Executive summary

Under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA), ministries are required to produce, and make available to the public, annual plans that identify how ministries will identify and remove barriers to accessibility.

Like all ministries, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH)   complies with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (ASCS) and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). These regulations establish phased-in requirements in the following accessibility standards:

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

In 2012, the Ontario Public Service (OPS) released its first multi-year accessibility plan (MYAP) entitled Accessibility in the Ontario Public Service: Leading the Way Forward.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s 2015 ODA Plan, celebrates the tenth anniversary of the AODA and demonstrates how the measures taken in 2015 and proposed for 2016 support the key outcomes and deliverables of the OPS MYAP as we continue on our path to an accessible Ontario in 2025.

Section one: report on measures taken by the ministry in 2015

Customer service

OPS MYAP key outcome

People with disabilities who are OPS customers receive quality goods and services in a timely manner.

Measures taken by MMAH in 2015

  • All ministry staff has completed the two "May I Help You?" e-learning modules on the requirements of the Accessibility Standards for the Customer Service Regulation. This training is mandatory for all ministry staff and training is tracked and recorded by the ministry’s Accessibility Lead. This training provided staff with information regarding the provision of accessible customer service through scenarios that demonstrate how to serve people with disabilities in ways that respect their dignity and independence.
  • Accessible Customer Service training at MMAH is not limited to the completion of the two mandatory "May I Help You?" e-learning modules. Last year, more than 150 ministry staff attended additional in-house training on:
    • Ontario Public Service accessible customer service policy
    • accessibility best practice tips and guidelines for inclusive presentations
    • accessible documents
    • accessible procurement
    • the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan
    • the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation
    • introduction to the Ontario Public Service Inclusion Lens

These training sessions help to ensure that ministry staff have a full understanding of commitments contained in the Ontario Public Service Accessible Customer Service Policy, our current obligations under the IASR and our duty to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities and fulfill disability-related accommodation requests.

  • Ministry-wide communication to staff through the ministry’s weekly electronic newsletter has continued as a method to both educate and reinforce that accessibility is a part of all Ontario Public Service business and should be embedded in staff’s day-to-day work. For example, the importance of surveys/evaluations with specific questions regarding the accessibility of our services has been emphasized to ministry staff as a method for ongoing improvement in our future initiatives.
  • Accessibility requirements have been taken into consideration when delivering education, training and information sessions. Client feedback on accessibility related issues have informed improvement to the way education, training and information sessions have been delivered by the ministry.
  • Venues for regional conferences were assessed to ensure they can accommodate varying needs. The use of accessible facilities and training materials demonstrates the commitment of MMAH's regional staff to the Ontario Public Service Accessible Customer Service Policy.
  • Meetings of the Building Materials Evaluation Commission, the hearings of the Building Code Commission as well as the sitting of qualification examinations were able to accommodate the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities. For example, the Building Materials Evaluation Commission established a scent-free policy to accommodate Commission members with sensitivities and formally notified all participants that accessibility accommodations are available.
  • The ministry continues to endeavour to improve the quality of services provided to customers with disabilities. An accessible customer feedback system on accessibility issues is available to the public and responses to all 100 email inquiries received this year were provided within two business days.
  • The Ontario Public Service enterprise-wide "Accessibility@Source" campaign was frequently promoted within the ministry as a means to educate staff on the various tools, resources and best practice guides available to ensure accessibility considerations are included in ministry goods and services and are a part of day-to-day operations.

Information and communications

MYAP key outcome

Information and Communications are available in accessible formats or with necessary supports to all OPS staff and customers.

Measures taken by MMAH in 2015

  • Ongoing training is key in order to increase staff’s accessibility knowledge. The two Ontario Public Service e-modules, "The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation in the OPS" and "Working Together – the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act" continued to be promoted within the ministry as mandatory training for new employees.
  • During the past year, the ministry ensured that content on its public website was accessible to persons with disabilities and conformed with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA , excluding live captioning and audio description. The Communications Branch developed and conducted 8 customized training sessions for 48 ministry staff on making documents accessible to meet WCAG requirements. All documents that are published on the ministry’s external website are reviewed for conformance with WCAG to ensure access for persons with disabilities.
  • In 2015, the ministry also upgraded its internal website and is making continuous efforts to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.00 Level AA as required under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR).
  • To increase awareness of the 2016 IASR web content compliance requirements, the ministry also published a weekly "Accessibility Tips" series with information and quick tips to help staff understand and meet WCAG requirements for publishing content on its website.
  • The ministry’s commitment to increasing accessibility knowledge for staff that creates information and communications products continued through the delivery of in-house training on such topics as accessible documents and inclusive presentations. More than 100 ministry staff attended the various training sessions delivered in June 2015 in recognition of National Access Awareness Week.
  • The promotion of corporately developed tip sheets, guides, webinars and online learning opportunities continued through various communication channels to staff, such as the ministry’s weekly electronic newsletter and postings on the "Accessibility at MMAH" intranet page.
  • In August 2015, various staff from the ministry attended the "Accessibility Innovation Showcase 2015". This event provided staff the opportunity to learn about innovative technology and assistive devices developed by Ontario companies.
  • Over the past year, the ministry continued to provide accessible alternate formats of ministry publications upon request.
  • The ministry reviewed and updated the Councillor’s Guide and the Line Fences Act Guide which are now in accessible formats.
  • The ministry continued to provide offers of accommodation in advertisement and/or promotional material for public events.
  • Ministry consultations for the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review, the reviews of the Municipal Act, 2001, the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Municipal Elections Act as well as the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act included electronic components to allow citizens, who may have difficulty attending public events, to participate online. The ministry also offered a teletypewriter service (TTY) as part of the public consultations for the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy Update in Spring, 2015.
  • Delivery of the Building Code examinations has been contracted to Humber College. As part of the contract, Humber College must provide and/or deliver Building Code Examinations in an accessible format. Information is available on MMAH's website on how to ask for accessible services .

Employment

MYAP key outcome

OPS employees with disabilities participate fully and meaningfully in their employment.

Measures taken by MMAH in 2015

  • Manager and employee awareness of the Accessibility Standards for the Customer Service Regulation and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation was enhanced by continuing to include the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Standards in the Employee and Manager Orientation website.
  • Mandatory learning commitment for managers on the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR Employment and Information and Communication Standards) and the Customer Service Regulation ("May I Help You? Welcoming Customers with Disabilities" and "May I Help You? Supplementary. Ten things you need to know about Accessible Customer Service") ensuring compliance with the Customer Service Regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005".
  • Mandatory learning commitment for managers on "Supporting a Respectful Workplace" through in-person sessions held for MMAH management.
  • Mandatory learning commitment for managers on "Disability Accommodation" and "Supporting and Managing Attendance" eCourses.
  • Staff were encouraged to attend the one-hour webinars for all Ontario Public Service employees on employment accommodation and the Attendance Support and Management Program (ASMP).
  • Customized in-house information sessions on the Ontario Public Service Multi-Year Accessibility Plan and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation provided during National Access Awareness Week in June 2015 increased staff awareness of employment accommodation compliance requirements. More than 50 ministry staff attended the event.
  • The completion of an Accessibility Assessment for procurement at the onset of a new physical security training program ensured the inclusion of accessibility considerations within the program.
  • The ministry consulted with a Health and Safety Advisor regarding accessibility considerations for the ministry’s First Aid Program.
  • A refreshed MMAH First Aid Guideline was posted on the ministry’s internal website and all guideline documents applied accessibility best practices to ensure content can be read by employees who use assistive technology.
  • The ministry reviewed the 2014 Ontario Public Service Employee Survey results for MMAH to identify any potential barriers to persons with disabilities.
  • In May 2015 the ministry hosted its seventh annual "Connexions" day. This all-day event was an interactive learning forum for Ontario university and college students with disabilities who are interested in pursuing policy and planning careers within the Ontario Public Service. Students were able to job shadow ministry staff and get advice on education and career planning and gain a perspective on how government operates. In addition students also learned how the Ontario Public Service recruits employees.
  • In late 2015, the ministry’s Accessibility Lead attended the 12th Annual JOIN Fall Employer Conference. The event’s theme was "Thinking Globally, Acting Locally – Learning Through Our Differences, Global Best Practices". The conference provided participants a forum to share inclusion and accessibility best practices and hear first-hand from a special panel of Canadian veterans and Wounded Warriors about their stories and struggles accessing the labour market.

Built environment

MYAP key outcome

There is greater accessibility into, out of and around OPS facilities and public spaces.

Measures taken by MMAH in 2015

  • The ministry entered into an agreement with George Brown College under which the College will update previous ministry training, develop new training products and deliver courses. This training continued to address the barrier-free (accessibility) requirements of the Code and was updated to reflect changes that came into force January 1, 2015.
  • MMAH and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario continued to work together to develop a Building Code Guideline for Barrier-Free Design to support updated Building Code requirements. Additional support material, such as technical appendix note and information for municipalities, is in development.
  • The ministry continued to deliver the Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) Extension Program that identifies persons with disabilities as one of the target client groups. The Ontario Renovates component of the IAH provides a grant of up to $3,500 for accessibility updates made to a home.
  • The ministry continued to work with the Pan Am Games Secretariat, Infrastructure Ontario, Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto to build affordable rental housing for the Pan/Parapan American Games Athletes' Village which transitioned after the Games into a permanent mixed-income community. The Village will maintain Fully Integrated Accessibility measures that were required for the Games and 10 per cent of the affordable rental housing units are fully accessible.
  • The ministry ensured that appropriate staff completed the corporately-developed e-learning module "Accessible Built Environment in the OPS". All identified staff within the ministry completed the training by the June 30, 2015 deadline.
  • Over the past year, the ministry has been implementing an accommodation consolidation project that reduced the office footprint and provided flexible and accessible space throughout the design. The project addressed requirements to ensure that all identified (staff) work station accommodation needs were addressed. The ministry worked with staff to complete furnishings for new collaborative spaces that provided common and meeting space for staff that included adjustable furniture and technology. In addition, all communication materials were provided in an accessible format and accessibility was considered in all procurements of products for the accommodation consolidation project.
  • The ministry also replaced all signage at its headquarters with new signs that are consistent with the "Guidelines for Barrier-Free Design for Ontario Government Facilities". Key considerations incorporated into the designs are raised or tactile lettering, non-glare finishes and the mounting of signs to meet height and location guidelines where practicable.
  • The ministry’s Accessibility Lead was consulted for feedback on the new First Aid Room and recommendations were implemented to ensure that there were no barriers for staff with disabilities.

General outcomes

MYAP key outcome

OPS staff are able to identify barriers to accessibility, in OPS policies, programs, services and facilities, and actively seek solutions to prevent or remove them on a continuing basis throughout the organization.

Measures taken by MMAH in 2015

  • A customized in-house information session on the OPS Inclusion Lens was provided to more than 40 ministry staff during the past year. The OPS Inclusion Lens is a multi-dimensional, web-based analytical and educational tool available to all staff that supports the user in how to develop and deliver inclusive, equitable, accessible and responsible initiatives.
  • Accessibility considerations are part of the ministry’s day-to-day operations and are included in our procurement practices. The ministry Accessibility Lead provided a customized information session on accessible procurement to 20 staff in order to educate them on the procurement compliance requirements contained in the IASR.
  • As required in the IASR, accessibility criteria and features were incorporated in the ministry’s procurement process so that goods, services and facilities are more accessible to persons with disabilities, except where it is not practical to do so.
  • The ministry mandates that a completed "Accessibility Assessment for Procurement" form be attached when submitting a Business Case for Procurement for review for all procurements of $10,000 or more. All assessments are reviewed by the ministry Accessibility Lead. Over the past year, MMAH completed over 20 Accessibility Assessments to help ensure that accessibility criteria were incorporated in our procurement processes.

Section two: report on measures proposed by the ministry for 2016

Customer service

MYAP Key Outcome

People with disabilities who are OPS customers receive quality goods and services in a timely manner.

Measures Proposed by MMAH for 2016

  • Mandatory training for all ministry staff will remain a key strategy for ensuring that staff are both aware of and know how to fulfill our accessible customer service obligations. For new staff, this training will include the enterprise-wide "May I Help You?" e-learning modules, as well as additional in-house refresher training to staff as needed. All training will be tracked and recorded by the ministry’s Accessibility Lead.
  • Ministry-wide communication to staff will continue as a way of promoting enterprise-wide tools and accessibility resources. This tactic will reinforce that accessibility is a part of all Ontario Public Service business, and will be communicated through weekly accessibility updates in the ministry’s electronic newsletter as well as feature intranet articles. The "Accessibility at MMAH" intranet web pages will continue to be updated to include any additional tools and resources developed for staff use.
  • Ongoing awareness to staff will continue as a reminder of the importance of including an "active offer of accommodation" when hosting both internal and external meetings. This best practice is an effective proactive method to ensure accessible services to our internal and external clients.
  • The importance of surveys/evaluations with specific questions regarding the accessibility of our services will continue to be emphasized to ministry staff as a method for ongoing improvement in our services and future initiatives.
  • Accessibility considerations will continue to be taken into account when delivering education, training and information sessions on ministry initiatives, which could include the Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015 (Bill 73). Client feedback on accessibility related issues will continue to inform improvement to the way education, training and information sessions will be delivered.
  • Venues for regional conferences, workshops and forums will be assessed to ensure they can accommodate varying needs.
  • Meetings of the Building Materials Evaluation Commission and the hearings of the Building Code Commission will accommodate the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities.
  • The ministry will continue to reinforce to staff the importance of communicating with persons with disabilities in a manner that takes into account their disability. This ongoing education to ministry staff will help ensure that persons with disabilities may access ministry information and communication products.
  • The ministry will continue to include opportunities for improvement and inform the public about the availability of accessible feedback processes with our commitment to provide responses to email inquiries within two business days.
  • The enterprise-wide "Accessibility@Source" and the new "Ready, Set, Access!" campaigns will continue to be communicated to staff as a means to demonstrate that accessibility continues to be a strong organizational commitment.

Information and communications

MYAP key outcome

Information and Communications are available in accessible formats or with necessary supports to all OPS staff and customers.

Measures proposed by MMAH for 2016

  • The ministry will adhere to its obligation to follow international Web Compliance Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA, excluding live captioning and audio description for its internet website and web content. The ministry will continue to utilize corporately- developed tools, testing methodology and training to support our ongoing website accessibility.
  • The ministry’s ongoing best practice of providing customized in-house training to staff will continue. In addition, the enterprise-wide training resources developed by the I&IT Accessibility Centre of Excellence will continue to be promoted within the ministry and staff will be encouraged to access the various online learning resources to build their capacity for creating accessible information and communication products.
  • The ministry will continue to provide accessible alternate formats of ministry publications upon request.
  • The ministry will continue to provide offers of accommodation in advertisement and/or promotional material for public events.
  • Accommodations for persons with disabilities will continue to be made upon request for public events.
  • All ministry consultations, such as the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review, will continue to be held in accessible venues, include an electronic component to allow citizens who may have difficulty attending public events to participate online and all communications materials intended for the general public will be made accessible upon request and available in plain language to support public input.

Employment

MYAP key outcome

OPS employees with disabilities participate fully and meaningfully in their employment.

Measures proposed by MMAH for 2016

  • The ministry will continue its tradition of hosting the annual "Connexions" program for college and university students with disabilities and recent graduates. To date, more than 130 students have participated in the program. The event demonstrates that the Ontario Public Service strives to ensure that anyone who is qualified and interested in working in the Ontario Public Service has an opportunity to pursue that goal. This event is also a valuable learning opportunity for ministry staff who participate in the planning for the event. Staff learn how to ensure that accommodation needs of all participants are met and that all communication products are accessible.
  • Any enterprise-wide communication on employment accommodation directives and policies will continue to be reinforced through the ministry’s electronic newsletter in order to increase awareness and understanding within the workplace.
  • Manager and employee awareness of the Accessibility Standards for the Customer Service Regulation and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation will be enhanced by continuing to include the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Standards in the Employee and Manager Orientation website.
  • Mandatory learning commitment for new managers on the following:
    • Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR Employment and Information and Communications Standards)
    • Customer Service Regulation ("May I Help You? Welcoming Customers with Disabilities" and "May I Help You? Supplementary. Ten things you need to know about Accessible Customer Service for compliance")
    • "Disability Accommodation" and "Supporting and Managing Attendance" eCourses
  • Mandatory learning commitment for MMAH managers to complete training on the OPS Inclusion Lens by March 2016.
  • Mandatory learning commitment for all staff on "Supporting a Respectful Workplace" will be implemented in 2016.

Built environment

MYAP key outcome

There is greater accessibility into, out of and around OPS facilities and public spaces.

Measures proposed by MMAH for 2016

  • The ministry and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario will continue to work together to develop a Building Code Guideline for Barrier-Free Design to support the updated Building Code requirements. Additional support material, such as technical appendix notes and information for municipalities is also under development.
  • The ministry will continue to work with George Brown College to update previous ministry training, develop new training products and deliver courses. This training will continue to address barrier-free (accessibility) requirements of the Code and was updated to reflect changes that came into force January 1, 2015.
  • The ministry will work with the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario to explore opportunities to further enhance accessibility requirements in the next edition of the Building Code.
  • The ministry will continue to deliver the IAH Extension Program that identifies persons with disabilities as one of the target client groups. The Ontario Renovates component of the IAH provides a grant of up to $3,500 for accessibility upgrades made to a home.
  • The ministry will continue to promote the corporately-developed e-learning module "Accessible Built Environment in the OPS" within the ministry as mandatory learning for new staff whose job responsibilities are impacted by the standard and as general interest learning for other staff within the ministry.
  • As part of MMAH's accommodation consolidation, the ministry continues to work with its partners to seek improvement in accessibility. Electronic door operators will be installed on all accessible washrooms at the ministry’s headquarters.
  • The ministry will also begin to upgrade its lobby doors in Toronto to improve security and opportunities to enhance accessibility.

General outcomes

MYAP key outcome

OPS staff are able to identify barriers to accessibility in OPS policies, programs, services and facilities, and actively seek solutions to prevent or remove them on a continuing basis throughout the organization.

Measures proposed by MMAH for 2016

  • The ministry Accessibility Lead will continue to offer customized in-house information sessions on the OPS Inclusion Lens to ministry staff as a means to strengthen accessibility awareness and ensure ongoing barrier removal in ministry policies, programs and practices.
  • The ministry will continue its promotion of the OPS Inclusion Lens tool across the ministry through notices in the ministry electronic newsletter and intranet articles in order to increase staff awareness and encourage the application of the OPS Inclusion Lens in the development of ministry programs and policies.
  • Accessibility considerations will continue to be part of the ministry’s day-to-day operations and will continue to be included in our procurement practices. The ministry Accessibility Lead will continue to offer customized information sessions on accessible procurement in order to educate staff on the procurement compliance requirements contained in the IASR.
  • As required in the IASR, accessibility criteria and features will continue to be incorporated in the ministry’s procurement process so that goods, services and facilities are more accessible to persons with disabilities, except where it is not practical to do so.
  • The ministry will continue to mandate that a completed "Accessibility Assessment for Procurement" form be attached when submitting a Business Case for Procurement for review for all procurements $10,000 or more. All assessments will be reviewed by the ministry Accessibility Lead.
  • The ministry Accessibility Lead will continue to be an active participant in the Ontario Public Service Accessibility Network to ensure that any enterprise-wide tools and resources are promoted and used within the ministry.
  • As part of our efforts for continuous improvement and barrier-removal, the ministry Accessibility Lead will promote the internal ministry "Ontarians with Disabilities Act mailbox" to encourage staff feedback on accessibility innovations and improvements.

Section three: addressing the identification of barriers in legislation

Introduction

The ODA establishes that a ministry’s accessibility plan shall include the measures in place to address the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to persons with disabilities in the Acts, regulations, policies, programs and services administered by the ministry.

In 2005, the government introduced the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, with the goal of making Ontario accessible by 2025. In support of this goal, the government subsequently committed to review Ontario legislation to identify and address accessibility barriers, and undertook a coordinated review of 51 statutes considered to have a high impact on persons with disabilities. This review has now been completed.

Our ministry remains committed to the goal of ensuring that Ontario legislation does not create barriers to persons with disabilities. We will continue to report through our accessibility plan, the actions taken to identify and remove barriers in ministry Acts, regulations, policies, programs and services and those to be reviewed in the coming year. The findings of the coordinated review of high impact statutes will guide our ministry’s approach to carry out this work.

Measures currently in place

The following measures are in place to assess our ministry’s proposals for new Acts, regulations, policies and programs and services to determine their effect on persons with disabilities:

  • Ongoing collaboration with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) including:
    • OHRC presentations to regional planners at forums and conferences to help staff better understand human rights issues relating to Code identified groups (including Ontarians with disabilities) as they pertain to municipal decision-making on land use planning and housing matters.
    • information sharing with OHRC for their comments and perspectives on various municipal land use planning documents.

Actions taken in the past year

In 2015, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing took the following actions to address barriers in its Acts, regulations, policies, programs, practices and services in response to identified barriers:

  • the ministry continued to review accessibility issues in the five-year review of the Municipal Act, 2001 and the City of Toronto Act, 2006 in addition to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. A discussion guide and discussion questions for the reviews were accessible for public use in addition to the variety of ways the public could submit comments for the reviews.
  • the ministry commenced a review of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 following the 2014 municipal elections. Accessibility was one of the themes of the discussion guide the ministry used to gather feedback on the legislation.

In the coming year, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing will review the Acts, regulations, policies, programs, practices and/or services listed below, for barriers to persons with disabilities:

  • the ministry will continue to review accessibility issues in the five-year review of the Municipal Act, 2001 and the City of Toronto Act, 2006, in addition to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.
  • the ministry will continue to review the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 following the 2014 municipal elections. Accessibility is one of the themes of the discussion guide the ministry uses to gather feedback on the legislation.
  • the ministry will work with the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario to explore opportunities to further enhance accessibility requirements in the next edition of the Building Code.
Updated: July 21, 2021
Published: March 11, 2016