Ontario Establishes a New Framework to Continue Progress on Accessibility
Applying Cross-Government Actions to Advance Accessibility
TORONTO — When a society is inclusive and barrier-free, people can fully participate in their communities. Making Ontario a province where communities and businesses are accessible for everyone benefits us all.
The government continues to build momentum in creating a barrier-free Ontario, but a lot of work still needs to be done to make the province accessible for everyone. That is why Ontario has developed a new framework informed by the recommendations made by the Honourable David C. Onley in the third legislative review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), as well as input from key partners, organizations and people with disabilities. The new framework will make a positive difference in the daily lives of people with disabilities.
Today, Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, announced Advancing Accessibility in Ontario at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. This cross-government framework will help focus the province's work in four key areas:
- breaking down barriers in the built environment
- government leading by example
- increasing participation in the economy for people with disabilities and
- improving understanding and awareness about accessibility
"We know that making Ontario accessible is a journey that cannot be completed overnight or alone. The Advancing Accessibility in Ontario framework will support our work with all of our partners across government and beyond to remove barriers for people with disabilities," said Minister Cho. "Our government created a dedicated Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility because we are working towards a more accessible and inclusive province today and for future generations."
"As I conducted the third legislative review of the AODA, it became increasingly clear that the people of Ontario wanted an all-of-government commitment to making Ontario far more accessible. This could not be achieved with a single stand-alone ministry attempting to resolve the problem alone," said David C. Onley. "That is why I am pleased that the government is coordinating access activities and programs with multiple ministries in an all-of-government commitment."
The first area in Advancing Accessibility in Ontario - breaking down barriers in the built environment - shows how government is working with partner ministries and businesses to reduce barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities in the built environment and housing.
For example, the Ontario Building Officials Association is receiving funding from the government's EnAbling Change Program to enhance its curriculum and training on accessibility. By making building officials more aware of the challenges people with disabilities face in accessing buildings and training them about areas of improvement, new and existing buildings can be planned and built to be more accessible.
There are several additional examples that illustrate progress and upcoming initiatives as the government continues its work towards making Ontario accessible.
Ontario is committed to protecting what matters most to people with disabilities.
- There are 2.6 million people in Ontario that have a disability.
- The government is investing $1.3 million over two years for the Rick Hansen Foundation to launch the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program in Ontario to help remove barriers in buildings. An update on the program will be announced shortly.
- Further information on the other key areas in Advancing Accessibility in Ontario will be announced in the coming weeks.