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 included:

– Clarity on the obligations of businesses and BIAs under the AODA’s Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces (DOPS);

– Identified ways in which businesses and BIAs can influence the accessibility of their public spaces;

– Showcased real examples of how businesses in Ontario and elsewhere have made their built environments more accessible to their communities and customers;

– Identified invisible barriers businesses customers may be experiencing and how to reduce/remove/prevent them.

The project was guided by an Advisory Committee and involved 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.

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!

The Business of Accessibility Handbook – PDF Now Available!  Hard copies will be available for order.

On April 3rd, OBIAA released its newest handbook “The Business of Accessibility: How to Make Your Main Street Business Accessibility Smart”. This handbook offers no-cost and low-cost ideas, gathered from people with first-hand experience, to inspire businesses to go beyond the minimum requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).

This latest handbook is a companion to OBIAA’s “AODA for BIAs Handbook” released in 2016. “The Business of Accessibility” includes:

-Low-cost and no-cost tips on how businesses can be more accessible in such areas as lighting, signage, websites, space layout, and more

-The business case for accessibility and Ontario’s changing demographics

-A Built Environment Accessibility Checklist

-Stories of Ontario businesses

-Frequently Asked Questions

-Built Environment Accessibility Resources

Download an accessible PDF version of the handbook – The Business of Accessibility Handbook

To get an accessible PDF version of the handbook, visit: or Business of Accessibility Handbook 

We are excited to share a French version of the Handbook.

 If you would like a print copy of the handbook, please email


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)