Elections Ontario Accessibility Plan Update

7/19/2017

As part of an ongoing engagement strategy, CNIB attended an Elections Ontario’s Community Consultation in June 2017 for its Multi-Year Accessibility Plan. This was the third meeting with stakeholders held by Elections Ontario, and was focused on accessibility.

Before to the meeting, Elections Ontario met separately with CNIB representatives, so that regular users of Zoomtext, JAWS and Voiceover could test out the new voter registration website. Elections Ontario collected their feedback, along with additional advice provided by other stakeholders, to ensure its website is as accessible as possible.

Assistive Voting Today

  • The next provincial election in Ontario will be in June 2018.
  • The assistive voting technology that is in place now will not be changing for the upcoming election.
    • People with sight loss can use the Audio Tactile Interface or ATI controller. It includes large raised buttons and bright colours and has braille inscriptions. The controller is also described by audio.
    • Elections Ontario also provides magnifiers and ballot templates with braille numbers and cut-outs.
    • You are permitted to bring a friend or support person to assist you with marking your ballot.
    • You can book an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter from the Canadian Hearing Society to accompany you to vote. Elections Ontario will cover the cost of the interpreter.

Possible Changes

  • The policy providing personal support workers (currently just interpreters) may be changed. Elections Ontario would like to add intervenors to the list of reimbursable services, while representatives from the Canadian Hearing Society have requested deaf interpreters be included as well.
  • Elections Ontario is considering allowing individuals with disabilities to use their phones to assist in voting, provided they do not use their camera or record any video. Meeting attendees discussed difficulties that might arise through the implementation of this process, including people who might pretend to have a disability so they can use their phones, the potential for resentment towards people with disabilities, and the fact that many helpful apps for people with sight loss involve using the camera to take a picture and/or magnify images or text. However, Elections Ontario pledged to take the feedback from the meeting and incorporate it into a policy to be ready in time for the provincial 2018 election.


About Elections Ontario

Elections Ontario is the arm of the government that makes sure that Ontario provincial elections are properly and fairly run. It also provides Ontarians with information about the election process and how we can take part.

Elections Ontario is governed by rules and regulations, including the Elections Act, the Elections Finance Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) AODA includes the Customer Service Standard and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, which covers:

  • Employment Standard
  • Information and Communications Standard
  • Public Spaces Standard
  • Transportation Standard

The next consultation meeting will be held in November; date, location, and time to be determined.

Elections Ontario is committed to working with CNIB and other community groups to ensure the word gets out about its accessible voting offerings and the message is delivered in a manner that is effective and accessible for every party involved.

To learn more about Accessible Voting on Elections Canada's website, please visit http://www.elections.on.ca/en/voting-in-ontario/how--when-and-where-to-vote/accessible-voting.html.

To learn more about CNIB Ontario's advocacy initiatives, please visit www.cnib.ca/en/ontario/advocacy/.

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