The Ontario government passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in 2005. The act makes it mandatory for both private and public sectors to comply with accessibility standards. This will benefit the 1.85 million people in Ontario who have a disability (as of 2010). Organizations can avail themselves of various grants to comply with the AODA standards, and help the government realize its goal to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025.
Enabling Accessibility Fund
The Canadian federal government, through Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), offers the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF). The EAF supports community-based projects that improve accessibility for Canadians with disabilities. It provides grants of up to $75,000 for small projects that include renovation, construction and retrofitting of buildings and modification of vehicles. Organizations may submit grant applications when the HRSDC makes an open call for proposals.
Social Development Partnerships Program, Disability
The HRSDC also provides $11 million per year in grants and contributions through the Disability component of the Social Development Partnership Program. The program supports projects of the not-for-profit sector that improve access of people with disabilities to programs and services. Not-for-profit organizations may apply for funding when a call for proposals is open.
Ontario Trillium Fund
The Ontario Trillium Fund (OTF) offers capital grants for renovations, especially those that improve accessibility. The grant amount can go up to $150,000 over one or more years. Funding depends on the proposal’s fit with the OTF’s granting priorities and assessment criteria, overall demand and granting budget.
Enabling Change Partnership Program
The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services offers the Enabling Change Partnership Program. Among its goals are to assist organizations in complying with accessibility standards and to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. The Ontario government will share costs up to 75 percent of the total project, and contribute expertise. Partners must contribute a minimum of 25 percent of the total project cost, financially or in-kind. There is no maximum amount per project, but funding requests must be cost-effective.
- Ministry of Community and Social Services: Understanding Accessibility
- Human Resources and Skills Development Canada: Enabling Accessibility Fund
- Human Resources and Skills Development Canada: Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability (SDPP-D)
- Ontario Trillium Foundation: Program Guidelines
- Ministry of Community and Social Services: Enabling Change Partnership Program
- wheelchair access sign image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com