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Yet More Proof that the Wynne Government is Inexcusably Doing Nothing to Get More Restaurants, Stores and Other Tourism/Hospitality Services to Become Accessible to Customers with Disabilities Before the Toronto 2015 Pan/ParaPan American Games

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities

More News on Accessibility and the Toronto 2015 Games

June 15, 2015

SUMMARY

When a government spends huge amounts on an international sport competition like the Toronto 2015 Pan/ ParaPan American Games, the public wants a long-term return on its investment. The long-term improvements left behind years after the event are its legacy.

We have tried without success since August 2013 to get the Wynne Government to create a long-term legacy of improved accessibility of tourism and hospitality services like restaurants, stores and hotels, as a result of the publics investment in the 2015 Toronto Pan/ParaPan American Games. We now make public even more proof that shows that the Government did not listen to us. The Government has been more focused on ensuring that the stadiums are accessible, which of course is essential. However, we have focused on what tourists with disabilities and para-athletes will experience when they venture outside the bubble of the Games venues.

It is now clearer than ever that the Government inexcusably is missing a huge opportunity to help get Ontario back on schedule for full accessibility by 2025. This further shows that the Governments claims to be leading by example on accessibility and to be Number 1 in the world on accessibility are unfounded. As AODA Alliance chair David Lepofsky wrote in his June 12, 2015 Toronto Star guest column (referring to the Toronto 2015 Games torch that is now travelling around Ontario): When you see that torch crossing Ontario, imagine the trail of increased tourism accessibility it could have blazed, had the government listened to us.

This Update gives you the latest news on three developments:

1. The June 2, 2015 letter from Drew Fagan, the Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry responsible for the Toronto 2015 Games, shows with crystal clarity that the Wynne Government is doing nothing to ensure a legacy of increased accessibility of tourism/hospitality providers as a result of the Toronto 2015 Games. That letter lists other accessibility legacy actions the Government is commendably taking. However, it is stunningly silent on this key issue.

2. The June 13, 2015 Toronto Star included a powerful article that reports on our concern that the Government has not acted to create a legacy of improved tourism/hospitality accessibility for the Toronto 2015 Games.

3. The Ontario Transportation Ministrys June 12, 2015 news release announces a commendable new service to make it easier for people with disabilities to book accessible para-transit rides on routes that cut across more than one municipality. However, we call on the Government to make that temporary service permanent, so that people with disabilities in Ontario dont face the same hassles they have in the past when trying to use accessible public transit on a route that cuts across more than one municipality

Below you will find:

* Our review of the highlights and implications of these new developments;

* The June 2, 2015 letter to the AODA Alliance from Pan/ParaPan American Games Deputy Minister Drew Fagan;

* The June 13, 2015 article from the Toronto Star;

* The Ontario Transportation Ministrys June 12, 2015 news release; and

* Links to key background information on our campaign to ensure a strong accessibility legacy for the Toronto 2015 Games.

The Ontario Government only has 9 years, 6 months and 15 days left to lead Ontario to become fully accessible to 1.8 million Ontarians with disabilities by 2025, as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires.

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MORE DETAILS

1. Highlights and Implications of the Three Developments in this Update

a) Regarding The Governments June 2, 2015 Letter to the AODA Alliance Responding to Our Call for a Strong Disability Accessibility Legacy for the Toronto 2015 Games

We received a June 2, 2015 letter, set out below, from Drew Fagan, the Ontario Governments Deputy Minister in the ministry responsible for the Toronto 2015 Pan/ParaPan American Games, including the broader tourism portfolio. That ministry, led by Minister Michael Coteau, is responsible for increasing tourism/hospitality accessibility in Ontario, including for the Toronto 2015 Games.

Mr. Fagans letter aims to set out everything the Government is doing to create a legacy of increased accessibility for people with disabilities in connection with these Games. It was written to respond to our public criticism of the Government on this issue. Here are highlights from this detailed letter:

* The letter lists no present or future Government actions to try to get tourism and hospitality providers like restaurants, stores and hotels, to increase their accessibility. This silence speaks volumes. Had the Government done anything, or planned anything, they would have listed it in this letter. Premier Wynne had assigned to Minister Coteau responsibility for progress on a tourism/hospitality accessibility legacy for the Toronto 2015 Games in her September 25, 2014 Mandate Letter to him. The Premiers Mandate Letter sets out a ministers priority assignments.

The June 2, 2015 letter from Mr. Fagan refers to a May workshop for businesses that the Toronto 2015 Games organization, not the Ontario Government, held in downtown Toronto to show businesses how to become more accessible. A June 13, 2015 Toronto Star article, set out below, reported that this event was not well-attended.

* The letter refers to a website (not operated by the Government) which lists hotels that are accessible. However, we dont know who decided if they are accessible, or what accessibility standard or criteria they use, or if those criteria cover all accessibility barriers or if the hotels that are identified as accessible have fully complied with AODA accessibility standards.

We thus cannot assume that all the supposedly accessible hotels listed on that website are in fact fully accessible. Even if we assumed that, this website only tells us what is already accessible. To point to a list of supposedly-accessible hotels does not, of itself, lead to any improvement of the accessibility of any other hotels. An accessibility legacy concerns causing improvements to accessibility as a result of holding these Games.

* The letter lists a number of commendable efforts aimed at leaving behind a legacy of improved accessibility on sporting activity across Ontario, with an emphasis on para-sports.

This is a step forward. However, the letter does not identify any significant new funding for this activity. It does not specify that the Government is spending much more on this than it did last year or the year before. As well, the letter does not specify any comprehensive effort to publicize to the broader public the availability of the accessible sporting resources to which the letter refers. If many who could benefit from these have no idea about their availability, they wont know to ask. We therefore urge the Government to make clear what additional funding it will invest in this area, and what plans it has for ensuring that these accessible sporting resources are widely publicized.

* The letter over-inflates what we all mean by a legacy of increased tourism/hospitality accessibility. It lists commendable efforts at training the Toronto 2015 Games volunteers on providing accessible Customer Service. This is merely complying with the Games obligations under the Customer Service Accessibility Standard.

When we all speak of a long term legacy of improved accessibility, we are talking about long-lasting measures, like a ramp where stairs now must be ascended to enter a store, or new Braille and large print menus offered in a restaurant.

Giving the Games volunteers legally obligatory accessible Customer Service training, while helpful, is far more fleeting and ephemeral. Because that training is evidently being delivered online, it will likely have less impact than in-person training where there is a chance to meet and interact with people with disabilities. For the Government to over-inflate this as a major part of its tourism/hospitality legacy of increased accessibility is to distract from the Governments failure on this important issue.

b) Regarding The Toronto Stars June 13, 2015 Article on the Wynne Governments Missed Opportunity to Lead Ontario to Improved Accessibility of Restaurants and Stores in the Wake of the Toronto 2015 Games

It is no small irony that on June 13, 2015, the 10th anniversary of the day when the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act went into effect, the Toronto Star ran an excellent article that also confirmed that the Government has failed to lead with any strategy to increase the accessibility of tourism and hospitality services in advance of the Toronto 2015 Games. The Star reported on our concerns in this area, and then approached the Government for its response. The Government did not respond by denying what we have said. Instead, Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid is quoted as rejecting a proposal that some of the $50 million or more that the Games are under budget be used to help these tourism/hospitality services increase their accessibility.

We usually dont suggest that the Government finance accessibility retrofits for private businesses. However, we have suggested this as one option for a short-term last ditch strategy, using even a small fraction of the budget that the Games didnt spend, because the Government has unjustifiably failed to act over the past 22 months on our recommendations for other actions on this front.

The Governments explanations, as reported in this article, deserve comment. The Toronto Star article states:

Despite calling the Parapan Am Games “an incredible spring board to inspire Ontarians and our business communities to embrace accessibility,” Brad Duguid, the minister responsible for economic development, said no funding was on its way.

The province will employ legislative tweaks and beefed up enforcement, according to a recently announced 10-year accessibility action plan.

“It’s not about incentives or rebates. It’s about a good business case. And that’s what we’re planning to sell,” said Duguid.

The province estimates improved accessibility by 2020 could generate $1.6 billion in new tourism.

The new enforcement measures and other actions to which the Government refers dont take place until after the Toronto 2015 Games. That will be too late for creating an accessibility legacy for tourism/hospitality services.

Minister Duguids reported opposition to providing financial incentives for businesses acting pro-actively on accessibility is hard to understand. His Governments AODA empowers the Government to use incentives. Moreover, his Governments Accessibility Action Plan that he just proudly announced a few days ago offers businesses new financial incentives if they hire people with disabilities. We dont understand how the Government can then here say: “It’s not about incentives or rebates. It’s about a good business case. And that’s what we’re planning to sell,” said Duguid.

Moreover, as far as we have been able to tell, the Government has not taken the business case for improving accessibility directly to the restaurants, stores and other tourism/hospitality services adjacent to the Toronto 2015 Games sites in a targeted outreach effort, as we have been urging for almost two years.

If any options we have proposed for action on this front are unacceptable to the Government, we would expect the Government to implement its own effective alternatives.

c) Regarding The Ontario Transportation Ministrys June 12, 2015 News Release

The Ontario Governments June 12, 2015 news release, set out below, announces helpful measures to increase the accessibility of public transit for people with disabilities who want to attend the Toronto 2015 Games. Attending these Games could pose a real challenge for tourists with disabilities. This is because they are spread over a number of different municipalities. A passenger with a disability who needs para-transit will likely need to coordinate rides with more than one para-transit service. This is because there is no accessible service that can single-handedly take a tourist with a disability from one site to the other, when they are not within the same municipality.

We have raised this issue with the Government for over a year and a half. It is good that there is here some progress. The news release states in part:

Ontario is supporting a new transportation service to help all spectators enjoy the 2015 Pan Am/ Parapan Am Games.

This summer, spectators attending the Games can get to their sporting events by using ‘Call One’, a new call centre service to book specialized transit and coordinate trips between service providers. Beginning July 3, spectators with a Games ticket can book trips up to 7 days before their event by calling 1-844-PARA-ONE (727-2663) or the teletypewriter number 1-877-224-5002.

The province is also supporting additional accessible transit services for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, including:

Designated accessible parking spaces at every ticketed competition venue that can be pre-booked at toronto2015.org or by calling 1-844-695-4313

Barrier-free, signed routes near Games venues

The 2015 Games Trip Planner that drivers can use to find important accessibility information

The Triplinx app that public transit users can use to find important information about accessible stations and stops

This shows that the Government can take meaningful action on accessibility when it wants to do so. However, it is important that this new commendable action on providing coordinated accessible public transit across municipal lines not disappear after the Toronto 2015 Games end. Ensuring a permanent long term accessibility legacy for the Games is all about ensuring that such services be made permanent. We call on the Government to now commit to maintain this service for one-stop planning of coordinated accessible public transit as a permanent service after the Games wind up.

The news release also advises that there will be a total of 700 accessible parking spots spread over all the Games sites. We understand that there are at least 30 Games sites, over which these parking spots are distributed. We cannot comment on their sufficiency without much more information.

2. Text of the June 2, 2015 Letter to the AODA Alliance from Drew Fagan, Deputy Minister for the Toronto 2015 Games

June 2, 2015

Mr. David Lepofsky
Chair
AODA Alliance
aodafeedback@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Lepofsky

Thank you for our recent meeting regarding how Ontario is using the opportunity to host the Pan and Parapan Am Games as a means to achieve a legacy to improve Ontarios accessibility. Specifically, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with a summary of what we see as key achievements that will have a lasting impact.

Facilities:

As discussed, because of the Games we have new sport and recreation infrastructure across the Greater Toronto Area that has been designed for future community use. Thousands of hours of programming per year will be available in these accessible and barrier-free facilities, better enabling para individuals to be active and participate in the sport and recreation activities of their choice.

These facilities will be owned and operated by municipal governments and universities after the Games. We are confident that our municipal and university partners are working to ensure they have the training, coaching and sport delivery expertise to provide programming to the para community long after the Games. Para Sport Ontario and the Coaches Association of Ontario have offered to provide assistance as needed.

These facilities are positioned to support para and able-bodied community recreation needs in a manner that would not otherwise have been possible. As such, an increased opportunity to utilize accessible sport and recreation facilities and programs will be a legacy. Specifically, I want to share information about one of the legacy facilities of the Games: the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC), located at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.

The Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC) has been built on the principle of inclusiveness and will be a centre of excellence for accessibility. It features many unique accessibility features in equipment and design that do not exist in any other facility in Canada. These include:

o Tethering and designated service animal relief areas;
o Oversized elevators to carry teams of athletes in wheelchairs to the Field of Play level; o Pool lifts to lower patrons into deeper water;
o A training pool with a moveable floor to accommodate various water depths.

Because of the design of this facility, Ontario is now able to host future international para sporting competitions which otherwise would not have been possible.

The facility is also home to the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO). The CSIOs new 23,500 square foot facility is already providing our high performance para athletes with access to expert training and equipment, including an oversized treadmill and rehabilitation tubs designed to accommodate wheelchairs. High performance para athletes from across the country will be doing their training there because of the accessibility features and programming available. The Canadian Wheelchair basketball national training centre has moved there because of the facility and services available.

Training for Ontarians to Support Increased Accessibility

As you know, Toronto2015 is providing accessibility training for Games volunteers, with additional specific accessibility training provided to volunteers based on their role and the venue assigned. This will result in over 23,000 Ontarians being trained to properly support athletes, spectators and tourists of all abilities. This training will enable these volunteers to use the skills they have acquired in their communities long after the Games.

The accessibility training has been provided online to improve the Games volunteer training experience, boosting understanding of accessibility. Post-Games, Ontario intends to make the Accessibility e-Learning Module available to organizations, businesses and committees which host events that require volunteers. For example, Ontario has a Games Program involving a multi-day amateur sport competition for able and para athletes at the junior development level. This occurs in municipalities across Ontario. As an accessibility legacy from the Pan/Parapan Am Games, each time an Ontario Games are hosted (starting in 2016) volunteers will be provided the accessibility training.

Supporting Accessible Tourism

To help create barrier-free travel for Ontarians and visitors with disabilities, Ontario supported development of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Associations (ORHMA) online accommodation directory – Check In Ontario (www.checkincanada.com). The website contains accessibility information designed to help travellers with disabilities choose accommodations that meet their needs. The directory is currently in operation to benefit visitors attending the Games.

Check-In-Canada is an industry-led online accommodations directory, developed by ORHMA – it is not a government website. With support from the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, ORHMA has added accessibility ratings to the accommodations directory using Planat, an online ratings tool developed by the Rick Hansen Foundation. To determine a hotel or motel accessibility rating, operators must complete the Planat Accessibility Survey, a self-assessment tool that includes questions regarding the mobility, sight and hearing accessibility features of the accommodation. Accommodations then receive an accessibility rating from 1 to 5.

CheckInCanada.com is now live with hundreds of Ontario hotels and motels listed including a significant number which have accessibility ratings. The online directory will benefit tourists before, during and after the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. This new online accommodations directory with accessibility ratings builds on the tourism industrys efforts in creating barrier-free travel in Ontario.

While these are useful tools for visitors with disabilities, it is recognized that there is more to be done for accessible tourism. This remains an area of focus for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

We would also note that ORHMA has a full resource centre on its website (www.orhma.com), that provides information and resources to help operators understand and comply with requirements under the AODA, including the Customer Service Accessibility Standard. This information is available to all of ORHMAs 4,000 members, representing 11,000 establishments across Ontario, including restaurants.

Youth Programming

As part of the Games and to get children of all abilities active, the ministry designed the Pan Am/Parapan Kids program. This program was developed working with and receiving advice from organizations such as Ophea, Canadian Sport 4 Life, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, Parasport Ontario, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and the Rick Hansen Foundation. The program supports increased accessibility awareness, instruction and participation in parasports such as sitting volleyball, goalball and boccia. Program resources are inclusive of all students and include adaptations to meet the needs of youth with disabilities.

A key component of the program is the Meet Me @ the Finish Line resource. The resource is meant to encourage the connection between the classroom and the athletes and para athletes of the Games. Four para athletes who hope to compete at the Games are highlighted. They share personal stories about parasport and what it will take to make it to the Games. Leading up to the Games, using various forms of social media, kids have connected with these para athletes, providing community support and encouragement in their efforts to strive for Gold. In addition, the ministry worked collaboratively with the provincial schools and special education units of the Ministry of Education to create alternate formats of the activity day kit (i.e., braille and large format version). These resources were developed to support children who are blind or have low vision. These alternate versions of the kit are available when requested by schools.

A great example of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Kids program was the summer camps hosted by the Boys and Girls Club of London in 2014. Throughout the summer, staff focused on teaching almost 350 campers the importance of inclusion in sport and recreation, modifying activities so that kids of all abilities were able to participate in a safe and fun environment.

The initiative is a legacy of the Games and will continue in schools and after-school programs across the province after the Games have ended.

Increased Accessibility Awareness

One key goal is to raise the profile of i) para athletes and their power to inspire persons with disabilities to be active and participate in sport and recreation and ii) accessibility innovations that can strengthen the provinces economic position.

In doing so, Ontario has provided financial support to Toronto2015 to ensure the Parapan Am Games are broadcast and showcased to Ontarians and the world. Live broadcast coverage of the Parapan Am Games will be the broadest Parapan Am coverage ever.

To support innovation, Ontario also will be hosting an Accessibility Innovation Showcase. This will be a first-of-its kind event hosted by the Ontario government to raise the profile of accessibility, demonstrate advances in technology and market-ready innovations, and stimulate investment and growth of the industry. Coinciding with the Parapan Am Games and to mark the 10th anniversary of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this high-profile five-day event (August 7-11, 2015) will bring together top innovators, investors, local and international dignitaries, government and the public. This is a unique opportunity for:

– Innovators to showcase and pitch their products while building valuable business networks; – Investors to preview new ready-for-market products; and,
– The public to experience and learn about accessibility technology first-hand.

Located at the MaRS Discovery District, the Showcase will feature both a public and industry-focused program including: exclusive investment and networking opportunities, interactive demonstrations, kids zone, sports zone, speaker series, hack-a-thon, rapid prototyping and public tours.

Tourism, Culture and Sport Programs

As part of Ontarios support for the Games, the province invested in the IGNITE Ontario program. This grant program gave funding priority to initiatives that considered accessibility for people with disabilities in its planning.

Through IGNITE Ontario, 105 events have been funded for a total of $901,227, with projects taking place between September 1, 2014 and August 16, 2015. Several funded projects that included persons with disabilities as a target sector were:

Healthy Athletes and Physical Fitness & Healthy Living Festivals organized by Special Olympics Ontario; Ignite the Passion of Para Paddling organized by Balmy Beach Canoe Club;
OBSA Summer Sports Camp organized by the Ontario Blind Sports Association.

Ontario will be hosting a Celebration Zone over the entirety of the Games period at Harbourfront. This event space will be accessible, inclusive, and barrier-free so that visitors and performers of all abilities can fully participate — indoors and outdoors. The Celebration Zone will feature performers and artists that demonstrate Ontarios diversity, including Ontarians with disabilities. The rating criteria for bidders included an accessibility requirement. The successful proponent demonstrated a strong understanding of how to deliver an accessible experience.
In addition, the Celebrate Ontario program that supports festivals and events across the province currently encourages accessibility plans in program guidelines and accepts accessibility enhancements as an eligible expense. And, the ministrys Community Aboriginal Recreation Activators program is a holistic program that is meant to be inclusive, with programs adapted to include persons with disabilities.

I have also asked my ministry ADMs to review their program application guidelines to consider what additional changes might be made to support accessibility, including the possibility of scoring accessibility plans as part of rated evaluation criteria. This might include programs such as:

The International Amateur Sport Hosting Program, which provides project-based funding to support Ontario and its communities with the hosting of international amateur sport events.

Program Guidelines for both the After School Program (ASP) and Ontarios Sport and Recreation Communities Fund Program (OSRCF), which both currently identify the need for AODA compliance. OSRCF program objectives include support for accessible programming and the removing of barriers and the improvement of accessibility.

On a related matter, I would draw your attention to the fact that the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) launched its new Deaf and Disability Arts Projects Program in February, 2015. This new granting program has been established in support of OAC`s new strategic plan, Vital Arts and Public Value, which identifies deaf artists and artists with disabilities as a new priority group. Program guidelines and application forms will be available shortly with an application deadline of September, 2015. The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport echoes and supports OAC`s commitment to ensuring equitable and inclusive access for all Ontarians.

Thank you for your continuing leadership on accessibility issues.

Sincerely,

Drew Fagan
Deputy Minister

3. The Toronto Star June 13, 2015

Originally posted at http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/06/14/parapan-ams-could-be-missed-chance-for-toronto-tourism-critics-say.html Greater Toronto

Parapan Ams a missed chance for T.O. tourism; Games venues accessible but many GTA stores, hotels, restaurants are not

Graphic: Lawyer David Lepofsky makes his way along a centre platform at York Mills subway station, searching for the tactile yellow strip at the edge. BERNARD WEIL/TORONTO STAR

Organizers are touting this summer’s Pan and Parapan Am Games as the most accessible in history. But critics say that accessibility has to extend outside the bubble of the Games and into the bubble tea shops.

“Tourists don’t eat and shop at the stadium. They’re not going to sleep at the stadium,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.

All 31 venues may be fully accessible, but just steps from the Parapan closing ceremonies, it’s a different story.

Anyone leaving the Nathan Phillips Square festivities on Aug. 15 with a wheelchair and a hankering for roti, pho, Mediterranean or kimchi will face steps at nearby Dundas St. W. restaurants – from a few pesky centimetres to a full nine-stair flight.

With recent news that venues are almost $60 million under budget, Lepofsky cheekily suggested that chunk of change would have gone a long way to making the tourism and hospitality industry more hospitable.

But private business owners shouldn’t expect any government cash to increase accessibility anytime soon.

Despite calling the Parapan Am Games “an incredible spring board to inspire Ontarians and our business communities to embrace accessibility,” Brad Duguid, the minister responsible for economic development, said no funding was on its way.

The province will employ legislative tweaks and beefed up enforcement, according to a recently announced 10-year accessibility action plan.

“It’s not about incentives or rebates. It’s about a good business case. And that’s what we’re planning to sell,” said Duguid.

The province estimates improved accessibility by 2020 could generate $1.6 billion in new tourism.

In the meantime, business owners could implement simple fixes such as Braille menus, ramps and customer-service training focused on people with disabilities even before the Pan Am Games start on July 10, Lepofsky said.

Luke Anderson, co-founder of the Stopgap Foundation, which builds temporary ramps for businesses, says they haven’t received the increased demand they were hoping for ahead of the Games.

“I’m worried that businesses are going to miss this fantastic opportunity to welcome all of these visitors to our city, many of which will have disabilities,” he said.

Games organizers recently held a conference to encourage business owners to adapt for customers with disabilities. But it was not well attended, said Anderson, who was a guest speaker.

Hypothetically, if the $60 million venue surplus were handed out, Anderson said it would effectively implement his project, something he would be happy to see.

“This isn’t the best solution out there,” he said. “Our program is, as its name suggests, a stopgap measure to a problem that really needs a permanent solution.”

Sarah-Joyce Battersby Toronto Star

4. Ministry of Transportation June 12, 2015 News Release

Ontario Supporting Specialized Transit Service for Pan Am/ Parapan Am Games

Originally posted at http://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2015/06/new-call-one-service-to-book-specialized-transit.html News Release

Ontario Supporting Specialized Transit Service for Pan Am/ Parapan Am Games New Service Will Help Spectators Book Specialized Transit
June 12, 2015 8:30 A.M.
Ministry of Transportation

Ontario is supporting a new transportation service to help all spectators enjoy the 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games.

This summer, spectators attending the Games can get to their sporting events by using ‘Call One’, a new call centre service to book specialized transit and coordinate trips between service providers. Beginning July 3, spectators with a Games ticket can book trips up to 7 days before their event by calling 1-844-PARA-ONE (727-2663) or the teletypewriter number 1-877-224-5002.

The province is also supporting additional accessible transit services for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, including:

Designated accessible parking spaces at every ticketed competition venue that can be pre-booked at toronto2015.org or by calling 1-844-695-4313

Barrier-free, signed routes near Games venues

The 2015 Games Trip Planner that drivers can use to find important accessibility information

The Triplinx app that public transit users can use to find important information about accessible stations and stops

A group of accessibility planners have reviewed and provided feedback on all Games transportation plans for spectators, staff, volunteers and participants. Group members include the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, Ministry of Transportation, Pan/Parapan Am Games Secretariat, TO2015, City of Toronto, Metrolinx, and the TTC.

Keeping the region moving during the 2015 Games is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Quick Facts

The Call One Call Centre will be operated by York Region Transit. It will coordinate service between GO Transit and all nine specialized transit service providers in the Games area. The specialized transit agencies are: TTC Wheel-Trans, York Region Transit Mobility Plus, Durham Region Transit Specialized Services, Milton Transit Access+, Oakville Transit Care-A-Van, Burlington Transit Handi-Van, Hamilton Street Railway DARTS, Niagara Specialized Transit and Peel Region Transhelp.

In total, there are 700 accessible parking spaces spread across all Games venues.

Spectators can use their Games ticket to ride public transit, including specialized transit services, for free on the day of the event.

Additional Resources

About transportation to the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games.

About Ontarios accessibility investments for the Games.

Download the 2015 Games Trip Planner app for Apple, Android or BlackBerry or use the online version.

About temporary HOV lanes and local traffic changes this summer.

About the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games.

Quotes

Accessibility is a very important part of our transportation plan for the Games. Weve worked with partners across the region to provide the best possible accessible travel options for every Games venue. This means everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the Games.

Steven Del Duca
Minister of Transportation

In less than a month we will welcome spectators from across the Americas for the TO2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Together with our unprecedented investments in accessible sport infrastructure, ensuring spectators of all abilities have the opportunity to cheer on our athletes will leave a lasting legacy of a more inclusive Ontario for generations to come. That was our commitment when we bid on these Games and Im proud that were following through. Michael Coteau
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games

Ontario prides itself on being an inclusive, welcoming society. Thats why our government is working hard to make this province accessible by 2025, and the Pan Am / Parapan Am games offers a unique opportunity to showcase the actions we are taking. Todays accessible transportation announcement is part of our plan to help Ontarians of all abilities live, work and play in their communities.

Brad Duguid
Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure

Our substantial investments in transit and transportation-related technology are paying off, and we are pleased York Region Transit will operate the Call One Call Centre to provide accessible transportation during the Games. Coordinating service across regional borders will help ensure efficient transportation to and from the 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games.

Wayne Emmerson
York Region Chairman and CEO

5. Links to Key Background

To read the AODA Alliance’s August 28, 2014 letter to 2015 Toronto Games Minister Coteau, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/08282014.asp

Our October 1, 2013 Proposal for a Strong and Lasting Disability Accessibility Legacy can be viewed at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/10012013.asp

To read what was said at the August 28, 2013 Government news conference on the 2015 Toronto Games, and our reaction to it, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/08302013.asp

To read the Toronto Stars September 3, 2014 article, raising these issues again several months ago, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/09032014.asp

To read about the Ontario Human Rights Commissions public statement that endorses the AODA Alliances call for a legacy of improved tourism/hospitality legacy for the Toronto 2015 Games, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/05222015.asp

To see a list of last-minute efforts that the AODA Alliance has been urging the Wynne Government to undertake to improve disability accessibility of tourism/hospitality services like stores and restaurants, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/05292015.asp

To learn about the private members bill NDP MPP introduced I the Ontario Legislature on June 3, 2015 to cut municipal red tape impeding businesses from becoming accessible to people with disabilities, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/06032015a.asp