Accessibility Plan 2003-2004
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Table of Contents
- Report on Achievements
- Commitments and Strategies for 2003-2004
- Methods to be taken to prevent
- Business areas to be reviewed
- Actions to be taken
- For More Information
In 2001, there were an estimated 1.5 million people in Ontario
with self-disclosed disabilities. This number is expected to increase
as the population ages.
In December 2001, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001
(ODA) was passed into law. Its purpose is to improve opportunities
for people with disabilities and to provide for their involvement
in the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to their
full participation in the life of the province.
One of the requirements under the ODA is that Ontario government
ministries, municipalities, hospitals, school boards, colleges,
universities, and public transportation organizations develop annual
accessibility plans to make programs, services and buildings more
accessible to people with disabilities. The plans must be made available
to the public.
In the Speech from the Throne, delivered on November 20, 2003,
the Ontario Government confirmed its commitment to working with
Ontarians with disabilities on meaningful legislation that will
allow them to fully participate in building a stronger province.
This document is the first annual accessibility plan for the ministry
of Agriculture and Food. The plan describes improvements to accessibility
that the ministry has made to date and its commitments for the balance
of the 2003-2004 fiscal year.
Report on Achievements
The ministry is committed to ensuring accessibility
for people with disabilities in both its roles as Employer and service
Existing practices, within the ministry, already serve to ensure
that a number of the key Employer and Service Provider requirements
identified in the new Ontarian's with Disabilities Act, 2001
(ODA) are met. For example:
- ministry properties provide barrier-free access for staff and
visitors as well as accessible washrooms, technology and areas
of refuge for persons with disabilities;
- individual staff accommodation requirements, are addressed by
a team of professionals who provide consultation, assessment,
and recommendations for alterations to workspaces and equipment;
- the ministry posts open competitions on the website and provides
related materials in a variety of formats;
- the ministry accommodates individuals involved in a competitive
process, based on the requirements identified by the applicant;
- the ministry considers accessibility issues in planning public
meetings and stakeholder consultations, uses accessible premises
meetings/consultations, and provides interpretation services and
background materials in accessible formats as required;
- the ministry provides TTY services;
- the ministry included an Accessibility Planning section in its
2003-2004 Business Plan
- the ministry considers accessibility issues in its collaborations
with other ministries (e.g. the transition of the rural mandate
from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to the Ministry of Municipal
Affairs and Housing).
The ministry met the requirements of Section 7 of the ODA through
the development/ implementation of a process, in partnership with
Publications Ontario, that facilitates the ability to provide ministry
produced materials, in accessible formats (e.g. large print, braille,
etc.) when requested by members of the public or staff.
In the area of electronic service delivery, the ministry worked
to ensure that the public facing internet website met the requirements
of Section 6 of the ODA and adhered to the World Wide Web Consortium
(W3C) Priority 1 and Priority 2. These W3C priorities addressed
the design, layout, visual attributes and technical functionality
of all parts of the ministry's Internet website without affecting
the look or feel of the current site.
The enhancements made to the ministry website are transparent to
the existing client group, while making the site more accessible
to clients with disabilities, ensuring better service and information
to a significant segment of the public. Remedial work on the ministry's
public facing website www.omafra.gov.on.ca
was completed in February 2003.
The ministry promoted and monitored the participation of its managers
and supervisors in the ODA electronic training program provided
by the Shared Services Bureau to meet the training requirements
outlined in the ODA.
Commitments and Strategies
1. Methods to be taken to prevent new barriers
The ministry is committed to establishing an accessibility
planning working group comprised of ministry staff with disabilities,
and those who have an expertise in disability issues. During the
2003-2004 fiscal year, the working group will:
- assist in the development of strategies to eliminate and prevent
new barriers to people with disabilities;
- assist in development of the ministry's accessibility planning
process, and provide input into the annual accessibility plan;
- assist in the completion of the accessibility quotient questionnaire;
- assist in developing protocols to ensure that accessibility
issues are taken into consideration when developing legislation/regulations,
policies, programs and services and in conducting program evaluations;
- provide input into the business and operational planning processes;
- assist in the review of the new Management Board Guidelines
for procurement, to ensure that the ministry meets its obligations
under the ODA.
During the 2003-2004 fiscal year, the ministry will review new
and commence the review of existing legislation, regulations, policies,
programs and services with respect to their effect on people with
disabilities. The ministry will utilize accessibility evaluation
protocols to assess operating proposals in the 2004-2005 business
planning submissions and revise planning templates to ensure that
accessibility is considered in all operational planning.
The ministry will ensure that accessibility is taken into consideration
in the procurement of goods and services by: providing guidance
to managers and supervisors on considering accessibility in all
procurement activities under Section 5 of the ODA; providing all
staff with responsibility for procurement with the "Guidelines
for Implementing the Procurement Provisions of the Ontarians
with Disabilities Act" once they are made available by
Management Board; and monitoring the procurement of services to
ensure that practices conform to the MBS Guidelines and requirements
of the ODA.
The ministry commits to considering accessibility issues in the
review/approval of requests/proposals for funding through transfer
payments, as well as in the consideration/approval of applications
for government-funded capital programs (e.g. Tile Drainage Loan
The ministry will continue to ensure that its public facing internet
websites remain accessible and meet the ongoing requirements specified
in the ODA guidelines, by testing all new site content and making
adjustments as required to meet defined standards.
The ministry remains committed to ensuring that one hundred percent
of its managers and supervisors complete the ODA electronic training
program provided by the Shared Services Bureau, as well as to provide
all front line staff with disability awareness training.
The ministry will continue to consider accessibility issues in
its collaborations with other ministries (e.g. joint responsibilities
with MOE under the Nutrient Management Act).
The ministry is committed to an ongoing partnership with the Accessibility
Directorate to facilitate the development of annual accessibility
plans and strategies and ensure compliance with ODA requirements.
2. Business Areas to be Reviewed
a) Acts and Regulations
Commencing in 2003-2004, the ministry will develop a process and
a multi-year schedule to review all new/existing legislation and
regulations to ensure the appropriate use of language with respect
to people with disabilities, as well as to identify any other accessibility
issues for people with disabilities.
b) Policies and Programs
Commencing in 2003-2004, the ministry will develop a process and
a multi-year schedule to review all new/existing programs and services
with respect to accessibility for persons with disabilities.
The ministry will continue to consult with its Agencies, Boards
and Commissions to determine the impact of the ODA on these organizations.
c) Practices and Services
In 2003-2004, ministry human resources staff will review existing
employment practices and processes to identify areas that may need
to be improved to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities.
The ministry will continue to provide accommodation, as requested,
to individuals involved in a competitive process, as well as to
respond to individual staff requests for accommodation as it relates
to their employment.
Actions to be Taken
a) Barrier Identification and Prevention
The ministry's accessibility planning working group will assist
in the identification of existing barriers and the development of
strategies to eliminate existing and prevent new barriers, including
assisting in the completion of the Accessibility Quotient Questionnaire,
identifying priorities, defining timetables, and recommending the
allocation of resources.
The ministry will co-ordinate disability awareness training for
its front line staff.
The ministry will ensure that its TTY numbers are clearly identified
in publications, advertisements, etc. and that all new staff, where
appropriate, are trained in the use of TTY equipment and are able
to provide information on the ministry's numbers.
The ministry will promote and monitor the participation of its
managers and supervisors in the ODA electronic training program
to ensure one hundred percent compliance with the ODA training requirements.
The ministry will ensure: that ministry program managers and supervisors
are given guidance on considering accessibility in all procurement
activities under Section 5 of the ODA; and that all staff with responsibility
for procurement receive the "Guidelines for Implementing the
Procurement Provisions of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act"
once they are made available.
b) Improved Accessibility in Communications
The ministry will review and re-engineer its intranet site to
ensure compliance with ODA requirements.
The ministry will test new site content and monitor its public
facing internet website to ensure the ongoing compliance with ODA
The ministry will: consider accessibility issues in the planning
of public meetings and stakeholder consultations; and continue to
ensure that these meetings/consultations engage the appropriate
groups and are conducted in accessible premises with interpretation
services and background materials available in accessible formats
The ministry will continue, in partnership with Publications Ontario,
to provide its publications in accessible formats as requested by
members of the public and staff.
c) Improved Accessibility to Facilities
The ministry will undertake an accessibility audit of its properties
in relation to the new ORC barrier-free guidelines for government
buildings, structures and premises.
The ministry will ensure that all signage complies with universal
standards, is written in plain language, clearly posted and readable
at an appropriate height.
d) Improved Accessibility to Facilities
The ministry will continue to review desktop accessibility tools,
screen readers and text browsers to ensure ongoing compliance with
For More Information
- Questions or comments about the ministry's accessibility plan
are always welcome. Please phone:
General inquiry number: (519) 826-3100
TTY number: (519) 826-7402
Toll Free: 1 888 466-2372
Ministry website address:
Visit the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration's Accessibility
Ontario web portal at: www.gov.on.ca/citizenship/accessibility.
The site promotes accessibility and provides information and resources
on how to make Ontario a barrier-free society.
Alternate formats of this document are available free
upon request from:
880 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M7A 1N8. Tel: (416) 326-5300
Out of town customers except Ottawa call: 1 800 668-9938
In Ottawa, call (613) 238-3630 or toll-free 1 800 268-8758
TTY Service 1 800 268-7095
Queens Printer for Ontario
ISSN 1701-2901 Accessibility Plan. Ontario. Ministry of Agriculture
and Food (Print)
ISSN 1710-291X Accessibility Plan. Ontario. Ministry of Agriculture
and Food (Online)