Multi-year Accessibility Plan

The City’s 2023-2027 Multi-year Accessibility Plan aims to create an accessible and barrier-free environment for all residents, visitors and businesses.

The City is required to create a multi-year accessibility plan and update that plan at least once every five years ensuring consultation with people with disabilities and with the Accessibility Advisory Committee.


Read the City's 2023-2027 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (PDF) as an accessible PDF or see below for a text version. If you require an alternate format, contact

2023-2027 Multi-year Accessibility Plan


At the City of Vaughan, we are committed to treating everyone in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and fair access for residents, visitors and employees with visible or non-visible disabilities. 

Vaughan must be barrier-free, and our goal is to become a completely accessible municipality. The City wants to ensure Vaughan is welcoming, inclusive and a place where people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds can thrive. 

Planning for this goal is no small task – it’s an essential part of Vaughan’s future, and we are dedicated to working with our partners and residents to ensure we can achieve it. We are stronger together, and it’s only together that we can accomplish our ambitious goals. 

Our Multi-Year Accessibility Plan charts our path forward and will keep us on the right track.

Steven Del Duca
Mayor of Vaughan


As the Chair of the City of Vaughan’s Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC), I am honoured to play a role in the development and implementation of our City’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan. This comprehensive strategy is designed to prepare the way for a more inclusive and accessible Vaughan, where every resident has the opportunity to actively participate in our vibrant community.

Our vision is grounded in the belief that inclusivity enhances the overall well-being of our residents and visitors and serves as a cornerstone of our diverse city. The Multi-Year Accessibility Plan encompasses a wide range of initiatives, each aimed at breaking down barriers and ensuring people of all abilities can enjoy equal access to the resources and opportunities our city offers.

The plan covers many facets of accessibility, including the creation of user-friendly public spaces, improvements in transportation services, and the development of more accessible communication channels. It also emphasizes the importance of inclusive employment practices, support for accessible workplaces, and the provision of recreational and cultural programs that cater to the diverse needs of our community.

To bring this plan to life, we rely on the dedication and collaboration of our City staff, local businesses, and community partners. As Chair of the Vaughan AAC, I am committed to working closely with stakeholders, disability advocates and residents to ensure the Plan remains effective, adaptive and refective of our community’s diverse perspectives.

Together, let us strive to make Vaughan a shining example of accessibility and inclusivity, where every individual has the chance to contribute to our city’s success and enjoy a fulflling life.

Councillor Gila Martow
Chair, Accessibility Advisory Committee


The City of Vaughan is committed to creating a barrier-free community and workplace with universal access to its programs, services and facilities.

The 2023-2027 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan builds on the successes of the 2019-2022 Accessibility Plan (PDF) and reinforces the City’s priority to foster an active, engaged and inclusive community, as outlined in Vaughan’s 2022-2026 Term of Council Service Excellence Strategic Plan.

This plan addresses how staff will continue to design barrier-free public spaces, enhance transportation and customer service, and use accessible communication and information channels to meet the diverse needs of the community. It also underscores the significance of championing inclusive employment practices and accessible workplaces.

Thank you to the City staff, the Technical Advisory Committee and the Vaughan Accessibility Advisory Committee, chaired by Councillor Gila Martow, for preparing this comprehensive plan.

I look forward to making further advancements in accessibility and continuing to improve the quality of life for all.

Nick Spensieri
City Manager


Welcome to the City of Vaughan’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) for the years 2023-2027. This comprehensive five-year plan aims to create an accessible and barrier-free environment for all the city’s residents, visitors and businesses.

The 2023-2027 MYAP reflects our shared commitment to an inclusive and accessible city. Aligned with fostering Active, Engaged and Inclusive Communities – a strategic priority in the City’s 2022-2026 Term of Council Service Excellence Strategic Plan (Strategic Plan) – this MYAP aims to create a vibrant, diverse and equitable city for all residents, valuing the contributions of people with disabilities. Additionally, the City strives to apply the ‘Social Model’ of disability in accessibility planning. This model considers barriers to accessibility as issues in the environment that must be resolved. The more prevalent ‘Medical Model’ generally frames the individual’s difference as a problem to solve.

In alignment with the principles of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), our vision is to make Vaughan a model city for accessibility and inclusion. The MYAP outlines various strategies, goals and initiatives that will ensure people of all abilities can enjoy equal access to opportunities, services and facilities within the City.

The MYAP is the result of extensive consultations with community members, stakeholders and accessibility experts. It is a living document, designed to be flexible and adaptive to the evolving needs of our community. The plan will be reviewed, assessed and updated regularly to ensure its continued effectiveness and relevance.

It is essential to consider the various levels of government jurisdiction and their different roles in promoting accessibility and inclusion in the context of this MYAP. The City exercises direct control over municipal services, infrastructure and programs, enabling the implementation of accessibility initiatives at the local level. As part of the Regional Municipality of York, Vaughan benefits from an area of influence that facilitates collaboration and the sharing of best practices with neighbouring municipalities. This regional co-operation allows for developing cohesive and integrated accessibility initiatives across the broader community.

Finally, the City advocates at the provincial and federal levels, pushing for progressive policies and legislation that support accessibility and inclusion for all Canadians. By actively participating in these different spheres, the City strives to advance accessibility across all levels of government, ensuring our community remains an exemplar of inclusivity and equal opportunity.

Accessibility Advisory Committee Members

  • Gila Martow, Ward 5 Councillor, Chair, Accessibility Advisory Committee
  • Rudy Barrell
  • Noor Din
  • Nazila Isgandarova
  • Paresh Jamnadas
  • Nida Khurshid
  • Michael Nigro
  • Michelle Zaldin

This MYAP represents a collaborative effort between the City and stakeholders from all over Vaughan, as well as subject matter experts and partners across York Region and beyond.

As part of the development of this MYAP, the City actively engaged with diverse communities to gain insights into their idea of an accessible city. Drawing from the community’s valuable feedback (PDF), the City has derived five guiding principles to shape this plan and guide our actions.

The City is committed to:

Health and Safety: prioritizing the health, safety and wellness of the community and promoting equitable opportunities for all.

Clear and Accessible Information: providing clear and accessible communication to the public, ensuring everyone has the necessary information, resources and support to thrive.

Inclusion and Equity: equitable processes to foster a welcoming, fexible and inclusive environment that respects the unique needs of our diverse community.

Accessible City: an inclusive community that strives to eliminate physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people with visible and invisible disabilities.

Continuous Improvement: receiving feedback and making the necessary changes to our policies, procedures and services to continuously enhance accessibility and inclusion.


The AODA outlines requirements organizations must follow to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities. These requirements encompass various areas, including customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation and design of public spaces. By adhering to these standards, the City aims to foster an inclusive environment that promotes equal access and participation for all individuals, regardless of their abilities.

The General Requirements contain guidelines on establishing and maintaining an accessibility plan to remove barriers for people with disabilities. This involves considering accessibility during procurement and installing of self-service kiosks. Organizations must also provide relevant training on accessibility standards and the Human Rights Code, and ensure there are accessible feedback processes.


AODA training is required for all City employees, including volunteers and interns, public appointees or officials providing goods, services or facilities on behalf of the City of Vaughan.

The City is committed to:

1.1 Enhancing employee knowledge and commitment to accessible customer service, equity, inclusion and human rights.

Key activities:

  • Implement an inclusive training program that incorporates an intersectional approach and covers various types of disabilities, including mental health or cognitive conditions, invisible and episodic disabilities.



The AODA requires organizations to include accessibility criteria in procuring goods, services and facilities. This means accessibility is a component of all bids and contracts.

The City is committed to:

1.2 Integrating accessibility considerations into the procurement process, ensuring all procured products and services meet or exceed accessibility standards.

Key activities:

  • Revise language in all bidding documents and contracts to incorporate explicit accessibility and training requirements exceeding the standard AODA statement.
  • Ensure vendors follow applicable guidelines or standards on topics such as accessible documents, presentations, meetings, features and tools, and incorporate requirements into procurement evaluation criteria.

The AODA Information and Communications Standards lays out rules for organizations when creating, providing and receiving information and communications that people with disabilities can access, to give everyone an equal chance to learn and be active in their communities. The City has initiated the Information and Communication Accessibility Project to ensure the accessibility and usability of web-based services and information for all users.

The City is committed to:

2.1 Ensuring equal access to information for all users, regardless of their abilities.

Key activities:

  • Conduct an evaluation of accessibility compliance to identify areas of opportunity, establishing a baseline for future improvements.
  • Develop recommendations and implementation plans to ensure the City meets or exceeds the AODA Information and Communications Standards. 
  • Build staff capacity through training focused on producing inclusive digital content across diverse platforms and formats, and promote the use of inclusive and plain language guides and best practices.

2.2 Establishing accessibility standards for all external meetings.

Key activities:

  • Proactively plan and arrange for accommodations and ensure participants are provided with clear instructions on how to request any additional support.

The AODA Customer Service Standard outlines requirements for service providers to make their goods, services and facilities accessible for customers with disabilities. For municipalities, this means recognizing the rights, dignity and independence of people with disabilities, and working towards equal access to any of a City’s services, goods or facilities for residents and visitors of all abilities. Full compliance requires the City to remove barriers that are attitudinal, systemic and physical.

The City is committed to:

3.1 Improving accessibility and inclusivity in service provision and communication for people with disabilities.

Key activities:

  • Enhance accessibility of citizen and business surveys by offering accessible alternate formats on request; considering additional accessibility options for telephone surveys; and incorporating
  • Update the Accessible Customer Service Policy to ensure continued relevance and effectiveness, and provide accessible customer service training that exceeds AODA requirements and promotes inclusive language, increasing awareness of disabilities, and improved program implementation, adaptation and behaviour management. 
  • Develop a strategy for training and raising awareness among employees, the public, and third parties providing services on the City’s behalf about the rights of people with disabilities to enter City facilities with a support animal, and the right of support persons to have free access to recreational services. 
  • Develop and implement inclusive services in alignment with the City’s Accessible Customer Service and Accessibility Policies, while pursuing a strategy to procure and replace adaptive equipment and assistive technologies to continue making recreational programs more accessible.


The City’s MYAP is driven by engagement with the Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) and consultations with disability-focused organizations, as well as the public and internal partners.


The City is committed to:

3.2 Fostering an inclusive and accessible City by regularly engaging with people with disabilities.

Key activities:

  • Continue public engagement activities and consultations, particularly with the City’s AAC and diverse disability communities, to ensure that programming, policies and services relating to customer service for people with disabilities are informed by a diverse range of lived experiences with disability.
  • Maintain feedback loops through regular consultations with the City’s AAC and leverage the City’s and Region’s growing networks of local and regional disability communities and organizations for further insights to inform strategies with expertise and analysis drawing on lived experience. 
  • Launch a wayfinding and accessibility pilot in partnership with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) to evaluate a technology solution for improving independent navigation of City facilities by people with vision-related disabilities.

The AODA Employment Standard aims to eliminate barriers and discrimination in all aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, hiring, training,  advancement and accommodations. Its goal is to create inclusive and accessible workplaces where people with disabilities have equal opportunities for employment and can fully contribute their skills and talents.

The City is committed to:

4.1 Developing an Accommodation Policy and Guide to foster an inclusive culture that prioritizes accessibility and continuous improvement in managing accommodation processes.

Key activities:

  • Enhance staff awareness across all departments about available accommodation types and the process to discuss a request.
  • Develop and implement a People Leader training program to ensure effective management of accommodation requests, promoting a supportive work environment that empowers staff to seek assistance as needed throughout their employment, including during role transitions. 
  • Promote a culture of accessibility and inclusion among staff by launching Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to engage those with lived expertise or relevant life experience.

4.2 Fostering an inclusive workplace by provision of accessible formats and communication supports for all staff, and by expanding employment and co-op opportunities for people with disabilities.

Key activities:

  • Develop comprehensive accessibility guidelines for all virtual, hybrid and in-person meetings, considering and addressing accommodation needs across the organization and ensuring guidelines are communicated and standardized. 
  • Leverage strategic partnerships with community agencies or local business networks and employment programs to enhance co-op and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, thereby promoting workplace accessibility, diversity, equity and inclusion.

The Transportation Standard of the AODA aims to make it easier for everyone to travel in Ontario. Elements of the Transportation Standard apply to organizations and agencies that provide transportation services such as public transit, taxicabs and school boards, hospitals and universities who provide such services (e.g. shuttle buses). Transit-related points are covered further on in this report as they fall under York Region’s jurisdiction. 

Under the Transportation Standard, municipalities are mandated to promote or facilitate the availability of accessible taxicabs to ensure equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Accessible taxis and the ability to travel with greater independence support social inclusion by enabling free movement, access to community activities, economic engagement and workforce participation. 

The City’s overall strategy on maintaining and managing transportation infrastructure promotes best practices, as well as AODA compliance. 

The City is committed to:

5.1 Advocating and promoting accessible methods of transportation to provide inclusive options for individuals with disabilities.

Key activities:

  • Engage with the AAC and use public forums to gather community inputs, collaborating with people with disabilities to understand their specifc needs and preferences. 
  • Evaluate feedback to establish the optimal proportion of on-demand accessible taxicabs needed and develop a plan to promote adequate availability of accessible taxi services for the community.
  • Promote accessibility by requiring AODA compliant transportation infrastructure and accessible on-street parking, while continuing to promote active transportation.
  • Create and implement standardized AODA requirements in design criteria relating to sidewalks, cycling facilities and roadways.
  • Complete an asset review of traffc calming infrastructure (crossings, crosswalks, pavement markings, etc.) and develop recommendations to improve accessibility and reduce barriers or unsafe passage for young children, older adults and people with diverse disabilities. 
  • Develop an Intelligent Transportation Systems strategy to promote technological innovation that increases accessibility. This strategy will help plan and install equipment and technologies to support accessible and touchless traffic signals.
  • Conduct a Wayfnding Signage Pilot that is part of the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) Parks and Wayfinding Master Plan. The pilot will gather feedback from the community to evaluate the effectiveness of five new signs, helping the City better respond to the way people understand and move through Vaughan’s downtown and its parks and open spaces. Building on this pilot, the City will improve guidelines on signage and wayfnding in public spaces.

The AODA Design of Public Spaces Standard is central for municipalities to achieve inclusion and accessibility in community infrastructure. It provides guidelines for  designing and constructing public spaces, ensuring equal access for people with disabilities. Compliance with this standard enables the creation of inclusive spaces that consider the needs of all community members, promoting independence and quality of life.

The City is committed to:

6.1 Implementing a comprehensive accessibility improvement plan with regular audits and upgrades to enhance accessibility of municipal facilities and infrastructure and promoting compliance by external stakeholders.

Key activities:

  • Prioritize building upgrades based on a Building Accessibility Assessment, starting with sites with highest actual and potential use by people with disabilities, showing progress each year, and conducting an inventory of accessibility gaps, determining the level of urgency and need for upgrades, current and upcoming. 
  • Formalize a process to include AODA compliance in development application plan reviews for both developer build and capital projects, incorporating consultations with the AAC.

6.2 Advancing compliance and best practices in wayfinding and signage, recreational trails, facilities, parks, playgrounds and outdoor spaces as the City constructs, redevelops or upgrades.

Key activities:

  • Establish new signage standards and guidelines for trails and public spaces maintained by the City and audit all signage in recreation sites to meet accessibility standards. 
  • Develop and implement standardized AODA-compliant design criteria for sidewalks, cycling facilities, roadways and other infrastructure.

Advocacy and commitment to social change are priorities for the disability communities who have generously participated in consultations to develop this MYAP. As such, the City is committed to promoting accessibility and inclusion in areas outside of our jurisdiction where the City may have varying degrees of infuence, and to promoting a broader culture of innovation and inclusion towards accessibility for all.

Accelerating Accessibility Coalition

The City joined the Accelerating Accessibility Coalition convened by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Toronto. This new coalition aims to promote the creation of accessible housing, and Vaughan will be the first local government to join. 


Accessibility Champion Awards

The City acknowledges and honours accessibility champions, in collaboration with the AAC, to highlight innovative contributions towards greater inclusion and accessibility.

Inclusive Transit

The City is committed to promoting inclusion in transportation beyond its own jurisdiction, including accessible public transit. As part of this effort, the City will collaborate with York Region and transit partners to address gaps in accessible transit across cities and regions. 

Key activities to advance this aspect of the AODA’s Transportation Standard that is out of the City’s jurisdiction will be to:

  • conduct outreach, public meetings and surveys to gather feedback on transit needs and preferences to ensure community inputs inform planning and implementation of transit solutions in alignment with the specific requirements of different neighbourhoods and demographics.
  • identify areas where transit gaps exist, such as underserved neighbourhoods or routes with greater barriers to accessibility, to ensure transit planning and  implementation processes prioritize equity and inclusion. Establish regular communication channels to discuss transit issues, share data and exchange ideas on closing the gaps identifed. Support York Region and transit partners in the design of targeted solutions for closing transit gaps based on the analysis conducted. 
  • research funding sources such as government grants, public-private partnerships and community initiatives to help secure the financial resources needed for addressing transit gaps. Explore opportunities for collaboration with neighbouring municipalities and transit authorities to create a seamless and interconnected regional transit network. Co-ordinate efforts and share best practices to address transit gaps that extend beyond York Region’s borders.

This MYAP is the result of community, internal, regional and sectoral collaborations that rely on continuous engagement. The City will revisit this plan regularly in the years ahead and provide annual reports to the public that share updates on progress to continue to foster communication, transparency and Service Excellence.

As such, the City is grateful for questions, thoughts and constructive feedback, and hopes residents and visitors to Vaughan will reach out with any inputs.

Contact or Service Vaughan at 905-832-2281 or by TTY at 1-866-543-0545 with any feedback or inquiries, or to request an accessible format of this report.

You can also subscribe to receive information, email updates and notices of community engagement activities relating to this plan. 

For more information on the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), contact:
Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility
777 Bay St., Suite 601A
Toronto, ON M7A 2J4

Telephone: 416-849-8276
Toll Free: 1-866-515-2025
TTY: 416-326-0148
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-268-7095
Fax: 416-325-9620
Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility webpage


A snapshot of disability in Vaughan and York Region provides valuable insights into the diverse needs of our community members, enabling us to better tailor our accessibility initiatives to address these needs effectively.

In Vaughan, more than 20 per cent of the population has reported living with some form of disability, which includes mobility, vision, hearing, cognitive and other conditions. The prevalence of disabilities in any community increases with age, with seniors accounting for a significant proportion of those experiencing accessibility challenges. (Note that data is drawn from the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD). Statistics Canada is scheduled to begin releasing results from the 2022 CSD by early 2024.) As such, the City conducts planning specifically for disability communities through multi-year accessibility plans, and for an aging population, through the Age-Friendly Community Action Plan (PDF). 

Similarly, within the broader York Region, close to 20 per cent of the population identifies as living with a disability. The disability profile across the region is diverse, with varying levels of severity and functional limitations. The most common types of disabilities reported include mobility, flexibility, pain-related and cognitive or mental health-related disabilities.

The demographic trends in Vaughan and York Region indicate a growing and aging population, which is likely to result in an increased prevalence of disability in the years ahead. These trends underscore the importance of prioritizing accessibility and inclusion in our community planning efforts, thereby promoting the ability of Vaughan residents to age in place while simultaneously contributing to a community more inclusive of diverse people with disabilities. 

By understanding the unique needs and challenges faced by people with disabilities in Vaughan and York Region, we can develop and implement more effective strategies and initiatives as part of the MYAP. Building on our community engagement and deepening relationships of trust with diverse disability communities and subject-matter experts will help us effectively deliver on this MYAP. Demographic data, community consultations, user feedback and other measures to evaluate progress on this MYAP will strengthen future decision-making on policy, planning and practice. 

This data-driven, evidence-based approach will enable us to create a more accessible and inclusive city that fosters equal opportunities and an enhanced quality of life for all residents, businesses and visitors.

Past Multi-Year Accessibility Plans


Subscribe to receive periodic email updates related to the City of Vaughan’s Multi-year Accessibility Plan. 


Accessibility Status Reports

The AODA requires municipalities to prepare annual status reports on progress made in implementing their multi-year plan and the steps taken to comply with Ontario Regulation 191/11.


Read the City's 2022 Accessibility Status Report (PDF) as an accessible PDF or see below for a text version. If you require an alternate format, contact


Annual Accessibility Status Report 2022


The City of Vaughan is dedicated to fostering an equitable, inclusive and accessible community for all citizens and visitors. As a reflection of this commitment to advancing accessibility, Vaughan Council approved the City’s 2019-2022 Multi-year Accessibility Plan, which identifies how the City will create a barrier-free community with universal access to its programs, services and facilities. 

The City’s goal, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), is to create a fully accessible community by 2025. The 2019-2022 Multi-year Accessibility Plan outlined a path to achieving that goal.

Accessibility Advisory Committee

The City’s Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) was established to help guide the City in removing and preventing barriers in policies, practices, programs and services in a way that meets the requirements of the AODA. All municipal board and committee meetings are posted to the City’s meeting calendar at

Accessibility Champion Awards

Established in 2019 by the City’s AAC, the annual Accessibility Champion Awards honour businesses, groups and individuals helping to create an accommodating and inclusive community for all. 

In 2022, Human Endeavour was recognized in the small business category as a non-profit organization developing innovative solutions to promote social and economic well-being for newcomers, people with disabilities and those who confront multiple barriers to inclusion. 

In the individual category, Charles Camilleri was honoured for his significant contributions to accessibility and social inclusion, a passion inspired by his lived experience of barriers as a user of a powered wheelchair.

Order of Vaughan

Kathy Laszlo, co-founder and Executive Director at DANI (Developing and Nurturing Independence), was awarded the Order of Vaughan in 2022 for her efforts to advance accessibility. This is the highest civic honour the City bestows on individuals who exemplify extraordinary citizenship and betterment of the community.

Specialized Recreation Programs

The City’s Recreation Services department continues to increase specialized services and programs for people of all ages and abilities. This includes programs and camps designed for persons with disabilities, one-on-one swimming lessons and movement fitness classes. To support the needs of persons with disabilities in programs, the department provides one-on-one staff and volunteer support, one-on-one consultation, nutrition counselling and customized personal training based on individual needs and ability levels.

Recreational services are designed with an accessibility lens that addresses AODA requirements based on data collected via surveys, demographics and community needs assessments.

In 2022, more than 800 individuals with disabilities accessed the City’s specialized programs for persons with disabilities.

Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is an employment program for individuals with disabilities that provides them with real-life work experience and job training. The program is typically hosted at a business, where participants work in various departments and gain skills through on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

The Project SEARCH model was developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital  Medical Center in 1996. Currently, there are more than 650 Project SEARCH sites worldwide. The program reports that approximately 75 per cent of students are employed within a year of graduation. This reflects the overall success of the program for graduates and their employers.

An 11-month collaborative Council-approved partnership with Project SEARCH Canada, the City of Vaughan, York Catholic District School Board and Community Living York South was initiated in June 2022. With support from skills trainers, 10 students were immersed in training through internship placements in seven City departments: Animal Services, Facilities Management, Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Office of the City Clerk, Parks, Forestry and Horticulture Operations, Recreation Services, and Transportation and Fleet Management. The students also received daily classroom instruction for employment skills and career exploration. The pilot project is ongoing and will complete its first year in July 2023.


The City proudly celebrates National AccessAbility Week, Youth Week, Recreation and Parks Month, and International Day of Persons with Disabilities through proclamations, events and programming every year. Accessible event guidelines (PDF) are used to ensure City events are accessible to persons with disabilities. To ensure equitable access to City events, accessible transportation and volunteer support are provided. Closed captioning is available for virtual events, and sign language interpreters are provided upon request.


The City of Vaughan’s commitment to accessibility strives to achieve the requirements of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) by continuing to develop, implement and maintain policies and best practices. This includes updating policies and procedures, enhancing the City’s capacity to serve people with disabilities, and training staff on the requirements of the standards referred to in the IASR.


Accessibility awareness training is required for all City staff. It is integrated into onboarding processes for new staff, with annual refreshers for all staff. The City implemented mandatory online training for all employees on the AODA General Standard, Customer Service Standard, Employment Standard, and Information and Communications Standard, as well as training on the Ontario Human Rights Code.

and Growth
Percentage of staff completing
80% 81% 56% 96% 84% 74% 70%
Access Forward e-learnings
80% 78% 54% 95% 79% 69% 68%
Information and
78% 78% 54% 95% 79% 67% 66%
79% 79% 55% 95% 81% 67% 67%
Service Standard
80% 80% 56% 96% 81% 71% 69%
Design of
Public Spaces
91% 100% 94% 89% 70% 100% 71%
83% 100% 100% 100% 78% 89% 100%
Ontario Human Rights Commission e-learnings
Call It Out:
Racism, Racial
and Human
85% 88% 56% 97% 92% 88% 77%
Human Rights
101 Third
Edition (2020)
79% 85% 55% 97% 93% 85% 72%

*Mandatory courses for staff whose services are directly related to the Transportation and Design of Public Spaces Standard.

Through the last quarter of 2022, Recreation Services enhanced staff training and updated the disability awareness training to ensure person-first language and tools to serve and support people with disabilities is used appropriately.

Standardized training on disability awareness, inclusion techniques, program adaptations and behaviour management was delivered to 1,700 staff and 405 volunteers. Inclusion staff were also certified in non-violent crisis intervention techniques to support individuals with behavioural needs. Training is provided annually with refreshers on a seasonal basis.

The Abilities Centre facilitated virtual live training on accessibility and inclusion to the City’s Senior Leadership Team and the Technical Advisory Committee in mid-2022. In response to a general attitudinal barrier that had resulted in a lack of accessibility-related projects, Economic Development designed a full-day Fostering Inclusive Tourism Experiences event as part of the Better Your Business: Tourism Diversity Learning Sessions. The event, promoting equity and inclusion for Vaughan-based small businesses in hospitality and tourism, took place in 2023.


The City’s Accessibility Policy (PDF) was updated and approved by Council in 2022. The policy provides a framework to guide the review and development of other City policies, standards, procedures, by-laws and guidelines to comply with the AODA and the IASR.


The Information and Communications Standards under the IASR require organizations like municipalities to communicate and provide information in ways accessible to people with disabilities. This includes providing public safety information, materials, feedback, communication support and website content in accessible formats.

The City has taken steps to update the website and ensure content will comply with World Wide Web Consortium – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA at minimum, working towards Level AAA. The new launched in early 2023 and includes a cleaner, more welcoming interface and enhanced accessibility features, such as required captioning for all images and a tool allowing users to automatically translate content into 51 different languages widely spoken in York Region.

The new also uses UserWay. This application allows users to customize the site’s appearance with higher contrast colours, larger font sizes, highlighted links and dyslexia-friendly font to make the site more accessible to the individual user. UserWay was also integrated into the City intranet site.

The City initiated an enterprise-wide project to ensure all material posted to complies with the Information and Communications Standard, and committed funds to train staff in developing the necessary skills to produce and maintain accessible documents.

The Economic Development department has been working on updating the micro-site through which the City’s department communicates with Vaughan businesses. The site underwent an audit on WCAG 2.0 AA-level standards and will be updated to reach compliance. The department has also ensured the site includes more information for business owners about accessibility. 

The visual design on all digital platforms for Recreation Services is created with accessibility in mind, so communications are clean, including images and copy, and are sized to be responsive to different platforms. In preparation for the transition to the City’s new website in 2023 and to reduce barriers, the marketing team responsible for maintaining the departmental webpages received training on the new corporate website management system, Drupal, and on how to create accessible digital documents. The departmental web content has been migrated to the new website and accessibility plans include converting PDF forms to a web-based model; publications digitized to run on HTML 5 interactive flipbooks; and long-form copy embedded as web copy within accordions/collapsible text features.

Corporate and Strategic Communications (CSC) and Service Vaughan are actively engaged in responding to citizen needs, providing alternative formats for people who have hearing or visual impairments or those who require language interpretation. For example, a certificate for the Accessibility Champion Awards was printed in Braille and placed over the glass pane on the frame to support the specific accessibility request of the recipient. Additionally, CSC is working towards integrating closed captioning as a standard requirement for video recordings.

Web Accessibility Guidelines, Web Writing Guidelines and Web Style Standards, as well as training, updated to align with the launch of the new, are available to all staff publishing content to the website. 


The accessible Customer Service Standard aims to ensure people with disabilities receive equitable customer service from all staff. The City’s Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Policy (PDF) details specific requirements regarding providing goods and services for persons with disabilities.

Service Vaughan has integrated processes for responding to diverse people with disabilities in person, over the phone and by email to facilitate effective client service. This includes assisting or providing alternative formats for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind and low-vision clients or those who require language interpretation.

Recreation Services

Recreation Services continues to provide customized training in customer service, disability awareness, inclusion strategies, behaviour management and other relevant training to ensure staff are equipped with the tools to provide accessible customer service. To further achieve service excellence, the department partnered with community service agencies in York Region to assist with financial support to remove access barriers for those in financial need and strengthen quality assurance protocols for persons with disabilities.

Through accessible customer service feedback, the department continuously evaluates programs, services and equipment to ensure equitable participation of residents and visitors with disabilities in City-operated facilities and programs. Accessible adaptive equipment upgrades, including rope trainers, accessibility sectorized weight equipment, accessible Stairmasters, ellipticals, water wheelchairs and other devices, have been purchased City-wide.

Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service

Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS) continues ongoing annual investments into promoting public awareness of fire safety and emergency response. Public education materials are designed to meet corporate accessibility standards, with the last five videos released including captioning. Public education materials are reviewed annually and updated as needed, with new materials produced as needed. VFRS updates their Fire Safety Plan every four years. Plans and practices at emergency shelters were made throughout the pandemic to address physical distancing requirements. In 2022, emergency shelter plans were further updated based on structural changes to facilities to ensure accessibility needs are met.

Vaughan Public Libraries

Beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2023, Vaughan Public Libraries (VPL) is implementing an accessibility promotion plan to raise awareness of the resources and services available to people with disabilities, including Braille and large text collections and a talking book service, as well as other customer service and design features. The plan includes social media promotion of accessible services and supports, and these are also clearly listed by branch after a website update to the VPL homepage in 2022. The VPL website redesign provided each branch with a page highlighting all accessibility features available at each location.


The Employment Standards under the IASR require organizations like municipalities to support the recruitment and accommodation of employees with disabilities. The City considers the accessibility needs of its employees with disabilities and individual accommodation plans. The City remains committed to preventing and removing barriers to accessibility relating to employment through training programs, recruitment strategies and employment opportunities. Notably, the City was recognized in the Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion category of the Canadian Human Resources Awards selected by Canadian HR Reporter and HRD Canada magazines in September 2022.

A comprehensive Alternative Work Arrangements Policy, along with a guide and procedures document, was developed to help position the City as an employer of choice, promoting diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and environmentally responsible and sustainable practices. The City is committed to supporting a flexible work environment that balances the needs of diverse employees and considers job requirements, infrastructure capacity, service excellence, performance and staff engagement. 

The City continues to document individualized accommodation plans through the Early and Safe Return to Work program, and gathers input from staff who require accessible support in case of emergency through team leads, following processes and guidelines, and maintaining confidentiality. The Health and Safety team conduct annual site audits, and the City continues to provide information regarding the availability of accommodation during recruitment and onboarding.


The Design of Public Spaces Standards under the IASR require organizations like municipalities to consult with people with disabilities, AAC members and the public on the following areas: recreational trails, outdoor play spaces, exterior paths of travel and on-street parking spaces. 

Recreation Services partnered with LIV North to create accessible and user friendly floorplans and layouts to prevent trip hazards and better accommodate people with physical disabilities across all community centres in the last quarter of 2022.

Additionally, the City has obtained four new Rick Hansen Foundation certifications during the reporting period. This includes a Gold Accessibility Certification for the Maple Community Centre, pre-construction Gold Certification for Fire Station 7-12, and Accessibility Certifications for Fire Station 7-7 and the Bathurst Clark Resource Library. 

A plan to upgrade the Woodbridge Library was also developed in 2022, which will enhance the accessibility of the entrance and improve navigation for people using mobility devices in one of VPL’s oldest branches. Work on the site is scheduled to take place during 2023.

During the reporting period, the City’s central City Hall entrance was under renovation to install new sliding doors to enter the building, a consolidated single-counter information desk, and self-service kiosks with six standard height touchscreens and two at wheelchair accessible heights. The main counter also has one accessible height station. 

Throughout 2022, the Smart City Program was exploring a partnership with the CNIB Foundation to implement a wayfinding technology solution pilot in 2023. This wayfinding pilot aims to test technology solutions to help low vision or blind people navigate City facilities independently.

The City’s Wet Field Policy Guidelines piloted an automated process to notify appropriate departments about service disruptions. The City’s Parks, Forestry and Horticulture Operations department regularly inspects park sidewalks in winter (November to April) for winter-specific issues, and Transportation and Fleet Management Services conducts recurring inspections in the summer, looking for uneven sidewalks to be shaved down and fixed to remove trip hazards. 

VPL developed a plan to improve external signage, which will be rolled out in 2023.

Transportation and Fleet Management Services reviews and ensures pedestrian countdown timers and audible features for pedestrians are in alignment with industry standards on an ongoing basis. A review of all traffic calming devices and pedestrian infrastructure to meet AODA legislative requirements was initiated in Q3 of 2022 and will continue into Q2 of 2023.


As a municipality with more than 10,000 residents, the City consults with the AAC when updating or building public spaces, like recreational trails, outdoor play spaces and exterior paths of travel, and when reviewing traffic calming plans and other urban areas planning decisions that impact people with disabilities.

In 2022, the City informed or consulted with the AAC on the following items:
• raising awareness about service animals among businesses and the public
• raising awareness of the City’s new Age-Friendly Community Action Plan
• consultation on the City’s submission to the provincial Ministry for Seniors
and Accessibility’s Inclusive Community Grants Program
• consultation on Project SEARCH pilot program to promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities with York Catholic District School Board and Community Living York South
• the City’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Multi-year Action Plan (PDF)
• universal design and accessibility elements relating to the new Peter Rupert Park, now in development
• to develop the City’s 2023-2027 Multi-year Accessibility Plan
• sharing updates to the City’s Accessibility Policy (PDF) for clarity of scope, roles and responsibilities, language/definitions, etc.
• planning for consultation on Neighbourhood Area Traffic Calming Policy, Design and Speed Management Plan in 2023
• review of recipients of the 2022 Vaughan Accessibility Champion Awards


The City of Vaughan is in the process of developing its 2023-2027 Multi-year Accessibility Plan. This plan will build on the gains of the 2019-2022 Accessibility Plan (PDF) and further the City’s commitment to creating a barrier-free community with universal access to its programs, services and facilities, while helping ensure people of any age and ability are treated in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. The City will conduct robust community consultations to gather feedback from the AAC (past and current), City employees, disability community services and organizations, and most  importantly, inputs from diverse communities in Vaughan. This data will inform a forward looking, comprehensive and inclusive Multi-year Accessibility Plan for the upcoming Term of Council that emphasizes the priorities of people with disabilities and builds practical and measurable goals to respond to those priorities.

The City’s Technical Advisory Committee, composed of staff from all departments, has  worked to conduct current-state assessments and stakeholder-mapping to inform the 2023-2027 Multi-year Accessibility Plan. The next plan is expected to reach Vaughan Council in fall of 2023. 

If you have any questions regarding this Accessibility Status Report or other matters related to accessibility and inclusion in the City of Vaughan, please contact

Contact Information


Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer – Accessibility


Phone: 905-832-2281

Fax: 905-832-8575



Vaughan City Hall, Level 100
2141 Major Mackenzie Dr.
Vaughan, ON  L6A 1T1


Accessible formats or communication supports are available upon request.