Message from the Secretary of the Cabinet

Our new OPS Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) for 2017–2021 outlines how we will continue to remove and prevent accessibility barriers. This new plan builds on what we have accomplished since we introduced our first five-year plan in 2012 that laid out a comprehensive roadmap to make the OPS an accessible employer.

For the 9th consecutive year, the OPS has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers and this success demonstrates our commitment to helping people with disabilities participate meaningfully within our organization. We are also committed to having the right policies, procedures, and governance structures in place to ensure that the OPS provides people with disabilities across our province with accessible public services.

Ontario’s population and workforce are changing. Right now, almost one in seven Ontarians has a disability. As the proportion of Ontarians age 65 and older increases over the next 20 years, that number could reach one in five. These facts only underscore the importance of providing inclusive and accessible services.

Information technology is also changing the way Ontarians work and access public services. To meet these new expectations, Ontario is striving to become a modern, digital government. Understanding our diverse customers and their needs will be at the core of this success.

While we still have a lot of work to do to make the OPS a more accessible and inclusive organization, I am proud of our achievements to date and our ongoing commitment to show leadership as an accessible and respectful employer and service provider.

Steve Orsini
Secretary of the Cabinet


Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), Ontario organizations, including the OPS, are required to develop multi-year accessibility plans to help make Ontario accessible by 2025.

The province’s first plan, ‘Accessibility in the Ontario Public Service: Leading the Way Forward’ covered the period of 2012–2016.

The new OPS Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) builds on this work and reaffirms the government’s commitment to accessibility across the OPS.

An accessible OPS means…

  • Persons with disabilities receive quality goods and services in a timely manner.
  • Information and communications are available in accessible formats to all OPS employees, clients and customers.
  • Persons with disabilities are able to participate fully and meaningfully as OPS employees.
  • There is greater accessibility into, out of, and around OPS facilities and public spaces.
  • OPS employees are able to continually identify barriers to accessibility and actively seek solutions to prevent or remove them.

The 2017–2021 OPS MYAP is based on best practice research, as well as input from OPS employees and accessibility stakeholders. It is organized around the following standards and general requirements of the AODA.

The five standards are:

  • Customer Service
  • Information and Communications
  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • Design of Public Spaces

The general requirements are:

  • Procurement
  • Training

Our 2017–2021 priorities and commitments

The new five-year accessibility plan includes both new and continuing priorities and commitments that will help the government’s goal towards identifying, removing and preventing barriers to accessibility.

Customer service at the forefront

The Accessible Customer Service Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation requires the OPS to provide accessible public services for people with disabilities and to ensure that policies and procedures are in place to support this requirement.


  • An accessible OPS that includes ensuring people with disabilities receive quality goods and services in a timely manner, supported by effective policies, procedures, tools and resources that promote accessibility in customer service.

2017–2021 Commitments:


  • A new corporate customer service leadership table for senior management will be established with a mandate to foster excellence in accessible OPS customer service delivery to all Ontarians. Leaders will share best practices in different service delivery channels and collaboratively develop strategies for continuous improvement in accessible service delivery. [Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS)]

Policies and Practices

  • Review the OPS Accessible Customer Service Policy, Common Service Standards and OPS Service Directive and identify opportunities to reinforce and promote requirements that enhance accessible customer service. [Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS)]
  • Examine and address potential barriers at OPS public spaces, such as ServiceOntario centres. [All ministries]
  • Ensure that in the case of planned or unplanned service disruptions, notice is provided explaining the reason for the disruption, estimated duration, and any alternative facilities or services available. [All ministries]
  • The government’s work will align with the OPS digital government mandate, which will move more services online. Digital services will be accessible and result in an improved customer experience. [All ministries]


  • Ensure that all employees continue to complete mandatory training, such as the “May I Help You” course, and other foundational training in a variety of formats, including in-class, events, and e-learning, on Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation requirements and disability-related obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code. [All ministries]
  • Continue to promote training to support OPS excellence in accessible customer service. [TBS]

Clear and accessible communications

The Information and Communications Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation requires the OPS to communicate and provide information in ways that are accessible to people with disabilities.


  • Enhanced accessibility as it relates to communication supports, formats, and websites and web content.
  • OPS staff have the tools and resources to effectively develop information and communications in accessible formats.

By delivering information and communications in accessible formats to all OPS employees, clients and customers, the government will support the effective delivery of services.

As well, the OPS will regularly review compliance and focus on ways to improve accessibility in information and communications.

2017–2021 Commitments:

Standards and Resources

  • Develop and update standards and guides for accessible digital, marketing and media content in the OPS. [Cabinet Office (CO), MGCS]
  • Develop, provide and promote resources, using a variety of communications and training formats, including in-person sessions, guides, tutorials and testing methodology and tools, through a centralized OPS repository for staff seeking advice and guidance related to accessible documents (e.g., PowerPoint, Excel, Word, use of PDFs, etc.). [TBS, Ministry of Community and Social Services]

Web Platforms

  • Continue to implement the platform to ensure it is accessible, and will provide templates and guidance to ministries on accessible web content. [CO]
  • Provide a fully accessible platform — InsideOPS — for all ministry intranets that can host accessible web content created prior to 2012.[TBS]

Digital Services

  • Ensure that digital services are designed with accessibility at its core, striving for all users to have equal access to information and functionality. [All ministries]


  • Ensure all forms that are included in the government repository are accessible by 2020. Ministries can work with Forms Management Services to develop online forms that meet the highest standards of quality, usability and accessibility. [MGCS]


  • Provide consistent notices in OPS public spaces, such as ServiceOntario centres, and online notifications to the public regarding accessible formats and communications support, upon request. [All ministries]

Accessible Employment

The Employment Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation sets out accessibility requirements that the OPS must follow to support the recruitment and accommodation of employees. This includes preparing individualized emergency response information for persons with disabilities and making employment practices and workplaces more accessible for new and existing employees with disabilities.


  • Efforts will align with the province’s employment strategy for people with disabilities as the government works to ensure that more people with disabilities are employed, engaged and advancing in the OPS.
  • Accommodation practices will be reviewed to ensure people with disabilities are able to participate fully and meaningfully as OPS employees.

2017–2021 Commitments:


  • Continue to regularly review our human resources policies to prevent or remove systemic employment barriers, ensure they are compliant with legislation and reflect best practices. [TBS]


  • Collect more data to evaluate our recruitment, leadership development and accommodation practices and ensure that employment-related policies and programs are evidence-based. This will include a refreshed OPS employee survey that will provide new demographic insights that will inform future priority-setting. The survey includes questions on disability and accommodation, and the data collected can be used by ministries to inform program and policy decisions. The government will continue to monitor and integrate best practice research within OPS employment policies and programs. [TBS, MGCS]


  • The OPS will focus on the recruitment of persons with disabilities. This includes:
    • Mounting a targeted outreach strategy to showcase the Summer Experience Opportunities program as the preferred choice for students with disabilities. The OPS will also introduce voluntary collection of diversity demographic data on students exiting the program to monitor progress and identify opportunities for improvement. [MGCS]
    • Continuing to attract diverse talent by applying a new non-executive recruitment inclusion lens into all recruitment processes. This will help managers and recruiters to identify, mitigate, and eliminate potential biases and barriers and be more inclusive in all aspects of the recruitment process. The OPS will also reinforce inclusive hiring practices through manager and employee training on the use of this lens. [MGCS]

Learning and Development

  • Continue to build accessibility awareness through e-courses and in-class training for managers, such as training to respond to the needs of employees with an illness, injury, and/or disability through a Duty to Accommodate course. [MGCS]
  • Through the Diversity Career Champions Program, the OPS will leverage executive champions as mentors for staff from under-represented groups, including persons with disabilities, to support career development. [CO]
  • Employees will have access to training that helps them understand how hidden biases impact workplace interactions and how to prevent biases from negatively impacting others, including people with disabilities. [CO]
  • Promote principles and practices of respectful workplaces through training and resources that help:
    • Improve managers’ ability to intervene in workplace conflict, including potential harassment and discrimination
    • Promote employee responsibilities for contributing to respect in the workplace
    • Support employees to address low intensity rude or disrespectful behaviours that erode productivity, engagement, teamwork, diversity and service [MGCS]
  • Ensure that principles of “inclusive leadership” are embedded in the content of leadership development programs. These programs will also be enhanced to better meet the diverse needs of participants and reflect greater diversity. This will address concerns of employees who have reported having issues with recruitment, accommodation and career advancement. [TBS]
  • The nominations guide for the Internal Leadership Development Program will include a voluntary diversity question to encourage inclusive nominations to the program. Ministries will be reminded to ensure their nominations are diverse and inclusive of employees with disabilities.  [TBS]
  • Ensure materials and locations for talent management and career development discussions are accessible, including the talent management intranet. [TBS]
  • Ensure all materials, activities and learning methods for leadership programs and other corporately developed programs are in accessible formats, or will be made accessible upon request, to support the professional development and advancement of all employees. [TBS]

Employee Support

  • Embed a centralized disability support services model to provide better manager support and dedicated employee accommodation planning. [MGCS]
  • Continue to collaborate with service delivery partners to secure employee feedback that will help improve services under the OPS Disability Support Strategy. [MGCS]

Mental Health

  • Work with partners in mental health and addictions and the OPS mental health champions committee to develop an OPS mental health framework. This framework will include new strategic goals for the organization including employee wellness, empowered leaders, open culture, social responsibility and HR performance measures. It will outline ministry-specific and enterprise-wide initiatives that promote mental health well-being and awareness. Initiatives will include the continuation of the OPS Healthy Work Place, Healthy Mind Speaker Series and additional website resources and training. The framework will be promoted through executive champions tasked with demonstrating leadership in creating positive and inclusive workplaces. [MGCS]
  • Continue to provide and improve the Employee Assistance Program to support OPS employees in the areas of mental health and wellness through a wide range of supports and resources. [MGCS]

Transportation Made Easy

The Transportation Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation sets out the requirements to prevent and remove barriers to public transportation so that everyone can more easily travel in Ontario.

Much of the responsibility for removing barriers to transportation in Ontario resides with municipalities and public agencies. However, over the next five years, the OPS will provide support to help make transportation and related services more accessible to the people of Ontario.


  • The OPS continues to support the development of transportation services for the people of Ontario that are barrier-free. For example, emergency procedures on the Wolfe Island Ferry Services will include accessibility enhancements.

2017–2021 Commitments:

Ferries, Docking and Related Buildings

  • Build two new passenger ferry vessels over the next few years for service in the Kingston area. Accessibility features will be incorporated into the design of both ferries. [Ministry of Transportation (MTO)]
  • Add new, accessible docks, ramps and buildings at Amherst Island shore based terminals. The government will also look for ways to improve the accessibility of docking configurations and buildings at Wolfe Island terminal locations. [MTO]


  • Continue to help make transportation and related services in Ontario more accessible, affordable, convenient, and a safer mode of travel. All provincial transit funding programs will continue to require that any transit vehicles purchased with provincial funding must be fully accessible. [MTO]


  • Through the Community Transportation Pilot Grant Program (CT Program), the Ontario government will provide funds to municipalities and their local partners to improve transportation services for seniors, persons with disabilities, youth, and other residents who need transportation. CT Program funding will continue up to March 31, 2017, at which time the different models of coordinating community transportation will be evaluated to determine their effectiveness in addressing local demand for transportation service and service gaps. [MTO]
  • As part of the Remote Northern Airport Program, the OPS will install concrete walkways from airport terminal buildings to aircraft run-up pads to provide safer access for passengers with mobility disabilities when moving between the terminals and aircraft. [MTO]

Enhancing Accessibility of our Public Spaces

The Design of Public Spaces Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation requires the OPS to ensure that newly-constructed or significantly renovated public spaces (e.g., beach access routes and accessible parking) are accessible.

The OPS also complies with the Ontario Building Code’s requirements for accessibility in the built environment.


  • Greater accessibility into, out of and around OPS facilities and public spaces. This includes incorporating accessibility retrofits where possible during renovations.

2017–2021 Commitments:


  • With the input of accessibility stakeholders through an open government and open dialogue approach, the OPS will improve accessibility design requirements for the organization with the goal to move to universal design principles that comply with the Ontario Human Rights Code, Ontario Building Code and Design of Public Spaces standard. [Ministry of Infrastructure (MOI)]
  • When constructing or renovating government facilities, all features, such as elevators, doors, washrooms, parking, and furnishings, will be fully accessible. [MOI]

Infrastructure Planning and Projects

  • Develop a Long Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP) that will include a description of the state of government-owned infrastructure assets, a description of anticipated infrastructure requirements and a strategy to meet these requirements. The LTIP will ensure that infrastructure planning is integrated and aligned with other provincial plans and strategies, including accessibility requirements under the AODA, as well as Ontario’s commitment to building an accessible province by 2025. Ontario will release this plan in 2017. [MOI]
  • Continue to prioritize accessibility in every element of the infrastructure projects at government owned facilities and properties. [MOI, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF)]
  • User groups will be engaged during infrastructure project planning, design and implementation stages. [MOI, MNRF]
  • The reconstructed Macdonald Block Complex will be a modern, efficient and environmentally responsible workplace that supports greater collaboration and innovation, and showcases Ontario’s leadership in accessibility. The new work space will be more accessible, accommodate employees of varying abilities and act as a model for the province. [MOI]
  • Ensure that accessibility is addressed in the negotiation of new OPS leases and lease renewals. [MOI]

Ontario Parks

  • Continue mandatory accessibility training on the Ontario Building Code, Design of Public Spaces standard, and the Ontario Human Rights Code for Ontario Parks' staff involved with capital project planning, design and construction or major renovation. [MNRF]
  • Provide more barrier-free campsites, comfort stations, parking spots and leisure areas and greater access to shorelines in Ontario Parks. [MNRF]


  • Continuously improve the physical accessibility of our ServiceOntario centres, removing barriers and providing accessible alternatives, so that all customers may be served in a manner that respects their dignity and independence. [MGCS]

Demonstrating Accessible Procurement

Under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation, the OPS is required to incorporate accessibility design, criteria and features when procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities, except where it is not practicable to do so.


  • A procurement program for the OPS that considers the needs of people with disabilities at all stages of the procurement process to help ensure that goods and services at government facilities are accessible.
  • As one of Ontario’s largest purchasers, integrating accessibility considerations into the procurement process will have a significant positive impact.
  • Becoming barrier-free will also improve the opportunity of doing business with the Government of Ontario for all suppliers, including those with disabilities.

2017–2021 Commitments:

Directives, Guidelines and Practices

  • Continue to communicate to vendors their obligations to meet accessibility requirements, including issues relating to non-compliance, for example remediation and disqualification. [TBS]
  • The OPS Procurement Directive is under review to ensure that procurement rules enable the achievement of government objectives, including those that support enhanced accessibility. The government will leverage the OPS procurement framework to encourage more ministries to contract with vendors who employ underrepresented groups. [TBS]
  • Implement Social Enterprise Procurement Demonstration Projects to increase government purchasing from social enterprises [Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, MGCS]

Supply Chain Leadership Council

  • Establish report-backs on accessibility for all Supply Chain Leadership Council (SCLC) procurements, as applicable, which will include the number of ministry business cases for procurement projects assessed and approved for compliance with accessibility requirements. [TBS]
  • Update SCLC procurement-related tools and templates to further enhance accessibility. [TBS]


  • Promote and monitor ongoing mandatory accessibility procurement training. Training will be provided through a variety of training methods, for new and existing employees, as appropriate to their job duties, to educate them on common understanding of obligations under the AODA. [TBS, MGCS]
  • Continue to ensure that accessibility criteria are incorporated in procurement processes and platforms. Training and additional resources, such as templates, sample accessibility language and guidelines, will also be available to help staff understand accessibility requirements and how to embed accessibility at all stages of procurement. [MGCS]

Macdonald Block

  • The reconstruction of the Macdonald Block Complex is being delivered as an Alternative Financing and Procurement project. Accessibility has been identified as a key objective of the project and various accessibility requirements will be incorporated into the Request for Proposals. [MOI]

Governance, Policies and Legislation

In addition to the Standards under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation, the OPS is committed to going beyond to ensure that barriers to accessibility are identified and addressed across the organization.


  • Clear roles and accountability at all levels of the organization.
  • Employees are supported to identify barriers to accessibility and actively seek solutions to prevent and remove them.
  • Updated or new policies and legislation that are barrier-free.

2017–2021 Commitments:

  • Set up a new OPS enterprise governance and accountability framework for the oversight of the MYAP. [OPS Accessibility]
  • MYAP leads will develop implementation plans with deliverables, timelines and performance measures, and will monitor and report on progress and results. [All ministries]
  • Implement the recommendations from the 2016 Enterprise Accessibility Review that focuses on opportunities to:
    • Provide greater clarity over roles and responsibilities in key areas, such as the accessible built environment and website compliance. [All ministries]
    • Strengthen quality assurance and monitoring processes to maintain compliance with the legislation. [All ministries]
    • Raise management and employee awareness of relevant corporate policies and guidelines. [All ministries]
    • Enhance employee training, knowledge and skills to support compliance. [All ministries]
  • Conduct future OPS-wide accessibility reviews. [TBS]
  • OPS Accessibility to lead the ongoing review of legislation and regulations with the goal of eliminating barriers for persons with disabilities. This builds on work with the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. [OPS Accessibility]
  • Ministries will review legislation, policies and guidelines to address accessibility barriers and build accessibility considerations into the design and implementation of any new legislation. [All ministries]
  • A re-designed accessibility review tool and training guide will be provided to ministries to support policy and program staff and legal counsel with this initiative. [OPS Accessibility and Ministry of the Attorney General]


As the OPS continues to prevent, identify and remove accessibility barriers, it is important for us to monitor and report on the progress and results in meeting the commitments in the five-year accessibility plan.

OPS MYAP status reports will be released annually and shared with the public and OPS employees. Annual status reports from 2012 onwards can be found on Ministries' annual accessibility plans and progress reports are also posted online.

The OPS compliance reports will also be submitted to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.

Moving forward together, the OPS will become a more accessible employer, service provider and policy maker.

Contact Us

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