The Ontarians with Disabilities Act sets out the requirements for the annual accessibility plan. The accessibility plan must address the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to people with disabilities in the City's by-laws, policies, programs, practices and services.
The ODA notes that the annual plan must include the following components:
- Report on the steps taken to identify, remove and prevent barriers to people with disabilities
- Detail how the City assesses its proposals for by-laws, policies, programs, practices, and services
- A list of the programs, policies, practices and services that will be reviewed in the following year to identify barriers
- Detail how the City will identify, remove and prevent barriers in the coming yearAnything else covered in the regulations
The City continues to move forward in implementing its obligations under the AODA. The Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities (ACPD) and its sub-committees namely, Built Environment Standard, Customer Service Standard and the Transportation Standard, provide advice and feedback to staff in its implementation process. The advisory committee has been involved in a number of focus groups and braining sessions to provide input at the policy and service delivery levels.
The Staff Access and Equity Committee is also very instrumental in ensuring ongoing identification of barriers and advising on new initiatives and solutions. The Committee is made up of at least one staff member representing each department. Some of the responsibilities of this committee include gathering information concerning accessibility initiatives in their respective departments that are currently in place, those that are planned for the future, reviewing and identifying how and when the issues identified in the audit and through consultations will be addressed and assisting with the preparation of the annual Accessibility Plan.
Why an Annual Accessibility Plan?
- All municipalities are required to implement the accessibility standards under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001.
- The City of Hamilton therefore makes public an annual accessibility report outlining the level of compliance with the standards which may be randomly audited by the Provincial government to verify the contents of its reports.
- The City of Hamilton's Annual Accessibility Plan is an important annual task as the City moves forward in addressing both the spirit and the intent of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
- The Accessibility Plan coordinated by the Access and Equity Office provides details about accessibility initiatives that the City has or is undertaking which includes a report on the steps taken to identify, remove and prevent barriers to people with visible and invisible disabilities, and sets out how the City assesses its proposals for by-laws, policies, programs, practices and services.