Staff Report #1 – EnAbling Change Communication Program

Staff Report #1

March 8, 2021

To All Members of the Accessible Public Transit Service Advisory Committee

Re: EnAbling Change Communication Program


That the Committee REVIEW the draft Communications materials and provide feedback that will be shared and considered by the Committee overseeing this project.


During the recent review of the Transportation Standards, developed under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005 (AODA), enforcement and public education for the various standards was a major theme during the Standard Development Committee’s discussions. The Committee carefully considered a variety of options, and ultimately recommended education and outreach to the general public with respect to a number of issues, including the following non-regulatory priority areas:

  • accessible seating and mobility aid spaces on conventional transit buses
  • service animals, and accommodating same on public transit vehicles
  • priority boarding on conventional transit services

The Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA) is working in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility to undertake this initiative, which is being led by a subcommittee of the OPTA Marketing Committee. The objective for this project is to provide communication materials to every public transit service in the Province of Ontario, to utilize as they see fit, whether it be on-board advertising, digital (website, social media), or posters in shelters and stations.

To date, the Committee has worked with a marketing firm to create draft materials covering each of the topics. The key aspects that were included in the development of the draft materials included:

  • concise messaging that focusses on each of the key topics
  • friendly messaging that appeals to a rider’s sense of community
  • simple graphics that appeal to all demographics that ride the bus

Each of the designs includes simple graphics, with rider representation matching the icons used on the current Priority Seating decals that are on all conventional transit buses. The icons are portrayed in black and white, with the icon that is being referenced in the messaging being the opposite colour of the remaining icons. The information on the bottom part of each poster will be customizable for each transit system, to allow them to paste their logo, website information and other social media information.

The draft posters are set out in Enclosure I for reference; however, it should be noted that the final product will be available in multiple formats that will allow posting on buses, in shelters, in buildings, and on social media accounts.

The following section of the report provides an overview of each of the concepts as well as questions that committee members may want to consider when reviewing.

Accessible Seating and Mobility Aid Spaces on Conventional Transit

There are four different messages under this category, each with a key message followed by sub text.

  1. Stand up for your neighbours.

Offer up your seat for those in need in your community

This poster depicts a rider standing up and offering a seat to one of three riders approaching, an expectant mother, a man with a cane, and a man with a broken leg and crutches.

  1. Be thoughtful.

Offer up your seat or vacate priority seating when you see someone in need

This poster depicts a rider standing beside two other riders seated in the priority seating area, one of which has a crutch and the other that has no readily apparent disability (i.e. invisible disability).

  1. Be kind. Do the right thing.

Offer up your seat or vacate priority seating when you see someone in need

This poster depicts a rider standing beside two other riders seated in the priority seating area, one of which has a crutch and the other that has no readily apparent disability (i.e. invisible disability).

  1. Look up at every stop.

Offer your seat if you spot someone in need

This poster depicts two riders who are seated, one looking at a phone, the other reading a book with another rider approaching who has a broken leg and a crutch.

Service Animals and Accommodating Same on Public Transit

  1. Service animals served here.

Some passengers with visible and non-visible disabilities require the use of a service animal to ride transit. Thank you for your understanding.

This poster depicts a bus at a stop with a dog in a harness and a cat waiting to board the bus.

Priority Boarding on Conventional Transit

  1. Understanding gets us all there faster.

Priority boarding allows those passengers with disabilities to get on and off transit as quickly and safely as possible.

This poster depicts a rider utilizing a mobility device to board the bus while the other riders wait.

Some of the things that Committee members should consider when reviewing these options include:

  • Do the messages deliver on the intent in each category?
  • Will the messaging resonate with riders as intended?
  • Are the graphics a good depiction and representation of riders with disabilities, is anything missing?
  • Is the overall look of the poster appealing?

Gathering feedback from Accessibility Advisory Committees representing each of the transit systems participating on the Committee is the next step in the process. Feedback gathered from London’s Accessible Public Transit Service Advisory Committee will be compiled with that from other committees across the province, and reviewed by the oversight committee.

It is anticipated that the communication program can be finalized by early summer, and then be passed on to transit systems for posting.


I – Draft EnAbling Change Posters

Recommended by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager