Our Election Accessibility Plan reaffirms our commitment to ensuring full and equal access to electoral services for persons with disabilities by identifying and eliminating barriers so that elections are accessible to all voters and candidates.

As the election approaches, we will continue to update this plan as we identify new barriers and areas for improvement.

Read our accessibility plan

On this page:

  1. Requirements under the Municipal Elections Act
  2. Focus areas
  3. Voting locations with accessible voting equipment
  4. Ideas and feedback

Requirements under the Municipal Elections Act

In addition to our internal accessibility policies, under the Municipal Elections Act, the city clerk conducts municipal elections and establishes policies and procedures to ensure that all electors can fully participate in our municipal election through the preparation of an Election Accessibility Plan.

The city clerk is also responsible for preparing a post-election accessibility report that will be shared within 90 days of the regular election.

Download the 2018 report


Focus areas

The plan outlines how we aim to make voting more accessible to all, focusing on six key areas:

  1. consultation
  2. communication
  3. candidate
  4. voting place
  5. voting process
  6. election officials

Consultation

We’ll collaborate with residents and groups to get a better understanding of how we can make the election accessible for persons with a disability and get feedback on this plan.

Consultation initiatives include:

  • review comments from electors, candidates, and election workers regarding 2018 election
  • consult with the Grand River Accessibility Advisory Committee (GRAAC), Mayor’s Advisory Council for Kitchener Seniors (MACKS), and the Equity and Anti-Racism Advisory Committee to get committee feedback on potential barriers and ways to overcome these barriers
  • collaborate with our equity, anti-racism, and Indigenous initiatives staff team to get feedback on potential barriers and ways to overcome these barriers
  • collaborate with disability groups and networks to help share election information through our website, social media and other tools
  • conduct a post-election survey to get more comments and feedback on the 2022 election from electors, candidates, and election workers
  • attend any meetings or events that promote accessibility to bring attention to accessibility-related barriers to elections
  • consider having a preview day for accessible voting equipment to increase the comfort level for voters with a disability

Communication

We will share election information that is informative, clear and easy to understand.

Communication initiatives include:

  • dedicate a section of the City of Kitchener election website to accessibility
  • ensuring our web pages are W3C Consortium WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliant
  • provide our election email for correspondence and feedback related to the accessibility of the election
  • ensure the MyKitchener portal includes accessibility information about voting places
  • communicating service disruptions or last-minute changes that affect the accessibility of voting places during advance voting days or on election day in real-time:
    • on our website
    • on social media
    • at the site of the disruption
    • when applicable, a media advisory will be issued
  • provide equipment to facilitate communication for election staff and members of the public who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing
  • provide multi-language translated election information upon request
  • provide on-demand interpretation services for all in-person and telephone interactions upon request

Candidate

We will provide candidates with election information on how to make their campaigns accessible and election information that is accessible. Alternative formats are available upon request.

Candidate initiatives include:

  • provide candidates with resources such as the Candidates’ Guide to Accessible Elections produced by The Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO)
  • provide candidates with a list of locations and services to connect with persons who lack a permanent residence
  • ensure any city-hosted candidate information session(s) are held in an accessible location(s)
  • make alternative formats for information related to a candidate’s campaign available upon request
  • provide translated candidate information upon request in the language of their choice
  • provide on-demand interpretation services for all in-person and telephone interactions upon request in the language of their choice

We’re ensuring accessibility for candidates with disabilities by:

  • making the candidate’s guide and/or other relevant publications available in accessible formats, including rich text format
  • making our voters’ list available in an electronic, accessible format, free of charge to all candidates

Voting place

We will ensure that voting places are accessible and easy to navigate for voters with a disability.

Voting place initiatives include:

  • perform a site visit to inspect all potential voting locations for accessibility
  • ensure voting locations have adequate signage for easy navigation of voting places
  • ensure the main entrance to the voting place will be the accessible entrance
  • improve walkability from the parking lot to voting locations to reduce any long distances
  • establish voting places at St. John’s Community Kitchen, Ray of Hope, and A Better Tent City, that are accessible to voters who lack a permanent residence
  • create voting places at retirement homes and institutions to help voters
  • hiring election assistants to fix voting place accessibility issues including offering rest and seating if there is an expected wait

Voting process

We will ensure that the voting process is easy and accessible for persons with a disability.

Voting process initiatives include:

  • ensure accessible voting equipment is available at polling locations during all advance voting dates and in one location, accessible by transit, in each ward on voting day
  • Voter Notification Cards (VNCs) will include which voting location has accessible voting equipment in each ward
  • make voting opportunities available in retirement homes and institutions to allow eligible residents to vote
  • train election staff to help voters when asked, including accommodating bedside voters
  • produce clear guides for the use of accessible voting equipment
  • provide affidavits of residence to St. John’s Community Kitchen, Ray of Hope, and A Better Tent City to efficiently help persons who lack a permanent residence to vote
  • offer text magnifiers to help electors who have limited vision
  • offer notepads to increase communication to help electors who are hard of hearing or deafened
  • have chairs or stools available for electors who cannot stand for a prolonged period
  • any person with a disability accompanied by a support person or service animal may enter any voting place with their support person or service animal
  • in cases where a voter cannot vote in person, they can appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf
  • provide on-demand interpretation services to voters upon request in the language of their choice
  • create a process to notify electors in the case of an emergency or disruption of services
  • assess the state of alternative voting options for the next election to increase accessibility and engagement

Election officials

We encourage election worker applications from Indigenous persons, Black persons, racialized persons/persons of colour, women, persons with disabilities, those who are 2SLGBTQ+ identified and the intersections of these identities and state this openly on the job descriptions for all election worker positions.

Training for election workers will focus on accessibility to increase familiarity with accessible voting options and processes. Individual accommodations will be available upon request to staff during training (examples: ASL interpretation or communication devices).

Election staff will be trained on:

  • accessible election equipment
  • helping electors with a disability
  • accessible customer service
  • the importance of serving all individuals in a way that is fair and accessible
  • inclusion of diverse groups, such as those who are Black, Indigenous, racialized, 2SLGBTQ+ identified, religious minorities, and the intersections of those identities

Election staff will have reference materials highlighting how to effectively serve voters with disabilities, including:

  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • customer service standards
  • serving people with disabilities
  • processing an affidavit for persons who lack a permanent residence
  • our dedicated contact centre for anyone who encounters an accessibility issue

Voting locations with accessible voting equipment

Voter assistant terminals to assist electors with marking their ballot, will be available at several voting locations across the city during advance voting and on election day.

On advance voting days, accessible voting equipment will be available at all voting locations:

  • Country Hills Community Centre (100 Rittenhouse Road)
  • Forest Heights Community Centre (1700 Queen’s Boulevard)
  • Breithaupt Centre (250 Margaret Avenue)
  • Stanley Park Community Centre (505 Franklin Street North)
  • Doon Community Centre (150 Pioneer Drive) 

On election day, accessible voting equipment will be available at one voting location in each ward. You can vote at any voting location in your ward.

  • ward one: Grand River Stanley Park Library (175 Indian Road)
  • ward two: Stanley Park Community Centre (505 Franklin Street North)
  • ward three: Kingsdale Community Centre (72 Wilson Avenue)
  • ward four: Doon Pioneer Park Community Centre (150 Pioneer Drive)
  • ward five: W.T. Townshend Public School (245 Activa Avenue)
  • ward six: Country Hills Community Centre (100 Rittenhouse Road)
  • ward seven: Forest Heights Community Centre (1700 Queen’s Boulevard)
  • ward eight: Victoria Hills Community Centre (10 Chopin Drive)
  • ward nine: Mill Courtland Community Centre (216 Mill Street)
  • ward ten: Breithaupt Centre (250 Margaret Avenue)

Ideas and feedback

Your feedback helps us to improve. If you identify a barrier or have a recommendation to improve accessibility for the upcoming election, please send us an email.