Canadian Human Rights Commission News Room from OPC

Canadian Human Rights Commission : News Room; OPC wants to ensure all employers in Ontario start to see Accessibility Complaint Trends

NCC sets New Standard for Universal AccessibilityYORK STREET STEPS SETTLEMENT PROTECTS THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES Canada’s Capital Region — The National Capital Commission (NCC) is creating a new committee to provide ongoing advice on Universal Accessibility.
This is part of an agreement between the NCC, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Mr. Bob Brown. The agreement was reached during a mediation sponsored by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and settles all issues associated with the dispute over universal accessibility in the vicinity of the York Street Steps in downtown Ottawa.  
The NCC’s Universal Accessibility Committee will be made up of experts from the community as well as NCC staff. Mr. Brown will serve as its first Vice Chair. It will make recommendations directly to NCC CEO Marie Lemay. Minutes from the meetings will also be made public. “The National Capital Commission welcomes the successful resolution of this matter and is committed to providing barrier-free access to residents and visitors in the Capital Region,” said Marie Lemay, CEO, National Capital Commission. “The NCC looks forward to working with Mr. Brown and other committee members to ensure that we continue to use best practices to incorporate universal design principles in our projects.”“I believe the creation of this NCC committee is a very positive outcome which I hope will serve as a model for other organizations for questions relating to universal accessibility,” said Mr. Bob Brown. “I look forward to working with the NCC on the universal accessibility aspects of the projects that it will carry out throughout the Capital Region.”
“This settlement proves that the system works,” said David Langtry, Acting Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. “The creation of this committee will ensure that the fundamental principles of accessibility and inclusion are incorporated into future projects at the NCC. This sets an important precedent for other organizations.”
The NCC constructed the York Street Steps in 1994 as a staircase to link Sussex Drive to Mackenzie Avenue. The York Street Steps are situated north of the Connaught Building and south of the U.S. Embassy, on Confederation Boulevard, which links the Byward Market area to Major’s Hill Park.

OPC Inc’s Accessibility and Universal Design experts see these stories as being a great illustration of how the AODA will be tested on the part of employees, the public, clients and customers commencing January 1 2012.  Although the Ministry will be reviewing and inspecting for compliance and issueing significant monetary penalites per diem for non-compliance, it will be the very public Human Rights complaints which will “encourage” all employers in Ontario to comply. 
As many of our clients and attendees of our talks know Universal Design is about ensuring everyone can access technology, software, public and private buildings not just the disabled. Further, businesses who adopt the use of Universal Design at all phases of projects will realize business and profitability outcomes far greater than the competitors who opt to not comply with the AODA or accept the minimal requirements.
If you want to learn more about the ROI of Universal Design and determine what program elements are required under the AODA and ADA in North America please contact us at AODA@OptimalPerformance.ca or www.optimalperformance.ca

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