Skip to main content Skip to main menu

Accessibility Plans for Government Services and Employment

In the fourth review of the AODA, Rich Donovan states that Ontario will not be fully accessible by 2025. In other words, the provincial government will not meet its own deadline, set out in the AODA in 2005. Limited creation, implementation, and enforcement of AODA standards impacts the well-being and safety of Ontarians with disabilities. Therefore, Donovan recommends that the Ontario government should declare this lack of progress on accessibility a crisis. This crisis state should last six (6) months. During this time, the Ontario government should form a crisis committee to implement crucial accessibility improvements in the province. The Premier should act as the chair of this committee, and the Secretary of Cabinet should act as co-chair. One of the improvements the committee should implement is the creation of accessibility plans for government services and employment.

Accessibility Plans for Government Services and Employment

Many of the review’s recommendations aim to align the AODA with the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) and other accessibility legislation in the country. For example, the ACA requires organizations to develop accessibility plans detailing how to identify and remove accessibility barriers, including:

Each organization must consult people with disabilities when it develops its plan. Moreover, organizations must update their plans every three (3) years. In contrast, the AODA requires organizations to update their plans every five (5) years.


Therefore, the review recommends that the Ontario government should update its accessibility plans every three (3) years. Furthermore, the crisis committee should require each government department’s deputy minister to develop a plan for that department. Moreover, plans should focus on the specific barriers that people with disabilities who are involved with that department experience. For example, people with disabilities involved with a department could:

  • Work for the department
  • Receive services from the department

To find out what these barriers are and how to remove them, deputy ministers developing plans should consult with people in the sector that department governs. For example, accessibility plans for the healthcare sector should be developed in consultation with disabled:

  • Patients
  • Healthcare workers, such as:
    • Doctors
    • Nurses
    • Therapists
    • Medical technicians
    • Pharmacists
    • Dieticians
  • Loved ones of patients

Similarly, accessibility plans for the K-12 education or postsecondary education sectors should be developed in consultation with disabled:

  • Students
  • Educators, including:
    • Teachers
    • Educational assistants
    • Early childhood educators
    • School board staff
    • Child and youth workers
    • Professors
    • University teaching assistants
    • Support staff
    • Administrative staff
  • Parents

The review points out that healthcare and education are critical sectors for accessibility, since every person in the province needs access to schooling and medical care.

In addition, deputy ministers must publish documents detailing the barriers they identified, as well as their departments’ accessibility plans. Finally, these plans should include feedback processes comparable to those required under the ACA.

This recommendation aligns with recommendations in all previous reviews of the AODA for renewed government leadership on the Act.