ELECTIONS ONTARIO’S ACCESSIBILITY INITIATIVES FOR THE 40th PROVINCIAL GENERAL ELECTION
TORONTO — Ontario’s 40th general election is six months away. In preparation for October 6, 2011, Elections Ontario has developed an Accessibility Program and Action Plan to make voting easy and convenient for electors.
Elections Ontario is committed to improving the accessibility of the electoral process. Since the 1970’s, our agency has pioneered important administrative initiatives to help Ontarians exercise their right to vote. In recent years, we introduced closed-captioning for election commercials and accessibility devices, such as Braille templates, at every voting location for electors.
Following the 2007 general election, the Chief Electoral Officer made a number of recommendations to the Select Committee on Elections that identified initiatives to enhance barrier-free access to elections. Most of these recommendations were included in the Election Statute Law Amendment Act, 2010 that received Royal Assent on May 18, 2010.
Elections Ontario’s Accessibility Program puts accessibility for voters at the centre of everything we do. As part of our program, Elections Ontario developed an Accessibility Action Plan that outlines how we will work to remove barriers that may prevent people from voting. It includes details on new services such as Special ballots, home visits and assistive voting technologies.
One of the most significant amendments to Ontario’s election laws requires that all voting locations be accessible. To make sure we met this requirement, Elections Ontario established Site Accessibility Standards in consultation with accessibility experts. These Standards were developed to provide Returning Officers with uniform and mandatory criteria to evaluate more than 11,000 proposed voting locations. Returning Officers received hands-on training on how to inspect and evaluate locations which resulted in AODA certification.
Today marks the first day of our month-long public consultation process on the proposed voting locations. Until May 6, 2011, members of the public can visit www.elections.on.ca to view all proposed locations. Elections Ontario welcomes all feedback and is asking the public to help propose alternative accessible locations that may be used for elections.
Elections Ontario is the non-partisan agency responsible for administering provincial elections, by-elections and referenda.
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For more information:
Elections Ontario Media Relations
416.212.6186 / 1.866.252.2152