Ontarians With Disabilities Act (2001)

An Overview

  • The Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 was proclaimed in December 2002.
  • The Act sets out requirements for the public sector, including Provincial and Municipal governments, school boards and hospitals.
  • The requirements for Municipalities are summarized as follows:

Advisory Committee

Every Municipality with a population of 10,000 or more is required to establish an Accessibility Advisory Committee. The Committee is to be established through a formal Council motion. The mandate must include the minimum responsibilities outlined in the Act. Council may approve additional responsibilities at their discretion. The primary purpose of the Accessibility Advisory Committee is to advise Council on the preparation, implementation and effectiveness of an accessibility plan.

The Committee may wish to establish sub-committees to address specific aspects of the Accessibility Plan.

The majority of the members of the Committee must be persons with disabilities. Guidelines from the Ministry of Citizenship suggest the following composition:

  • Up to 12 members
  • At least 1 member from Regional Council
  • At least 7 members who are people with disabilities
  • 2 members who are citizen volunteers
  • 2 members who are professionals from the stakeholder community.

Accessibility Plan

The Act requires an accessibility plan to be prepared each year. The plan must address the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to persons with disabilities in the Region's by-laws, policies, programs, practices and services. The plan should include:

  • A report on the steps the Municipality has taken to identify, remove and prevent barriers to people with disabilities
  • How the municipality assess its proposals for by-laws, policies, programs, practices and services
  • A list of by-laws, policies, programs, practices and services the municipality will review in the coming year to identify barriers
  • How the municipality intends to identify, remove and prevent barriers in the coming year

In addition, the ODA imposes other obligations on Municipalities as follows:

  • Access must be considered when buying goods and services
  • Development of accessibility plans for municipally administered, sub-contracted or licensed transit providers in consultation with persons with disabilities.
  • Ensuring new social housing includes a percentage of modified units
  • Municipalities may stipulate accessibility in issuing business licenses
  • Access must be considered in planning and subdivision approval
  • Enforcement of increased fines for misuse of Disabled Person Parking permits and designated parking spaces
  • Ensuring improved access to municipal elections through selection of voting locations

Municipalities are to make the Accessibility Plans available to the public.

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