November 30, 2021
Dear Minister Lecce,
On behalf of the Toronto District School Board, I am writing to request your consideration of allocating significant and dedicated financial resources to support the accessibility of all existing schools.
While all new TDSB schools are designed to meet or exceed current accessibility standards, most of our older schools were not built with accessibility in mind. These sites include significant physical barriers to students, educators, parents, and visitors with disabilities, including those who use mobility assistance devices and who have low vision or hearing, impeding – and in some cases preventing – their access to learning, information and resources.
In a 2014/15 audit of TDSB buildings, 332 buildings were categorized as not accessible and 78 as somewhat accessible. Less than a third of our buildings – 160 buildings – are considered accessible to members of our community. We estimate that to make all schools accessible requires an investment of $1 billion.
Schools should be safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces for people of all abilities. We need to make positive and lasting changes to remove the physical barriers in our schools and ensure that everyone is able to be part of the school community.
Chair, Toronto District School Board