Accessibility Standards Canada and the Government of Ontario moving toward a barrier-free Canada
Accessibility Standards Canada has signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the Government of Ontario. The agreements will improve efforts and coordination, and facilitate sharing of resources dedicated to creating a Canada without barriers.
- The first agreement was signed with the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility (MSAA). It aims to optimize each organization’s objectives by reducing or eliminating the duplication of resources and efforts. This could entail information sharing and collaborating on joint research needs.
- The second agreement was signed with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH). It will specifically focus on the area of the built environment and encourage collaboration on the development of accessibility standards for building codes.
In Canada, federal, provincial, and territorial governments develop policy and other instruments within their respective jurisdictions. On occasion, there is potential for two or more jurisdictions to establish a collaborative approach. This allows for coordinated efforts and resources to achieve similar or complementary policy objectives.
These MOUs encourage parties to consider each other’s respective priorities and joint research needs. This may include aligning or harmonizing work on the development, review and implementation of accessibility standards, where possible, while respecting each jurisdiction’s legislative responsibilities for developing accessibility standards.
National collaboration on accessibility carries benefits for all Canadians:
- It reduces the potential for differing accessibility standards across Canada;
- It ensures that standards fully reflect the needs of people with disabilities, regardless of jurisdiction; and,
- It promotes equity and consistency of accessibility for people with disabilities as they live, work and travel in Canada.
Accessibility Standards Canada is committed to working with all provinces and territories to create similar agreements. Together, we can deliver on our respective accessibility mandates while contributing to a Canada without barriers.
“People with disabilities deserve accessible, equitable, and inclusive systems regardless of jurisdiction. Accessibility Standards Canada is doing vital work with provincial and territorial governments, like the Government of Ontario, to ensure that accessibility standards are more harmonized across the country. The agreements announced today with the Government of Ontario mark a major achievement towards building a barrier-free Canada.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development & Disability Inclusion
“The Ontario government is identifying, removing and preventing barriers for people with disabilities to help make our province and country more inclusive. Working together with Accessibility Standards Canada, we will help create a society where everyone can participate in their communities and the economy.”
– The Honourable Raymond Cho, Ontario Minister for Seniors and Accessibility
“Ontario’s new agreement with Accessibility Standards Canada is a significant step forward in our goal to create an accessible, barrier-free province for all of our citizens. Our partnership will also help inform changes to be included in the next edition of Ontario’s Building Code and strengthen our already high standards for ensuring buildings and public spaces are accessible for people with disabilities.”
– The Honourable Steve Clark, Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
“We are excited to collaborate with the Government of Ontario. A collaboration such as this one allows us to have a greater positive impact on the lives of all Canadians. It will allow for consistency of accessibility to contribute to a seamless and inclusive experience across Canada. Our ultimate goal is to work with all provinces and territories to create similar agreements. We all benefit when we share lessons learned to create standards so that all can profit from a barrier-free Canada.”
– Philip Rizcallah, Chief Executive Officer, Accessibility Standards Canada
Accessibility Standards Canada has signed five MOUs to date. Similar agreements have been signed with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services, the British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing and the British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.
These MOUs formalize a mutually beneficial working relationship between Accessibility Standards Canada and the Government of Ontario that acknowledges their complementary roles relating to accessibility standards and research.
Both agreements promote collaboration and coordination of efforts with the aim of an inclusive Ontario and Canada without accessibility barriers.
Ontario was the first province to sign an MOU with Accessibility Standards Canada. The MOU with the Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility was officially signed on April 28, 2022. It will look to optimize each organization’s objectives by reducing or eliminating the duplication of resources and efforts. This could entail information sharing and collaborating on joint research needs.
The MOU with the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing was officially signed on October 19, 2022. It is specific to the built environment. It helps to outline how Accessibility Standards Canada will work with Ontario to make informed decisions to adopt or adapt Accessibility Standards Canada standards, completely or in part, as part of Ontario’s building code amendment process.
Where possible, the harmonization of standards seeks to optimize everyone’s individual and collective objectives. Sharing knowledge and best practices reduces and eliminates the duplication of resources and efforts to benefit all Canadians.
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
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