May 26, 2008

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities

Through the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Ontario is working to make the province accessible by 2025. This act makes Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to create comprehensive accessibility standards in all areas of daily life.

Accessibility Standards

Under the act, the province is developing accessibility standards, which are rules that businesses and organizations will have to follow to identify, remove and prevent barriers. The standards will apply to all provincially-regulated sectors of society and will cover five key areas:

  • Customer service
  • Transportation
  • Information and communications
  • The built environment
  • Employment.

The standards are being developed by committees with representatives from the disability community, business organizations, and the provincial and municipal governments. Each standard must undergo a public review before being put into law.

Making the Standards Law

The standards for accessibility will be phased in over time.

The customer service standard - Ontario's first accessibility standard - came into force January 1, 2008. This standard will connect more customers to products, services and employment by requiring businesses to be accessible. It will also address the policies and training businesses need to better serve their customers with disabilities.

  • Public sector organizations - including schools, municipalities, hospitals and colleges - will have to comply with the standard by January 1, 2010.
  • Private sector and non-profit organizations - including retail businesses - will have to comply by January 1, 2012.

Committees are currently developing standards for the remaining four areas. Drafts will be released for public review in the coming year.

For more information on making Ontario accessible, visit www.AccessOn.ca.

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Julia Sakas, Minister's Office, 416 325-5219

Erika Botond, Media Office, 416 325-5760

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