Durham Region's commitment to accessibility
“In order to achieve a fully inclusive and accessible environment, it is important to be aware of both the different types of disabilities, and the barriers that prevent full participation,” said Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer of The Regional Municipality of Durham. “Accessibility is a priority, as it benefits our local economy, community and our citizens.”
In 2002, Durham Regional Council introduced a Regional Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC), in an effort to help ensure Regional programs and services are delivered in a way that preserves the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.
In 2003, the Region took another step forward by introducing an Accessibility Plan. Since that time, yearly accessibility plans highlight current and proposed accessibility initiatives, while also outlining our municipality’s legislative requirements.
To ensure the Region is meeting the needs of all residents, Durham Regional Council adopted an Accessible Customer Service Policy in 2008. This document outlined legislative requirements and noted organizational initiatives that would continue to help eliminate barriers, such as special accessibility training for about 5,000 Regional staff members. These sessions highlight valuable information, including the fact that disabilities are not always obvious.
To ensure residents’ needs are met, most Regional-owned facilities now have accessible ramps, lowered reception counters, and automatic doors. Ongoing training is provided to all Regional staff in order to meet legislative requirements. Plus, the organization has purchased several accessible buses, redeveloped the website to exceed current guidelines, installed accessible pedestrian signals at several intersections, and introduced a special water meter reading program. Other initiatives are also being reviewed.
One of the most recent additions was the introduction of the service disruption notification form, which allows departments to effectively notify citizens of any planned or unforeseen interruptions at Regional facilities, offices, etc. For example, the form would be posted at the site of any planned maintenance work, such as elevators, electrical matters, etc.
When the organization provides information and notices in a consistent manner, it helps to meet the needs of persons with disabilities and improves our overall customer service.
Please let us know how we can help with Regional facilities and services, by emailing the Accessibility Coordinator.