Ontario’s Accessibility Legislation
In 2005, the Ontario government enacted the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This law was passed out of a concern that our province was doing a poor job accommodating the needs of the 15.5% of Ontarians with a disability. This legislation establishes standards that must be met by government agencies, non-profit organizations and private businesses to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities in the following areas: customer service, information and communication, buildings, employment and transportation.
Standards have been legislated in each of these areas, with deadlines for completion ranging from January 2010 to 2021. If a business fails to meet a standard by the deadline it may be subject to hefty fines (up to $100,000 a day). For information about the specific standards that must be met, you can visit the Ontario government website at www.ontario.ca/page/accessibility-laws.
While this law is commendable, it does not solve all of the accessibility challenges for people with disabilities. For example, it does not pay for the substantial accessible housing costs that seriously injured people often incur. For someone with a spinal cord injury, the cost to renovate and modify a home to make it wheelchair accessible can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. The only way to obtain compensation for this significant cost is to bring a claim for compensation against an at-fault party or insurance company.
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