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Good Practice 2014
Category: Spaces, products and services already in use

AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) Resources for Design Professionals

GAATES (Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments)


Logo GAATES Basic Navigation Features

This GAATES project OADA was developed to assist architects, landscape architects, urban planners, architectural technologists and engineering technologist, understand and implement new Ontario legislation which mandates the provision of accessible goods, services and facilities. The project was funded through the EnAbling Change program of the Government of Ontario. Project partners were the professional associations of the design professionals listed above.

Phase 1 of the project was to develop a suite resources for design professionals and other small businesses, to help them understand their obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). More specifically; how small businesses can provide information to their clients/customers in formats that are accessible to everyone, as well as how they can communicate with their clients/customers in a way that is inclusive. An Information and Communication Technology Vendor Database was also developed to assist businesses find suppliers who can provide accessible information and communication development and support services.

Phase 2 of the project was to produce learning and reference resources to assist design professionals understand and implement the accessible built-environment requirements enacted under the AODA. More specifically, the development of: an Illustrated Technical Guide to the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces; a self-directed distance learning course for which design professionals will receive professional development learning credits from their respective professional associations; a series of webinars, customized to the different design professions.

The resources have been developed over a 3-year period, and will be complete by December 2014. The development process was guided by an advisory group with representation from persons with disabilities, the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, as well as end users of the resources – members of the project partner professional associations.

The various documents developed for this project are available free of charge through the GAATES website. All resources were developed as accessible PDF files. The primary resources are also available as fully-accessible web documents. Similarly, the platform used for the developement of the self-directed on-line professional development course (A-Tutor), is fully accessible and can be customized by learners to support their specific accessibility needs.

The resources developed through this project have been very well received by design professionals and small business in Ontario, and they continue to be downloaded on a regular basis. The self-directed distance learning course is being actively promoted by the professional associations to their members, and will be available January 2015.

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