AODA standards mandate how organizations must make themselves accessible to people with disabilities. Moreover, the standards outline organizations’ responsibilities, and the deadlines they must meet. AODA Standards development committees are responsible for creating and maintaining the standards. For example, each committee consults extensively with the public to make recommendations to include in its proposed standards. The committee then submits its final recommendations to the minister in charge of the AODA. Finally, the minister must recommend to the Lieutenant Governor that the standard be accepted in whole, in part, or with modifications. The AODA Kindergarten to Grade Twelve (K-12) Education Standards Development Committee submitted its final recommendations to the government in 2022. In the same year, a Technical Sub-committee submitted final recommendations on the accessibility of transitions within and beyond the K-12 education system. However, the government has taken no more steps toward enacting AODA K-12 education standards, including transition recommendations.
Currently, only five (5) sectors of the economy have AODA standards that require accessibility for citizens with disabilities. In addition, committees are developing standards in two (2) more sectors, education and healthcare. However, the AODA’s goal is an accessible Ontario by the year 2025. If only seven (7) sectors of the economy have AODA standards, the province will not be accessible in four (4) years. Therefore, the Third Review of the AODA recommends the creation of new AODA standards. For example, the review states that Ontario needs AODA standards for the sector of politics and elections. These standards would allow more citizens with disabilities to vote, run for office, or take part in political campaigns.
Today is World Braille Day! World Braille Day, celebrated on January 4th every year, honours the legacy of Louis Braille. The day is also a chance to spread awareness about the capabilities of blind people worldwide.
In our last article, we covered how new and renovated school buildings need to be accessible to students, educators, parents, and visitors with disabilities. We also outlined why an education standard should mandate more accessibility in older school buildings. In this article, we focus on residence accessibility.
The AODA does not yet have an education standard. Two committees are making recommendations about what an education standard should include. In the meantime, the Design of Public Spaces Standard and the Ontario Building Code both have rules that apply to educational institutions. These rules make school spaces more accessible for students, educators, parents, and visitors with disabilities. Accessible school spaces can include:
- Public and private schools
- School board offices