08/08/2013

Getting it Right.

Municipalities have traditionally been at the forefront of creating more accessible communities for all of their residents and AMO shares the Province’s commitment to a more accessible Ontario.  Since 2005, AMO has been working with its members and the Provincial Government to reach the goals of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

During various consultations and working groups, AMO has focused on ensuring AODA regulations achieve accessibility in a way that is affordable, efficient and sustainable.

Thus far, the process has been challenging.  The fiscal cost of implementing the AODA standards remains unaddressed and there is no funding to support substantial new requirements.  The process has not worked around municipal budget cycles, or taken into account varying municipal capacities to fulfill new obligations.  The resulting risk is that many Ontario municipalities may not be able to comply with AODA requirements and disabled Ontarians may continue to lack the services they need.

To be successful, accessibility must be achieved in a way that recognizes municipalities’ mounting financial pressures, such as the need for fiscal constraint and critical infrastructure spending.  Further, municipalities are not in a position to take on greater risk and liability on behalf of the Provincial Government.  While some progress has been made in these areas, a number of key concerns remain unaddressed:

  • Municipalities still cannot determine the actual costs of meeting new AODA regulations.  The Provincial Government’s Open for Business initiative calls for a better understanding of the impact of regulations before they are enacted.  To honour this call, all AODA requirements should undergo a thorough analysis of costs, outcomes and other impacts.
  • Under the Integrated Accessibility Regulation, the Provincial Government will be the first to implement the new requirements.  AMO had requested that municipal implementation be at least two years after the provincial, so municipalities can learn from this experience.  This lead time has not been provided in most cases.
AMO will continue to monitor the implementation all AODA regulations and to advocate for implementation of the new accessibility standards in a manner that is affordable, efficient and sustainable for municipalities and their residents.