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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53 Candidate Responses (top)

CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Davis, Jim Yes BFA is a must in new construction so there isn't much to do with new buildings. As for existing buildings, just speed up the process.
Eisenberger, Fred Yes Yes. I agree the City must become compliant. I support increased resources put towards this to ensure it happens.
Gomes, Carlos Yes Simply pass a law that all new construction and already existing construction has to have disability accessability.
Graydon, Edward HC N/A No response provided
Pattison, Michael Yes First and foremost, let’s create the list of what is required to make Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities, and make it public. Everyone in this city should know the parameters of what it will take to move us forward to achieving all requirements within the Act. 2025 is only 7 years away. If we wish to see progress, allow all business, etc. the time to plan how to make proposed changes to their respective buildings/businesses at their pace allowing for planning and capital expenditures, before we can get into enforcement sometime around 2023/2024.
Schmid-Jones, Ute Yes I hope to make the city as inclusive as possible on all levels and see it work for everyone here, so of course this is something that we need. Since most businesses in Ontario have failed to meet this requirement, and that law continues not to be enforced, it would be nice for the city to provide a better example. The disruption and cost mean that we couldn't convert every city building at once, but dedicating a group of staff and part of the budget to start getting it done one piece at a time will give us opportunity to celebrate Hamilton becoming more inclusive over and over again and steadily get us there before the deadline.
Sgro, Vito N/A Please use our website vitosgroformayor.ca as the the answer to the provided questions.
Tavares, Ricky N/A How much are you going to pay me ? $100 and I will communicate with you at your basic level. Otherwise you are useless to me and Hamilton.
Wozny, Mark Maybe Accessibility is a necessity with the exception of HIstorical / Special Interest Structures.

Toronto witnessed the destruction of of some fine buildings, particularly entertainment venues when space / finances made such changes unfeasible. While in the very small minority, these buildings were monuments to creativity and aesthetics. Before taking a position, suggest we do a full survey and an adding up. Let's 'measure twice and cut once'
Yan, Nathalie Xian Yi Yes my experience in healthcare for 18 years has shown me with other practitioners share the patients best interests in healthcare regarding disability and accessibility on the daily basis . I will give praise to the City what they have done. So far. yes! I do agree we could make it better we could make a foster and more effective
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.
Ward 02
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Daljeet, Suresh Venodh Yes I believe we are well on our way to achieving this. I think we should continue to plan and make sure we are in compliance. the city has to be able to work with owners of older existing buildings to be sure we meed the 2025 mandate.
Farr, Jason Yes In a special meeting of the GIC this September, Council moved to request that the Provincial government assist in funding this important issue. While Hamilton remains a leader in making our municipally operated facilities accessible (note the recent approx. 35 million renovation of the downtown family courthouse among many accessibility projects to date), we have recently received a report that notes approx. 157 million will be needed to renovate remaining facilities to accessible standards. Of course, we are hopeful for full support from the Province, but we must also be prepared to fund locally and ultimately become fully compliant. This is one of most important features in our annual budget deliberations.

Other ward 2 examples of AODA capital initiatives: several years ago, as Councillor, I began to tackle sidewalk accessibility issues (particularly at intersections) and created a reserve to make the needed changes throughout the ward for safe crossing and navigating. In Central Neighbourhood, we are nearly through an approx. 1-million-dollar renovation of a NEW Community Centre (former City of Hamilton Carpenter Shop) at 125 Barton West; an AODA compliant facility featuring accessible washrooms and kitchen.
Kroetsch, Cameron Yes Yes, I think that we need to meet the timelines set out in the AODA . I’m strongly in support of a phased plan with a 2025 deadline and will propose that this plan be started as soon as possible. I will propose that we strictly enforce compliance with all new construction and evaluate all City of Hamilton buildings including those left out of the recent staff report. As part of that plan, I’ll also propose that the City of Hamilton undertake a business partnership to ensure that existing businesses and the City can work together to make all businesses in Hamilton accessible. We’ll also, at the same time, need to do other important things like completely integrate and connect our urban braille system, develop an accessible housing plan, ensure that sidewalks and clearways are maintained to meet not only the requirements of the AODA but the City’s own bylaws, and that we consult extensively with the accessibility community including the Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities (ACPD) and the Disability Justice Network of Ontario. Engagement on this cannot take the form of consultation with committees alone but must also take into account what ACPD has been asking for - direct engagement with residents who have disabilities.
Smith, Nicole Yes Again, one piece of the puzzle is how development is done - not merely accessible but there are opportunities to get community benefits which can include better, more accessible street design. Also the city has to have an achievable plan year by year.
Tennant, Mark Yes To be compliant to the AODA, employers and government must identify, remove, and prevent barriers for people with disabilities. Employers must be held accountable when they are not compliant. I would advocate for paid certified inspectors and the enforcement of fines to those who are non-compliant.
Ward 03
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Bureau, Alain Yes
Farr, Laura Yes From my experience working at City Hall over the last ten years, certain areas have been resistant to making those changes, or simply not had the funding to implement them. The work of the Accessibility Committee for Persons with Disabilities is very comprehensive and exhaustive in reporting where deficiencies exist. Their voices and recommendations need to be acted on, unequivocally.
Kuruc, Ned Yes I would create a task force to help local businesses understand what is necessary to meet the necessary standards and to help local business access resources to make the necessary changes.
Nann, Nrinder Yes Millions of people live with disabilities in Ontario. The City of Hamilton has a legal obligation, regulated by the Ontario Human Rights Code, as well as a moral obligation, to provide accessibility or accommodations for its citizens.

In 2006 the City created barrier free design guidelines for requirements above and beyond the Ontario Building Code, in line with AODA regulations. The report showed that there is a 157-million-dollar funding gap around the facilities management required to upgrade City facilities to current accessibility legislation standards. These costs were calculated by auditing 16 services, and costing out the needed upgrades across 500 services.

By not budgeting for accessibility-related infrastructure changes, the City of Hamilton is continuing to perpetuate the idea that people with disabilities do not matter in our city. People with disabilities are not being treated as equal citizens because rectifiable urban-design failures and negligence. This waiting game puts the City at legal risk, according to the city's legal department, for an onslaught of human rights complaints, and continues to further marginalize a growing portion of our population which includes seniors and people with visible and invisible disabilities.

As City Councilor, I would push for the creation of a six-year accessibility strategy, in line with the provincial mandate to create a fully accessible Ontario by 2025 and with attention paid to the next round of capital budget approvals, to ensure that no one in our city is left behind.

I'll also strongly advocate for LRT and completion of the BLAST network. LRT will allow people with mobility devices to ride the B-line any time of the day and reduce reliance on DARTS. Plus, expanding our bus network (with accessible buses) will further allow residents to be more independent.
Smith, Dan Yes I would do my best to see that building, especially government are fully accessible.
Sprague, Kristeen Yes As a person with a disability, I am all too familiar with the problems that inaccessibility causes for our residents and the inclusive operation of our municipal government itself. We need to make sure that public building and spaces have physical improvements made with access in mind. But that's not enough. We need to look at all of the ways in which public space, infrastructure and operations intersects with users and residents with disabilities. This means considering how factors such as poverty, gender expression, age, and radicalization can impact accessibility. This might mean taking a broad approach to accessibility that includes regular training for personnel and volunteers, regular consultation with the community and community groups of residents with disabilities, and making adjustments to city operations and space to make Hamilton more accessible to residents and visitors.
Ward 04
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Merulla, Sam Yes I led the charge to have the first special GIC related to AODA and I have worked on this file since the 90's prior to being elected. The legislation is great but unaffordable without provincial and federal support; hence the motion I sponsored accordingly that was unanimously supported.
Ward 05
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Maldonado, Juanita Yes Supporting the Advisory Committee for Peoples with Disabilities, and their efforts like providing closed-captioning for their events is a strong step toward achieving this goal. Hearing the voices of peoples with Disabilities in our Ward when they raise their concerns and efficiently and quickly responding to their requests is a step toward this mandate.
Ward 06
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Jackson, Tom Maybe AODA’s 2025 timeline will be a massive challenge that without Provincial and Federal funding support may not be achievable.
Taylor, Timothy Yes The AODA is an interesting piece of legislation. I do think to meet this goal there needs to be a huge information campaign, especially to independent business owners who might not know their responsibilities under the act.
Ward 07
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Benson, Steve Yes I am somewhat discouraged by this mandate. I thought that it became effective in the early 2000’s. I fail to understand why this issue constantly seems to be swept under the rug. We need to do better.
So to answer the question, we need to make sure that all businesses are aware of, and have access to, available help. The government is offering grants to help make cities more accessible. We as a city need to enforce this mandate, Estimates could be as much as $150 Million to make City buildings compliant, but it needs to be done.
Although this issue may not be of major importance to many citizens, the ones that are deeply affected by it need our help to improve their quality of life.
Kazubek, Joseph Yes We are obligated to ensure access to all, I do understand that this is a large undertaking and will be asking the province aswell as the federal government to assist with the cost.
MacIntyre, Dan Yes We need to be setting aside more funds to ensure compliance moving forward. The costs per intersection alone on Hamilton Mountain are astronomical. This is one of the many issues that has oft been ignored in favour of the wasted years of time our council has spent on LRT.
McMullen, Geraldine Yes As an elected official, it will be incumbent upon me, and Council of the whole, to ensure our future City Manager has the skill and ability to see this mandate and many more, through to their completion. We will also need to ensure our City staff has the information and training to comply with the AODA’s mandates and remain on track to creating an accessible city where anyone who has a disability has better access to our community.
Pauls, Esther Maybe Nice and necessary to have but the cost of renovating existing building’s is very expensive This should be paid for off of income tax.
Ward 08
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Danko, John-Paul Yes I believe Hamilton's plan to comply with The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act involves a tiered approach where the most critical and cost effective updates are prioritized. I think that this is a reasonable plan considering the substantial cost involved (in the order of $157 million). Of course, we would all like these updates to be completed long before the deadline, but without help from the Province a phased approach is required - especially for an old municipality like Hamilton where simple changes like ramps and elevators are very challenging to retrofit into old buildings.
Wicken, Colleen Yes We have neighbourhoods within Ward 8 and across the City that are still without sidewalks to accommodate safe passage to not only the children and elderly but to every resident. We need to insure that tenders for road and sidewalk repairs meet the criteria put forward by The Accessibility for Ontarians' with Disabilities Act and the Ward Councillor should work with the assigned project managers to insure the quality of work is met and that the 2 years guarantee on roadworks is fully inspected prior to the guarantee expiring.
Ward 10
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Beattie, Jeff Yes With the private sector being forced to invest heavily in AODA compliance, the City needs to take a leadership role and ensure that compliance plans are being targeted effectively, and funded properly.
Ward 12
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Marley, Kevin Yes Hamilton is pretty good, new buildings already comply and older buildings need to be given the opportunity to be updated. Transparent and relaxed zoning by -laws and new architectural innovations can help retrofit some of the historic and eye-catching buildings of Hamilton into the 21st century. We need to work with developers to allow them to find creative ways to retrofit old buildings to bring them in line with the mandate.
Scime, John Yes There are wide arrays of AODA compliance regulations that the city needs to catch up on (not including transit accessibility, which is a problem in its own). When I speak of incremental solutions, this is very close to what I mean. There have been opportunities to chip away at each variable and we continue to “wait” until we are forced to comply. I believe that we do have a responsibility to be a part of the solution, but do not believe we should be the only government body to shoulder the capital costing. Residents fall under all three governments, but the municipality could ultimately be left funding all operational costs to implement hundreds of millions of capital costs. This is too much to ask of a municipality that could use it on funding on programs and projects that the Province is cutting.
Ward 13
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Gelder, Rich Yes This starts with public transit. We need to move fast and get going on light rail transit, which presents the biggest opportunity for accessible transit with ground level boarding. Further, we need fund the HSR and DARTS, in particular, so as to increase the frequency and response time of these services.
Mitchell, Pamela N/A Declined to answer
Vanderbeek, Arlene Yes I would work to assure that the deadlines are met or exceeded with regard to municipal facilities and support by-laws and/or incentive programmes, where possible, to address facilities under private ownership.
Ward 14
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Iszkula, Robert Yes Our city has a long way to go and I will work toward allocating budgets to ensure that people of all abilities have complete freedom of mobility here. Our buses are accessible, but getting to the bus stop is difficult. I support an increase in sidewalk widths - currently two people walking cannot pass without turning sideways in most areas. I also want to see a new standard in driveway ramps so that they do not take up most of the waking area with a slanted section making it difficult for mobility devices, strollers, and even pedestrians walking - especially in winter.
Whitehead, Terry Yes The city of Hamilton currently has a strategy to come into full compliance with the AODA standards by 2025. Some of these investments are major and we clearly need provincial financial assistance to accommodate. AMO (association of municipalities of Ontario) has taken a strong position that to accommodate the provincial legislation, the province should be providing dollars to assist municipalities to meet these targets.
Wilson, Bryan Yes We definitely need to be more accessible as a whole in this city. We need to make sure that when building or rebuilding our infrastructure that we don't centre it so much around the automobile in the future and actually think of people who live there and want to be there not just drive through the neighbourhood. We can build as a person centric city and still have roads that aren't always backed up we just need to have more vision and willingness to do so.
Ward 15
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
McKechnie, Susan Yes Changes need to comply with the provincial mandate and should go further to connect with the vision and mission the city has outlined in its 10-year strategic plan. To “age successfully” in Hamilton means that Hamilton provides the tools to do so.
Acknowledging the volume of residents with disabilities and laying projections that highlight the vast number of Hamiltonians who would benefit from AODA legislation would be key.
Hamilton should move past the requisite requirement of the Act and differentiate itself as a municipality that is fully committed to this legislation.
An acute focus on transit could be a good start. The existing solutions are falling short of present-day demand. A new model that reaches past the AODA requirements could represent a progressive mark toward the City’s high level of commitment to this. A move that aligns progressive transit technology, with consideration to autonomous movement along progressive road and infrastructure routes represents this type of idea. Harnessing 5G infrastructures and capitalizing on it with Artificial Intelligence and a more specific focus toward accessibility represents ideas that would showcase this.

Response Summary (top)

Brief ResponseCount% of Total

50 Candidates Have Not Responded (top)

Geissler, Henry
May, Todd
Rusich, George
Ryerson, Phil
Ward 01
Bakht, Syed
Geertsma, Jordan
Lazich, Carol E.
Ward 02
Chiarelli, Diane
Unsworth, James
Vail, John
Ward 03
Balta, Milena
Beck, Keith
Denault, Steven Paul
Kavanaugh, Brendan
Lemma, Tony
Rowe, Stephen
Salonen, Amanda
Ward 04
Douglas, Rod
Ward 05
Collins, Chad
Ward 06
Young, Brad
Ward 07
Clarke, Steve
Clowater, Kristopher
Dirani, Adam
Grice-Uggenti, Karen
McColl, Jim
Schneider, Roland
Ward 08
Adams, Eve
Climie, Christopher
Ruddick, Steve
Simpson, Anthony
Ward 09
Clark, Brad
Conley, Doug
Ford, David
Lanza, Peter
Multani, Lakhwinder Singh
Ward 10
Milojevic, Louie
Pearson, Maria
Thompson, Ian
Ward 11
Johnson, Brenda
Shewayhat, Waleed
Ward 12
Bell, Mike
Ferguson, Lloyd
Reis, Miranda
Ward 13
Bonomo, Gaspare
Gray, Kevin
Mykytyshyn, John
Roberts, John
Ward 14
French-Sanges, Roslyn
Samuel, Vincent
Ward 15
Partridge, Judi