Ontario is asking the public to help develop The Path to 2025: Ontario’s Accessibility Action Plan, a voluntary third-party accessibility certification program to recognize businesses and organizations that advocate accessibility.
Ontario plans to explore different ways to develop an accessibility certification program and challenges a third-party certifying body to help deliver it. A certification program would highlight the strides made by accessible businesses and organizations and help raise awareness of their commitment to accessibility.
The program would help businesses cater to an important and underexplored consumer base, as one in seven Ontario residents has a disability, which will increase to one in five by 2035. Canadians with disabilities and their families represent an economic market worth about $25 billion, and according to the Martin Prosperity Institute, by making Ontario inclusive, Canada would see a $7.9 billion increase to its GDP.
“I challenge people across this province to help create a made-in-Ontario designation for accessible businesses,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, in a press release. “This initiative would make it easier for people to identify accessible organizations and would be a great way for businesses to increase their customer base and improve their bottom line. Ontario is an accessibility leader – certification would enhance our culture of inclusion and strengthen the economy.”
The development of the accessibility certification program is part of the province’s Open Government strategy to engage a more diverse range of citizens in new ways.