Currently, only five (5) sectors of the economy have AODA standards that require accessibility for citizens with disabilities. In addition, committees are developing standards in two (2) more sectors, education and healthcare. However, the AODA’s goal is an accessible Ontario by the year 2025. If only seven (7) sectors of the economy have AODA standards, the province will not be accessible in four (4) years. Therefore, the Third Review of the AODA recommends the creation of new AODA standards. For example, the review recommends AODA standards for the housing sector, and suggests some possible guidelines for these standards. AODA standards in housing would give many more citizens with disabilities the chance to live in their own homes.
AODA Standards in Housing
Standards in housing could mandate guidelines for the physical accessibility of houses and apartments. For example, standards could include technical requirements to ensure that more houses and apartments have features that make them accessible for owners and tenants with disabilities. Some of the features in houses that should be accessible more often include:
- Paths of travel, between and within rooms
Similarly, the standards could also include guidelines and incentives for retrofitting existing houses and apartments. In addition, these standards could mandate maintenance of accessible housing elements, such as paths.
Furthermore, standards should include requirements to make information and communications accessible for owners or tenants with disabilities.
In addition to a shortage of physical accessibility, other forms of housing support are also limited. As a result, many people who could live in their own homes, with some support for daily living tasks, must live in nursing homes. AODA housing standards could mandate more supportive housing within communities, to reduce the need for nursing home placements. These mandates could include both best practices and financial incentives. Moreover, standards could also require in-depth AODA training for nursing-home staff, to better serve residents of all ages and abilities.
Similarly, standards could also mandate improvements to AODA training for landlords and others in the housing industry. Finally, housing standards could require individual accommodation plans for tenants with disabilities, using processes similar to those mandated in the employment standards for workers with disabilities.
All these possible mandates would give Ontarians more options about where to live. In turn, housing accessibility would make it easier for people to involve themselves in work and community life.