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, 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, flexible 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 specific 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 traffic 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 Wayfinding 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 wayfinding 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 influence, 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 identified. 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 2023 Accessibility Status Report (PDF) as an accessible PDF or see below for a text version. If you require an alternate format, contact


2023 Accessibility Status Report


The City of Vaughan’s 2023-2027 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP) outlines how the City will create a barrier-free community where there is universal access to programs, services and facilities. Vaughan Council approved the plan on Nov. 14, 2023.

City staff spent the first year of its new MYAP assessing its progress so far and collaborating with members of the community to chart the way forward by engaging in an in-depth community engagement and consultation process. The perspectives of the people who live, work or do business in Vaughan, as well as visitors and guests, are critical for developing the City’s future accessibility
planning. More than a quarter of the community have diverse disabilities, making their input all the more essential.

The in-depth consultation process involved a closing report on the 2019-2022 MYAP and assessment of the current state, drawing on an in-depth internal auditing and assessment of the City’s processes, policies, public spaces and priorities. The past two years also involved planning and rolling out extensive community and internal MYAP consultations. These efforts have helped the City develop a new,
forward-looking five-year plan that truly reflects the inputs, interests and concerns of diverse disability communities and the broader Vaughan community.

Additionally, learnings and opportunities emerging from the 2022-2023 in-depth consultations and engagements can be useful to share across municipalities. The City has shared information and promoted collaboration through its participation in the Municipal Diversity and Inclusion Group, which brings together all regional municipalities and key partners in healthcare, education and community safety.


The City’s Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) is a statutory committee required by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Municipal AACs exist to help guide cities in removing and preventing barriers in policies, practices, programs and services. All of Vaughan’s municipal board and committee meetings are posted to a meeting calendar on the City’s website.

Accessibility Advisory Committee Members:

  • Gila Martow, Ward 5 Councillor, Chair
  • Michelle Goldstein Zaldin, Co-Chair
  • Michael Nigro
  • Nazila Isgandarova
  • Rudy Barell
  • Nida Khurshid
  • Noor Din
  • Paresh Jamnadas

The 2022 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD) by Statistics Canada found that people with disabilities represent 27 per cent of the national population aged 15 years or older, a full fve per cent above the rate in the 2017 CSD. That was, in turn, a significant increase over the 2013 CSD. Ontario’s population with disabilities is 28 per cent. These figures indicate greater awareness and decreased stigma, as well as reflect the growing proportion of the population developing aging-related conditions or challenges affecting mobility, hearing, vision or cognition.


A major achievement in 2023 was the successful community engagement opportunities to close out the previous MYAP and develop a new plan based on thorough data and input from diverse stakeholders.

This involved gathering more than 75 individual inputs and consultations from various sources including the AAC, Members of Council, City staff, community members and organizations that work with people with disabilities. The engagement process used various methods like interviews, surveys, focus groups and online tools to gain a better understanding of the vision, priorities and diversities of the disability communities in Vaughan.

The process strengthened the City’s relationships with disability communities, and helped grow awareness about existing and new ways of connecting with the City to communicate about accessibility needs or questions.

Better Your Business Tourism Diversity

The City’s Better Your Business Tourism Diversity program was completed in 2023. This program ran through the first half of the year and included a seminar to build capacity of local businesses to serve diverse groups, including disability communities. Economic Development is pursuing additional funding to build on this programming.

Policy Updates

The City has developed an Accommodation Policy that applies to all employees and Members of Council. The Disability Management procedure has also been updated in consultation with relevant stakeholders. The City aims to provide programs and services that meet and exceed the requirements set out in the AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service. The Accessible Customer Service Policy applies to all City employees, Members of Council, appointees, resident members of committees, contractors and vendors who provide goods, services or facilities on behalf of the City.

The City has updated its policies to demonstrate its commitment to accessibility and inclusion internally and across the communities of Vaughan.


The City enhanced its procurement processes and templates, such as bidding documents and contracts, to add clear language outlining accessibility requirements. The revisions strengthen and highlight the accessibility standards vendors, contractors or facilitators working with the City must meet. This emphasizes AODA compliant accessibility features, policies and processes that must be part of evaluations, and ultimately helps ensure City services are accessible to people with diverse disabilities.

Age-Friendly Community Action Plan

The City continued to advance the priorities outlined in the Age-Friendly Community Action Plan to cultivate Vaughan as a globally recognized age-friendly community. In 2023, the Age-Friendly Vaughan Advisory Committee was launched, providing opportunities for residents to continually consult on City policies and plans through to 2026. Additionally, the City was awarded more than $50,000 in provincial grants to expand technology access for local older adult clubs and develop relevant programming such as a popular Lunch and Learn series with more than 340 attendees. Developing Vaughan as an age-friendly city is essential to becoming an accessible community where all can grow and age in place.


The City relaunched to comply with accessibility guidelines as outlined in the AODA Information and Communications Standards. The organizational website reaches global Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA at a minimum, and aims to achieve Level AAA. The redesigned website launched in March 2023 and features a cleaner interface and enhanced accessibility functions, including mandatory captioning for images and a tool that translates the website into more than 50 languages commonly used in York Region.

Connected to the commitment to the AODA Information and Communications Standards, the City is also progressing with the Accessible Information and Communications project. The key objectives of the project include:

  1. evaluating accessibility compliance to identify areas of opportunity and establish a baseline for future improvements.
  2. developing recommendations and implementation plans to ensure the City has a sustainable framework to meet and exceed the AODA Information and Communications Standards.
  3. building staff capacity through training focused on producing inclusive digital content across diverse platforms and formats, while promoting the use of inclusive and plain language guides and best practices.


In addition, the City implemented a streamlined accessibility feedback process. Individuals with disabilities can now provide feedback via, an online Accessibility Feedback Form and an accessible fillable PDF form (PDF), in addition to calling Service Vaughan, which has TTY-enabled phone options. The updated feedback process was launched with the new website in early 2023, showcasing the City’s commitment to accessibility and continuous improvement.


The City established a process to collaborate with staff and their supervisors to create a personalized emergency response plan. If necessary, a department-specific response plan is initiated, including informing supervisors and/or designated personnel of any required precautions during emergencies or evacuations. Disclosure of specific medical details is optional and confidentiality is maintained. The focus is on understanding the assistance staff may need during evacuation without requiring personal medical information.

Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is an innovative program designed to assist young adults with disabilities in their transition to the workforce. It’s a year-long initiative that transitions participants from school to work, offering practical training and real-world work experience. This initiative was a collaborative effort involving the City, York Catholic District School Board and Community Living York South. The partnership aimed to provide a comprehensive and integrated approach to equipping young adults with disabilities with the necessary tools for workplace success. The program integrated classroom instruction, hands-on job training in various departments at the City and tailored support. Upon the program’s completion, eight participants successfully explored various career avenues and secured full-time employment.


Accessible customer service is a key element of the City’s commitment to residents and visitors with disabilities. The City added and strengthened lines of communication, including in person, online and telephone, with residents and visitors, as well as updated the Accessible Customer Service Policy.

Recreation Services

The department made significant gains in enhancing accessibility and customer service for people with disabilities. These achievements reflect the department’s commitment to inclusivity and providing equal access to services for all residents.

Key accomplishments include:

  • 35 per cent increase in inclusive recreation programs 
  • 30 per cent increase in participation of people with disabilities 
  • 27 per cent increase in one-on-one support provision in programming

Accessible PDF versions of the recreation programming eGuides and eBrochures are prominently featured on the City’s website, including direct links to public communications, eNewsletters and public service announcements to inform the community about the availability of accessible recreation programming guides. Recreation Services developed and digitized additional training programs to ensure employees are well-equipped to understand and meet the needs of people with disabilities, providing staff with the skills to offer effective, empathetic and inclusive service. Additionally, the department purchased fitness equipment to address the needs of members with disabilities and equipped all community centres with smart boards to enrich program offerings and improve communication for older adults and people with disabilities.

The Vaughan Celebrates program, featuring Winterfest, Concerts in the Park and Canada Day events, provided family-friendly and accessible entertainment, drawing thousands to Vaughan’s outdoor and indoor venues. Accessibility features included designated parking, shuttle services, accessible paths and washrooms, inclusive seating areas, and a special area near the stage for wheelchair users during Canada Day at Boyd Conservation Area. Winterfest expanded its adult programming with tai chi and yoga to cater to adults and seniors.

The City was recognized as a Festival Hub for Ontario Culture Days 2023, organizing 72 free events with a focus on accessibility and inclusion. The events, designed to be inclusive for people with disabilities, were organized in partnership with local groups and offered American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for stage performances and official ceremonies. Significant achievements included winning the Warrant Garrett Inclusive Programming Award for developing a vibrant social club for youth with intellectual disabilities, as well as partnerships with Variety Village and Ontario Special Olympics. These collaborations enabled individuals with disabilities to demonstrate their athletic skills in accessible sports and fitness activities.


The City worked with consultants to complete a full Building Accessibility Assessment (BAA) for all buildings it owns and operates. The BAA covered five areas:

  • exterior (covering the site, facility premises and public parking lots) 
  • interior 
  • washrooms 
  • emergency systems 
  • circulation

The review produced reports on 76 sites, documenting the needs and priorities to be considered for future upgrades the City’s facilities. Upgrades were made to several City facilities that increased inclusion and accessible customer service, including:

  • redesigning the entrance to City Hall. 
  • installing automatic door operators at Maple Community Centre. 
  • adding new Hearing Induction Loop systems at Bathurst Clark Resource Library and Civic Centre Resource Library. 
  • installing evacuation chairs at four more City facilities, including Woodbridge Library, Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Library, Pierre Berton Resource Library and Maple Community Centre. 
  • adding accessibility features in the Vellore Village Community Centre washroom facilities. 
  • adding accessible parking spaces at Al Palladini and Vellore Village community centres, Fire Station 7-5, as well as the recently reopened Garnet A. Williams Community Centre.

Indoor Wayfinding Pilot with Canadian National Institute for the Blind and GoodMaps

The City is embarking on an innovative pilot project aimed at enhancing the indoor navigational experience within City facilities for individuals with vision loss. In 2023, the City developed a new partnership with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and GoodMaps to assess the effectiveness of advanced technology solutions in facilitating independent mobility for those with vision-related disabilities. 

Using camera-based positioning and image recognition with LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, the GoodMaps mobile app can inform users where to locate key sites of interest, such as meeting rooms, elevators, ramps, accessible entrances, water fountains, changerooms and washrooms, as well as welcome desks and emergency exits, using real-time verbal instruction and step-by-step
navigation in much the same way as sighted people read signs.

The pilot launches in 2024 at six City facilities including City Hall, libraries and recreation centres across all wards. 


As part of the Neighbourhood Traffic Calming Plan, a comprehensive review was undertaken of more than 400 existing traffic calming devices to evaluate their compliance with AODA standards. The assessment resulted in valuable recommendations to ensure traffic calming devices are in line with accessibility standards. These recommendations will be integrated into capital and operational program plans for implementation in the coming years. 

The City launched the Traffic Control Management and Intelligent Traffic Systems Plan providing a framework to continue upgrading the City’s traffic signals. In October 2023, Council endorsed a procurement strategy to acquire an Advanced Traffic Management System with the capabilities for smart technologies and to upgrade the traffic signal equipment in the field. A traffic control management system will ensure vehicle traffic, cyclists and pedestrians continue to move safely using innovative technologies that will present information to road users efficiently. In the future, staff will focus on leveraging the traffic management system to maximize the efficiency of traffic signal operations. With a traffic control and management system, staff can respond much faster to requests and make changes to traffic control devices remotely.

Some accessibility features being considered in the future are accessible-friendly push buttons with variable audio chirps and video-based pedestrian detection. 

Accessible Infrastructure

The City continues to conform with the technical requirements of the AODA Integrated Accessibility Standards as they relate to infrastructure delivery. This means people of all abilities using or interacting with a facility, whether it is an intersection, bus stop or the interior or exterior of a community building, are considered when designing and implementing infrastructure. For example, in 2023, Garnet A. Williams Community Centre was re-opened following a major renovation. The new community centre showcases design excellence through the redevelopment of spaces that respond to the needs of residents with strong considerations for functionality, accessibility, sustainable design and resident experience. Some key elements include improvements to accessibility of service desks, signage, change rooms and washrooms, automatic doors and tactile floor indicators.

Accelerating Accessibility Coalition

The City became the first municipality to join the Accelerating Accessibility Coalition. This national coalition – based at the Urban Land Institute, University of Toronto – works collaboratively across sectors to promote accessible universal design approaches in housing design and construction.


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

In 2023, the City recruited new members for the AAC following a new term of Council beginning in November 2022. The new AAC was convened in March 2023 and held seven official meetings during the year. The City informed or consulted with the AAC on the following items:

  • onboarding, nomination of executives and sharing the Office of the City Clerk’s roles and procedures 
  • presentation and feedback on the 2022 Annual Accessibility Report 
  • presentation and consultation on the 2023-2027 MYAP development and the ‘What We Heard: The Journey So Far’ report on feedback from community consultations 
  • overview of the York Region MYAP from regional partners 
  • overview and discussion around North Maple Regional Park (Enabling Works Projects) and the Woodbridge Library renovation 
  • final draft of the City’s 2023-2027 MYAP 
  • feedback on the new Accessible Customer Service Policy 
  • redesign and relaunch of the Accessibility Champion Awards 
  • relaunch of the website setting of 2024 AAC meetings 
  • consultation on wayfinding pilot with the CNIB and GoodMaps at six City sites 
  • presentation of the Parks Infrastructure Planning and Development process for review and renovation of playgrounds 
  • presentation of the Accelerating Accessibility Coalition’s work on promoting accessible housing 
  • discussion of work on addressing abuse of accessible parking with By-law and Compliance, Licensing and Permit Services

Additionally, AAC members were invited to participate in public engagement activities relating to recreation and to the Greenspace Strategic Plan. Committee members will continue to be alerted to relevant community consultations and opportunities to engage with Vaughan and our regional partners on advancing inclusion and accessibility, and raising the voices of disability communities.


The City continues to monitor implementation of the 2023-2027 MYAP as required by the AODA and by the City’s commitments to all its diverse residents. This effort requires the collaboration of a Technical Advisory Committee representing all departments and helping track progress on all the key activities organized under AODA standards in the MYAP.

These actions include the following main objectives:

  • training and enhancing employee knowledge and procurement processes to strengthen accessible customer service 
  • ensuring equal access to information for all users and establishing accessibility standards for external meetings 
  • improving accessibility in service provision and communication for people with disabilities, and fostering an inclusive and accessible City through regular engagement with people with disabilities 
  • developing accommodation processes to foster an inclusive culture from within by providing accessible formats and communication supports for all staff, and expanding employment and co-op
  • advocating for and promoting accessible methods of transportation to provide inclusive options for people with disabilities 
  • implementing a comprehensive accessibility improvement plan with regular audits to enhance accessibility of City facilities, while advancing compliance and best practices in wayfinding and signage as sites are constructed or renovated

The 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.

The City is grateful for questions, thoughts and constructive feedback, and encourages residents and visitors to reach out with any input. 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 the City’s current MYAP.

For more information on the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) and 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

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.