July 18th, 2012
The Honourable John Milloy, MPP
Minister of Community and Social Services
6th Floor, Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1E9
Dear Minister Milloy,
I am writing to inquire about the Accessible Built Environment Standard of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The Ministry of Community and Social Services has done an excellent job of consulting people with disabilities and other stakeholder groups in order to develop the new AODA standards, and I would like to thank you for your hard work.
The City of Toronto has been waiting for the province to pass the Accessible Built Environment Standard so that it can update its own policies and by-laws, and as a result it has been difficult for the City to make proactive choices around accessibility without provincial guidance. Without the standard in place, the City has had to delay changes to its own accessibility guidelines and policies.
The City of Toronto has continued to fulfill its obligations under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and has begun to implement the AODA standards enacted thus far. However, Since the Accessible Built Environment Standard has not yet been released, it is difficult for the City to determine the overall costs of AODA implementation.
I understand that the province has not committed to providing any funding for AODA implementation to municipalities as yet. Further, the delay in enacting the Accessible Built Environment Standard has decreased the amount of time municipalities have to budget for the requirements of the Standard. If the City is not able to meet the AODA's requirements in time, it will likely face administrative penalties. Thus it is important that the City is given sufficient time and guidance to budget for, and implement, the final Standard.
The final proposed Accessible Built Environment Standard was released almost two years ago, and the Ministry of Community and Social Services website indicates that work is still continuing. If your Ministry could provide an indication of when the Province plans to enact the standard, when policy guidelines explaining the standard will be made available, and whether or not the Province of Ontario will provide funding for the implementation of this standard, it would be greatly appreciated.
I look forward to working with you on these important initiatives on behalf of Torontonians with disabilities as well as their families, friends and coworkers.
Ward 22 – St. Paul's