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All posts by Greg Thomson

Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness

Today is Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness!

Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness takes place around the world on March 26th every year. On this day, people wear purple to raise awareness about what epilepsy is and the different ways it impacts people. In addition, community organizations host events to help the public learn more about epilepsy.


Accessible Online Learning in the COVID-19 Pandemic

As Ontarians continue social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities are implementing online learning. Moreover, elementary and high schools may also turn in-person classes into remote lessons students access online. Remote learning will allow students to complete their current year of study while staying healthy and safe. To ensure that all students have the benefit of remote learning at this time, schools and school boards must make the process accessible to students and educators with disabilities. Accessible online learning in the COVID-19 pandemic will help all students in Ontario learn in a safe environment.


Accessible Remote Work in the COVID-19 Pandemic

As Ontarians continue social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, workplaces are encouraging people to work from home. In addition, some workplaces are providing workers with the technology they need to do their jobs at home. For many Ontario workers, remote work may be a new and strange experience. However, some workers with disabilities already benefit from the accommodation of remote work. Employers who already accommodate employees who work remotely may have an advantage as they extend the same accommodation to non-disabled workers. Workers and employers with previous remote work experience may be able to offer best practices for accessible remote work in the COVID-19 pandemic.


Incentives for Housing Accessibility

In the third review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is the need for housing that is accessible for people with disabilities. Currently, there are no AODA standards that require houses and apartments to be accessible. Most housing developers do not think about the needs of people with disabilities when they build living spaces. Instead, they assume that everyone living in the spaces they design can use features like stairs and narrow doorways. As a result, there is a shortage of accessible housing. Therefore, Onley’s review recommends that the government should create an AODA standard for housing. In addition, the review recommends that the government create incentives for housing accessibility.


Retrofitting Buildings

In the third review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is the need to remove many barriers in buildings throughout Ontario. Currently, the barrier-free requirements in the Ontario Building Code only apply to new or renovated buildings. Similarly, the Aoda’s Design of Public Spaces Standards apply only to spaces that are new or being redeveloped. As a result, these legal limitations mean that older buildings and spaces are closed or unwelcoming to people with certain disabilities. However, incentives for retrofitting buildings can encourage accessibility by making retrofitting buildings more affordable.