York Regional Council approves plan that identifies, removes and prevents barriers
NEWMARKET - York Regional Council today approved Reaching a New Standard for Accessibility: York Region’s 2011-2012 Accessibility Plan. The wide-sweeping plan includes enhanced access to housing and forest trails, and addresses communications issues by improving access to web-based communications and providing sign language interpreters at York Regional Police events.
“Council is committed to providing accessible services that encourage independence, inclusion and participation of people with disabilities,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “Residents and visitors appreciate and support our efforts to ensure York Region is welcoming, inclusive and accessible.”
Including initiatives from 2011, the current annual plan features 154 accessibility planning initiatives from across all Regional departments, York Regional Police and York Region Transit/Viva.
“We are fully integrating accessibility practices into our standard way of doing business,” said Town of Markham Deputy Mayor Jack Heath, Chair of the Region’s Community and Health Services Committee. “Including people with disabilities who use our facilities and services is the norm, not the exception.”
The 2011-2012 plan was developed with advice from the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee, whose four-year term commenced last year. The committee includes people from across the Region who have different types of disabilities and backgrounds and offer a variety of perspectives.
“This committee plays an important role in helping to improve accessibility in York Region,” said Town of Richmond Hill Regional Councillor Vito Spatafora, Chair of the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee. “While our accomplishments are many, our work to improve access to our programs, services and facilities is never finished.”
York Region implemented its first accessibility plan in 2003. Since that time, more than 750 accessibility planning initiatives have been developed. Some of the initiatives within this plan include:
• Continuing to modify existing housing for people with disabilities within Regionally-owned affordable housing properties
• Reviewing additional sites in the York Regional Forest for future accessible trails
• Improving access to web-based communications through customized approaches, including audio-based files, upon request
• Continuing partnerships with disability organizations, including the Canadian Hearing Society, to provide sign language interpreters at meetings, forums and events hosted by York Regional Police
Implementation of this plan will ensure York Region is compliant with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
Download a copy of Reaching a New Standard for Accessibility at www.york.ca
The plan is available in print or alternative formats such as large print and on CD, upon request.
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Media Contact: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications, York Region
905-830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1238 • Cell: 905-251-6413 • firstname.lastname@example.org