Amherstburg Candidates And Accessibility: Chamber of Commerce

I appreciated Mayoral Candidate John Laframboise holding his meet and greet at the K of C Hall in Amherstburg, while several other candidates held meet and greets in locations with barriers.

I was just as disappointed that the Chamber of Commerce used the stage, with its stairs, for the Mayoral and Deputy Mayoral Candidates’ Night on October 12, 2022.

stairs leading up to stage in hall for municipal candidate night in Amherstburg, Ontario 2022

Amherstburg Candidates And Accessibility: Meet And Greets

The following candidates should have known better than to hold meet and greet session in these locations since the town was to provide them with accessibility information.

Downtown Espresso Cafe wouldn’t allow my comment to be posted, but it was advertising the following candidates’ meet and greets. step up barrier into Downtown Espresso Cafe Amherstburg, Ontario

Linden Crain launch July 14

Frank DiPasquale August 30 6 to 8 pm
September 27 6 to 8 pm

Lori Wightman September 13 6 to 8 pm

Molly Allaire September 22 6 to 8 pm

Patricia Simone October 2 11am to 2 pm

Donald McArthur October 3 6 to 8 pm

Gregory Moore October 5 6 to 8 pm

Holger Kretschmann October 6 6 to 8 pm

Artisan Grill

step up barrier into Artisan Grill Amherstburg, Ontario

Michael Prue  October 3 7 to 9 pm


step up barrier into Speck's restaurant Amherstburg, Ontario

Nancy Atkinson September 21

CBC: Municipal election candidates need to make accessibility part of their platforms

In this CBC News Opinion, Kevin McShan writes, The city of Windsor is at an inflection point, and there’s one fundamental question left for the candidates to answer in the upcoming municipal election: who’ll make accessibility a cornerstone of their platform?

The burgwatch’s candidate questionnaire included, what does accessible mean to you?Of the twenty five Amherstburg candidates, two answered.

If ‘those’ campaigning to represent everyone will be responsible for preventing and removing barriers but will not commit to doing so, no votes from me.

Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee Could Use Tips

I watched today’s rescheduled Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting.

Committee members still stray off topic, but did finally have a discussion regarding keeping track of money allocated to projects and decisions regarding the same. For quite some time I have wondered why resolutions were not passed and recorded in the minutes for reference. In the future, an unfinished list of sorts will be used. Why it took so long I have no idea, especially when a few members sit on other town committees.

I didn’t hear the committee members deal with an AODA Alliance tips for committee members that I forwarded through town clerk Valerie Critchley. I also sent it to members of council so they would be better informed; see below.

“This Update gives members of AACs and SEACs practical tips on how to give as strong a voice as possible to disability issues. We identify seven areas of concern and then provide a fuller explanation for each point below. In summary, here is what all members of AACs and SEACs should know:

1. AACs and SEACs should set their own meeting agendas! Don’t let city staff or school board staff set their advisory committee’s agenda or tell them what topics are “in order.”

2. Members of AACs and SEACs must remain free to also be disability advocates in private and public.

 3. Inaccessible virtual meeting platforms and application forms are not allowed.

 4. Public deputations to an advisory committee should not be artificially limited to five minutes.

 5. Municipal and school board bylaws cannot hog-tie the work of an AAC or SEAC.

 6. Members of the public are free to talk to or exchange emails with advisory committee members about accessibility issues, including those on the advisory committee’s agenda. (emphasized for council’s attention).

 7. AACs and SEACs have an absolute right to have their recommendations and advice shared directly with all the city council or school board trustees whom they are appointed to advise, and not just to a sub-committee.

Please share this Update with members of the AAC and SEAC in your community. Urge your member of city council and school board trustee to read this and to send it to all members of their AAC or SEAC.”

Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension – Follow Up Questions to Council

Members of Amherstburg town council were asked to provide the reasons for voting in favour of the Resolution on September 14, 2020.

The following responded.

Councillor Michael Prue: Please view the tape or the video. I was very passionate about why this should not be done. If this is not possible call me.

Councillor Patricia Simone: After reading the report provided in the agenda, discussion with administration and staff and research I conducted before the meeting.

Follow up question: What kind of research did you conduct and would you cite the sources you relied on to reach your decision?

No response.

Councillor Donald McArthur: I voted the way I did because I believe the extension request was earnest and made in good faith by staff, who are diligent, dedicated and hard-working.

As the report to Council makes clear, the Town’s robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on operations and established work plans.

“The work plan to address website accessibility did not anticipate the interruptions and redeployments caused by the declared pandemic, COVID-19,” said the report. “The demands of addressing the emergency declaration have devoted key resources away from other projects to ensure the safety of the community and staff, continued operations and new procedural changes to how the municipality ensures the provision of its services during a pandemic.”

Follow up question: regarding your comment at the meeting that amherstburg is not the only one of the 444 municipalities asking for this extension: would you know the numbers or names of those other municipalities?

McArthur: I based my comments off the report: ‘The Town of Amherstburg is not alone in finding it difficult to meet this timeline. Other municipalities have stated that they understand they may not be able to meet this target, especially given that there have been no funding announcements from the provincial government.’

Related postsTown of Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension.

Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension – The Recommendation.

Town of Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension – The Resolution

Town of Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension – The Vote

More to follow.

Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension – The Vote

On September 14, 2020, the following members of Amherstburg town council voted in favour of the Resolution to request the province to extend the compliance deadline ‘to meet the compliance standards, by a minimum of one (1) year to at least January 1, 2022.’

  • Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche and
  • Michael Prue
  • Peter Courtney
  • Patricia Simone
  • Marc Renaud
  • Donald McArthur.

A discussion was held and is summarized below; disclaimer – this is not an official transcript.

Councillor Michael Prue spoke first and recalled his involvement with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) enacted in 2005. Prue wondered if they were doing the right thing to attempt to delay the website when the town has known since 2005 it had to be done and since the 2011 schedule saying it had to be done in 2020. He didn’t think they were doing a service to persons with disabilities or that it was in the municipality’s best interest.

Paula Parker, town clerk, agreed they were aware of the deadline for some time but COVID became a priority and they requested the extension to prevent the order or fines if they are non-compliant.

Councillor Michael Prue responded to Paula Parker: he didn’t understand why they would need a year extension when they only lost 5 months.

Councillor Donald McArthur disagreed and thought it was a bit of a cry for help from staff and that they should listen; that they’re not the only one of the 444 municipalities asking for this extension and he thought it was reasonable in light of COVID.

Councillor Patricia Simone asked about the possibility of a third party that deals specifically with websites and weigh that against staff time needed to be in compliance.

CAO MICELI mentioned Kevin Fox advised they can’t comply because of third party vendors and their information and those parties don’t follow the same rules.

Councillor Peter Courtney would support the extension on advice of administration and hope they have some compassion for them and hope the town doesn’t face any consequence.

Councillor Michael Prue asked if the matter went before the disability committee and wondered what people think of the town not meeting the deadline.

Councillor Marc Renaud, council’s representative on the Accessibility Advisory Committee, remained silent.

Paula Parker responded that it had been dealt with by the committee on a number of occasions and believed most recently at the end of last year. Parker responded to Courtney’s comments and pointed out the town’s website does meet the WCAG level 2.0 not only single A but double A. Parker mentioned the problem is with PDFs and some third party vendors who are responsible for such things as the tourism website and the fire website.

Councillor Michael Prue acknowledged the consensus but wasn’t sure if politically it was wise.

Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche agreed they need to get this done and mentioned part of the problem for years is administration puts in requests for help and council denies and they all just have two hands and can’t do the work of 4.

More to follow.

Related postsTown of Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension.

Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension – The Recommendation.

Town of Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension – The Resolution

Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension – The Resolution

The following was included in the report to council for its September 14, 2020 meeting:

It is recommended that:

  1. WHEREAS Section 14(4) of O.Reg 191/11 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires designated public sector organizations to conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA by January 1, 2021;
  2. AND WHEREAS the municipality remains committed to the provision of accessible goods and services;
  3. AND WHEREAS the municipality provides accommodations to meet any stated accessibility need, where possible;
  4. AND WHEREAS the declared pandemic, COVID-19, has impacted the finances and other resources of the municipality;
  5. AND WHEREAS the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act contemplates the need to consider the technical or economic considerations in the implementation of Accessibility Standards;
  6. BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the municipality requests that the Province of Ontario extend the compliance deadline stated in Section 14(4) of O.Reg 191/11 to require designated public sector organizations to meet the compliance standards, by a minimum of one (1) year to at least January 1, 2022;
  7. BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the municipality requests that the Province of Ontario consider providing funding support and training resources to meet these compliance standards.

More to follow.

RelatedTown of Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension.

Amherstburg Requests Website Compliance Deadline Extension – The Recommendation.