McGuinty Government Celebrates Businesses and Communities That Are Leaders In Accessibility



    City Of Cornwall Wins New Award For Promoting Accessibility For People
    With Disabilities

    CORNWALL, ON, March 8 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is recognizing the
City of Cornwall for its commitment to improving accessibility for people with
disabilities with one of the first Ontario Mainstreet Accessibility Awards,
Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social Services announced today.
    "Communities and businesses that provide greater accessibility for people
with disabilities are going to find themselves better equipped to succeed in
the future," said Minister Meilleur. "Accessibility supports greater
diversity, and ultimately, more vibrant and inclusive communities."
    The Ontario Mainstreet Accessibility Awards awards recognize the efforts
of small businesses and communities across Ontario that are making an effort
to improve accessibility and reduce barriers for people with disabilities.
The City of Cornwall won in the Community category, which recognizes
outstanding achievement in accommodating the needs of residents and visitors
with disabilities.
    "We are making progress in a number of areas, but we have so much more to
do. The City of Cornwall's goal is to continue to remove barriers in its
control that prevent a person with a disability from fully participating in
all aspects of society," said Mayor of Cornwall, Bob Kilger.
    The City of Cornwall was recognized for a variety of local achievements
including a new, fully accessible Aquatic Centre with programs, activities and
equipment designed for people with disabilities; the expansion of
"Handi-Transit", the municipal accessible transit system; and the
implementation of disability awareness training for all front-line municipal
staff, mangers and supervisors.
    The new award program was developed through a partnership between the
Ontario government, the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas
(TABIA), and the Ontario Business Improvement Areas Association (OBIAA).
    Participating in the Ontario Mainstreet Accessibility Awards initiative
is just one of the ways in which the McGuinty government is working to break
down barriers which will help people with disabilities participate more fully
in Ontario's communities. Since 2003, the government has:
    
    -   Passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
        which lays out a road-map for the development of province-wide
        standards for accessibility.
    -   Provided $28.2 million to help universities and colleges provide
        services for students with disabilities to help them succeed.
    -   Committed nearly $276 million in new funding to strengthen community
        supports for adults with a developmental disability.

    "We are committed to making Ontario a province that is accessible to all
who live and visit here by 2025," said Meilleur. "It's an ambitious goal but
leaders like the City of Cornwall are helping us get there by showing us that
making a community more accessible can make a community stronger."


    Disponible en français

                             www.mcss.gov.on.ca



    Backgrounder
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

                   ONTARIO MAINSTREET ACCESSIBILITY AWARDS

    Eligibility for the Ontario Mainstreet Accessibility Awards is open to any
small business or community within the province of Ontario that has improved
service or access for individuals living with a disability. All nominees must
provide service within the province of Ontario. The contribution does not have
to be in the year previous to the award date.

    The awards for 2006 were divided into two categories:

    1.  Small businesses that have taken measures to accommodate the needs of
        people with disabilities in the areas of customer service and
        physical accommodation.

        The Small Business category was divided into four groups:

           -  under 1,500 sq ft
           -  1,500 to 3,000 sq ft.
           -  3,000 to 5,000 sq ft
           -  5,000 to 10,000 sq ft.

        An additional award will available to one business that has modified
        or adapted its working environment to promote the inclusion of people
        with disabilities as employees.

    2.  Communities that have taken measures to accommodate the needs of
        people with disabilities who live in or visit their community.


                          Award Recipients for 2006

    Small Business Awards:
        -  Under 1,500 sq ft - Healing Force, Stouffville; Bayview Blossoms,
           Toronto
        -  1,500 to 3,000 sq ft. - The Shepherd's Crook, Georgetown;
           In Season, Campbellford
        -  3,000 to 5,000 sq ft  - Essex Home Hardware Building Centre, Essex
        -  5,000 to 10,000 sq ft. - Giant Tiger, Acton; Young's Pharmacy and
           Home Care, Georgetown
        -  Accessible Working Environment Award - Young's Pharmacy and
           Home Care, Georgetown

    Community Awards:
        -  City of Cornwall
        -  City of Woodstock
        -  Scugog Chamber of Commerce/Port Perry Downtown BIA
        -  Town of Huntsville
        -  City of North Bay
        -  City of Brockville
        -  Town of Ajax
        -  City of Thunder Bay
        -  Regional Municipality of York


    Disponible en français

                             www.mcss.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Marc Despatie, Minister's Office, (416)
433-8584; Paul Doig, Communications and Marketing Branch, (416) 325-5187

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