"Toronto By-Laws"


Toronto New City Hall

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If you are looking for real by-laws for wheelchair accessibility in the City of Toronto you'll find none. In this day and age I find this piece of information astounding. The city can make by-laws for squeegie kids, squatters and even one that prohibits store buggies on public sidewalks but they don't have any that enforce accessibility for the disabled.

There are some very vague laws on the books and those I'll print here for you to read. I received this information from the City itself when I enquired. This is an issue covered by Provincial law, more exact the "Ontario Building Code", but it really doesn't do squat either. It basically only effect buildings not yet erected (still on paper) or major renovations being done but all in all the ramps have to be also on public property to have to comply with the laws if I understand it correctly. See link below for information on the Ontario Building Code.

Both Provincial and Municipal Gov'ts are sitting around talking about it. Doing expensive surveys, pondering, shuffling paper, tangling it up in red tape, sending it to one committee after another, etc., and all the while we are still in limbo. Maybe it is time we went to the "Ontario Human Rights Committee" as it seems their laws on the books superseed the Building Code ones. After reading this page and the page on the Ontario Building Code, if you click on the link here to the OHRC there is some interesting reading there.

Here is the information I have:

Licensing bylaws that may be potentially used to achieve a goal of a totally accessible Toronto. Do note however in reading the following, that most businesses rent space, and the building owners would be ultimately the ones who would be responsible for building modifications.

"City of Toronto
By-Law 574-2000

General Provisions

27. No person licensed under this By-law shall, because of race, colour, or creed, discriminate against any member of the public in the carrying on of the trade, business or occupation in respect of which the licence is issued.

28. No person licensed under this By-law shall, in respect of any blind person being guided or led by a dog,

- (1) refuse to serve such person;

- (2) refuse to permit such person to enter with such dog into or upon any place, premises, vehicle or thing to which the licence relates; or

- (3) refuse to permit such person and such dog to remain in or upon such place, premises, vehicle or thing, by reason only of the presence of the said dog.

29. No person licensed under this By-law shall in respect of any person with a disability,

- (1) refuse to serve such person;

- (2) refuse to permit such person to enter into or upon any place, premises, vehicle or thing to which the licence relates; or

- (3) refuse to permit such person to remain in or upon such place, premises, vehicle or thing, by reason only of the presence of such disability."

The city has been given very limited authority to deal with access features of private property, and can only do so through the enforcement of the Ontario Building Code. For details on the OBC and especially with note to section 3.8 which applies to barrier-free design issues, see the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing's web site at: Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing". (You'll have to do a search there - try "barrier free")

that there were guidelines that have to be used, etc. for the building of these ramps.

Only if ramps are on or connect to city property, and they are in the OBC.

The ODA (Ontario Disability Act - which for the most part I personally think is a joke) may be interpreted to give the city some new power under the planning and municipal acts with may allow us to influence accessibility of some businesses through the city's licensing authority, but this is under study at the moment. The city may also find a means under the ODA of having people with disabilities participate in "Site Plan Review", which is a process in which a developer must bring plans to the city and city staff determine if the plans fit into the zoning of an area, or into the general goals of the Official Plan. This is, obviously, the right moment to negotiate accessibility into a building, while it's still on paper.

Next page - "Ontario Building Code Information"


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