Accessibility Plan: 2018 - 2023

Section 4: Legislation and Interpretation

On June 13, 2005, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) received Royal Assent and is now law. The purpose of the AODA 2005 is to benefit all Ontarians by developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities by 2025.

Standards will be developed by the Government of Ontario in collaboration with persons with disabilities, representatives of industries and various sectors of the economy. Both the public and private sectors that provide goods and services to people in Ontario will have to meet certain accessibility standards in five important areas: Customer Service (O.Reg. 429/07), and currently pending Standards for Transportation, Information and Communications, Built Environment and Employment.

Public sector organizations including government ministries, municipalities, hospitals, public transportation organizations, school boards, colleges and universities are required to continue to prepare and make public annual accessibility plans as their legal obligations under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA) remain in force until such time that the Act is repealed.

Communities are changing throughout the province of Ontario as the population ages. Approximately 20 per cent of Ontarians are likely to have a disability in 20 years. A mandate to remove barriers by 2025 will allow communities to fully accommodate an aging population and persons with disabilities.

Like in other municipalities in Ontario, an accessibility plan is prepared to address any issues and barriers preventing persons with disabilities from participating fully in the life of the community. Ultimately, the Accessibility Plan is intended to identify, remove and prevent all barriers that may impede residents and visitors from accessing and using municipal services within the responsibility of the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

Accessibility planning is no longer an afterthought, but instead has become ingrained in the normal operating policies and procedures.


Definitions for "disability" and "barrier" as they appear in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA):


  1. Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device
  2. A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability
  3. A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language
  4. A mental disorder, or
  5. An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997; ("handicap")


Means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice ("obstacle").

Common Acronyms

  • AAC - Accessibility Advisory Committee
  • FADS - Facility Accessibility Design Standards
  • ODA - Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 - Bill 125
  • AODA - Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 - Bill 118
  • UD - Universal Design
  • TTY - Teletypewriter (text communication phone)

Common Barriers

  • Architectural - may result from the design of a building
  • Attitudinal - refers to persons who do not know how to communicate with people with disabilities, or persons who display discriminatory behaviours
  • Communicational - makes it difficult for people to receive or send information
  • Policy / practice - may result from an organization's policies, practices and protocols if they restrict persons with disabilities

Section 5: Other Organizations and Agencies Participating In this Accessibility Plan Section 3: Municipal Information

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