Wozenilek et al. v. Elections Canada
ARCH, in its own name, was granted interested party status in Wozenilek et al. v. Elections Canada. Mr. Wozenilek uses a wheelchair. In the last Federal Election, he was unable to enter the Returning Officer’s building, nor was he able to vote at his local polling station because there were no automatic door openers. In both cases, Mr. Wozenilek had to wait for someone to open the door for him. He claimed that he was discriminated against on the basis of disability under The Canadian Human Rights Act.
The parties, with assistance from ARCH Disability Law Centre, were able to reach a mediated settlement that includes:
- As part of Elections Canada's commitment to accessibility for all Canadian voters, Elections Canada and Matthew Wozenilek, a Guelph accessibility advocate, are pleased to announce that in the next federal election all polling sites in Canada will feature either power-assisted door openers or dedicated staff to assist with opening doors.
- "We are building on our previous commitments with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Hughes case to ensure that all Canadians can access our voting sites in a barrier-free manner," said Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Marc Mayrand. "This will be a great step forward for all persons with disabilities in Canada," added Mr. Wozenilek.
- Elections Canada is currently conducting a national survey of polling sites within its data bank to determine the accessibility of all Canadian sites. The survey results will be published and shared with the Advisory Group for Disability Issues, an advisory group established to assist Elections Canada in meeting the needs of all Canadian electors.
- This announcement is a result of a confidential mediated settlement that was made possible with the participation of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and ARCH Disability Law Centre.