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Presenters: Jutta, Alastair McEwin


  • AODA set goal of an accessible Ontario by 2025
    • Tech is changing so fast that this is not a reasonable deadline, and
    • Is it even possible to define what we mean by an accessible Ontario?
    • Need to rethink the framework - therefore proposing the Accessibility Ecosystem
  • Accessibility Ecosystem
    • define the aspirations, not how you meet the aspirations
    • systemic categories:
      • 1 Education of accessibility at all levels and professional education systems
      • 2 procurement - no government spending that introduces further barriers
      • 3 participation of people with disabilities
    • qualifying methods - allowable ways in which you can achieve those aspirations - in a separate body
    • create an arms-length trusted authority to ensure that there are qualifying methods, as well as tools and resources
    • receive proposals for innovative ways of achieving functional accessibility requirements from all parties
    • most critical element - the community hub/platform - fragmented resources can be curated, critiqued - training and tools, identification of additional barriers, constructive review from public
      • has a coherent place from which it can feed into trusted authority
      • give the public a role rather than being passive witness
    • anticipated a lot of push-back, but there has not been! (neither from tech companies nor obligated organizations)
    • may be some push-back from disability community - justifiable distress about lost ground - so far, all are supportive
    • who will support the trusted authority? multiple jurisdictions, possibly including the federal government

    • often asking the wrong questions - e.g. looking at Uber in Australia rather than asking what about wheelchair users who can't get to the train station?
    • what can we learn from the established trusted authority in Australia?
      • enforcement and compliance - don't have the power
      • can make recommendations, scrutinize government proposed laws, human rights investigations
      • consult with members of parliament
      • inquiries e.g. into employment of people with disabilities
      • a voice for community concerns - not involved in individual issues
      • independent of individual complaint mechanism (i.e. human rights commission)
    • biggest proportion of HR complaints related to audio description 
    • jurisdictional oversight - CRTC in Canada - federally regulated
      • manufacturer of ITC not regulated - global companies
    • example - soap opera made in Austrailia (Home and Away) - viewers in UK can access audio descriptions, but those in Australia cannot
    • Metrolinx - a means of coordinating across transit authorities - not an "arms length" organisation
    • example of arms length orgs: Ontario HR commission, various environmental bodies, access board in US (although arms-lengthedness has become precarious of late)
    • how do we redistribute the cost of AODA?
      • shared funding across jurisdictions
      • monitoring component of that compliance - reporting, monitoring/auditing, fining
    • recruiting public to help with monitoring - not in the sense of lodging complaints, much more bottom-up, informal escalating to formal, using things like mapathons, or reveiew mechanisms that the public can provide to a service to say this is accessible or not, transparency of a11y reports (and to confirm or deny the reporting)
    • what value are we placing on people with disabilities in everything we do?
      • compare with environmental fines for polluting companies vs. services that are not accessible
    • THE SHIP - is Ontario as a whole, navigating through uncertain ocean of change in global and national context
      • barriers and opportunities will come up as we navigate the seas
      • sails - directed by context change and innovation
      • 3 components running ship:
        1. accessibility law is the compass showing you the way, 
        2. trusted authority - the loop moving between TA and accessibility law - constant feedback and forward, 
        3. community hub - provides training, resources, tools, research, guidance, innovative approaches to addressing a11y barriers
      •  accessibility as a process rather than a destination or product!
      • the ship will sink if something moves - open to suggestions about the metaphor
    • community hub modeled on our Big Idea - how do we turn Big Idea into community hub?
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