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Accountability for Accessibility Plans in Ontario

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 under the AODA. 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. Furthermore, Donovan outlines tactical recommendations the province should follow to fulfill its remaining responsibilities in the public sector. One of these tactical recommendations is accountability for accessibility plans in Ontario.

Accountability for Accessibility Plans in Ontario

The review recommends new procedures to help organizations measure and make progress to become more accessible. For example, some of these recommendations are:

In addition, the review recommends that the accessibility agency should establish new measurable outcomes for accessibility in sectors such as:

Moreover, the agency should publish these outcomes on the public dashboard of information about disability.

Accessibility plans require organizations to identify accessibility barriers, including:

Each organization must consult people with disabilities when it develops its plan. Nevertheless, this mandate requires each organization to assess its own accessibility.

The review notes that progress on the AODA has been slow recently. As a result, organizations are not becoming more accessible. One possible reason for this lack of progress is that organizations identify their own barriers. In other words, each organization sets its own accessibility goals. According to the review, more ambitious, more measurable goals or benchmarks will help organizations remain accountable for the progress they make toward accessibility.

Therefore, the review recommends that the accessibility agency’s measurable outcomes must become part of organizations’ accessibility plans. In other words, these outcomes will become new goals that public-sector organizations should work to achieve. The plans and progress reports that each organization publishes should explain in writing how it will achieve these outcomes.