Quick Ways You can Help Us Get Parliament to Amend Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act, to Make It a Good Law

David Onley’s Independent Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Re-schedules Thunder Bay Public Hearing

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities http://www.aodaalliance.org [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

October 12, 2018


Help Us Press the Federal Government to Strengthen Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act – Here Are Several Quick Options

We need your help now. a Standing Committee of Canada’s Parliament will decide in the next few weeks what amendments to make to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act. The AODA Alliance has submitted a detailed brief to Parliament, explaining what changes are needed, and why. We’ve also made public a 4-page summary of the seven most important changes that are needed. Without the reforms we’ve recommended, Bill C-81 will not be a strong and successful law that lives up to the Federal Government’s stated intentions.

Here’s how you can help:

1 It would be great if you would email your Member of Parliament (MP) and, if you have the time, as many other MPs as possible. Urge them to make the amendments to Bill C-81 that we recommend in our September 27, 2018 brief. Here is a sample of what you might say in your email, if you don’t have time to write one yourself:

“It is important for Parliament to make important amendments to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act, in order for that bill to become a good law. Over four million people with disabilities need this bill to be strengthened by these amendments.

I support the brief that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance submitted to Parliament on September 27, 2018. You can find that brief at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/please-tell-the-federal-government-if-you-support-the-aoda-alliances-finalized-brief-to-the-parliament-of-canada-that-requests-amendments-to-bill-c-81-the-proposed-accessible-canada-act/ You can find a 4-page summary of the seven top amendments that are needed at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/the-aoda-alliance-is-invited-to-present-to-the-house-of-commons-standing-committee-on-human-resources-skills-and-social-development-and-the-status-of-persons-with-disabilities-on-october-25-2018-to/

Everyone either has a disability now, or is bound to get one later in life, as they age. We need this bill strengthened for everyone’s sake.”

We’ve made it easy for you to find out the email address for each MP in Parliament. We’ve posted a list on line. You can find it at: https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/email-addresses-and-twitter-handles-for-all-members-of-canadas-parliament-as-of-october-11-2018/

2. Please send a tweet to your MP, urging them to support our brief. Below we set out a sample tweet. You just have to add to it the Twitter handle (Twitter name) for your MP. We’ve also made this easy, by making available a list of the Twitter handles for every MP who is on Twitter. You’ll find that information on the same list as their email addresses, at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/email-addresses-and-twitter-handles-for-all-members-of-canadas-parliament-as-of-october-11-2018/ 3. We are tweeting every MP in Parliament. We are asking each of them, one at a time, to support the amendments that we seek to Bill C-81. It would help if you would retweet our tweets to them. Follow @aodaalliance on Twitter or just search on #AccessibleCanada and you will see all these tweets at a glance. We send out a batch virtually every day. Your retweets can help us make even more of an impact.

4. As we’ve mentioned in earlier Updates, it also really helps if you send a one-sentence email to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and to Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough, supporting our brief.

Email for the Standing Committee: [email protected]
Email for Minister Qualtrough: [email protected]

Please CC us on that email: [email protected]

As we’ve earlier suggested, all you need to include in that email, if you don’t want to write more, is this:

“I’m writing to support the brief which the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance has submitted on September 27, 2018 to the Parliament of Canada that recommends improvements to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act.”

If you can get an organization to support our brief, be sure to get that organization to send in a supporting email to the email addresses above, and to include the name of that organization in their email.

4. Come to the hearings of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities on Thursday, October 25, 2018 from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m., when AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky will be one of the presenters. If you are in Ottawa, the hearing will be at the Parliament Buildings, Room 415, 180 Wellington, Ottawa, ON (Entrance at 197 Sparks Street.

5. If you cannot make it to Parliament that day, why not watch the hearing at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities live online, where it will be streamed, or later, where it will be permanently archived. Check out the Committee’s web page at the link below for information on the accessibility supports at the hearing and online for persons who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.

For information on how to watch that Committee’s hearings live online that day, and throughout its hearings, or later when it is archived, visit http://www.ourcommons.ca/Committees/en/HUMA/StudyActivity?studyActivityId=10268658 Please spread the word about these hearings. Encourage others to watch. You can “live tweet” during the hearings. Repeat what is said at the hearings and add your comments in your tweets on Twitter. Use the hashtag #AccessibleCanada

David Onley’s AODA Independent Review Schedules New Public Hearing in Thunder Bay on October 30, 2018, After the AODA Alliance Objected to Its Cancelling Its Earlier Thunder Bay Public Hearing

The Ontario Government appointed David Onley to conduct a mandatory Independent Review of the implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. To date his public hearings have been very poorly publicized. From what we have heard, they have not been well-attended. We earlier made public our concerns about this. Under the AODA, such an Independent Review has a duty to consult the public, and particularly, people with disabilities.

We learned via the grapevine late in the summer that the David Onley AODA Independent Review had scheduled a public hearing for Thunder Bay on September 13, 2018. We later heard through the grapevine that it had been cancelled due to low registration. We made our concerns about this public in our September 17, 2018 AODA Alliance Update. We also took this issue to the Thunder Bay media.

On September 20, 2018, CBC Radio in Thunder Bay posted a story on this issue, which quoted AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on this issue. Below we set out a transcript of that news report.

After this, we were happy to learn that the David Onley AODA Independent Review had decided to re-schedule a new public hearing for Thunder Bay for October 30, 2018. Our efforts paid off. That Independent Review emailed us to tell us about this hearing date, and to ask us, and others, to publicize it. Below we set out the AODA Independent Review’s October 10, 2018 announcement. It gives the exact time and location for the Thunder Bay public hearing.

Please spread the word about it. If you are in the Thunder Bay area, we encourage you to attend and to give your feedback to the Independent Review on how effectively the Ontario Government has been implementing and enforcing the AODA.

We were copied on an email from an AODA supporter in Thunder Bay who is blind, addressed to the David Onley AODA Independent Review. The supporter reported that they found the online form for registering for the Thunder Bay public hearing difficult to navigate. We do not know if others have experienced this issue.

Finally, we have heard that the David Onley AODA Independent Review has extended its deadline for sending it your written submissions to November 2, 2018. Far too few knew of its earlier deadline.

We commend the Onley AODA Independent Review both for re-scheduling its Thunder Bay hearings and for extending its deadline for receiving written submissions and comments on the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. We want to flag for you that the October 10, 2018 email from the David Onley AODA Independent Review, set out below, incorrectly still gives an earlier deadline for written submissions.

We have alerted the Independent Review that we won’t be able to submit our brief until the end of November. We are working on it now. We always welcome your feedback on what we should include in our brief to the Onley AODA Independent Review. Email your thoughts to us at [email protected]


CBC Radio Thunder Bay September 20, 2018

Originally posted at:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/thunder-bay-disabilities-review-cancelling-1.4830504 Disability rights advocate wants cancelled Thunder Bay accessibility hearing rescheduled

Hearing was cancelled due to low registration, event is part of regular review of Ontario’s accessibility act

Cathy Alex CBC News Posted: Sep 20, 2018

Disability rights advocate David Lepofsky wants the public hearings in Thunder Bay, about Ontario’s accessibility act, to be rescheduled after they were cancelled due to low registration. He says the event was poorly publicized. (Natalie Nanowski/CBC News )

A disability rights advocate is expressing concern about the cancellation of a public hearing in Thunder Bay, saying people have lost an important chance to share their experiences during a provincial review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, led by the Honourable David C. Onley.

The act mandates that by 2025 the province be fully accessible, said David Lepofsky, the chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.

The act pertains to people with physical disabilities such as being blind, deaf or needing to use a wheelchair. It also covers people with intellectual or developmental disabilities such as autism.

Approximately every four years the Ontario government must review how it’s doing in terms of achieving that accessibility goal.

‘Important to see how things are going’

“It’s important to see how things are going,” said Lepofsky, noting the review usually includes inviting people with disabilities, in communities all over the province, to share their experiences.

“Are kids with disabilities able to fully participate in their schools? Are people with disabilities able to shop in stores and eat in restaurants? Are people with disabilities able to use our public parks without facing barriers?”

A public consultation was scheduled for September 13 in Thunder Bay, but a posting on the act review website says it was cancelled due to low registration.

“There’s been precious little done to publicize it,” Lepofsky said, who is visually impaired. He added that he believes people didn’t register for the event because they didn’t know about the hearing.

‘Reschedule Thunder Bay hearings’

He said as far as he’s been able to determine the only advertising for the public consultation was on the review website.

“So unless you know about the website, most don’t, and unless you check that website daily, most don’t, you won’t know first about the hearing, and then about it being cancelled.”

Lepofsky wants the government “to step up and make sure this problem gets solved. The David Onley review should reschedule the Thunder Bay hearings. It should give the public proper and ample notice, well enough in advance, to enable people with disabilities, and the rest of the public, to be able to have their say.”

The review committee posted online that people can email their comments or questions to [email protected] It also tells people to stay tuned for a northern virtual consultation, but does not specify a date.

October 10, 2018 Broadcast Email from the David Onley AODA Independent Review

Please share widely!

As you know, Ontario has appointed the Honourable David Onley, CM, O.Ont., senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough and Ontarios 28th Lieutenant Governor, to lead a review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

As part of the review process, Mr. Onley would like to hear from interested parties and people with disabilities to determine their views on the progress and effectiveness of the AODA, and their vision of accessibility through to 2025 and beyond. To learn more about this review, please visit The Third Review of the AODA website.

We are happy to announce that the Valhalla Inn Hotel will be hosting one of five Public Consultation sessions for the Third Review of the AODA.

The session will be held on Tuesday, October 30th from 1PM to 3PM in the Valhalla Inn Hotel, 1 Valhalla Inn Road Thunder Bay, ON P7E 6J1. Please register on Eventbrite to attend this session.

If you are not available to attend the session above, you may submit a written submission, attend an online session or one of the other in person consultation sessions:

Call for Written Submissions
Until October 1, 2018 the Honourable David C. Onley will be accepting written submissions. Please submit your written submission here. Public Consultations
Attend a public meeting in your area! David C. Onley will be traveling across the province to hear your feedback on the AODA. He will also be hosting online consultation sessions. Please see the list of all events here.
Please share widely with your networks. Contact the event organizers if you have any questions. We hope to see you there

Billi Jo Cox. | Project Lead, Third Review of Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 Phone: 416-208-2719
Address: 1265 Military Trail | Toronto | Ontario | M1C 1A

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