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Accessibility PlanACCESSIBILITY PLAN TOWN OF TILLSONBURG January 3, 2012 1. BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The Town of Tillson burg is committed to promoting a barrier-free Town for employees, citizens and all who live, work, visit, and invest in Tillsonburg. With this report, the Town of Tillsonburg is proud to present its findings and report on the development of innovative strategies to remove and prevent future barriers for people with disabilities and our significantly maturing population. In keeping with this vision, the Town of Tillsonburg understands that people with disabilities: • Represent a growing and diverse community that is dramatically increasing due to the demographic trends of a maturing population. • Form part of the work force, and include our families, our friends, our customers and members of the community at large. • Purchase goods and services and make important financial decisions on where they do business, enjoy recreation or choose to live. • Understand that accessible features can be of benefit to others, such as automatic doors that assist parents with children in strollers. • Understand that inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities requires well-considered commitment from all levels of government. The Town of Tillsonburg is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities enjoy the same opportunities as all who live, work, visit and invest in our Town. 2. LEGISLATION Ontarians with Disabilities Act, S.O. 2001, C.32 Under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Ontario government ministries, municipalities, hospitals, school boards, colleges, universities and public transportation organizations are required to develop annual accessibility plans to make policies, practices, programs, services and buildings more accessible to people with disabilities. These plans must be made available to the public. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, S.O. 2005, C.11 (AODA) In 2005 the Province enacted the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. It defines a disability as: any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes, mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device; a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability; a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language; a mental disorder and an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1977. The Act defines a barrier as meaning anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, information or communication barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or practice. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) provides for the development of minimum standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodations, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025. The Minister responsible for the AODA is required to establish a process to develop and implement all accessibility standards necessary to achieving the purposes of this Act. Within this process, standards development committees are established by the Minister to develop proposed accessibility standards. These standards are adopted by regulation. Persons or organizations may be required to meet more than one accessibility standard under the AODA. Five sets of standards are being issued under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) to achieve the vision of a barrier-free Ontario by 2025. At the time of writing, four of the five standards have been approved. The Customer Service Standard was the first to be approved on July 25, 2007 by Ontario Regulation 429/07. The bulk of this standard required training of 2012/01/05 2 employees, development of policies and procedures, and the implementation of feedback mechanisms. On June 3rd 2011, Ontario Regulation 191/11-lntegrated Accessibility Standards was approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. This regulation integrated three of the five standards: transportation, communication and information, and employment. To date, the integrated standards represent the most comprehensive set of accessibility requirements mandated by the Province. The Accessible Built Environment Standard will be the fifth and final standard. This standard has been released in draft form and there is no set date as to when it may be approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. This standard is intended to help remove barriers in buildings and outdoor spaces for persons with disabilities. The standard will only apply to new construction and extensive renovation, with the expectation that buildings would be retrofitted to meet the standard within 5 to 13 years after it becomes law. 3. Obligations of the Province of Ontario: The Provincial Government is required to develop barrier-free design guidelines to promote accessibility to buildings and other premises that the Government either purchases, enters into a lease for, constructs or significantly renovates. These guidelines must meet or exceed the levels of accessibility set out in the Building Code Act. Individual Government ministries must each prepare an accessibility plan, which must meet specific requirements. 4. Obligations of the Town of Tillsonburg: Besides simply requiring the Town to have regard to the accessibility of persons with disabilities when purchasing goods and services, the Act requires that the Town establish an accessibility advisory committee, which must have a majority of members who are persons with disabilities, to advise Council on accessibility issues and work toward the removal of barriers within the community. The annual accessibility plan is a public document approved by Council, which must address the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to persons with disabilities in policies, by-laws, programs, practices, and services. An updated Plan must be published annually and must be made readily available to the public. 5. ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (AAC) Town of Tillsonburg Council renewed the mandate of the Accessibility Advisory Committee in 2011, as part of the Council committee restructuring. The Committee's responsibilities include raising issues and concerns and providing advice and guidance to Tillsonburg Town Council on matters related to policies, practices and programs in the Town relating to accessibility issues. 2012/01/05 3 The Committee consists of three members of the public, one Councillor, and the Town Clerk, who chairs the committee. The current members of the committee are listed in Appendix 1. Additional assistance is provided by a town staff person who prepares the agendas, records the minutes and provides other secretarial services to the committee as required. The current committee Terms of Reference are attached as Appendix 2. 6. TOWN STRUCTURE: The Town of Tillson burg is comprised of four main departments: Operations!Tillsonburg Hydro, Community Services, Development and Communication Services, and Finance Services. Additionally, there is a Fire Services department. Services provided by the Town are provided in accordance with the Town's Accessible Customer Service Policy. Within each of the four main departments, the following services are provided: OPERATIONS: COMMUNITY SERVICES: • Fleet Services • Museum • Utility Services • Library Services • Infrastructure Services • Community Centre • Road Maintenance • Special Events Centre • Parking Lot Maintenance • Cemetery • Airport Maintenance • Community Services • Surface Operations • Operation of Parks and • Traffic Recreation Facilities and • Engineering Programs • Municipal Facilities Management DEVELOPMENT AND FINANCE SERVICES: COMMUNICATION SERVICES: • Communications • Contract Administration • Information Technology • Accounts Receivable/Payable Services • Treasury Services • Records Management • Accounting Services • Vital Statistics • Inventory Purchasing • Legislative Services • Human Resource Services • Parking/By-Law Enforcement • Compensation, Benefits and • Community Development Payroll • Land Use Planning • Revenue Management • Subdivision Administration • Tax Services • Building • Customer Service • TillsonburQ Airport • LicensinQ 2012/01/05 4 • Economic Development 7. ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO DATE The Town of Tillsonburg has been actively developing innovative approaches to addressing accessibility issues, some of these recent initiatives are as follows: • Several measures were taken by municipal staff to ensure increased accessibility during the 2010 municipal election. These included accessibility audits of all polling locations, and allowing staff to assist persons with disabilities who required assistance filling out forms, filling out a ballot, or accessing a voting location. The Town also offered roving polls. • The AAC undertook an initiative in the second half of 2011 to tour Town- owned facilities and identify where barriers exist. At current, the following facilities have been toured: Station Arts Centre, Tillsonburg Community Centre, Town of Tillson burg Corporate Offices, Tillsonburg Public Library, and the Annandale House National Historic Site. A number of barriers have been identified and documented, and solutions are being explored in 2012. • The AAC has also identified and documented a number of outdoor locations in town which are unfriendly to persons with disabilities, most of which can be addressed by cutting curbs or fixing sidewalks. These issues have been notified to the roads department, and will be addressed in Spring 2012. • A new Town website has been developed, in consultation with the AAC, which prioritized accessibility issues during its design phase. The new site considered things such as ease of navigation, device independence, and text readability, from an accessibility standpoint when developing the website. The new site also features Browsealoud, a tool which reads text out loud to individuals with vision impairments, or users who have difficulty reading. • An improved feedback mechanism has been incorporated into the new website so that members of the public can bring accessibility issues and concerns to the Town's attention via a webform, telephone, email, or fax. • The Customer Service Centre now allows for more ways for people with mobility disabilities to obtain municipal services 24 hours a day e.g. phone, fax, email, web-site, automatic bill payment, internet banking bill payment etc. • The Town has invited a member of the AAC to sit on the steering committee for the Central Business District Urban Design Guidelines Study. The study will address the character of buildings, streetscaping and landscaping, open space and pedestrian movement, the scale and continuity of development, heritage elements, the use of materials and signage, land features and vehicle accommodation in the downtown and surrounding areas. 2012/01/05 5 • The Clerk's Office has recently acquired new videos to assist with accessibility training, which will be used in 2012. B. GOALS FOR 2012 • The Town's Accessible Customer Service Policy will continue to be complied with, and reviewed by staff to ensure the Town is providing an adequate level of Accessible Customer Service to the public; • In 2012, the AAC will be introducing an award program which will recognize accessibility leadership in the private sector. Members of the public will be given opportunity, via the town website, to nominate individuals or businesses who have demonstrated leadership in this area. A winner will be announced on a quarterly basis and will be awarded a certificate of recognition at an Open meeting of Council, and will be recognized on the Town website, and in the Focus on Tillsonburg section of the Tillsonburg news. • The Clerk's office, in partnership with Human Resources, will undertake an initiative to improve the quality and thoroughness of Accessibility training for staff. As part of this, a review will be conducted to ensure that all staffpersons are adequately trained as per the requirements of the Customer Services Standard and the Integrated Standard. A plan will be developed to integrate full accessibility training into the employee orientation program for new hires. • In the first quarter of 2012, the AAC will be reviewing the site inspections conducted in 2011 to develop a list of top priorities resulting from the inspections of town facilities, and will bring a report to Council with recommendations. • In Spring 2012, the Roads department will be addressing sidewalk and curb issues identified by the AAC in late 2011. • Accessibility will continue to be considered when reviewing planning applications; • Staff will continue to be made aware of the Town's Accessibility Plan, and the Town's Accessibility Policies; • Multiple formats of Town policies and procedures will be made available upon request; • The Central Business District Design Study will consider accessibility issues throughout the process, relying on its representative from the AAC to bring accessibility issues to the forefront. Appendix 3 outlines implementation timelines for the goals listed above. 9.1DENTIFICATION The types of methodologies that will be used in identifying barriers: • Departmental audits 2012/01/05 6 • Site audits • Consultation with staff • Consultation with community organizations and the Accessibility Advisory Committee 10. MONITORING PROGRESS The listing of 2012 Goals were established based on what is achievable within a 12 month period. Since a Municipal Accessibility Plan is required on an annual basis, reviews will occur during mid-year. The Town of Tillsonburg will develop a monitoring process to evaluate if targets are being met and/or are being adapted to changing circumstances. 11. COMMUNICATION OF THE PLAN The availability of the Town of Tillsonburg's Accessibility Plan will be announced publicly by way of: • a notice in the local newspaper in the biweekly "Focus on Tillsonburg" ad • Distribution of the plan to the Tillsonburg Library, Customer Service Centre, Tillsonburg Community Centre and Corporate Offices, as well as all Town staff. • Posting of the plan on the Town's website www.tillsonburg.ca. • A member of the AAC will be invited to appear on the Rogers TV show, 'Inside Tillsonburg', to speak to the 2012 Accessibility Plan as well as other initiatives being taken on by the committee in 2012. The key contact for inquiries regarding the Municipal Accessibility Plan is: Donna Wilson Clerk Town of Tillsonburg 200 Broadway, 2"d Floor N4G 5A7 dewilson@tillsonburg.ca 12. RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO The Town of Tillsonburg applauds the enactment of legislation to improve the living and working conditions of persons with disabilities. However, as the financial impact of this legislation on municipal taxpayers is significant, the Town also recommends that the province assume some financial responsibility for the requirements of the AODA with the provision of funds for additional municipal resources, operational expenses and capital works. 2012/01/05 7 13. CONCLUSION The Town of Tillsonburg is committed to addressing existing accessibility barriers and preventing future accessibility barriers to allow people with disabilities to fully participate in our communities. The Town encourages input from all Town of Tillson burg residents. The Town is of the opinion that this legislation should improve accessibility in workplaces and public spaces and improve access to employment, customer service, communication and transportation. However, as the financial impact of this legislation on municipal taxpayers is significant, the Town also recommends that the province assume some financial responsibility for these requirements. 2012/01/05 8 APPENDIX 1 TOWN OF TILLSON BURG ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2011-2014 Members 1) Mike Cerna 2) Michael Kadey 3) Helen Lamos-Parker 4) Donna Wilson 5) Councillor Mel Getty Staff Resources 1) Donna Wilson, Clerk. Email: dewilson@tillsonburg.ca Phone: 519-688-3009 ext. 3224. 2) Committee secretary WIVOiros 9 MISSION STATEMENT APPENDIX 2 TOWN OF TILLSON BURG ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE TERMS OF REFERENCE The Town of Tillson burg Accessibility Committee is dedicated to promoting and enhancing, where possible, a barrier free environment for all persons, regardless of needs, to participate as fully as possible in all aspects of community life. Its activities shall be guided by the principles of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (0. Reg. 429-07). GOALS AND OBJECTIVES The goals of the Accessibility Committee are to encourage and facilitate accessibility on behalf of all persons by: 1. Promoting public awareness of accessibility issues. 2. Encouraging cooperation among all service and interest groups to ensure a better community for all persons. 3. Conducting a tour of town facilities to identify and document accessibility issues and barriers to use of town facilities by persons with disabilities. 4. Liaising with Town Departments and local organizations in addressing accessibility issues that are related to municipal property and buildings; Acting as a consulting body during the rollout of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and any other renovations that may be taking place over the course of this committee's term. 5. Ensuring that town facilities are accessible not only for users, but also for prospective employees. 6. Recognizing leadership in accessibility in Tillsonburg's private sector through the awarding of a certificate, and recognition in the Tillsonburg News. COMPOSITION As per Town of Tillson burg By-law 3485, the AAC shall be composed of five members, with one non-voting staff support person. Term of appointment for all members shall be four years. The Town Clerk shall serve as the Chair, and one member shall be appointed as Vice Chair, and one member as Recording Secretary for the full term of appointment. CHAIR DUTIES The Chair shall: (a) Chair all meetings; and (b) Represent the committee interests to Council (c) Serve as the voice of the Committee and may represent the Committee at various special initiatives VICE-CHAIR AND RECORDING SECRETARY DUTIES 2012/01/05 10 There shall be chosen a Vice-Chair who shall assume the duties of the Chair when the latter is not in attendance. The recording secretary shall record the minutes of each meeting should the staff support person be unavailable to take the minutes. QUORUM A quorum shall consist of 50% plus one of the voting members of the Committee at any of its meetings for the conducting of business. PROCEDURES The following procedures will be followed: 1. The Accessibility Committee will be a Committee of Council. 2. The Committee will meet quarterly, and may call additional meetings as required. 3. The minutes of Committee meetings will be received by Open Council during the second meeting of each month. 4. Recommendations to Council shall be formally submitted to Clerk, Donna Wilson, in the form of a letter. 5. The AAC shall generally operate according to the Town of Tillsonburg's Procedural Bylaws 3416 and 3485, but may on occasion opt for less formal meeting procedures as determined appropriate by the Committee Chair. 2012/01/05 11 APPENDIX 3 2012 Implementation Plan Action Actio ned Timing Cost by: AAC Reward Program for accessibility AAC7 Q1 Cost to excellence in the Community Supporting include in Staff Focus on Tillsonburg Redesign of Staff Training Program, Clerk's Q1 Staff time and integration with orientation Office & program HR Rollout of staff training using new Clerk's Q2 (and Staff time videos Office & ongoing for HR new hires) AAC to identify priorities from site AAC Q2-Q3 No inspections and submit report to immediate Council with recommendations. cost Miscellaneous curb and sidewalk Roads Q2 Cost repairs dept. already accounted for in Roads budget Continued compliance with Accessible CSRs, and Ongoing n/a Customer Service Policy all staff who interact with public Consider accessibility issues when DCS staff Ongoing n/a reviewing planning applications. Ensure that town policies, procedures, All staff Ongoing n/a and all other materials are available in multiple formats and made available upon request. Utilize member of AAC on Urban DCS/Urban Q1-Q2 n/a Design Study steering committee to Design fullest extent, and consider Study accessibility issues throughout this steering exercise. committee 2012/01105 12