Increasing the Accessibility of Ontario’s
Public Spaces & Main Streets

Welcome to Accessibility

Since 2014, OBIAA has worked with the Province of Ontario to help our BIAs and their Business Members understand and comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). As we continue to champion accessibility for our BIAs and their members, OBIAA is very pleased to announce our newest initiative.

Accessing our Heritage is a year-long project that began in December 2019 and focuses on increasing the accessibility of Ontario’s heritage buildings, spaces and main streets. A conference for built environment professionals will be held in the fall to discuss how to remove barriers to making heritage buildings and spaces more accessible.

The Accessing our Heritage Conference aims to inspire action and build awareness amongst planners, architects, engineers, heritage leaders, media, BIAs, businesses, people with disabilities, and more.  This will be a gathering of people who care deeply about heritage and accessibility and who, through multi-stakeholder dialogue, can develop a vision that unites their distinct roles and visions in an effort to increase the accessibility of Ontario’s heritage buildings. The conference will be on October 20, 2020 at Alderlea in Brampton. More information to follow.

This project is being guided by an Advisory Committee made up of BIAs, Municipal Accessibility Staff, individuals with disabilities, and business owners. The committee members include:

Jim Mountain, Adjunct Professor, Carleton University, Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism. Former Director of Heritage Regeneration Projects for the National Trust for Canada

Amanda Motyer, Accessibility Specialist, Lett Architects Inc.

Mark Buffone, Accessibility Compliance Coordinator, City Peterborough

Hayley Nabuurs, Master of Urban & Regional Planning Candidate, Queen’s University

John Lane, Director, Ontario Building Officials of Ontario (OBOA) and Manager, Building Inspections, City of Hamilton

Sarah Cossette, Manager, Library, Arts and Heritage Services Unit, Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

Kay Matthews, Executive Director, Ontario BIA Association

Constance Exley, Accessing our Heritage Project Manager and CEO of Accessibility Services Canada

The Business of Accessibility Handbook

The Business of Accessibility Handbook: How to Make Your Main Street Business Accessibility Smart 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).

The handbook 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