Inclusivity, Equity, Diversity & Accessibility Plan

Everyone welcome

The City of Markham is proud of the richness of its different cultures and communities. Our diversity is our strength, and comes with the responsibility to respect, support and embrace people of all abilities, ages, ethnicities, gender identities and expressions, races, religions, sexual orientations, socio-economic differences, and other backgrounds.

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As the City continues to grow, evolve and change, so will the many different needs and preferences of the communities that call Markham home. It’s critical that we uphold efforts to support diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, anti-racism, and anti-discrimination, today and in the future, in all of our activities – including municipal and school board elections.

Our City thrives when everyone feels welcome, heard and respected, and when everyone feels a sense of belonging that allows them to live their fullest life, free from barriers of racism, discrimination and access.

Ensuring access for all

Elections Markham is committed to supporting people and communities in all their diversity, and stands firmly against all forms of hate, racism and discrimination.

We are committed to providing barrier-free access in the 2022 Markham Municipal Election to support an inclusive, fair, and transparent experience for everyone.

The City Clerk / Returning Officer is responsible for the overall conduct and integrity of municipal and school board elections in the City of Markham. Under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005, the City Clerk / Returning Officer is authorized to establish policies and procedures that support persons with disabilities in participating fully in the 2022 Municipal Election.

Our focus on accessibility is guided by the AODA’s Integrated Accessibility Standards:

  • Information and communications;
  • Employment;
  • Transportation;
  • Design of public spaces; and,
  • Customer service.

In the 2022 Markham Municipal Election:

  • Persons with disabilities have full and equal access to election information and services;
  • Persons with disabilities have full access to Voting Places;
  • Persons with disabilities can independently and privately mark their ballot, either online or in person with a paper ballot or touchscreen;
  • Persons with disabilities can receive voting help, if needed and as requested; and,
  • Persons of all abilities, ages, ethnicities, gender identities and expressions, races, religions, socio-economic difference and others feel welcome and a sense of belonging.

What else shapes our services?

  • Building Markham’s Future Together: 2020 – 2023 Strategic Plan
  • Preliminary findings from Markham’s Diversity Action Plan (2022)
  • Elections Markham’s Accessibility & Diversity Strategy (2018)
  • Post-Election Accessibility & Diversity Report (2018)
  • 2016 Canadian Census
  • Voter experience surveys (2003 to 2018)
  • Consultation with advisory committees and key community partners

After every municipal election, the City Clerk / Returning Officer prepares a public report outlining the steps taken to identify, remove and prevent barriers to access for voters and candidates with disabilities, as well as opportunities for further accessibility improvements moving forward. This helps Elections Markham continue to raise the bar on representation and create a more inclusive experience for voters of all backgrounds and abilities.

Accessible services

Paper ballot voting

Accessible services available at all Voting Places during Early Voting Days (October 20, 21 & 22) and the Elections Markham Returning Office (October 14 to 22) include:

  • Ballot magnifier and colour contrast tools
  • Easy-grip pens
  • Touchscreens
  • Audio ballot assistance
  • Paddle buttons
  • Sip and puff straws
  • Braille keypads
  • Information in multiple languages
  • Service animals are welcome at all Voting Places

If you need help marking your ballot, ask an election worker or bring someone you know.

 

Online voting

Services available at all Voting Places on Final Voting Day (October 24) include:

  • Large and responsive ballot text
  • Online voting platform compatible with personal assistive devices
  • Stylus pens
  • Information in multiple languages
  • Service animals are welcome at all Voting Places

If you need help marking your ballot, ask an election worker or bring someone you know.

 

Extended paper ballot voting

Paper ballot voting will be available by appointment at the Elections Markham Returning Office (located at the Markham Civic Centre at 101 Town Centre Boulevard) from October 14 to 22. This service is available to voters who want to vote with a paper ballot and are unable to go to a Voting Place during Early Voting Days. Appointments can be booked by contacting Elections Markham at 905.477.7000 x8683 (VOTE) or vote@markham.ca.


Special paper ballot voting

Elections Markham offers special in-person voting service for voters at long-term care homes, retirement residences, hospitals, subsidized housing, and other vulnerable settings impacted by public health protocols.

Elections Markham works with these facilities to set up a special on-site Voting Place serving resident voters during Voting Days. If an on-site Voting Place is not possible due to facility restrictions, Elections Markham will work with the facility staff to deliver special voting kits for every resident voter who wants to vote.

 

Home visits

Elections Markham offers a Home Voting Service for voters who are unable to vote online or in person at a Voting Place.

Voters can request a home visit if they are:

  • Unable to vote online independently;
  • Unable to go to a Voting Place;
  • Unable to read or write; and/or,
  • Someone who requires assistance.

Elections Markham will bring a voting kit to the voter’s home and offer any other help needed and requested during Voting Days.

To request in-home voting service, contact Elections Markham at 905.477.7000 x8683 (VOTE) or vote@markham.ca.

Virtual Assistant

The Elections Markham Virtual Assistant is available on Markham’s election website 24/7. It offers enhanced customer service around the clock – making it easier than ever before for voters to get reliable, timely and accurate election information – anywhere, anytime!

 

Digital accessibility

The Elections Markham website complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A and AA, the AODA’s current information and communication standard.

 

Assistive technology

Elections Markham is proud to offer free assistive technology for people voting online remotely from a personal device and who have trouble typing, using a mouse, reading, or don’t have access to their own assistive device. 

Download now

 

Voter Helpline

Elections Markham is available to help with any issues that voters may encounter in accessing election services.

Contact us at:

  • Phone: 477.7000 x8683 (VOTE)
  • In Person: Clerk’s Office, Markham Civic Centre, 101 Town Centre Boulevard
  • Email: vote@markham.ca
  • Mail:
    Elections Markham
    101 Town Centre Boulevard
    Markham, Ontario, L3R 9W3

Election workers are trained to serve voters from diverse backgrounds and abilities in a way that accommodates and is responsive to their needs.

Our election workers receive training in:

  • How to interact and communicate with persons with different disabilities; and,
  • How to use and support the use of accessible voting equipment;
  • What to do if someone is having difficulty finding election information or services;
  • How to interact with service animals;
  • How to address a voter, not their interpreter;
  • How to access the City of Markham’s Language Line through the Voter Helpline if a voter needs support in another language; and,
  • How to assist gender diverse voters whose photo ID may not match their appearance.

All election workers are sworn to secrecy and receive training on the “TALK” principle during their training, which is:

  • T – Take the time to ask “May I help you?”
  • A – Ask don’t assume
  • L – Listen attentively & speak directly to voter
  • K – Know what aids are available to help voters

If there is a temporary disruption to election information or services, Elections Markham will notify the public through:

  • Elections Markham’s website;
  • Voter Helpline;
  • Virtual Assistant;
  • At the entrance to the physical site of the disruption (if applicable)
  • City of Markham eNews;
  • Social media; and,
  • In the local media (when possible).

The notice will include:

  • The reason for the disruption;
  • The expected length of the disruption; and,
  • Other methods of delivering the information or service.

Every effort will be made to communicate the information or service to persons with disabilities in an alternate format upon request.

Locations

Markham voters can vote in person at any Voting Place in Markham. Voters do not have assigned polling stations. All Voting Places are accessible and are selected based on criteria set by law, covering everything from accessible parking, building design, wayfinding, public transit service, and facility accommodations.

View a list of Voting Places.

Getting to Voting Places

In selecting all Voting Places for the 2022 Municipal Election, Elections Markham evaluated whether the location:

  • Is close to accessible transit routes;
  • Is located on the same street as a transit stop;
  • Is clearly visible from the street;
  • Can support proper directional signage; and,
  • Has an accessible entrance.

Parking at Voting Places

Designated accessible parking is reserved close to the entrance of all Voting Places and are clearly marked.  Additional temporary accessible parking will be available at Voting Places, where possible. Curb cuts will be identified so users of mobility aids (such as wheelchairs, scooters, canes or crutches) can easily enter the facility. Routine checks of routes to the Voting Place’s entrance will be made throughout the day during scheduled voting times to make sure that these areas remain unobstructed and accessible.

 

Entrances to Voting Places

The entrances to Voting Places for people with disabilities will be clearly marked. All entrances are wide enough for a wheelchair or scooter to pass through and offer hardware that can be operated by a person using a closed fist.  Election workers will help open doors that are difficult to open or provide an alternative entrance.

Inside Voting Places

All Voting Places will be laid out in a manner that allows enough space for a wheelchair or scooter to pass through.  Any doormats or carpeting will be leveled with the floor to prevent potential tripping hazards.  All voting areas are to be well lit and seating will be made available. 

Staffing at Voting Places

To offer translation support at Voting Places, election workers are asked on their employment application what other languages they speak. This information is used to place election workers at Voting Places where their language skills will be best used.  Each Voting Place Manager will be given a list of the languages spoken by the election workers at their Voting Place. Voters can also access the City of Markham’s Language Line through the Voter Helpline if an election worker doesn’t speak their language.

 Accessible Voting Booths

Accessible voting booths will be available at each Voting Place.  Voting screens will be low in height and have a wide area to allow people who use a wheelchair or scooter to vote independently and privately. Accessible ballot marking technology will be available to support voters with a wide range of abilities.

If a candidate is required to incur expenses related to a disability, those costs are excluded from their statutory spending limits as long as they are directly related to the election, their disability, and would not have otherwise been spent.

Election information in alternate formats

Requests for accessible formats and communication supports are arranged for a timely manner that takes into account the person’s needs due to the disability.

If you need help with our website or want to give us general feedback, please contact us at:

  • Phone:905-477-7000 x8683 (VOTE)
  • Email: vote@markham.ca
  • Mail:
    Elections Markham
    Markham Civic Centre
    101 Town Centre Boulevard
    Markham, Ontario, L3R 9W3

 

Community consultations

To continue raising the bar on representation, Elections Markham consulted with the City’s Race Relations Committee, the Advisory Committee on Accessibility and the Seniors Advisory Committee to get feedback on the plans for the 2022 Markham Municipal Election.

 

Public education and outreach

The Elections Markham outreach team has proactively engaged more than 60 local community organizations that serve Markham’s diverse and traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities. Presentations have been delivered in-person and virtually throughout the election year to maximize engagement with voters across the City and reduce barriers to access.

 

Accessible and inclusive communication

To maximize voter engagement, a mix of traditional and new media are used in the 2022 Markham Municipal Election outreach program. Voter information communicated is in plain, accessible and inclusive language, as is made available in various formats.

Voter information in multiple languages

A voter registration campaign and other key information has been translated to reach and engage more voters in Markham than ever before.

Languages have been selected based on the 2016 Canadian Census and include:

  • French
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Traditional Chinese
  • Tamil
  • Farsi
  • Urdu
  • Punjabi

Voters can access the City of Markham’s Language Line through the Voter Helpline and receive customer service in more than 150 languages.

Elections Markham is committed to providing a transparent, welcoming and barrier-free election process.

As the City continues to grow, evolve and change, so will the many and different needs and preferences of the communities that call Markham home.

It is imperative to uphold efforts to support diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, anti-racism, and anti-discrimination, today and in the future, in all of our activities – including our municipal elections.

Feedback about the manner in which election services are provided to voters can be submitted to Elections Markham in any of the following ways:

  • Phone:905-477-7000 x8683 (VOTE)
  • Email: vote@markham.ca
  • Mail:
    Elections Markham
    Markham Civic Centre
    101 Town Centre Boulevard
    Markham, Ontario, L3R 9W3

In your feedback, please include:

  • The contact information of the person making the complaint or request;
  • The date the complaint or request is being made;
  • A description of the complaint or request; and,
  • How the person would like the complaint or request resolved.

The information, complaint or request will be recorded by Elections Markham, who will try to resolve complaints or requests in a timely manner. The person submitting the complaint or request will be contacted once a decision or resolution has been reached.  

The feedback we receive provides Elections Markham with an opportunity to:

  • Take corrective measures to prevent similar recurrences;
  • Address training needs;
  • Enhance service delivery; and,
  • Provide alternative methods of providing election services.

Markham City Clerk’s Office / Elections Markham

The City Clerk’s Office is located at Markham Civic Centre on the main floor and Elections Markham is located on the lake level at the Markham Civic Centre (101 Town Centre Boulevard). Elections Markham can answer questions about running for office, the election in general, specific services for persons with disabilities, and the community outreach program for the election. 

Elections Markham Website

The Elections Markham website is the official source for the latest and most reliable information related to the 2022 Markham Municipal Election.

News releases and public service announcements

Get the latest news about the election, right to your inbox. Sign up for Markham News!

Follow us on social media

Stay connected! Follow the City of Markham on:

Be a part of the conversation by using #MarkhamVotes, #MarkhamElection and #MkmPoli.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Get information about municipal elections, the Province of Ontario’s “2022 Municipal Elections Candidates Guide,” and the Ministry’s commitment to promote greater accessibility for eligible voters and candidates with disabilities.

Visit Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing website 

 

Ministry of Community & Social Services

The Ministry of Community and Social Services has prepared several quick reference guides around the overall management of an accessible election campaign. For more information, candidates can visit:

Visit Ministry of Community & Social Services website

 

Service Ontario eLaws

Access all current statutes including the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001, and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

Visit Service Ontario eLaws website.

Elections Markham
Markham Civic Centre
101 Town Centre Boulevard
Markham, Ontario, L3R 9W3
905.477.7000 x8683 (VOTE)
vote@markham.ca 

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