Accessible Tourism

This section of TIAO's website provides information and resources to help tourism and hospitality businesses and operators understand and comply with requirements for accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. A province where every resident and visitor can fully participate in any and all tourism activities makes good sense for people, businesses and our communities.

Legislation

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) became law in 2005. The goal is to make incremental improvements to achieve an accessible Ontario by 2025.

The AODA sets up a framework for the government to establish mandatory accessibility standards that will identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities in key areas of daily living.

Five accessibility standards are now law. The first was for customer service. Four others fall under one large regulation called the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). Requirements have been phased in since 2011. The IASR includes accessibility standards for:

  • Employment: Addresses how employers will make their employment practices and workplaces more accessible to potential and existing employees with disabilities.
  • Information and Communications: Outlines how organizations must make their information and the way they communicate it accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Transportation: Will make it easier for everyone to travel in Ontario.
  • Design of Public Spaces (DOPS): Will make public spaces—such as recreational trails, walkways, play spaces and parking—more accessible to people with disabilities.

 

Is Your Organization Compliant?

To find out what your organization has to do to comply with Ontario’s Standards, visit the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.

Resources

  • Planning Accessible Events (EN/FR)

  • Guide to Accessible Festivals and Outdoor Events (EN/FR)

  • Compliance Manual: Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/07


Tools to Help Your Organization Comply with the Customer Service Standard

The Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association developed a variety of accessibility tools, including accessible customer service policy templates customized for specific business needs:

Use this checklist to keep track of what needs to be done for the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service.


Further Reading:

TIAO’s Accessible Tourism Package

In partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure through the EnAbling Change Program, TIAO assembled an Accessible Tourism Package with insights and best practices for making Ontario a more accessible destination for tourists, employees and business owners.

 

Accessible Customer Service (Accessibility Directorate of Ontario)

  • Reaffirms what accessibility means in Ontario, and how accessibility standards for customer service can help businesses improve. Includes tools for how to create an Accessibility Plan and put it into action; tips for employers with respect to recruiting, hiring and training employees; and a recap of current regulation standards and legislation governing accessibility in Ontario.

 

Creating Accessible Hospitality (Ted Wilson, Laurentian School of Architecture)

  • Slideshow on accessible hospitality, for inspiration on how spaces have been designed, renovated or redesigned with accessibility in mind.

 

The Art of Inclusion (McMichael Canadian Art Collection)

  • The McMichael Canadian Art Collection incorporated accessibility in its Master Plan. The attached guide showcases the results of the gallery’s two-year EnAbling Change project.

  • The McMichael Canadian Art Collection offers its visitors a unique experience. From the art on its walls to the surrounding landscape, the McMichael provides an introduction to Canada’s art, art making and artists. Renowned for collecting only Canadian art, the McMichael permanent collection consists of almost 6,000 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Métis, Inuit and other artists who have made a contribution to the development of Canadian art.

  • The gallery welcomes about 100,000 visitors annually. On average, 30,000 students and educators from more than 40 school boards and private schools visit the McMichael during the school year. The McMichael also welcomes adults, families and youth to programs and activities, including lecture and film series, studio classes and summer art camps.

Accessible Tourism in London (Joan Beaune, Manager, Administration, Research and Membership, Tourism London)

  • Joan Beaune was instrumental in the development of London’s Accessibility Plan, and oversaw the redesign of the Wellington Road Tourist Information Centre.
  • The attached document highlights the renovation project, and provides insight to best practices in accessible tourism.

 

Abilities Centre (Leo Plue, Abilities Centre Executive Director)

  • Leo Plue has been involved with the Abilities Centre Project since its inception as a both a Board Member and on staff. He has served as Foundation Director, Director of Development and currently as Executive Director.
  • The attached document gives an overview of the Abilities Centre, and some of the programs it offers.

 

Accessibility: A Business Owner’s Perspective (Gregory Boyle, Tim Hortons owner/operator, Sarnia)

  • Gregory Boyle owns and operates three successful Tim Hortons locations in Sarnia. In 2011, Gregory and his long-term business partner met with the local Tim Hortons owners group to propose becoming Gold Sponsors of the Ontario ParaSport Summer Games, which were hosted in Sarnia that year. This sponsorship ultimately set the path for partnership with Community Living Sarnia-Lambton, and the development of a business team dedicated to inclusivity and accessibility.

  • In the attached document, Gregory outlines how Tim Hortons locations in Sarnia were made to be more accessible with simple solutions, and how similar solutions can be used to increase accessibility in a variety of businesses at little cost. In addition, Gregory touches on Tourism Sarnia-Lambton’s accessibility plan entitled, “Breaking Barriers to Business”.

ORHMA Accessibility Issues: Hosting Magazine

Webinars, Modules & Toolkits

TIAO partnered with the Government of Ontario through the EnAbling Change Program to focus on educating Ontario tourism and hospitality business owners on the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service. A webinar developed in English and French, delivered by the Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC), was designed to provide you with knowledge and links to tools and resources that will allow you to prepare staff and ensure compliance with the Customer Service Standard.


Webinars are also available for the Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications, and the Accessibility Standard for Employment, in addition to supplemental resources to help Ontario businesses ensure their organizations are supportive of both customers and employees with disabilities.

Information and Communications Standard Webinars and Resources:

  • Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications Webinar
  • Accessible Information and Communication Action Plan
  • IASR Policy Guidelines
  • Information and Communications Standard Policy Guidelines
  • Information and Communications Standard: Making Your Website More Accessible

Employment Standard Webinars and Resources:

  • Accessibility Standard for Employment Webinar
  • Accessible Employment Action Plan
  • Employment Standard Policy Guidelines
  • RESPECT Model for Employees
  • EN
  • FR

Employer Toolkit