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City of Ottawa Municipal Accessibility Plan update

Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the City provides an annual update on its progress towards the goals of our multi-year accessibility plan, currently the 2020-2024 City of Ottawa Municipal Accessibility Plan (COMAP) 

This annual report was approved by Council on June 22.   

Some highlights from this year’s annual report include:  

  • Accessibility continues to be a focus for COVID-19 community vaccine clinics. All clinics were assessed using the City’s Accessibility Design Standards (ADS). A process for responding to disability-related accommodation requests continues to this day.   
  • Sixteen (16) accessible benches were installed in numerous wards across the City to continue to increase the availability of rest stops and assist with the improved mobility of Older Adults and persons with disabilities in the city. 
  • Through the Accessible Programming initiative, Recreation and Cultural Services increased participation in recreational programs for individuals with disabilities by continuing to assess and revise recreational programming options throughout 2021. This included the development and delivery of a virtual “Variety at Home” program for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities when other programming was paused during the lockdown period. They also offered adapted summer programs, which provided an opportunity for persons with disabilities to continue recreational activities when community programs were limited. 
  • Changes to the City’s Accessibility Policy and Accessible Formats and Communication Supports Procedure were also approved. American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes quebecoise (LSQ) has been provided for all municipal media availabilities and emergency-related events since mid-March, 2020. This provision will continue for all verbal state of emergency and other large-scale emergency-related communications, moving forward.  
  • The pilot program that assists Members of Council to provide accessible formats and communication supports when communicating with their constituency will continue in 2022.  

The Accessibility Office acknowledges the significant work achieved by the Accessibility Advisory Committee. This group of resident volunteers continue to play a vital role in supporting accessibility initiatives and providing disability perspective to City programs, services and infrastructure.  

Though priorities remain responsive and flexible, the City continues to work towards the goals of the 2020-2024 COMAP. We continue to promote “nothing without us” in City projects, services and programs. Engagement with persons with disabilities is critical in our vision of a fully inclusive and accessible City.  

The City will continue to update the Province, Council, the AAC and the general public on the accessibility of our services, programs and facilities through these annual updates.

A Successful 19th Annual City of Ottawa AccessAbility Day

As part of National AccessAbility Week (NAAW), the City of Ottawa held its 19th annual AccessAbility Day event on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. The theme of this year’s event was "Intersectionality – celebrating diversity within our community." 

Attendees of this virtual event were joined by Deputy Mayor Laura Dudas, who proclaimed June 1 as AccessAbility Day in Ottawa, and City Manager Steve Kanellakos, who emphasized the key message to "fully embrace disability as part of an inclusive society."

The event also featured keynote speaker Sarah Jama, Executive Director of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario, who provided a realistic and thought-provoking overview of some of the institutional, systemic, environmental and physical barriers still faced by those with disabilities in our province.

The event concluded with a panel discussion on intersectionality and disability. Panelists spoke about their lived experiences as people with disabilities and intersectional identities. They discussed daily barriers and challenges and how we can all be more inclusive in our personal and professional lives.

In addition to it being AccessAbility Day in Ottawa, June 1 was also Red Shirt Day, an Easter Seals initiative that encourages everyone to wear red in support of people with disabilities, accessibility and inclusion.  

If you missed it, a recording of the event is posted on the City’s YouTube page.

Accessibility News

Keep in touch with the Accessibility Office and get accessibility-related updates through the Accessibility Spotlight. Sign up using the City's eSubscriptions sign up form to receive the monthly e-newsletter directly to your email.

For information on or to receive previous Accessibility Spotlight articles, contact:

Accessibility Office
City of Ottawa

A successful third annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities

On December 2, the City of Ottawa hosted their third annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities event virtually over Zoom. While the recognized day itself is observed on December 3, the City held its event the day before to accommodate participants wishing to attend multiple virtual events held across City or around the world. Over 130 participants attended this year’s event. This day aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The theme for this year’s event was “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world” and participants were encouraged to learn about how we can commit to a world characterized by human rights.

The event included a proclamation from Deputy Mayor Laura Dudas, a speech from Councillor Matthew Luloff thanking all members of our Accessibility Advisory Committee for their hard work this year, as well as a presentation from Dr. Holly Ellingwood and Vania Karam, two members of this Committee.

Additionally, the event featured two speakers, including Jeff Willbond, Director General of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, who provided an update on the Accessible Canada Act, as well as Jeff Poirier, Acting Director of the Policy, Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, who spoke about the impacts of COVID-19 on people with disabilities and Human Rights in our province.