Opening Doors in Pickering

Accessibility advisory committee planning for barrier-free city
Apr 26, 2010 – 11:16 AM
By Kristen Calis

PICKERING — Doors must be open to all Ontarians by 2025, and a group of Pickering volunteers hopes to whip Pickering into shape for the Province’s goal
of full accessibility.

“They all have the right to the same quality of life that we enjoy today,” said Keith Falconer, chairman of the Pickering accessibility advisory committee.

The group of community volunteers works in an advisory capacity to council and acts as advocates for people with disabilities. Members presented their 2009 accomplishments and 2010 goals to council recently.

One in seven Ontarians has a disability, which is about 1.8 million people in total, Mr. Falconer said. That number will only increase, and the Province
plans to implement and enforce the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by 2025.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Gwelda MacDonald-Tuttle of the group. “We’re an energized committee.”

In 2009, the group’s big accomplishments included providing key information on the AODA to Pickering residents and partnering with the Frenchman’s Bay Yacht Club, enabling kids with disabilities to sail. They also provided feedback on legislation and standards, and participated in Toronto’s forum on disability.

Its 2010, work will include providing input on Pickering’s urban growth plans, participating in Durham’s Accessibility Expo, creating an accessibility awareness day and reaching out to businesses that may be hesitant about the new legislation.

“We’re actively going to do a neighbourhood walk of hope to see if can promote accessibility,” said Mr. Falconer.

The group also wants to remind people there are many types of disabilities.

“We’ve got to look beyond the scope of just one disability as well,” he said.

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