Some "Good Information to Know" by Karen Cilevitz, Councillor, Ward 5 and the Chair of the Accessibility Advisory Committee
The city of Richmond Hill is committed to finding and removing barriers faced by people with disabilities, ensuring city-wide inclusive protocols are respected, making public spaces accessible for all.
Richmond Hill also makes use of BrowseAloud to ensure people with visual disabilities are able to properly experience Richmond Hill's website.
In January, 2013, Richmond Hill introduced the city’s first Accessibility Policy and Procedures document which follows the Integrated Accessibility’s Standards Regulation, also known as the provincial Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, or AODA.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was passed by the Province of Ontario in 2005. The AODA provides regulations for the development and enforcement of accessibility standards.
There are currently five standards under the AODA:
- Customer service
- Information and communications
- Built environment
Businesses and organizations that don't follow AODA standards can be fined up to $100,000 per day.
Richmond Hill also mandates an Annual Status Report which reports on progress made on initiatives in the City's Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP). The MYAP and status reports were developed by senior Richmond Hill staff, the Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) and the public.
Richmond Hill's Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) gives Council advice about accessibility issues affecting residents. I am honoured to serve as the current Chair of this Committee of Council, together with 10 civilian appointees who are all residents of Richmond Hill.
One of the primary functions of the AAC is to give comments and advice to Council regarding the preparation, implementation and effectiveness of the Annual Status Report and Multi-Year Accessibility Plan.
Council may also ask the AAC for advice about the accessibility for people with disabilities to a building, park, structure or premises (or part of a building, park, structure or premises) that Richmond Hill purchases, constructs or renovates, and the accessibility of any other buildings used by Richmond Hill, according to Section 29 of the AODA.
Throughout its 4 year tenure which follows each term of Council, members of the AAC receive presentations from guest speakers from various organizations and/or levels of government. The AAC also receives presentations from City staff about development plans and drawings regarding accessibility issues, under Section 41 of the Planning Act. The Committee then advises Council of any concerns they may have regarding any development plans and/or drawings with specific reference to accessibility issues.
We look forward to further advising Council on best practices regarding Richmond Hill becoming an inclusive Age-Friendly Community through consultations with city staff for Richmond Hill’s new and updated Strategic Plan.
The next AAC meeting is scheduled for July 16, 2020, 3 pm, and will be a virtual Zoom meeting held in keeping with the current coronavirus public health emergency protocols.
For more information, please visit:
Councillor, Ward 5
Chair - Accessibility Advisory Committee