Ontario and Federal Governments Announce $44 Million for New Infrastructure at Centennial College But Announce No Strings To Ensure It’s Fully Disability-Accessible – Deeply Worrying After the AODA Alliance’s Online Video Shows Significant Accessibility Deficiencies at Centennial College’s Brand-New Culinary Arts Centre

December 1, 2016


1. Will Troubling History on Accessibility Repeat itself?

Here is yet more proof that the Ontario Government needs to agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard.

In a November 21, 2016 news release, which we set out below, the Ontario and Federal Governments jointly announce $44 million in new infrastructure spending for Toronto’s Centennial College, a community college operated under the Ontario Government. Yet no effective measures ensure that this new post-secondary infrastructure is fully accessible to students and faculty with disabilities.

Two days ago, on the 22nd anniversary of the birth of Ontario’s grassroots non-partisan movement that campaigns for strong accessibility legislation in Ontario, the AODA Alliance made public a striking video that shows a series of significant accessibility problems at the brand-new Culinary Arts Centre at the very same Centennial College that is to receive this massive infusion of Federal and Ontario infrastructure money.

To watch the AODA Alliance’s captioned 18-minute video on accessibility issues at the new Centennial College Culinary Arts Centre.

To watch a shorter 6-minute captioned version of the AODA Alliance’s Centennial College Culinary Arts Centre video.

We don’t single out Centennial College alone. Similar kinds of accessibility problems in other new public buildings show the Centennial College Culinary Arts Centre is symptomatic of a much bigger problem – one which a new Education Accessibility Standard could fix.

To watch CITY TV’s Breakfast Television Program’s Facebook stream, on the AODA Alliance’s “AODAfail” Twitter campaign, that focused on accessibility barriers at the new Women’s College Hospital and Ryerson University’s Student Learning Centre, that aired on November 14, 2016 (with captioning).

These new accessibility barriers in such public facilities work against achieving the mandatory 2025 deadline that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act sets for Ontario to become fully accessible to people with disabilities. They fly in the face of Premier Wynne’s 2014 election pledge that public money will never be used to create or perpetuate accessibility barriers against people with disabilities. They contradict the commitment in the Ontario Government’s 2011 Ten-Year Infrastructure Plan to ensure accessibility of new infrastructure in Ontario.

This all shows that the Ontario Government needs, at a first step, to at last agree to create an Education Accessibility Standard. It would set specific and effective requirements on what education organizations, like Centennial College, must do to ensure they become fully accessible to students and staff with disabilities. To ensure that students with disabilities can acquire the skills they need to get jobs in the Ontario economy, they need a disability-accessible education system, not just in terms of the built environment, but in terms of the information technology, and all other aspects of Ontario’s education system. It’s not just about physical barriers, though physical accessibility barriers are of course an important part of the problem.

It is wasteful, unfair and just plain wrong to leave it to each educational organization, like Centennial College, to have to figure this out themselves. Even when educational organizations want to get it right on accessibility, problems like this still occur. This is due to a lack of effective accessibility standards under the AODA or the Ontario Building Code and due to lax enforcement of the insufficient accessibility requirements that the Ontario Government has enacted.

On the eve of December 3, the United Nations’ International Day for People with Disabilities, we need our Governments to do better. The Wynne Government should honour the International Day for People with Disabilities by announcing that it will develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA. As the Federal Government works on developing its promised Canadians with Disabilities Act, it should start right now to ensure that its federal infrastructure spending never creates or perpetuates disability accessibility barriers.

2. Helpful Links

* The Ontario Government’s promise never to use public money to create or perpetuate accessibility barriers against people with disabilities is set out in Premier Wynne’s May 14, 2014 letter to the AODA Alliance, setting out her Government’s 2014 accessibility election pledges.

* To see the disability accessibility commitments in the Ontario Government’s 2011 Ten Year Infrastructure Plan.

* To see the AODA Alliance’s Discussion Paper on what an Education Accessibility Standard could include.

* For more background on the AODA Alliance’s call for the Ontario Government to agree to create an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA.

You can always send your feedback to us on any AODA and accessibility issue at aodafeedback@gmail.com

Have you taken part in our “Picture Our Barriers campaign? If not, please join in! You can get all the information you need about our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign by visiting www.www.aodaalliance.org/2016

To sign up for, or unsubscribe from AODA Alliance e-mail updates, write to: aodafeedback@gmail.com

We encourage you to use the Government’s toll-free number for reporting AODA violations. We fought long and hard to get the Government to promise this, and later to deliver on that promise. If you encounter any accessibility problems at any large retail establishments, it will be especially important to report them to the Government via that toll-free number. Call 1-866-515-2025.

Please pass on our email Updates to your family and friends.

Why not subscribe to the AODA Alliance’s YouTube channel, so you can get immediate alerts when we post new videos on our accessibility campaign.

Please “like” our Facebook page and share our updates.

Follow us on Twitter. Get others to follow us. And please re-tweet our tweets!! @AODAAlliance

Learn all about our campaign for a fully accessible Ontario by visiting http://www.www.aodaalliance.org

Please also join the campaign for a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act, spearheaded by Barrier-Free Canada. The AODA Alliance is proud to be the Ontario affiliate of Barrier-Free Canada. Sign up for Barrier-Free Canada updates by emailing info@BarrierFreeCanada.org


November 21, 2016 Federal Government News Release on More Federal and Ontario Infrastructure Spending at Centennial College

Originally posted at: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1157979

Canada and Ontario invest in post-secondary infrastructure at Centennial College

News Release Article from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

$44.2-million investment will create jobs, expand research and foster innovation

November 21, 2016 – Toronto, Ontario – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The Government of Canada values the role of post-secondary institutions as they help equip young Canadians with the education and training they need for future careers that will help them join a strong, healthy middle class. Today’s $44.2-million investment in Centennial College will do just that by fostering the training needed for the well-paying middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow.

The funding was announced today by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Michael Levitt, Member of Parliament for York Centre, was also on hand for the announcement.

Canada’s Innovation Agenda aims to make this country a global centre for innovation—one that creates jobs, drives growth across all industries and improves the lives of all Canadians. This investment exemplifies that vision in action.

Centennial College will receive $44.2 million for the creation of the new Centennial Downsview Park Aerospace Campus. This new campus, which incorporates part of the former DeHavilland building at Downsview Park, is the first phase in the development of an aerospace hub. In bringing together academic institutions and industry under one roof, this hub will stimulate and accelerate collaborative efforts in post-secondary curriculum enhancement, research and development, and technology commercialization.

Federal-provincial funding announced today for this project includes:
•$18.4 million from the Government of Canada; and
•$25.8 million from the Province of Ontario.

Centennial College and other sources will provide an additional $28.23 million, for a total project investment of $72.43 million.

In total, universities and colleges throughout Ontario will receive more than $1.9 billion from the Government of Canada, the provincial government, the institutions themselves and private donors. Federal funding will be allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which will enhance and modernize research facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.

As a result of these investments, students, professors and researchers will work in state-of-the-art facilities that advance the country’s best research. They will collaborate in specially designed spaces that support lifelong learning and skills training. They will work in close proximity with partners to turn discoveries into products or services. In the process, they will train for—and invent—the high-value jobs of the future. And their discoveries will plant the seeds for the next generation of innovators.

That is how the Strategic Investment Fund will jump-start a virtuous circle of innovation, creating the right conditions for long-term growth that will yield benefits for generations to come.

Ontario is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history—about $160 billion over 12 years—which is supporting 110,000 jobs every year across the province with projects such as hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit. Since 2015, the Province has announced support for more than 475 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life. To learn more about infrastructure projects in your community, go to Ontario.ca/BuildON.


“This once-in-a-generation investment by the Government of Canada is a historic down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation. That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into middle-class jobs and start-up companies into global successes. This investment will create conditions that are conducive to innovation and long-term growth, which will in turn keep the Canadian economy globally competitive.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Encouraging scientific awareness in Ontario and across Canada depends on supporting our world-class scientists and researchers. Through investments such as those under the Strategic Investment Fund, we are strengthening the foundation of our middle class and building Canada as a global leader in scientific excellence.”

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“We are focused on making sure our students have the skills to compete in the global marketplace. This new aerospace campus will benefit students and secure Ontario’s position as an innovator in the economy of the future.”

– The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

“This investment in Centennial College’s new aerospace campus, the first step in the development of an aerospace hub, will be transformative for Downsview and the surrounding area. The Government of Canada’s promotion of research and innovation will bring new jobs and growth to the area and will ensure that the Greater Toronto Area and Canada remain active global competitors in the aerospace industry.”

– Michael Levitt, Member of Parliament for York Centre

“Our government is proud to support Centennial College’s new Downsview Park Aerospace Campus. It will provide a leading-edge learning environment for students to prepare for high-tech knowledge jobs in the aerospace industry. Providing access to high-quality education and training facilities is critical to building the highly skilled workforce we need to support good jobs and economic growth for today and tomorrow, and this investment will help us to do it.”

– The Honourable Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development

“Centennial’s new training facility will anchor Ontario’s first aerospace industry cluster, deemed vital to meeting challenges to Canada’s fifth-place ranking as an aerospace technology provider in a global market. In addition, the rejuvenation of the historic de Havilland plant will benefit the local community by bringing new activity and will form a magnet for Canadian aerospace investment. It will also strengthen Centennial’s ranking as one of the top 10 applied research colleges in Canada.”

– Ann Buller, President and CEO, Centennial College

Quick facts

•The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are providing more than $950 million for research infrastructure at institutions across Ontario.
•Canada’s Innovation Agenda is designed to ensure our country is globally competitive in promoting research, translating ideas into new products and services, accelerating business growth and propelling entrepreneurs from the start-up phase to international success.
•The targeted, short-term investments under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund will promote economic activity across Canada and help Canada’s universities and colleges develop highly skilled workers, act as engines of discovery, and collaborate on innovations that help Canadian companies compete and grow internationally.
•The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund supports the Government of Canada’s climate change objectives by encouraging sustainable and green infrastructure projects.

Associated links

◦Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund website
◦Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund backgrounder
◦Innovation Agenda backgrounder

Follow Minister Bains on social media.
Twitter: @MinisterISED


Philip Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Search for related information by keyword
Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains Hon. Kirsty Duncan Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Economics and Industry