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McGuinty Government Belatedly Releases Guide to Implementing the Integrated Accessibility Standard for Accessible Transportation, Employment and Information and Communication ­ but Needs to Properly and Widely Publicize It!

August 13, 2012

SUMMARY

Several days ago, evidently without proper publicity, the McGuinty Government quietly posted on the internet two important free resources to help public
and private sector organizations work towards becoming accessible to persons with disabilities. These resources give guidance on how to comply with the accessibility requirements in the Integrated Accessibility Regulation that the McGuinty Government enacted 14 months ago, in June 2011, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The Integrated Accessibility Regulation sets out specific accessibility requirements in the areas of transportation, employment, and information and communication. These do not supersede the often-stronger accessibility requirements in the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The first important new free resource is the Government’s policy guidelines or guide to the Integrated Accessibility Regulation. You can get the Guide in
HTML format at: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/other_standards/iasr_2012/toc_iasr.aspx

You can also find the Government’s policy Guide on-line in PDF format at: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/accessibility/iasr_guidelines/complete_guidelines.pdf

Second, the Government posted a free on-line “wizard” to help an organization figure out what it must do to comply with the Integrated Accessibility Regulation.

It is intended to help an organization work through the various parts of the Integrated Accessibility Regulation, step by step. It is available at: https://www.appacats.mcss.gov.on.ca/eadvisor/start.action

We have not yet had time to review these materials in their current form in any detail to comment on them. Nevertheless, it is very important that all organizations in Ontario obtain and review the Government’s new resources.

We have been urging the Government to release these resources much sooner, and to widely publicize them. Two and a half years ago, the Government-appointed Charles Beer Independent Review of the AODA, reported that organizations in Ontario largely don’t know enough about the AODA. It recommended that the Government launch a strong public education campaign to fix this. Until now, the Government has not acted on that recommendation in an effective way.

As far as we can tell, the McGuinty Government recently posted these two new resources on line, but has not yet taken any major steps to bring them to the public’s attention.

We urge everyone to do whatever you can to publicize this new Integrated Accessibility Regulation policy guide and Wizard. Please consider helping with the following:

* Encourage any public or private sector organization that you have a relationship or contact with to read and internally circulate the Government’s Guide
to the Independent Review. This includes an organization that you work for, an organization you do volunteer work for, and an organization you buy products from or get services from. Send them the sample message set out below, or a message in your own words.

* Tell your local media about the new Guide to the Integrated Accessibility Regulation. Urge them to report on the release of these new resources. Urge
them to cover the need for the Government to widely publicize these resources.

* Urge any community disability organization or other community organization with which you have a relationship to post a link to these new resources on their website and Facebook page. Get them to publicize these resources through their news letters or email updates.

* If you use Twitter, send out tweets publicizing these resources, or re-tweet the tweets from @AODAAlliance that publicize these resources.

* If you are on Facebook, please “like” our Facebook page (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance) as well as our specific posting on
these new resources. Also please “share” that posting with your Facebook friends.

* If you encounter a specific barrier at an organization operating in Ontario, point them to the Guide to help work on fixing that barrier.

* Let the AODA Alliance know about your efforts to publicize the Government’s new Guide to the Integrated Accessibility Regulation. Tell us about the response that you receive from organizations. Email us at aodafeedback@gmail.com

SAMPLE MESSAGE YOU MIGHT SEND TO A PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SECTOR ORGANIZATION OPERATING IN ONTARIO

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires Ontario to become fully accessible to persons with disabilities no later than 2025.

Did you know that 2011 regulations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act impose specific requirements on public sector and private
sector organizations that operate in Ontario, to achieve full accessibility for persons with disabilities? The Ontario Government has recently made available some helpful free on-line resources to help your organization learn what it needs to do to comply with these important regulations. Please check out these new resources, to circulate them within your organization, and to use them. It is important to remember that the Ontario Human Rights Code also requires each organization to become accessible to customers and employees with disabilities. The duty to do this under the Human Rights Code can involve doing more, and acting more quickly, than is required under the accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Your organization must fulfil both the Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

The Government has made available a policy guide to the Integrated Accessibility Regulation. You can get the Guide in HTML format at:
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/other_standards/iasr_2012/toc_iasr.aspx

You can find the Guide on-line in PDF format at:
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/accessibility/iasr_guidelines/complete_guidelines.pdf

The Government also posted a free on-line “wizard” to help your organization explore step-by-step what it must do to comply with the Integrated Accessibility Regulation. It is available at:
https://www.appacats.mcss.gov.on.ca/eadvisor/start.action

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UNITED FOR A BARRIER-FREE ONTARIO

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