The World Economic Forum stated “One of our greatest barriers to making progress when it comes to being more inclusive is we have a tendency to design and engineer things for ourselves.”
This quote from The World Economic Forum brings up a very important point. The world was not designed or engineered with disabled people like me in mind. In 2005 The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, (AODA) was created to make Ontario a more inclusive place. This act sets out a process for developing and enforcing standards to make Ontario more accessible and inclusive by 2025.
As of 2022, a draft of these accessibility standards have been created. This accessibility plan spans multiple years from 2022 – 2025 to implement and enforce this plan that will benefit everyone considering anyone can become disabled at any time. Once the Provincial Government of Ontario has implemented and enforced these accessibility standards under the AODA, the Federal Government also has plans to develop, implement, and enforce accessibility standards across Canada by 2050.
An estimated 1.3 billion people – or 1 in 6 people worldwide – experience significant disability. As Ontario’s population grows older we can expect this number to rise and with it, an increased need for a more equitable and accessible world.
Under the AODA’s Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR), the Government of Ontario and other organizations across Ontario are required to implement these accessibility standards by 2025. As the Federal Government also has plans to develop, implement, and enforce accessibility standards across Canada, this chart shows what standard practices organizations across Ontario and Canada are required to have in place by 2025 and 2050.
As shown in the table above, the accessibility requirements for 2025 are focused on creating equitable, accessible, and inclusive workplaces. As a young professional who is disabled, I believe these requirements lay the groundwork for what is to come in 2050. Creating work environments where requesting accommodations becomes standard practice by 2025 will create workspaces that value honesty about the needs of its employees. The accessibility requirements for 2050 are focused on inclusive architecture and infrastructure that makes spaces, activities, and events more accessible to ensure everyone regardless of ability can fully participate in and have access to their communities.
As a wheelchair user living in a world that is not designed for me these changes make me feel seen and give me hope for a more accessible future where I will worry less about accessing the spaces around me. We at Prompta encourage you to start to build strategies and plans to make accessibility standard practice within your organizations and to not wait until these requirements are in place to take action. Do you want to impact the lives of more than 6 million Canadians living with disabilities? There are still spaces available on the many technical committees. Apply now at Creating accessibility standards to improve accessibility and help create innovative standards.