Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 is proactive legislation that calls for Standards in Accessibility intended to make Ontario accessible by the year 2025. Under this legislation the following Standards have been developed:
- Accessible Customer Service
- Accessible Information and Communication
- Accessibility in Employment
- Accessible Transportation
- Accessible Built Environment
Accessible Customer Service became an Ontario Regulation in 2008. Accessible Information and Communication, Employment and Transportation were incorporated in an Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation which took effect in 2011. In December 2012, the Integrated Accessibility Regulation was expanded to include accessibility standards for the Design of Public Spaces. These standards were previously included in the Accessible Built Environment Standards. The remaining Accessible Built Environment standards will be considered for inclusion in Ontario's Building Code. OPSBA has been represented on all the Committees charged with developing these standards.
It is anticipated that the standards development process will continue. In January 2013 The province established a new Accessibility Standards Advisory Council to advise the government on improving accessibility for people with disabilities. The council has the power to review Ontario's existing accessibility standards and to develop new standards.
In February 2013 it was announced in the Throne Speech that the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario would be moved from the Ministry of Community and Social Services to the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment. This signals a growing emphasis on equity in employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Customer Service Standard
To support school boards in compliance with the regulation, OPSBA collaborated with other school board associations and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario on the development of an implementation Resource Guide Accessible Schools: Leading The Way and on creating a training module "How May I Help You?".
Integrated Accessibility Standards
The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation incorporates the standards related to Information & Communication, Employment, Transportation and Design of Public Spaces.
To support school boards in compliance with the regulation, OPSBA collaborated with other school board associations and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario on the development of The TeachAble Project. This is a comprehensive website, enlivened with videos featuring staff and students from many Ontario schools, designed to support boards in incorporating concepts of accessibility in the learning and teaching environment. The site is organized into easy-to-navigate hubs. The Model Lesson Plans hub offers 21 model lesson plans (K-12) which align with Ontario curriculum and education policy initiatives. They were developed by practising teachers. The Access to Success hub offers a range of professional development modules that provide accessibility awareness training to support program delivery and teaching practice. The Accessibility+ hub is a remarkable inventory of resources, web links, books, videos and other information related to accessibility and teaching accessibility awareness. Accessibility+ can be used by staff, parents, community members and school boards for professional development, program planning and teaching, and to build general awareness.
OPSBA also collaborated with an Accessibility Working Group of school boards in South Western Ontario to develop sample policies and procedures to assist school boards in implementing various requirements of the IASR. These documents are posted on the Ontario Education Services Corporation website.
During the period of development of Ontario's Accessibility Standards, OPSBA made the following submissions to the Minister of Community and Social Services:
- OPSBA response to the Proposed Regulation on the Design of Public Spaces under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA)
- OPSBA response to the Proposed Integrated Accessibility Regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) (90.26KB PDF)
- OPSBA and OCSTA joint response to Proposed Accessible Built Environment Standard (71K PDF)
- OPSBA and OCSTA joint response to Proposed Accessibility in Employment Standard (97K PDF)
- OPSBA and OCSTA joint response to Proposed Standard for Accessible Information and Communication (57K PDF)
- Letter to Minister re Proposed Standard for Accessible Transportation (19K PDF)
- OPSBA and OCSTA joint response to Proposed Customer Service Standard (43K PDF)