For January 1, 2015 does our church/ministry have to be in compliance with Ontario Building Code Accessibility Requirements (for barrier-free design)?
The short answer is: No. Unless you are doing a new build or making extensive renovations as defined under the building code (related to size, etc.). (Contact your municipal offices for detailed information about the building code as it applies to your specific property and project.)
As of January 1, 2012, accessibility policy statements and training are mandatory. If your church/ministry has not complied with legislation, refer to this resource handbook to work toward compliance: Welcoming Communities
Overview of New Accessibility Amendments to Ontario’s Building Code: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page10547.aspx.
Built Environment Draft Accessibility Standards (for Ontario) Now Available
The Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment focus on removing barriers in two areas:
- public spaces, and
The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services has released draft standards for accessible public spaces and are inviting public input. These regulations, once finalized, will affect NEW construction and redevelopment of non-profit buildings, including churches, camps and community ministries, in Ontario.
For more information on what these standards cover, see the Ministry’s website:
Enhancements to accessibility in buildings will happen at a later date through Ontario’s Building Code, which governs NEW construction and renovations in buildings.
What does “Customer Service” refer to in a church context?
(This information was in a General council e-mail document in December 2009)
- This term is understood as our interaction with those who come through our doors – parishioners, community ministry participants, campers, students, seniors, and so on.
- It may also include how we interact with those who are seeking religious services – weddings, funerals, baptisms.
Conference Support to Individual Congregations
- “Welcoming Communities; Developing your own policy statement: Accessibility Standards for Customer Service”
Hamilton Conference, working with London Conference and Toronto Conference, has created this policy statement guideline to assist you in creating your own policy template. A copy of this document has been sent to the Chairs of Boards/Councils of each congregation. The document is also available for download by clicking on the link above. Information in this document is current as of October 2010.
- Set aside 45 minutes to watch the training video provided by the Ontario government. It is available at: http://accessforward.ca/.