What was recommended?
That the municipality requests the province of Ontario to extend the website compliance deadline to at least January 1, 2022 and that the province of Ontario consider providing funding support and training resources to meet these compliance standards.
The report for council’s September 24 meeting is not a status update; it is a request, 3 months in advance of the compliance deadline, for an extension to 15 months from now.
COVID-19/the pandemic is the most obvious reason for the recommendation and it is referenced nine times in the report:
- RECOMMENDATION: AND WHEREAS the declared pandemic, COVID-19, has impacted the finances and other resources;
- enhanced monitoring of declared pandemic, COVID-19;
- has been consumed by its response to COVID-19;
- did not anticipate the interruptions and redeployments caused by the declared pandemic, COVID-19.
- how the municipality ensures the provision of its services during a pandemic
- a number of staff were on unpaid leave during the pandemic,
- Due to the impact of the pandemic emergency on municipal operations
- FINANCIAL MATTERS: suggests that it cannot comply by January 1, 2021 due to COVID-19;
- CONCLUSION: extend the compliance deadline from January 1, 2021 to at least January 1, 2022 due to the impacts of the pandemic (COVID-19).
RISK ANALYSIS did not acknowledge the historical disadvantage of persons with disabilities. While the report mentioned administration will continue in its efforts to comply, the risk was relative to hypothetical consequences to the town: If non-compliant; can require; If this is the case; suggests that it cannot comply; may still enforce its timelines; there may be financial implications.
FINANCIAL MATTERS did not specify a dollar amount of hardship, given the reliance on how “COVID-19 has impacted the finances and other resources of the municipality.” Instead, it was noted the town might face financial implications in the form of administrative penalties or increased expenses in trying to meet the required standards after an order to comply. There was no mention of the AODA procedure relative to an Order.
CONSULTATIONS listed three staff; there was no mention of public consultations of ratepayers that pay for the town’s website or their thoughts on financial priorities for the community.
Council voted in favour of the resolution.
More to follow.