Ontario has appointed the Hon. David Onley, CM, O.Ont., senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough and Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor, to lead a review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
The AODA’s goal is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025, helping build a fair society in which everyone can contribute their skills to our economy. Section 41 of the Act calls for a comprehensive review of the legislation and its effectiveness every few years. The review includes consulting with the public, in particular people with disabilities, in order to make recommendations.
The AODA uses the same definition of disability as the Ontario Human Rights Code, which includes both visible and non-visible disabilities.
About 1.85 million people in Ontario have a disability—that’s one in seven people or more than 15 per cent of the population and more than 40 per cent of those over age 65. As the population ages the number will rise to one in every five Ontarians. More than half of the population has a friend or loved one with a disability.
David C. Onley is the former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, having served from 2007 to 2014. He is now Senior Lecturer and Distinguished Visitor at the University of Toronto Scarborough, where he teaches two senior seminar courses in Political Science – The Politics of Disability, and The Vice Regal Office in Canada. Prior to his appointment as Lieutenant Governor, Mr. Onley had a 22-year career with Toronto’s Citytv and was the first newscaster in Canada with a visible disability. Mr. Onley has been inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame and was named to the Order of Canada in 2017.
- The second review of the act was conducted by Mayo Moran, Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College at the University of Toronto, and was completed in 2015. The government has since implemented a number of Moran’s recommendations, including the appointment of a Minister Responsible for Accessibility and the development of new accessibility standards.
- With the passage of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Ontario became an accessibility leader, establishing standards in key areas of daily life and implementing them within clear timeframes.
- Accessibility standards have been developed in five key areas of daily living: customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation and the design of public spaces.
- The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act includes legislative requirement for a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the act and its regulations every three years after tabling.
- Ontario is working to develop new accessibility standards for health care and education to remove barriers.