Beginning next summer, people with physical disabilities will no longer be granted free admission at the Canadian National Exhibition as they will receive a 50 per cent discount instead.

The announcement comes after the CNE board voted in favour of the new policy on Wednesday afternoon, which was recommended by the advisory council.

The implemented policy says that any disabled person with an Access 2 Card or equivalent is eligible for the discounted admission price for themselves and will be given free admission for their support person.

In years past, admission for persons with disabilities was free and it will remain this way for the summer 2017 season as this new plan will not be implemented until summer 2018.

The board of directors of the CNE said the act of pursuing this plan comes after recommendations from the advisory council on inclusion of persons with disabilities.

“The CNE is striving to improve accessibility at Canada’s largest fair for all guests,” the press release said. “By implementing these recommendations the CNE will continue to work towards ensuring that all guests and members of the organization are treated fairly and equitably.”

The push for the advisory council to phase out free admission for persons with disabilities came from a desire to separate the issues of disability and affordability.

The CNE said the new plan not being implemented until next summer will give people time to get adjusted.

“This year will be an opportunity to educate the public, encourage them to sign up for access 2 cards or similar programs, while maintain the existing admissions policy,” CNE board member Cllr. Paula Fletcher said.

The CNE noted that this is the same policy that the Toronto Zoo offers.

As well, the CNE board has voted in favour of giving away 20,000 free tickets through partner organizations like the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and United Way in an effort to provide access to the CNE for those who cannot afford to attend.