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Please Support a Strong & Effective ODA


ODA Action KIT
dd November 23, 2002

Posted Dec. 12, 2002


November 23, 2002


This detailed Action Kit gives you ideas on how to take practical steps in
your community to use the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001, to get
barriers against persons with disabilities in your municipality removed,
and to prevent new barriers from being created there. We encourage everyone
to join our campaign for a barrier-free Ontario. Become a "barrier buster"
along with us. We need everyone to!

This Action Kit offers steps you can take, regarding your local municipal
or regional government. You can do these either on your own, or with a
community organization that you are connected to.

This kit gives action tips to everyone, whether or not you have been
appointed as a member of your municipality's Accessibility Advisory
Committee. Its recommendations will be especially helpful to members of
those local Accessibility Advisory Committees. The ODA Committee will also
be developing a second "Barrier Busters" action kit. It will deal with
barriers facing persons with disabilities which are not in the purview of
municipal and regional governments. Watch out for it.

Let us know how you find this kit, what steps you take, and how they
worked. You can contact us at the above address or by email:



This Action Kit gives you helpful background information and then a series
of practical "action tips" that you can use. Pick the ones you find most
appealing to you.

In this Action Kit you will find:

(a) Helpful Information

* a plain language summary of what the ODA 2001 requires municipalities to

* Where to find other resources to help you address barriers in your

* a summary of the Conservative Government's Fall 2001 commitments to
Ontarians with disabilities;

(b) Action Tips

* How to get your local municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee started;

* How to get yourself onto that Accessibility Advisory Committee, or how to
participate and help the cause even if you are not a formal member of that

* First steps to get the municipality's Accessibility Advisory Committee up
and running;

* How to help ensure that your municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee
works on achieving a barrier-free municipality;

* How to make the municipality's Annual Accessibility Plan work for persons
with disabilities;

* How the Accessibility Advisory Committee can help make sure new site
plans are accessible for persons with disabilities;

* How to get the municipal government to require businesses to become
accessible to persons with disabilities;

* How we all can learn about strategies and results achieved at the
municipal level around Ontario;

* a sample letter you could send to your municipality, to point out
barriers facing persons with disabilities that you want the municipality to




You can read the full ODA 2001 by clicking on our website at

You can also request a copy in an accessible format from the Citizenship
Ministry's Accessibility Directorate at the address below. Sections 11, 12,
13, and 29 are especially important. We have a shorter summary below. The
summary is not meant as legal advice. When we refer to "municipal
governments" in this kit, we also include regional governments.

In summary, the ODA 2001 says the following about municipal governments in

* Every year each municipal council must make an "accessibility plan" and
must make it public. The first accessibility plan must be finished and must
be made public by September 30, 2003. The plan must say what the
municipality has done in the past year to identify, remove and prevent
barriers in the municipality, and what it plans to do in the next year on

* By September 30, 2002, every municipality with a population of at least
10,000 must establish a local "Accessibility Advisory Committee." At least
half of its members must be persons with disabilities. Municipalities under
10,000 have the option to establish an Accessibility Advisory Committee as

* Every municipality must consult with its Accessibility Advisory Committee
on the preparation, implementation and effectiveness of its annual
accessibility plan. If the municipality has fewer than 10,000 people and
has not established an Accessibility Advisory Committee, then it must
consult on its accessibility plan directly with persons with disabilities
in the municipality;

* Each municipal council must seek its Accessibility Advisory Committee's
advice on the accessibility of buildings that the municipality buys,
builds, leases or significantly renovates;

* The municipality's Accessibility Advisory Committee can select proposed
site plans and drawings for new construction in the community for the
Committee's review. If the Accessibility Advisory Committee decides to
review a site plan, the municipal council must give the Accessibility
Advisory Committee the site plans in a timely manner;

* When a municipality purchases goods and services through the procurement
process for the use of itself, its employees or the public, the municipal
council must have regard to the accessibility for persons with disabilities
to those goods or services it is going to buy;

* Municipalities which grant licenses to various kinds of businesses to
operate in the municipality can include in the business license a term
requiring all or part of the business's premises to be accessible to
persons with disabilities;

* The Accessibility Advisory Committee must do whatever additional tasks
are given to it either by the municipality or by regulations passed under
the ODA 2001. At the time this Action Kit is being written, the Ontario
Government has not passed any regulations giving additional duties to the
Accessibility Advisory Committees.


Beyond this Action Kit, we encourage you to visit the Ontario Citizenship
Ministry's website. It has an introductory guide to the contents of the ODA
2001, a detailed publication with suggestions on how each municipality
should go about preparing its annual accessibility plans, and suggestions
on establishing a municipality's Accessibility Advisory Committee.

This Action Kit is the ODA Committee's effort at supplementing those
publications. Send us and the Citizenship Ministry your feedback on the
Ministry's publications. The Citizenship Ministry's materials on the ODA
can be found at:


or you can contact the Directorate at:

The Ontario Accessibility Directorate
Ministry of Citizenship
3rd Floor
400 University Ave.
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2R9
Telephone: (voice) 416-314-7541
Toll-free: 1-888-520-5828
TTY/TDD: 416-326-0148
Toll-free: 1-888-335-6611
Fax: 416-314-7307
E-mail: ODA@mczcr.gov.on.ca

It will also be helpful for you to see how the Ontario Human Rights Code
requires the removal and prevention of barriers in the public and private
sectors in your municipality which face persons with disabilities. Look at
the Ontario Human Rights Commission's excellent Policy Guidelines on the
legal Duty to Accommodate Persons with Disabilities, posted on its website



The Conservative Government made a series of important commitments to
Ontarians with disabilities in the fall of 2001:

Ontario will become barrier-free for persons with disabilities as soon as
reasonably possible, far ahead of the U.S., at a point in time which the
disability community will determine. This will make Ontario Canada's most
inclusive province, with the ODA 2001 a key measure to achieve this.

No new barriers will be created against persons with disabilities.
Created under the ODA 2001 will be regulations imposing mandatory
requirements, covering all sectors including the private sector.

Ontario's disability community will be in the driver's seat, and the
forefront of change, playing a pivotal role in setting standards under the
ODA 2001.

The Government will enforce compliance with the ODA 2001, will take on a
leadership role and will set high standards. Specific accessibility results
will be achieved in the Government, the broader public sector (e.g.
schools, universities, colleges and hospitals), municipalities and the
private sector. These will include e.g. improved and more accessible
services and opportunities in all sectors, significant improvement in
community accessibility, enhanced access to schools, hospitals, colleges
and universities, greater ease in moving around communities safely,
significantly enhanced ability to participate in community life, greater
accessibility in the private sector, and increased retail job opportunities
for persons with disabilities.



We recommend that every municipality immediately establish an Accessibility
Advisory Committee. Do so even if the municipality has fewer than 10,000
people and is therefore not required by the ODA 2001 to do so. We recommend
that you:

* Contact your local municipality and ask if it has established an
Accessibility Advisory Committee. Telephone, write, or e-mail your city
councillor. If you cannot get answers from your councillor, approach the
deputy mayor or the mayor;

* If your municipality has fewer than 10,000 people, urge the mayor and
municipal councillors to establish an Accessibility Advisory Committee,
even if it is not strictly required. If they say no, ask them for their
reasons. Ask how they plan to get input from the disability community if
they do not establish this Committee. Take the issue to your local media;

* If your municipality has over 10,000 people, but has not yet established
an Accessibility Advisory Committee (even though the ODA 2001 requires
this), you should immediately let the ODA Committee know at the address
above. Also notify the Ministry of Citizenship's Accessibility Directorate
at the address above. You could also let your local media know. Contact
your municipality and ask why they have not established this Committee.
Offer to help them get one started;


We encourage you to try to become a member of your local municipality's
Accessibility Advisory Committee. Encourage others who want a barrier-free
Ontario to do the same. The ODA 2001 does not set up a formal process for
the municipality to pick members for the Accessibility Advisory Committee.
We therefore suggest you:

* Contact your local municipal government. Ask who knows how the
municipality is going to appoint members to its Accessibility Advisory
Committee. Ask who will be making the decisions. Contact that person. Ask
what qualifications they are looking for in Committee members;

* Apply to be appointed a member. Focus on the qualifications they are
looking for. Let them know how committed you are to achieving a
barrier-free Ontario, why you are interested in this issue, and why you
know about disability issues. Let them know if you have a disability, or if
you have persons with disabilities near and dear to you;

* If you are told that their Committee has already been appointed, urge
them to expand their membership. The ODA 2001 does not put a cap on the
number of people who can serve on these committees, as long as a majority
are persons with disabilities;

* If you are not appointed to the Committee, ask the municipality to
explain why. Ask them to reconsider. If it does not seem fair to you, you
might bring the issue to the attention of your local media. Ask them to
investigate whether your municipality has adopted a fair process for
selecting members which would put the disability community in the driver's
seat, with a real, open opportunity for input;

* Disability organizations should recruit people with disabilities in each
local community and urge them to get on their local Accessibility Advisory
Committee. Help these candidates by giving them information on the ODA,
including this Action Kit. Help set up a network of Accessibility Advisory
Committees around the province with a similar disability or similar
perspective on barrier issues.


Here are ideas for actions you may wish your local Accessibility Advisory
Committee to take to get started. You can advocate for these steps whether
or not you are appointed a member of your municipality's Accessibility
Advisory Committee:

* Get your Committee to hold its first meeting as soon as possible. If the
Committee does not itself call its first meeting, call the municipality and
find out which staff person is responsible for assisting the Committee's
work. Ask them to arrange a first meeting. If this does not work, get a
list of the Committee members from the municipality. Phone one or more of
them and get them to agree simply to call a first meeting to get things

* Get the Committee to agree to a regular, sufficiently frequent meeting
schedule. We recommend at least one meeting per month. More frequent
meetings may be helpful near the start as you get your beginning work

* Make sure the Committee meetings are held in an accessible location. It
should be near public transit. It should have sufficient accessible
parking. Let the municipality know that they must provide accommodations
needed for persons with disabilities on the committee, e.g. sign language
interpreters for deaf committee members, and alternate format versions of
any printed materials for any print handicapped Committee members or
meeting attendees;

* Ask the municipality to arrange for accessible transportation for
Committee members and interested members of the public. This will be
especially important in rural or more decentralized municipalities and
regional governments, where participants must travel longer distances to
come to meetings;

* Get the Committee to agree that its meetings will all be open to the
public. This is important for the Committee's credibility and
accountability to the public, including the disability community;

* Encourage your local cable TV company to televise Committee meetings.
This helps bring our issues to the attention of the broader public. It
increases the incentive for politicians to take action to remove and
prevent barriers. If the cable TV company sometimes televises municipal
council meetings, ask to hold your Committee meetings in the meeting room
which is equipped to be televised. This makes it more likely that the cable
TV company will agree to broadcast your meetings;

* Get the municipality to publicize the date and times of its meetings, and
to invite members of the public, including persons with disabilities, to
attend these meetings;

* If the municipality has not designated a staff person to provide support
and assistance to the Committee, ask the municipality to do so. You might
bring this request directly to the mayor or to the municipality's chief
administrative officer;

* Write up and adopt terms of reference for your committee. Remember that
your Committee does not have to be limited to the tasks which the ODA 2001
gives it. You might wish to find out what terms of reference other
municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees have already written. Your
terms of reference could include for example:

(a) achieving as soon as reasonably possible the goal of our municipality
becoming barrier-free, where all persons with disabilities can fully
participate and benefit from all our municipality has to offer;

(b) ensuring that the Accessibility Advisory Committee can make
recommendations and take actions not only on barriers in the municipal
government itself, but regarding any barriers within the territory of the
municipality that affect persons with disabilities;

(c) Ensuring that the disability community of the municipality, and not
just the persons who are members of the municipality's Accessibility
Advisory Committee, has a full voice in the removal and prevention of
barriers in the municipality;

(d) Endorsing the 11 principles for the ODA which the ODA Committee has put
forward, and which the Ontario Legislature adopted by unanimous resolution
back on October 29, 1998. These are posted on the ODA Committee's web site

* Get the Committee members to carefully review the commitments the
Conservative Government made in the fall of 2001 regarding the ODA,
summarized above. Your Accessibility Advisory Committee should use those
commitments as the goal for what is to be achieved in your municipality,
and the yardstick for measuring progress. These can be found at:


* Get the Committee to learn about the specifics of the ODA and the things
that the Committee can do. The Committee can review this Action Kit, the
ODA Committee's website listed above, the ODA 2001 itself as well as the
Citizenship Ministry's website materials referred to above;

* Invite the ODA Committee to brief your Committee on ideas for action.
While we may not be able to send a speaker to attend every Accessibility
Advisory Committee across Ontario, we can try to participate over the
phone. If you contact us at our email address above, we can work out a time
to phone in to your Committee at a meeting. All you need is to have a
speaker phone at the meeting to allow us to be able to speak directly to
you. We have the province's leading expertise in this area, after leading
the charge across Ontario for 8 years for a strong and effective ODA. We
have been consulted by governments around the world including the
governments of France, the European Union, China and Israel. We would be
delighted to help your Committee, too;

* Invite the municipality's lawyer and municipal staff to give the
Committee an overview of the ODA 2001, especially as it applies to the
municipality. Ask them to explain to the Committee how decisions are made
within the municipal government and what the municipality has already done
to comply with the ODA 2001 and to remove and prevent barriers within the
territory of the municipality;

* Alert your local media about the creation of your municipality's
Accessibility Advisory Committee. Encourage them to cover its work and to
attend its meetings. Often news organizations such as newspapers have a
designated reporter who covers municipal affairs. Find out who this is. By
involving the media from the earliest stages, you increase the chances that
the municipality will be responsive to the work and recommendations of the
Accessibility Advisory Committee;

* Get as many Accessibility Advisory Committee members as possible to sign
up to receive our ODA Committee email updates. Just email your request to
be added to our email list to:


Encourage others to do the same;

* The Accessibility Advisory Committee should plan from its very start to directly involve the broader disability community in its work. This will help make the Committee effective. For example, at Accessibility Advisory Committee meetings, the Committee should welcome comments, suggestions and ideas from members of the public including persons with disabilities who attend the meetings, even if they are not members of the Accessibility Advisory Committee. Set up sub-committees and involve interested members of the public in these. The ODA Committee has found that our success over the years has been largely due to our openness to the ideas and the full participation of all. The disability community should not just sit in the audience when an Accessibility Advisory Committee meets. Get them directly involved as full participants;

* Plan to set some early priorities for the Accessibility Advisory
Committee's work. The rest of this Action Kit gives you a menu to choose
from. Stay focused, so you do not get overwhelmed.


Once your municipality's Accessibility Advisory Committee is up and
running, here are ideas both for members of the Committee and for other
interested members of the public to bring to the Committee for action on
achieving a barrier-free municipality:

* Propose that the Accessibility Advisory Committee pass a formal
recommendation calling on the municipality to declare as a goal of the
entire municipality that it will become a barrier-free municipality where
all persons with disabilities can fully participate as soon as reasonably
possible. Get the municipality to post this commitment broadly in municipal
buildings, and to make it public. It will provide a benchmark to measure
progress over the next weeks and months;

* Recommend that the municipality establish an office or staff person who
has lead responsibility for ensuring that the municipality is accessible to
and accommodates the needs of persons with disabilities. This person might
be called the municipality's "Disability Access and Accommodation
Coordinator." That person or office should report directly to the
municipality's chief administrative officer, to give them the authority
they need;

* Propose that the Committee hold one or more "Barrier Busters" public
forums to identify barriers in your municipality. The ODA Committee has
successfully held many public forums around Ontario over since 1994. These
events give members of the public, including persons with disabilities, a
chance to come forward to tell your Committee and the municipal government
about barriers in your community that need to be removed and prevented. To
set up a public forum, you can recommend that your committee:

(a) Get municipal staff designated to help with the administrative work;

(b) Select a date for the public forum, at least six weeks away to give
time to publicize and arrange the event. It is best to hold the forum in an
early evening or a weekend, so it will be easiest to attend;

(c) Make sure the public forum will be held in a physically accessible
location which has accessible washrooms, in a building which is in a
central location near public transit with sufficient nearby parking;

(d) Invite your mayor, city councillors and senior municipal staff to
attend and learn. Consult with them on the date for the forum before
scheduling it so that you are sure they can attend;

(e) Arrange for accommodation services to ensure that the event is
accessible to all participants with disabilities. This includes such
measures as American sign language interpretation for deaf persons,
real-time captioning for persons who are deafened or hard-of-hearing,
attendant care, and alternative format materials for any print handouts.
Ask the municipality to arrange these and to cover the costs;

(f) Get the municipality, community disability organizations, religious
organizations and the media to publicize this public forum in advance. Ask
your local cable TV company to broadcast the forum on its community cable

(g) Arrange volunteers to meet attendees at the door, and to give
assistance if needed to guide them to the meeting room;
(h) Let the ODA Committee know about your forthcoming public forum. Invite
us to help you with ideas on how to make it a success. We would be happy to
publicize it, to give you ideas, and to offer any additional help we can as
a volunteer coalition. Contact us at the address above;

* The purpose of the public forum is to provide members of the public with
a chance to bring forward barriers in the community that need action by the
municipal government. At the forum itself you might wish to:

(a) Have the mayor or city councillors give a brief introduction;

(b) Have the chair or members of the accessibility advisory committee
briefly explain how the forum will run. An ODA Committee member could offer
to give some background about our campaign for a barrier-free Ontario;

(c) Invite members of the public in turn to come forward and describe
barriers they know of in the community, and perhaps to give recommendations
on what should be done to address them. If a large number of people is
expected to attend, you might wish to divide everyone into smaller groups,
with a member of the Advisory Committee and a City Councillor sitting at
each table. Have someone record all the barriers identified and
recommendations made. You may prefer not to have the city officials respond
to each, so that there is time for as many barriers to be identified by the
members of the public;

(d) Give out copies of this action kit;

(e) Make sure a detailed list is taken down of the barriers mentioned at
this forum, and the ideas on how to remove them;

(f) Take a list of people who attended and who would like to be involved in
municipal activities in your "Barrier Busters" campaign. Set up your own
email list;

(g) Encourage people at the event to contact us to get on the ODA
Committee's email list and visit our web site to learn more about this

(h) Conclude by announcing the steps which will be taken to follow up on
the information gathered, and to announce a way for people to give further
input e.g. by establishing a municipal voice mail box, fax number, and
email address for ongoing input. Announce the name of the municipal staff
person who has lead responsibility in this area;

* Either before or after holding this public forum, organize a
municipality-wide "Barrier-Busters Scavenger Hunt." A day could be
selected, preferably on a weekend, on which persons with disabilities and
others, including members of the Accessibility Advisory Committee, the
mayor, municipal councillors, the news media and designated municipal staff
would set out to tour around the municipality to locate and identify
barriers against full participation of persons with disabilities in the
life of the municipality. The results of this Scavenger Hunt can be used in
developing the municipality's annual accessibility plan, as discussed
further below. Media publicity of this event can increase pressure for
action to remove and prevent barriers;

* Get the municipality to establish a section of its website dealing with
accessibility issues, including the work of the Accessibility Advisory
Committee. Link that page to the web sites of the ODA Committee and the
Citizenship Ministry. The municipality should be asked to make sure that
its entire web site is disability-accessible. For ideas on the standard for
this, visit:



Here are suggestions on what members of the public and your Accessibility
Advisory Committee could do to try to make the municipality's accessibility
plan as good as possible:

* Ask the municipality's staff to let the Accessibility Advisory Committee
and the public know the steps it plans to take to develop its annual
accessibility plan. The first plan must be completed and made public by
September 30, 2003. This could include having the municipality identify the
staff persons who are responsible for the actual work on developing the

* Recommend that the municipality consult with the Accessibility Advisory
Committee on the procedure that the municipality plans to follow to develop
its accessibility plan. The procedure which the municipality follows is
very important to the quality of the accessibility plan that results;

* Discuss with the municipality's staff and council ideas on how to give
the Accessibility Advisory Committee and the municipality's broader
disability community the fullest and most effective opportunity to have
input into the preparation, implementation and effectiveness of its annual
accessibility plan. It is best if you encourage the municipality to give
opportunity's for this input at the earliest stages and then again
throughout the development of the accessibility plan. The municipality
should not wait to consult with the Accessibility Advisory Committee and
the broader disability community until the very end of its process for
developing its accessibility plan. At that late date, the plan may already
be a "done deal" and hard to change;

* The Accessibility Advisory Committee could, in consultation with persons
with disabilities in your community, present the municipality with a series
of recommendations of what it would like to see included in the plan. These
could come from ideas from Barrier Busters public forums like the one
recommended above, from advertising to the public for ideas, and from ideas
that the Accessibility Advisory Committee members think up themselves. If
you are really keen, you might try drafting all or part of the
accessibility plan for the municipality, even just to get discussions
started and focused;

* Community disability organizations in Ontario should develop their own
list of barriers which face their consumers and which they would like every
municipality to address in their annual accessibility plans. These lists
should be forwarded directly to each municipality, each municipality's
Accessibility Advisory Council, The Association of Municipalities of
Ontario, the Citizenship Ministry's Accessibility Directorate, the Ontario
Government-appointed provincial Accessibility Advisory Council, and of
course, the ODA Committee;

* It is most effective if you put forward your recommendations to the
municipality in writing. Then there is a clear record of what is being
suggested. Your recommendations could include a list that sets out:

(a) specific barriers in the municipality that the accessibility plan
should address and why these hurt persons with disabilities as well as
others in the community;

(b) A recommended time line by which the barrier should be removed; and

(c) Your ideas on how the barrier might be removed or prevented.

You need not send in all recommendations to the municipality at once. Also,
the municipality need not wait until it has finalized its annual
accessibility plan before it takes action to correct a barrier that you
have identified;

* Any member of the public can identify a barrier for the municipality. The
recommendation need not come to the municipality from the Accessibility
Advisory Committee. Included with this Action Kit is a sample letter that
any member of the public might wish to send to the municipality's mayor,
with a copy to its Accessibility Committee, setting out a barrier which you
want the municipality to address and correct in its annual accessibility

* Recommend that the municipality establish a structured, prompt and
effective process for looking into barriers that the Accessibility Advisory
Committee or members of the public raise with the municipality. It is
important that the municipality not just write back a standard form letter
which simply thanks the writer of a letter for reporting a barrier to the

* The Accessibility Advisory Committee could request that the municipality
let it know whenever a barrier is identified to the municipality directly
by a member of the public, and also let the Accessibility Advisory
Committee know what the municipality plans to do about it;

* Ask the municipality what steps or procedures it plans to establish to
review its existing by-laws (local laws which the municipality passes) to
ensure that there are no barriers in them. You could also ask the
municipality how it plans to vet any new future proposed bylaws to ensure
that they do not create any new barriers, before they are voted on by the
municipal council. You could discuss with the municipality establishing a
procedure so that the Accessibility Advisory Committee can review any
future proposed bylaws as part of a new screening process. Also, municipal
staff should be required to review proposed bylaws for their impact on
barriers facing persons with disabilities;

* Plan for the Accessibility Advisory Committee, in consultation with the
municipality's wider disability community, to review whether the
municipality's annual accessibility plan includes the recommendations that
the municipality received from the Accessibility Advisory Committee and the
broader public. If it does not, then the municipality could be asked to
explain why not. It would be helpful where possible to get the
municipality's reasons in writing.


Your municipal government has some powers to review and approve site plans
and drawings for new construction in your community. Many developers
unfortunately now only design new construction, whether in the public or
private sector, to comply with the disability accessibility provisions of
the Ontario Building Code. It is widely recognized that the Ontario
Building Code's accessibility provisions are not adequate. If a new
building is built just to meet Ontario Building Code standards, it may well
include new barriers facing persons with disabilities.

In the Fall of 2001, the Ontario Government committed that there will be no
new barriers facing persons with disabilities created in Ontario. Back in
November 1998, the Ontario Government promised to review the Ontario
Building Code's disability accessibility provisions. These have not yet
been improved, as of the time this Action Kit is being written.

Therefore we need municipalities to take action to try to ensure that all
new construction and renovations are barrier-free, as best they can, within
the powers they have. The ODA Committee believes it is not the most
efficient longterm solution to have every municipality develop its own
local "building code" standards. We have urged the Ontario Government to
set standards in this area. Your municipality and municipal Accessibility
Advisory Committee may feel it worthwhile to join us in this message.

It is not possible in this Action Kit to explain the details for getting a
municipality to approve a "site plan" for new private sector or public
sector construction in the municipality. You might suggest that the
municipality and the Accessibility Advisory Committee take these steps in
this area:

* Establish a process for reviewing site plans and drawings for new
construction in the municipality;

* Have the municipality's staff or lawyer explain to the Accessibility
Advisory Committee what site plans are, how the municipality usually deals
with them, and how the Accessibility Advisory Committee can take steps to
ensure that the municipality does not approve any new construction site
plans unless they are barrier-free for persons with disabilities;

* Have the Accessibility Advisory Committee request that the municipality
provide the Accessibility Advisory Committee provide site plans and
drawings that have been submitted to the municipality for approval. Develop
a strategy for reviewing these, and for deciding which to look at most
closely e.g. new malls, major new residential developments, etc.

* Develop a list of guidelines that municipal staff can use when approving
site plans that have all the criteria listed regarding accessibility. This
would save the Accessibility Advisory Committee from having to review every
site plan. The Committee could plan to focus its attention on priority
construction areas;

* Write to other municipalities and to the Ontario Citizenship Ministry's
Accessibility Directorate for any existing standards or guidelines for
accessibility beyond the inadequate standards of the current Ontario
Building Code. Urge the Ontario Citizenship Ministry's Accessibility
Directorate to post existing standards, developed by various municipalities
or other groups, on its website so we can all benefit from "one stop

* The Accessibility Advisory Committee can keep track of recommendations it
makes regarding site plans, to monitor whether its advice is complied with;

* Recommend that the municipality alert land developers in your community
that it is going to require new site plans to be fully accessible and
barrier-free for persons with disabilities. Get the municipality to provide
guidelines to developers on this;


Help get the municipality to take as many steps as possible to ensure that
any new goods, services, facilities or properties that it buys, rents or
otherwise acquires are accessible to and usable by persons with
disabilities. We recommend the following:

* Get the Accessibility Advisory Committee to ask the municipality to
explain the steps or procedures it has established to ensure that any
goods, services, facilities or properties it buys or rents are fully
accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities;

* Recommend some practical policies or practices to the municipality, such

(a) Holding municipal events only in accessible locations e.g. accessible
hotels and restaurants. This will give the private sector an incentive to
make their facilities accessible;

(b) Getting the municipality to require that any recipient of a municipal
grant, subsidy or tax exemption ensures that the recipient's services and
facilities are fully accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities;

* Get the municipality to publicize the fact that it will give preference
to any suppliers of goods, services and facilities that are accessible;

* Urge the Ontario Citizenship Ministry's Accessibility Directorate to
survey municipalities across Ontario for the procedures and standards they
are using in this area. Ask them to post these on the Ministry's website
for the benefit of all.


Many municipalities have given themselves the power to issue a license to
certain kinds of businesses that wish to operate in municipality. You could
take these steps to get the municipality to use its new power created under
the ODA 2001 to make it a condition of business licenses, which the
municipality issues, that the business' premises are accessible to persons
with disabilities:

* Get the municipality to advise its Accessibility Advisory Committee and
any other interested members of the public about the categories of business
licenses that it now issues, and about any new kinds of business licenses
that it may in future decide to start issuing;

* Propose that the Accessibility Advisory Committee pass a formal
resolution asking the municipality to include in all business licenses that
it issues a requirement that the business:

(a) identify within nine months all barriers in the business to the full
participation of persons with disabilities in the business's goods,
services, facilities or employment opportunities;

(b) Develop a plan within the same period, to be submitted to the
municipality and to its Accessibility Advisory Committee, on the steps it
will take to make its premises accessible to persons with disabilities
within a time period to be established by the municipality in consultation
with the Accessibility Advisory Committee;

* The Accessibility Advisory Committee should then meet with municipal
councillors and municipality staff to develop a plan for putting this
resolution into effect as soon as reasonably possible;

* Ask your municipality to notify the Accessibility Advisory Committee of
any applications that the municipality receives for new business licences,
or for renewal of existing business licenses. Offer your input on these;

* The same ideas mentioned earlier about the need for improved
province-wide accessibility standards apply here as well.


It is very important for Accessibility Advisory Committee members, for the
ODA Committee as the lead advocate for a barrier-free Ontario and for
persons with disabilities and their supporters who want a barrier-free
province to learn from each other what actions and strategies they have
tried, what results they have achieved, and what difficulties they have
met. We will all benefit from learning from each other. As well, the ODA
Committee wishes to monitor the effectiveness of the ODA 2001. We want to
be able to make informed recommendations when the Ontario Government
reviews this legislation. We therefore suggest that you:

* Let the ODA Committee and the Citizenship Ministry's Accessibility
Directorate know what steps you have taken in your community, what results
you reached, and what difficulties if any you encountered. The ODA
Committee will try its best, within its volunteer resources, to share this
information via email and on our website if possible;

* We encourage the Citizenship Ministry to establish an open accessible way
for interested persons to share information on this subject. Some examples
on how this could be done are set out in this Action Kit. You could support
our recommendations by letting the Ministry's Accessibility Directorate
know your views;

* Come up with your own ideas based on your actual experience in your
municipality on how the ODA 2001 could be improved;

* Urge your municipality or the Citizenship Ministry's Accessibility
Directorate to hold a province-wide conference of Accessibility Advisory
Committees, the ODA Committee, the Ontario Government-appointed provincial
Accessibility Advisory Council and other interested parties to share ideas
for action in this area.


TO: (We suggest you write the most senior staff official at the
municipality, and send a copy to the municipality's Accessibility Advisory
Committee. You might choose to write the mayor directly, or send a copy to
the mayor.


Dear ___,

I live and vote in our community, and am very interested in seeing our
municipality and our province become barrier-free for all people with
disabilities. Under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001, many
organizations such as municipal governments are required to develop annual
"accessibility plans" and to make these public. These plans are expected to
list all the barriers in a municipality like ours, which impede people with
any disability from participating fully in, and benefitting from life in
our municipality. These can include barriers to goods, services and
facilities that are offered to the public, and barriers to employment
within the municipality. The municipality is expected to plan to identify
and remove barriers that you now have, and to prevent new barriers from
being created. The Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 also expects
municipalities to consult with people with disabilities on the barriers
they face, and the best way to remove and prevent these barriers.

I want to help our municipality become barrier-free for all persons with
disabilities. I want to bring to your attention some barriers in the
municipality that I am aware of.

(insert list and description)

Please include these barriers in your first annual accessibility plan under
the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001, and include in that plan a
strategy and timetable for removing them.

I would welcome the opportunity to be consulted by the municipality on the
development and implementation of your plan. Please let me know what steps
you are taking to include these barriers in your accessibility plan. Please
also send me a copy of your accessibility plan when it is finished, as well
as any drafts you are developing, so I can offer you feedback.

I look forward to our municipality becoming barrier-free, and welcome the
chance to help you with this important issue. For more information, you can
visit two helpful websites:

The Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee:

The Ontario Government's Accessibility Website:

Removing and preventing barriers helps everyone.





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