Ontario Economic Growth Strategy
Global Trends For A More Inclusive SocietyGovernments around the world are legislating Digital Accessibility Laws, but more importantly consumers are demanding a better user experience. Do not risk your business success by ignoring societal trends. Technology is changing the way we interact, and smarter consumers will favour those organizations that adopt a user centred design strategy. Users desire flexibility that allows a wide diversity of user devices, and a responsive interface that customizes the style and format for their environment. This trend increasingly exposes organizations to the threat and cost of litigation, public relations issues, and loss of government contracts. Several private companies have been sued for not having accessible Web sites and have been forced to pay hefty fines and agree to re-design their sites to make them more accessible. As of May 2016, DOJ has entered into 167 accessibility settlement agreements, and offers insight, rules, and guidance for proactive compliance.
Recognizing the history of discrimination against persons with disabilities, the province of Ontario has taken a global leadership role in setting legislative Accessibility Standards for an inclusive society. The purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is to benefit all Ontarians by developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025. The AODA legislation consists of five Standards:
- Ontario Built Environment Standard: Ontario's Building Code has been amended to include enhancements to accessibility in buildings. As of January 1, 2015, new construction and renovations will be subject to updated accessibility requirements. The Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment focus on removing barriers in both public spaces and buildings.
- Ontario Customer Service Standard: Accessible customer service is not about ramps or automatic door openers. It's about understanding that people with disabilities may have different needs. It can be as easy as asking "How can I help?" and making small changes to how you serve customers with disabilities.
- Ontario Employment Standard: The Accessibility Standard for Employment will help Ontario businesses and organizations make accessibility a regular part of finding, hiring and supporting employees with disabilities.
- Ontario Information and Communications Standard: The Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications will help Ontario businesses and organizations make their information accessible for people with disabilities.
- Ontario Transportation Standard: The Accessibility Standard for Transportation will make it easier for everyone to travel in Ontario.
Ontario Business StrategyThe Ontario's Accessibility Standards Advisory Council (ASAC) advises government on improving accessibility for people with disabilities, and has the power to Review Ontario's existing accessibility standards, and develop new standards. The ASAC reports to the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. The Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure supports a strong, innovative economy that can provide jobs, opportunities and prosperity for all Ontarians.
The 2010 Martin Prosperity Institute study, Releasing Constraints, examines the potential economic impacts of increased accessibility in Ontario. the report finds that improving inclusivity and accessibility in Ontario provides both economic opportunity and benefits. Projected economic impacts of Increased Accessibility in Ontario, a more accessible Ontario, will accelerate the growth of prosperity in the province, by increased efficiency, productivity, and creation of new intellectual property enhancing the province's global competitiveness. some of the benefits include up to $9.6 billion in retail spending and $1.5 billion in new tourism spending. Accessibility in the Ontario Public Service: Leading the Way Forward
The Canadians in Context, Indicators of Well-being in Canada report, conducted by the Government Of Canada, provides indicators of Well-being in Canada. This national survey gathers information about adults and children whose daily activities are limited by a physical, mental, or other health-related condition or problem. The reports in this series document disability rates, demographic distribution, type and severity of the activity limitation, specialized equipment or aids, support required to complete everyday tasks, barriers and accommodation to employment, education, housing, transportation, leisure and impact of activity limitations on children and their families. This report shows that about 4.4 million Canadians (14.3%) report having a disability. The percentage of Canadians with disabilities increased with age, ranging from 3.7% for children 14 years and under to 56.3% for those 75 years and over.
In the past two decades, and even more so in recent years, there has been an important paradigm shift affecting the development of new legislation and policies concerning persons with disabilities (PWD), from segregation to integration, from institutionalization to mainstreaming, from the medical model of disability being viewed as a condition to be treated, to the social model of disability focusing on the removal of disabling barriers in the environment that hinder full participation in society. A Literature Review Recruitment of Persons with Disabilities Prepared by Equity and Diversity Directorate, Policy Branch May 2011, attempts to show what the main barriers are to the recruitment of PWD in both the public and private sectors, in Canada and abroad; to determine what strategies, best practices, tools and resources have been developed to reach this talented labour pool and to discuss what actions for improvement can be drawn from this review. Studies, surveys, focus groups and other means have been used to identify challenges faced by employers and persons with disabilities (PWD) in the job market, in Canada and abroad, in both the private and public sectors. There are several barriers and issues that have been consistently brought up through the years such as myths and stereotypes and there are some new obstacles that have emerged recently, such as new communication vehicles and inaccessible Web sites. Some of the main job search and recruitment barriers faced by both job-seekers and employers were identified in the literature review. The findings from this review indicate that PWD face similar recruitment challenges in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia. The key conclusions from this literature review include a need for attitudinal change and awareness for both managers and employees, development of a strong business case used to promote the employment of PWD, greater access to relevant job skills and workplace-based training for PWD, and better information and coordination of services for recruiting and retaining PWD.
Learn About The AODA HistoryLearn all about the history, strategies, goals, gains, and future priorities of Ontario's vibrant and tenacious grassroots disability accessibility movement, from the Late 1970s to Early 2014. In January and early February 2014, David Lepofsky, chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, served as a visiting Roy McMurtry Clinical Fellow at the Osgoode Hall Law School at Toronto's York University. As part of this Fellowship, he delivered a series of 12 lectures in different classes at the Law School and elsewhere around the University, on a full range of different topics concerning the long campaign up to early 2014, to make Ontario fully accessible to all persons with disabilities.
From 1994 to 2005, David Lepofsky chaired the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. The ODA Committee led the non-partisan province-wide campaign in Ontario from 1994 to 2005 to win the enactment of new accessibility legislation. From 2009 to the present, he has chaired the successor Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance. The AODA Alliance is the non-partisan community coalition that campaigns to get the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act effectively implemented and enforced. For many of these lectures, the audience was comprised of law students. However the lectures' content is designed to be easily and readily enjoyed and used by anyone, whether or not you are in Ontario or Canada, whether or not you have studied law, and whether or not you know anything about disability accessibility issues.
Lecture 1: A personal Perspective on the 1980-82 Advocacy to Amend the Canadian Charter of Rights to Protect Disability Equality.In this January 22, 2014 guest-lecture in Prof. Richard Haigh's State and Citizen course at Osgoode Hall Law School, disability rights activist David Lepofsky recounts his volunteer advocacy efforts in 1980-82, as one of many who successfully campaigned to get Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of rights and Freedoms amended to protect disability equality. He was one of many who successfully fought to win the disability amendment to section 15 of the Charter of Rights. This lecture gives his personal recollections of his own involvement in that campaign.
Also, watch David Lepofsky's December 12, 1980 presentation to the Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada on the constitution of Canada
Lecture 2: History of the 1994-2005 Grassroots Campaign to Win the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.In a January 14, 2014 lecture to York University's Introduction to the Critical Disabilities Studies course (taught by Prof. Geoffrey Reaume), David Lepofsky describes a 10-year Ontario grassroots community advocacy campaign from 1994 to 2005 that led to the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to address accessibility for people with disabilities. He describes the non-partisan Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee's goals, strategies and many uphill challenges.
Also, visit the ODA Committee's website For an exhaustive resource on the advocacy efforts of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee from 1994 to 2005, that led to the enactment of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 and later the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005. Even though the ODA Committee has wound up, and been succeeded by the AODA Alliance, we have preserved the ODA Committee's website on line as a legacy, and as a public record of the long and arduous fight to win those new laws.
Lecture 3: Designing the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act from 2003 to 2005 - What Regulatory Powers Should a Strong Disability Accessibility Law Include?In a January 15, 2014 lecture to Osgoode Hall Law School's Advanced Regulatory Policy seminar (taught by Dean Lorne Sossin), David Lepofsky describes what Ontarians with disabilities wanted the Ontario Government to include in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005, policy analysis that led to this platform, what they won in 2005, and reforms they sought since 2005. This focuses on the challenge of deciding what specific ingredients to include in a new disability accessibility law to make it strong and effective.
Read the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee's June 28, 2004 Discussion Paper, referred to in this lecture, entitled "Putting Teeth Into The Ontarians With Disabilities Act: A Discussion Paper On Options For Creating An Effective Compliance / Enforcement Process For The ODA".
Lecture 5: Ontario's Slow Progress Toward Fully Accessible Transportation for People with Disabilities - The Challenge of Getting Accessibility Barriers in Ontario's Transportation System Removed and Prevented.In his January 23, 2014 lecture to the Policy Course in York University's Critical Disabilities Studies program taught by Prof. Rachel Gorman, David Lepofsky provides an in-depth exploration of the gains made and obstacles encountered in grassroots disability community efforts to use the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005 to tear down barriers impeding persons with disabilities in Ontario when seeking to use transportation services like public transit or taxis.
Read the MS Word document, the May 28,2007 initial proposal for a Transportation Accessibility Standard that the Transportation Standards Development Committee recommended. and read the AODA Alliance's August 13, 2007 brief on the initial proposal for a Transportation Accessibility Standard. and read the final proposed Transportation Accessibility Standard that the Transportation Standards Development committee recommended to the Ontario Government early in 2009. and read the AODA Alliance's April 8, 2009 brief to the Ontario Government on the Transportation Standards Development Committee's final proposal for a Transportation Accessibility Standard under the AODA. and read the AODA Alliance's March 11, 2011 final brief to the Ontario Government on the proposed 2011 Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation (which included transportation accessibility requirements). and read the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation enacted on June 3, 2011 under the AODA, including requirements for transportation accessibility.
Lecture 6: Using the Ontario Human Rights Code to Force the Toronto Transit commission to Reliably Announce all Bus & Subway Stops for Blind Riders - Lepofsky v TTCIn his January 24, 2014 lecture to Osgood Hall Law School's Disability Rights Intensive course taught by Prof. Roxanne Mykitiuk and Marion MacGregor, David Lepofsky describes his 13-year saga to force the Toronto Transit Commission to audibly announce all subway, bus and streetcar routes to accommodate the needs of blind passengers like himself. This included his 2 discrimination cases at Ontario's Human Rights Tribunal against the TTC, Lepofsky v. TTC #1 (2005) and Lepofsky v. TTC #2 (2007).
Interim Decision of Hon. Alvin B. Rosenberg dated April 18, 2005: Lepofsky v. Toronto Transit Commission, 2005 HRTO 12 (CanLII) and Interim Order of Hon. Alvin B. Rosenberg dated June 30, 2005: Lepofsky v. Toronto Transit Commission, 2005 HRTO 20 (CanLII). and Interim Order of Hon. Alvin B. Rosenberg dated July 7, 2005: Lepofsky v. TTC, 2005 HRTO 21 (CanLII). and Final Decision of Hon. Alvin B. Rosenberg dated September 29, 2005: Ontario Human Rights Commission v. Lepofsky, 2005 HRTO 36 (CanLII).
The various rulings in Lepofsky v. ttc #2 2007 (regarding the effort to get TTC to audibly announce all bus and street car stops) include: Interim Order of Hon. Alvin B. Rosenberg dated July 26, 2007: Lepofsky v. TTC, 2007 HRTO 23 (CanLII). and Final Decision of Hon. Alvin B. Rosenberg dated November 21, 2007: Lepofsky v. Toronto Transit Commission, 2007 HRTO 41 (CanLII).
- read "Making Ontario's Courts Fully Accessible to Persons with Disabilities - the December 2006 Report of the Ontario Courts Disabilities Committee (The Weiler Report).
Lecture 10: The Battle for Ontario's Disability Accessibility Laws - Lessons Learned about Law, Lawyering, Legal Education and Scholarship.In a January 29, 2014 Osgoode Hall Law School Faculty Seminar, David Lepofsky reflects on what 20 years of disability advocacy taught him about law, lawyering, legal education and legal scholarship.
Read the Toronto Star's January 29, 2014 article on a troubling disability accessibility barrier in transportation, referred to in this lecture.
Lecture 11: The Next Steps in Early 2014 in the Grassroots Campaign to Make Ontario Disability - Accessible - What Goals? What Strategies?At this February 4, 2014 York University public forum on disability accessibility, describes the immediate Ontario Government action needed to get Ontario back on schedule for full accessibility by 2025. He details strategies for grassroots action.
Read the AODA Alliance's January 26, 2014 Action Kit for raising disability accessibility issues in the two Ontario February 13, 2014 by-elections. and Read the 9 priorities for immediate accessibility action that the AODA Alliance made public on December 3, 2013.
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- Government of Canada Standard on Web Accessibility: Specifications accessibility standard requirement guidelines for all government of Canada departments
- AccessForward: Training for an Accessible OntarioThis website offers free resources to help your organization meet the training requirements under Section 7 of the IASR, offered by Curriculum Services Canada.
- Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation Requirements (for the five standards)The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation applies to you if your business or organization has one or more employees in Ontario. This is a free online resource, to help you understand your responsibilities under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005; the five accessibility standards. Find out exactly what you have to do and when.
- Ontario Blind Persons' Rights Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. B.7
- Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability - Ontario Human Rights Commission
- Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO), within the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, is responsible for enforcement and training of the AODA in Ontario. Giving people with disabilities access to more information and Expanding opportunities for people with disabilities into more workplaces, is the ADO mandate.
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005: Chapter 11Recognizing the history of discrimination against persons with disabilities in Ontario, the purpose of this Act is to benefit all Ontarians by developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025.
- Ontario Regulation 191/11: Integrated Accessibility StandardsMade under the ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (AODA) 2005. This Regulation establishes the accessibility standards for each of information and communications, employment and transportation. Every obligated organization shall develop, implement and maintain policies governing how the organization achieves or will achieve accessibility through meeting its requirements referred to in this Regulation.
- Ontario Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter E.2
- Public Service Of Ontario Act, 2006 - Ontario Regulation 146/10
- Ontario Private Career Colleges Act, 2005, Service Ontario 2005, Chapter 28, Schedule L
- Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act, 2002, Service Ontario 2002, Chapter 8, Schedule F
- Ontario Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, Service Ontario 2000, Chapter 36, Schedule