At a meeting on Monday, councillors discussed plans to develop such a policy along with an accessibility advisory committee.
“Not only is this the right thing to do, it’s also the right time,” city manager Sheila Bassi-Kellett told councillors, highlighting upcoming work on a new aquatic centre.
The draft policy includes commitments to reduce and eliminate physical barriers to city-owned facilities and public spaces, work toward fully accessible public transit, ensure city communications are accessible, and increase engagement with people with disabilities.
The committee will include people with experience of accessibility issues advising the city on things like website design, policies and procedures.
“I think it’s another good step forward on our road in making Yellowknife as accessible as possible,” Councillor Julian Morse said of the proposal.
While some provinces like Ontario require municipalities with more than 10,000 residents to have an accessibility advisory committee, there is no such policy in the NWT. The territory does not have its own building act, nor legislation that provides accessibility standards for buildings, though the NWT Human Rights Act does prohibit discrimination based on ability.
Federally, the Accessible Canada Act came into force in July 2019. Provinces and territories have been encouraged to adopt similar legislation.