06/28/2007

The Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) announced that the proposed standard for accessible transportation will be posted on the Ministry website for public review and feedback.
AMO is encouraging municipalities to consider the local impact of the proposed standard and to develop and submit a response to the Minister.

Background:

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA, 2005), requires the Minister of Community and Social Services to develop accessibility standards that will remove barriers for people with disabilities. The standards are expected to apply to the public sector, including all municipalities in the Province, as well as the not-for-profit and private sectors. They will address a full range of disabilities including physical, sensory, mental health, developmental and learning and will be implemented in phases leading to full accessibility in Ontario by 2025. Standards are being developed for customer service, the built environment, employment, information and communication and sector specific areas, of which transportation is the first.

Once completed, the standards will be introduced into legislation and therefore will become mandatory and enforced by the Province. To date, funding to support the legislation has not been made available. AMO continues to advocate for provincial funding to assist in the implementation of the standards that are being developed.

Concern is being expressed by the transit industry that the standard, as proposed, will be prohibitively expensive in some jurisdictions.

To assist municipalities in assessing the local impact of compliance with the standard in public transit (excluding for example taxis), an information and costing analysis package developed by representatives of the transit sector has been provided. AMO is encouraging municipalities to carry out a local analysis of the impact of the proposed standard as guided by the document provided and to respond to the Minister through the public review process being held between June 27, 2007 and August 31, 2007.

Action:

AMO, through the Barrier Free Access Working Group and on the future SDCs, will continue to participate in the SDC process and advise the membership of arising issues, concerns and critical timelines. While supportive of the AODA, AMO will continue to advocate, among other things, for the harmonization of standards, long-term sustainable funding for the implementation of the standard.