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Ontario Creates Multi-Year Accessibility Plan 2023-2027


This is Ontario Creates’ third Multi-Year Accessibility Plan (MYAP). It describes how we will respond to our obligations to identify, prevent and remove barriers for people with disabilities[1] – both internally in our organization, and in our interactions with our stakeholders and the public. In addition, as a funder of Ontario creative content and companies, we intend to continue helping to foster more inclusive and accessible creative industries, both for those who work in the sectors and for those who enjoy Ontario’s creative content as audiences.

In the last few years there have been some important initiatives related to accessibility in the creative industries. In April 2022, Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), in partnership with the Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada, announced the launch of the Disability Screen Office. The Disability Screen Office will provide a series of services to support and amplify the creative voices of Canada’s Deaf and disabled creative community. Industry research has also been undertaken. In its landmark Being Seen: Directives for Authentic and Inclusive Content research series, the Black Screen Office offers key directives to guide authentic representation of People with Disabilities. Finally, as the creative industries have adjusted to the pandemic, modes of work and community engagement have moved online, creating new opportunities and challenges for accessibility.

Our Plan is informed by this landscape and several overarching documents, including the 2022-2025 OPS Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, released earlier this year. As a provincial agency, Ontario Creates will be able to access the resources and will abide by the commitments of the larger strategy. This year we undertook our largest industry consultation to date as we developed our new five-year strategic plan, which will be launched in early 2023. The annual OPS Employee Experience Survey also provided insight on our progress on employment related obligations.

As a core value in our new Strategic Plan, we are committed to being Inclusive - ensuring diversity, equity and accessibility in our programs and our workplace. Another core value is to be Leading – in this case exemplified by our role to facilitate greater access and remove barriers more broadly in the industries we serve. We look forward to demonstrating our commitment to these values through our implementation of this new Multi-Year Accessibility Plan.

Accomplishments of our Last Plan

Ontario Creates’ last MYAP was in effect from 2018 through 2022. Highlights of our achievements in the last five years include launching a new WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliant corporate website in 2020; making most of our program guidelines available in a more widely accessible HTML format; applying the principles of accessibility to our virtual events (e.g., ASL interpretation and captioning for the Trillium Book Awards); transcribing our back catalogue of podcasts; and offering de-escalation training to staff members who engage with the public via CAMH as part of an increased focus on mental health.

All programs now include language around accessibility, specifically noting that we welcome applications from people with disabilities, people who are deaf, and people who have barriers to accessing technology. We offer alternate processes or formats to submit applications as required, and can provide up to $500 towards service providers to assist with application preparation. We also have an active offer to successful applicants to provide supplementary funds for service providers needed to deliver the approved project.

Through the Ontario Music Investment Fund Live Music Stream, applicants are now assessed as to the extent to which activities have an accessibility plan that outlines steps to remove barriers to accessibility.

Through our Employee Engagement Committee activities, the agency has developed a Diversity action plan and has struck a Diversity & Inclusion Task Force which has a mandate inclusive of consideration of people with disabilities.

Over the life of the prior MYAP, Ontario Creates has continued to offer a diversity enhancement component in the Film Fund and Industry Development Fund (expanded in 2022-2023 to the publishing sectors and IDM), designed to encourage and provide support to projects that, in their voice, story, language elements or diversity of key creatives, meet the provincial definition of diversity (which includes physical and intellectual ability). Diversity continued to be an evaluation criterion across all grant programs.

In addition, through our role as a funder, we have been proud to support content created by and for people with disabilities, and research and panels that have led to an increase in knowledge-sharing around accessibility issues and provided in an accessible manner, including the following:

  • Through the Magazine Fund, Ontario Creates supported Abilities Magazine, Canada’s Lifestyle Magazine for people with disabilities, a publication of the Canadian Abilities Foundation.
  • Through the IDM Fund, Ontario Creates supported production and marketing of The Vale (Falling Squirrel Inc.), an award-winning innovative immersive audio-based and haptic experience designed with visually-impaired gamers in mind and which was developed and tested in partnership with the CNIB.
  • Through the Industry Development Program, Ontario Creates supported the creation of directives for creating authentic screen content, including a dedicated People with Disabilities Report of Being Seen, by the Black Screen Office.
  • Festivals including the FOLD Foundation, Venus Fest, South Coast Jazz and Blues Festival and Word on the Street accessed Ontario Creates funding to offer ASL interpretation as well as sessions addressing accessibility issues.
  • Ontario Creates shared third-party resources through our Online Research Library such as: Demand for Diversity: Survey of Canadian Readers (BookNet Canada) and Inequality in 1,100 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race/Ethnicity, LGBT & Disability from 2007 to 2017 (USC Annenberg).

As we move forward into the next five years, while we continue to meet our legislative obligations around accessibility as a public sector organization, we would like to increase our focus on supporting the creative industries to allow them to continue becoming more inclusive and free of barriers to access.

Strategies and Actions 2023-2027

This Plan responds to our legislative obligations and is structured using the five key areas of responsibility also used in the OPS MYAP, to which we are adding a responsibility around industry leadership which relates to our broader agency mandate of stimulating economic growth and development of the creative industries:

  • Equitable Customer Service
  • Digitally-Inclusive Communications
  • Inclusive Employment
  • Barrier-free Facilities
  • Accessible Procurement
  • Industry Leadership

Specific actions will be added to our Plan framework in response to organizational and industry need.

Throughout 2023-2027, we will be guided by the following accessibility goals:

  • Our programs and services must be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities;
  • As an employer, Ontario Creates will integrate accessibility into all our regular workplace processes and will provide for accessibility across all stages of the employment life cycle.
  • Persons with disabilities must be given equitable opportunities to access our programs and services;
  • Ontario Creates will create and provide our own information and communications in ways that are accessible for people with disabilities;
  • We will strive to be a leader in supporting Ontario’s creative industries to integrate accessibility into their products and businesses; and
  • As an employer, Ontario Creates will integrate accessibility into all our regular workplace processes and will provide for accessibility across all stages of the employment life cycle.

Equitable Customer Service

The Accessible Customer Service Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation requires Ontario Creates to have policies and procedures in place to support providing people with disabilities with accessible services.

  • As part of its new Strategic Plan, Ontario Creates will have a renewed focus on reviewing and improving the accessibility of our investment and tax credit programs, including actions such as:
    • Completing a plain language version of tax credit regulations and legislation;
    • Assessing and implementing opportunities to standardize and streamline application requirements;
    • Continuing to offer information sessions virtually, and to make accessible options such as closed captioning and transcripts available;
    • Using demographic data to help inform outreach strategies to equity seeking groups, including people with disabilities;
    • Conducting a review of existing program guidelines and barriers to access; and
    • Engaging expertise to conduct an equity review of new or significantly revised program guidelines to improve access for groups that may experience barriers related to the application process.
  • Consideration will be given to ways to support greater accessibility in the application process, such as reviewing guidelines to ensure they are written in plain language. Attention will be devoted to communication strategies to ensure that applicants are aware of opportunities to access available accommodations and supports.
  • Ontario Creates will conduct a client satisfaction survey and develop an action plan for improving customer service, which will incorporate questions around assessing the success of accessibility initiatives and the quality and accessibility of service more broadly.
  • Ontario Creates will build on OPS-wide plans to renew and enhance mandatory staff training on accessible customer service, and to review and update its Accessible Customer Service Policy to be more inclusive.

Digitally-Inclusive Communications

The Information and Communications Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation requires Ontario Creates to communicate and provide information in ways that are accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Ontario Creates will continue to maintain a WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliant corporate website, to apply the principles of accessibility to our virtual events, and to ensure that accessibility continues to be a lens in any planning and redevelopment of communications products and service delivery platforms (e.g., Online Application Portal, Digital Locations Library, Online Research Library).
  • Ontario Creates will strive to provide information in plain language, and to make information easy to navigate.
  • Ontario Creates will access OPS-wide tools and resources such as the planned OPS Digital Accessibility Standard, OPS Web Accessibility Plan, and OPS Web Accessibility Literacy Strategy to support continuous improvement.

Inclusive Employment

The Employment Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation describes Ontario Creates responsibilities regarding accessibility requirements to follow in order to support inclusive recruitment and accommodation of employees with disabilities.

  • As part of promoting an equitable, inclusive, accessible, anti-racist and diverse workplace, Ontario Creates will create and/or review policies, practices and processes considering best practices in equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility as it relates to hiring, recruitment, career development, and retention. This builds on OPS-wide commitments to implement recruitment and accommodation strategies that will help to increase representation of persons with disabilities throughout the OPS (e.g., piloting a sponsorship program to support career development and advancement, expanding mental health resources and services; and proactively identifying and addressing systemic employment barriers, focusing on recruitment, promotion, and career development.)
  • Ontario Creates will continue to consider mental health as an integral component of employee well-being, and to consider strategies to promote reasonable levels of stress, work-life balance, and ensuring proper mental health supports are in place for staff.

Accessible Procurement

Under the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation, Ontario Creates must incorporate accessibility features when procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities, except where not practicable to do so.

  • Ontario Creates will create and/or review policies, practices and processes considering best practices in equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility as it relates to procurement practices, including event planning.
  • Ontario Creates will continue to provide an accessibility offer associated with events, which will continue to be held in venues that are accessible to people with disabilities.
  • The agency will make use of the OPS Accessibility in Procurement Toolkit and outcomes of government-wide assessment of transfer payment rules in order to embed accessibility requirements.

Barrier-Free Facilities

The Design of Public Spaces Standards under the Integrated Accessibility Standard regulation requires Ontario Creates to ensure that newly constructed or significantly renovated public spaces such as waiting areas and service counters are accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Ontario Creates will ensure accessibility of the physical office space as we renew our lease.

Industry Leadership

  • To assist companies and organizations in executing projects that are accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities, investment program guidelines will continue to explicitly allow for incorporation of costs related to accessibility through a top-up or budget line item.
  • Core investment program guidelines will be updated in 2023-24 with a view to ensuring funded activities, particularly events and business intelligence reports, are accessible to all attendees/users. This builds on OPS wide commitments to prevent the creation of accessibility barriers with public dollars, encompassing transfer payment arrangements.
  • In 2023-24, we will continue to offer diversity enhancement funding across investment programs, designed to encourage and provide support to projects that, in their voice, story, language elements or diversity of key creatives, meet the provincial definition of diversity (which includes physical and intellectual abilities). Diversity will also continue to be an evaluation criterion across all grant programs.

Accountability and Reporting

As we continue our efforts to prevent, identify and remove barriers to accessibility, we will ensure that we are accountable by doing the following:

  • We will create a new Accessibility Advisory Committee, comprising industry members, which will meet annually and enable an ongoing exchange of information in regard to accessibility issues and how to improve services at Ontario Creates and in the wider creative industries. Additional stakeholder consultations will take place as part of regular client satisfaction survey activities, and on an as needed basis, as part of Plan implementation.
  • We will continue to publish annual status updates on our Multi-Year Accessibility Plan on our website and to submit biannual compliance reports to the Ministry for Seniors & Accessibility (in 2023, 2025, and 2027).
  • We will monitor feedback we receive throughout the year related to accessibility and integrate this information into our Annual Status Updates. We will also proactively monitor the environment and integrate information about accessibility best practices, and make updates to the MYAP and/or associated implementation and action plans if required.
  • As we develop our agency Key Performance Indicators, consideration will be given to ways to incorporate reporting on accessibility commitments as appropriate.


We gratefully acknowledge the guidance of our Interim industry Accessibility Reference Group in providing feedback and input on our Plan.

Contact Us

This Plan is available in alternate formats upon request. Feedback may be provided in writing, by emailing us or calling us. Please direct feedback and requests to:

Director, Business Affairs and Research
Ontario Creates
175 Bloor Street East
South Tower, Suite 501
Toronto, ON M4W 3R8
Phone (416) 314-6858

If you would like to be included on the list to receive periodic surveys about the quality of our service with respect to accessibility, please email us at

[1] This Plan employs person-first language, in alignment with the OPS multi-year plan. Ontario Creates acknowledges that views differ in the disability community, with some preferring identity-first language.