July 2016  |  View this email online
Ontario's Accessibility Standards: What you need to know.

Message from the Minister Responsible for Accessibility

Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for AccessibilityI am so pleased to have been appointed the new Minister Responsible for Accessibility. In this role, I will be responsible for helping people with disabilities realize their full potential, and for overseeing the implementation of our province's ground-breaking Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

As a champion for disability advocacy and as a former Chair of the Ontario Accessibility Standards Advisory Council, I will continue to support Ontario’s commitment to increasing accessibility in the province.

Ontario’s accessibility journey is well underway and I look forward to many more milestones and accomplishments. We will continue working together across government, industry and communities to build a province where inclusion, access and empowerment for people of all abilities are ingrained in everything we do.

This is an exciting time for our province with so much opportunity. Ontario’s Action Plan: The Path to 2025 charts a clear path forward and I am proud to lead the way.

Message from the Deputy Minister Responsible for Accessibility

Marie-Lison Fougère, Deputy Minister Responsible for AccessibilityAs a long-time public servant, I have been fortunate to experience a significant culture change over the last ten years in the Ontario Public Service. Prior to assuming my role as Deputy Minister Responsible for Accessibility, Francophone Affairs and Seniors Affairs, I acted as Interim Deputy Minister of the former Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. For eight years, I was Assistant Deputy Minister for the Strategic Policy and Programs Division, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, where I was responsible for strategic policy development and program design for both postsecondary education and labour market skills training. From 2005 to 2007, as Assistant Deputy Minister for the Office of Francophone Affairs, I was responsible for French-language services in the Ontario Public Service. I also have ten years of progressive experience at the Ministry of Education, in a variety of policy/program director portfolios.

I am proud to say that people with disabilities have been more fully recognized for the value and contributions they bring to our workplace, making it a thriving and inclusive environment.

This culture change is spreading across Ontario, as accessibility for people with disabilities is increasingly becoming part of everyday life in our province. More and more organizations are removing barriers to make it easier for people with disabilities to participate in their workplaces and communities.

It is an honour to have been appointed as the Deputy Minister Responsible for Accessibility, and I look forward to working with my colleagues at the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario to support the Honourable Tracy MacCharles as she steers us towards an accessible Ontario by 2025.
A barista working in a cafe

Changes to Ontario’s accessible customer service standard are now in effect

Changes to the customer service standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act came into effect on July 1, 2016.

As a result of these changes:

  • All employees (including volunteers, interns, students, etc.) must be trained on accessible customer service.
  • More types of regulated health professionals can provide documentation of a need for a service animal.
  • More specific information is provided to clarify that an organization can only require a support person to accompany someone with a disability for the purposes of health or safety and in consultation with the person. If it’s determined a support person is required, the fee or fare (if applicable) for the support person must be waived.
  • All accessibility standards – including the accessible customer service standard – are now part of one Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation. This means that the requirements are now better aligned to make it easier for organizations to understand their obligations.
  • Private sector and non-profit organizations with 20-49 employees no longer need to document policies (does not remove compliance or reporting requirements).

All organizations in Ontario with one or more employees must comply with the changes effective July 1, 2016.

All public sector organizations, and businesses and non-profits with 20 or more employees must submit their 2017 accessibility compliance report by December 31, 2017.

Learn more about how to make customer service accessible.

2016 Requirements recap

1-49 Employees

50+ Employees

Learn more about your current and upcoming requirements at

Top tools to help you comply

Accessibility Webinars

Accessibility Webinars

Sign up for free, interactive webinars to learn more about accessibility and your requirements.

Contact us if your organization is interested in partnering on an accessibility webinar on an area of interest to your members or employees.

Coming up:

Accessible customer service standard amendments: What you need to know

  • September 20, 2016: 2:00 – 3:00 pm
  • September 28, 2016: 1:00 – 2:00 pm

Register now

Young girls at an outdoor festival

Are you planning an event this summer?

Planning Accessible Events guideSummer is the time for local events across Ontario, like festivals, block parties and community meals. Do you belong to a service club, faith community or volunteer organization and want some quick tips on how to plan your event so guests with disabilities feel welcome?

Download Planning Accessible Events: So Everyone Feels Welcome now! Produced by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, this booklet contains information on low-cost and no-cost things you can do to make your event more inclusive.

You can also order free copies in English or French from the ServiceOntario Publications website or by calling 1-800-668-9938.
Reference Number: P1607


New training resource for volunteers now available

We’re excited to tell you about a new interactive online volunteering and accessibility training module, sponsored by the Ontario government.
The module is based on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and gives volunteers the information and tools they need to interact with and support people with disabilities. It leverages the successful accessibility training provided to 23,000 staff and volunteers for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.

View it now at SPARK Ontario, a website dedicated to connecting potential volunteers with volunteering opportunities throughout Ontario.

Trivia Spot

A classic television set
True or False:
The first television show to be captioned was a cooking show.
See answer

Help to grow the Hub!

The Accessibility Hub
The Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO) has launched the Accessibility Hub website,

Communities across Ontario have made significant strides toward improving the daily lives of people with disabilities. The Accessibility Hub is a new space where you can share and learn about accessibility innovation, practices, resources and tools.

If you have an idea for a blog, and/or wish to share projects and initiatives in your community, please email AMCTO’s Web Content Coordinator at

You can also follow the Hub on Twitter @AccessHubON

Tell us about your accessible workplace

We like to share stories about what organizations across Ontario are doing to make their workplaces accessible. Is there something you’re doing to meet or exceed accessibility standards that could inspire others? 

Tell us your story! You could be profiled in an upcoming edition of our newsletter, on social media or through our networks.
Canada's 150th anniversary

Ontario launches funding programs to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary

On July 1, 2017, Canada will celebrate a major milestone in our country’s history, the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada.
As a founding province, Ontario is joining the celebration with the launch of three new one-time, application-based funding programs.

Municipalities, community groups and not-for-profit organizations can apply for funding that will create social and cultural legacies through initiatives that support celebration, engagement and innovation in Ontario.

Learn more about how to apply to these programs at

Conferences and Connections

We travel all over Ontario spreading the word about accessibility at conferences and events. We also make virtual connections through webinars for organizations.

Let us know if you’re interested in having us do a presentation for you.

Recent events:

  • ReelAbilities Film Festival
    (May 2016)
  • Ontario Municipal Social Services Association Annual General Meeting (May 2016)
  • Accessibility Conference, University of Guelph (May 2016)
  • 2016 Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasures of Ontario Annual Conference (June 2016)

Upcoming events:

August 14 –  17:
Association of Municipalities Ontario AGM and Annual Conference,

September 14 – 16:
Ontario East Municipal Conference,

Trivia Spot Answer

True. In 1972, “The French Chef” with Julia Child made history as the first television program to use open captions, making it accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.
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