March 8, 2007

McGuinty Government Celebrates Businesses And Communities That Are Leaders In Accessibility

City Of Cornwall Wins New Award For Promoting Accessibility For People With Disabilities

Cornwall - The McGuinty government is recognizing the City of Cornwall for its commitment to improving accessibility for people with disabilities with one of the first Ontario Mainstreet Accessibility Awards, Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social Services announced today.

"Communities and businesses that provide greater accessibility for people with disabilities are going to find themselves better equipped to succeed in the future," said Minister Meilleur. "Accessibility supports greater diversity, and ultimately, more vibrant and inclusive communities."

The Ontario Mainstreet Accessibility Awards awards recognize the efforts of small businesses and communities across Ontario that are making an effort to improve accessibility and reduce barriers for people with disabilities. The City of Cornwall won in the Community category, which recognizes outstanding achievement in accommodating the needs of residents and visitors with disabilities.

"We are making progress in a number of areas, but we have so much more to do. The City of Cornwall's goal is to continue to remove barriers in its control that prevent a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society," said Mayor of Cornwall, Bob Kilger.

The City of Cornwall was recognized for a variety of local achievements including a new, fully accessible Aquatic Centre with programs, activities and equipment designed for people with disabilities; the expansion of "Handi-Transit", the municipal accessible transit system; and the implementation of disability awareness training for all front-line municipal staff, mangers and supervisors.

The new award program was developed through a partnership between the Ontario government, the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), and the Ontario Business Improvement Areas Association (OBIAA).

Participating in the Ontario Mainstreet Accessibility Awards initiative is just one of the ways in which the McGuinty government is working to break down barriers which will help people with disabilities participate more fully in Ontario's communities. Since 2003, the government has:

  • Passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 which lays out a road-map for the development of province-wide standards for accessibility.
  • Provided $28.2 million to help universities and colleges provide services for students with disabilities to help them succeed.
  • Committed nearly $276 million in new funding to strengthen community supports for adults with a developmental disability.

"We are committed to making Ontario a province that is accessible to all who live and visit here by 2025," said Meilleur. "It's an ambitious goal but leaders like the City of Cornwall are helping us get there by showing us that making a community more accessible can make a community stronger."

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Marc Despatie
Minister's Office
416-325-5219

Paul Doig
Communications and Marketing Branch
416-325-5187

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