Province of Manitoba addresses barriers to public transportation with updated Accessibility for Manitobans Act

Jan. 11, 2024
The changes include transit and paratransit operators must create accessible measures that are public, transit operators must be trained on the safe use of accessible equipment and make sure the equipment is in good working order and municipalities with vehicles-for-hire bylaws must not refuse or deny service to somebody with a disability or a person using a service animal.

The Province of Manitoba has made improvements to the Accessibility for Manitobans Act that addresses barriers to public transportation.  

“Manitobans should be able to easily get around and we’re removing accessibility barriers to services like public transit and school buses to make life easier,” said Province of Manitoba’s Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine. “Whether you’re going to work, school, getting groceries, visiting family and friends or just going about your day-to-day life, you should have access to transportation that works for you.”  

Under the accessible transportation standard regulation, conventional transportation providers, paratransit providers (such as Winnipeg Transit Plus), school bus services and vehicles for hire like taxis and Uber are required to meet new requirements as follows: 

  • Transit and paratransit operators must create accessibility measures, policies and practices documents that are publicly available 
  • Transit operators must be trained on the safe use of accessibility equipment, emergency preparedness and response procedures 
  • Providers must ensure accessibility equipment (such as ramps and kneeling entrances) are in good working order and communicate publicly when they are not functional 
  • Providers must hold annual public consultation meetings for feedback on review measures, policies and practices 
  • Providers must offer the same fare for similar transportation services 
  • Bus service providers must keep bus stops clear of obstacles and snow and publicly communicate when they are inaccessible; 
  • Municipalities with vehicles-for-hire bylaws must not refuse or deny service to somebody with a disability or a person using a service animal.  

“We are grateful for the valued contributions of so many Manitobans who helped shape this regulation through their participation in various consultation opportunities and we applaud the government’s enactment of this important new standard,” said John Graham, chair, Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council.  

Organizations offering accessible services will have until Jan. 1, 2027, to comply with the numerous steps and adjust their policies, procedures and vehicles to meet the new accessibility standard requirements.   

Regular transit operators have until Jan. 1, 2042, to upgrade all existing buses to meet the accessible design requirements. According to the province, the average lifecycle of a Winnipeg Transit bus is 18 years. The 18-year compliance deadline ensures transit providers have enough time to implement changes, noted the minister. Any new buses purchased on or after Jan. 1, 2027, will have to meet accessible design requirements.  

The new accessible transportation standard regulation is the fourth standard under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act.