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Accessibility Rules for New Builds Only

By Madeleine Meilleur, The Windsor Star July 18, 2011 5:12 AM  

Re: Parks review: Assessing playgrounds, Star editorial, July 9.

I am writing in response to your July 9 editorial on the province’s proposed accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
Act, 2005 (AODA).

I first want to congratulate the City of Windsor for proactively considering accessibility for children with disabilities and their families when planning
playgrounds and other outdoor spaces.

Your editorial suggests that Ontario’s new accessibility standards will require “100 per cent of all surfaces to be fully accessible.” At this time the
standard that will cover outdoor spaces and playgrounds – the Accessibility Standard for the Built Environment – is still being developed and its requirements have not yet been finalized.

However, I can tell you that the standard will apply only to major renovations and future construction. There will be no requirement to renovate or retrofit
existing indoor or outdoor spaces.

All the AODA standards have been developed by committees with representatives from the municipal, private and nonprofit sectors.

We have worked to make the requirements of the standards balanced, realistic and we are phasing them in over time. This will help communities and organizations implement accessibility in a way that makes sense for them.

I’m sure you will agree that the citizens of Windsor – like Ontarians in communities across this province – deserve to be able to access all of the services
and facilities their tax dollars support. With one in seven Ontarians currently living with some kind of disability, there can no longer be any debate
about whether or not accessibility is the right thing to do.

MADELEINE MEILLEUR, minister of Community and Social Services and minister Responsible for Accessibility, Queen’s Park.

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