling station in March, 2008, to vote in a by election. Hughes, who uses a walker to get around, was shocked to discover that the polling station was at the bottom of a long flight of stairs. He actually sat down on the edge of the stairs and went down on the seat of his pants down to the bottom of the stairs while somebody carried his walker.
The tribunal issued its ruling Friday, in response to a complaint from a physically disabled Toronto man who argued that voting sites should be accessible to everybody.
Now that's dedication.
As is following through the process on a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.
- $10,000 in damages for Mr. Hughes
- Elections Canada must formulate a plan for greater consultation with voters with disabilities and disability groups
- Elections Canada must stop situating polling stations in locations that do not provide barrier-free access in any electoral district in Canada
- Elections Canada must implement a procedure for verification of the accessibility of facilities on the day of an electoral event
- Elections Canada must review the Accessible Facilities Guide, Accessibility Checklist, and accessibility sections of the Manuals for the Returning Officers and the other categories of election workers
- Elections Canada must revise its standard lease for polling locations to include the requirement that the leased premises provide level access and are barrier-free.
- Elections Canada must provide sufficient and appropriate signage at elections, including the universal accessibility symbol so that voters with disabilities can easily find the shortest and most appropriate route to all accessible entrances at polling stations.
- Elections Canada must review, revise and update its training materials and programs concerning accessibility issues for their officials and give training to every officer or employee who deals with disability and accessibility issues
- Elections Canada must implement a procedure for receiving, recording and processing verbal and written complaints about lack of accessibility.