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The Planning Act and Accessibility

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Planning more accessible communities is becoming increasingly important as Ontario's population ages. Accessible communities help citizens participate in all aspects of life. Municipal governments play an important role in planning their communities to make them accessible. Provisions in the Planning Act enable municipalities to provide for accessibility through their planning and development decisions.

A sidewalk with curb cuts

Did you know?
About 1.85 million people in Ontario have a disability.

Source: Statistics Canada, Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) 2006.

Quick Fact:
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA), 2001 helps improve opportunities for persons with disabilities. In 2005, the Ontario government passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) with the purpose to achieve accessibility for persons with disabilities by 2025. The ODA, however, remains in effect until repealed. For more information on these Acts, see the Barrier Free Handbook.

Did you know?
Accessibility for all - Built form (e.g., sidewalks and buildings) promotes universal access for persons with disabilities. Through the site plan control process, municipalities can consider the accessibility of a development proposal.

Quick Fact:
The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS, 2005) also identifies the importance of improving accessibility for persons with disabilities and the elderly.

Planning Act

Provincial Interest – Section 2

Section 2 of the Planning Act requires planning authorities, in carrying out their responsibilities under the Act, to have regard to accessibility for persons with disabilities for all facilities, services and matters to which the Act applies.

Reviewing Site Plans – Section 41

The Planning Act makes provisions for accessibility for persons with disabilities as part of the site plan process. Site plan control helps facilitate universal accessibility to buildings and the spaces surrounding the buildings on a development site. Through this process, municipalities can review a developer's plans and drawings, and require the provision of facilities for accessibility to a development proposal.

Reviewing Plans of Subdivision – Section 51

Under the Planning Act, when considering a draft plan of subdivision, planning approval authorities are to have regard to accessibility for persons with disabilities. Further, section 51 now allows approval authorities to require land dedication for pedestrian and bicycle pathways, and public transit ways in new subdivision proposals.

Reviewing Applications to Sever Land (Consents) – Section 53

When reviewing consent applications, municipalities need to have regard to accessibility for persons with disabilities. This is similar to the provision regarding the review of plans of subdivision.

For more information, contact:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Provincial Planning Policy Branch

Ministry Regional Offices

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This Infosheet provides information about the Planning Act and accessibility. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialized legal or professional advice in connection with any particular matter. It is recommended that independent legal or professional advice be obtained in matters relating to provisions found in the Planning Act.

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