The City works towards promoting and facilitating community connections, providing great public spaces, encouraging affordable housing and supporting diverse and safe neighbourhoods.
The City's Anti-Racism Task Force works to bridge and promote a stronger more positive understanding and representation of the city’s racialized groups. The volunteers work actively with police services, school boards, community groups, municipal organizations, social services, business, labour and government agencies to facilitate a stronger understanding of the needs of the city's racialized populations.
Barrie is one of Ontario's leading communities in accessibility and is committed to accessibility and the tenets of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The City is actively working to remove barriers to persons with disabilities.
The Seniors & Accessibility Advisory Committee's mandate is to champion issues related to the provision of an accessible community on behalf of all Barrie’s citizens, and to represent and provide advice on seniors’ perspectives on municipal matters.
The Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA), is a law passed by the Ontario legislature that allows the government to develop specific standards of accessibility and to enforce them. The standards are made into laws called regulations, and they provide the details to help meet the goal of the AODA. The AODA is the foundation on which the standards are built.
The purpose of the accessibility standards is to move organizations in Ontario forward on accessibility. The standards will set requirements in a number of key areas and will be reviewed at least every five years. The goal of the Act is to make the Province of Ontario completely accessible by 2025.
The Integrated Accessibility Standard was released in the summer of 2011 and was updated in 2016 to include the Accessible Customer Service Standard, as well as the standards for Information and Communication, Employment, Transportation and the Design of Public Spaces.
The City of Barrie is committed to working towards being compliant with all of the standards under the AODA as they are introduced. For more information on the AODA or accessibility in Ontario, please visit the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
The City of Barrie has an overarching Accessibility Policy (PDF) and accompanying Accessibility Procedure (PDF), in addition to working to integrate accessibility and the AODA tenets into already existing City of Barrie policies. The City is committed to continuous improvement and will work to regularly review and update all policies for accessibility.
The City also has an Accessible Customer Service Policy (PDF) which includes information on:
- Providing good and services to people with disabilities
- Use of service animals, support persons and assistive devices
- Notice of temporary disruptions
- Staff training on customer services
- Accessibility of meetings
- Feedback process
- Format of city documents
- Notice of availability of documents
City of Barrie employees, contractors and vendors are required to complete training which includes:
- The purpose of the Act
- How to interact with people with various disabilities
- How to interact with people who use the assistance of a service animal or support person
- How to use assistive devices available on the premises
- What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty accessing service
- Details on the City of Barrie's accessibly policy, procedures and practices
Information for Vendors
Training is required for City suppliers of goods and services. The AODA legislation states that contractors, vendors, and individuals that the City of Barrie has contracted to provide goods or services must ensure that their employees are trained on providing accessible customer service. Training can be as simple as reading through the Understanding Accessible Customer Service Training Booklet (PDF).
Once contractors/vendors have trained their staff, they will be considered compliant by the City of Barrie after they have completed and returned the Accessibility Compliance Form (PDF). Completed forms are to be faxed to (705) 739-4233 or mailed to:
City of Barrie
Attention: C. Dillon
70 Collier Street, P. O. Box 400
Barrie, ON L4M 4T5
Support for Low-Income Residents
The City provides financial assistance to low-income households through various initiatives.
The Low-Income Household Water/Wastewater Relief Program program provides financial assistance to low-income households in Barrie, to help offset water/wastewater bill costs. Successful applicants will be credited a portion of their water/wastewater bill back to them.
The New Foundations Affordable Housing Initiative offered select property owners the chance to apply to undertake a feasibility study, with the aim of creating more affordable housing options in Barrie. Each feasibility study:
- Provides a vision for building affordable housing on a property;
- Outlines the practical steps needed to turn that vision into reality; and,
- Is worth approximately $20,000.
Through New Foundations, the City can fund up to 10 affordable housing feasibility studies.
Online applications were accepted in February 2022.
On October 4, 2021, City Council adopted an amendment to Zoning By-law 2009-141, which makes it possible to now build affordable housing within Institutional zones – areas of Barrie that include places of worship, community centres, assisted living facilities and other similar types of properties.
Following this, Barrie City Council put forward a motion to fund affordable housing feasibility studies for properties zoned institutional, as well as for certain places of worship outside of institutional zones.
Many of these sites are large and have the space to build affordable townhomes or small- or mid-sized apartments in conjunction with the existing permitted use. This initiative is just one way in which the City is committed to working with partners to bring more affordable housing to Barrie.
On March 22, 2021, Barrie City Council approved a motion that included the establishment of an Affordable Housing Task Force.
The mission/purpose of the Affordable Housing Task Force is to develop a plan to co-ordinate housing projects and policies to aggressively expand the supply of affordable housing, with particular emphasis on addressing the hardest to house.
Age-friendly cities provide access to services that enable everyone, not just seniors, to live full and productive lives.
In 2014 the City established a Seniors Advisory Committee to provide advice and recommendations to City Council concerning opportunities to make Barrie a more age-friendly community, and to enhance and develop our community so all seniors can be meaningful participants.
The City has developed an Age-Friendly Community Plan with assistance from a grant received from the Ontario Government. An Age-Friendly Community is one where policies, services and facilities support older people to live in a secure environment, enjoy good health and continue to participate fully in their communities.
The City provides meaningful recreation opportunities for participants experiencing disability through both adapted and integrated program options. Please visit Inclusive Recreation for current information.
Since early 2017, a crisis related to opioid overdoses has been sweeping across Canada.
The Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy (SMOS) is a large partnership of agencies, organizations and individuals that is working together to address the crisis of opioid use and overdose in our region. See highlights of actions being taken to address opioids in our communities.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit provides advice for talking to kids about opioids.
Needle Exchange Supplies
Needle exchange supplies are provided free of charge and no identifying information is requested. Equipment can be found at all Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit locations and many of our community partner agencies.
How to Get Help
The Royal Victoria Hospital has a Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinic. The RAAM Clinic is for individuals 16 years of age and up whom are struggling with substance use concerns; or for family members seeking personal support around a loved one's addiction. Referrals will also be accepted but not needed. The clinic will allow individuals to be seen by a member of the inter-professional team, as well as the physician or nurse practitioner, to help respond to the individual's treatment needs. Service is short term and appropriate referrals are made for continued client care. The clinic serves all of North Simcoe Muskoka but main offices are currently in Barrie, Orillia and Midland. For enquiries please contact: 705-797-3095.
Safer Substance Use
Safer substance use recognizes that quitting the use of substances may not be realistic for everyone. As a result it means providing people who use drugs with the information and resources they need to prevent overdose and other harms. To learn more, check out the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website.
The City of Barrie has installed several naloxone kits at facilities that also have publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and meet the storage requirements. The locations include:
• City Hall
• East Bayfield Community Centre
• Centennial Beach (Lifeguard Hut)
• Eastview Arena
• Johnson Beach (Lifeguard Office)
• Peggy Hill Team Community Centre
• Barrie Public Library (Worsley St)
• Sadlon Arena
• Barrie Public Library (Dean Ave)
• Parkview Seniors Centre
• Five Points Theatre
• Southshore Community Centre
• Barrie Transit Terminal
• MacLaren Art Centre
• POA Orillia
• Dorian Parker Centre
• MLEO/POA Barrie
• Allandale Recreation Centre
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit provides additional information on Naloxone kits.