August 24, 2007

Developing Accessible Standards For A Stronger More Prosperous and Inclusive Ontario

The landmark Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, provides for the development of accessibility standards that will apply to both the private and public sectors across Ontario. The standards will set minimum requirements for organizations to identify and address barriers for people with disabilities.

These standards are being developed by standards development committees, which consist of people with disabilities, representatives from industry and the business community, the public sector, and Ontario government ministries. The five key areas are:

  • customer service
  • transportation
  • information and communication
  • the built environment, and
  • employment.

Each Standards Development Committee is responsible for:

  • developing long-term accessibility objectives, requirements for removing and preventing barriers (taking into account economic and other considerations) for people and organizations that are to be covered by the standard, and setting a timeframe for implementation;
  • submitting the proposed accessibility standard to the Minister of Community and Social Services for public review;
  • considering the input received from the public review; and
  • submitting a final proposed accessibility standard to the Minister for the government's consideration for adoption by regulation.

The aim of the act is to make the province accessible by 2025. This allows for the implementation of accessibility standards in a phased-in manner over several years, and gives private businesses and public organizations the time to spread out their accessibility investments as part of their normal planning and capital investment cycle. The committees may propose different requirements and timelines for different types and sizes of organizations.

A Transportation Accessibility Standard has been proposed by the Transportation Standards Development Committee and is currently on the ministry website for public review and feedback. The deadline for individuals and organizations to provide comments and feedback on the proposed standard has been extended to September 28, 2007.

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John Letherby
Communications and Marketing Branch
416-325-5187

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