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Thumbs Up! (Posted On: Wednesday, September 09, 2009)

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The Thumbs Up Access and Awareness Services is done as a community service to promote accessibility in the Georgian Triangle Area.  This service recognizes businesses that have taken steps towards being accessible and does not necessarily mean that businesses are 100% barrier free, only that they have met the criteria of the Thumbs Up Services.

This service promotes awareness of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (which will make Ontario accessible to people with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, building structures and premises by January 1st, 2025, by developing, implementing and enforcing province-wide accessibility standards), increases the number of accessible businesses, promotes opportunities and supports active participation by people with disabilities.

Breaking Down Barriers received $3,000.00 from the Town of the Blue Mountain’s Community Assistance Grant for the year 2009 to assist with further development, promoting and implementing accessibility and awareness.

In the month of August, 2009, fifteen assessments were completed in the Town of the Blue Mountains (including The Village at Blue Mountain) in addition to following up with sixteen businesses that received assessments in 2008. 

We are pleased to report that LCBO, Thornbury Pharmasave, The Diamond Studio and Thornbury Foodland made the changes as per the short term recommendations and will be presented the Thumbs Up Decal on September 2nd, 2009 by Town of the Blue Mountains Councillor’s Robert Gamble and John McGee, as well as Andrea Abbott-Kokosin (Executive Director), Karlie Grant (Summer Student) and Catherine Sholtz (Accessibility Coordinator) for BDB.

In addition to the Thumbs Up assessments the businesses are provided additional information with regards to the five key areas of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).  The Accessible Customer Service Standard is the first standard in which private businesses, non-profit organizations, or any other service provider with at least one employee in Ontario, must comply by January 1st, 2012.

The Accessible Built Environment Standard will address access into and within buildings and outdoor spaces and is expected to build on Ontario’s Building Code.  The Built Environment Standard will regulate all new construction and extensive renovations.  The Government does not plan to require that all existing buildings be retrofitted to meet accessibility requirements in the final accessible built environment, however, it is focused on preventing barriers on a go-forward basis.

For more information about the Thumbs Up Access and Awareness Services, please contact Catherine Sholtz, Accessibility Coordinator @ catherine.sholtz@breakingdownbarriers.org or 705-445-1543 ext. #302.

Photos:

The Diamond Studio, Thornbury:  Left to right:  Karlie Grant (BDB Summer Student), Andrea Abbott-Kokosin (BDB Executive Director), George Matamoros (Owner of The Diamond Studio) and in the back John McGee (Town of the Blue Mountains Councillor)

Thornbury Pharmasave, Thornbury:  Left to right:  Andrea Abbott-Kokosin (BDB Executive Director), Gary Huber (Owner of the Thornbury Pharmacy), Catherine Sholtz (BDB Accessibility Coordinator) and Robert Gamble (Town of the Blue Mountains Councillor)

LCBO, Thornbury:  Left to right:   Andrea Abbott-Kokosin (BDB Executive Director), Brent Douglas (Thornbury LCBO Manager), Catherine Sholtz (BDB Accessibility Coordinator) and Robert Gamble (Town of the Blue Mountains Councillor)

Foodland, Thornbury:  Left to right:  John McGee (Town of the Blue Mountains Councillor), Jean Loucks (Foodland), Andrea Abbott-Kokosin (BDB Executive Director) and Karlie Grant (BDB Summer Student)

Bell World, Collingwood: Presented: August 14th, 2009  Left to right:   Catherine Sholtz (BDB Accessibility Coordinator), Andrea Abbott-Kokosin (BDB Executive Director), Chris Kitchen (Manager – Bell World) and Karlie Grant (BDB Summer Student)

Guardian Pharmacy, River Road West, Wasaga Beach: Presented: August 31st, 2009 Left to right:  Shari Francom (Guardian Staff), Marjori Medley (Owner), Andrea Abbott-Kokosin (BDB Executive Director) and Karlie Grant (BDB Summer Student)

Mini Major’s Guardian Pharmacy, Ramblewood Drive, Wasaga Beach: Presented: September 1st, 2009 Left to right:  Suzanne Smith (Guardian Staff), Marjori Medley (Owner), Andrea Abbott-Kokosin (BDB Executive Director) and Catherine Sholtz (BDB Accessibility Coordinator

The Source, Collingwood:  Presented: August 14th, 2009 Left to right:  Karlie Grant (BDB Summer Student), Steve Montgomery (The Source), Chris Cubitt (The Source) and Andrea Abbott-Kokosin (BDB Executive Director)

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