Moving Toward A More Accessible Province For All Ontarians



    McGuinty Government Releases Proposed Standard
    For Accessible Transportation For Public Review

    TORONTO, June 27 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government took another important
stride today toward its goal of making Ontario more accessible for people with
disabilities with the release of a proposed standard on accessible
transportation for public review, Community and Social Services Minister and
Minister Responsible for People with Disabilities, Madeleine Meilleur, said
today.
    "We are committed to reaching our goal of making Ontario accessible to
all by 2025," said Meilleur. "Accessible transportation means that people with
disabilities can get to work, access recreational opportunities, go shopping,
and participate fully in every aspect of their communities. It's also key to
growing Ontario's businesses and attracting tourism."
    The proposed standard being released today was drafted by the
Transportation Standards Development Committee made up of representatives from
the disability community, and the private and public sectors including transit
providers and several provincial ministries. The committee is formed under the
landmark Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, which is
designed to make businesses, government services and communities fully
accessible to all Ontarians.
    The proposed standard is now posted on the ministry's website for
consideration and feedback from the public at:
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/accessibilityOntario/accesson/b
usiness/transportation/standard/
    The Transportation Standards Development Committee will reconvene to
review the public's input before finalizing the proposed standard and
submitting it to the Minister.
    This is the second of the new proposed province-wide accessibility
standards that the government has released for public review. The first was on
accessible customer service.
    According to Statistics Canada, approximately 1.5 million people, or
13 per cent of Ontarians, have a disability and that is expected to increase
to 20 per cent in 20 years, as the population ages.
    "This government is committed to removing and preventing barriers for
people with disabilities," said Minister of Transportation Donna Cansfield.
"My ministry is working to make transportation more accessible for Ontarians.
Currently 42 of 56 GO Transit train stations are fully accessible to commuters
with disabilities, and all municipal transit buses must be accessible to
receive funding from the Ministry of Transportation."
    The release of a proposed standard on accessible transportation for
public review is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians
have achieved results in building a province where positive measures to help
people with disabilities are paving the way for economic growth. The
government has also:

    
    -   Invested nearly $11 million in interpreter and intervenor services
        for deaf and deafblind Ontarians,
    -   Provided $28.2 million to help universities and colleges provide
        services for students with disabilities to help them succeed, and
    -   Improved the Accessible Parking Permit program to ensure it
        effectively serves its clients and to reduce permit fraud and misuse.
    -   Launched a new public awareness website on accessibility called
        AccesON.ca, which challenges attitudes and encourages all Ontarians
        to learn about barriers to accessibility.

    "All people who live or visit this great province should be able to use
transportation services, so they have the opportunity to access all the goods
and services our communities have to offer," Meilleur said. "Making public
transportation accessible for all Ontarians makes the province a wealthier and
more vibrant, inclusive place for us all."

    Disponible en français

                               www.accesson.ca
                             www.mcss.gov.on.ca


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

                 MAKING PROGRESS TOWARD AN ACCESSIBLE ONTARIO
    

    Just over two years ago, the McGuinty government proclaimed the landmark
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. The Act provides for
the province to develop accessibility standards that will apply to the private
and public sectors across the province in order to address and remove 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,
transportation providers and Ontario government ministries.
    The aim of the Act is to make the province accessible by 2025. This will
allow for the implementation of accessibility standards to be phased in over
several years, giving 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.
    The proposed accessible transportation standard developed by the
Transportation Standards Development Committee will be posted on the Web today
for public review. The committee that developed the proposed standard included
representatives from such organizations as the Ontario Public Transportation
Association, the Ontario Motor Coach Association, Ontario School Bus
Association, and the Canadian Hearing Society.
    The public will have 66 days to review the proposed standard and submit
feedback. Once the public review period is complete, the Transportation
Standards Development Committee will reconvene to consider the feedback. They
may make changes to the proposed standard based on that feedback prior to
finalizing the proposed standard for submission to the Minister.
    To review the proposed standard and to provide feedback, visit the
Ministry of Community and Social Services website at:   
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/accessibilityOntario/accesson/b
usiness/transportation/standard/index
    For additional information or for alternate formats, please call
1-888-789-4199 or TTY 1-888-335-6611.

    
    Disponible en français

                               www.accesson.ca
                             www.mcss.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

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

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Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

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