2004-2005 Accessibility Plan

THE SPEAKER, HON. ALVIN CURLING

ISSN 1710-5625

Introduction

In December 2001, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA) was passed into law. Its purpose is to improve opportunities for people with disabilities and to provide for their involvement in the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to their full participation in the life of the province.

One of the requirements under the ODA is that Ontario government ministries, municipalities, hospitals, school boards, colleges, universities, and public transportation organizations develop annual accessibility plans to make programs, services and buildings more accessible to people with disabilities. The plans must be made available to the public.

This document is the second annual accessibility plan for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario1. It highlights achievements of the 2003-04 plan and outlines commitments for 2004-05 so that no new barriers are created and existing ones are removed over time.

The Legislative Assembly intends to build on its achievements by continuing to make the Legislative Precinct inclusive and accessible.

1 As required under the Legislative Assembly Act, the Speakers' has responsibility for the Legislative Assembly building at Queen's Park.

Reports on Achievements of Year One Planning Commitments

1. Commitment

Creation of a working group to identify disability issues and barriers within the Assembly

Status:

Complete. Representatives on the working group come from all divisions within the Assembly. This is an active group with assigned responsibilities. The working group is accountable to Senior Management.

2. Commitment

Identification of remaining barriers.

Status

Once work is ongoing on commitments for year two, activities to date will be reviewed with Assembly staff and input sought on additional work that needs to be done. See below.

3. Commitment

Develop written guidelines for the purchase of equipment and services for the Assembly to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are considered when specific goods and services are purchased.

Status

Accessibility considered in the selection and design of a new library system, and in the design of a new administrative services system. Other work carried forward to year two. See below.

4. Commitment

Develop written guidelines and I or policies to accommodate those with physical disabilities to attend off-site committee hearings.

Status

Completed. To be posted on Assembly's intranet site.

5. Commitment

Ensure that all new content developed for the Assembly's website will be accessible.

Status

Ongoing with research on needs and preferences of people with disabilities being included in upcoming market research on redesigning the Assembly's Internet site. Research will include demand for information in plain language by people with low literacy, intellectual or learning disabilities. Carried forward to year two. See below.

6. Commitment

Continue to work with Publications Ontario to ensure that the Assembly's official publications are made available in alternative formats upon request.

Status

Ongoing. Journals Branch will continue to respond to requests for alternative formats.

7. Commitment

Expand accessibility training to include all staff of the Office of the Assembly.

Status

Carried forward to year two. Focus now placed on training of supervisors and managers. See below.

8. Commitment

Install a family washroom in the public area of the Assembly and upgrade female I male public washroom areas.

Status

Work to begin January 2005 for completion by March 31, 2005.

9. Commitment

Provide ASL interpreters for special events in the Chamber, e.g. the Speech from the Throne, budget, special visits, etc. (This would assist those who are viewing the event via television or from the floor of the Chamber).

Status

Ongoing.

Timetable

Based on holding of special events. See below.

10. Commitment

Install a television set with closed captioning in the Speaker's Gallery.

Status

Carried forward to year two. Feasibility study being conducted that will include costing options. See below.

11. Commitment

Improve signage and other navigational aids to highlight paths of travel for people with disabilities to all public areas in the Legislative Building.

Status

Proposal being prepared that will take into consideration security issues and user needs regarding development of a map showing key accessibility features of the Legislative Building such as elevators, handicapped parking, and ramps. Improved illumination completed for North Parking Lot.

12. Commitment

Post international symbols of accessibility on the Assembly website to indicate accessibility and availability of alternate formats and TTY equipment. Similar symbols should be included in notices of both on and off-site committee meetings. Accessibility symbols will be added as part of the upcoming design of the Assembly website.

Status

Carried forward to year two. See below.

Commitments and Strategies for Year Two

1. Commitment

Develop written guidelines for the purchase of equipment and services for the Assembly to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are considered when specific goods and services are purchased.

Status

Carried over from year one.

Action

Written guidelines will be developed for the purchase of equipment and services for the Assembly and where applicable, the specifications in the procurement document will clearly articulate all the accessibility requirements for immediate acquisition or provide for the acquisition of goods and services to meet accessibility requirements should there be a determination that accessible goods or services will be needed in the future.

Timeframe

June 2005

2. Commitment

Ensure that all content developed for the Assembly's website is accessible.

Status

Replaces previous commitments to make new content accessible and to develop plain language content.

Action

Web Management Team will include research on needs and preferences of people with disabilities in upcoming market research, in preparation for redesigning the Assembly's Internet site. Research will include demand for information in plain language by people with low literacy, intellectual or learning disabilities.

Timeframe

Market research to be completed by March 31, 2005. Note: Extent and timing of introduction of plain language content depends on outcome of market research

3. Commitment

Expand accessibility training to include supervisors and managers of the Office of the Assembly.

Status

Replaces previous training commitments which were limited to staff in frequent contact with the public.

Action

Human Resources Branch will develop a training plan. Staff will be asked to provide input into the training plan and identify areas and individuals to be included.

Timetable

March 2005

4. Commitment

Install a family washroom in the public area of the Assembly and upgrade female|male public washroom areas.

Status

Carried over from 2003 | 2004

Action

Precinct Properties is overseeing the planning and installation.

Timetable

To begin January 2005 for completion by March 31, 2005

5.  Commitment

Provide ASL interpreters for special events in the Chamber, e.g. the Speech from the Throne, budget, special visits, etc. (This would assist those who are viewing the event via television or from the floor of the Chamber).

Status

Ongoing

Action

Responsibilities for arranging for interpreters at needed special events to be clarified.

Timetable

March 2005

6.  Commitment

Install a television set with closed captioning in the Speaker's Gallery.

Status

Carried over from 2003I2004

Action

Prepare a feasibility study with costing options being undertaken for closed captioned TV and other technologies. The study will be prepared in consultation with Broadcast and Recording Branch and Hansard Branch.

Timetable

January 2005

7. Commitment

Improve signage and other navigational aids to highlight paths of travel for people with disabilities to all public areas in the Legislative Building.

Status

Action   Combines previous commitments to develop a map and signage for paths of travel within the public areas of the Legislative Building. Proposal for signage improvements that will incorporate recognized standards for signs and input from people with disabilities being prepared.

Analyze security issues and user needs regarding development of a map showing key accessibility features of the Legislative Building such as elevators, handicapped parking, and ramps.

Timetable

Signage proposal to be completed by December 31, 2004.

Analysis of map issues to begin after security planning meetings (currently underway) are complete.

8. Commitment

Post international symbols of accessibility on the Assembly website to indicate accessibility and availability of alternate formats and TTY equipment. Similar symbols should be included in notices of both on and off-site committee meetings.

Status

Carried over from 2003 | 2004

Action

Web Management Team will add accessibility symbols as part of upcoming redesign.

Timetable

Implementation of redesigned site is planned for 2005I2006.

9. Commitment

Increase Accessibility Committee's knowledge of assistive technologies.

Status

New

Action

Visit local resource centres such as the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre at the University of Toronto and the Bloorview MacMillan Children's Centre.

Timetable

November 2005

10. Commitment

Redesign of Chamber lobbies (Government and Opposition) to improve accessibility for those who work in them.

Status

New

Action

Complete construction

Timetable

Work to be completed by March 31, 2005

11. Commitment

Publicize Assembly accessibility on the Assembly's Internet site.

Status

New

Action

Publish a web page describing features and services available to visitors to the Legislative Building and users of Assembly publications and other services.

Timetable

January 2005

12. Commitment

Publicize accessibility of the Legislative Building in Access Guide Canada website.

Status

New

Action

Investigate whether a suitable category exists for the Legislative Building. If so, write up and submit an entry.

Timetable

January 2005

13. Commitment

Create awareness of Accessibility Committee by publicizing its activities within the Assembly.

Status

New

Action

Publish committee mandate, membership, minutes, reports, resource material on the Assembly intranet.

Timetable

November 2005

14.  Commitment

Identification of remaining barriers.

Status

New

Action

Once work underway on commitments for year two, activities to date will be reviewed with Assembly staff and input sought on additional work that needs to be done.

Timetable

March 2005


For more information on the Legislative Assembly's Accessibility Plan, please contact:

Vicki Whitmell, MLS Executive Director Legislative Library

Legislative Assembly of Ontario

416-325-3939 vicki_whitmell@ontla.ola.org