Ontario Leading by Example in Improving AccessibilityPublished on February 28, 2020
Progress Being Made Through Cross-Government Actions
Ontario is continuing to work towards an inclusive and barrier-free province through its comprehensive accessibility framework, with four key areas:
- Breaking down barriers in the built environment
- Government leading by example in its role as a policy maker, service provider and employer
- Increasing participation in the economy for people with disabilities
- Improving understanding and awareness about accessibility
On February 28, 2020, Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, announced the second area of focus under the Advancing Accessibility in Ontario framework - government leading by example - at the Abilities Centre in Whitby. This area demonstrates the government's commitment and leadership in improving accessibility in its role as a policy maker, service provider and employer.
"Our government is committed to protecting what matters most, and this means removing barriers in Ontario so we can empower people with disabilities," said Minister Cho. "We are continuing to develop and enforce accessibility laws to help deliver critical services to Ontarians. It's crucial that we set a strong example of moving accessibility forward to make a positive difference in the daily lives of people with disabilities."
The government is taking leadership on this issue by applying an accessibility lens when evaluating capital project applications and spending public tax dollars. For example, while developing the provincial criteria for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility worked closely with the Ministry of Infrastructure to establish accessibility as one of the four main objectives that applications will be evaluated on under the program's Community, Culture and Recreation stream. Projects will additionally be evaluated based on exceeding minimum standards; use of Universal Design Principles, accessible guidelines and innovative solutions to increasing accessibility.
"We are extremely pleased with the direction the Government of Ontario is taking with its Advancing Accessibility in Ontario framework," said Stuart McReynolds, President and Chief Executive Officer of Abilities Centre. "We must all work together as partners to advance inclusion and accessibility throughout the province."
As part of Ontario's work towards creating a more accessible and inclusive province today and for future generations, the government formed a dedicated Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility in June 2018.
- There are 2.6 million people in Ontario that have a disability
- The Ontario Public Service Accessibility Office serves as an accessibility centre of excellence, elevating accessibility as a top priority within and beyond government. It supports ministries to meet their legislated obligations and embed accessibility into government policies, programs, services and internal activities
- The Advancing Accessibility in Ontario framework was informed by the recommendations made by the Honourable David C. Onley in the third legislative review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, as well as input from key partners, organizations and people with disabilities
- Further information on the other key areas in Advancing Accessibility in Ontario will be announced in the coming weeks
- Advancing Accessibility in Ontario: Breaking down barriers in the built environment
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
- Accessibility in Ontario: Information for Businesses web page