The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act mandates that cities must be completely accessible by 2025. What changes would you make to ensure Hamilton complies with this mandate?

Responses to the question: "The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act mandates that cities must be completely accessible by 2025. What changes would you make to ensure Hamilton complies with this mandate?"

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10 Candidate Responses (top)

Ward 01
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Allen, Jason Yes The first step in ensuring the city is AODA compliant would be to conduct an accessibility audit to see where the gaps are between where we are now and compliance. Once that is complete, it is vital that council directs the resources required to bring the city into compliance by 2025.
Anderson, Sharon Yes I have a brother who uses a wheelchair and I'm looking forward to a time when it will not be necessary to phone ahead to ensure a facility is accessible. It is my understanding that City staff are already implementing plans to meet this legislation. In addition to their efforts, I would vote to fund the report which came to Council in September 2018 to make the City's 500 facilities accessible. In addition I would seek to implement a plan to make sure all existing sidewalks at corners have appropriate curb cuts. I would also seek to implement a City wide sidewalk snow clearing program similar to the one currently used in Ancaster.
Cole, Sharon Yes I believe the key is communication and education. Many businesses, particularly small business are not that familiar with the incremental requirements and I believe the best role a Councillor can provide is helping their constituents, primarily those that provide goods and services to understand the AODA requirements, understand and manage expectations, understand the incremental deadlines and potential options that may be available to assist businesses financially to comply witch the requirements.
Eroglu, Ela Yes Every person has a right to access to municipal and city services without discrimination. The rights of persons with disabilities and their families to use of barrier-free programs, services and opportunities must be protected. Providing for these services are the responsibility of municipal governments. We should look at this issue as a human right and act as such. As councillor I will make every necessary effort to ensure that our City is a place that its policies and practices are consistent. It provides services with dignity and equal opportunities for each and every member of our community.
Geffros, Sophie Yes Under the law, the overwhelming majority of City services and spaces should already be accessible -- the legal deadline for accessible customer service and public spaces for municipalities was in 2016 (https://www.ontario.ca/page/accessibility-rules-municipalities). 2021 is the deadline for accessible web content for municipalities. In the intervening time, the city must file accessibility compliance audits every year, and may face substantial fines from the provincial government if these audits are not filed or if they do not demonstrate an AODA-compliant city. However, AODA compliance and accessibility are different things. Many areas of public life in our city are not yet accessible, or are “accessible upon request” -- from a severe lack of ramps and accessible washrooms in our parks, to lacking braille interpretation on City historical markers, to a City website that is not in compliance with accessibility standards. If these issues are not addressed, not only will the City face fines from the province, but it opens itself up to private lawsuits from disabled residents. I believe that we must go beyond the standards laid out in the Act. The Act only requires that new or substantively re-developed public spaces be fully accessible -- but our current public spaces, parks, and recreation facilities are in dire need of accessibility upgrades. It is not a coincidence that the ForWard One Participatory Budgeting Initiative frequently includes basic accessibility upgrades for City parks. All City facilities must be fully accessible. This is not optional. I will move that all City facilities be updated in compliance with AODA and that the Advisory Committee on Persons with Disabilities prepare a series of recommendations to be followed to ensure that Hamilton is not just AODA compliant, but is truly accessible.
Massie, Richard Yes I want to see practical transition plans with timelines to implement the changes necessary to meet the requirements for all facilities, transit, programs, policies, and practices.
Miklos, Lyla Yes We can't delay on these changes any longer. Barriers to access for those with disabilities is unacceptable. We are legally and morally obligated to comply with the AODA. Any City of Hamilton property MUST be fully accessible ASAP. I recognize that some buildings which were built decades ago if not over a century ago will have difficulties in complying with AODA, so I would suggest tax incentives and/or bursaries for those businesses and community spaces that would like to be AODA compliant, but do not have available funds to be able to modify their spaces.
Narducci, Linda Yes I think Hamilton is doing a good job in moving forward on complete accessibility by the year 2025. Ward 1’s Locke Street Library is currently closed for updating to accessibility. Part of the renovations are to create a barrier free washroom. Community engagement is always a good place to start in awareness to areas that need updating. It can be a challenge for those with no barriers to actually see and experience accessibility issues. Let’s encourage a feedback system where public areas that are limited accessibility are brought to the City’s attention, which make it easier to manage and address in correcting. The City could offer an accessibility audit for private businesses, or program that provides assistance in awareness or in transformation into an accessibility friendly space.
White, Harrison Yes Ensuring AODA compliance is an important task for Hamilton, as there are 1.8 million people with disabilities in Ontario. In order to draw people to our City, and to meet with our vision, to be the best city to raise a child in, we must ensure that AODA is being complied with throughout the city. This may be tough at times for the city to do, as AODA has a plethora of requirements, even including websites. In order to make sure we are on track to complete the AODA compliance, I want to evaluate the progress made on the 2013-2017 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan. Based on the results of that evaluation, I would like to propose another multi-year plan from 2018-2022. One thing I would like to improve is the amount of urban braille system, which provides valuable information to the visually impaired. Not only does urban braille assist the visually impaired ability to navigate the city, but often its implementation looks beautiful. The urban braille network in Hamilton was also an instance of community engagement, with various non-profits, regular citizens, health-care professionals, city staff, city planners, and city councillors. I believe the only way to ensure Hamilton meets the 2025 deadline is to replicate that engagement with the community, ensure we listen to the needs of the citizens and effectively respond to lodged complaints.
Wilson, Maureen Yes 1. Support LRT
Light Rail Transit is an accessible form of public transit ( low floor) and offers a smoother and more dignified ride for all passengers.

2. Support Housing Choices
A land use planning and regulatory environment that supports different housing options can assist with accessibility. Laneway housing could enable a resident living with a disability to live independently while also being in close proximity to family. Other choices include home sharing and co-housing.

3. Safe, Shared Streets
Engineering our streets to make them safer for all residents makes our city more democratic and accessible. For example, shortening the distance a pedestrian has to cross with the use of bump outs at both ends makes the crossing more accessible and safer.

4. Give sidewalks the same priority as roads
The presence of ice and snow during winter months presents a real hazard to Hamiltonians living with a physical disability and can contribute to the social isolation of many residents. Our public sidewalks should be subject to the same clearing practices and standards as our public roadways. By extension, their construction, repair and maintenance should be a priority.

5. Public Parks and Older Public Facilities
in keeping with the principle of every resident’s right to the city, our publicly owned parks and older facilities must be considered a priority in meeting the accessibility deadline.

Response Summary (top)

Brief ResponseCount% of Total

3 Candidates Have Not Responded (top)

Ward 01
Bakht, Syed
Geertsma, Jordan
Lazich, Carol E.