David Lepofsky, chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, joins the QP Briefing podcast this week to discuss accessibility issues in the province.
Lepofsky, who is also a visiting professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, says Ontario is “absolutely not” on track to meet its goal of becoming fully accessible by 2025.
He talks about how the accessibility landscape has changed throughout the decades, progress that has been made and barriers that people with disabilities still face.
Lepofsky also assesses the provincial government’s actions on accessibility, including why he thinks a funding commitment to the Rick Hansen Foundation to conduct accessibility audits of buildings is flawed. He voices concern about the training the foundation offers individuals sent in to rate buildings, saying “you can’t learn to be an accessibility auditor professional in eight days.”
For its part the foundation says it’s worked with more than 1,200 sites to “provide a snapshot of their current level of accessibility and shift the design culture toward more universal approaches in their projects.”
Brad McCannell, the foundation’s vice-president of access and inclusion, said in a statement to QP Briefing that its training course is “only available to industry professionals already working in the field with a strong knowledge of the built environment” and teaches participants to “see the built environment through an accessibility lens: it does not claim to produce accessibility experts. ”
“Our ongoing goal is to help create an accessible built environment for people of all abilities,” McCannell said.