City of Sarnia 2017-2020 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

Accessibility Plans

As part of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities ACT (AODA), municipalities with 50 or more employees must create a written multi-year accessibility plan, and update them at least once every five years. An accessibility plan outlines what steps a municipality will take to prevent and remove barriers to accessibility and when it will do so.
The City of Sarnia Multi-Year Accessibility Plan is designed to complement and to be an extension of past plans and accessibility updates. It will be implemented within the provisions mandated by the AODA and the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation (IASR); specifically under the Customer Service, Information and Communication, Transportation, Employment, and Design of Public Spaces Standards.
This document also includes strategies that are not directed by the standards but will make the City of Sarnia more accessible to all its citizens and visitors. Furthermore, the strategies within this document will ensure that accessibility is at a high standard for all programs, services, facilities, and outdoor spaces.
This plan will be reviewed once every two years to coincide with the Sarnia Accessibility Advisory Committee (SAAC) term and will be made public via the City of Sarnia website.

Message from the Mayor

“Accessibility and employment for people with disabilities and intellectually challenged is justice, not charity.”
Mayor Mike Bradley

Message from the City Manager

“The City of Sarnia is committed to ongoing improvement to accessibility within the City and achieving the goals set by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
This report outlines our accomplishments to date as well as priorities planned for the next 3 years. Special thanks is extended to staff for their efforts and commitment to successful implementation of AODA standards to date. By developing initiatives in the key areas outlined in this multi-year plan, we continue to remove and prevent barriers to create a more inclusive City for residents.”
Margaret Misek-Evans, City Manager

Message from the Chair of the Sarnia Accessibility Advisory Committee (SAAC)

“The City of Sarnia has made great progress in promoting a barrier-free City for residents, employees, and visitors. Through this plan, the City will continue the on-going process of creating a caring and inclusive community. The City remains committed to enhancing the ability of residents and visitors to participate fully in everything Sarnia has to offer.”
Debbie Draganites, Chair of SAAC

Acknowledgement to City Staff

A special thank you is extended to the staff members at the City of Sarnia for all their hard work, time, and commitment to identifying and removing barriers and developing barrier free programs, services and facilities.


Ontario with Disabilities Act (ODA)

The ODA was established and became law in 2001. The purpose of the act is to achieve a barrier free Ontario for people with disabilities. The act called for all municipalities to assist in the identification, removal and prevention of accessibility barriers.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

The AODA was established in 2005 and was created to compliment the ODA and to address discrimination against persons with disabilities in Ontario. The purpose of the act is to “develop, implement and enforce accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities in respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures, and premises on or before January 1, 2025.” (Service Ontario, 2006).

Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation (IASR)

The IASR standards were created as part of the AODA. These standards are rules that businesses and organizations in Ontario have to follow to identify, remove and prevent barriers so that people with disabilities have more opportunity to participate in everyday life.
The IASR is broken down into five standards:
• General Requirements
• Information and Communication
• Employment
• Transit
• Design of Public Spaces

General Requirements for a Municipality under the IASR

This section is organized under the five standards identified in the IASR for municipalities and includes strategies outside of the standards meant to create a more accessible community.

What is required/planned What was accomplished
The IASR requires municipalities to :
Develop policy on how the City of Sarnia will achieve accessibility and a statement of the  commitment þ Complete in 2016
Develop Multi-Year Accessibility Plan and post annual reports on the City’s website  þ Ongoing
Train staff on the IASR and the Ontario Human Rights Code as it pertains to people with disabilities þ All current employees have completed the training and all new employees are required to take the training as part of their employment with the City of Sarnia
Report compliance to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario þ As required

Customer Service Standard

What is required/planned
Revised Accessible Customer Service Training Policy to reflect the changes made in July, 2016 þ Completed in 2016
Provide customer service training to all staff, volunteers and representatives that make decisions on behalf of the City þ All current staff, volunteers and decision makers have received training. Training is ongoing for new representatives and staff members of the City of Sarnia as part of the orientation process
Incorporate accessibility and the needs of people with disabilities when procuring or acquiring goods, services and facilities þ Ongoing. A statement has been added to the City of Sarnia’s procurement policy. An update to the policy will occur in 2017 that will ensure third party contractors are familiar with the City of Sarnia’s Accessibility Policy 
Provide feedback process in an accessible format and accommodate individuals needs upon request þ Ongoing  
Provide emergency information in formats that are accessible and take into account the disabilities of members of the public requesting information þ Ongoing
Give notice of temporary disruptions that include the reason and duration to the public provide information in alternative formats þ Ongoing
Permit all service animals in City of Sarnia  premises unless the animal is excluded by law   þ Ongoing

Information and Communication

What is required/planned What was accomplished
Provide information that is produced and controlled by the City of Sarnia in alternate formats and take into account the disability of the member of the public requesting information þ Ongoing and upon request
Achieve compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) to ensure the website is accessible to people with disabilities þ Website is in compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level A requirements and reviewed by staff regularly
Creating accessible documents and contents to ensure documents posted to the website are accessible þ  Staff have been trained on developing content for the City of Sarnia website through staff training and workshops
Emergency plans and related procedures are available in alternative formats and take in account visitors with disabilities þ All emergency plans are available in alternate formats upon reques


What is required/planned What was accomplished
Ensure that the recruitment, selection, and notification processes are as inclusive and accommodating as possible to build a diverse and effective workforce þ Developed City of Sarnia Employment Accommodation (SEA) Policy in 2014, included guidelines regarding job advertisement information to inform the public that accommodations are available upon request, and all applicants invited to interviews are asked if they require accommodation   
Continue to accommodate current employees who have or acquire a disability þ Included in the SEA policy is to develop an individualized Employment Accommodation Plan (EAP) for each employee that comes forward with a disability, develop a Workplace Emergency Plan for each employee who develops an EAP.
Retain current employees with disabilities þ All EAPs will be considered in performance management process, when the employee advances, is redeployed or changes positions  

Design of Public Spaces (DOPS)

*Implementation of DOPS will occur when adding new or replacing existing infrastructure

What is required/planned What was accomplished
Recreational Trails and Beach Access Routes þ The City of Sarnia will follow all the technical aspects of the requirements to trails and beach access routes as outlined in the Design of Public Spaces Requirements. This includes boardwalks and ramps.  þ All trail signage will possess information about the technical aspects of the trail at a high tonal contrast
Outdoor Public Use Eating Areas þ A minimum of 20% of outdoor tables will be accessible to those using mobility aids by having knee and toe clearance underneath the table, the surface leading to and under the tables is firm and has enough clear space for mobility devices
Outdoor Play Spaces þ All new and redeveloped outdoor play spaces will consist of an area that includes play equipment that enhances the play opportunities and experiences of children and caregivers with various disabilities and  consult with people with disabilities on the amenities of the park to include sensory components and active play, the surface of the park will be firm, stable and help prevent injuries and be accessible  
Exterior Paths of Travel þ The City of Sarnia will follow the technical aspect of paths of travel as outlined in the Design of Public Spaces Standard including width, surface, slope, height of overhead obstacles, and tactile walking surface indicators. þ The technical requirements of ramps, stairs, curb ramps and depressed curbs as outlined in the Design of Public Spaces Standard will be followed by the City of Sarnia  when building new or doing a major renovation   þ All technical and dimensions of accessible pedestrian signals will be installed as outlined in the Design of Public Spaces Standard þ The City of Sarnia  will consult with people with disabilities in regards to the location of rest areas on paths of travel
Accessible Parking þ The City of Sarnia  will implement Type A and B accessible spaces for off-street parking that includes access aisles and is on an accessible path of travel þ The City of Sarnia  will implement the requirement of having 4% of parking lot spaces be accessible and the ratio outlined in the Design of Public Spaces Standard þ All accessible parking spaces will have signage displayed at each parking space in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act þ The City of Sarnia  will consult regarding the need, location, and design of accessible on-street parking spaces with persons with disabilities
Obtaining Services þ The City of Sarnia will comply with the requirements outlined in the Design of Public Spaces Standards when building or redeveloping service counters, fixed queuing guides, and waiting areas.
Maintenance Planning þ The City of Sarnia  will undertake activities to keep existing public spaces and elements in good working order and within their original condition

Action Items Outside of the AODA Requirements

Access to parks, playgrounds, facilities and all outdoor spaces is an integral part of the quality of life of the citizens of Sarnia. These elements keep people active, healthy and social. That is why the City of Sarnia is making it a priority to make changes to these areas to ensure that all residents have access, are included and can participate equally.
In 2015 and 2016, the following facilities underwent accessibility reviews that outlined accessibility recommendations at each facility:
• Progressive Auto Centre Arena – 2015
• Clearwater Arena – 2015
• Sarnia Arena – 2015
• Strangway Centre – 2015
• Canatara Park Pathways – 2015
• Kinsmen Centre – 2015
• Errol Russell Park – 2016
• Norm Parry Park – 2016
These accessibility reviews, and future reviews, are created to accompany the City of Sarnia Multi-Year Accessibility Plan and are meant to assess and identify potential barriers to accessibility and make improvements on the recommendations listed in the reviews. In addition, accessibility issues identified by the public are encouraged in a feedback process on the City of Sarnia website or by contacting the City of Sarnia’s Accessibility Coordinator.
*all recommendations listed in the accessibility reviews are a priority for the City of Sarnia. However, improving these recommendations is based on funding and Sarnia City Council approval. Major renovations are recognized as an accessibility issue based on the recommendations but require significant preparation and are usually part of larger renovations and may not occur until significant planning occurs.


The City of Sarnia will reasonably maintain public spaces as per the “Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways” (2001). In addition, all trails, playgrounds, paths and beach access will be maintained from May to October unless otherwise stated or posted. Elements such as playgrounds and walkways/sidewalks will be continuously maintained within reason by the City of Sarnia to ensure the safety of the citizens of Sarnia and to prevent barriers to people with disabilities.
If a public space is temporarily disrupted or not functioning, the public will be notified in a variety of formats to educate about the scope of the disruption.
Members of the public are encouraged to notify the City of Sarnia if a function or maintenance issue occurs in a public space.

Review Process

City Council, employees, volunteers and those providing a good, service, program or facility on the City’ s behalf are responsible for adhering to the parameters of this accessibility plan and for ensuring that the needs of people with disabilities are addressed when accessing the City’s goods, services, programs, and facilities

City of Sarnia full 2017-2020 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan