Why Certification? The Social Benefits

For a certification program to work, it must make sense to everyone involved.

We are working toward a certification program be developed by persons with disabilities, businesses and organizations. Those who would be most impacted by certification will be responsible for finding solutions and making them work.

Creating a certification program for accessibility in Ontario provides significant opportunity to transform our society into one that is inclusive for all. However, there are also a number of challenges associated with developing a framework that embraces both business and accessibility.

What are the potential benefits to society at large from introducing an accessibility certification program in Ontario?

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Sallylou's avatar

Accessibility is still a big word with a variety of areas that need to be identified by businesses, communities and individuals. If we have an accessibility certification program, I would like to think that these individuals could go out to communities or workplaces, businesses to assist them with a workplan to achieve the best level of accessibility. That different areas would be covered, or be specialized.

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Louise's avatar

You're right - accessibility is a huge word. Often when it's used, it's not even used in reference to removing barriers so people who have a disability can fully participate in life and be included.

When I was on the province standards writing committee, one of the biggest things we were cautioned against was using the word "accessibility" and yet... look where we are.

It has been one of my dreams to become a consultant who can go out to various places and simply just talk to people. Often, what happens, is the decision makers, in this case the business leaders, don't have direct exposure to the types of challenges a disability can impose. Without the exposure, it's hard to dream up solutions.

One of the biggest mistakes I see is places testing the width of places using a manual wheelchair. The tester doesn't realize that a manual wheelchair moves differently than a power wheelchair.

I like your idea though - that people go out to assist in the barrier removal process.

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C Johnson's avatar

Anything that encourages increased accessibility will have social benefits, including:
-increased spending (benefits local economy)
-reduced strain on government services where private services can provide them
-reduced litigation or fines against inaccessible businesses
-increased ability for disabled people to be more productive in their communities (e.g. if they can access the services they need, they may be more able to work, volunteer, attend school, etc.)

A certification program is a potential enabler to reaching these goals by helping standardize and incentivize businesses towards accessibility.

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