The Government of Ontario introduced the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA) with the purpose of improving access and opportunities to people with disabilities. The primary focus of this legislation was to identify, remove and prevent barriers so that people with disabilities can engage in full participation. Annual accessibility plans became a requirement under this legislation in order to ensure that policies, programs and services were reviewed to remove barriers and prevent new barriers from being created.
The ODA legislation has been helpful with the identification and removal of barriers throughout the province. However, the government recognized that Ontario was still not fully accessible. As a result, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2011 (AODA) was passed into law to ensure a barrier free Ontario by 2025. Eventually the ODA legislation will be repealed and the AODA legislation will apply, however the planning requirements are still in effect until it is officially repealed. The Township of South Stormont is moving forward with the implementation of both pieces of legislation in order for our ratepayers to have equal access and full participation.
The Customer Service Standard – Regulation 429/07 has been passed and the Township of South Stormont has complied with the mandate of the regulation.
In June of 2011, the Ontario Government passed Regulation 191/11 – The Integrated Accessibility Standard (IASR). This regulation sets out a variety of general obligations relating to employment, communications and transportation.
The regulation sets out the requirements for each of the three standards as well general requirements with respect to developing accessibility policies and plans, training employees and volunteers and considering accessibility when purchasing good or services. These requirements will be phased in over the next few years. As a supplement to the main Accessibility Plan, the IASR requirements have been identified with targeted completion timelines.
The Township of South Stormont makes the commitment to provide to its residents municipal facilities and services that are accessible to those that have disabilities. Like other municipalities in Ontario, an Accessibility Plan is prepared to address any issues and barriers preventing persons with disabilities from participating fully in the life of the community. Ultimately, the Accessibility Plan is intended to identify, remove and prevent all barriers that may impede residents and visitors from accessing and using municipal services within the responsibility of the Township of South Stormont.
Accessibility planning will no longer be an afterthought but instead will become ingrained in the normal operating policies and procedures.
To view current South Stormont Township Accessibility Plan:
The Township of South Stormont is proud of our Accessible Customer Service practises that are based on four basic principles:
- Dignity – service is provided in a way that allows the person with a disability to maintain self-respect and the respect of other people.
- Independence – when a person with a disability is allowed to do things on their own without unnecessary help or interference from others.
- Integration – service is provided in a way that allows the person with a disability to benefit from the same services, in the same place, and in the same or similar way as other customers, unless an alternative measure is necessary to enable a person with a disability to access goods or services.
- Equal Opportunity – service is provided to a person with a disability in such a way that they have an opportunity to access goods or services equal to that given to others.