Accessibility Planning in York Region
Under the ODA, the annual accessibility plan must include:
York Region's long-term strategic plan, Vision 2026, provides the foundation for accessibility planning in York Region and many other important corporate initiatives. Meeting the specific requirements of the ODA through the development and implementation of annual accessibility plans further supports the goals set out in Vision 2026.
- Steps the Region has taken to identify, remove and prevent barriers.
- How the Region will assess its bylaws, policies, programs, practices and services to determine their impact on people with disabilities.
- What bylaws, policies, services, programs and practices the Region will review in the coming year to identify barriers.
- Measures the Region will take in the coming year to identify, remove and prevent barriers in all of its services and programs, including transit.
The Process for Developing York Region's Plans
The Region's accessibility planning process was set out in the Accessibility Plan Policy Framework that was approved by Regional Council in February 2003. The direction established in the Policy Framework resulted in seven Regional accessibility plans that cover every aspect of the Region's business and its services.
Each Regional department, including York Regional Police, develops its own departmental accessibility plan to identify, remove and prevent barriers in their programs and services on an annual basis. The initiatives included in these departmental plans are combined to form one document - York Region's Annual Accessibility Plan.
Understanding what the Region has done to improve and enhance accessibility is also a key part of our Policy Framework. To help us understand our progress, we evaluate, monitor and track accessibility planning progress. We continue to successfully meet the obligations outlined in the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001.
Participation of the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee (YRAAC)
York Regional Council highly encourages the involvement of many different people and groups in the Region's accessibility planning process. Since the beginning of the ODA implementation, the support of Regional Council members has been consistent. We have formed networks to encourage ongoing communication with area municipalities, stakeholder organizations and the general public. Many Regional departments work with their customers and clients to identify, prevent and remove different types of barriers that prevent people with disabilities from receiving or accessing services, programs and facilities.
The York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee (YRAAC) is a legislatively mandated committee that was first appointed by York Regional Council in 2003. In March 2007, Regional Council appointed a new committee to serve for the 2007 - 2010 term. It includes members of Regional Council and citizen volunteers, and has been an integral part of the accessibility planning process. The members of the YRAAC include people from across York Region with different types of disabilities and backgrounds offering a variety of perspectives and representing the region as a whole. The YRAAC plays a critical role in advising Council on the preparation, implementation and effectiveness of its annual accessibility plans.
In keeping with its legislated mandate, in 2009, the YRAAC continued to provide direct input into the implementation activities of ACCESS-ability: York Region's 2009 Accessibility Plan and other accessibility initiatives. In 2009, members of the YRAAC:
- Provided advice on the 2009 accessibility plan and the development of the 2010 accessibility plan.
- Recommended that Regional Council recognize National Access Awareness Week, which was endorsed by Council in April 2009.
- Participated in the Rapid Co. accessibility workshop in May 2009.
- Participated in the Province's Accessibility Advisory Committee forum held in June 2009.
- Participated on the York Region Forest Trail Accessibility Sub-Committee.
- Presented at the full day training modules of Accessible Customer Service Training in spring 2009.
- Participated in the filming of the Accessible Customer Service training DVD.
- Presented YRAAC activities to the Town of Markham Accessibility Advisory Committee in October 2009.
- Attended six YRAAC meetings and provided feedback to all Regional departments on draft departmental accessibility plans for 2010.
Are We Making Progress?
A Brief Overview of 2009 Achievements
ACCESS-ability: York Region's 2009 Accessibility Plan originally contained a total of 77 initiatives. Since its approval in May 2009 some departments worked on additional initiatives - increasing the total to 85 initiatives. The 85 initiatives include 29 related to barrier identification and 56 aimed at removing and preventing barriers from across all Regional departments including York Regional Police. Of these, 61 per cent are complete, 32 per cent are underway and seven per cent are planned with anticipated completion in 2010 and beyond.
The following graph provides a breakdown by theme of all 2009 initiatives.
The initiatives included in ACCESS-ability: York Region's 2009 Accessibility Plan support the Region's dedication to enhancing accessibility for people with a broad range of disabilities while supporting the key areas that impact the lives of people with disabilities in York Region. Our experience in accessibility planning has increased our awareness and understanding of all types of barriers, both visible and invisible. In 2009, 133 different types of barriers to accessibility were identified and, of these, 89 were invisible barriers. The Region's initiatives continue to address all disability types.
The graph on the top left provides a breakdown by types of barriers addressed for all 2009 York Region initiatives.
The graph on the top right provides a breakdown of disability types that were addressed for all 2009 York Region initiatives.
Examples of how departments addressed the different types of disabilities in 2009 include:
- The Corporate Services Department addressed physical disabilities with plans to redesign the parking lot at 22 Prospect
Street to include a ramp and designated parking spot.
- The Environmental Services Department addressed sensory disabilities by upgrading the Water for Tomorrow website with accessibility features such as large font, colour, contrast and plain language use.
- York Regional Police addressed cognitive disabilities by hosting a workshop to increase knowledge of autism among front-line emergency responders.
- The Community and Health Services Department addressed mental illness disabilities by implementing professional standards to guide Emergency Medical Services personnel when interacting with individuals with mental illness.
- The Transportation Services Department addressed all disabilities by designating additional accessible bus routes - providing an additional method of travel for those
currently using YRT Mobility Plus Service.
Developing Accessing York:
York Region's 2010 Accessibility Plan
The Region's seventh accessibility plan continues to follow the direction set out in our Accessibility Plan
Policy Framework and is integrated with our annual business planning and budget process.
Again this year, each Regional department, including York Regional Police, participated by developing a departmental accessibility plan. Each department's plan is included in this document.
The 2010 Accessibility Plan includes 71 accessibility planning initiatives put forward by departments to identify, remove and prevent barriers in 2010. As in our previous accessibility plans, we have organized each initiative around five themes, as indicated in the following graph.
The themes bring together the different parts of our programs and services into broader areas of action. These themes reflect input from the YRAAC and from previous public consultations on the key areas that impact the lives of people with disabilities.
|Responding to the Needs of Our Residents with myRide|
Partnering with community agencies and school boards, the new York Region Transit (YRT) myRide Travel Training program prepares customers to make independent, safe and confident journeys on public transit. Travel training is for people of all ages and abilities who need additional knowledge and skills to use conventional YRT and Viva buses effectively. For more information on myRide, call 905-762-1282 ext. 5826.
|Proposed Accessible Employment Standard|
The scope of the proposed Accessible Employment Standard outlines how organizations should set out policies, procedures and requirements to prevent, identify and remove barriers across all steps of the employment life cycle for people with disabilities.
Parallel Implementation of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) came into effect in June 2005. It applies to both the public and private sectors covering every aspect of life available to the public, except private homes. The goal of the AODA is to ensure that all Ontarians with disabilities have full access to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, building structures and premises by January 1, 2025. This goal will be achieved by developing, implementing, and enforcing Provincially-set accessibility standards in the areas of customer service, the built environment, information and communications, employment and transportation. Both public and private sector organizations will be required to implement these standards in increments.
The AODA will be enforced through a process of reporting, inspection, investigation, compliance orders and administrative penalties.
Under the AODA, the role of municipal accessibility advisory committees changes from advising their municipal councils on their annual accessibility plans to advising Councils on the compliance of their municipalities with the new accessibility standards.
The AODA will eventually replace the ODA. However, the Province has indicated that the ODA will remain in effect for the foreseeable future while the AODA is phased in. The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429/07) is the first of five standards to be released under the AODA with a compliance date of January 1, 2010. It is expected that the other standards – Transportation, Information and Communications, Employment and Built Environment will be released in 2010/2011. Until the ODA is repealed, the Region, like other municipalities, must meet the challenge of implementing both the ODA and the AODA simultaneously.
|Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA) |
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA) seeks to improve opportunities for people with disabilities and to help identify, remove and prevent barriers to everyone's full participation in life throughout the province. It applies only to the Ontario Public Service and broader public sector and has the following key elements: the development of annual, public accessibility plans and the establishment of Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees..
|Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) |
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) was passed in 2005. Its goal is to have a fully accessible Ontario by 2025. To achieve its objective, the AODA will establish accessibility standards in the areas of:
- Customer Service
Information and Communications
- Built Environment