Disability Advocacy Gets Action!


The Ford Government Extends Its Public Consultation Period for Its Troubled Proposal to Allow Electric Scooters in Ontario from 48 Hours to 2.5 Weeks

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities http://www.aodaalliance.org [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

August 30,2019
SUMMARY

Swift advocacy efforts yesterday by the AODA Alliance and others in the disability community (including Balance for Blind Adults and the CNIB) have yielded some modest results.

Two days ago, the Doug Ford Government quietly posted online a brief notice inviting public input on a proposal to permit the use of electric scooters (e-scooters) in Ontario for a test period of five years. The Ford Government allowed a paltry 48 hours for public input, expiring on the Labour Day long weekend.

Thankfully we were alerted to this by an AODA Alliance supporter, who was concerned about the safety risk that the use of e-scooters posed for Ontarians with disabilities. Problems have been reported for the public in other jurisdictions that have allowed e-scooters.

The AODA Alliance quickly swung into action on this helpful tip. So did others, including Balance for Blind Adults and the CNIB. The media showed interest quite quickly.

Within hours, the Ford Government gave some ground, though not all the ground we had requested. It announced that it was extending its consultation on this issue to September 12, 2019. A tweet last evening on Twitter from Ontario’s Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney, who has lead responsibility in this area, announced this short extension, as follows:

“Caroline Mulroney. Comments on our proposed e-scooter regulation can be submitted until September 12th. We look forward to hearing all stakeholder feedback and getting this pilot project right. https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=30207language=en ontariocanada.com/registry/view.”

The Globe and Mail posted online a good news report on this issue, and included it in its hard copy of the newspaper today. See below.

While this extension is helpful, it is still clearly shorter than typical Government consultations. The Doug Ford Government’s approach strongly suggests that it has already made up its mind to allow e-scooters in Ontario, and is simply going through the motions, when it comes to public consultations. Posting a consultation just before the Labour Day weekend, when many are away on holidays and are not monitoring for new Government consultations, is a well-known strategy for hoping that most will miss the announcement. Such a rushed consultation, whether 48 hours or 2.5 weeks, gives the same signal. Clearly there is no urgency about allowing e-scooters in Ontario, to justify such conduct by our elected leaders.

It is also troubling that the Ford Government has not agreed, prior to going any further with this proposal, to study the safety risks to the public including to Ontarians with disabilities, that e-scooters pose.

“It is inexcusable that the Ford Government tried to hold a public consultation on an issue affecting public safety in a meager 48 hours, and tried to do so just before the Labour Day weekend,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance. “We should never have had to fight such rear-guard battles as this. The Transportation Minister and Ministry neither alerted us to the consultation itself, nor to the extension of time that we and others had to fight for and win.”

We will rush to prepare a submission to this public consultation. Send us your feedback. Write us at [email protected]

Also, we encourage you to send the Government your feedback. Details of the Ford Government’s consultation on this issue is available at https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=30207&language=en

The Doug Ford Government’s haste in trying to deal with this issue stands in striking contrast to its unfair and protracted delays in addressing the serious barriers that over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities still face. There have now been 211 days, or almost seven months, since the Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Ford Government has still announced no plan of action to implement the Onley report.

The Onley report found that Ontario remains full of “soul-crushing” barriers against Ontarians with disabilities, and that Government action to redress these has been far too inadequate.

The AODA Alliance is leading a “Dial Doug” campaign. It is urging members of the public to call or email Premier Ford, and to ask him where is his plan to ensure that Ontario becomes accessible to people with disabilities by 2025.

Doug Ford’s office number is +1 (416) 325-1941. His email address is [email protected]

Action tips on how to take part in the #DialDoug blitz are available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/join-in-our-new-dial-doug-campaign-a-grassroots-blitz-unveiled-today-to-get-the-doug-ford-government-to-make-ontario-open-for-over-1-9-million-ontarians-with-disabilities/

MORE DETAILS

The Globe and Mail AUGUST 30, 2019

Originally posted at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-ontario-government-causes-confusion-with-amended-e-scooter-pilot/ Ontario extends e-scooter public-comment period OLIVER MOORE URBAN AFFAIRS REPORTER

Under a proposal posted online by the provincial Ministry of Transportation, the province would conduct a five-year pilot project that would allow e-scooters in the same places as bicycles.

GLENN LOWSON/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

The Ontario government sparked confusion and pushback by offering a two-day window of opportunity for the public to comment on electric kick scooters being allowed on the provinces roads.

Under a proposal posted online by the provincial Ministry of Transportation, the province would conduct a five-year pilot project that would allow e-scooters in the same places as bicycles. Speeds would be capped at 32 kilometres an hour and no one younger than 16 would be allowed to ride.

The proposal was put online Wednesday, and initially specified that people would have until Friday to weigh in. Ministerial spokesman Bob Nichols said late Thursday afternoon that the deadline was being extended to Sept. 12. He did not explain the reason for the change and apologized for any confusion.”

The apparent brevity of the comment period was one factor that drew criticism from advocates, as was the length of the pilot, at a time of fast-changing transportation options, and the speed at which e-scooters would be allowed to move.

Its a very fast pace for these devices to be travelling, especially if theyre sharing limited space in bicycle lanes and bicycle paths with users that are moving at a slower speed, said Jaime Stuckless, executive director of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, which has advocated for a 24-km-an-hour limit for the devices. The speed is the major concern for us.

The pilot project proposed by the province follows the introduction of e-scooters into multiple jurisdictions, in many cases prompting the ire of pedestrians who feel endangered and raising concerns among safety advocates.

These e-scooters are sometimes privately owned, but are more likely to be distributed by one of a handful of major firms offering them as short-term rentals. They have popped up in cities around the world but have been largely absent in Ontario, where the current law bars them from both sidewalks and roads.

Attempts to introduce e-scooters without contravening the law include plans for them in Torontos Distillery District, a small private neighbourhood, and a continuing pilot in Waterloo, where users are supposed to keep the vehicles largely on a multiuse trail.

Under the provinces proposal, e-scooters would be permitted on roads, similar to where bicycles can operate. Mr. Nichols said that it was too early to know whether municipalities would still have the power to set aside road space for bicycles only. He also said there was no definitive date for the pilot to begin.

David Lepofsky, a long-time activist for the visually impaired and chair of the AODA Alliance, which advocates for Ontarians with disabilities, raised concerns Thursday that the process is being rushed. The group argues that the government needs to withdraw this consultation and start over, with a focus on studying and making public the impact of e-scooters on safety, including for disabled people.

Ms. Stuckless, with the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, also suggested that a five-year pilot was unwisely long. Her group has called for a two-year pilot, which she said would be more useful for assessing the latest addition to a dynamic transportation sector.

Who knows what the next trend is going to be that evolves in the next five years, she said. The space is changing pretty quickly.




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A Call for Stronger Information and Communications Standards in Education


 Our last article explored how information standards in education make information accessible to some students, parents, and educators with disabilities. In this article, we discuss how stronger information standards in education are needed to fully support students with disabilities.  

A Call for Stronger Information and Communications Standards in Education 

The regulations in the existing Standards provide an important starting point for educational accessibility. However, under the current standard, educators, students, or parents must request accessible-format materials at the time they are needed and wait until the school or producer can create them. The Standards mandate that formats and supports must be available in a timely manner. Nonetheless, in an educational context, students may need information much sooner than they can access it. For example, a teacher might request a textbook from a publisher at the beginning of the school year. The educator, and the student who needs the accessible book, must then wait for the book to be produced. By the time the accessible book arrives, the other students may have been using the book for several days or weeks.

An education standard could improve school access by mandating that academic publishers create accessible-format versions of everything they publish. Moreover, this requirement could apply to both print and online resources. Educators who request accessible resources could then receive them at the same time they receive standard print resources. In this way, every student would have the same access to their textbooks.

Expanding the Information Standards to include mandates for students with parents with disabilities and teachers

In addition, the Information Standards’ focus on accessible information supports only students with print disabilities. For instance, these rules support students who are/have:

  • Blind 
  • Visually impaired
  • Deafblind
  • Learning disabilities that affect reading
  • Physical disabilities that affect their ability to hold or turn pages

However, there are no rules supporting the accessible-format needs of parents with disabilities. For example, the standard could mandate a process for parents to request alternate-format copies of:

  • Their child’s report cards
  • Consent forms for field trips or other school activities

Moreover, there are no mandates that detail how teachers should make their lessons accessible for students with other disabilities. For instance, there are no rules in the standards about providing communication supports during lessons for students who are/have:

  • Deaf
  • Hard of hearing
  • Deafblind
  • Speech disabilities
  • Learning disabilities affecting verbal information processing
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Mental health challenges

As more people develop disabilities, access to information will become more important, in education and in all other sectors. The new education standard will need to ensure accessible lessons and books for students with all disabilities.




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Ford Government Quietly Conducts Inexcusably Rushed 2-Day Public Consultation Just Before the Labour Day Long Weekend on a Troubling Proposal to Allow Electric Scooters in Ontario


Because This Risks a Safety Threat for People with Disabilities, the AODA Alliance Calls for This Rushed Consultation To Be Withdrawn, and For Assurances that Our Safety Won’t Ever Be Put At Risk, Even During Any Trial Period

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities http://www.aodaalliance.org [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

August 29, 2019

SUMMARY

On Wednesday, August 28, 2019, two days before the Labour Day long weekend, the Doug Ford Government quietly posted online, for a meager 48-hour public consultation, a proposal to allow electric scooters (e-scooters) in Ontario for five years, for a trial period, on the same terms as bicycles are allowed. E-scooters would be allowed to zip at up to 32 kilometers per hour. Below we set out the Government’s description of what the Government proposes.

Allowing e-scooters in Ontario risks exposing a real safety threat to the public, including to people with disabilities. For example, if allowed on sidewalks (as allowed in some other jurisdictions) or bike lanes, zipping along far faster than pedestrians, or if allowed on the roads without the safeguards applied to cars and trucks, pedestrians, including those with disabilities are exposed to serious injuries. This is even more risky if a person is allowed to drive an e-scooter in public, without requiring a driver’s license and the associated oversight and training.

“It is inexcusable that the Doug Ford Government quietly sprung this on the public on the eve of the Labour Day weekend, when many are away on holiday, and only allowed for 48 hours for the public to give input,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the grassroots non-partisan AODA Alliance that spearheads the campaign for accessibility for over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities. “The fact that the Ford Government did not even alert us to this consultation, which we only learned about via the grapevine, suggests that Doug Ford may not have even considered the impact of this proposal on people with disabilities.”

The AODA Alliance is calling on the Ford Government to immediately withdraw its 48 hour consultation, and to go back to the drawing board. It should first thoroughly study and make public the impact of e-scooters on public safety, including on people with disabilities, before taking any further steps on this issue. It should commit that no action will be taken that could allow e-scooters in Ontario if they pose a risk to public safety, including the safety of people with disabilities. Many more details should be shared with the public before a public consultation begins.

There have now been 211 days, or almost seven months, since the Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of Ontario’s accessibility law, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Ford Government has still not announced any plan of action to implement the Onley report.

The Onley report found that Ontario remains full of “soul-crushing” barriers against Ontarians with disabilities, and that Ontario Government action to redress these has been far too inadequate. The fact that the Ford Government could come forward with so troubling a consultation on an issue that risks our safety is yet more indication that Ontario desperately needs the Onley report to be effectively implemented.

The AODA Alliance is conducting a “Dial Doug” campaign. It is urging members of the public to call or email Premier Ford, and to ask him where is his plan to ensure that Ontario becomes accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. This e-scooter proposal gives people with disabilities yet another reason to #DialDoug!

Doug Ford’s office number is +1 (416) 325-1941. His email address is [email protected]

Action tips on how to take part in the #DialDoug blitz are available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/join-in-our-new-dial-doug-campaign-a-grassroots-blitz-unveiled-today-to-get-the-doug-ford-government-to-make-ontario-open-for-over-1-9-million-ontarians-with-disabilities/

MORE DETAILS

The Ford Government’s 48-Hour Pre-Labour Day Public Consultation on Allowing Electric Scooters in Ontario

Originally posted at https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=30207&language=en Kick Style Electric Scooter (E-Scooter)

Background:

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is strongly committed to promoting the highest standards of safety for all Ontarians who travel on our roads, including drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, and will continue working with all our partners on measures that enhance this objective. Trends and technology are evolving, with new forms of vehicles such as e-scooters entering the market.

MTO is interested in new and environmentally-friendly vehicles, however it is important that new vehicles are constructed with appropriate safety features to allow safe integration with all other road users.

MTO is considering the following proposal and invites you to submit your comments for consideration.

E-Scooters

E-scooters have been launched in more than 125 cities across the United States. They represent a new way for residents to get around their communities, are seen as providing first and last mile connections to transit, and represent an opportunity to reduce traffic congestion.

E-scooters are currently not permitted to operate on roads in Ontario as they do not meet any federal or provincial safety standards for on-road use. These devices may only be operated where Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA) does not apply such as private property.

The ministry is interested in exploring the feasibility of these vehicles safely integrating with other road users while promoting road safety andfostering business innovation in the province.

MTO is soliciting public comment on potentially permitting the use of e-scooters on roads in Ontario as part of a pilot project. This will allow the ministry to ensure e-scooters can be safely integrated with other road users before a final, permanent, regulatory decision is made.

Proposed E-Scooter Pilot Framework:

Pilot Duration:

The length of the pilot will be for a prescribed period of 5 years, to ensure sufficient time to effectively monitor and evaluate the pilot results.

Operator/Rider/Vehicle Requirements Include:

Can operate on-road similar to where bicycles can operate; prohibited on controlled access highways Minimum operating age 16
Bicycle helmet required for those under 18 years old
No passengers allowed
Maximum operating speed 32 km/h
No pedals or seat allowed
Must have 2 wheels and brakes
Maximum wheel diameter 17 inches
Must have horn or bell
Must have front and back light
Maximum weight 45kg and Maximum power output 500W

Data Collection:

Municipalities to remit data to the province, as requested




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Ford Government Quietly Conducts Inexcusably Rushed 2-Day Public Consultation Just Before the Labour Day Long Weekend on a Troubling Proposal to Allow Electric Scooters in Ontario – Because This Risks a Safety Threat for People with Disabilities, the AODA Alliance Calls for This Rushed Consultation To Be Withdrawn, and For Assurances that Our Safety Won’t Ever Be Put At Risk, Even During Any Trial Period


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

www.aodaalliance.org [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

Ford Government Quietly Conducts Inexcusably Rushed 2-Day Public Consultation Just Before the Labour Day Long Weekend on a Troubling Proposal to Allow Electric Scooters in Ontario – Because This Risks a Safety Threat for People with Disabilities, the AODA Alliance Calls for This Rushed Consultation To Be Withdrawn, and For Assurances that Our Safety Won’t Ever Be Put At Risk, Even During Any Trial Period

August 29, 2019

          SUMMARY

On Wednesday, August 28, 2019, two days before the Labour Day long weekend, the Doug Ford Government quietly posted online, for a meager 48-hour public consultation, a proposal to allow electric scooters (e-scooters) in Ontario for five years, for a trial period, on the same terms as bicycles are allowed. E-scooters would be allowed to zip at up to 32 kilometers per hour. Below we set out the Government’s description of what the Government proposes.

Allowing e-scooters in Ontario risks exposing a real safety threat to the public, including to people with disabilities. For example, if allowed on sidewalks (as allowed in some other jurisdictions) or bike lanes, zipping along far faster than pedestrians, or if allowed on the roads without the safeguards applied to cars and trucks, pedestrians, including those with disabilities are exposed to serious injuries. This is even more risky if a person is allowed to drive an e-scooter in public, without requiring a driver’s license and the associated oversight and training.

“It is inexcusable that the Doug Ford Government quietly sprung this on the public on the eve of the Labour Day weekend, when many are away on holiday, and only allowed for 48 hours for the public to give input,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the grassroots non-partisan AODA Alliance that spearheads the campaign for accessibility for over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities. “The fact that the Ford Government did not even alert us to this consultation, which we only learned about via the grapevine, suggests that Doug Ford may not have even considered the impact of this proposal on people with disabilities.”

The AODA Alliance is calling on the Ford Government to immediately withdraw its 48 hour consultation, and to go back to the drawing board. It should first thoroughly study and make public the impact of e-scooters on public safety, including on people with disabilities, before taking any further steps on this issue. It should commit that no action will be taken that could allow e-scooters in Ontario if they pose a risk to public safety, including the safety of people with disabilities. Many more details should be shared with the public before a public consultation begins.

There have now been 211 days, or almost seven months, since the Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of Ontario’s accessibility law, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Ford Government has still not announced any plan of action to implement the Onley report.

The Onley report found that Ontario remains full of “soul-crushing” barriers against Ontarians with disabilities, and that Ontario Government action to redress these has been far too inadequate. The fact that the Ford Government could come forward with so troubling a consultation on an issue that risks our safety is yet more indication that Ontario desperately needs the Onley report to be effectively implemented.

The AODA Alliance is conducting a “Dial Doug” campaign. It is urging members of the public to call or email Premier Ford, and to ask him where is his plan to ensure that Ontario becomes accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. This e-scooter proposal gives people with disabilities yet another reason to #DialDoug!

Doug Ford’s office number is +1 (416) 325-1941. His email address is [email protected]

Action tips on how to take part in the #DialDoug blitz are available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/join-in-our-new-dial-doug-campaign-a-grassroots-blitz-unveiled-today-to-get-the-doug-ford-government-to-make-ontario-open-for-over-1-9-million-ontarians-with-disabilities/

          MORE DETAILS

The Ford Government’s 48-Hour Pre-Labour Day Public Consultation on Allowing Electric Scooters in Ontario

Originally posted at https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=30207&language=en

Kick Style Electric Scooter (E-Scooter)

 

 

Background:

 

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is strongly committed to promoting the highest standards of safety for all Ontarians who travel on our roads, including drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, and will continue working with all our partners on measures that enhance this objective. Trends and technology are evolving, with new forms of vehicles such as e-scooters entering the market.

MTO is interested in new and environmentally-friendly vehicles, however it is important that new vehicles are constructed with appropriate safety features to allow safe integration with all other road users.

MTO is considering the following proposal and invites you to submit your comments for consideration.

E-Scooters

 

E-scooters have been launched in more than 125 cities across the United States. They represent a new way for residents to get around their communities, are seen as providing first and last mile connections to transit, and represent an opportunity to reduce traffic congestion.

E-scooters are currently not permitted to operate on roads in Ontario as they do not meet any federal or provincial safety standards for on-road use. These devices may only be operated where Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA) does not apply such as private property.

The ministry is interested in exploring the feasibility of these vehicles safely integrating with other road users while promoting road safety and fostering business innovation in the province.

 

MTO is soliciting public comment on potentially permitting the use of e-scooters on roads in Ontario as part of a pilot project. This will allow the ministry to ensure e-scooters can be safely integrated with other road users before a final, permanent, regulatory decision is made.

 

 

 

Proposed E-Scooter Pilot Framework:

 

Pilot Duration:

The length of the pilot will be for a prescribed period of 5 years, to ensure sufficient time to effectively monitor and evaluate the pilot results.

 

Operator/Rider/Vehicle Requirements Include:

 

  • Can operate on-road similar to where bicycles can operate; prohibited on controlled access highways
  • Minimum operating age 16
  • Bicycle helmet required for those under 18 years old
  • No passengers allowed
  • Maximum operating speed 32 km/h
  • No pedals or seat allowed
  • Must have 2 wheels and brakes
  • Maximum wheel diameter 17 inches
  • Must have horn or bell
  • Must have front and back light
  • Maximum weight 45kg and Maximum power output 500W

Data Collection:

 

  • Municipalities to remit data to the province, as requested

 

 



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‘I Need to Know How to Get to Work’


Luke Carroll
Updated: August 27, 2019

Changes to OC Transpo bus routes with the arrival of Ottawa’s LRT system drew concerned west end residents to a special information session on Monday night.

The briefing at the Alexander Community Centre, put on by west-end city councillors Riley Brockington, Theresa Kavanagh and Keith Egli and OC Transpo, was held to inform the public about changes to several bus routes, including Routes 14 to St. Laurent and Tunney’s Pasture, 114 to Carlington and Rideau.

OC Transpo senior transit planner Erica Springate said the changes are largely designed to connect buses to LRT stations. Springate said the LRT will replace most buses in the downtown area along Albert and Slater streets.

The changes would also affect the 11 to Lincoln Fields and Parliament, 82 to Bayshore and Lincoln Fields, 86 to Baseline and Tunney’s Pasture, 87 to Baseline and Tunney’s Pasture, 284 Knoxdale and Tunney’s Pasture and 53 to Carlington and Tunney’s Pasture. The changes will be implemented on Oct. 6.

But for many of the residents, accessibility was a major concern as riders will be forced to take transfers to reach many downtown destinations.

Alma Cowan, a senior who has been riding the OC Transpo for over 30 years said she was very displeased with the changes to the Route 14 which used to run to Carlington. The changes will make it more difficult for elderly or disabled riders to get to certain downtown areas, she said.

“What are you supposed to do? Especially if you’re on a wheelchair?” she asked.

Cowan said she felt there was a lack of consultation on the bus changes.

“OC Transpo does not seem to know too much about people who use the system. I’ve been riding the OC Transpo for 30 years, and I find it crazy they don’t ask us.”

Bob Crout, who uses a wheelchair, said he wanted more information on LRT accessibility. Crout said the information session provided him with some answers, such as the elevators at the LRT stations, but not many details on accessibility within the trains themselves.

Other residents simply wanted to know how their personal commutes would be affected.

“I need to know how to get to work,” said Joesphine Bruno, who discovered her normal commute on the Route 14 would no longer take her to her destination. However, after speaking with several OC Transpo employees, she figured out some alternate routes, many involving transfers.

“It’s not a drastic change, but there are changes,” she said.

Original at https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/lrt-and-bus-accessibility-i-need-to-know-how-to-get-to-work




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Accessible Information in Education


The AODA does not yet have an education standard. Two committees are making recommendations about what an education standard should include. In the meantime, however, there are still AODA requirements for educational institutions to follow. Educational institutions must follow the regulations in the Information and Communications Standards that apply to other organizations. In addition, there are also regulations especially for educational institutions. Accessible information in education makes school settings welcoming to students, parents, and workers with disabilities. Educational institutions that need to make information accessible are:

  • Public and private schools
  • School boards
  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • School libraries
  • Producers of educational or training materials, such as textbook publishers

Accessible Information in Education

Under the Information and Communications Standards, producers of educational materials must make textbooks available in accessible formats. They will need to make all other educational or training materials available in accessible formats by January 1st, 2020. For instance, materials that will need to be produced accessibly include:

  • Handouts or lecture notes
  • Student records and information on program requirements
  • Other classroom materials that are visual in nature, such as maps or globes

Moreover, educational institutions must also provide accessible versions of all resources that they buy, borrow, or create. They must do so:

How to Make Educational Materials Accessible

Institutions may make some materials accessible themselves. For instance, school staff can:

  • Photo-copy handouts in large print
  • Emboss them on a Braille printer
  • Post course outlines or calendars on websites
  • Record audio versions of print book excerpts
  • Create tactile maps, diagrams, or pictures

Alternatively, institutions may need to contract third-party companies to produce other materials, such as Braille textbooks or tactile maps. Producers of educational materials must provide them in formats that are either accessible or conversion-ready so that other people can complete the conversion process. Producers that cannot make a material accessible must explain to their client why they cannot do so. Then, they must provide summaries of everything they cannot convert.

Our next article will explore how stronger information standards in education can more fully support students with disabilities.




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What Barriers to Information and Communication Do You Face?


The Ford Government Posted the Draft Recommendations for Revisions to the Information and Communication Accessibility Standard That the Information and Communication Standards Development Committee has Submitted to the Government Send Us Your Thoughts As We Prepare Our Brief

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities http://www.aodaalliance.org [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

August 27, 2019

SUMMARY

Do you think Ontario should do more to ensure that information and communication, including digital communications, are fully accessible to over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities? Here is a chance to have your say.

What’s this all about? Back in 2011, the former Ontario Government enacted a regulation under the AODA which is often called the Information and Communication Accessibility Standard. It was supposed to ensure that information and communication, including digital communication, becomes accessible to Ontarians with disabilities on or before 2025.

That 2011 accessibility standard was helpful, and may well have been the strongest of the five accessibility standards enacted to date under the AODA. However, there remains ample room for it to be strengthened. As written, it would not ensure that information and communications in Ontario becomes accessible to Ontarians with disabilities by 2025.

Under the AODA, after an accessibility standard has been in force for five years, the Ontario Government must appoint an AODA Standards Development Committee to review it and recommend any revisions needed to ensure that Ontario becomes fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. As a result, in 2016, the former Ontario Government appointed an Information and Communication Standards Development Committee to take on that task.
That Standards Development Committee has been meeting and working since 2017. Its work suffered from a six month interruption of its work. This was caused by the unwarranted freeze on all Standards Development Committees that the Ford Government left in place for months. We led the successful charge to get that freeze lifted. Late last fall, the Doug Ford Government let the Information and Communication Standards Development Committee get back to work.

The Information and Communication Standards Development Committee has put together an initial or draft package of proposed recommendations for revisions to the 2011 Information and Communication Accessibility Standard. On July 24, 2019, the Ford Government made public those initial or draft recommendations. Under the AODA, the Government must post this draft recommendation for public comment for at least 45 days. the Government has announced that public feedback can be submitted to the Government up to September 27, 2019. Below we set out the July 24, 2019 email we received from Susan Picarello, the new Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for the AODA. We also set out key parts of the Government’s July 24, 2019 announcement of this consultation on its website. You can download the text of the proposed revisions to the 2011 Information and Communication Accessibility Standard that the Information and Communication Standards Development Committee has proposed by visiting [email protected] or use the online survey to which the Government points in its web posting, which we set out below.

The AODA Alliance is going to prepare and submit a brief to the Information and Communication Standards Development Committee, offering our feedback on its draft recommendations for improvements to the 2011 Information and Communication Accessibility Standard. We welcome your input and feedback on those draft recommendations. These can help us prepare our brief. They will no doubt also help us when we later give input to the Federal Government on the regulations it is expected to eventually create under the new Accessible Canada Act to govern the accessibility of information and communication in the federal sphere.

Please send us your feedback as soon as possible. Write us at [email protected] We also encourage you to give your input directly to Ontario’s Information and Communication Standards Development Committee. You can submit your feedback to them by writing https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/july-24-2019-infocom-Standards-Development-Committee-Initial-Recommendation-Report-English.docx

The AODA Alliance has tried to play a central and constructive role in the development of the 2011 Information and Communication Accessibility Standard. We submitted several briefs to the previous Ontario Government on that standard as it was being developed.

In 2017, we asked for a chance to meet with the new Information and Communication Standards Development Committee , to offer our input as it was developing its draft recommendations. We deeply regret that that committee refused our request. We will again ask to appear before that Committee after it receives public input on its draft recommendations, and are hopeful that this might be accepted.

We brought this concern to the attention of former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley, when he was preparing his report for the Ontario Government on the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. Chapter 5 of our January 15, 2019 brief to David Onley’s AODA Independent Review included:

“In 2017, we asked both the Information and Communication Standards Development Committee and the Health Care Standards Development Committee for a chance to present to them. Both declined. We understood that they may be open to our attending after they have made public their draft recommendations.”

It would have been much better for us to have a chance for input earlier in the Standards Development Committee’s work. Once the committee reaches the current stage, it tends to be committed to a course of action, and only open to minor variations, from what we have experienced over the past 14 years, providing input to a good number of these committees. Nevertheless, we will take any opportunity we can get to offer constructive input.

We will keep the Information and Communication Standards Development Committee’s draft recommendations permanently posted on our website after this consultation period ends. The former Ontario Government had an unexplained and inappropriate practice of taking down such draft recommendations after the consultation period had expired. We believe it is important for the public to have permanent access to the virtual “paper trail” of any accessibility standard enacted under the AODA.

So far, the Doug Ford Government does not have a good track record in the area of developing accessibility standards under the AODA. In summary:

a) On May 30, 2019, the Doug Ford Government incorrectly and unfairly disparaged the entire idea of creating a much-needed Built Environment Accessibility Standard under the AODA as “red tape.”

b) Back in the 2018 spring, before the Doug Ford Government took office, the Ontario Government received the final recommendations for revisions to the 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard from the Transportation Standards Development Committee. Since taking office, the Doug Ford Government has announced no action or plan for action on improving the weak 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard. For example, it has not announced any effort at public consultation on this issue.

c) As we have earlier reported, since back at the end of 2017, the Ontario Government has been required to appoint a new Standards Development Committee to review the 2012 Public Spaces Accessibility Standard. Neither the previous Wynne Government nor the current Ford Government did so.

d) More generally, the Doug Ford Government has announced no plan of action to implement the report of David Onley’s Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation. There have now been 209 days since the Ford Government received the Onley Report.

In contrast to this troubling track record, Doug Ford promised a more positive approach in his May 15, 2018 letter to the AODA Alliance, where he set out his party’s 2018 election pledges on accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. That letter included, among other things, a commitment to the AODA’s goals and the following:

“Ontario needs a clear strategy to address AODA standards and the Ontario Building Code’s accessibility provisions.”

Have you had a chance yet to join in our Dial Doug campaign? Call or email Premier Doug Ford. Ask him where is his plan to get Ontario to become accessible to over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities by 2025?

Doug Ford’s office number is +1 (416) 325-1941. His email address is [email protected]

Action tips on how to take part are available for you at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/join-in-our-new-dial-doug-campaign-a-grassroots-blitz-unveiled-today-to-get-the-doug-ford-government-to-make-ontario-open-for-over-1-9-million-ontarians-with-disabilities/

Download, print up and give out our 1-page leaflet on the Dial Doug campaign. Spread the word about it. Email it to friends. Post it on your Facebook page. Our 1-page Dial Doug leaflet is available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/dial-doug-leaflet.docx https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/dial-doug-leaflet.docx

MORE details

Text of the July 24, 2019 Announcement from Susan Picarello, Ontario’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Accessibility

Good Morning,

I am pleased to let you know that the Information and Communications Standards Development Committee’s Initial Recommendations Report has just been posted online for public comment and can be found https://www.ontario.ca/page/consultation-initial-recommendations-improve-accessibility-standards-information-and-communications . The Report will be posted online for a period of 45 business days and will close on September 27, 2019.

This report reflects the Committee’s hard work reviewing the Information and Communications Standards.

I appreciate your expertise and would greatly appreciate your participation in the public feedback process. I would encourage you to share this information broadly with your colleagues and networks.

Sincerely,

Susan Picarello
Assistant Deputy Minister
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division

Ontario Government Website’s July 24, 2019 Posting on the Draft Recommendations of the Information and Communication Standards Development Committee

Originally posted at https://www.ontario.ca/page/consultation-initial-recommendations-improve-accessibility-standards-information-and-communications Consultation: Initial recommendations to improve accessibility standards for information and communications
The Information and Communications Standards Development Committee invites you to share your feedback on how to improve access to information and make communications more accessible for people with disabilities. How to participate
Closing date: September 27, 2019

Background
Ontario businesses and organizations with one or more employees must follow accessibility standards under theAccessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005(AODA) so they can identify, remove and prevent barriers faced by people with disabilities.
Accessibility standards must be reviewed every five years to determine whether they are working as intended or need adjusting. About the consultation
Access to information and communications is essential for everyone in their day-to-day lives. The Information and Communications Standards under theAODAaddress how businesses and organizations create, provide and receive information and communications in ways that are accessible for people with disabilities.
The Information and Communications Standards Development Committee a group of representatives from various sectors, including business, municipalities and people with disabilities makes recommendations on how to improve existing standards under theAODAaround information and communications.
The committee has drafted initial recommendations to improve the existing Information and Communications Standards under theAODAand would like your feedback.
The committee will review all feedback before it submits its final report and recommendations to the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility for consideration. Initial recommendations
The initial report contains 31 recommendations and is separated intoPhase 1andPhase 2. Phase 1
The committee began its review in March 2017 and developed and voted on 30 recommendations. As a result, Phase 1 addresses the following key areas:
* the structure of the regulation
* feedback
* accessible formats, communications supports and websites
* information about emergency procedures and public safety
* educational resources and training
* libraries (including schools)
Phase 2
Phase 2 contains a proposal for culture change in Ontario. It outlines a new model that would transform and modernize how accessibility is regulated in the province.
It would allow organizations to continuously adapt and improve their websites, web content and technology up to and beyond 2025.
If this model is successful when applied to the Information and Communications Standards, the committee recommends that the government explore how to apply it to other accessibility standards in the future. How to participate
1. Read the committee’sinitial recommendations
If you need the initial recommendations in an alternate format or if you have any questions, call us at toll-free: 1-866-515-2025 or toll-freeTTY: 1-800-268-7095, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or email us [email protected] 2. Submit your feedback through our online surveys:
Phase 1 survey
Phase 2 survey
Or send us your feedback by email [email protected] by mail to:

Attention: Rich Donovan, chair
Information and Communications Standards Review Feedback
Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility
777 Bay Street,
6thFloor, Suite 601A
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2J4
All feedback received will be considered by the committee before finalizing its recommendations to the minister. Your privacy matters
Your personal information is being collected to help us gain a greater understanding of your feedback. Your responses will be reviewed by the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility and the Information and Communications Standards Development Committee. Your feedback may also be used in a summary report about this survey.
Please note that your submissions/feedback are subject to the access and privacy provisions of theFreedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Some of the non-identifying information shared may be used by Cabinet Office, the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility and their service providers to measure website analytics, performance and to improve our services.
Your information will not be placed on mailing lists or released to any third party beyond the Information and Communications Standards Development Committee, except as may be authorized by law. For questions on how personal information collected on this page will be used, please see ourPrivacy Statement.




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New Universal Design Guide Aims to make Public Spaces Pleasant for All


August 23 2019

UNITED STATES: When the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990, it set forth expectations around how buildings and public spaces should be designed to accommodate limited mobility. Over the years, the guidelines helped create more accessible parks, buildings, schools, and neighborhoods, but for many architects, the rules stop short of ensuring people with physical and mental disabilities have a pleasant experience in those places.

That’s why the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) decided to create a new guide for “universal design,” a fancy way of saying design created with truly everyone in mind. The ASLA’s guide lays out best practices for designing neighborhoods, streets, parks, plazas, playgrounds, and gardens that are inclusive for people of all abilities.

Instead of building spaces that cater to specific disabilities or meet quantifiable requirements, the ASLA recommends broadening the definition of accessible design to the point where a spaces account for all possible use cases. “All public spaces should be physically accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical, cognitive, or mental ability. Specific areas of public spaces shouldn’t be designed for people with specific disabilities; all public spaces should work for everyone,” the organization writes in the guide’s introduction.

And it’s not always as complicated as it sounds. The organization lays out several simple examples that prove its point: parks with wide, sloped pathways; brightly-lit bathrooms, gardens with flower beds at various heights, additional benches on the sidewalk. If all this sounds like good design 101, you’re right. It turns out that designing a space that’s accessible to people of all abilities ultimately leads to better, more thoughtful spaces for everyone.

You can dive into the guide at https://www.asla.org/universaldesign.aspx.

Original at http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2019/08/23/new-universal-design-guide-aims-to-make-public-spaces-pleasant-for-all/




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