The trajectory of the AODA
It would seem that there is some movement towards a more motivated government with regards to leadership and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Released recently in the year is the path to 2025, Ontario’s Accessible Action Plan (June 3, 2015) which focuses on three main areas of interest. These areas are a renewed interest in engaging with business, strengthening the foundation of (what I like to call) holistic accessibility, and building a culture of accessibility. Another focus of this plan is to engage with employers and launch funding projects that will assist employers in attracting and employing people with disabilities into the workforce.
Of interest, in response to the Mayo Moran review, the Government of Ontario launched a renewed approach to assuring that accessibility is again a main focus within the province. Whether this will ensure that accessibility is a cross cutting value is yet to be seen but at the half way point between when the law came into effect and the final requirements are to be met, it is at least encouraging to see that the Government has stepped up to the plate. Battling systemic barriers is also one of the hardest concepts to grasp when business structure is so far removed from being genuinely inclusive.
So, we now have a focus on government leadership, followed by a heightened campaign for public awareness in which the Pan AM games was to play an important part. While the Pan AM games leave many of my fellow Torontonians with a weakened pulse, the games can potentially benefit as a focal point on which to place achievements in terms of accessibility. Whether they have or not is a topic for another discussion to be had after the games have closed. Recommendations towards the implementation of more thorough compliance support and enforcement have also been heard by the province as plans to rectify more comprehensive measures are being put into place.
What is important to remember is that it is organizations on the ground that have traditionally shown forward movement with regards to the AODA, and the Mayo Moran Review was an encapsulation of general feelings of Ontario Business. I like to think that it was the initiatives that were organically grown from organizations that just ran with AODA that had the effect of initiating advanced discussion on the AODA and what it means to Ontarians as a whole.
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