Manitoba Liberals Call on PCs to Immediately Fix Accessibility Issues with Budget Process

December 10, 2021

Treaty 1 Territory, Métis Homeland, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberals say the PCs need to explain and immediately fix accessibility issues at the PCs public budget consultation process, which has resulted in Manitobans being excluded from participating.

Manitobans who require real-time closed captioning for the event are being told they cannot be accommodated.

Gladys Nielsen is hard of hearing and has been advocating to have her aging cochlear implant processor replaced and the replacement covered through Medicare. A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that electrically stimulates the auditory nerve (nerve for hearing). It requires a sophisticated processor in order to work.

Nielsen asked for closed captioning at the budget meeting in Winnipeg that she wanted to attend. Instead, they offered an ASL interpreter. As a senior who developed her hearing difficulty later in life, she has never learned sign language and does not plan to.

"They clearly do not understand the situation as ASL is not usually something that people with cochlear implants or other hearing augmenting devices require," said Nielsen.

This year, when she asked for live closed captioning, she was told she could not be accommodated and to try again next year.

"The fact that the PCs aren't even trying to understand the request for proper access to their budget consultations is insulting," said Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface. "The government needs to be able to accommodate all Manitobans in all of their consultations."

Lamont said they are also hearing that French speaking Manitobans attending the budget consultations are not able to get their questions answered in French.

Manitoba Liberals say it is clear the PCs are not making accessibility a priority in their budget consultations and that this must be immediately resolved.

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