Accessibility Smart Businesses Project

Legislative Information

Government of Ontario –

Ontario Human Rights Commission –

Ontario Building Code –

Definition of “Disability” (OHRC) –


The Road to Inclusion: Integrating people with disabilities into the workplace (Deloitte) –

Business Benefits of Accessible Workplaces –

Rethinking Disability in the Private (Government of Canada) –

Guides & Handbooks

Employer’s Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People with Disabilities (2nd Edition) – Conference Board of Canada –

Taping the Talents of People with Disabilities: A guide for employers – Conference Board of Canada –

Taking Action: An HR Guide Hiring And Retaining Employees with Disabilities (Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters) –

Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining and Promoting People with Disabilities: A Resource Guide for Employers –

Employer Support Organizations

Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network for Persons with Disabilities (JOIN) –

Community Living Ontario –

Canadian Business SenseAbility –

Ability First –

Success Stories, Videos, Testimonials

Ability First: Employer Success Stories –

Canadian Business SenseAbility: Employer Success Stories –

Disability Sensitivity Training Video (DC Government Office of Disability Rights) –

 Inspiration Porn and the Objectification of Disability –

Awards & Grants

Ontario MainStreet Accessibility Award (OBIAA) –

David Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility –

Ability First Coalition Awards –

Abilities Connect Fund –

EnAbling Accessibility Fund –

Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities –

If you would like further information on the Accessibility Smart Businesses Project, please contact Constance Exley, Project Manager at or Kay Matthews, OBIAA Executive Director at

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