The Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA)
In 2001, the Province of Ontario passed the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Under the Act, municipalities were mandated to establish an annual accessibility plan that identified barriers to people with disabilities in its buildings and services and what action would be taken to remove these obstacles, as well as to prevent new barriers from being established.
The Town of Midland has made great strides over the years in removing a significant number of the barriers identified. As required under the Act, the Town, in conjunction with its Accessibility Advisory Committee, reviews the Plan annually ensuring a current plan is in place by September 30, as legislated under the ODA.
The Town's annual accessibility plan provides a historical account of obstacles that have been removed from its facilities and services, as well as an update on new and/or existing barriers and proposed remedial action to be undertaken.
Comments from the public on the plan are encouraged to assist in the identification and removal of barriers to municipal services, programs and practices.
Under the ODA, municipalities were also mandated to develop barrier-free design guidelines to provide accessibility to its buildings, structures and premises. The Town of Midland developed the guidelines below in consultation with its Accessibility Advisory Committee.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
In 2005, the Province introduced further legislation – The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Under the authority of the Act, mandatory accessibility standards for both public and private businesses and organizations were established. The objective of the regulatory standards is to make Ontario fully accessible in the areas of:
- Customer services
- Information and Communications
- Employment; and
- Design of public spaces.
The Town of Midland supports the Province's efforts to achieve a universally accessible Ontario by 2025.
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service
The Accessible Customer Service Standard mandates all businesses and organizations to establish policies, practices and procedures that govern the provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities.
In keeping with the requirements of the Regulation, the Town of Midland established a policy aimed at ensuring that service provided to those with disabilities is delivered in a manner that promotes independence, dignity, integration and equal opportunity. Accessible customer service training was provided to members of Council, committee members, Town staff and volunteers. Training is ongoing and continues to be provided to all new employees, volunteers and members of Council during orientation.
The Town of Midland's Accessible Customer Service Policy provides an overview of the process in place for receiving feedback on the accessibility of its goods and services. Upon request, the Town will provide accessible formats and communication supports when receiving and responding to feedback.
Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR)
The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation encompasses the remaining standards and mandates specific requirements in the areas of transportation, employment, information and communications, and the design of public spaces.
As required under the Regulation, the Town of Midland established an Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation Policy that reaffirms the Town's commitment to universal accessibility and outlines what measures the Town intends to undertake to ensure compliance with the legislated requirements.
A Multi-Year Accessibility Plan was developed as mandated under the IASR and works in conjunction with the policy. The Plan provides a complete overview of the accessible standards applicable to the Town and the corporate strategies to be undertaken to guarantee fulfillment of the requirements by the timelines stipulated within the legislation.
Both the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation policy and Multi-Year Accessibility Plan are living documents and as required will be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect the Town's current practices.