Send Your Feedback on the Initial Report/Recommendations by the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on What Must Be Done to Make Ontario Colleges and Universities Accessible for Students with Disabilities


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/

Send Your Feedback on the Initial Report/Recommendations by the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on What Must Be Done to Make Ontario Colleges and Universities Accessible for Students with Disabilities

June 30, 2021

SUMMARY

There are now three different public consultations going on at the same time on the content of new accessibility standards to be enacted under the AODA. The first, ending on August 11, 2021, concerns the disability barriers facing patients with disabilities in Ontario hospitals. The second, ending on September 2, 2021, concerns the barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario schools between Kindergarten and Grade 12. The third, which ends on September 29, 2021, and which we are focusing on in this Update, concerns the barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario colleges and universities.

The AODA Alliance will be taking part in all three consultations. We urge you to do so as well. We will say more over the next weeks about each of them.

The AODA Alliance campaigned for over half a decade to get the Ontario Government to agree to develop and enact accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in each of these three areas. The door is now wide open for your input. These opportunities don’t often come along. We will make public tools available to make it easier for you to have your say. The Ontario Government has not enacted a new accessibility standard under the AODA in fully nine years.

            MORE DETAILS

1. Send Us Your Feedback on the Initial Report and Recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee

What needs to be done to tear down the many barriers that impede students with disabilities in college and university programs? The Ontario Government has promised to develop a Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard to address these barriers under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Since 2018, the Government-appointed Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee has been coming up with recommendations for the Ontario Government on what should be included in the promised Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard. On March 12, 2021, it submitted its initial or draft report and recommendations to the Ontario Government.

Three and a half months later, on June 25, 2021, the Ford Government made that initial report public. The public can send feedback on it. Feedback is invited until September 29, 2021. You can send your input to the Government by writing [email protected]

That feedback will be shared with the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. That Committee will then finalize its recommendations and submit them to the Government.

You can download the initial report and recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PSE-SDC-Initial-Recommendations-Report_June-25-2021.docx

You can download the initial recommendations on student transitions, prepared jointly by the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee and the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee, by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/MSAA-NP-K-12-SDC-Sub-Committee-Transition-Report-FINAL-EN.docx

You can download the Ford Government’s survey form for giving the Government feedback in this area by visiting the Government’s website, or by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Postsecondary_Education_Standards_Initial_Recommendations_Survey-June-25-2021.docx

The AODA Alliance will be making submissions on this initial report and its initial recommendations. We also welcome your feedback as we prepare our brief to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. Write us at [email protected]

Don’t confuse the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that we are discussing here with the promised new accessibility standard to address barriers facing students with disabilities in schools between Kindergarten and Grade 12. That would be addressed in the promised K-12 Education Accessibility Standard.

We will have more to say in the coming weeks about the initial report and recommendations by the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. Stay tuned.

You can learn more about this topic by looking at the draft framework for the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that the AODA Alliance sent to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee in March, 2020. You can learn more about our years of advocacy to make all parts of Ontario’s education system accessible for students with disabilities by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s education page.

2. The AODA Alliance’s Video Summarizing the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s Initial Reports and Recommendations is Now Captioned

The AODA Alliance’s new online video that summarizes the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report and recommendations is now captioned. Please encourage educators and parents of students with disabilities to watch this video. It gives you all the information you need in order to take part in the current public consultation on the barriers that confront students with disabilities in K-12 education in Ontario schools.

If you know anyone that sits on a school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee or a municipality’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, urge them to watch this video. It is available to one and all at https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8

If you just want to watch part of that video, you can jump to any of the topics it covers, by using these links:

  1. Start of the video: https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8
  1. 2. What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act? What is an accessibility standard? (3:30 minutes) https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=210
  1. What is the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee? (4:45 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=285
  1. What is the current public consultation? (6:45 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=405
  1. What can an accessibility standard include? (7:35 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=455
  1. Why do we need an Education Accessibility Standard? (8:10 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=490
  1. How to have your say. Different ways you can give your feedback to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee up to September 2, 2021 (11 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=660
  1. What did the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee recommend in its initial report? Review of the 20 major themes in the initial recommendations of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee (13:20 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=800
  1. Tips on what you can do right now to use the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report, in order to press for action to help students with disabilities (43 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=2580
  1. Conclusion and further resources for more information and to help you give feedback (46:50): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=2810

3. The Ford Government’s Delay on Accessibility Drags on as the 2021 Summer Begins

For three years, we have been urging the Ford Government to develop a detailed plan on accessibility, to lay out how it will get Ontario to the AODA’s mandatory goal of becoming accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. It has never done so.

On January 31, 2019, the Government received the final report of the David Onley Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. Minister for Accessibility Raymond Cho publicly said on April 10, 2019, that David Onley did a “marvelous job.”

The Onley report found that Ontario is still full of “soul-crushing” barriers impeding people with disabilities. It concluded that progress on accessibility has taken place at a “glacial pace.” It determined that that the goal of accessibility by 2025 is nowhere in sight, and that specific new Government actions, spelled out in the report, are needed.

However, in the 881 days since receiving the Onley Report, the Ford Government has not made public a detailed and comprehensive plan to implement that report’s findings and recommendations. The Government has staged some media events with the Accessibility Minister to make announcements, but little if anything new was ever announced.



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Send Your Feedback on the Initial Report/Recommendations by the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on What Must Be Done to Make Ontario Colleges and Universities Accessible for Students with Disabilities


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

June 30, 2021

SUMMARY

There are now three different public consultations going on at the same time on the content of new accessibility standards to be enacted under the AODA. The first, ending on August 11, 2021, concerns the disability barriers facing patients with disabilities in Ontario hospitals. The second, ending on September 2, 2021, concerns the barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario schools between Kindergarten and Grade 12. The third, which ends on September 29, 2021, and which we are focusing on in this Update, concerns the barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario colleges and universities.

The AODA Alliance will be taking part in all three consultations. We urge you to do so as well. We will say more over the next weeks about each of them.

The AODA Alliance campaigned for over half a decade to get the Ontario Government to agree to develop and enact accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in each of these three areas. The door is now wide open for your input. These opportunities don’t often come along. We will make public tools available to make it easier for you to have your say. The Ontario Government has not enacted a new accessibility standard under the AODA in fully nine years.

MORE DETAILS

1. Send Us Your Feedback on the Initial Report and Recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee

What needs to be done to tear down the many barriers that impede students with disabilities in college and university programs? The Ontario Government has promised to develop a Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard to address these barriers under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Since 2018, the Government-appointed Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee has been coming up with recommendations for the Ontario Government on what should be included in the promised Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard. On March 12, 2021, it submitted its initial or draft report and recommendations to the Ontario Government.

Three and a half months later, on June 25, 2021, the Ford Government made that initial report public. The public can send feedback on it. Feedback is invited until September 29, 2021. You can send your input to the Government by writing [email protected]

That feedback will be shared with the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. That Committee will then finalize its recommendations and submit them to the Government.

You can download the initial report and recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PSE-SDC-Initial-Recommendations-Report_June-25-2021.docx

You can download the initial recommendations on student transitions, prepared jointly by the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee and the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee, by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/MSAA-NP-K-12-SDC-Sub-Committee-Transition-Report-FINAL-EN.docx

You can download the Ford Government’s survey form for giving the Government feedback in this area by visiting the Government’s website, or by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Postsecondary_Education_Standards_Initial_Recommendations_Survey-June-25-2021.docx

The AODA Alliance will be making submissions on this initial report and its initial recommendations. We also welcome your feedback as we prepare our brief to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. Write us at [email protected]

Don’t confuse the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that we are discussing here with the promised new accessibility standard to address barriers facing students with disabilities in schools between Kindergarten and Grade 12. That would be addressed in the promised K-12 Education Accessibility Standard.

We will have more to say in the coming weeks about the initial report and recommendations by the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. Stay tuned.

You can learn more about this topic by looking at the draft framework for the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that the AODA Alliance sent to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee in March, 2020. You can learn more about our years of advocacy to make all parts of Ontario’s education system accessible for students with disabilities by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s education page.

2. The AODA Alliance’s Video Summarizing the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s Initial Reports and Recommendations is Now Captioned

The AODA Alliance’s new online video that summarizes the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report and recommendations is now captioned. Please encourage educators and parents of students with disabilities to watch this video. It gives you all the information you need in order to take part in the current public consultation on the barriers that confront students with disabilities in K-12 education in Ontario schools.

If you know anyone that sits on a school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee or a municipality’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, urge them to watch this video. It is available to one and all at https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8

If you just want to watch part of that video, you can jump to any of the topics it covers, by using these links:

1. Start of the video: https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8

2. What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act? What is an accessibility standard? (3:30 minutes) https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=210

3. What is the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee? (4:45 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=285

4. What is the current public consultation? (6:45 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=405

5. What can an accessibility standard include? (7:35 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=455

6. Why do we need an Education Accessibility Standard? (8:10 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=490

7. How to have your say. Different ways you can give your feedback to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee up to September 2, 2021 (11 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=660

8. What did the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee recommend in its initial report? Review of the 20 major themes in the initial recommendations of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee (13:20 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=800

9. Tips on what you can do right now to use the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report, in order to press for action to help students with disabilities (43 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=2580

10. Conclusion and further resources for more information and to help you give feedback (46:50): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=2810

3. The Ford Government’s Delay on Accessibility Drags on as the 2021 Summer Begins

For three years, we have been urging the Ford Government to develop a detailed plan on accessibility, to lay out how it will get Ontario to the AODA’s mandatory goal of becoming accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. It has never done so.

On January 31, 2019, the Government received the final report of the David Onley Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. Minister for Accessibility Raymond Cho publicly said on April 10, 2019, that David Onley did a “marvelous job.”

The Onley report found that Ontario is still full of “soul-crushing” barriers impeding people with disabilities. It concluded that progress on accessibility has taken place at a “glacial pace.” It determined that that the goal of accessibility by 2025 is nowhere in sight, and that specific new Government actions, spelled out in the report, are needed.

However, in the 881 days since receiving the Onley Report, the Ford Government has not made public a detailed and comprehensive plan to implement that report’s findings and recommendations. The Government has staged some media events with the Accessibility Minister to make announcements, but little if anything new was ever announced.




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Download in MS Word format the initial report/recommendations on transitions prepared by a joint subcommittee of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committeeand the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee



Download in MS Word format the initial report/recommendations on transitions prepared by a joint subcommittee of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committeeand the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee



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Download in MS Word format the Survey Questionnaire that the Ontario Government posted on June 25, 2021 regarding the initial report/recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee



Download in MS Word format the survey questionnaire that the Ontario Government posted on June 25, 2021 regarding the initial report/recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee



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Improving Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities


In the Third Review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is a renewal of government leadership to implement the AODA. Therefore, in response to the review, the Ontario government has implemented a framework to make the province more accessible. Through this framework, called Advancing Accessibility in Ontario, the government commits to making changes that will improve opportunities for citizens with disabilities. These changes will take place in four areas of the economy. In this article, we will focus on the area of improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Improving Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

The framework outlines current and future projects that the government is engaging in to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Furthermore, these projects aim to achieve the AODA’s goal of an accessible Ontario by 2025. For instance, these plans include:

  • Integrating Ontario’s Employment Service system for all citizens, including those with disabilities
  • Offering employment services that respond better to local conditions
  • Creating the Social Assistance Recovery and Renewal Plan, to better support people who receive social assistance, including:
    • More access to employment and training services
    • New online tools and services
    • Faster processing
  • Funding third-party service providers offering employment, training, and labour market programs, including:
    • Resources and information
    • Job matching programs
    • Job retention supports
  • Supporting the Discover Ability Network, which matches job candidates with disabilities to employers
  • Promoting the Employers’ Partnership Table, where businesses employing people with disabilities share their sector-specific experiences
  • Investing in the Inclusive Community Grants Program, to help people with disabilities and older adults remain in the work force
  • Launching a website with resources on accessibility, for employers and communities
  • Funding the Support for Apprentices with Disabilities Program, to cover the costs of:
    • Accommodations
    • Disability assessments
    • Adapting equipment
  • Developing the Employment Pilot for Youth with Disabilities, through Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) offices in specific regions
  • Funding for small businesses in cities and rural communities to improve their accessibility

Recommendations for More Government Leadership from the Third Review of the AODA

All these strategies are valuable steps that the government should take to make Ontario more accessible. However, the Third Review of the AODA recommends many more important actions to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. For example, the Review recommends that the government should:

  • Improve its own accessibility as an employer
  • Require all online job postings and descriptions to appear in accessible formats and on accessible websites
  • Mandate prevention or removal of physical accessibility barriers in workplaces, including:
    • Buildings
    • Office furniture and equipment
    • Locations of off-site work events
  • Remove organizational barriers that prevent people from seeking employment, such as loss of access to:
    • Placement in daytime enrichment programs
    • Prescription coverage under ODSP
  • create a program to publicize and offer incentives to entrepreneurs with disabilities
  • Hire people with disabilities to help improve and enforce the AODA, through jobs such as:

In other words, the government’s current framework will not create enough improvement to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025. However, all these changes will begin the process of expanding opportunities for workers with disabilities. Moreover, improved employment opportunities is the first step to achieving the government’s goal of having people with disabilities fully involved in the Ontario economy.




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Raising Awareness about Accessibility in Ontario


In the Third Review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is a renewal of government leadership to implement the AODA. Therefore, in response to the review, the Ontario government has implemented a framework to make the province more accessible. Through this framework, called Advancing Accessibility in Ontario, the government commits to making changes that will improve opportunities for citizens with disabilities. These changes will take place in four areas of the economy. In this article, we will focus on the area of raising awareness about accessibility in Ontario.

Raising Awareness about Accessibility in Ontario

The framework outlines current and future projects that the government is engaging in to help Ontarians better understand and practice accessibility. Moreover, many of these projects involve partnerships between government ministries, as well as with:

Through these partnerships, the government plans to make organizations aware of the responsibilities they have, under the AODA, to make their premises and services accessible. In addition, the plans aim to educate Ontarians about the benefits that accessibility brings to the province. Furthermore, these projects will support the government’s efforts to achieve the AODA’s goal of an accessible Ontario by 2025. For instance, these plans include:

  • Creating ReadAble Fest, a reading program to teach students about people with disabilities
  • Supporting the ReelAbilities Toronto Film Festival, which shows films by and about people with disabilities
  • Updating Ontario’s travel website to include information about accessible tourism
  • Developing Ontario Live, a virtual centre for arts and attractions
  • Requesting feedback to improve accessible housing programs and services across the province
  • Creating online versions of government services currently offered only in person, such as:
    • Renewing health cards or driver’s licences
  • Requiring organizations that host national or international sports events to remove accessibility barriers
  • Partnering with community organizations to support isolated people during COVID-19
  • Establishing Inclusion Week, to raise awareness about accessibility and mental health within the Ontario Public Service (OPS)
  • Developing higher standards for federally-funded infrastructure, such as:
    • Replacing older busses with more accessible ones
    • Improvements to bus stops
  • Requiring government ministries to make their digital communications accessible
  • Funding assessment and resource centres to support post-secondary students with learning disabilities
  • Creating resources to raise awareness about concussion safety for athletes with intellectual disabilities
  • Improving the accessibility of the Ministry of Education’s Learn at Home website

Recommendations for More Government Leadership from the Third Review of the AODA

All these strategies are valuable steps that the government should take to make Ontario more accessible. However, the Third Review of the AODA recommends many more important actions to raise awareness about accessibility in Ontario. For example, the Review recommends that the government should:

  • Develop public awareness campaigns about accessibility, similar to past campaigns on recycling or impaired driving
  • Include disability at every level of the school curriculum
  • Encourage guest speakers with disabilities to discuss their lived experience, in venues such as:
    • Schools, colleges, and universities
    • Businesses
  • Support media programming that highlights successful people with disabilities, or accessible organizations

In other words, the government’s current framework will not create enough improvement to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025. Moreover, some of the framework’s goals for the future involve laws that the government should already be following. For instance, under the Transportation Standards of the AODA, newly-bought public transit vehicles must have accessibility features. Therefore, the framework should not include this element as a current goal. Instead, whenever public transit companies retire vehicles, the new ones they buy should always be accessible.

Similarly, in January 2020, the government was required to make all its websites accessible. Therefore, the framework should not need to include the accessibility of any websites or digital communication as a current goal. Instead, all government websites, and any digital communications the government has made since 2012, should already be accessible to citizens with disabilities.




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OnTree Park introduces new wheelchair-accessible ziplining course


Brian George, an accessibility advocate who lives with a disability, has been able to do a lot over the years — triathlons, the Bluenose Marathon and skating at the Oval, to name a few.

But never ziplining — until now.

OnTree Park, located in Windsor, N.S., right next to Ski Martock, has introduced a brand new, fully accessible high rope course in an effort to make sure nobody is left behind.

The owners of the park invited George to be one of the first wheelchair users to give it a go.

George says it was an experience like no other.

“It’s an honour to be the first wheelchair user to really try it out,” said George, shortly after going through the route twice.

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“The more things that open up like this for people living with disabilities, the better the world will be for everybody.”

Read more:
Halifax research group creates app to help break barriers for those living with disabilities

OnTree has been one of the popular adventure parks in the province over the past decade. With 18 high rope courses and over 50 ziplines covering more than 100 acres, it provides fun and adventure for those of all ages, while also posing a physical challenge.

But ziplining clearly has its limitations, so that’s why Juergen Weigelt, the owner of OnTree, set out to make a route that wheelchair users can enjoy as well.

“I started to build OnTree 11 years ago and when I started, it was always my goal at a certain time, I want to build a wheelchair-accessible route,” Weigelt said.

“We have them in Europe, there are a few, but I said when I had the time and the pace and the design, then I will start to build one.”

That extra time came during the latest lockdown, as OnTree had to delay its opening by a few extra weeks.

Weigelt says creating the fully accessible ziplining route was no easy feat.

Story continues below advertisement

“The platforms, for example, are triple the normal size. The ramps are completely different to build. You have to figure out how wide is a wheelchair, what can a person in a wheelchair do, how stable it has to be, how you can connect them on the end to the zipline,” Weigelt said. “And you also have to make it interesting for them.”

And it certainly is interesting, to say the least. There are several challenges along the route, including speedbumps, steep ramps and even a rope pulling section.

The route ends with a zipline to the bottom, which was George’s favourite part.

“It’s kind of icing on the cake,” he said. “It really makes the whole thing worth it.”

Story continues below advertisement

George says that safety was a top priority throughout his experience and that at no time did he feel in any danger.

“The crew here really seem to know what they’re doing,” George said. “The safety was fantastic. They really seem to plan ahead with all this.”

Read more:
Halifax-based non-profit goes digital for week-long conference on accessibility and inclusion

Weigelt credits the hard work of his family and staff for allowing them to complete the project before the summer season.

“It makes us proud because it’s a team effort. Without my team, without my wife, this is not possible,” he said, holding back tears.

“We moved to Canada, we wanted to live our dream, make our dream come true, and this is our dream.”




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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Removing Accessibility Barriers in Buildings and Public Spaces


In the Third Review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is a renewal of government leadership to implement the AODA. Therefore, in response to the review, the Ontario government has implemented a framework to make the province more accessible. Through this framework, called Advancing Accessibility in Ontario, the government commits to making changes that will improve opportunities for citizens with disabilities. These changes will take place in four areas of the economy. In this article, we will focus on the area of removing accessibility barriers in buildings and public spaces.

Removing Accessibility Barriers in Buildings and Public Spaces

The framework outlines current and future projects that the government is engaging in to remove barriers in the built environment. Furthermore, these projects aim to achieve the AODA’s goal of an accessible Ontario by 2025. For instance, these plans include:

  • Aligning the Ontario Building Code with national instruction codes, which mandate higher standards for:
    • Ramps
    • Barrier-free and universal washrooms
  • Partnering with the Rick Hansen Foundation to create its Accessibility Certification Program, which assesses and promotes building accessibility
  • Improving accessibility training for architects and other building design professionals, including:
    • Training for members of the Ontario Building Officials Association, on recognizing accessibility barriers
    • A course at the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, for both current students and practicing professionals, on the impact of accessible design
  • Creating practical guides on how to remove physical accessibility barriers in:
  • Creating resources to help retail stores and other businesses improve the accessibility of their:
  • Requiring that public transit vehicles bought with provincial funding must have accessibility features
  • Running the Home and Vehicle Modification Program, to retrofit dwellings and personal vehicles
  • Providing a free website for associations and employers in the building sector, with training and resources on improving physical accessibility
  • Creating a guide to support the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, as they develop plans to improve housing accessibility

Recommendations for More Government Leadership from the Third Review of the AODA

All these strategies are valuable steps that the government should take to make Ontario more accessible. However, the Third Review of the AODA recommends many more important actions to enhance the accessibility of buildings and public spaces. For example, the Review recommends that the government should:

  • Include deadlines for each of its accessibility goals
  • Implement a review process to regularly update the barrier-free design requirements of the Ontario Building Code (the Code)
  • Consult people with disabilities when updating the Code’s requirements
  • Align Code requirements with strong accessibility standards in Ontario cities and other provinces
  • Create a process to approve designs of public spaces, before building these designs
  • Implement rules and incentives for retrofitting buildings
  • Reforming the management of public infrastructure projects
  • Make accessibility training mandatory for building professionals
  • Require a variety of professionals to have accessibility training, including:
    • Urban planners
    • Landscapers
    • Interior designers
    • Engineers
  • Create an AODA standard, and implement tax incentives, for housing accessibility

In other words, the government’s current framework will not create enough improvement to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025. Moreover, some of the framework’s goals for the future involve laws that the government should already be following. For instance, under the Transportation Standards of the AODA, newly-bought public transit vehicles must have accessibility features. Therefore, the framework should not include this element as a current goal. Instead, all public transit companies should already be purchasing accessible vehicles when updating their fleets.




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