NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York's Interim Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) has approved draft terms of reference for the permanent Accessibility Advisory Committee that will assist York Region in implementing the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA).
"York Region supports the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and is very committed to removing barriers to accessibility over time," said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch. "The Act is in keeping with our 25-year strategic plan, Vision 2026, which promotes access to Regional programs and services for York Region's citizens."
The purpose of the ODA is to improve opportunities for persons with disabilities by identifying, removing and preventing physical and other barriers. Every year York Region must create an Accessibility Plan to show how it will do this. The permanent York Region AAC will advise Council on the preparation, implementation and effectiveness of the Plan.
In order to get input from York Region residents about the draft terms of reference, the Interim AAC will hold focus group meetings in mid-November with invited participants from major organizations representing people with disabilities and other key stakeholders. As well, the draft terms are posted on the Region's Web site at www.region.york.on.ca for public review and feedback. Printed copies can be picked up from York Region's offices in Newmarket at 17250 Yonge Street, and in Richmond Hill at 50 High Tech Road as of October 21, 2002.
"The permanent AAC will have a crucial role," said Newmarket Regional Councillor Diane Humeniuk, Chair of the Interim AAC. "I welcome a consultative process that involves members of the public, as well as agencies, organizations, and area municipalities to receive their input on the structure and functions of this important Committee."
In addition to developing and consulting on the terms of reference, the Interim AAC will also recruit citizen members to serve on the permanent York Region AAC. The Interim AAC will report back to Regional Council on December 19, 2002 on its recommendations on the terms of reference, as well as its recruitment strategy for the permanent York Region AAC.
The Interim ACC, appointed by Regional Council last month, is comprised of Newmarket Regional Councillor Diane Humeniuk (Chair), Georgina Regional Councillor Danny Wheeler (Vice Chair) and Vaughan Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio. Regional Chair Bill Fisch is ex-officio member.
Contact: Wendy Lewis, Corporate Communications Services, York Region
- (905) 830-4444 or (416) 297-9696, ext. 1238
October 18, 2002
Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001
- The Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA) was proclaimed on September 30, 2002. On this date municipalities with populations over 10,000 were required to have municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees (AAC) in place.
- Having appointed an Interim AAC on September 19, 2002, York Region was the only GTA regional municipality to meet the legislative requirement to establish an AAC by September 30, 2002.
- AACs are required to prepare annual Accessibility Plans and make them public. The Plans will address the identification, prevention and removal of barriers to people with disabilities in the organizations' by-laws and its policies, programs, practices and services.
- The ODA covers the same range of disabilities as the Ontario Human Rights Code. These include all forms of physical, mental, cognitive and developmental disability, as well as injuries or disabilities for which benefits were claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
- York Regional Council's legal obligations as per the ODA are as follows:
- Council must prepare an Accessibility Plan based on advice from the AAC every year.
- Council must establish an AAC of which over 50% must be made up of persons with disabilities. Once appointed, the permanent AAC is legally obligated to advise Council on the preparation, implementation and effectiveness of the Accessibility Plan. Regional Council is the author of the Accessibility Plan and the AAC's role is to provide advice.
- Council must seek advice from the AAC on accessibility to a building, structure, or premises that Council purchases, constructs, leases or significantly renovates.
- Council must also seek advice from the AAC on accessibility to buildings owned by others but that are used as municipal facilities.
- Council must consider amendments to the Social Housing Act.
- Council must consider the needs of persons with disabilities when purchasing goods or services during the procurement process.
- During the review and evaluation of Official Plan amendments, site plans and subdivision plans, Council must also consider the needs of persons with disabilities.
- Since Council is responsible for providing public transit, it must also include how the Region will identify and remove barriers with respect to public transit within the Region's Accessibility Plan.
- Council must make its Plan available to the public.
- York Region's first annual Accessibility Plan must be completed by September 30, 2003.
The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities. York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities: Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville. For more information, visit our Web site at: www.region.york.on.ca
Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region