Park playground upgrades, transportation improvements and facility renovations are some of the many ways Mississauga is creating a barrier-free community for residents, visitors and employees.
“2014 was an extremely successful year in ensuring the City is more accessible for everyone,” said Diana Simpson, Mississauga’s Accessibility Coordinator. “We worked with several partners to improve services, facilities and programs for everyone including people with disabilities.”
Simpson reported the achievements of Mississauga’s 12th Annual Accessibility Plan include:
- 30 park playgrounds had accessible features added like paved routes, accessible swings and transfer platforms.
- MiWay introduced electronic pre-boarding announcements. This was done three years ahead of the compliance timeline.
- Transitway stations incorporated Universal Design Principles like tactile wayfinding panels and warning indicators.
- Council approved a new Employee Recruitment policy in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) that ensures accommodations are provided throughout the employment life cycle.
- The Zoning By-law was amended to include new accessible parking space sizes and required number of accessible parking spaces for non-residential sites.
- Seven building renovation projects including Woodlands Library, Don McLean Westacres Outdoor Pool, River Grove Community Centre and Streetsville Library provide better access for persons with disabilities.
- A new fully accessible welcome desk at the Civic Centre.
- The Friends of the Library donated accessible equipment to be used throughout Mississauga’s Library system like daisy disc players, magnifiers, large print keyboards and licences for Zoom Text.
- The Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) hosted the Second Annual Abilities Awards in partnership with the Abilities Ministries, Able Living, Peel Regional Police, Victorian Order of Nurses, Coalition for Persons with Disabilities, ROP and the Next Step to Active Living Program and
- Plain language training for staff to promote better understanding amongst all citizens.
Other updates include a new Accessible Built Environment Subcommittee and Steering Committee to implement requirements in the Design of Public Spaces Standards under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). The requirements will improve accessibility mainly outside of new and existing buildings.
Mississauga’s Accessibility Plan was developed with the Accessibility Staff Working Group made up of staff from all departments, in consultation with the Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC). The AAC includes representatives from the disability community and stakeholder community groups, and two members of City Council: Matt Mahoney, councillor, ward 8 and Pat Saito, councillor, ward 9.
The plan is updated every year. Recommended updates to the plan were approved by City Council today including a sidewalk program, renovation of Meadowvale Community Centre and revisions to the Accessible Parking By-Law.
“Removing barriers not only provides easier access to persons with disabilities, it also benefits families with young children, commuters and visitors to City facilities among others,” said Councillor Saito. “Mississauga’s commitment to accessibility ensures barriers are removed and the City continues to be a place where everyone belongs.”
On June 13, 2005 the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) was enacted. The AODA requires the development of accessibility standards with the goal of an accessible Ontario by 2025.
Mississauga’s Accessibility Plan focuses on implementing a range of new provincial accessibility standards. The standards are included in a number of regulations made under the AODA. For more information please contact Diana Simpson at 905-615-3608, TTY 905-616-3411 or firstname.lastname@example.org.