Ontario seeks input on Draft Accessibility Standard

Ontario is seeking input on the initial proposed accessible built environment standard, which was released on July 14, 2009 for public review. Those wishing to comment have until October 16, 2009 to submit their views.

The proposed accessibility standard was developed by a committee of 46 people from the disability and business communities. It aims to break down barriers in buildings and other structures for people with disabilities by proposing requirements in areas such as:

- Entrances, doorways and ramps
- Parking spaces
- Signs and displays
- Recreation, such as parks and trails.

This initial proposed standard sets out specific requirements for making the built environment in Ontario accessible, including all new construction and extensive renovations.

The committee wants Ontarians to provide their feedback to help shape a final proposed accessibility standard that will be submitted to the Ontario government for consideration.

Under its accessibility legislation, the province has a goal to make Ontario accessible by 2025 through the development of standards. However, in its call for comments, the government says it does not plan to require that all existing buildings be retrofitted to meet accessibility requirements in the final accessible built environment standard at this time. Terms of reference outline that this standard will be focused on preventing barriers on a go-forward basis. Also, the government does not intend to require Ontarians to make their existing or new houses accessible in the final accessible built environment standard at this time.

The committee will use the feedback received during the review period to shape the final proposed standard before submitting it to the government to consider for adoption as a law.
Consultations are also being conducted across the province.

If you are interested in commenting on the proposed standard, please do so by October 16, 2009. If you require an alternate format or method to provide your feedback, please contact:

Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
Outreach and Compliance Branch
Ministry of Community and Social Services
777 Bay Street, Suite 601
Toronto ON Canada
M7A 2J4
E-mail: publicreview@ontario.ca
Telephone: 1-888-482-4317
TTY: 416-326-0148 or 1-888-335-6611 (toll-free in Ontario)
Fax: 416-326-9725

Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to develop province-wide, enforceable accessibility standards. The proposed accessible built environment standard is the fifth standard to be released for public review.