People living with disabilities and their families will now have an easier time applying for an Accessible Parking Permit (APP) in Ontario when reaching adulthood. On December 31, 2019, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services announced changes that will positively impact applicants not able to sign for themselves due to a physical or and/or mental disability.
Prior to the change, applicants who could not sign for themselves required a power of attorney or court-appointed guardian to complete this process; options that are both time-consuming and costly, making it inaccessible for many. The new policy offers greater flexibility by allowing proof of Ontario Disability Support Program trusteeship or simply a sworn statement on behalf of the applying adult.
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Holland Bloorview) and Pro Bono Ontario played an essential role in advocating for this change.
“I’ve worked with families that have expressed frustration when applying for accessible parking permits when their child turns 18,” says Hannah Lee, a Pro Bono Ontario lawyer working at Holland Bloorview. “Prior to the change, the process to obtain a permit was inaccessible to those who were not court-appointed guardians of their children and could not otherwise afford the costs associated with obtaining guardianship. The changes we actively advocated for will make a real difference to those families whose children are transitioning to adulthood. We are grateful to the Ministry for removing this accessibility barrier. It is one less worry and one less expense for families during a period of immense transition.”
In a letter to Holland Bloorview announcing the changes, Minister of Government and Consumer Services Lisa Thompson writes, “I am happy to inform you that our government has amended policies to ease the application process for accessible parking permits for Ontarians. I would like to thank your organization for providing input by requesting changes to the application process on behalf of adults who are incapable of signing for themselves.”
As a leader in Canadian pediatric disability care and research, Holland Bloorview is committed to leading and modelling social change and raising awareness around the challenges faced by people living with disabilities. The change announced by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services will have an important impact on the lives of people living with disabilities and their families and make Ontario a more equitable and inclusive place to live.