This is the seventh Region of Peel Accessibility Plan. The annual Plan endorsed by the Peel Regional Council and the Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) will be submitted to the Province of Ontario in accordance with annual municipal reporting requirements set out in the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA).
The Region of Peel Accessibility Planning Program in conjunction with the Accessibility Steering Committee, which is comprised of a cross-section of departmental representatives, works to improve the accessibility of Regional programs, services and facilities. In 2006, the Accessibility Steering Committee identified 12 corporate accessibility projects that would allow the Region of Peel to become increasingly accessible. All of these projects have been approved by the Regional Council, endorsed by the Executive Management Team and assigned to appropriate departments. Many of these projects currently are in progress. Please refer to Appendix I of this Plan to obtain further details about the corporate accessibility projects identified in the plan.
The 2009 Accessibility Plan is a compilation of accessibility accomplishments submitted by Regional departments. These accomplishments are listed in Appendix II of this Plan and are labelled as Summary of Accessibility Accomplishments.
Throughout the year, members of the AAC and Regional staff including the Accessibility Planning Program continue to promote accessibility internally and externally by auditing regional facilities, making presentations to departments, stakeholder groups and by disseminating audience specific accessibility information at various resource fairs and community events. A series of information articles were developed for staff and published on the internal website highlighting accessibility standards, disability resources and stories to educate all Region of Peel employees. In 2008, the AAC partnered with Regional staff and sector partners, to create the Universal Accessibility Standards (UAS) for the Region’s new Affordable Residential Properties. Regional Council approved the UAS in April 2009 for future housing projects developed by the Region of Peel. Supporting the principals outlined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) the UAS document supports the Region of Peel goal of creating accessible housing options that provide independence and inclusiveness for all abilities.
Accessibility continues to be an important Regional objective and remains a major focus for the organization as our community continues to evolve. In future, the number of persons living with disabilities in Peel is expected to increase significantly because of the aging population.
Recognizing and eliminating barriers that exist within the Region of Peel is a key priority as people with disabilities are entitled to the same rights, responsibilities and services as those without disabilities. Led by this vision of inclusivity and equality we selected our 2008 theme of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) as Dignity and Justice for all of us. Ithighlighted the importance of full and equal enjoyment of human rights and participation in society by persons with disabilities. Keynote speaker Shelley White, CEO of the United Way of Peel Region highlighted the important work done by United Way and the unmet needs of persons with disabilities living in the community. A panel discussion moderated by the AAC highlighted various Regional services and programs delivered to persons with disabilities. The AAC also presented Accessibility Awards to Regional staff whose efforts had improved accessibility of Regional programs, services and facilities. Approximately 120 people attended this informative and inclusive event. The AAC selection committee chose three Regional projects or individuals, to receive Certificates of Recognition for their efforts to improve the accessibility of Regional services, programs and facilities. These award recipients were presented with their Certificates at a special AAC meeting.
A project team led by the Corporate Services Department and the Accessibility Planning Program worked diligently on developing an Accessible Customer Service Policy to meet our obligations set by the Ontario Regulation 429/07, also known as the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service. An implementation plan to develop and deliver the training to ensure compliance with this regulation is currently underway. The Region of Peel Accessibility Program is working cooperatively with key departmental and program staff to monitor training developments.
Our seventh Accessibility Plan – September 2009, represents the ongoing process of ensuring the programs and services of the Region of Peel become more accessible for individuals with disabilities. As an organization strongly committed to integrated processes, the Region of Peel will continue its efforts to identify and remove existing barriers while laying the foundation for the prevention of future barriers.