11/27/2008

AMO requested an extension on the public review period for the Information and Communications Standard.
Issue:

On November 17, 2008, the Government released the draft Information and Communications standard for public review. The public review period is from November 17, 2008 to January 16, 2009. AMO is concerned that given the holiday period and municipal council meeting schedules, it is unlikely that the majority of municipalities will be able to meet the current public review period timeframe.

Background:

The 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. Once completed, the standards will be introduced into legislation and therefore will become mandatory and enforced by the Province.

In a letter to the Minister, AMO expressed its concern that the current timeframe essentially eliminates the opportunity for broad municipal input on a policy that will have significant fiscal and social impacts on our communities. AMO has asked that the review period be extended to February 6, 2009.

Action:

AMO is urging its members to review the proposed standard and to provide comments to the Government. AMO encourages it members to express their concerns with the review period to the Minister.