We are pleased to recognize the Regional Municipality of York with the Excellence Canada – Ontario Accessibility Award for 2015.
The Excellence Canada – Ontario Accessibility Awards Program recognizes and congratulates organizations within our community that have shown a commitment to providing excellent accessibility initiatives to accommodate people with disabilities.
In addition to meeting the legislated requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, achieving an Excellence Canada – Ontario Accessibility Award is further recognition that the organization is respected within its local community for going above and beyond basic compliance and for providing excellent accommodation for people with disabilities.
The men and women that serve the Regional Municipality of York, on Regional Council, in the offices, and in the field, have demonstrated, by their vision, words, and actions, their commitment to creating a society that is fair, respectful, and accessible to people with all abilities.
Excellence Canada is pleased to recognize York Region with the Ontario Accessibility Award for 2015.
In addition to being an early adopter of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the five standards that comprise its regulatory criteria, York Region has gone above and beyond legal requirements to ensure better customer service for its citizens and staff, better employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and better access to information and communications for people with all abilities.
Removing barriers to accessibility is a marathon, not a sprint, and requires a change in the attitudes of society and the workplace cultures of organizations. York Region has made important and impactful progress in removing systemic barriers, attitudinal barriers, and architectural barriers through changes to policies, process improvement, and education to reduce stigma and create opportunities.
Some examples of initiatives undertaken to improve the quality of life and access to services and employment for people with all abilities include:
- Accessibility design guidelines for York Regional forest trails
- Power door openers on internal doors across the region
- Modified service counter at the York Region human resource services office
- National Access Awareness Week each June in partnership with local communities, school boards, hospitals and police
- Transportation community consultation obtains input from the broader public through accessible means
- Accessible rapid transit through fully accessible centre median stations
- Building and facilities design standards and guidelines to ensure consistent accessibility features incorporated into all future Regional building projects
- Website designers trained to create websites that are accessible to a broader range of users with disabilities
- Training for Regional employees to create accessible documents and other communications
- Employment partnership with Community Living
- Mental wellness in the workplace resources
- Mental health strategy
- EnAbling Change project to develop an accessibility self-assessment tool for public, private and voluntary sector organizations
- Municipal staff reference group to foster collaboration between accessibility professionals from 16 local public sector organizations
For these reasons amongst many others, the Regional Municipality of York has earned the Excellence Canada – Ontario Accessibility Award for 2015. Congratulations!