For 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities, Today is a Frustrating Anniversary of Inaction by the Ford Government


We Are Still Waiting for the Government to Announce an Effective Plan of Action to Implement the David Onley Report Received One Year Ago Today

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

January 31, 2020

Summary

Fully one year after the Ford Government received a compelling report that shows a need to substantially strengthen the implementation and enforcement of Ontarios 2005 disability accessibility law, the Government continues its foot-dragging, with no end in sight. For example, it continues its failure to take important action required under that legislation.

At the same time, the Ford Government instead pushes forward with an unhelpful distraction, its plan to divert 1.3 million public dollars to the problem-ridden Rick Hansen Foundation private accessibility certification program. That public money would be far better spend funding such things as the development and enactment of long-overdue new regulations that would ensure that Ontarios built environment becomes accessible to Ontarians with disabilities .

While this anniversary of inaction is very frustrating, we remain unstoppably tenacious. We will continue and redouble our efforts in our non-partisan campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities.

1. A Deeply Troubling One Year Anniversary of Government Foot-Dragging

One year ago today, the Ford Government received the blistering final report of the Government-appointed Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, conducted by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley. That ground-breaking report called on the Ontario Government to show strong new leadership on accessibility for over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities. It found that Ontario remains a province full of soul-crushing barriers that daily impede Ontarians with disabilities. It recommended specific, long-overdue actions to speed up and strengthen the AODAs implementation and enforcement. We and the Ford Government agreed that Mr. Onley did a marvelous job.

For an entire year, we have pressed the Ford Government to release a strong and comprehensive plan of action to implement the Onley Report. It still has not done so.

Earlier this week, on January 28, 2020, the Ford Government staged a media event to unveil its response to the Onley Report that has been a year in the making. Our news release that day showed that the Ford Governments announcement offered thin gruel for 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities. It largely re-announced existing programs. Progress on accessibility will continue at the glacial rate that the Onley Report documented to have been the case in Ontario for years.

For example, the Onley Report said that the recurring barriers that people with disabilities face in the built environment must become a major priority. The Onley Report called for new accessibility regulations to be enacted to fix this. Doug Ford recognize the importance of this in his May 15, 2018 letter to the AODA Alliance where he set out his partys 2018 election promises on disability accessibility.

No one can credibly deny that the Ontario Building Codes accessibility provisions are inadequate. A new building can be built that fully complies with the Ontario Building Code and AODA accessibility standards, and still be replete with serious accessibility barriers. For example, thousands of people know this to be the case from viewing three captioned online videos produced by the AODA Alliance. They show serious accessibility barriers in the new Ryerson University Student Learning Centre, the new Centennial College Culinary Arts Centre, and the new subway stations recently opened on Torontos subway line all public buildings.

At its media event earlier this week, the Ford Government said that action on barriers facing people with disabilities in the built environment was one of its four priorities. Yet, the Ford Government still has not announced any plans to create a long-overdue Built Environment Accessibility Standard under the AODA. Last May, during National Accessibility Week, Doug Fords Government hurtfully derided such an idea as red tape, as if the rights to accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities were red tape.

Under the AODA, a very limited and weak accessibility standard was enacted by the previous Ontario Government in 2012 to address some barriers in public spaces, mainly outside buildings. The AODA required the Ontario Government to appoint a Standards Development Committee to review that weak accessibility over two years ago. That committee is needed and required to advise the Government on any revisions to it that are needed to ensure that Ontario becomes accessible by 2025, the AODAs mandatory deadline. The Government continues to be in open, flagrant and ongoing breach of that obligation. No such Standards Development Committee has been appointed. The previous Wynne Government was in breach of that duty for its last six months in power. The Ford Government has been in breach of it for its entire 19 months in power.

In its weak January 28, 2020 announcement, the Ford Government did not say that it would create a Built Environment Accessibility Standard. Instead, it only re-announced that it would harmonize the weak Ontario Building Code with the weak national building code. That could make things worse for people with disabilities.

So far, the Ford Governments thin gruel for Ontarians with disabilities has not been well received by people with disabilities. The feedback we have received from people with disabilities has been quite critical of the Governments announcement. Similar sentiments were expressed in the January 29, 2020 Thunder Bay Chronicle Herald (article set out below) and in a Radio 610 CKTB interview on January 28, 2020 with AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. Ontario NDP Disability Critic Joel Harden issued a news release on January 28, 2020, set out below, that was to the same effect.

2. Instead of Embarking on Developing Long-Overdue New Regulations for the Accessibility of Ontarios Built Environment, the Ford Government is Going Ahead with Its Wasteful Investment in the Rick Hansen Foundations Private Accessibility Certification Program

Making this situation even worse, instead of investing public money into developing new, modernized and effective accessibility regulations for the built environment, whether under the Ontario Building Code, the AODA or both, the Ford Government is going ahead with its seriously flawed plan to divert 1.3 million public dollars into the problematic Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) private accessibility certification program. Last year, we exhaustively documented that the RHF program has major deficiencies. Public money should not be spent on it:

* The RHF purports to certify a building as accessible. In reality, it certifies nothing. The fact that the RHF proclaims that a building is accessible does not mean that it is accessible.

* The RHF has an unfair, selective approach to accessibility which, per its own news release, looks at barriers facing people with disabilities relating to mobility, vision and hearing. Yet to properly assess a buildings accessibility, it is important to look at the needs of people with all disabilities, not just those that the RHF has unfairly chosen to prioritize.

* The Standard and process that the RHF uses to assess a building are deficient and unreliable.

* The RHFs meager 8-day training program for its assessors is entirely inadequate to qualify a person to conduct such assessments.

Neither the RHF nor the Ford Government have disproven our serious and fully documented concerns. Nevertheless, the Ford Government is forging ahead with this improper use of public money. On January 30, 2020, the RHF issued a news release. We set it out below. It obviously was coordinated with the Ford Government.

That news release invites organizations in ten Ontario cities to apply for a free RHF assessment of their building, entirely at the Ontario taxpayers expense. That news release adds new concerns to the many that we have already documented.

Months ago, we asked the Ford Government a number of important questions about this scheme. Many remain unanswered. For example, we have asked who is going to decide which organizations and which buildings will get this free RHF assessment at public expense. From the news release, set out below, we learned that applications for this public benefit go to the RHF, a private foundation, and not to the Ontario Government which will be paying for it. The news release states:

RHF will be engaging municipalities and their Accessibility Advisory Committees to select finalists in their local communities.

This strongly implies that the RHF may be the final decision-maker. That would be entirely inappropriate. The RHF is not publicly accountable for such decisions. There is a real risk of conflicts of interest, since the RHF is a charitable foundation that also solicits donations from the public, including those who apply for this publicly-funded offering.

To the extent that the Government is partially downloading the burden to select finalists to municipalities and their accessibility advisory committees, there is no indication that the Ford Government will cover their added costs. Members of the public who serve on municipal accessibility advisory committees are volunteers. They have far more important things to do to serve the needs of their communities.

Neither the Ford Government nor the RHF have announced any criteria for deciding which organizations will get this taxpayer-funded benefit. It is critically important to know how these decisions will be made, with full public accountability for this use of public money.

Because the Ontario Building Codes accessibility provisions are so inadequate, several of these ten Ontario municipalities have their own stronger accessibility standards. Nothing in the RHF program ensures that RHF assessors have the required knowledge and expertise about the technical requirements in the municipal accessibility standards in the relevant municipality. The RHFs 8-day training course does not ensure that they have that knowledge and expertise. If the RHF certifies a building in London, Ontario that does not comply with Londons accessibility standards, it would be seriously misleading for the RHF to declare it as an accessible building.

We strongly recommend that organizations not apply to the RHF for its assessment of their buildings in this program. There are far better options for taking action to address accessibility issues in their buildings.

If, despite our serious concerns, a municipality and its accessibility advisory committee are still going to get involved in this, they should insist that buildings be assessed for compliance with their own local accessibility standard. They should also insist that the RHF ensure that any RHF assessor that assesses a building in their community proves that they have been properly trained in and have expertise in that municipalitys accessibility standard, well beyond the inadequate 8-day RHF training course.

We welcome your feedback. Write us at [email protected] t More Details

Thunder Bay Chronicle Herald January 29, 2020

Originally posted at https://www.chroniclejournal.com/news/local/accessibility-in-ontario-will-take-time-minister/article_5a0f00b4-425e-11ea-bccb-2be18f1bdb14.html Accessibility in Ontario will take time: minister

BY CARL CLUTCHEY, NORTH SHORE BUREAU Jan 29, 2020

Advocates for Ontarios 2.6 million disabled people chided the government Tuesday for continuing to move at a glacial pace towards a goal of making the province fully accessible by 2025.

The Toronto-based Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Alliance said an announcement by Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho was more like a re-announcement of earlier pledges that have yet to be fulfilled.

This is the best they can do? Alliance chairman David Lepofsky scoffed in a news release.

See the full story in the print and digital editions of The Chronicle-Journal.

January 28, 2020 News Release by the Ontario New Democratic Party

Originally posted at http://www.joelharden.ca/ford_government_announcement_offers_no_real_commitment_to_enforcing_accessibility_ndp_critic_for_accessibility

Ford government announcement offers no real commitment to enforcing accessibility: NDP critic for Accessibility Published on January 28, 2020

QUEENS PARK The NDPs critic for Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities, Joel Harden, made the following statement in response to this mornings Ford government announcement on accessibility:

Ontarians with disabilities have waited nearly a year for the Ford government to respond to David Onleys report on the third review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) with a concrete plan of action for improving Ontarios accessibility. After years of being let down by the Liberals, who failed to make Ontario more accessible, they were again disappointed today, this time by the Ford government.

Not only has the Ford government failed to release a comprehensive plan for ensuring that Ontario achieves full accessibility by 2025 as the AODA requires but todays government announcement falls woefully short of addressing the many barriers that prevent Ontarians with disabilities from living their fullest lives.

The framework that Fords Minister of Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho mentioned today offers no actual commitment to enforcing accessibility standards in Ontario, creates no new standards to ensure that buildings in Ontario are accessible, and makes no pledge to ensure that public money isnt used to create new barriers to accessibility.
People with disabilities have waited long enough to access the same opportunities as able-bodied Ontarians. The NDP calls on this government to act with urgency to make our province fully accessible, and to release a real plan of action that incorporates the key recommendations from Onleys report.

January 30, 2020 News Release by the Rick Hansen Foundation

Originally posted at https://www.rickhansen.com/sites/default/files/press-release/2020-01/acp-922-rhfac-and-ontarioaccessibleen.pdf

Rick Hansen Foundation calls on people of Ontario to improve accessibility
Complimentary accessibility ratings through the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program available to 250 sites in Ontario

(Toronto) Thursday, January 30, 2020 Thanks to funding of $1.3 million from the Government of Ontarios Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility, the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) is accepting applications from organizations across 10 municipalities in Ontario to obtain a snapshot of their buildings accessibility through the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) program.

RHF is calling on non-profit, public and private organizations to apply to receive complimentary RHFAC ratings. This includes spaces such as community centres, libraries, schools, retailers and office buildings. Two hundred and fifty sites will have the opportunity to be rated through the RHFAC program. The 10 eligible municipalities are:

1. Brampton
2. Greater Sudbury
3. Hamilton
4. Kitchener
5. London
6. Markham
7. Mississauga
8. Ottawa
9. Toronto
10. Windsor

RHFAC rates the level of meaningful access of the built environment, keeping in mind user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing. This means attracting more consumers and potential employees for organizations across the province. According to the Conference Board of Canada, improvements to workplace access would allow more than half a million Canadians with disabilities to work more hours, increasing GDP by $16.8 billion by 2030. To date, more than 1,200 buildings across Canada have been rated through the program.

People with disabilities and our seniors deserve to be independent and fully participate in their communities as consumers and employees, said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. This certification pilot project will help businesses and communities understand how to be more accessible and inclusive for everyone so that we all benefit. By helping to build awareness of accessible built environments, we are fostering a culture of accessibility and inclusion.

Speaking about the complimentary ratings, Brad McCannell, VP of Access and Inclusion at RHF, said, This generous funding from the Ontario government will enable many organizations to
understand and showcase their buildings accessibility, and help inform their future accessibility plans with respect to the built environment. This is a great opportunity for organizations to help make Ontario more inclusive for our aging population and the growing number of people with disabilities.

Applications from building owners and tenants can be submitted online until March 27, 2020. RHF will be engaging municipalities and their Accessibility Advisory Committees to select finalists in their local communities.

To learn more and apply for a complimentary rating, visit RickHansen.com/FreeRating

About the Rick Hansen Foundation
The Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) was established in 1988, following the completion of Rick Hansens Man In Motion World Tour. For nearly 30 years, RHF has worked to raise awareness, change attitudes, and remove barriers for people with disabilities. Visit www.rickhansen.com to learn more.

RHF Media Contact:
Yulu Public Relations
Nora Eastwood / Monica McCluskey
[email protected]
778-751-4542

Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility Media Contact:
Leah Wong
[email protected]
647-962-9892




Source link

For 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities, Today is a Frustrating Anniversary of Inaction by the Ford Government – We Are Still Waiting for the Government to Announce an Effective Plan of Action to Implement the David Onley Report Received One Year Ago Today


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

For 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities, Today is a Frustrating Anniversary of Inaction by the Ford Government – We Are Still Waiting for the Government to Announce an Effective Plan of Action to Implement the David Onley Report Received One Year Ago Today

January 31, 2020

          Summary

Fully one year after the Ford Government received a compelling report that shows a need to substantially strengthen the implementation and enforcement of Ontario’s 2005 disability accessibility law, the Government continues its foot-dragging, with no end in sight. For example, it continues its failure to take important action required under that legislation.

At the same time, the Ford Government instead pushes forward with an unhelpful distraction, its plan to divert 1.3 million public dollars to the problem-ridden Rick Hansen Foundation private accessibility certification program. That public money would be far better spend funding such things as the development and enactment of long-overdue new regulations that would ensure that Ontario’s built environment becomes accessible to Ontarians with disabilities .

While this anniversary of inaction is very frustrating, we remain unstoppably tenacious. We will continue and redouble our efforts in our non-partisan campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities.

1. A Deeply Troubling One Year Anniversary of Government Foot-Dragging

One year ago today, the Ford Government received the blistering final report of the Government-appointed Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, conducted by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley. That ground-breaking report called on the Ontario Government to show strong new leadership on accessibility for over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities. It found that Ontario remains a province full of “soul-crushing barriers” that daily impede Ontarians with disabilities. It recommended specific, long-overdue actions to speed up and strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. We and the Ford Government agreed that Mr. Onley did a marvelous job.

For an entire year, we have pressed the Ford Government to release a strong and comprehensive plan of action to implement the Onley Report. It still has not done so.

Earlier this week, on January 28, 2020, the Ford Government staged a media event to unveil its response to the Onley Report that has been a year in the making. Our news release that day showed that the Ford Government’s announcement offered thin gruel for 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities. It largely re-announced existing programs. Progress on accessibility will continue at the glacial rate that the Onley Report documented to have been the case in Ontario for years.

For example, the Onley Report said that the recurring barriers that people with disabilities face in the built environment must become a major priority. The Onley Report called for new accessibility regulations to be enacted to fix this. Doug Ford recognize the importance of this in his May 15, 2018 letter to the AODA Alliance where he set out his party’s 2018 election promises on disability accessibility.

No one can credibly deny that the Ontario Building Code’s accessibility provisions are inadequate. A new building can be built that fully complies with the Ontario Building Code and AODA accessibility standards, and still be replete with serious accessibility barriers. For example, thousands of people know this to be the case from viewing three captioned online videos produced by the AODA Alliance. They show serious accessibility barriers in the new Ryerson University Student Learning Centre, the new Centennial College Culinary Arts Centre, and the new subway stations recently opened on Toronto’s subway line – all public buildings.

At its media event earlier this week, the Ford Government said that action on barriers facing people with disabilities in the built environment was one of its four priorities. Yet, the Ford Government still has not announced any plans to create a long-overdue Built Environment Accessibility Standard under the AODA. Last May, during National Accessibility Week, Doug Ford’s Government hurtfully derided such an idea as “red tape,” as if the rights to accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities were red tape.

Under the AODA, a very limited and weak accessibility standard was enacted by the previous Ontario Government in 2012 to address some barriers in public spaces, mainly outside buildings. The AODA required the Ontario Government to appoint a Standards Development Committee to review that weak accessibility over two years ago. That committee is needed and required to advise the Government on any revisions to it that are needed to ensure that Ontario becomes accessible by 2025, the AODA’s mandatory deadline. The Government continues to be in open, flagrant and ongoing breach of that obligation. No such Standards Development Committee has been appointed. The previous Wynne Government was in breach of that duty for its last six months in power. The Ford Government has been in breach of it for its entire 19 months in power.

In its weak January 28, 2020 announcement, the Ford Government did not say that it would create a Built Environment Accessibility Standard. Instead, it only re-announced that it would harmonize the weak Ontario Building Code with the weak national building code. That could make things worse for people with disabilities.

So far, the Ford Government’s thin gruel for Ontarians with disabilities has not been well received by people with disabilities. The feedback we have received from people with disabilities has been quite critical of the Government’s announcement. Similar sentiments were expressed in the January 29, 2020 Thunder Bay Chronicle Herald (article set out below) and in a Radio 610 CKTB interview on January 28, 2020 with AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. Ontario NDP Disability Critic Joel Harden issued a news release on January 28, 2020, set out below, that was to the same effect.

2. Instead of Embarking on Developing Long-Overdue New Regulations for the Accessibility of Ontario’s Built Environment, the Ford Government is Going Ahead with Its Wasteful Investment in the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Private Accessibility Certification Program

Making this situation even worse, instead of investing public money into developing new, modernized and effective accessibility regulations for the built environment, whether under the Ontario Building Code, the AODA or both, the Ford Government is going ahead with its seriously flawed plan to divert 1.3 million public dollars into the problematic Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) private accessibility certification program. Last year, we exhaustively documented that the RHF program has major deficiencies. Public money should not be spent on it:

*  The RHF purports to “certify” a building as accessible. In reality, it certifies nothing. The fact that the RHF proclaims that a building is accessible does not mean that it is accessible.

* The RHF has an unfair, selective approach to accessibility which, per its own news release, looks at barriers facing people with disabilities relating to mobility, vision and hearing. Yet to properly assess a building’s accessibility, it is important to look at the needs of people with all disabilities, not just those that the RHF has unfairly chosen to prioritize.

* The Standard and process that the RHF uses to assess a building  are deficient and unreliable.

* The RHF’s meager 8-day training program for its assessors is entirely inadequate to qualify a person to conduct such assessments.

Neither the RHF nor the Ford Government have disproven our serious and fully documented concerns. Nevertheless, the Ford Government is forging ahead with this improper use of public money. On January 30, 2020, the RHF issued a news release. We set it out below. It obviously was coordinated with the Ford Government.

That news release invites organizations in ten Ontario cities to apply for a free RHF assessment of their building, entirely at the Ontario taxpayer’s expense. That news release adds new concerns to the many that we have already documented.

Months ago, we asked the Ford Government a number of important questions about this scheme. Many remain unanswered. For example, we have asked who is going to decide which organizations and which buildings will get this free RHF assessment at public expense. From the news release, set out below, we learned that applications for this public benefit go to the RHF, a private foundation, and not to the Ontario Government which will be paying for it. The news release states:

“RHF will be engaging municipalities and their Accessibility Advisory Committees to select finalists in their local communities.”

This strongly implies that the RHF may be the final decision-maker. That would be entirely inappropriate. The RHF is not publicly accountable for such decisions. There is a real risk of conflicts of interest, since the RHF is a charitable foundation that also solicits donations from the public, including those who apply for this publicly-funded offering.

To the extent that the Government is partially downloading the burden to select finalists to municipalities and their accessibility advisory committees, there is no indication that the Ford Government will cover their added costs. Members of the public who serve on municipal accessibility advisory committees are volunteers. They have far more important things to do to serve the needs of their communities.

Neither the Ford Government nor the RHF have announced any criteria for deciding which organizations will get this taxpayer-funded benefit. It is critically important to know how these decisions will be made, with full public accountability for this use of public money.

Because the Ontario Building Codes accessibility provisions are so inadequate, several of these ten Ontario municipalities have their own stronger accessibility standards. Nothing in the RHF program ensures that RHF assessors have the required knowledge and expertise about the technical requirements in the municipal accessibility standards in the relevant municipality. The RHF’s 8-day training course does not ensure that they have that knowledge and expertise. If the RHF certifies a building in London, Ontario that does not comply with London’s accessibility standards, it would be seriously misleading for the RHF to declare it as an accessible building.

We strongly recommend that organizations not apply to the RHF for its assessment of their buildings in this program. There are far better options for taking action to address accessibility issues in their buildings.

If, despite our serious concerns, a municipality and its accessibility advisory committee are still going to get involved in this, they should insist that buildings be assessed for compliance with their own local accessibility standard. They should also insist that the RHF ensure that any RHF assessor that assesses a building in their community proves that they have been properly trained in and have expertise in that municipality’s accessibility standard, well beyond the inadequate 8-day RHF training course.

We welcome your feedback. Write us at [email protected]

t         More Details

Thunder Bay Chronicle Herald January 29, 2020

Originally posted at https://www.chroniclejournal.com/news/local/accessibility-in-ontario-will-take-time-minister/article_5a0f00b4-425e-11ea-bccb-2be18f1bdb14.html

Accessibility in Ontario will take time: minister

BY CARL CLUTCHEY, NORTH SHORE BUREAU Jan 29, 2020

Advocates for Ontario’s 2.6 million disabled people chided the government Tuesday for continuing to move at a “glacial pace” towards a goal of making the province fully accessible by 2025.

The Toronto-based Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Alliance said an announcement by Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho was more like a “re-announcement” of earlier pledges that have yet to be fulfilled.

“This is the best they can do?” Alliance chairman David Lepofsky scoffed in a news release.

See the full story in the print and digital editions of The Chronicle-Journal.

January 28, 2020 News Release by the Ontario New Democratic Party

 

Originally posted at http://www.joelharden.ca/ford_government_announcement_offers_no_real_commitment_to_enforcing_accessibility_ndp_critic_for_accessibility

 

Ford government announcement offers no real commitment to enforcing accessibility: NDP critic for Accessibility

Published on January 28, 2020

 

QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP’s critic for Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities, Joel Harden, made the following statement in response to this morning’s Ford government announcement on accessibility:

 

“Ontarians with disabilities have waited nearly a year for the Ford government to respond to David Onley’s report on the third review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) with a concrete plan of action for improving Ontario’s accessibility. After years of being let down by the Liberals, who failed to make Ontario more accessible, they were again disappointed today, this time by the Ford government.

 

Not only has the Ford government failed to release a comprehensive plan for ensuring that Ontario achieves full accessibility by 2025 — as the AODA requires — but today’s government announcement falls woefully short of addressing the many barriers that prevent Ontarians with disabilities from living their fullest lives.

 

The framework that Ford’s Minister of Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho mentioned today offers no actual commitment to enforcing accessibility standards in Ontario, creates no new standards to ensure that buildings in Ontario are accessible, and makes no pledge to ensure that public money isn’t used to create new barriers to accessibility.

People with disabilities have waited long enough to access the same opportunities as able-bodied Ontarians. The NDP calls on this government to act with urgency to make our province fully accessible, and to release a real plan of action that incorporates the key recommendations from Onley’s report.”

 

January 30, 2020 News Release by the Rick Hansen Foundation

 

Originally posted at https://www.rickhansen.com/sites/default/files/press-release/2020-01/acp-922-rhfac-and-ontarioaccessibleen.pdf

 

Rick Hansen Foundation calls on people of Ontario to improve accessibility

Complimentary accessibility ratings through the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ program available to 250 sites in Ontario

 

(Toronto) Thursday, January 30, 2020 – Thanks to funding of $1.3 million from the Government of Ontario’s Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility, the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) is accepting applications from organizations across 10 municipalities in Ontario to obtain a snapshot of their buildings’ accessibility through the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) program.

RHF is calling on non-profit, public and private organizations to apply to receive complimentary RHFAC ratings. This includes spaces such as community centres, libraries, schools, retailers and office buildings. Two hundred and fifty sites will have the opportunity to be rated through the RHFAC program. The 10 eligible municipalities are:

  1. Brampton
  2. Greater Sudbury
  3. Hamilton
  4. Kitchener
  5. London
  6. Markham
  7. Mississauga
  8. Ottawa
  9. Toronto
  10. Windsor

RHFAC rates the level of meaningful access of the built environment, keeping in mind user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing. This means attracting more consumers and potential employees for organizations across the province. According to the Conference Board of Canada, improvements to workplace access would allow more than half a million Canadians with disabilities to work more hours, increasing GDP by $16.8 billion by 2030. To date, more than 1,200 buildings across Canada have been rated through the program.

“People with disabilities and our seniors deserve to be independent and fully participate in their communities as consumers and employees,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “This certification pilot project will help businesses and communities understand how to be more accessible and inclusive for everyone – so that we all benefit. By helping to build awareness of accessible built environments, we are fostering a culture of accessibility and inclusion.”

Speaking about the complimentary ratings, Brad McCannell, VP of Access and Inclusion at RHF, said, “This generous funding from the Ontario government will enable many organizations to

understand and showcase their building’s accessibility, and help inform their future accessibility plans with respect to the built environment. This is a great opportunity for organizations to help make Ontario more inclusive for our aging population and the growing number of people with disabilities.”

Applications from building owners and tenants can be submitted online until March 27, 2020. RHF will be engaging municipalities and their Accessibility Advisory Committees to select finalists in their local communities.

To learn more and apply for a complimentary rating, visit RickHansen.com/FreeRating   

 

About the Rick Hansen Foundation

The Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) was established in 1988, following the completion of Rick Hansen’s Man In Motion World Tour. For nearly 30 years, RHF has worked to raise awareness, change attitudes, and remove barriers for people with disabilities. Visit www.rickhansen.com to learn more.

RHF Media Contact:

Yulu Public Relations

Nora Eastwood / Monica McCluskey

[email protected]

778-751-4542

Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility Media Contact:

Leah Wong

[email protected]

647-962-9892



Source link

AODA Tribunals


AODA tribunals judge appeals that organizations make after they have received orders to comply with AODA standards. The Lieutenant Governor appoints AODA tribunals and specifies the types of appeals each tribunal can judge. In addition, the Lieutenant Governor can give tribunals other tasks or duties.

AODA Tribunals

Organizations have fifteen (15) days after receiving an order to file an appeal. However, the tribunal can extend this time limit to accommodate someone with a disability, or for any other reason. Organizations must pay a filing fee.

People or organizations involved in an appeal to a tribunal include:

  • The organization appealing an order
  • The director who gave the order being appealed
  • Any other person or organization the Tribunal believes necessary for the appeal hearing

Moreover, appeal hearings most often take place in writing. Nonetheless, organizations can request to make their appeals in person. In some cases, the full tribunal hears appeals. In others, the chair of a tribunal can appoint a panel to oversee a hearing.

Orders of Tribunals

After a hearing, a tribunal makes a decision about whether the organization must obey the director’s order. For instance, the tribunal may:

  • Confirm the director’s order
  • Rescind the director’s order
  • Vary the director’s order

In other words, the tribunal may require the organization to comply with the director’s order. In contrast, the tribunal may remove the order. Alternatively, the tribunal may make changes to the order and require the organization to comply with the revised version.

Mediation

AODA tribunals may try to settle part or all of an appeal through mediation. The organization and director involved in the appeal must agree to the mediation. In addition, the tribunal must believe that mediation would be in the public interest. However, the AODA gives no further details about the mediation process, such as how tribunals proceed if mediation does not resolve an appeal.




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LINX Plus Service for People With Disabilities in Simcoe County Could Be Enhanced


Currently, specialized buses don’t go more than 400 metres from existing routes By Ian MacLennan
Published: Jan 28th, 2020

The County of Simcoe is proposing to enhance specialized transit service for people with disabilities.

The County operates LINX Plus Service along four routes(Barrie-Orillia, Barrie-Wasaga Beach, Barrie-Penetanguishene, Wasaga Beach-Collingwood), but the buses go no further than 400 metres from those fixed routes, providing door-to-door service and transfer to and from fixed routes.

County Council’s Committee of the Whole has given approval to a pilot project that would see the buses go beyond the 400 metres, possibly as much as one or two kilometres.

A staff report says the existing capacity in the specialized transit system will make it possible for persons in a rural area with disabilities to go where they need to go such as hospitals, medical appointments, work, out with friends and recreational pursuits.

“Buses would travel down concession roads where there is little traffic and time lost to help people in rural areas and get them to a hospital or other activities.” says David Parks, the County’s Director of Planning, Economic Development and Transit.

Specialized transit is a requirement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), and must be offered wherever conventional bus service is provided, with the same hours and days of service as conventional transit.

The Specialized transit system is an on-demand service.

“A person fills out an application and describes the disability,” says Parks. “It is verified by a healthcare professional. The application is reviewed by the County with the healthcare professional to determine what the disability is and what types of needs they have.”

The application puts the individual on a service list and they can call Service Simcoe if they need to be picked up.

Eligibility for the service is based on the principles of fairness and equality, rather than age, income or ability, according to the staff report.

The County has a number of specialized buses depending on needs and services, including room for wheelchairs.

In justifying the pilot project, staff say the County continues to receive applications and requests for compassionate rides outside the current service areas, and the cost of other services such as taxis is beyond the reach of many residents due to cost or location.

There would be no additional cost to provided the enhanced service.

The pilot project must get final approval from County Council at the February meeting.

Original at https://barrie360.com/linx-plus-service-for-people-with-disabilities-in-simcoe-county-could-be-enhanced/




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Directors of the AODA


Directors of the AODA review accessibility reports to find out who is complying with the Act. In addition, they can order a person or organization to comply, or to pay fines. The AODA states that the deputy minister appoints directors. However, the Act does not state who a deputy minister is.

Directors of the AODA

Directors of the AODA review the accessibility reports that organizations are required to submit. Moreover, directors can ask a person or organization for more details about their compliance. The person or organization must provide the director with this information. When an organization has not submitted a report or information, the director can order the organization to do so. In addition, the order can include a fine. Similarly, a director can order a non-compliant person or organization to obey AODA standards and pay fines. Finally, if organizations do not comply with these orders, directors can fine those organizations using more orders.

All these types of orders must include a description of the AODA rule or previous order that the person or organization has failed to comply with. Furthermore, the order must explain what the organization must do to comply. Finally, the order must include a time limit for organizations to comply. However, the director can extend this time limit to accommodate someone with a disability, or for any other reason.

More Directors’ Orders

A director may also create an order when a non-compliant person or organization claims that they do not need to comply with a standard. For instance, an organization might claim that it does not belong to the industry or sector of the eeconomy that a standard applies to. For example, a rideshare company might claim that it does not need to obey the Transportation Standards. The company might make this claim because it is not a bus, train, ferry, or taxi service. However, a director can order that this organization does belong to an industry that must comply with the standard. For example, a director can create an order stating that the transportation standard applies to the rideshare company.

Likewise, a director can order that two organizations be treated as one organization, for the purposes of the AODA. For instance, an employer with a private company of sixty workers might not want to obey AODA rules for companies with fifty or more workers. As a result, this employer might divide their company into two organizations, each with thirty workers. In this way, the employer could claim that rules for companies with fifty or more workers do not apply to their organizations. However, a director can order that these two companies must be treated as one company. Therefore, the company must still obey AODA rules for large private organizations.

These last two types of orders must explain what the order is about and offer reasons.

Notice of Orders

Before giving any order, directors must give notice to the non-compliant organizations. This notice tells the organizations what the order is about and what steps they should take to comply with the Act. Moreover, notice allows these organizations to explain any reasons they might have for not complying with the AODA. Furthermore, organizations have thirty days after receiving notice to explain in writing. However, the director can extend this time limit to accommodate someone with a disability, or for any other reason.

In addition, organizations who receive any order can appeal it in front of a tribunal that the Lieutenant Governor appoints.

More Duties of the Directors

Finally, when appointing directors of the AODA, the deputy minister can give them other responsibilities. In turn, a director can authorize another person to perform any of these duties. To do so, the director must specify in writing the duties they are delegating to each person.




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Ford Government’s Long Delayed Response to the Blistering Report of the David Onley Independent Review of the Implementation of Ontario’s Disability Accessibility Law Offers Thin Gruel to 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 28, 2020 Toronto: After a year delay, the Ford Government today offered thin gruel to 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities in its response set out below to the searing report of the Government-appointed Independent Review of the implementation of Ontarios disability accessibility law conducted by David Onley. On January 31, 2019, the Government received Onleys blistering report that concluded that for people with disabilities, Ontario is not a place of opportunity, but is instead full of countless, dispiriting, soul-crushing Barriers, with progress on accessibility being barely detectable and coming at a glacial pace.

To fix this, today the Ford Government mainly re-announced existing measures, in place for months or years, primarily focusing on public education efforts that are proven to be insufficient. Among these, it even re-announced a program for purchasing accessible buses that was started a quarter century ago by the Bob Rae Government.

After a year, this is the best they can do? Premier Ford has still announced no action plan to implement the Onley Reports important recommendations to strengthen and speed up the implementation and enforcement of the 2005 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The AODA requires the Government to lead Ontario to become accessible by 2025, under five years from now, said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan grassroots AODA Alliance that leads the campaign for accessibility in Ontario. How long must we wait for a real plan to actually implement the Onley Report? A years dithering mainly produced a re-announcement of earlier voluntary programs that the Onley Report shows were insufficient to meet the needs of Ontarians with disabilities who want to ride public transit, get an education, use our health care system or get a job.

The Onley Report found that Ontario has suffered from years of ineffective leadership on accessibility. Todays announcement shows none of the new leadership by the premier for which the Onley Report called. Indeed, Premier Ford has to date refused to even meet with the AODA Alliance.

Since taking office, the Ford Government has taken steps setting back accessibility, such as:

* For months, it froze the work of five advisory committees, appointed under the AODA to propose new measures to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities in education, health care, information and communication and employment. The AODA Alliance had to campaign hard to get that unjustified freeze lifted.

* It rejected recommendations to create a long-overdue Accessibility Standard to ensure that buildings in Ontario become accessible. The Ford Government unfairly slammed that proposal as “red tape.” Todays re-announcement that the Ford Government plans to harmonize the weak Ontario Building Code with the weak federal building code could lead to a further weakening of already-inadequate accessibility protections for Ontarians with disabilities.

* Again re-announced today, it wastefully diverted $1.3 million public dollars into the deeply-flawed and unaccountable Rick Hansen Foundation’s private accessibility certification program funds which should have been used to create new regulations on building accessibility, rather than having the Hansen Foundation use inadequate standards to have its insufficiently-trained people inspect a meager 250 buildings across all of Ontario.

* It mandated the creation of serious new barriers against people with disabilities by legalizing electric scooters on Ontario roads and sidewalks, endangering accessibility and safety of people with disabilities and others. Todays announcement says the Ford Government will lead by example on accessibility, but its example so far is one that no one should follow.

* It is considering allowing builders to hire the private building inspector of their choice to inspect their construction project a proposal riddled with conflicts of interest. Here again the Government is showing a weak commitment to accessibility in the built environment, despite the Onley Reports emphasizing it as a top priority and the Governments announcement today emphasizing barriers in the built environment.

* It has not committed to ensure that public money is never used to create barriers against Ontarians with disabilities. This is so even though the Government has emphasized its commitment to be responsible in the use of public money.

Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

Text of the Ford Governments January 28, 2020 Announcement In Response to the Onley Report

Ontario Establishes a New Framework to Continue Progress on Accessibility Applying Cross-Government Actions to Advance Accessibility

NEWS
January 28, 2020
TORONTO When a society is inclusive and barrier-free, people can fully participate in their communities. Making Ontario a province where communities and businesses are accessible for everyone benefits us all.

The government continues to build momentum in creating a barrier-free Ontario, but a lot of work still needs to be done to make the province accessible for everyone. That is why Ontario has developed a new framework informed by the recommendations made by the Honourable David C. Onley in the third legislative review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), as well as input from key partners, organizations and people with disabilities. The new framework will make a positive difference in the daily lives of people with disabilities.

Today, Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, announced Advancing Accessibility in Ontario at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. This cross-government framework will help focus the provinces work in four key areas:

* breaking down barriers in the built environment
* government leading by example
* increasing participation in the economy for people with disabilities and * improving understanding and awareness about accessibility

We know that making Ontario accessible is a journey that cannot be completed overnight or alone. The Advancing Accessibility in Ontario framework will support our work with all of our partners across government and beyond to remove barriers for people with disabilities, said Minister Cho. Our government created a dedicated Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility because we are working towards a more accessible and inclusive province today and for future generations.

As I conducted the third legislative review of the AODA, it became increasingly clear that the people of Ontario wanted an all-of-government commitment to making Ontario far more accessible. This could not be achieved with a single stand-alone ministry attempting to resolve the problem alone, said David C. Onley. That is why I am pleased that the government is coordinating access activities and programs with multiple ministries in an-all-of-government commitment.

The first area in Advancing Accessibility in Ontario breaking down barriers in the built environment shows how government is working with partner ministries and businesses to reduce barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities in the built environment and housing.

For example, the Ontario Building Officials Association is receiving funding from the governments EnAbling Change Program to enhance its curriculum and training on accessibility. By making building officials more aware of the challenges people with disabilities face in accessing buildings and training them about areas of improvement, new and existing buildings can be planned and built to be more accessible.

There are several additional examples that illustrate progress and upcoming initiatives as the government continues its work towards making Ontario accessible.

Ontario is committed to protecting what matters most to people with disabilities.

QUICK FACTS

* There are 2.6 million people in Ontario that have a disability.

* The government is investing $1.3 million over two years for the Rick Hansen Foundation to launch the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program in Ontario to help remove barriers in buildings. An update on the program will be announced shortly.

* Further information on the other key areas in Advancing Accessibility in Ontario will be announced in the coming weeks.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Advancing Accessibility in Ontario: Breaking down barriers in the built environment

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Accessibility in Ontario: Information for Businesses web page

-30-

MEDIA CONTACTS

Pooja Parekh
Ministers Office
[email protected]

Matt Gloyd
Communications Branch
647-268-7233
[email protected]
ontario.ca/msaa-news
Disponible en français
Ontario Government Backgrounder

Advancing Accessibility in Ontario:
Breaking down barriers in the built environment

BACKGROUNDER
January 28, 2020Advancing Accessibility in Ontario is a cross-government framework that will help focus the governments work in four key areas. The four key areas are:

* breaking down barriers in the built environment
* government leading by example in its role as a policy maker, service provider and employer * increasing participation in the economy for people with disabilities and * improving understanding and awareness about accessibility

The first area in Advancing Accessibility in Ontario breaking down barriers in the built environment shows how government is working with partner ministries and businesses to reduce barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities in the built environment and housing.

Work the government is doing to break down barriers in the built environment includes:

* Making buildings safer and more accessible for people with disabilities by increasing harmonization of Ontarios Building Code with the National Construction Codes. This process is reducing barriers and has resulted in accessibility changes, including new requirements for the design of barrier-free ramps, clearer accessibility requirements in barrier-free washrooms and easier-to-understand requirements for universal washrooms in large buildings and equipment such as grab bars and faucets.

* Investing $1.3 million over two years for the Rick Hansen Foundation to launch the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program in Ontario to help remove barriers in buildings. An update on the program will be announced shortly.

* Improving access to buildings and places for people with disabilities by working with key partners in architecture, design, and building. We are exploring ways to enhance training for those practicing in the field and undertaking discussions with the post-secondary sector to reach a new generation of professionals. For example:
o We are partnering with the Ontario Building Officials Association to enhance its curriculum and training on accessibility, helping to ensure that new and existing buildings can be planned and built to be more accessible.
o The Royal Architecture Institute of Canada is introducing a new course on accessibility to be available March 2020. Introduction to Successful Accessible Design will analyze the impacts of accessibility in society, the built environment, and the development industry. The course will be offered in English and French, both as a complete university graduate level course and as a continuing education course for practicing professionals.

* Making places of worship more accessible so people can connect with their faith groups by funding Our Doors Are Open a free guide created by OCAD University that provides practical information on how places of worship can remove physical barriers to accessibility.

* Helping main street businesses earn more customers and employees by providing them with tips on how to become more accessible through funding a free handbook created by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association called The Business of Accessibility: How to Make Your Main Street Business Accessibility Smart.

* Giving retailers of all sizes in Ontario practical information on how to make their store more welcoming for customers and staff with disabilities by funding EnAbling Change for Retailers: Make your Store Accessible a free guide created by Retail Council of Canada that covers how stores can implement accessibility in their communications, customer service and recruitment and retention.

* Providing $1.4 billion in funding for the 2019-20 school year to help school boards provide safe and healthy learning environments for students, such as installing important accessibility features like elevators and ramps.

* Ensuring better access for people with disabilities throughout Ontario by continuing to require that all public transportation vehicles bought with provincial funding be accessible.

* Continuing to help Ontario residents with long-term mobility disabilities remain in their homes and participate in their communities by funding the Home & Vehicle Modification Program, which is administered by March of Dimes Canada. With an annual investment of $10.6 million, this program reduces safety risks by approving grants up to $15,000 to make basic home and vehicle modifications.

As the government moves forward with making Ontario more accessible, upcoming work includes:

* Funding free resources and training materials for the building sector through the EnAbling Change Program to further educate associations and employers about how to improve accessibility in the built environment. Many of these resources are available on a comprehensive one-stop-shop government web page that provides businesses and communities with information to help them be more accessible and inclusive.

* We are committed to developing an innovation guide with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing that will be used to support the implementation of Ontarios Housing Supply Action Plan. The action plan will address housing challenges and support fresh approaches to help make homes more accessible.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Matt Gloyd
Communications Branch
647-268-7233
[email protected]
ontario.ca/msaa-news
Disponible en français




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Ford Government’s Long Delayed Response to the Blistering Report of the David Onley Independent Review of the Implementation of Ontario’s Disability Accessibility Law Offers Thin Gruel to 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ford Government’s Long Delayed Response to the Blistering Report of the David Onley Independent Review of the Implementation of Ontario’s Disability Accessibility Law Offers Thin Gruel to 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities

January 28, 2020 Toronto: After a year delay, the Ford Government today offered thin gruel to 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities in its response set out below to the searing report of the Government-appointed Independent Review of the implementation of Ontario’s disability accessibility law conducted by David Onley. On January 31, 2019, the Government received Onley’s blistering report that concluded that for people with disabilities, Ontario is not a place of opportunity, but is instead full of “countless, dispiriting, soul-crushing Barriers”, with progress on accessibility being “barely detectable” and coming at a “glacial” pace.

To fix this, today the Ford Government mainly re-announced existing measures, in place for months or years, primarily focusing on public education efforts that are proven to be insufficient. Among these, it even re-announced a program for purchasing accessible buses that was started a quarter century ago by the Bob Rae Government.

“After a year, this is the best they can do? Premier Ford has still announced no action plan to implement the Onley Report’s important recommendations to strengthen and speed up the implementation and enforcement of the 2005 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The AODA requires the Government to lead Ontario to become accessible by 2025, under five years from now,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan grassroots AODA Alliance that leads the campaign for accessibility in Ontario. “How long must we wait for a real plan to actually implement the Onley Report? A year’s dithering mainly produced a re-announcement of earlier voluntary programs that the Onley Report shows were insufficient to meet the needs of Ontarians with disabilities who want to ride public transit, get an education, use our health care system or get a job.”

The Onley Report found that Ontario has suffered from years of ineffective leadership on accessibility. Today’s announcement shows none of the new leadership by the premier for which the Onley Report called. Indeed, Premier Ford has to date refused to even meet with the AODA Alliance.

Since taking office, the Ford Government has taken steps setting back accessibility, such as:

* For months, it froze the work of five advisory committees, appointed under the AODA to propose new measures to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities in education, health care, information and communication and employment. The AODA Alliance had to campaign hard to get that unjustified freeze lifted.

* It rejected recommendations to create a long-overdue Accessibility Standard to ensure that buildings in Ontario become accessible. The Ford Government unfairly slammed that proposal as “red tape.” Today’s re-announcement that the Ford Government plans to harmonize the weak Ontario Building Code with the weak federal building code could lead to a further weakening of already-inadequate accessibility protections for Ontarians with disabilities.

* Again re-announced today, it wastefully diverted $1.3 million public dollars into the deeply-flawed and unaccountable Rick Hansen Foundation’s private accessibility certification program – funds which should have been used to create new regulations on building accessibility, rather than having the Hansen Foundation use inadequate standards to have its insufficiently-trained people inspect a meager 250 buildings across all of Ontario.

* It mandated the creation of serious new barriers against people with disabilities by legalizing electric scooters on Ontario roads and sidewalks, endangering accessibility and safety of people with disabilities and others. Today’s announcement says the Ford Government will lead by example on accessibility, but it’s example so far is one that no one should follow.

* It is considering allowing builders to hire the private building inspector of their choice to inspect their construction project – a proposal riddled with conflicts of interest. Here again the Government is showing a weak commitment to accessibility in the built environment, despite the Onley Report’s emphasizing it as a top priority and the Government’s announcement today emphasizing barriers in the built environment.

* It has not committed to ensure that public money is never used to create barriers against Ontarians with disabilities. This is so even though the Government has emphasized its commitment to be responsible in the use of public money.

Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, [email protected]

Twitter: @aodaalliance

Text of the Ford Government’s January 28, 2020 Announcement In Response to the Onley Report

Ontario Establishes a New Framework to Continue Progress on Accessibility

Applying Cross-Government Actions to Advance Accessibility

TORONTO — When a society is inclusive and barrier-free, people can fully participate in their communities. Making Ontario a province where communities and businesses are accessible for everyone benefits us all.

The government continues to build momentum in creating a barrier-free Ontario, but a lot of work still needs to be done to make the province accessible for everyone. That is why Ontario has developed a new framework informed by the recommendations made by the Honourable David C. Onley in the third legislative review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), as well as input from key partners, organizations and people with disabilities. The new framework will make a positive difference in the daily lives of people with disabilities.

Today, Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, announced Advancing Accessibility in Ontario at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. This cross-government framework will help focus the province’s work in four key areas:

  • breaking down barriers in the built environment
  • government leading by example
  • increasing participation in the economy for people with disabilities and
  • improving understanding and awareness about accessibility

“We know that making Ontario accessible is a journey that cannot be completed overnight or alone. The Advancing Accessibility in Ontario framework will support our work with all of our partners across government and beyond to remove barriers for people with disabilities,” said Minister Cho. “Our government created a dedicated Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility because we are working towards a more accessible and inclusive province today and for future generations.”

“As I conducted the third legislative review of the AODA, it became increasingly clear that the people of Ontario wanted an all-of-government commitment to making Ontario far more accessible. This could not be achieved with a single stand-alone ministry attempting to resolve the problem alone,” said David C. Onley. “That is why I am pleased that the government is coordinating access activities and programs with multiple ministries in an-all-of-government commitment.”

The first area in Advancing Accessibility in Ontario – breaking down barriers in the built environment – shows how government is working with partner ministries and businesses to reduce barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities in the built environment and housing.

For example, the Ontario Building Officials Association is receiving funding from the government’s EnAbling Change Program to enhance its curriculum and training on accessibility. By making building officials more aware of the challenges people with disabilities face in accessing buildings and training them about areas of improvement, new and existing buildings can be planned and built to be more accessible.

There are several additional examples that illustrate progress and upcoming initiatives as the government continues its work towards making Ontario accessible.

Ontario is committed to protecting what matters most to people with disabilities.

QUICK FACTS

  • There are 2.6 million people in Ontario that have a disability.
  • The government is investing $1.3 million over two years for the Rick Hansen Foundation to launch the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program in Ontario to help remove barriers in buildings. An update on the program will be announced shortly.
  • Further information on the other key areas in Advancing Accessibility in Ontario will be announced in the coming weeks.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Advancing Accessibility in Ontario: Breaking down barriers in the built environment

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

 

Accessibility in Ontario: Information for Businesses web page

-30-

Ontario Government Backgrounder

Advancing Accessibility in Ontario:

Breaking down barriers in the built environment

BACKGROUNDER January 28, 2020

Advancing Accessibility in Ontario is a cross-government framework that will help focus the government’s work in four key areas. The four key areas are:

  • breaking down barriers in the built environment
  • government leading by example in its role as a policy maker, service provider and employer
  • increasing participation in the economy for people with disabilities and
  • improving understanding and awareness about accessibility

The first area in Advancing Accessibility in Ontario – breaking down barriers in the built environment – shows how government is working with partner ministries and businesses to reduce barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities in the built environment and housing.

Work the government is doing to break down barriers in the built environment includes:

  • Making buildings safer and more accessible for people with disabilities by increasing harmonization of Ontario’s Building Code with the National Construction Codes. This process is reducing barriers and has resulted in accessibility changes, including new requirements for the design of barrier-free ramps, clearer accessibility requirements in barrier-free washrooms and easier-to-understand requirements for universal washrooms in large buildings and equipment such as grab bars and faucets.
  • Investing $1.3 million over two years for the Rick Hansen Foundation to launch the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program in Ontario to help remove barriers in buildings. An update on the program will be announced shortly.
  • Improving access to buildings and places for people with disabilities by working with key partners in architecture, design, and building. We are exploring ways to enhance training for those practicing in the field and undertaking discussions with the post-secondary sector to reach a new generation of professionals. For example:
    • We are partnering with the Ontario Building Officials Association to enhance its curriculum and training on accessibility, helping to ensure that new and existing buildings can be planned and built to be more accessible.
    • The Royal Architecture Institute of Canada is introducing a new course on accessibility to be available March 2020. Introduction to Successful Accessible Design will analyze the impacts of accessibility in society, the built environment, and the development industry. The course will be offered in English and French, both as a complete university graduate level course and as a continuing education course for practicing professionals.
  • Making places of worship more accessible so people can connect with their faith groups by funding Our Doors Are Open – a free guide created by OCAD University that provides practical information on how places of worship can remove physical barriers to accessibility.
  • Giving retailers of all sizes in Ontario practical information on how to make their store more welcoming for customers and staff with disabilities by funding EnAbling Change for Retailers: Make your Store Accessible – a free guide created by Retail Council of Canada that covers how stores can implement accessibility in their communications, customer service and recruitment and retention.
  • Ensuring better access for people with disabilities throughout Ontario by continuing to require that all public transportation vehicles bought with provincial funding be accessible.
  • Continuing to help Ontario residents with long-term mobility disabilities remain in their homes and participate in their communities by funding the Home & Vehicle Modification Program, which is administered by March of Dimes Canada. With an annual investment of $10.6 million, this program reduces safety risks by approving grants up to $15,000 to make basic home and vehicle modifications.

As the government moves forward with making Ontario more accessible, upcoming work includes:

  • Funding free resources and training materials for the building sector through the EnAbling Change Program to further educate associations and employers about how to improve accessibility in the built environment. Many of these resources are available on a comprehensive one-stop-shop government web page that provides businesses and communities with information to help them be more accessible and inclusive.
  • We are committed to developing an innovation guide with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing that will be used to support the implementation of Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan. The action plan will address housing challenges and support fresh approaches to help make homes more accessible.
   
MEDIA CONTACTS

Matt Gloyd

Communications Branch

647-268-7233

[email protected]

ontario.ca/msaa-news

Disponible en français



Source link

People With Disabilities Isolated by Transit Strike, Advocate says


‘There’s very, very limited choices and people are basically trapped in their homes’ Carmen Groleau
CBC News
Posted: Jan 23, 2020

People with disabilities in Waterloo region continue to face major transportation challenges as Grand River Transit workers enter their third strike day.

Edward Faruzel, executive director of Kitchener-Waterloo AccessAbility, says there are very limited transportation options available for people with disabilities and many solely rely on public transit.

Kitchener-Waterloo AccessAbility is an information and resource centre that serves and supports adults with physical disabilities in the region.

Faruzel, who uses a wheelchair, said there are less than 20 accessible cabs available within the twin cities and even less accessible options on Uber.

“If you’re able bodied you could walk or you could go with a friend in their vehicle, but really there’s very, very limited choices and people are basically trapped in their homes,” he said.

Even for those who can take a cab or an Uber, it’s still not a feasable option, he adds.

Relying on friends, neighbours

Faruzel normally relies on GRT’s Mobility Plus and the ION to get to where he needs to go. Mobility Plus has been affected by the strike and though ION is still running, the closest stop is three kilometres from where he lives.

He said he considers himself fortunate because he owns his vehicle, but he needs someone to drive it.

“I still need to get somebody to drive me back and forth, so I’m having issues finding someone to pick me up and take me to work and then take me home,” he said.

“I’m relying heavily on friends, neighbours to help me with the regular day-to-day living tasks.”

Transit an essential service

Kitchener-Waterloo AccessAbility’s ability to deliver services have also been affected by the labour strike.

The agency says they’ve had to postpone all of its events until the strike is over.

A possible solution to the issue would be for transit to become an essential service, Faruzel said.

“Because other than that, there really are no other options.”

Original at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/waterloo-region-grt-transit-strike-affects-people-with-disabilities-1.5436172




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AODA Inspections


AODA Inspections allow the government to find out if businesses are complying with the Act. Inspectors can perform inspections with or without warrants. The AODA states that the deputy minister appoints inspectors. However, the Act does not state who a deputy minister is.

AODA Inspections

An inspector can enter a business without a warrant if the inspector believes the place contains relevant documents or things. However, the inspector must enter during the hours the place is open for business. Alternatively, if a place does not have business hours, an inspector must enter during daylight hours.

Moreover, during the inspection, the inspector can ask for any item that is related to the inspection. For instance, the inspector can request a document or record. However, the inspector must make this request in writing. Furthermore, the inspector can use any equipment, such as a computer, to retrieve the items they need to view. In addition, the inspector can borrow these documents, records, or things, to make copies. However, the inspector must give a receipt for the documents, records, or things they borrow. In addition, the inspector must give the owner of the documents or things access to them, if needed. This access must take place at a time convenient for both the inspector and the owner.

Other People Involved in Inspections

Inspectors can bring other people, such as people with expert knowledge, to help with inspections. In addition, the inspector can question any person on the premises about the inspection. People on the premises must give the inspector all the help they can. For instance, they must help the inspector use computers or other devices to retrieve documents, if required.

Inspections with Warrants

If an inspector believes that a business is not complying with the AODA, thee inspector can acquire a search warrant from a justice of the peace. A warrant gives inspectors more power than they have during inspections without warrants. For instance, warrants allow inspectors to:

  • Enter dwellings
  • Search before or after business hours
  • Use force, or ask for assistance from police officers

Inspectors have thirty (30) days, after a warrant has been issued, to conduct a search. However, this time limit can be renewed for another thirty (30) days.

AODA inspections help the government learn whether businesses are obeying the law. Moreover, they encourage people to comply with the AODA and make their businesses accessible to Ontarians with disabilities.




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Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees


Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees advise city councils about how to comply with the requirements of the AODA. Cities with ten thousand (10,000) or more people must have a municipal accessibility advisory committee. In contrast, cities with less than ten thousand (10,000) people do not need a committee. Nonetheless, a small city or town can still create a committee. Alternatively, two or more towns or cities can create a joint accessibility advisory committee. More than half of committee members must be people with disabilities.

Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees

Municipal accessibility advisory committees advise their city councils about the requirements they must follow under AODA standards. In addition, they suggest ways that cities can implement these rules. Moreover, they also advise city councils on how to complete their accessibility reports.

Furthermore, committees also offer advice about the accessibility of new city buildings or other spaces. For instance, councils must consult committees when building or renovating:

Likewise, cities and towns must consult their committees about how many accessible taxis their community needs.

In addition, the council must seek the committee’s advice about a building that the council:

  • Builds
  • Buys
  • Leases
  • Renovates
  • Agrees to use as a city building or property, if someone provides it

In addition, the committee reviews building site plans and drawings for new buildings or spaces in the city. The committee must choose site plans or drawings to review, and the council must provide the committee with those plans. However, the AODA does not state what the committee should do if it has concerns about a building or plan. For instance, a committee might find that a building their city wants to lease is inaccessible. Alternatively, a city might have plans to construct a building with features that are not accessible. In these cases, the committee would likely recommend that the city lease a different building or change their building plans. However, the AODA does not explain whether the city must obey the committee’s recommendations.

Like AODA standards development committees and the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council, Municipal Accessibility Advisory committees involve people with disabilities in AODA development.




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