McGuinty Government Takes Another Step Towards An Accessible Ontario



    Making Progress On Developing New Province-Wide Standards For
    Accessibility

    TORONTO, April 8 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is taking an important
step towards a fully accessible Ontario by opening up recruitment for the next
two Standards Development Committees that will develop province-wide
accessibility standards in the areas of built environment and employment,
Community and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur announced today.
    "An accessible Ontario is going to be a stronger Ontario where all of our
citizens can participate fully in every aspect of their communities," said
Meilleur. "These Standards Development Committees allow people with
disabilities, representatives of the business community and the public sector
to work together to develop standards that will make full accessibility a
reality in the daily lives of all Ontarians."
    The two committees announced today will work to develop proposed
accessibility standards in two vitally important areas:

    
    -   The accessible built environment committee will look at the barriers
        in the physical environment, both indoors and outdoors, as well as
        issues such as clear signage and parking.
    -   The employment accessibility committee will look at how people with
        disabilities can be given an equal opportunity to apply for jobs and
        ways in which workplace policies and practices can be made more
        inclusive.
    

    Standards Development Committees draft proposed accessibility standards,
which are then posted for public consideration and feedback. These committees
are formed under the landmark Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
Act, 2005, which will make Ontario accessible by 2025.
    Those interested in participating in the accessibility standards
development process can find more information on the Ministry of Community and
Social Services' website at:
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/accessibilityOntario/
    The development of enforceable accessibility standards is just one of the
ways the McGuinty government is working to build a province where everyone has
a chance to contribute. The government is also:

    
    -   Committing nearly $276 million in new funding to strengthen community
        supports for adults with a developmental disability.
    -   Investing nearly $11 million in interpreter and intervenor services
        for deaf and deafblind Ontarians.
    -   Providing $28.2 million to help universities and colleges provide
        services for students with disabilities to help them succeed.

    "Everyone who lives in, and visits, Ontario should be able to enjoy
everything that this great province has to offer," said Meilleur. "Our
government's goal is to make Ontario truly accessible to all by 2025 and we're
on track to meet that goal."

    Disponible en français

                             www.mcss.gov.on.ca


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

             DEVELOPING PROVINCE-WIDE STANDARDS FOR ACCESSIBILITY
    

    The landmark Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005,
provides for the province to develop accessibility standards that will apply
to both the private and public sectors across the province in order to
identify and address barriers for people with disabilities.
    Proposed accessibility standards are being developed by Standards
Development Committees, which consist of people with disabilities,
representatives from industry and the business community, the public sector,
and Ontario government ministries.
    The aim of the Act is to make the province accessible by 2025. This
allows for the implementation of accessibility standards in a phased in manner
over several years, and gives private businesses and public organizations the
time to spread out their accessibility investments as part of their normal
planning and capital investment cycle. The committees may propose different
requirements and timelines for different types and sizes of organizations;
they are not taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
    In November of 2005, the Ministry of Community and Social Services
completed recruitment for the first two Standards Development Committees in
the areas of customer service and transportation. In October of 2006, the
customer service committee released its proposed accessibility standard for
public review. In January 2007, recruitment for the committee looking at
accessible information and communications was completed. The proposed
transportation accessibility standard is expected to be released for public
review later this year.
    Applications for the accessible built environment committee and the
employment accessibility committee will be accepted from April 3, 2007 to
May 3, 2007. Application forms and committee terms of reference are available
on the Ministry of Community and Social Services website at:
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/accessibilityOntario/.
    For additional information, or for application packages in alternate
formats, please call 1-888-789-4199 or TTY 1-888-335-6611.

    
    Disponible en français

                             www.mcss.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Marc Despatie, Minister's Office, (416)
433-8584

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Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

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