June 27, 2007

Moving Toward A More Accessible Province For All Ontarians

McGuinty Government Releases Proposed Standard
For Accessible Transportation For Public Review

Toronto - The McGuinty government took another important stride today toward its goal of making Ontario more accessible for people with disabilities with the release of a proposed standard on accessible transportation for public review, Community and Social Services Minister and Minister Responsible for People with Disabilities, Madeleine Meilleur, said today.

"We are committed to reaching our goal of making Ontario accessible to all by 2025," said Meilleur. "Accessible transportation means that people with disabilities can get to work, access recreational opportunities, go shopping, and participate fully in every aspect of their communities. It's also key to growing Ontario's businesses and attracting tourism."

The proposed standard being released today was drafted by the Transportation Standards Development Committee made up of representatives from the disability community, and the private and public sectors including transit providers and several provincial ministries. The committee is formed under the landmark Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, which is designed to make businesses, government services and communities fully accessible to all Ontarians.

The proposed standard is now posted on the ministry's website for consideration and feedback from the public at: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities

The Transportation Standards Development Committee will reconvene to review the public's input before finalizing the proposed standard and submitting it to the Minister.

This is the second of the new proposed province-wide accessibility standards that the government has released for public review. The first was on accessible customer service.

According to Statistics Canada, approximately 1.5 million people, or 13 per cent of Ontarians, have a disability and that is expected to increase to 20 per cent in 20 years, as the population ages.

"This government is committed to removing and preventing barriers for people with disabilities," said Minister of Transportation Donna Cansfield. "My ministry is working to make transportation more accessible for Ontarians. Currently 42 of 56 GO Transit train stations are fully accessible to commuters with disabilities, and all municipal transit buses must be accessible to receive funding from the Ministry of Transportation."

The release of a proposed standard on accessible transportation for public review is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians have achieved results in building a province where positive measures to help people with disabilities are paving the way for economic growth. The government has also:

  • Invested nearly $11 million in interpreter and intervenor services for deaf and deafblind Ontarians,
  • Provided $28.2 million to help universities and colleges provide services for students with disabilities to help them succeed, and
  • Improved the Accessible Parking Permit program to ensure it effectively serves its clients and to reduce permit fraud and misuse.
  • Launched a new public awareness website on accessibility called AccesON.ca, which challenges attitudes and encourages all Ontarians to learn about barriers to accessibility.

"All people who live or visit this great province should be able to use transportation services, so they have the opportunity to access all the goods and services our communities have to offer," Meilleur said. "Making public transportation accessible for all Ontarians makes the province a wealthier and more vibrant, inclusive place for us all."

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Contacts:

Marc Despatie
Minister's Office
416-433-8584

John Letherby
Communications and Marketing Branch
416-325-5187

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