Stratford Residents to Benefit From New Public Transit Infrastructure and Accessible Buses


STRATFORD, ON: Strategic investments in public transit infrastructure support efficient, affordable, and sustainable transportation services that help Stratford residents get to work, school and essential services on time and safely back home at the end of the day.

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Randy Pettapiece, MPP, PerthâWellington on behalf of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure; and his Worship Dan Mathieson, Mayor of the City of Stratford, today announced funding for ten public transit infrastructure projects in the City.

All of the projects will improve Stratford’s public transit fleet and supporting infrastructure. Five new conventional buses and two mobility buses will replace the aging fleet, improving the accessibility, reliability, and safety of the system for users. An additional bus will be purchased to meet the City’s growing demand for public transit. The bus routes will also see improvements with the installation of 8 new accessible shelters.

Stratford’s transit fleet will be equipped with an automated voice and signage system on buses that will notify passengers when each stop is approaching. Transit users will also be able to track their bus locations using a real time arrival smartphone application.

To encourage an increase in ridership on Sundays and improve access to public transit, the City of Stratford will pilot the design of new bus routes using an application-based, on-demand software. On Sundays, transit users will be able to request pick-up and drop-off locations at selected stops by using a smart phone app or by accessing the internet from their phone or a computer.

Together, these investments will provide residents with a more accessible and reliable bus service.

The Government of Canada is investing over $1.6 million in these projects through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) of the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan. The Government of Ontario is providing approximately $1.4 million to the projects, while the City of Stratford is contributing more than $1 million.

Quotes

Investing in modern and accessible public transit systems is essential to building healthy, communities. Many Stratford residents rely on public transit to access local services and get around the region each day and these investments will improve the accessibility and reliability of bus services. We are working with our partners to build better public transit that contributes to cleaner, healthier and more liveable communities for our children and grandchildren.

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Stratford is getting eight new buses, new bus shelters and is piloting a new online, on-demand transit service for riders. Ontario’s investment of approximately $1.4 million, along with our Stratford and Federal government partners will help transit riders get around town a lot faster. This new transit will help people get to where they want to go – to work, to school, shopping, the doctors or other appointments, traveling around Stratford or home to their families.

Randy Pettapiece, MPP, PerthâWellington on behalf of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure

This is a meaningful investment in our community that will not only help to modernize our transit fleet, but also improve the overall transit service for all riders in Stratford. New buses, additional shelters and an innovative on-demand pilot project will make it more accessible, more comfortable and more convenient to use public transportation in our city.

His Worship Dan Mathieson, Mayor of the City of Stratford

Quick facts

Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
$28.7 billion of this funding is supporting public transit projects, including $5 billion available for investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
More than $10.1 billion of this funding is supporting trade and transportation projects, including $5 billion available for investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
The Government of Ontario is providing approximately $1.4 million to ten public transit projects in Stratford.
To date, the Province has nominated more than 350 projects and continues to work closely with the federal government to secure approvals under this program. Ontario has committed to investing $144 billion in infrastructure across the province over the ten years. Use the Ontario Builds map to find projects in your community.

(PRN)

Original at https://www.newkerala.com/news/2020/42728.htm




Source link

Public Education Campaign on the Business Case for Accessibility


In the third review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is the need to increase public awareness about the AODA and accessibility. During public meetings Onley held while preparing his review, attendees stated that many people are unaware of the AODA. Alternatively, people may know that the AODA exists but may not understand why they need to comply with it. In addition, Ontario people and organizations need to understand that accommodating people with disabilities is an every-day part of serving the public and doing business. Therefore, the government needs to develop a public education campaign on the business case for accessibility.

A Public Education Campaign on the Business Case for Accessibility is Needed

Meeting attendees state that members of the public, and staff of businesses and other organizations, should know more about the AODA. Furthermore, they should know that offering accessible venues and services is a business advantage. Businesses should know that any money they use to fund their accessibility efforts will be well-spent.

Accessible Buildings and Websites Benefit Everyone

For instance, businesses should know that accessible spaces help not only people with disabilities, but a variety of others. For example, ramps and elevators are useful for families with babies in strollers. Wide sidewalks and hallways benefit families with small children who can hold hands while they travel. Automatic doors are useful for people carrying groceries or supplies. As a result, buildings or spaces that are physically accessible can do much more business than buildings or spaces that are not.

Likewise, businesses offering service online should know that accessible websites benefit people with and without disabilities. For instance, speech recognition software makes computers accessible for people with mobility disabilities. In addition, people who are multi-tasking also find it useful. Furthermore, websites people can operate without using a mouse are easier for search engines to find. As a result, people who create websites accessibly also make it more likely that visitors will notice and browse them.

Accessibility is Not Always Expensive

Similarly, businesses should know that many methods of offering accessibility are not expensive. For instance, staff can ask customers if they need assistance, and provide help in ways that respect customers’ dignity. Moreover, businesses can create new documents using accessible formats, such as Word files. In addition, businesses can partner with organizations that enhance accessibility, such as the Stop Gap Foundation. This foundation provides ramps for businesses with one step leading to their front doors. Furthermore, businesses can make changes to their policies that reduce any organizational barriers customers encounter. Finally, businesses can apply for federal, provincial, or local funding to support more costly accessibility efforts, such as building renovations.

Welcoming Workers with Disabilities

Furthermore, accessible businesses can also welcome workers with disabilities. Under the AODA’s Employment Standards, businesses are required to accommodate workers with disabilities. However, businesses that already have accessible features will be able to accommodate more easily than businesses that do not have such features. Therefore, they can have access to a larger pool of qualified people eager to share their skills in the workplace.

Creating Customer Loyalty

Moreover, businesses should know that accessible features and services will allow them to welcome loyal customers with disabilities. These customers will tell others about the positive experience they have in accessible businesses. In contrast, the same customers will encourage others not to visit businesses where they have felt unwelcome. Therefore, businesses committed to accessibility will be able to serve many more customers with and without disabilities.

Campaigning for Business Accessibility

Onley’s review suggests several ways to make businesses and the public more aware of all these accessibility benefits. For example, attendees suggest that people already running accessible businesses could use the media to educate others. Likewise, the media could also develop programming about what accessibility means for people with different types of disabilities. Similarly, social media can also help to reduce attitudinal barriers and publicize accessible businesses. Moreover, human resources professionals could create job postings requesting that applicants know about and can help promote accessible business practices. In this way, businesses would start to hire workers already aware of and committed to accessibility. In addition, federal, provincial, and city officials could also encourage businesses to offer accessible features and services. Finally, cities could remind businesses that accessible spaces and services are also more welcoming to the growing number of older adults.

In short, Onley’s review recommends that the government develop ways to teach the public about the benefits of doing business accessibly. Moreover, both previous reviews of the AODA, in 2010 and 2014, have made a similar recommendation. In other words, Ontarians with disabilities have waited at least ten years for a public education campaign on the business case for accessibility.




Source link

Help Us Get Towns and Cities Around Ontario to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters (E-scooters) – They Are A Danger to Ontarians with Disabilities On Our Sidewalks, Roads and Other Public Places


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/

Help Us Get Towns and Cities Around Ontario to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters (E-scooters) – They Are A Danger to Ontarians with Disabilities On Our Sidewalks, Roads and Other Public Places

February 12, 2020

          SUMMARY

This is an AODA Alliance call to action, wherever you live in Ontario, and especially right now if you live in or near Toronto! Please help us get your local politicians to not allow electric scooters (e-scooters) in your city, town or region of Ontario. They endanger safety and accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities and others. We don’t need any new barriers created in Ontario against Ontarians with disabilities. This Update gives you quick, easy-to-use tips on how to help. It also gives background to this issue.

          MORE DETAILS

How You Can Help Protect Ontarians Against the Dangers of E-scooters

We are asking Ontario’s cities and towns something simple but important: Don’t allow e-scooters in your community! They are a danger to safety and accessibility for people with disabilities and others, as we explain later in this Update! It’s easy to do. City and town councils don’t have to do anything! If they do nothing, the ban on e-scooters stays in place in their community. The trouble only starts if a city or town council passes a bylaw that allows e-scooters in that community. We know the e-scooter rental companies are working hard to get them to do so, starting with Toronto. We need our municipal politicians to give priority to the people, including people with disabilities, rather than those corporate lobbyists.

The City of Toronto is now considering whether to allow e-scooters. Other cities will watch Toronto to follow its lead, and may be looking into this issue right now. It is therefore especially important to keep e-scooters out of public places in Toronto, such as our roads and sidewalks.

Here’s what to do, wherever you live in Ontario, and especially if you live in Toronto.

* Phone, email, write OR TWEET your member of City Council and your mayor. Tell them you don’t want e-scooters in your community. If you don’t know their name or contact information, call your community’s city hall, or dial 311 to ask for this information.

* Send your mayor and municipal council members the powerful January 22, 2020 open letter on the dangers of e-scooters to people with disabilities, from 13 major disability organizations. It is meant for all the mayors and councilors in Ontario municipalities. It explains in full detail why e-scooters are such a problem and what they should do to protect the public, including people with disabilities. Tell them to listen to you, a voter, and not to the corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies. At the end of this Update, we list the 13 disability organizations that have already signed this important open letter. The link to our open letter is: https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/major-disability-organizations-open-letter-to-the-ford-government-and-ontario-municipalities-dont-allow-electric-scooters-on-our-roads-sidewalks-and-public-places-because-they-endanger-our-safe/

* Ask your municipality’s Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee to pass a motion that recommends that the municipality not allow e-scooters. On February 3, 2020, the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee unanimously passed just such a motion. If you are a municipal accessibility advisory committee, you can present this motion yourself! Share our open letter on e-scooters with this committee to give them all the background they need, as well as the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee’s February 3, 2020 motion .

The Toronto motion unanimously stated:

“The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee recommends to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee that:

  1. City Council prohibit e-scooters for use in public spaces including sidewalks and roads, and direct that any City permission granted to e-scooter companies be guided by public safety, in robust consultation with people living with disabilities, and related organizations serving this population.”

* Let us know if your municipality advisory committee passes a motion against e-scooters, so we can keep track of these.

* If you live or work in Toronto, you should also send your member of Toronto City Council the AODA Alliance’s February 6, 2020 letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory. For that matter, send it to Mayor Tory too, just as we did. Let the mayor and your member of council know you agree with it.

* Let your local news media and call-in radio stations know that you don’t want e-scooters in your community. Share our e-scooters open letter with them.

* Spread the word on social media like Facebook and Twitter. If you follow our Facebook and Twitter feeds, you can share or retweet our regular posts on this important topic.

* Tell your family and friends about this issue. Share this Update with them. Urge them to swing into action too!

* Get a disability organization with which you have a connection to add its name as a signatory to our e-scooters open letter. They just need to give us permission to add their organization’s name, by writing us at [email protected]

* Let us know what you do, and what answers you get. And let us know about any other ideas for action that you try.

Background on The E-Scooter Problem

As recent AODA Alliance Updates have reported, last fall, the Ford Government passed a new law which threatens to create serious new barriers for Ontarians with disabilities . It enacted a new regulation that lets any municipality in Ontario permit people to ride electric scooters in public places in their communities. Up until now, e-scooters were banned from public places in Ontario.

Under this new provincial regulation, a municipality can lift that ban on e-scooters just by passing a bylaw allowing e-scooters in that community, including on roads and sidewalks. If a municipality does this, an uninsured, untrained unlicensed person as young as 16 years old could be silently racing towards you at 24 KPH. You won’t hear them coming because e-scooters are silent. If you are blind, you won’t see them coming. In other communities where e-scooters have been allowed, they have led to people being injured or even killed.

Corporate lobbyists convinced the Doug Ford Government to allow this in Ontario, and to ignore our serious disability concerns. They represent companies that rent e-scooters. Their businesses make money because they have e-scooters left around a city in public places like sidewalks, for people to rent on the spot. For people with mobility disabilities, these can block an otherwise-accessible sidewalk. For people with vision loss, they are a tripping hazard. For everyone, they are a blight and an eyesore.

List of the 13 Disability Organizations that Signed the January 22, 2020 Open Letter on Electric Scooters

Note: Since we initially released this letter, two additional organizations have signed it, the Ontario Disabilities Coalition and the Brain Injury Society of Toronto. They are included in this list.

  1. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
  2. March of Dimes of Canada
  3. Canadian National Institute for the Blind
  4. ARCH Disability Law Centre
  5. Spinal Cord Injury Ontario
  6. Ontario Autism Coalition
  7. Older Women’s Network
  8. Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
  9. Guide Dog Users of Canada
  10. Views for the Visually Impaired
  11. Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario
  12. Ontario Disability Coalition
  13. The Brain Injury Society of Toronto



Source link

Spending Public Money on Accessible Structures and Services


In the third review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is the need to ensure that public money funds structures and services accessible to everyone. During public meetings Onley held before his review, attendees requested government commitment to spending public money on accessible structures and services.

Spending Public Money on Accessible Structures and Services

Onley’s review states that many buildings funded by taxes are not accessible. Instead, some of these buildings are full of physical and information barriers, including:

  • Lack of elevators
  • No ramps or railings
  • Weak colour contrast
  • Incorrect Braille on signs

When taxpayers’ money has funded a building, every person in Ontario should be able to use that building. People with disabilities are part of the public and pay taxes. Therefore, people with disabilities should be able to use the buildings that their money has helped to pay for.

Possible Solutions

Meeting attendees suggest possible solutions to avoid creating new barriers in buildings using public money. For instance, some attendees suggest creating a process to monitor the plans for public buildings. This review process would ensure that every public building would be designed with accessibility features. In addition, if reviewers noticed any barriers in a building’s design, they could help the designers remove them. Similarly, attendees suggest that the provincial auditor should recommend improvements to Infrastructure Ontario’s process of planning for accessibility.

Furthermore, attendees suggest that when reviewers recommend accessibility improvements, these recommendations should be made public. Likewise, if anyone involved in the design process rejects an accessibility recommendation, this rejection should also be made public. For instance, attendees suggest that this public record should include:

  • The name of the person who rejects a recommendation
  • The person’s reasons for rejecting the recommendation

Attendees also recommend inspections after projects are completed. Moreover, attendees suggest that if inspectors find barriers, the builders must be required to remove them.

Onley’s review also considers funding that the government supplies to people and companies. For instance, some of these types of funding are:

  • Capital and infrastructure spending
  • Transfer payments
  • Procurement of goods, services and facilities
  • Business development grants and loans
  • Research grants

Onley’s review recommends the development of a government strategy preventing people or companies from using funding to create barriers. All these recommendations will help the government ensure that it is spending public money on accessible structures and services. All buildings and services funded through public money should be accessible to members of the public who have disabilities.




Source link

Spending Public Money on Accessible Structures and Services


In the third review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is the need to ensure that public money funds structures and services accessible to everyone. During public meetings Onley held before his review, attendees requested government commitment to spending public money on accessible structures and services.

Spending Public Money on Accessible Structures and Services

Onley’s review states that many buildings funded by taxes are not accessible. Instead, some of these buildings are full of physical and information barriers, including:

  • Lack of elevators
  • No ramps or railings
  • Weak colour contrast
  • Incorrect Braille on signs

When taxpayers’ money has funded a building, every person in Ontario should be able to use that building. People with disabilities are part of the public and pay taxes. Therefore, people with disabilities should be able to use the buildings that their money has helped to pay for.

Possible Solutions

Meeting attendees suggest possible solutions to avoid creating new barriers in buildings using public money. For instance, some attendees suggest creating a process to monitor the plans for public buildings. This review process would ensure that every public building would be designed with accessibility features. In addition, if reviewers noticed any barriers in a building’s design, they could help the designers remove them. Similarly, attendees suggest that the provincial auditor should recommend improvements to Infrastructure Ontario’s process of planning for accessibility.

Furthermore, attendees suggest that when reviewers recommend accessibility improvements, these recommendations should be made public. Likewise, if anyone involved in the design process rejects an accessibility recommendation, this rejection should also be made public. For instance, attendees suggest that this public record should include:

  • The name of the person who rejects a recommendation
  • The person’s reasons for rejecting the recommendation

Attendees also recommend inspections after projects are completed. Moreover, attendees suggest that if inspectors find barriers, the builders must be required to remove them.

Onley’s review also considers funding that the government supplies to people and companies. For instance, some of these types of funding are:

  • Capital and infrastructure spending
  • Transfer payments
  • Procurement of goods, services and facilities
  • Business development grants and loans
  • Research grants

Onley’s review recommends the development of a government strategy preventing people or companies from using funding to create barriers. All these recommendations will help the government ensure that it is spending public money on accessible structures and services. All buildings and services funded through public money should be accessible to members of the public who have disabilities.




Source link

Premier Ford Ducks Our Request to Meet, and Instead Has His Accessibility Minister Send Us a Letter Saying Nothing New – and – Ford Government Considering a Very Troubling Proposal to Let Builders Hire Their Own Private Building Inspectors, Rather Than Having Building Code Inspections Conducted by Qualified Public Officials — And Then Answers Criticisms in an Inaccessible Tweet


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/

Premier Ford Ducks Our Request to Meet, and Instead Has His Accessibility Minister Send Us a Letter Saying Nothing New – and – Ford Government Considering a Very Troubling Proposal to Let Builders Hire Their Own Private Building Inspectors, Rather Than Having Building Code Inspections Conducted by Qualified Public Officials —  And Then Answers Criticisms in an Inaccessible Tweet

January 23, 2020

          SUMMARY

1. Instead of Premier Ford Agreeing to Meet Us, Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho Writes the AODA Alliance, Offering Nothing New on Disability Accessibility.

On January 21, 2020, Ontario’s Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho wrote the AODA Alliance. We set out his letter below.

Sadly, this letter tells us nothing new. It is a serious cause for concern. Here’s why.

First, this letter is the Government’s response to our November 26, 2019 letter to Premier Ford. Premier Ford never answered that letter.

In our November 26, 2019 letter to Premier Ford, we asked for a meeting with the Premier. The Premier has not agreed to meet. In contrast, Ontario’s last two premiers, Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty, each met with AODA Alliance leadership several times.

Second, we pointed out to Premier Ford in our November 26, 2019 letter that the Premier’s leadership on the accessibility issue in Ontario is needed now. We wrote:

“When we have written you over the past months, your office has referred us back to the Accessibility Minister, Raymond Cho. We have met a number of times with Minister Cho and his officials. He and his ministry do not have the responsibility and authority to take a good number of the key actions that are needed. It is the Premier whose action and leadership we need.

Three successive Independent Reviews of the AODA’s implementation have been conducted. The first reported in 2010. The second reported in 2014. The third, by David Onley, reported earlier this year. They all called for Ontario’s Premier to show new leadership on this issue. We regret that neither of the two previous premiers showed the leadership that over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities need. We are turning to you to make the difference we need.

We are eager to meet with you to discuss this, and offer constructive ideas on how to make the progress that Ontarians need. Everyone in Ontario either has a disability now, or is bound to get one later in life as they age. They all need your leadership and your help on this important issue.”

Instead of showing the leadership we need, Premier Ford has again simply sent us back to Accessibility Minister Cho. Minister Cho lacks the authority to take a good number of the measures that over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities now need.

Third, Minister Cho’s January 21, 2020 letter primarily points to The Government’s efforts at raising public awareness on accessibility for people with disabilities. Most, if not all, of those programs or activities were in place under the previous Government. They have not solved the predicament that Ontario remains a province full of “soul-crushing barriers” in the words of the Onley Report. Ontario will not become accessible to Ontarians with disabilities just through such public education and awareness raising.

Fourth, in his letter, Minister Cho said again that The Government is “working across all ministries” on accessibility. This is not working any more than it did when the previous Government claimed to be doing the same thing. Minister Cho wrote:

“We are working across ministries to make accessibility a responsibility of all ministries and inform a whole-of-government approach to advancing accessibility.

This includes reviewing policies, programs and services, and identifying areas where we can work together to remove the barriers faced by Ontario’s 2.6 million people with disabilities.”

That ineffective strategy did not lead the Ford Government to effectively prevent the serious dangers to people with disabilities and others posed by the Ford Government’s new regulation on electric scooters. That regulation allows municipalities to permit unlicensed, uninsured and untrained people as young as age 16 to ride silent electric scooters on Ontario roads, sidewalks and other public places.

The Ford Government has in effect ignored our concerns. Its new electric scooters regulation will lead to the creation of serious new accessibility barriers for Ontarians with disabilities. See more on this below.

In the next section of this Update, we identify another example that shows that this “whole of Government” approach to accessibility is not working.

As of today, there have now been 357 days, or almost a full year, since the Ford Government received the final report of David Onley’s Government-appointed Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation. That report called for strong new Government action due to the fact that progress on accessibility has been so slow.

The Ford Government has still announced no plan to implement the Onley Report, even though the Government said that Mr. Onley did a “marvelous job.” That is yet another reason why we urgently need a meeting with Premier Ford.

2. Ford Government Considering Weakening the Enforcement of the Ontario Building Code Including Its Inadequate Provisions on Accessibility for People with Disabilities

Last May, the Ford Government used its majority in the Legislature to defeat a resolution that advocated for Ontario to create a new Built Environment Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The Ford Government erroneously and hurtfully claimed that this would just be more red tape, and pointed to the Ontario Building Code as if it were sufficient.

The Ontario Building Code‘s disability accessibility provisions are widely known to be palpably inadequate. They do not ensure that a new building is barrier-free for people with disabilities.

Making this even worse, the media this week reported that the Ford Government is considering an option that would seriously weaken enforcement of the Ontario Building Code. This would apply to all aspects of the Ontario Building Code, including its weak accessibility provisions. See the January 21, 2020 CBC News report set out below.

When a new building or major renovation is now to be built, a public official must inspect the project to ensure that it complies with the Ontario Building Code . The January 21, 2020 CBC news report stated that the Ford Government is considering replacing this with a regime where an organization could instead hire their own private inspector to inspect the project. This creates a serious conflict of interest. Builders will shop around to hire the private inspectors who will go the easiest on them. In this CBC report, the Ford Government says that it has made no final decisions on this.

Yesterday the Government released a response to criticisms of this from others, in a tweet. That tweet is more proof that the Government’s approach to accessibility is so deficient. That tweet links to a responding statement by the relevant minister which is in an inaccessible format.

We are exceedingly concerned about this proposal. We call on the Ford Government to immediately drop it from consideration. Building inspections must only be conducted by public officials who are utterly free of any financial stake or conflict of interest.

This problem regarding building inspectors has troubling similarity to the Ford Government’s problematic decision to embrace the seriously flawed private accessibility certification process offered by the Rick Hansen Foundation. Last year we revealed serious problems with the Rick Hansen Foundation’s program. We called on the Ford Government not to divert public money into it. That program also has serious conflict of interest concerns, as we revealed last year.

This proposal for private building inspections is the latest example that shows that the Ford Government’s “whole of Government” approach to accessibility, addressed earlier in this Update, is toothless and ineffective.

3. We Invite Additional Disability Organizations to Sign Our Open Letter to the Ontario Government and Municipal Governments on Electric Scooters

On January 22, 2020, we made public a compelling open letter to the Ontario Government and to the Mayors and Councils of Ontario municipalities. It calls on them not to allow electric scooters (e-scooters) because they are a danger to safety and accessibility for people with disabilities and others.

An impressive list of eleven disability organizations have already signed this open letter. We encourage other disability organizations that operate in Ontario to join as signatories to this open letter. If your organization would like to be added to the list, email us at [email protected]

We are delighted that CBC Radio Toronto’s flagship public affairs morning program, Metro Morning, interviewed AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky today on this e-scooter issue and the

Open letter that we sent yesterday to address it.

          MORE DETAILS

January 21, 2020 Letter to the AODA Alliance from Ontario Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho

Dear Mr. Lepofsky:

Premier Ford forwarded me your correspondence regarding the Ontario government’s plan to improve accessibility in Ontario. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Our government is committed to accessibility and we are working to support people with disabilities and seniors to remain engaged and participate fully in their communities.

As was recommended in the Third Legislative Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) by the Honourable David Onley, we are working across ministries to make accessibility a responsibility of all ministries and inform a whole-of-government approach to advancing accessibility.

This includes reviewing policies, programs and services, and identifying areas where we can work together to remove the barriers faced by Ontario’s 2.6 million people with disabilities.

With our ministry partners, we have had discussions with stakeholders to promote accessibility and look at opportunities to support accessibility awareness. We believe Ontario should be built to work for everyone – and that means being accessible for all – whether you’re pushing a stroller, or making a delivery, using a white cane – or a wheelchair.

We are helping to make communities and businesses more accessible with our EnAbling Change Program. Through this program, the ministry partners with non-profits, industry organizations, and professional associations to educate their stakeholders about the benefits of accessibility, provide resources and tools, and drive change including a focus on employment.

An example of an EnAbling Change project is a resource guide, The Business of Accessibility, that was developed by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association. The guide provides helpful tips for businesses on how to become more inclusive and accessible including addressing barriers in the built environment such as entrances and exits, space layout and design. More information on this project can be found at OBIAA ACCESSIBILITY.

The Ministry’s Employers’ Partnership Table supports the government’s commitment to increase employment for people with disabilities by providing a place for employers to give their perspectives and advice to us on how to support inclusive hiring, retention and success for people with disabilities. We are also working across government to align efforts that support employment for people with disabilities including transforming our employment services.

Additionally, this fall we resumed the Health Care and Education Standards Development Committees, a key recommendation in the Onley Report. These Standard

Development Committees will provide recommendations for new AODA accessibility standards in these sectors.

These are just some examples of how we are working with our partners to improve accessibility in the province. Through this work, we are on the right track to creating an Ontario where communities offer opportunities instead of barriers.

We will continue our outreach with people with disabilities and disability organizations, and consult with businesses, non-profits and industry groups to get their perspectives on how to improve accessibility in Ontario.

Thank you again for writing. Please accept my best wishes.

Sincerely,

Raymond Cho

Minister

c:     The Honourable Doug Ford

CBC News January 21, 2020

Originally posted at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/province-eyeing-changes-that-could-see-developers-hire-their-own-building-inspectors-1.5434037

Province eyeing changes that could see developers hire their own building inspectors

Certified professionals program would allow architects, engineers to okay building permits

Should developers be allowed to hire their own inspectors? The provincial government is looking at that possibility. The City of Toronto is pushing back against a provincial government proposal that could give developers the power to skirt the rules surrounding municipal building inspections. The Certified Professionals Program would allow architects and engineers to undergo additional training in the work that city inspectors do. Developers could then hire the newly-minted professionals, instead of calling in city inspectors to approve their progress.

“Toronto Building staff do not support the introduction of a program whereby builders would be allowed through legislation to hire designers to assume the plan review and inspection roles and responsibilities on behalf of municipalities,” Will Johnston, the city’s chief building official, wrote in a report to the planning and housing committee.

“There are a number of concerns with this model, including potential conflicts of interest.” Even if the proposal is eventually approved, it may have a tough time getting architects onboard.

Adam Tracey, manager of policy and government relations for the Ontario Association of Architects, says the association is against the proposal to introduce a Certified Professional designation for architects in Ontario.

The Ontario Association of Architects, which regulates the profession, weighed in last November in a letter to the province.

“The development industry may have pitched this to government as a cheap and simple way to to get building approvals faster,” the letter reads in part.

“As risk is transferred from municipalities to individual practitioners, the profession’s liability would increase, and higher insurance costs would directly translate into higher building costs. “Adam Tracey, the association’s manager of policy and government relations, warned those extra costs would likely be passed on to the public. “There will be some kind of cost transfer from municipalities back on to homeowners and business owners,” he said. “Somebody has to pay for it. It’s not going to be done for free.”

Will Johnston, the city’s head building official, worries that introducing certified professionals in Toronto could lead to perceptions of conflict of interest, because developers would be allowed to hire their own inspectors.

The proposal is part of larger discussion paper, circulated by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing among professionals in the building industry last fall.

The aim of the consultation, according to a statement from the ministry to CBC Toronto, is “modernizing and transforming the delivery of building code services to help speed up the construction of new housing and building projects, and better support Ontario’s $38-billion building industry.”

Builders have been complaining for years about red tape that’s slowing down the building process. They’ve been asking for a more streamlined system. As things stand now, every builder — from single-home contractors to the largest developers — must adhere to the Ontario Building Code when erecting a new structure.

Municipalities enforce the code, signing off on each stage of construction, from the original building permit application, through foundation work, framing, plumbing, and other work normally done by tradespeople. Ultimately, after a final inspection, the city issues an occupancy permit.

The only permits not covered would be those that affect personal safety, such as electrical inspections, according to Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the Ontario Home Builders Association, which has also been involved in the consultations.

Under the new model, developers would be allowed to hire their own certified professionals, rather than have city inspectors visit the site, according to Johnston and Vaccaro, who’s in favour of the certified-professionals model.

“We are struggling to get permits, we are struggling to get inspections done in a timely way,” Vaccaro told CBC Toronto. “And when those delays happen it backs up the entire project. So, now the idea here is to get people in their home sooner and safer.”

But Johnston said municipal regulators are essential in ensuring new buildings are properly constructed. ‘A robust regulatory system’

“What’s important to Toronto Building is that we have a robust regulatory system where the public can have confidence that the buildings that they work and that they live in, that they visit, are safe,” he said.

Joe Vaccaro, head of the Ontario Home Builders Association, says the proposed changes could streamline the building process and ‘get people into their homes sooner and safer. “The best way to achieve that in my view is to have a system where you have independent oversight of the building design and construction process.”

The ministry would not agree to an interview with CBC Toronto. But in an email, a spokesperson maintained no decisions on streamlining the system have been made.

“Modernizing and transforming the delivery of Ontario’s building code services will take time and this is the beginning of the conversation,” Conrad Spezowka wrote. “Consultation feedback is currently being reviewed and no decisions have been made.”

Although the province has not provided details of the proposed changes, it has stated that the idea to establish certified professionals in Ontario is based on a British Columbia model.

But Maura Gatensby, a B.C. architect and certified professional, said only the cities of Surrey and Vancouver have opted to let certified professionals bypass municipal inspections.

The issue is scheduled to be discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of the planning and housing committee, as part of a broader discussion on possible changes to the way the Ontario Building Code is administered.





Source link

Major Disability Organizations’ Open Letter to the Ford Government and Ontario Municipalities – Don’t Allow Electric Scooters On Our Roads, Sidewalks and Public Places Because They Endanger Our Safety and Create New Barriers to Accessibility


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Major Disability Organizations’ Open Letter to the Ford Government and Ontario Municipalities – Don’t Allow Electric Scooters On Our Roads, Sidewalks and Public Places Because They Endanger Our Safety and Create New Barriers to Accessibility

January 22, 2020 Toronto: Eleven major community organizations concerned with the rights of over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities today made public a compelling open letter (set out below) to the Ford Government and mayors and councils of all Ontario municipalities, urging them not to permit electric scooters (e-scooters) on roads, sidewalks or other public places.

Last November, the Ford Government passed a regulation which lets municipalities permit dangerously fast e-scooters on roads, sidewalks and other public places. It ignored serious safety and accessibility concerns documented by Ontarians with disabilities. Rental e-scooters, strewn in public places, will be new mobility barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities. Silent e-scooters, racing at 24 kph, driven by uninsured, unlicensed untrained riders as young as 16, will endanger the physical safety of people with disabilities and others on sidewalks and in other public places.

That regulation lifts the provincial ban on e-scooters, but none may be used unless a municipality passes a bylaw permitting it. The Ford Government did not set strong, mandatory provincial rules to prevent the dangers that e-scooters pose nor did it ensure that municipalities would do so.

This open letter urges the Ontario Government to call off this “pilot project”, now authorized for an excessive five years. It calls on the mayors and councils of each municipality not to allow e-scooters in their communities. If a municipality does nothing, the danger is avoided, at least in that community. We are confident that municipalities have many other pressing priorities to deal with.

“This regulation inflicts on Ontarians with disabilities the undue hardship of having to campaign in hundreds of municipalities across Ontario, one after the next, to prevent this danger,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance, a grassroots disability coalition that has led the campaign on this issue. “We fear that the e-scooter rental companies’ corporate lobbyists are lobbying city councillors behind closed doors.”

This open letter opposes e-scooters altogether. However, if permitted, mandatory provincial laws should require each e-scooter and driver to have a license, a helmet (even if over age 17) and insurance. If an e-scooter is left in a public place like a sidewalk, it should be forfeited and confiscated. E-scooter rental companies should have liability for any injuries that e-scooters cause, and limits on the number of e-scooters.

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

Twitter: @aodaalliance

Open Letter

January 22, 2020

To: Hon. Premier Doug Ford

Via Email: [email protected] [email protected]

Room 281, Legislative Building

Queen’s Park

Toronto, Ontario

M7A 1A1

And to: All Members of the Ontario Legislature

And to: The Mayors and Councils of All Municipalities in Ontario

Copy to: The Hon. Raymond Cho, Minister for Accessibility and Seniors

Via email: [email protected]

College Park 5th Floor

777 Bay St

Toronto, ON M7A 1S5

And copied to:

The Hon. Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation

Via email: [email protected]

5th Floor

777 Bay St.

Toronto, ON M7A 1Z8

I. Introduction

The undersigned community organizations and groups ask the Ontario Government and Ontario municipalities to take the actions listed below to protect the public, and especially Ontarians with disabilities, from the danger to public safety and the accessibility of their communities that is created by the Ontario Government’s new regulation on electric scooters (e-scooters). This regulation lets municipalities choose to permit people to use e-scooters in public.

On November 27, 2019, the Ontario Government announced a new regulation. It lets Ontario municipalities allow the use of e-scooters for a pilot of up to five years. An e-scooter is a motor vehicle that a person rides standing up. It can be very quickly throttled up to fast speeds of at least 24 KPH. It is silent even when ridden at fast speeds.

This Ontario regulation lets e-scooters be ridden on roads as well as sidewalks. It does not require a rider to have a driver’s license, or to have training in the e-scooter’s safe use or in the rules of the road. It does not require the e-scooter’s driver or owner to have insurance.

The e-scooter model does not have to be certified as safe by the Canada Safety Association or other recognized certifying body. The e-scooter need not have a vehicle license, or display a license number, that could help identify the vehicle in the case of an injury.

The Ontario Government said that this pilot is to study use of e-scooters. However, the regulation has not required a municipality that permits e-scooters to study their impact, or to report any study to the public. There has been no showing why five years is needed.

II. E-Scooters Endanger Public Safety, Especially for People with Disabilities

Unlicensed, untrained, uninsured people racing on silent e-scooters in public places, including sidewalks, endanger the public, and especially people with disabilities. Ontarians with disabilities and others will be exposed to the danger of serious personal injuries or worse. Pedestrians cannot hear silent e-scooters racing towards them. This is especially dangerous for people who are blind or have low vision or balance issues, or whose disability makes them slower to move out of the way.

In jurisdictions where they are allowed, e-scooters present these dangers. Ontario does not need a pilot to prove this. In an August 30, 2019 CityTV report, the Ontario Government stated that it had compromised between protecting public safety on the one hand, and advancing business opportunities and consumer choice on the other, when it first designed its proposal for a five-year e-scooter pilot.

III. E-Scooters Will Create New Accessibility Barriers for People with Disabilities

The new Ontario e-scooter regulation will also lead to the creation of serious new accessibility barriers against accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. In jurisdictions where e-scooters are allowed, e-scooters are frequently left lying in public, strewed around sidewalks and other public places.

Leaving e-scooters on sidewalks is central to the plans of at least some businesses who want to rent e-scooters in Ontario, according to a September 10, 2019 Toronto Star article. The companies that rent e-scooters to the public provide a mobile app. Using that app, anyone can pick up an e-scooter, rent it, ride it to their destination, and then leave it in a random place on the sidewalk or other public place for another person to later pick it up and rent it.

For people who are blind, deafblind or have low vision, e-scooters can be a serious and unexpected tripping hazard. There is no way to plan a walking route to avoid them. They should not have to face the new prospect of e-scooters potentially lying in their path at any time.

Leaving e-scooters randomly on sidewalks also creates a serious, unpredictable new accessibility barrier for people using a wheelchair, walker or other mobility device. An e-scooter can block them from continuing along an otherwise-accessible sidewalk. People with disabilities using a mobility device may not be able to go up on the grass or down onto the road, to get around an e-scooter blocking the sidewalk. Sidewalks or other public spaces should not be made available to private e-scooter rental companies as free publicly-funded parking spaces.

Under the Charter of Rights, the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the Ontario Government and municipalities are required to prevent the creation of new accessibility barriers against Ontarians with disabilities. As the 2019 final report of the most recent Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation, by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley revealed, Ontario is behind schedule for becoming accessible by 2025. The Onley report found that Ontario remains a province full of “soul-crushing barriers”. The introduction of e-scooters will create new barriers and make this worse.

IV. Measures In Place Don’t Effectively Remove These Serious Dangers to Public Safety and Disability Accessibility

The Ontario Government’s November 27, 2019 announcement of its new e-scooter regulation did not refer to any disability concerns. The Government announced some restrictions on use of e-scooters. However, those measures do not effectively address the serious concerns raised here.

The Government lists some optional recommended “best practices” for municipalities. Those don’t remove the dangers to public safety or accessibility for people with disabilities. In any event, no municipality is required to implement them.

The regulation permits the use of e-scooters on sidewalks if a municipality wishes. It has restrictions on the speed for riding an e-scooter on sidewalks, and on the rider leaving an e-scooter on the ground, blocking pedestrian travel. However, these are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. Municipalities don’t have enforcement officers on every sidewalk to catch offenders. When a pedestrian, including a person with a disability, is blocked by an e-scooter abandoned on the sidewalk, there is no way to identify the rider who left it there. A pedestrian who is the victim of a hit and run, will find it extremely difficult if not impossible to identify who hit them. E-scooter rental companies are not made responsible for their e-scooters endangering public safety or accessibility.

E-scooters will increase costs for the taxpayer, including hospital and ambulance costs and law enforcement costs. The Ontario Government has not announced any new funding for municipalities for these costs.

The new Ontario regulation leaves it to each municipality to decide whether to allow e-scooters, and if so, on what terms. This requires Ontarians with disabilities to have to advocate to hundreds of municipalities, one at a time, to protect their safety and accessibility in public places. Ontarians with disabilities don’t have the resources and capacity for this.

It would not be sufficient for e-scooter rental companies to launch a campaign to urge renters not to leave e-scooters on sidewalks, or for e-scooter rental companies to make it a condition on their mobile app that the user will not leave a rented e-scooter on a sidewalk. People routinely agree to mobile app conditions without reading them. This does not excuse e-scooter rental companies from e-scooters’ known dangers.

V. Actions We Ask the Ontario Government and Ontario Municipalities To Take

We therefore ask for the following actions to protect Ontarians with disabilities:

(i) Actions We Ask The Ontario Government To Take
  1. E-scooters should not be allowed in public places in Ontario. There should be no pilot project in Ontario because it would endanger public safety and disability accessibility. If the Ontario Government wants to study e-scooters, it should study their impact on public safety and disability accessibility in other jurisdictions that have allowed them.
  1. If, despite these concerns, the Ontario Government wants to hold a trial period with e-scooters, it should suspend its new Ontario e-scooters regulation until it has implemented measures to ensure that they do not endanger the public’s safety or accessibility for people with disabilities.
  1. If Ontario holds an e-scooter pilot, it should be for much less than five years, e.g. six months. The Ontario Government should retain a trusted independent organization with expertise in public safety and disability accessibility to study e-scooters’ impact. It should make public the study’s findings.
  1. If despite these dangers, Ontario allows the use of e-scooters in public in Ontario, the Ontario Government should first enact and effectively enforce the following strong province-wide mandatory legal requirements for their use. Ontarians with disabilities should not have to advocate to each of the hundreds of Ontario municipalities to set these requirements:
  1. a) Riding an e-scooter on any sidewalk should be strictly prohibited with strong penalties.
  1. b) The rental of e-scooters should be prohibited, because the rental business model is based on e-scooters being left strewn about in public places like sidewalks.
  1. c) There should be a strict ban on leaving an e-scooter in a public sidewalk or like public location, except in a municipally-approved rack that is located well out of the path of pedestrian travel. If an e-scooter is left on a sidewalk or other public place that is not such a rack, it should be subject to immediate confiscation and forfeiture, as well as a strict penalty.
  1. d) If e-scooter rentals are allowed, rental companies should be required to obtain a license. They should be liable for loss or injuries caused by any renter of the company’s e-scooter.
  1. e) There should be a ban on parking an e-scooter within 250 meters of a public establishment serving alcohol.
  1. f) If e-scooters are permitted, they should be required to make an ongoing clearly audible beeping sound when powered on, to warn others of their approach.
  1. g) The speed limit for e-scooters should be set much lower than 24 KPH, such as 15 KPH.
  1. h) An e-scooter driver should be required to successfully complete training on its safe operation and on the rules of the road, and to get a license.
  1. i) Each e-scooter should be required to have a vehicle license whose number is visibly displayed.
  1. j) An e-scooter’s owner and driver should be required to carry sufficient liability insurance for injuries or damages that the e-scooter causes to others.
  1. k) E-scooter drivers of any age should be required to wear a helmet, and not just those under 18.
  1. If the Ontario Government does not impose all the safety and accessibility requirements in Recommendation 4 above, then it should pass legislation that empowers each municipality to impose all the preceding requirements.
(ii) Actions We Ask Each Municipality in Ontario To Take
  1. To protect the safety of the public, including people with disabilities, and to avoid creating new barriers to accessibility impeding people with disabilities, no municipality should allow e-scooters in their community.
  1. If a municipality nevertheless decides to allow e-scooters, it should impose all the requirements in Recommendation 4 above. It should not allow e-scooters for more than six months as a pilot project, while undertaking the study on their impact on public safety and accessibility for people with disabilities.

In proposing these seven measures, we emphasize that nothing should be done to reduce or restrict the availability or use of powered mobility devices used by people with disabilities, which travel at much slower speeds and which are a vital form of accessibility technology.

Signed,

  1. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
  2. March of Dimes of Canada
  3. Canadian National Institute for the Blind
  4. ARCH Disability Law Centre
  5. Spinal Cord Injury Ontario
  6. Ontario Autism Coalition
  7. Older Women’s Network
  8. Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
  9. Guide Dog Users of Canada
  10. Views for the Visually Impaired
  11. Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario



Source link

Queens Borough Public Library Sued for Excluding Persons with Disabilities from Full and Equal Access to Hunters Point Library


Disability Rights Advocates calls out shocking disregard for community, seeks to force library to fix this unjust and discriminatory situation

NEW YORK (November 26, 2019) – Today, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a class action lawsuit against Queens Borough Public Library, The Board of Trustees of the Queens Borough Public Library, and the City of New York, challenging the inaccessibility of Queens’ newest library branch, Hunters Point Library. Read the complaint below.

Plaintiffs Tanya Jackson and Center for Independence of the Disabled – New York (CIDNY) are suing to require the library to fix this unjust and discriminatory situation.

Under longstanding disability rights laws, newly constructed buildings must be made fully accessible to people with disabilities. Yet Hunters Point Library, which is an entirely new $41.5 million building constructed after years of in-depth planning, shockingly excludes persons with mobility disabilities from full and equal access to its services through reliance on stairs and other inaccessible features.

The barriers at Hunters Point Library are numerous:

  • There are at least three levels completely inaccessible to persons with mobility disabilities.
  • The children’s section contains multi-level wooden lounging and small-group meeting space inaccessible to children and caregivers with mobility disabilities.
  • The upper level of the rooftop terrace-which provides with spectacular views of Manhattan’s East River-has no access for persons with mobility disabilities.
  • There are long waits for the heavily-utilized single elevator, which does not even stop at every level.
  • The stunning panoramic views are most visible from inaccessible staircases.
  • The designated stroller “parking” areas block the path of travel from the elevator to some of the Library’s main features.

“It is shocking to me that a brand-new public library would not be fully accessible to people with mobility disabilities like myself. Libraries should welcome everyone, not exclude whole populations of people,” said Tanya Jackson, a plaintiff who resides in Long Island City.

“Twenty-nine years after the ADA promised open doors and equal opportunities for people with disabilities, we find the doors of a brand new library shut to children and adults with disabilities. This should not be allowed to happen. The Queens Borough Public Library and the City of New York must obey the law and make this right,” said Susan M. Dooha, Executive Director of plaintiff Center for Independence of the Disabled – New York.

“The ADA is not a new requirement, and it is not hard to understand. It is baffling that this $41.5 million building is missing these fundamental elements. It’s as though the library didn’t care about these requirements, or worse didn’t even consider the needs of these members of the community. People with disabilities should be able to browse, relax, and enjoy the library just like everyone else,” said Andrea Kozak-Oxnard, a Staff Attorney at DRA.

“Hunters Point Library was meant to be a model, a state-of-the-art institution designed to serve the needs of the community. The Library’s total disregard for adults and children with disabilities must be addressed,” said Michelle Caiola, Managing Director of Litigation at DRA.

DRA’s goal is that the lawsuit will rectify the exclusion of people with disabilities by requiring Defendants to develop and implement a remedial plan to provide equal access to Hunters Point Library. The suit alleges violations of the federal and local civil rights laws designed to eliminate disability-based discrimination.

DRA provides free legal services and takes on complex class-action cases for people with disabilities whose civil rights have been violated. It is the leading nonprofit disability rights legal center in the country and has won nearly all its cases, knocking down barriers for people with all types of disabilities. Rather than delivering monetary rewards, these class-action suits are brought to force reforms to systems and practices that discriminate against people with disabilities.

About Disability Rights Advocates: With offices in New York and California, Disability Rights Advocates is the leading nonprofit disability rights legal center in the nation. Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with all types of disabilities in complex, system-changing, class action cases. DRA is proud to have upheld the promise of the ADA since our inception. Thanks to DRA’s precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to education, health care, employment, transportation, disaster preparedness planning, voting, and housing. For more information, visit http://www.dralegal.org.

Contacts

Jennifer Barden
[email protected]
(646) 676-4486

Original at https://dralegal.org/press/hunters-point-library/




Source link

Accessibility Audits for Public Sector Organizations


Under the AODA, public sector organizations must complete accessibility reports every two years. The next accessibility reports for public sector organizations are due on December 31st, 2019. The Ontario government will not give any extensions after December 31st, 2019. In addition, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division (AODT) audits organizations to verify compliance. Accessibility audits for public sector organizations help everyone obey the law.

Accessibility Audits for Public Sector Organizations

Every year, the AODT inspects organizations to find out whether they are compliant. Moreover, some organizations choose “no” when answering some questions in the accessibility report. When the AODT finds organizations non-compliant, it offers tools and resources to help them learn and obey the law. Moreover, the AODT helps organizations develop new deadlines for full compliance. A new deadline gives workers time to educate themselves and to implement full compliance.

However, some organizations may still not make the effort to change their policies or practices. For instance, an organization might refuse to comply with various AODA standards, including:

When organizations refuse to learn about and obey the law, the AODT will order them to comply. If they do not obey this order, they may be fined or taken to court.

In contrast, organizations can educate themselves about the AODA and how to comply. This knowledge will help organizations serve every client, patient, student, or traveller, not just those without disabilities. People with disabilities are part of the public, and their numbers are increasing. Therefore, only by obeying the AODA can organizations truly serve the whole public. Accessibility audits for public sector organizations help ensure that laws for the public good are upheld.




Source link

Accessibility Report Questions for Public Sector Organzations


Under the AODA, public sector organizations must complete accessibility reports every two years. The next accessibility reports for public sector organizations are due on December 31st, 2019. The Ontario government will not give any extensions after December 31st, 2019. Here, we answer some accessibility report questions that workers should know how to answer.

Accessibility Report Questions: Public Sector 

To begin with, the yes-or-no questions in accessibility reports for public sector organizations ask whether an organization complies with mandates in the AODA. Furthermore, each question should include a link to the mandate or rule it asks about. Likewise, other links lead workers to resources that help them learn what they should do to follow the rules. Workers can use these links to remind themselves what the mandates are and think about whether their organization complies. Then, workers complete the form by responding to each question with yes or no. Moreover, they can also write comments under each question.

Accessibility Report Questions about Customer Service

Organizations providing customer service will need to answer questions about whether they comply with AODA customer service requirements. For instance, whether they:

Accessibility Report Questions about Employment

Additionally, organizations also need to respond to questions about how accessible their employment practices are. For instance, they may be asked whether they:

Accessibility Report Questions Questions about Information and Communications

Similarly, organizations will need to confirm that they provide information in ways that people with disabilities can access. For instance, they may need to state whether they have:

Accessibility Report Questions Questions about Transportation

Likewise, organizations that provide transportation will need to answer questions about the accessibility of their vehicles and services. For example, they may be asked whether they have:

Accessibility Report Questions about Public Spaces

Finally, organizations that have built or renovated public spaces will need to verify that these spaces are accessible. For instance, they may need to confirm that people with disabilities can access:

In other words, these questions in accessibility reports for public sector organizations help workers learn how well their business obeys the law. Our next article will cover how the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division (AODT) audits organizations to verify compliance.




Source link