In the name of accessibility... FRANCIS RACINE

The City of Cornwall hopes to become an accessible and barrier-free community by 2025. To help achieve that goal, the City relies in part on the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC). This volunteer group of residents advises Council on accessibility matters and provides annual updates on Cornwall’s progress in becoming barrier-free. Pictured are Jim Althouse, Parks and Landscaping supervisor; Steve McGillis, Cornwall Transit; Chris Perry, assistant supervisor, Facilities Operations; Ron Flaro, MAAC member; Manon Levesque, deputy City clerk and Accessibility advisory; Lynn Blanchard, plantsperson, Cornwall Transit operator; Councillor Justin Towndale and Linda Varga, Transit Technician Accessibility. In the second row: Len Tapp, Cornwall Transit Division manager; Kim Baird, past councillor and MAAC representative; Jennifer Jarvis, MAAC member; Amanda Escobar, MAAC member’s daughter; Ben Caron, MAAC member; Dawn Kiddell, chief librarian and Vanessa Langevin. In the front are: Councillor Carilyne Hébert; Rick Lapierre, MAAC member; Carol Escobar, MAAC chair and Ted Emerton-Proulx, MAAC member.

For some, a simple walk in the park or taking the three-o’ clock bus can be a real challenge or can even be impossible. Such is the case for people afflicted with disabilities and who reside in Cornwall. Although the term is widely used, its broa- der explanation might come as a surprise to many. The term covers several afflictions and is described by the Ontario Human Rights Commission as “any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or dis- figurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes

diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impedi- ment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device.” In addition, the province’s system for human rights also states that “a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability, a learning disability, or a dys- function in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language as well as a mental

disorder” is to be considered a disability. Such people often have limitedmobility and are therefore at a disadvantage when visiting some buildings. The Province of Ontario established the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) The Act’s mission is to “develop, imple- ment and enforce accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, ser- vices, facilities, accommodation, employ- ment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025.” A change that isn’t that expensive It’s been 10 years since the AODA came

into effect and, in that time, the City has made tremendous gains on accessibility, utilizing one simple tactic. Manon Levesque, deputy City clerk and accessibility advisor for the City of Cornwall, explained that steps are taken to ensure proper accessibility prior to the construction of City projects. “It’s not man- datory to do so,” she said. “But we think it’s a great idea. The cost to build something properly accessible is nearly the same as its less accessible counterpart.” She pointed to the Benson Centre as being “the perfect example”. “With the Benson Centre, we decided to put in

Le Journal, Cornwall


Le mercredi 18 novembre 2015

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