Ontario Becomes More Accessible for People with Disabilities
With National Access Awareness Week celebrations underway across Canada, Ontario is marking significant progress towards its goal of making the province accessible to everyone by 2025.
Since passing the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, Ontario has begun to create and implement province-wide, mandatory accessibility standards in five key areas of everyday life. These standards will help create inclusion for everyone in Ontario, regardless of their abilities, so they can reach their full potential.
Four out of those five accessibility standards are now in place:
Accessibility Standard for Customer Service
The Accessibility Standard for Customer Service came into effect in 2008. It requires all organizations in Ontario to make their customer service accessible and to train their staff on how to provide accessible service.
Public sector organizations in Ontario are already complying with the standard. By January 1, 2012, private sector and non-profit organizations will need to meet the same requirements. Learn about the changes your business needs to make.
Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications
The Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications will help people with disabilities access more sources of information that many of us rely on every day. This includes websites, public libraries, textbooks, and public safety information.
Organizations will need to provide public safety information in alternate formats - such as large print - starting January 1, 2012. Other requirements will be phased in over time.
Accessibility Standard for Employment
The Accessibility Standard for Employment will help employers support and keep more skilled employees. It will make accessibility a normal part of finding, hiring and communicating with employees who have disabilities.
Starting January 1, 2012, organizations will need to provide their employees with disabilities with emergency response information that is tailored to the employee's needs, if the disability requires it.
Accessibility Standard for Transportation
The Accessibility Standard for Transportation focuses on making transportation services accessible. This includes buses (including public school buses), trains, subways, streetcars, taxis and ferries.
Some requirements for this standard come into effect on July 1, 2011, including equal fares for all customers, making verbal pre-boarding and on-board announcements, and providing courtesy seating. Other requirements will be phased in over time.