Accessibility Standards (ASC)

Accessibility Standards Committee

Chair:  Sousan Zaribaf
Click here for Chair's background.


Welcome to the Accessibility Standards Committee!  We are working on raising awareness about barriers and concerns related to full participation of persons with disabilities who live and work in Ontario.



The government has just released three new accessibility standards:


All three standards are in one regulation, called the Integrated Accessibility Standards regulation.



The Accessible Built Environment standards (e.g., buildings, parks, outdoor areas) are still under development


The Accessible Customer Service standards are now law. The private sector, including not-for-profit organizations, will need to comply by January 1, 2012.  Government, municipalities, school boards, colleges, universities and hospitals are already in compliance with the accessible customer service standards.


Click here to find out what the Accessible Customer Service standards require.


A Martin Prosperity Institute report shows that improved accessibility could help Ontario's tourism sector generate up to approximately $1.5 billion in new revenue, and consumer retail sales to rise by up to $10 billion.  Click here to find out why it makes economic sense to be accessible.


We are also monitoring Federal standards for transportation:


Click here to see our Terms of Reference (under development).

Click here to see who is on our Committee.

Click here for articles and issues.


Independent Review of the AODA



A positive editorial citing some of the right reasons for setting standards for accessibility.  We recognize the rationale voice of Durham Region News. 

Helping Employers Expand Their Talent Pool - Ontario is partnering with the Business Takes Action project to create opportunities for people with disabilities and help employers make their workplaces more accessible.

Toronto Port Authority proposes an underground tunnel and pedestrian walkway to its Island airport, but so far it looks like accessibility for travellers is not part of the plan.  Link to: Toronto Star news article (August 24, 2009) and Toronto Star news article (August 24, 2009)

Ontario Seeks Input On Draft Accessibility Standard - The Built Environment

With more member involvement, we could do more!

Our Committees always welcome new members who share CWDO’s mission and values.  We meet as needed, using the IDEAL Conference® system.

To join this Committee and to find out the next meeting date, please contact the Committee Chair.   You must first be a member of CWDO to join a committee, and have the Chair’s approval. 

If you are new, you will need to complete and send us a Membership Form.

Please review our IDEAL Conference® instructions to find out how to participate on a Committee.

CWDO's On-line Town Hall on the AODA – Tuesday, March 25, 7:30 PM

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was last reviewed in 2010. Since then, a new regulation has been added creating standards for accessible information and communications; accessible transportation; accessible employment; the built environment, purchasing and kiosks including point-of-sale devices.


Now the AODA is being reviewed again. Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario (CWDO) is preparing a response to this consultation. To develop our response, we would like to know what you, our members, think about the legislation.


Please respond to our survey on the AODA.


Also, please come to our Town Hall meeting which will be held on-line on Tuesday, March 25 at 7:30 PM.


A registration form and instructions for joining us online will be shared on this website shortly. All you need to participate is a computer with Internet access. To speak online you will need a microphone and headset connected to your computer. We strongly recommend you test your equipment on our website before the event.  We hope you can join us!


Together we are stronger.

Ontario's Up-coming election...

Submitted by Terrance Green on Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:24

October 11th will be Election Day in Ontario.

“I believe that every Ontarian with a disability can and should participate fully in their community. After all, we are told that this is what Ontario stands for. It is written in the Ontario Human Rights Code (hyperlink to the Preamble)

“Recent changes to the Ontario Elections Act will make the voting process more accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities. CWDO was part of making these changes. (hyperlink to our submission).

“We have a real opportunity to educate politicians about what matters to citizens with disabilities in Ontario. Most elections are won or lost by a few percentage points. People with disabilities are 15.5% of Ontario's population. We have a lot of power. Are we ready and willing to use it?

• Do you know who will be running for office in your riding?
• Will you go to a candidates' debate to find out what they plan to do to improve accessibility?
• Can you get to your local polling station?
• Will you be able to vote privately and independently at that polling station?

“In preparing for the October 2011 Ontario election, find out about the candidates in your riding. Take the opportunity to inform them about the real life stories of being an Ontarian with a disability. Educate them about your reality. Find out what they believe in.

“Use the comment box below to tell us what you found out.

Editorial in text format

Preparing for new accessibility laws

Oct 16, 2009 - 04:30 AM

In a dozen weeks or so, the Province will usher in sweeping new legislation that aims to make life a little easier for those with disabilities.

On Jan. 1, 2010, the Province rolls out the first phase of its new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act which will require those in the public sector -- municipalities, public transit, colleges and universities, hospitals and school boards -- to comply with new customer service standards.

Beginning in the new year, those with any of the myriad of disabilities must be dealt with in an appropriate manner by public sector staff. For example, under the legislation, there must be an avenue for those with sight or hearing challenges to get what they seek when they make contact with public sector institutions. Those with other disabilities, the majority of them unseen, must also be looked after attentively, professionally and appropriately.

And there's a harsh penalty for those who ignore, or are ignorant of, the new legislation: A maximum daily fine of $100,000, plus $50,000 per director.

This new legislation serves only as the starting line for the Province, which plans to roll out five new accessibility standards on its way to ensuring Ontario is completely accessible by 2025.

This first step is an important one toward that lofty goal. Here at home, residents living with disabilities will be ensured equal treatment when they have a planning question or business to do with the municipal clerk.

The legislation's long-term aims are equally ambitious and all-encompassing; the private sector is expected to meet the new standards in just over two years.

In its simplest form, however, the new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is a renewed effort by the Province to acknowledge outdated legislation while ensuring that those living with a seen or unseen disability have the same level of access to people and services.

For private sector businesses, they would be remiss in not embracing the new legislation and preparing for its arrival, and not because of the punitive fine-levying aspect of the legislation, but because they potentially miss out on a market estimated at $25 billion.

And aside from all of that, reaching out to and embracing fellow citizens who face physical or cognitive disabilities is just the right thing to do.

Local municipalities must take the time to educate the larger community about the legislation to encourage wider acceptance and adherence to the legislation. Bring residents together to learn about it, to share in its success locally and to inform the business community about the potential that it creates.