Apr 13, 2012
Burlington council approved accessibility design standards at its meeting on Tuesday night, ratifying a budget and corporate services committee recommendation it made on March 27.
The accessibility design standards will ensure all new City of Burlington facilities will be accessible to all and that existing facilities will be retrofitted, renovated or altered over time to comply with the standards according to council’s decision.
“The use of the city’s Accessibility Design Standards is now a requirement for all new facilities and major renovations to properties owned and leased by the city,” said Bruce Krushelnicki, Burlington’s director of planning and building. “The new standards will guide the design process and proved a clearer understanding of how to create a more usable environment for everyone.”
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), which passed in 2005, has the goal of making Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. New aspects of the act came into force on Jan. 1, 2012, and employers are compelled by law to follow it.
As well, the city must comply with aspects of the Ontario Building Code, which has minimum standards for accessibility, and the Ontario Human Rights Code, which has submitted that the minimum barrier-free requirements written in the Ontario Building Code don’t go far enough for those with disabilities.
In a news release, the city acknowledges that “people with disabilities represent a significant and growing part of our population and as our population ages the instance of disability will increase. Full participation through accessible design is good for business and good for the community.”
Mayor Rick Goldring saluted council’s approval of Burlington’s Accessibility Design Standards.
“The City of Burlington is committed to ensuring that people of all ages and abilities enjoy the same opportunities and access as they live, work, play, visit and invest in our city. We recognize that enhanced accessibility provides increased opportunities for everyone both now and in the future.”