|The purpose of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA) is to improve opportunities for people with disabilities in Ontario through the identification, prevention, and removal of physical and other barriers that may limit opportunities for people with disabilities to fully participate in society.|
Under the ODA, all municipalities in the province have a legal obligation to prepare an annual accessibility plan. The plan must include a complete overview of all of the municipality's operations including its bylaws, programs, procedures, practices, policies, facilities, and services.
This document, Opening Doors: York Region's 2008 Accessibility Plan, is The Regional Municipality of York's fifth annual Accessibility Plan under the ODA since 2004. This fifth Plan continues to break down barriers for people with a broad range of disabilities by identifying, removing, and preventing barriers to accessibility.
Opening Doors highlights barriers that were identified and/or eliminated in 2007 and outlines the actions that the Region will take in 2008 to identify, prevent, and remove remaining barriers across York Region's departments, including the York Regional Police.
|York Region Facts|
|The Regional Municipality of York is made up of the following nine local municipalities: Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, and Whitchurch-Stouffville. This diverse region is a unique combination of urban centres and rural areas that sits on the northern border of the Greater Toronto Area. York Region is one of six regional governments in Ontario and was created on January 1, 1971 by the provincial government.|
In general, The Regional Municipality of York provides services and programs that are best delivered across wide areas, or those requiring large-scale coordination. The nine local municipalities provide programs and services that are more local in nature. The Municipal Act, 2001 is the Provincial legislation that outlines the areas of regional and local municipal responsibility. The following list shows the range of services provided at the regional and local municipal levels.
|Regional and Local Municipal Responsibilities|
|The Regional Municipality of York
|Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
||Local Emergency Preparedness|
|Family and Children's Services
|Housing and Residential Services
||Curbside Garbage Green Bin,|
Blue Bin Recycling Pick Up
|Long Term Care Services
|Public Health Services
||Parks and Recreation|
|Solid Waste Management
|Transit and Rapid Transit (YRT/VIVA)
|Regional Emergency Planning
|Planning and Economic
|Local Water and Sewage|
|Yard Waste Collection|
|York Region's population has more than quintupled since its creation in 1971 and has grown 22.4% between the years 2001 and 2006.1 With a population of about 983,056 as of December 31, 2007,2 York Region is the third fastest growing Census Division in Canada.|
Most of York Region's population growth (2001-2006) has been concentrated in the three southern local municipalities of Vaughan (31.2%), Markham (25.4%), and Richmond Hill (23.2%). 1
Across Ontario, York Region had the highest growth rate for all age groups. Between 2001 and 2006, the growth rate among the different age groups was: 14.3% for residents between 0 and 14 years, 22.8% for residents between 15 and 64 years, and 38.6% for residents 65 years and older. 1
According to the Statistics Canada 2006 Census, there are 91,920 seniors (those aged 65 and older) living in York Region. Seniors represent approximately 10% of the region's population. Among urban municipalities, York Region has one of the fastest growing senior populations. By 2031 it is expected that the number of seniors living in York Region will increase to 303,517, or 20% of the population.3 The anticipated increase is largely due to the high proportion of baby-boomers in York Region.
This rapidly growing population, which includes an aging population who may also have disabilities, has wide-range implications for our region. This will pose a number of challenges for all levels of government to find better ways to anticipate the needs of residents and to ensure that our programs and services are accessible to everyone.
||Statistics Canada, Census 2006.|
||York Region Population Estimate, Planning and Development Services Department, 2008.|
|Persons with Disabilities in York Region 4|
|According to the Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) - Statistics Canada 2006, approximately 4.4 million (14.3%) Canadians reported having a disability. This number has increased by 21.2% from 3.6 million in 2001. Of these, 5% are under 15 years, 55% are between 15 and 64 years and 40% are 65 years or older. |
Almost three million Canadians (11% of the population 15 years and older) indicated that they have a disability related to pain, mobility or agility. There was also a large increase in the number of adults and children who reported having learning disabilities between 2001 and 2006.
||The Regional Municipality of York, "Just the Facts About Your Community, Seniors Living in York Region" 2007.|
||Statistics Canada, Participation and Activity Limitation Survey, 2006.|
Statistics Canada, Custom Tabulations, Census 2001.
Note: Statistics are based on self identification and include a broad scope of disability.
|In 2006, there was an estimated 1.9 million Ontario residents with a disability representing 15.5% of the population. This represents an increase of 2% from 2001.|
Using the Ontario figure, it can be estimated that in York Region the number of people with disabilities increased by approximately 55% or close to 50,000 between 2001 and 2006. In 2006, it was estimated that there were 140,000 York Region residents with a disability.
|Accessibility to York Region's programs, services and facilities is important to residents. Consistent responses in the past three York Region Environics Surveys (2004 – 2006) show that full accessibility to the Region's programs, services and facilities matters to York Region residents. In 2007, the York Region Environics Survey results again confirm that accessibility for persons with disabilities continues to be a spending priority for York Region residents. |
|Source: 2007 York Region Environics Survey|
|When asked about municipal spending priorities, 50% of the respondents said they would like to see more spending directed towards services for people with disabilities even if it meant that taxes may increase. This was only slightly behind Services for Seniors (51%) and Public Health (53%) and slightly ahead of increased spending on Water Quality (46%) and Police Services (41%). |
Respondents also indicated that the most important issue facing persons with disabilities in York Region is Public Transit (63%), while Accessible Parking and Accessible Buildings are seen as equal key issues at 60%. These issues were rated ahead of General Attitudes, Services/Supports Information, Accessible Affordable Housing, and Financial and Employment Assistance for people with disabilities.
|Source: 2007 York Region Environics Survey|