Accessibility and Diversity Initiatives Update Reports highlight Oakville’s commitment to providing accessible and inclusive programs and services

Tue, 23 Dec 2014

Oakville’s commitment to inclusiveness was highlighted at Council yesterday with update reports on the town’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan 2012-2017 and 2014 Diversity Initiatives.

One in seven people in Ontario has a disability and it is expected that by 2036 this number will rise to one in five given the aging population. As the town’s population ages, accessibility will gain greater importance. In addition, Statistics Canada’s most recent census data indicates that one in four residents has a mother tongue other than English and French and by 2031, between 25 and 28 per cent of the Canadian population could be foreign born.

“Inclusiveness and accessibility are about tapping into all the perspectives, experiences, lifestyles and cultures that we collectively possess,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “The town is committed to delivering programs and services accessible to all of the community.”

Some key accomplishments outlined in the accessibility plan include:

  • Continuing to meet all provincial accessibility requirements
  • Developing new Oakville Universal Design Standards for town facilities to ensure town-owned facilities are accessible and barrier-free
  • Providing 100 percent low-floor, ramp-equipped bus fleet
  • Constructing a new family change room for Glen Abbey pool
  • Installing new playgrounds with accessible features at Neyagawa Park, Greenwich Parkette and Spring Garden Park
  • Rehabilitating splash pads at Neyagawa Park and Valleybrook Park, including new accessible surface and controls
  • Offering programs that are accessible and inclusive, including Express Pass which allows participants to bring a support worker to the pool or gym at no additional charge
  • Offering specialized reading aids in five library branches as well as delivery and pick-up services for approximately 150 residents who cannot visit the library in-person
  • Implementing accessible features on the town’s website and offering town documents in accessible format, upon request
  • Developing a service disruption notification protocol whereby the town must notify the public when a facility, service or system’s operation is interrupted for any length of time or reason

Mayor Burton added that parents with strollers, older adults and people with unexpected or temporary disabilities realize the benefits of having a more accessible town as well.

Some key initiatives outlined in the diversity initiatives report include:

  • Providing visitors the ability to translate the town’s website into 80 languages through Google Translate
  • Assisting callers through an over-the-phone interpretation service (Language Line) that provides interpreters in more than 150 languages
  • Offering a variety of library online resources to improve language skills as well as workshops that assist children and teens with homework, a place to meet new friends or help newcomers build a career
  • Offering women-only swims with female instructors/lifeguards for women from different religious and cultural backgrounds
  • Hosting a multitude of art and cultural events and programs at the Oakville Museum, the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, and the Queen Elizabeth Community and Cultural Centre
  • Hosting a town booth at the Halton Multicultural Council’s annual picnic to celebrate Multiculturalism Day to provide information about town programs and services
  • Offering a formal work accommodation program and providing opportunities for internationally trained persons to gain experience in the Canadian workforce
  • Providing a designated quiet room at Town Hall for prayer and quiet reflection. The town is looking to open similar rooms at other town facilities
  • Hosting its sixth citizenship ceremony in partnership with Citizen and Immigration Canada welcoming 26 new Canadians

For more information on the town’s accessibility and diversity initiatives contact:

Daniel Sadler
Accessibility Coordinator
905-845-6601, ext. 3660
daniel.sadler@oakville.ca