Community

Accessibility Advisory Committee begins new term

The committee that advises Regional Council and York Regional Police (YRP) on accessibility standards begins a new three-year term.

Most members of the York Region Accessibility Advisory Committee (YRAAC) must be people with disabilities and also offer advice on how to make it easier for people with disabilities to use programs, services and facilities.

“York Region is committed to providing strong, caring and safe communities,” says York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “With the support and expertise of our committee members, we will continue creating welcoming and inclusive communities that foster opportunities for everyone to thrive, free of barriers and without discrimination.”

Municipalities with a population of more than 10,000 are required to have an accessibility advisory committee under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. The purpose of the Act is to improve accessibility standards for Ontarians with physical and mental disabilities at all public establishments by 2025.

According to the York Region 2020 to 2023 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, “accessibility means ensuring that all people, including people with disabilities, have the freedom and opportunity to participate in their community.” Nearly one in five York residents – aged 15 and older – has at least one disability, the plan reports.

The 2023-2026 YYAAC is comprised of the following members of Regional Council: Emmerson, Newmarket Deputy Mayor and YRAAC Chair Tom Vegh, Markham Regional Councillor Alan Ho and Georgina Regional Councillor Naomi Davison. Members come from different backgrounds and bring a ‘lens of lived experience’ to the committee, the Region reports. Community members are Beverley Barra-Berger, Cheryl Davies, Robert DiGiovanni, Steve Foglia, Lindsey Gold, Lilian Hulme-Smith, Bryan Keshen, Karla Malsi, Ahsan Musavi, Vito Spatafora, Angelo Tocco and Scott Wollin.

“Over the past several years, the committee advised on many important initiatives, including the 2022 York Region Official Plan update, the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan and the 2023-2025 YRP Business Plan,” says Vegh. “I look forward to our continued work to ensure our programs, services and facilities are accessible for everyone.”

The committee will provide advice on the implementation and effectiveness of Ontario’s accessibility legislation and the preparation of accessibility reports to meet York’s long-term strategies and visions. That includes continuing to ensure the Region’s conventional and specialized transportation services are accessible to people of all abilities with established actions such as ensuring people with disabilities are able to board or deboard at the closest available safe location if the official transit stop is not accessible.

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