ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

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MAJOR DEVELOPMENT IN OUR CAMPAIGN FOR A FULLY ACCESSIBLE ONTARIO - MCGUINTY GOVERNMENT ENACTS INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY REGULATION -ADDRESSING BARRIERS IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION, EMPLOYMENT AND TRANSPORTATION

June 03, 2011

SUMMARY

On Friday, June 3, 2011, just 10 days before the sixth anniversary of the day when the AODA went into effect, the McGuinty Government enacted and made public the new and finalized Integrated Accessibility Regulation (IAR). It addresses barriers impeding persons with disabilities in information and communication, employment and transportation. We will have the new IAR available for download shortly at:  http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/default.asp

To download the IAR in MS Word format, click here: IAS_word.doc

Below we set out a short summary, and then a full 10-page analysis, of the changes that the Government made to The IAR before finalizing it, as compared with the draft IAR which the Government posted for public comment back on February 1, 2011. We also offer some preliminary reflections on the IAR. At the end of this update we list key links to major events on the road to the finalized IAR.

The vast majority of the 36 substantive changes to the IAR that we describe below are improvements. Most of those improvements are responsive to recommendations that the AODA Alliance presented to the Government. A small number of the changes are not improvements. None significantly weakens the finalized IAR, compared with the February 1, 2011 draft IAR.

HIGHLIGHTS OF CHANGES TO THE IAR

In summary, the changes that improve the IAR include:

* requiring each organization's training of employees and volunteers on accessibility to include both the IAR’s requirements and the Human Rights Code’s requirements.

* requiring that this accessibility training be given to those who deliver facilities to the public, not just goods or services.

* comparably expanding the contents of accessibility policies that organizations must adopt.

* clarifying that “point-of-sale” devices are among the electronic self-service kiosks that must include accessibility features.

* requiring organizations with public feedback opportunities to notify the public about availability of accessible formats and communication supports.

* removing from a number of provisions the troubling wording that suggested that an organization has the final and unchallengeable say on whether an accommodation is appropriate for a person with a disability.

* clarifying which organizations have a duty under the IAR to provide accessible educational and training resources and materials. 

* requiring school boards or educational or training institutions to keep records of the training they provide to their educators on meeting the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities.

* clarifying that when an employer retains an outside consultant to help advise on accommodation needs in the workplace, it is the employer, and not the outside consultant, who must decide on what accommodation to deliver.

* removing the unjustified total exemption from the IAR, earlier included, for the Niagara Falls Incline Railway.

* requiring public transit providers to keep records of the accessibility training they provide.

* requiring public transit providers to make their emergency preparedness policies available to the public.

* removing the exemption in the IAR for para-transit vehicles in a fleet before July 1, 2011 (but leaving that unjustified exemption in place for the public transit vehicles of conventional transit providers).

* removing an unnecessary and inappropriate requirement that public transit providers adopt strategies to urge persons with disabilities to use conventional transit instead of para-transit. This is especially unwarranted when conventional transit systems still have too many barriers.

* requiring para-transit services to develop steps to reduce wait times for their services.

* requiring bus drivers to promptly report when there is a temporary barrier at a bus stop. Previously they had this duty, but no obligation to do so promptly.

* requiring conventional public transit providers to develop a strategy to inform the public about the need for courtesy seating.

* clarifying wording on when public transit route stops must be audibly announced.

* expanding the right of persons with disabilities to appeal if refused permission to use para-transit.

* some improvements to the duty of municipalities to act to make bus stops and shelters accessible.

* expanding the duty of municipalities to adopt strategies to get more accessible taxis on the road.

* requiring taxis to have their registration and licensing information available to passengers with disabilities in an accessible format.

The only changes to the finalized IAR that reduce its protections for persons with disabilities in any way, as compared to the February 1, 2011 draft IAR were these:

* the time line for providing courtesy seating for public transit passengers with disabilities on conventional transit systems was extended by six months. It is required by January 2012, rather than July 2011. This is not a significant delay for persons with disabilities. The public transit sector wanted far more dramatic and entirely unjustified extensions to the IAR’s time lines. 

* removing from the IAR’s description of para-transit services an explicit reference to door-to-door service where needed. This unjustified wording change would not excuse a para-transit service if it refuses to provide door-to-door service for passengers with disabilities who need that service. This wording change, if anything, says more about the troubling attitudes voiced by those speaking for the public transit sector.

SOME PRELIMINARY REFLECTIONS ON THE FINALIZED IAR

The tenacious and relentless advocacy of persons with disabilities around Ontario got the Government to progressively strengthen its planned IAR from the summary it posted for comment on September 2, 2010, to the draft IAR it posted for public comment on February 1, 2011, and then to the final version of the IAR made public on June 3, 2011. We thank all who helped advocate for strong accessibility standards at the three Standards Development Committees that had input into this regulation (The Transportation Standards Development Committee, the Employment Standards Development Committee, and the Information and Communication Standards Development Committee). We also thank all the many others who took the time to advocate for strong accessibility standards throughout the four years during which the IAR was under development.

The finalized IAR does not include many the measures we have requested. It includes a number of time lines that are clearly longer than is needed for action. It could and should have gone further. Our concerns set out in our March 2, 2011 brief on the IAR remain, other than those which the Government’s final changes addressed. You can see that brief at: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/default.asp

That said, Ontarians with disabilities are nevertheless clearly better off with this IAR now enacted and in force, even with its limitations. Too many organizations now do not take the steps that the IAR will require them to take. Those organizations will be better off, as will persons with disabilities, when they do take those steps. 

We need only look back to the weak and toothless Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 that was passed ten years ago to see that we have come quite a long way. That earlier legislation promised accessibility but didn’t mandate any specific and concrete action to address barriers, whether on short or long time lines.

Provisions in the new IAR, if obeyed and effectively enforced, can make a real difference in making transportation, information and communication, and employment more accessible to persons with disabilities. If organizations take these actions now, and do so well ahead of the required time lines, Ontarians with disabilities will be clearly better off. There is no justification for organizations to wait until the end of the time lines in the finalized IAR. 

The new IAR includes far more specifics and detail than the only other accessibility standard enacted to date, the Customer Service Accessibility Standard. The IAR helps make up for inadequacies in that initial accessibility standard.

We hope that the finalized IAR can reduce the need to launch human rights cases just to show that things like public websites, internal workplace intranets, electronic self-service kiosks, taxicab services, bus stops and shelters, public transit vehicles and services, and workplaces, must be made accessible to persons with disabilities. We similarly hope the IAR makes it unnecessary to file human rights complaints to show that public sector organizations must never use public money to create, perpetuate or exacerbate barriers against persons with disabilities when they procure goods, services or facilities. If organizations do not act more promptly than the IAR’s time lines require, they remain fully exposed to human rights complaints for not providing accessibility.

On the other hand, the finalized IAR clearly falls considerably short of what we and many others in the disability community showed we need to comprehensively achieve the AODA’s requirement of fully accessible transportation, employment and information and communication by 2025. It is regrettable however, that in the world in which we live, there are a vocal few who resist even this measured accessibility regulation. As we made public earlier this year, the combined voices of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA), drawing on funding from the taxpayer, organized very troubling efforts to delay and weaken the IAR. For more on this, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/04052011.asp

It is truly unfortunate that those organizations did not instead use all those resources to encourage the Ontario Government’s planned IAR, to urge that it be strengthened, and to educate their members on the benefits that the IAR will bring. We would welcome the chance to work with those organizations and any other obligated organizations to bring a positive message to their memberships, about the need to do all the IAR requires and more, and to do so much more quickly than the IAR demands.    

We commend the Ontario Government for standing fast, and not giving in to most of the AMO and OPTA demands. We thank all of you who helped keep up the pressure to that end. The few changes to the IAR made at AMO’s or OPTA’s request are not tremendously damaging, as our analysis below explains.

As for the recommendations we made that the Government didn’t adopt, it remains open to the Government to use those in the tools and resource guides that they provide to the broader public sector and private sector to help them comply with the IAR. We urge the Ontario Government to do so.

They also remain available to us when the IAR is subjected to the full review that the AODA requires in five years. If the IAR has not lived up to its promise, we have a well-crafted constructive agenda for improving it, already researched and ready to go!

NEXT STEPS

Our campaign to get the IAR enacted is now finished. Our attention now turns to getting the IAR promptly and effectively implemented and enforced. We must use the IAR to secure for persons with disabilities as much as we can towards the goal of a fully accessible Ontario.  

As a first step, we call on all three Ontario political parties to now commit that they will:

* not repeal, weaken  or reduce any protections for persons with disabilities in the new IAR;

* get the Ontario Government to lead by example, by

  (a) complying with the IAR’s requirements well ahead of schedule, and

  (b) working now with the broader public sector and the private sector to do the same, including making promptly available to the public tools and resource guides to enable all organizations to implement the IAR far ahead of the IAR’s timelines; 

* spearheading a public education strategy, recommended over a year ago by the Charles Beer Independent Review of the AODA, to promote compliance with the IAR.

* effectively enforcing the IAR, using all the enforcement tools included in the AODA.

Send us your feedback. Write to us at: aodafeedback@gmail.com

MORE DETAILS

DETAILED ANALYSIS OF THE CHANGES IN THE FINAL INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY REGULATION, AS COMPARED TO THE FEBRUARY 1, 2011 DRAFT OF THIS REGULATION

Here are the changes that the Government made to the IAR, compared to the draft IAR the Government posted for public comment on February 1, 2011:

General Provisions

1. Section 3 requires certain organizations to establish accessibility policies. In the final version of the IAR, s. 3(1) was improved on our recommendation. The words “under the accessibility standards” were removed. The final wording is:

“3. (1) Every obligated organization shall develop, implement and maintain policies governing how the organization achieves or will achieve accessibility through meeting its requirements referred to in this Regulation.”

This is an improvement. Because the regulation elsewhere now refers among other things to the Human Rights Code, also on our recommendation, the change to this section sweeps the Human Rights Code’s guarantees to persons with disabilities, and not just the specific barriers listed in the finalized IAR, into the reach of these accessibility policies that organizations must establish.

2. Section 6 governs the accessibility of electronic self-service kiosks. In the final version of s. 6(5), the definition of kiosk was expanded at our request to explicitly include “a point-of-sale device.”

Thus the final version of this provision clearly covers devices that customers can use, for example, in major chain stores, at the point of check-out.

3. Section 7 requires training on meeting the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities. As a major change, section 7(1) was improved at our request so that organizations must train their employees and volunteers not only on the requirements of the accessibility standard, but also on the requirements of the Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities.

4. Section 7(1) (c) was amended at our request to require accessibility training to be provided to all persons who participate in providing facilities, and not just those who provide goods or services.

5. Section 7(2) was also amended to explicitly refer to the Human Rights Code. It now provides:

“7(2)    The training on the requirements of the accessibility standards and on the Human Rights Code referred to in subsection (1) shall be appropriate to the duties of the employees, volunteers and other persons.”

Provisions on Information and Communication

6. Section 11 addresses the accessibility of processes for giving public feedback to an organization. Section 11 was amended to add s. 11(3). It now states:

“(3) Every obligated organization shall notify the public about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports.”

By notifying the public of the availability of these supports, more people with disabilities will be likely to avail themselves of these accommodations.

7. Section 12 deals generally with the duty to provide accessible formats and communication supports. In the February 1, 2011 draft of the IAR, Section 12(2) had provided:

“(2) The obligated organization shall consult with the person making the request in determining the suitability of an accessible format or communication support, but the final determination as to which accessible format or communication support shall be used rests with the organization.”

On our recommendation, in the improved final version of the IAR, the words “but the final determination as to which accessible format or communication support shall be used rests with the organization” were removed. The final version of s. 12(2) states:

“(2) The obligated organization shall consult with the person making the request in determining the suitability of an accessible format or communication support.”

8. Section 15 governs the duty of certain educational organizations to provide accessible educational and training resources and materials. The final IAR clarifies the range of organizations that must meet this obligation.

The February 1, 2011 draft IAR provided as follows:

“(2) For purposes of this section and sections 16, 17 and 18, an obligated organization is an educational or training institution if,

a)         it is governed by the Education Act, the Post-Secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, or the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 or is a designated public sector organization described in paragraphs 3 and 4 of Schedule 1; or

b)         it is a public or private organization that provides courses or programs or both that result in the acquisition by students of a diploma or certificate named by the Minister of Education under paragraph 1 of subsection 8 (1)of the Education Act.”

The final June 3, 2011 version of the IAR is expanded to read as follows:

“(2) For purposes of this section and sections 16, 17 and 18, an obligated organization is an educational or training institution if it falls into one of the following categories:

            1.         It is governed by the Education Act or the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005.

            2.         It offers all or part of a post-secondary program leading to a degree pursuant to a consent granted under the Post-Secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000.

            3.         It is a designated public sector organization described in paragraph 3 or 4 of Schedule 1.

            4.         It is a public or private organization that provides courses or programs or both that result in the acquisition by students of a diploma or certificate named by the Minister of Education under paragraph 1 of subsection 8 (1) of the Education Act.

            5.         It is a private school within the meaning of the Education Act.“

It is not yet clear to us whether this amendment expands the range of organizations to which that provision applies.

9. Section 16 addresses training educators on meeting the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities. The final version of the IAR is expanded to require school boards or educational or training institutions to keep a record of the training provided. Section 16(2) was added to the final version of the IAR. The new s. 16(2) provides:

“(2) Obligated organizations that are school boards or educational or training institutions shall keep a record of the training provided under this section, including the dates on which the training is provided and the number of individuals to whom it is provided.”

Employment Provisions

10. Section 23 deals with the duty of an employer to provide needed accommodations to job applicants with disabilities in the recruitment process. The duty to accommodate comes from the Human Rights Code.

Section 23 was improved by removing s. 23(3) of the February draft of the IAR. That subsection, now eliminated, had given the employer the absolute say over which accommodation to provide. Section 23(3) of the February 1, 2011 draft IAR, now removed, had provided:

“23(3) The decision as to which accommodation is to be provided rests with the employer.”

11. Section 26 deals with an employer’s duty to provide employees with disabilities with requested, needed accessible formats and communication supports. Section 26(2) was improved by removing the words in the February 1, 2011 draft of the IAR that gave the employer final and absolute say over which accessible formats and communication supports to provide for employees. In the February 1, 2011 draft IAR, s. 26(2) provided:

“26(2) The employer shall consult with the employee making the request in determining the suitability of an accessible format or communication support, but the final determination as to which accessible format or communication support shall be used rests with the employer.”

In the final June 3, 2011 version of the IAR, s. 26(2) provides:

“26(2) The employer shall consult with the employee making the request in determining the suitability of an accessible format or communication support.”

12. Section 28 requires employers, except small organizations, to have documented individual accommodation plans for employees with disabilities. A very minor wording change was made to s. 28(2) (3). In the February 1, 2011 Draft IAR, s. 28(2) (3) let an accommodation plan include, among other things:

“1.       The manner in which the employer can request an evaluation by an outside medical or other expert, at the employer’s expense, to determine if and how accommodation can be achieved.”

In the final June 3, 2011 version of the IAR, s. 28(2)(3) lets an accommodation plan include:

“3.       The manner in which the employer can request an evaluation by an outside medical or other expert, at the employer’s expense, to assist the employer in determining if accommodation can be achieved and, if so, how accommodation can be achieved.”

The tone of this change is helpful. In the earlier version, the outside consultant could actually determine if accommodation could be achieved. In the final version, the outside consultant can assist the employer in assessing how to accommodate. The final duty to accommodate still properly rests with the employer, not the outside consultant, on this version.

Transportation Provisions

13. Section 33 sets out definitions of important terms in the transportation part of the IAR. On our recommendation, the final version of the IAR removes the exemption from the regulation for the Niagara Falls Incline Railway. Section 33(2) of the February 1, 2011 draft IAR has been removed. It had provided:

“33(2) The funicular railway travelling on the Falls Incline Railway operated by the Niagara Parks Commission is not rail-based transportation for purposes of this Regulation.”

14. Section 36 requires public transit providers to do additional accessibility training beyond the training required of other organizations. The final version of the IAR adds an obligation on public transit providers to keep records of the training they provide. The revised s. 36(3) provides:

“36(3) Conventional transportation service providers and specialized transportation service providers shall keep a record of the training provided under this section, including the dates on which the training is provided and the number of individuals to whom it is provided.”

15. Section 37 deals with public transit authorities’ emergency preparedness and response policies. The wording of s. 37(1) was strengthened in the final version of the IAR to require these organizations to make their emergency preparedness policies available to the public. The new version of s. 37(1), with subparagraph (b) added, now reads:

“37. (1) In addition to any obligations that a conventional transportation service provider or a specialized transportation service provider has under section 13, conventional transportation service providers and specialized transportation service providers,

            (a)        shall establish, implement, maintain and document emergency preparedness and response policies that provide for the safety of persons with disabilities; and

            (b)        shall make those policies available to the public.”

While this change is an improvement over the February 1, 2011 draft IAR, we had recommended that this provision be amended to require organizations to post these procedures on their websites.

16. Section 38 provides that public transit authorities may not charge a second fare for a support person, assisting a person with a disability. In an amendment that is a minor clarification, s. 38(2) now requires persons with disabilities to demonstrate the need for the support person to the public transit provider. We had pointed out in our March 2, 2011 brief to the Ontario Government that In the February 1, 2011 draft IAR, the provision did not make it clear to whom persons with disabilities must demonstrate their need for a support person. We had asked for s. 38(2) to be removed altogether.

17. Section 39 says public transit authorities can honour contracts for public transit vehicles contracted for before the IAR goes into effect. We vigorously opposed this provision. The Human Rights Commission warned municipalities not to depend on it, lest they face human rights complaints. For more on this, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/02172011.asp

 

Despite this, the Government left this provision in place in the final IAR. Its wording was marginally adjusted. In the February 1, 2011 draft IAR, s. 39 said public transit authorities could honour contracts for public transit vehicles that were entered into before July 1, 2011, that do not comply with any of the IAR transportation provisions. By a slight wording change, the final version of the IAR only says it grants this exemption from section 53 to 62 of the IAR. Those are the key parts of the IAR’s transportation provisions that are relevant in any event. Thus it is not clear that this makes any improvement from the perspective of persons with disabilities.

It is our view that public transit authorities should heed the wise caution of the Human Rights Commission.

18. Section 40 says it exempts public transit vehicles operated by conventional transit services from any retrofit requirements if they were in their fleet before July 1, 2011. This provision has the same serious human rights flaws as s. 39, according to us and the Human Rights Commission. We had strongly opposed this provision.

In the final IAR, this provision only purports to grant this exemption to conventional transit services. The February 1, 2011 draft IAR had also extended it to para-transit services. This is an improvement. However, it would be shocking if any public transit authority purchased inaccessible vehicles for para-transit services.

This provision was also amended in the same way as s. 39. Thus, the final version of the IAR purports to exempt those conventional public transit vehicles from sections 53 to 62 of the regulation, not the entire transportation part of the regulation. Again, this does not seem to be much if any benefit for persons with disabilities. Here again, public transit authorities should expect to gain nothing from this section, any more than s. 39, in light of the Human Rights Commission’s warning, referred to earlier.

Sections 39 and 40 of the IAR do not excuse public transit authorities from all their obligations under the Human Rights Code. The Human Rights Code prevails over the IAR. It is not the other way around.

19. Section 41 imposes added accessibility planning requirements on conventional public transit providers, beyond those imposed on other organizations. At our request, the final version of the IAR removed a clause from this section. It would have required conventional public transit authorities to identify initiatives to encourage persons with disabilities who are, or were, eligible for specialized transportation services, to use conventional transportation services. This appeared pointless to us, especially so long as conventional public transit services continue to have barriers impeding persons with disabilities.

The final version of the IAR removed s. 41(1) (a) which stated as follows in the February 1, 2011 draft IAR:

“41. (1) In addition to the accessibility plan requirements set out in section 4, in their accessibility plan conventional transportation service providers shall,

a)         identify initiatives to encourage persons with disabilities who are, or were, eligible for specialized transportation services, to use conventional transportation services; and…”

20. Section 42(1) was improved. It now requires that organizations that provide para-transit services (which the IAR calls specialized transit), must, in their accessibility plans, “develop steps to reduce wait times for specialized transportation services.”

21. Section 47 deals with accessibility of transit stops. The earlier February 1, 2011 draft of s. 47(3) required that “Conventional transportation service providers shall ensure that operators of their transportation vehicles report to an appropriate authority where a transit stop is temporarily inaccessible or where a temporary barrier exists.”

In an improvement, the final version of s. 47(3) requires that conventional transit services ensure that their vehicle operators report temporary barriers at transit stops “promptly.”

22. Section 49 requires the provision of courtesy seating for public transit passengers with disabilities, marked with signs. The final version of the IAR adds a new subsection, s. 49(4).

It requires conventional public transit providers to develop a strategy to inform the public about the need for courtesy seating. We need this to promote public cooperation to help make courtesy seating work. The new s. 49(4) provides:

“49(4) Every conventional transportation service provider shall develop a communications strategy designed to inform the public about the purpose of courtesy seating.”

23. The only change in the final IAR that lengthens any of the time lines as compared to the February 1, 2011 draft is s. 49(6). According to s. 49(5) of the February 1, 2011 draft IAR, the courtesy seating requirements on conventional public transit vehicles were to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Section 49(6) of the final version of the IAR extends this six months, to January 1, 2012.

We had sought to get time lines in the IAR reduced. The public transit sector sought to get them lengthened. This six month extension should not be a matter of major concern.

24. Section 52 addresses route stop announcements on public transit vehicles. The wording of the final version of the IAR clarifies the duty to announce stops, so that they must be audible verbal announcements. The February 1, 2011 draft IAR did not use the word "audible."

25. The duty to announce stops in s. 52 was expanded from “all destination points or stops” in the February 1, 2011 draft IAR, to the slightly clearer “all destination points or available route stops.”

26. Section 64 sets out the way to qualify for para-transit. It includes a right to an independent appeal for those who are refused.

At our recommendation, the final version of the IAR eliminates a provision of the February 1, 2011 draft IAR that would only let a person appeal if they had new information not included in their original application to qualify for para-transit. We had said that appeals should be available on any argument, not just by presenting new information.

Section 64(6) of the February 1, 2011 draft IAR, now removed from the final IAR, had provided:

“64(6) An applicant may only appeal a decision with respect to their eligibility for specialized transportation services, if the applicant has new information that was not presented with the original application.”

27. Section 68 addresses the range of services that a para-transit service must provide. It is drafted in a way that favours the public transit sector’s desire to have sweeping, excessive discretion over how to provide para-transit services.

A change to this provision was made in the final version of the IAR that is unfavourable to persons with disabilities. We expect that it was requested by the public transit sector in its effort to weaken the IAR’s transportation provisions. Certain words were removed from the February 1, 2011 draft IAR. The reference to para-transit services (which the IAR calls specialized transportation services) does not now explicitly include door to door service.

In subsection 68(3), the words “and includes door-to-door service if required” was removed from the February 1, 2011 draft IAR. The February 1, 2011 draft IAR provided in s. 68(3)

“68(3) (3) For purposes of this section, origin to destination services refers to the overall package of transportation services that allows a specialized transportation service provider to provide, in a flexible way, transportation services in a manner that best meets the needs of persons with disabilities and includes door-to-door service, if required.”

In its final version, section 68(3) provides:

“68      (3) For purposes of this section, origin to destination services refers to the overall package of transportation services that allows a specialized transportation service provider to provide, in a flexible way, transportation services in a manner that best meets the needs of persons with disabilities.”

The public transit sector should not take from this that door-to-door service is no longer an essential part of para-transit services. Given the longstanding inclusion of door-to-door services within para-transit services, if a para-transit service were to try to use this wording change to suggest that they need not provide door-to-door service where needed, they would have a very tough time justifying such conduct.

28. Section 75 deals with school transportation. An addition was made to the provision which does not seem to make an obvious difference from the perspective of persons with disabilities. Added to the definitions in this provision is the following in s. 75(5):

“75(5) transportation provider” includes an entity or person that has entered into an agreement with a board for the transportation of students under subsection 190 (6) of the Education Act.

29. Section 76 deals with transportation services provided by public sector organizations that are not primarily in the business of transportation. The final version of the IAR includes a new s. 76(2). It was likely added at the request of the obligated sectors. We did not request this. It does not seem to have any major significance from the disability perspective.

This new provision now states:

“76(2) For purposes of subsection (1), transportation services do not include campus security services provided by a designated public sector organization described in paragraph 3 or 4 of Schedule 1.”

30. Sections 78 deals with the duty of municipalities to make bus stops and bus shelters accessible. The final IAR includes improvements to increase these requirements to some extent, beyond those in the February 1, 2011 draft IAR.

The February 1, 2011 draft IAR required municipalities to develop accessibility criteria for “construction or replacement of bus stops and shelters” in consultation with their Accessibility Advisory Committee and with persons with disabilities. The final version of the IAR requires these accessibility criteria to also apply to renovation of bus stops and shelters.

31. Section 78(2) of the February 1, 2011 draft IAR required a municipality to "identify planning for accessible bus stops and shelters …in its accessibility plan." On our recommendation, the final version of the IAR’s s. 78(2) adds to this a requirement that these measures in the municipalities’ accessibility plan must include “any steps that will be taken to meet the goal of accessible bus stops and shelters.”

Thus, municipalities must not only come up with accessibility criteria for bus stops and shelters; they must also develop strategies to act to make bus stops and shelters accessible.

32. The final version of the IAR also added this requirement to the duties of municipalities to plan for accessible bus stops and shelters:

“78(3) Where a municipality has entered into arrangements with a person respecting the construction of bus stops and shelters in its jurisdiction, the municipality shall ensure that the person participates in the consultation and planning as described in subsections (1) and (2).”

33. Section 79 of the final version of the IAR deals with the duties of municipalities to get more accessible taxis on the road. Section 78(3) of the February 1, 2011 draft IAR required each municipality to “consult with its municipal accessibility advisory committee, the public and persons with disabilities to determine the proportion of on-demand accessible taxicabs required in the community.”

The final version of the IAR retains this requirement. Section 78(4) of the February 1, 2011 draft IAR also required municipalities to “identify progress made toward meeting the need for accessible taxicabs in its accessibility plan…” The final version of the IAR adds in s. in s. 79(2) a duty of municipalities to include in their accessibility plan “any steps that will be taken to meet the need” i.e. for accessible taxi cabs. This requires more action by municipalities.

34. Section 80 of the final IAR also addresses requirements for taxi cabs. These were originally set out in the February 1, 2011 draft IAR in s. 79.

The final version of the IAR adds this new requirement:

“80(3) Any municipality that licenses taxicabs shall ensure that owners and operators of taxicabs make available vehicle registration and identification information in an accessible format to persons with disabilities who are passengers.

(4) The information in subsection (2) shall meet the requirements of subsection 58 (3).”

It is our position that this, for example, mandates a taxi having its registration and identification information displayed in Braille in the taxi in a way that is accessible to passengers.

Compliance and Enforcement Provisions

35. Section 84 deals with an obligated organization seeking to get a review of an order issued against it under the AODA for non-compliance. The final version of the IAR adds a new provision, section 84(4). It provides:

“84(4)  If the director reviewing the order finds that the amount of the administrative penalty is excessive or punitive in the circumstances, the director shall reduce the amount of the penalty.”

LINKS TO KEY DOCUMENTS ON THE RECENT HISTORY OF THE IAR’S DEVELOPMENT

If you are interested in seeing how the IAR evolved to its final form, there is a fascinating and detailed paper trail. We regret that the Ontario Government has not left that paper trail up on its website. To fill the gap, we have retained much of that paper trail on our website. Here are some of the key links:

1. To read our August 13, 2007 brief on the initial proposed Transportation Accessibility Standard, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/08132007-Support-BriefOnProposedTransportationAccessibilityStandard.asp

2. To read the final proposed Transportation Accessibility Standard, prepared by the Transportation Standards Development Committee, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/03172009.asp

3. To read our April 8, 2009 brief on the final proposed Transportation Accessibility Standard, prepared by the Transportation Accessibility Standard, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/04082009.asp

4. To read our January 22, 2009 brief on the initial proposed Information and Communication Accessibility Standard, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/01222009.asp

5. To read the final proposed Information and Communication Accessibility Standard, developed by the Information and Communication Standards Development Committee, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/10022009.aspu

6. To read our June 22, 2009 brief on the final proposed Information and Communication Accessibility Standard, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/06222010.asp

7. To read the initial Employment Accessibility Standard, developed by the Employment Standards Development Committee, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/04292009.aspu

8. To read our May 13, 2009 brief on the initial proposed Employment Accessibility Standard, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/05192009.asp

9. To read the final proposed Employment Accessibility Standard, prepared the Employment Standards Development Committee, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/03032010.asp

10. , To read our June 18, 2009 brief on the final proposed Employment Accessibility Standard, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/docs/0610-employment-aodaa-brief.doc

11. To read the September 2, 2010 summary of the proposed regulation that the McGuinty Government posted for public comment, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/09152010.asp

12. To read our brief, recommending improvements on that September 2, 2010 summary of the proposed regulation, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/10082010.asp

13. To read the February 1, 2011 draft of this regulation, which the McGuinty Government posted for public comment, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/02012011.asp

14. To read our March 11, 2011 brief, recommending improvements on the February 1, 2011 draft regulation, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/default.asp

15. To read the final IAR, enacted on June 3, 2011, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/default.asp