Advisory Committee

Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA) Announces New

“Accessibility on Main Street” Project

Ontario’s Main Street Public Spaces to Become More Accessible for Everyone.

Collingwood, ON— The Ontario Business Improvement Area Association announced today that it will work with BIAs to improve the accessibility of main streets throughout the province. The year-long Accessibility on Main Street Project, funded in part by the Government of Ontario’s EnAbling Change Program, commenced on April 1st.

The Accessibility on Main Street Project aims to identify the built environment accessibility challenges experienced by OBIAA’s 300 BIAs and their more than 60,000 business members and to offer a range of possible solutions.

This project will:

  • Clarify the obligations of businesses and BIAs under the AODA’s Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces (DOPS);
  • Identify the ways in which businesses and BIAs can influence the accessibility of their public spaces;
  • Showcase real examples of how businesses in Ontario and elsewhere have made their built environments more accessible to their communities and customers;
  • Identify invisible barriers businesses customers may be experiencing and how to reduce/remove/prevent them.

The project will be guided by an Advisory Committee and will involve a survey of the accessibility challenges and opportunities for second floor businesses; focus group meetings on how to increase the accessibility of main street public spaces; the creation of an Accessible Main Street Handbook; and webinars to disseminate the information gathered.

Would you like to join the Advisory Committee:  Apply today – Advisory Committee Application Form 

Advisory-Committee-Terms-of-Reference 2018-9

Accessibility is smart for businesses. It is something no business can afford to ignore! That is why OBIAA continues to champion accessibility for our BIAs and their members.

Together we can celebrate success stories across the province, share resources, and collaborate on making a better Ontario to live, work, and play!

 Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the AODA

Click here for a handy pdf guide or copy and paste this link:


~ One in seven people in Ontario have a disability. Over the next 20 years, that number will rise to 1 in 5 as the population ages.
~ Staff retention is 72% higher among persons with disabilities, which is equal to savings of millions of dollars every year in hiring and training costs.
~ Most accommodations for employees with disabilities cost less than $500.
~ It is estimated that one million Canadians have some kind of disability that makes it difficult or impossible for them to read conventional print. As our population ages that number will increase.

Employment Myths

The percentage of people with visible disabilities is:
a) 20% b) 30% c) 40% d) 50% e) 70% (Answer: B)

A DuPont study showed that ______ of workers who have a disability scored average or above average in performance ratings.
a) 50% b) 65% c) 82% d) 90% (Answer: D)

Most job accommodations cost less than:
a) $5,000 b) $3,000 c) $1,000 d) $500 e) $200 (Answer: D)

According to a DuPont survey, _________ of employees who have a disability have average or above average attendance records
a) 86% b) 75% c) 66% d) 44% (Answer: A)

Less than _______ of people who have a disability use a wheelchair or scooter as their primary mode of transportation.
a) 2% b) 5% c) 8% d) 12% e) 15% (Answer: A)

Source: “Six Steps to Marketing Employment for people who have a disability”, Joe Dale, October 2002.

ResourceswithMouseAccessible Employment Resources…

Introduction to the Accessibility Smart Businesses Kit – As part of the “Accessibility Smart Businesses” Project, we have prepared seven information packages on the topic of hiring people with disabilities.  These information kits address the questions, concerns, and misunderstandings that we have heard from small businesses about hiring persons with disabilities.

You can use the material in these kits in whole, in part or as suits your purposes. The kit content has been designed to be flexible and can used in a variety of your communication vehicles, including your newsletter, website, social media, and local media. Each kit has a specific theme but you can mix and match as you please. Some items, such as the Media Release, Articles and Social Media posts have instructions in [square brackets] to highlight areas that you can adjust to specifically target your members. Additionally, you will see [link] which signifies where you can place a link to kit content that you post on your website or to direct them to OBIAA’s website.

KITS- Accessibility Smart Businesses

Link Images to Accessibility pages on OBIAA Website

Banners for BIAs E-Newsletters

Accessibility Video by TABIA (password tabia)

Collingwood, ON— The Ontario Business Improvement Area Association announced today it will work with BIAs to improve the Energy Efficiency Awareness for Main Streets.  This project is in partnership with the Government of Ontario and a component of the Main Street Enhancement Initiative, announced in the 2017 Fall Economic Statement.

The Ontario Energy Efficiency Awareness Initiative (EEAI) aims to help small businesses remain competitive by helping them understand opportunities to manage their energy use, including through participation in energy efficiency programs offered by their local electricity and natural gas utilities, and by the Green Ontario Fund. As a whole, the Main Street Enhancement Initiative (MSEI) is expected to provide direct support for business to undertake capital improvements, enhance their digital capabilities and make energy efficiency improvements. The Project, reflecting the goals of the EEAI, is anticipated to result in increased energy management and program awareness among small businesses in main street areas. Using local or sector association is an industry best practice for reaching these traditionally hard-to-reach businesses. OBIAA and BIAs are trusted by small business owners and will use their local expertise to help design and deliver an education and awareness campaign that is tailored to their small business members.

This project will include:

  1. Market Research to identify the gaps in knowledge of the BIAs and BIA member business with regards to energy management practices, energy efficiency programs and the benefits of energy efficiency improvements.
  2. Education & Awareness to:
    • BIAs with the materials and templates required to hold education and awareness events for member businesses
    • Inform BIAs and members through Webinars, Website and Social Media
  3. Participant Recognition through the OBIAA Awards to add a minimum of two new award categories; to recognize (a) a BIA, (b) a BIA-endorsed small business. The new award categories will recognize significant efforts and/or results in promoting and/or undertaking energy efficiency programs.
  4. Workshops and Conference Sessions where OBIAA will hold energy efficiency break-out sessions at the annual conferences in 2019 and 2020

The Project is intended to result in an increase in small businesses knowledge of how to manage their energy usage and reduce their GHG emissions through energy management practices and an increased participation in energy efficiency programs (e.g. existing Save On Energy electricity conservation programs and natural gas conservation programs, and planned Green Ontario Fund programs) and will be guided by an Advisory Committee.


The Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA), since 2001, acts as an important resource for education, partnership and collaboration to each BIA across the province. OBIAA is the network that represents the more than 300 unique and vibrant BIAs across Ontario.  OBIAA is a leader in the development and sharing of information, tools, resources and best practices, and is the ONE voice on common issues.


Would like centralized information on energy efficiency programs to help understand the energy sector and programs as these relate to their business or business segment (e.g. hairdressers vs. book stores).


For more information, please contact:

Kay Matthews, Executive Director
Ontario BIA Association
Toll-free: 1-866-807-2227 | Office:  905-271-7222 |
Mobile:  647-521-5341