The 2022 Election Accessibility Plan provides an overview of election initiatives aimed at improving accessibility for voters and candidates with disabilities during an election cycle. The Plan is a living document that is developed in consultation with community organizations and persons with disabilities. The Plan builds on recommendations from the 2018 Election Accessibility Report found on Past Accessibility Reports & Plans.

One of the most important mandates of the City Clerk’s Office is to ensure that elections are accessible to all. We continue to learn and adapt our methods of anticipating and removing barriers for voters with disabilities in Toronto’s municipal elections.

The main objective of the Plan is to identify and eliminate barriers for persons with disabilities to ensure that elections are accessible to all voters and candidates. The Plan outlines how the City Clerk’s Office aims to meet this objective, organized into the following six key areas:

  1. Consultation
  2. Voting Options and Accommodations
  3. Communication and Information
  4. Voting Places
  5. Candidate Information
  6. Accessible Customer Service

The City is conducting consultations with individuals and groups knowledgeable in providing services to persons with disabilities to gain a better understanding of their needs. The following actions are planned:

  • Consulting with members of the Election Accessibility Outreach Network (AON) on matters such as accessible customer service, assistive devices, and voting options
  • Collaborating with the AON Work Groups to advance the objectives in the Plan
  • Presenting the 2022 Election Accessibility Plan to the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee, one of City Council’s advisory committees
  • Conducting special consultations as needed, such as the accessible customer service training and voting places
  • Investigating emerging public engagement trends and technology to help facilitate remote participation in AON meetings and consultation sessions
  • Posting the 2022 Election Accessibility Plan online for public review and input.

The City is making accessible voting equipment and voting options and accommodations available by following these steps:

  1. Making Voter Assist Terminals (VAT) available during advance voting days and on election day. The VAT is a machine that marks paper ballots, allowing voters with disabilities and other special needs to select the candidate(s) of their choice privately and independently. The features include a touch screen, an audio component, a Braille key pad, a Sip/Puff tube device, a Rocker Paddle/Foot Switch and zoom features to adjust font sizes and colour contrast. Learn more about VATs in Election Videos.
  2. Welcoming the use of support persons and service animals in voting places. Any person with a disability accompanied by a support person or service animal may enter the City Clerk’s Offices or any voting place with their support person or service animal.
  3. Providing assistance to electors with disabilities. When requested, an election official in the voting place will assist a voter in casting their ballot.
  4. Permitting voting by proxy. In cases where a voter is unable to attend a voting place, the voter can appoint another person to act on their behalf.
  5. Providing the option of curbside voting. Voters who are physically unable to go inside the voting place can request that the ballot be brought out to their vehicle or to another location within the voting place.
  6. Providing voting opportunities in institutions and retirement homes. Allow eligible residents the opportunity to vote in the following ways:
    • Establish voting places at any institution where 20 or more beds are occupied by persons who are disabled, chronically ill or infirmed, and at a retirement home where 50 or more beds are occupied
    • Having election staff administer bedside voting where required.
  7. Introducing a Mail-in Voting Program. The Mail-in Voting Program is an alternative method of voting for eligible electors. As a part of this program, the elector is mailed a voting kit which includes a ballot. The elector can then return their marked ballot and signed declaration by mail or by a drop box in their ward to be received by Election Services prior to the deadline of Friday, October 21, 2022 at noon.
  8. Researching a Braille Mail-in Voting Option. Research and create a braille mail-in voting option as an alternative voting option for electors who are partially sighted or blind.
  9. Introducing a Mail-in Voting Option in Detention Centres. Introduce an alternative hybrid mail-in voting option to eligible electors on remand who apply and meet the eligibility criteria.
  10. Making supplies available at voting places that can assist voters with disabilities.
    • Magnifying sheets (4x) available at all voting places to assist voters with low vision.
    • Note pads and pens available at all voting places to assist communication with voters who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.
    • How to Vote booklets in multiple languages, English, Braille and large font.

The City is providing informative and accessible content on election webpages by:

  • Ensuring election information is available online in clear and simple language
  • Continuously updating election information on the election webpages to reflect the most recent developments and information
  • Ensuring all webpages are W3C Consortium WCAG 2.0 Level AA Compliant
  • Continuously updating Accommodations for Voters
  • Providing How to Vote content that includes American Sign Language interpretation and captioning, and posting it on the election webpages
  • Ensuring the MyVote web application includes accessibility information about voting places.

The City is providing election information in alternate formats and through multiple channels by:

  • Attending meetings, events and fairs to showcase accessible voting technology and raise awareness about the municipal election and accommodations available to voters
  • Working with persons with disabilities, community advocates, and disability service providers to distribute election information to persons with disabilities across Toronto
  • Actively promoting employment opportunities to persons with disabilities and organizations serving people with disabilities
  • Producing material with election information that includes accessibility information and mailing it out to every residence in Toronto
  • Producing a How to Vote booklet in English and additional languages, as well as make the booklet available at all voting places in both print format and Braille.

The City is ensuring all voting places are accessible to electors with disabilities by:

Creating an accessibility checklist for election staff to use when conducting site visits of each voting place ensuring each facility has:

  • Barrier-free path of travel from the parking lot and sidewalk
  • Barrier-free parking, where parking is provided
  • Door operators or accessible doors
  • Adequate lighting

Inspecting all voting places to ensure all locations are accessible:

  • Where possible, make modifications to existing voting places to make them accessible, for example by installing temporary ramps
  • Places that cannot be made accessible will be relocated or merged with other voting places in the vicinity
  • Conduct an additional accessibility check in August/September to ensure there have been no changes to the locations
  • Have election staff perform final accessibility checks during the advance vote period and on election day to verify the accessibility of the voting place.

Hiring Access Officers to mitigate voting place accessibility issues by performing the following roles when needed:

  • Helping open doors without automated power door openers
  • Operating elevators or lifts
  • Direct voters to the accessible entrance if it is different from the main entrance.

Ensuring all voting place owners and managers are aware of accessibility requirements by:

  • Notifying all facility owners and managers of the proposed voting places of legislative accessibility requirements in order to prevent last minute changes to voting rooms.

Providing an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on the list of proposed voting places by:

  • Posting a tentative list of voting places on the election webpage
  • Inviting individuals with disabilities to provide feedback on the tentative list of voting places
  • Using the received feedback to ensure that all voting places are accessible.

Communicating service disruptions or last-minute changes that affect the accessibility of voting places during advance vote or on election day in real time:

The City is providing information to support accessible campaigning by:

  • Providing candidates with resources such as the Candidates’ Guide to Accessible Elections produced by The Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO)
  • Incorporating accessibility information and messaging into Candidate Information Sessions.

The City is ensuring accessibility for candidates with disabilities by:

  • Making the candidate’s guide and/or other relevant publications available in accessible formats
  • Making the City voters’ list available in an electronic, accessible format, free of charge to all candidates
  • Holding candidate information sessions in accessible locations or virtually and adding an accommodation statement in the invitations to ensure attendees are aware that accommodations are available upon request.

The City is providing accessible customer service by:

Providing all election officials with accessible customer service training, and

  • Holding training sessions for election staff on accessibility requirements, serving people with disabilities and on the accommodations and special services available to assist voters
  • Requiring all staff to complete elections and accessibility training.

Developing reference materials for all election officials highlighting how to effectively serve voters with disabilities:

  • Including AODA, customer service standards, and serving people with disabilities messaging in all training materials, classroom training and web-based training
  • Providing every election staff member with a “Positive, Inclusive and Accessible Elections” handbook
  • Creating a lived experience training video featuring persons with disabilities from members of AON
  • Making individual accommodations available upon request to staff during training (for example, ASL interpretation or communication devices)
  • Ensuring job aids highlight the importance of servicing all individuals in a manner that is fair and accessible.

Establishing a dedicated contact centre for anyone who encounters an accessibility issue:

Phone: 416-338-1111 (press 6)

Email: AccessibleElections@toronto.ca

Fax: 416-395-1300

TTY: 416-338-0889

The City Clerk’s Office is committed to making our services accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities. We comply with the customer service standards of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

In fulfilling our mission, the City Clerk’s Office will provide its services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We strive to provide people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our services in the same place, and in a similar way as others.

Read the Providing Services to People with Disabilities policy.

The City Clerk is responsible for conducting municipal elections and establishing policies and procedures to ensure that all electors have the opportunity to fully participate in the 2022 City of Toronto municipal election.

More specifically, the Municipal Elections Act states the following:

12.1 (1) A clerk who is responsible for conducting an election shall have regard to the needs of electors and candidates with disabilities.

12 (2) The clerk shall prepare a plan regarding the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that affect electors and candidates with disabilities and shall make the plan available to the public before voting day in a regular election. 2016, c. 15, s. 11.

12 (3) Within 90 days after voting day in a regular election, the clerk shall prepare a report about the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that affect electors and candidates with disabilities and shall make the report available to the public. 2016, c. 15, s. 11.

41 (3) The clerk shall make such changes to some or all of the ballots as he or she considers necessary or desirable to allow electors with visual impairments to vote without the assistance referred to in paragraph 4 of subsection 52 (1). 1996, c. 32, Sched., s. 41 (3); 2001, c. 32, s. 30 (1).

45 (2) In establishing the locations of voting places, the clerk shall ensure that each voting place is accessible to electors with disabilities.

Definition of Disability

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 defines “disability” as follows:

  1. any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;
  2. a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
  3. a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
  4. a mental disorder; or
  5. an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.