AODA Alliance Writes Toronto Mayor John Tory and City Council to Thank Them for Maintaining the Ban on Electric Scooters – AODA Alliance


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

AODA Alliance Writes Toronto Mayor John Tory and City Council to Thank Them for Maintaining the Ban on Electric Scooters

May 12, 2021

            SUMMARY

In the wake of the disability community’s major victory in Toronto last week, the AODA Alliance has just written Toronto Mayor John Tory and all members of Toronto City Council. We thank them for unanimously voting last week to keep in place the ban on riding electric scooters in public places. We set out that letter below. In our letter we also urge the City of Toronto to move swiftly to implement City Council’s commendable unanimous decision to conduct a public education campaign to ensure that the public knows that it is illegal to ride e-scooters in public and to beef up enforcement of the ban on riding e-scooters in Toronto.

Our attention now turns to other cities in Ontario that are allowing e-scooters or that are considering this possibility. They should act on the strong message from Toronto’s wise decision that e-scooters must remain banned to protect the safety of people with disabilities, seniors, children and others, and to avoid creating new disability accessibility barriers. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

If you live in a community outside Toronto where e-scooters are allowed or are being considered, we invite you to press your municipal government to ban e-scooters. If you want to learn more about this, check out the AODA Alliance‘s short captioned video on this topic that helped with our blitz in Toronto. It has been seen over 1,000 times. Even though it speaks about Toronto, all the points in it are relevant wherever you live. If your city is one of the few conducting a pilot project with e-scooters, nothing prevents the city from cancelling that pilot due to its dangers to the public.

Feel free to let us know what you do. Email us at [email protected]

You can thumb through all our advocacy efforts on this issue around Ontario over the past two years by visiting the AODA Alliance e-scooter web page.

MORE DETAILS

Text of the AODA Alliance’s May 12, 2021 Letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory and All City Council Members

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

May 12, 2021

To: Mayor John Tory and Members of Toronto City Council

City Hall,

100 Queen St. W.

Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Via email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Dear Mayor Tory and Members of Toronto City Council

Re: Protecting People with Disabilities in Toronto From the Dangers Posed by Electric Scooters

We write to thank you very much for unanimously voting on May 5, 2021 to keep in place the ban on riding e-scooters in public spaces in Toronto, and not to conduct an e-scooter pilot project. It is a major relief to people with disabilities, seniors and others that they will not face the dangers to their safety and accessibility that would have been created, had the vote gone in the other direction. We thank you for standing up for people with disabilities, and standing up to the e-scooter corporate lobbyists.

You should be proud of Toronto’s handling of this issue, for several reasons. City staff did thorough impartial professional work on this issue, in the highest tradition of the public service. They produced an excellent report to guide you in your deliberations, after carefully researching the subject, and after affording to all sides of the debate a complete and fair opportunity to address the issues raised by e-scooters.

You should also be proud of the important role that accessibility for people with disabilities played in the decision on this issue. City Council’s unanimous decision last week implements the two unanimous recommendations on e-scooters that the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee submitted to City Council, in order to protect personal safety and accessibility for people with disabilities. Once the disability concerns regarding e-scooters were raised by the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee and by deputants from the disability community before Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee last year, City Council commendably directed City staff on July 28, 2020 to do more research on these disability issues, before Council would ultimately vote on the e-scooters issue. The further research that City staff thereafter undertook again verified these disability concerns and documented that there was no effective solution for them, short of a continued ban on public riding of e-scooters. City Council was wise to follow the City staff recommendation.

We thank every member of City Council who took the time to speak with us and/or other representatives from the disability community, as well as those of your staffs that did so. It is so important for you to hear directly from us as you think through public policy issues that can affect us.

It was very commendable that on May 5, 2021, City Council unanimously adopted the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee recommendation that the City undertake a public education strategy to inform the public that riding privately-owned e-scooters in public places is unlawful. As well, Council wisely adopted the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee recommendation that the City effectively enforce the ban on riding privately-owned e-scooters in public. That unanimous Toronto City Council decision reads in material part:

“1. City Council request the Toronto Police Services Board, the General Manager, Transportation Services, and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to consult with accessibility stakeholders to:

  1. develop a public education campaign to effectively convey the existing by-laws on the prohibition of e-scooters use in all public spaces; and
  2. actively scale up city-wide enforcement of the by-law prohibiting use of e-scooters in all public spaces.”

It is more than ironic that mere days after the City Council vote on e-scooters, I encountered an incident with a privately-owned e-scooter when walking on a public path in a City park. A child, likely no older than 14 or 15, was racing very close to me over and over, back and forth, on an e-scooter on that path. As I am blind, a sighted friend with me, himself a senior citizen whom the e-scooter barely missed, noted for me that the child had no helmet. We told the child that riding that e-scooter was illegal. The child seemed to have no idea of that. A little later, the child’s grandfather belligerently told my wife that it is not illegal to ride that e-scooter, and that he should know, since he is a lawyer. This typifies the need for strong action by the City.

City Council should be proud as well of the important leadership and strong signal that Toronto has provided for other municipalities around Ontario that may now be considering the possibility of lifting the ban on e-scooters, or that are carrying on an e-scooter pilot. Sadly, and contrary to the needs of Ontarians with disabilities, the Ontario Government did not do the much-needed research into disability concerns that Toronto City staff commendably undertook before Ontario exposed us all to the dangers that e-scooters have been proven to pose. Smaller communities don’t have the City staff capacity and expertise that Toronto is fortunate to have. They can all now benefit from the research undertaken by Toronto City staff.

We know that the well-financed e-scooter corporate lobbyists, who inundated Toronto City Hall for over two years on this issue, will target other cities. Toronto’s wise decision not to allow e-scooters will help give those other Ontario communities pause in the face of that corporate lobbying. Once the pandemic is behind us, we will be encouraging tourists and conferences that are looking for destinations in Ontario to choose as their destinations only those Ontario municipalities that ban e-scooters, in order to avoid the dangers of e-scooters.

We ask that City Council and the City of Toronto build on its commendable decision on e-scooters by taking the following important steps, with which we would be pleased to assist:

  1. Please immediately implement the Council’s recommendation for a public education blitz and for an enforcement plan regarding illegal riding of privately-owned e-scooters in public places.
  2. Please ensure that throughout the development of future City planning regarding micro-mobility, disability accessibility and safety concerns are front and centre, so that people with disabilities do not have to wage so exhausting a volunteer campaign as was the case over the past year and a quarter regarding e-scooters.
  3. Please ensure that the impact of City policies are always thoroughly vetted in advance for accessibility issues, as part of the City’s business routine. The City of course can benefit from the advice of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee which did excellent work here. However, this cannot all be left to that committee, especially in a City Government as large and complex as Toronto’s.
  4. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, please continue to afford to the public, including to people with disabilities, the opportunity to make deputations via virtual online participation. This can go a long way to overcoming disability barriers to participation in City Government decision-making.

We again congratulate and thank City Council and hope you will all stay safe.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont

Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

Twitter: @davidlepofsky



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Send Us Your Feedback on the Initial or Draft Recommendations for What the Promised Health Care Accessibility Standard Should Include that Were Prepared by the Government-Appointed Health Care Standards Development Committee


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

Send Us Your Feedback on the Initial or Draft Recommendations for What the Promised Health Care Accessibility Standard Should Include that Were Prepared by the Government-Appointed Health Care Standards Development Committee

May 10, 2021

            SUMMARY

It is more important than ever for the Ontario Government to remove and prevent the many disability barriers that impede patients with disabilities in Ontario’s health care system. If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government’s response to it have made those barriers worse. That flies in the face of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), which requires the Ontario Government to lead our health care system and our entire society to become accessible to over 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities by 2025.

We now seek your feedback once again on the barriers that people with disabilities face in Ontario’s health care system. Last week, on Friday, May 7, 2021, the Ford Government belatedly and at last posted online for public comment the initial or draft recommendations in this area that were prepared by the Government—appointed advisory Health Care Standards Development Committee. We are going to write a brief to that Committee, giving it our feedback on their recommendations. We aim for that Committee’s final recommendations to be as strong and effective as possible. We need your input.

We have posted the Health Care Standards Development Committee’s initial or draft recommendations on the AODA Alliance website at https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Health-Care-SDC-Initial-Report-As-Submitted.doc. The Government also has them posted, at least for now, on its website, with the link set out below.

Please give The Committee’s recommendations a read, and send us your thoughts. What do you like about them? Are they missing anything that should be added? Are they strong and comprehensive enough?

We welcome and invite your feedback to help us as we work on our brief. Send your thoughts to us at [email protected]

Of course, you are also strongly encouraged to send your feedback and recommendations directly to the Health Care Standards Development Committee. You have up until August 11, 2021 to do that. The contact information for the Health Care Standards Development Committee is set out below, in the Government’s announcement.

If you want helpful background on the barriers people with disabilities face in the health care system,, including what the AODA Alliance has recommended in the past to the Health Care Standards Development Committee (based on feedback from our supporters), take a look at these resources:

  1. The AODA Alliance’s February 25, 2020 Framework that it submitted to the Health Care Standards Development Committee on what the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard should include. We developed that Framework in consultation with our supporters, after getting input from multiple sources.
  1. The captioned November 26, 2019 online video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky where he describes many of the disability barriers in the health care system that the Health Care Accessibility Standard needs to remove and prevent. This video has been viewed over 1,000 times.
  1. The more recent April 27, 2021 captioned video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on one specific and frightening barrier that people with disabilities, face, namely Ontario’s disability-discriminatory critical care triage protocol, which was created in case hospitals must ration life-saving critical care due to COVID-19 overloads.
  1. The saga of the AODA Alliance’s non-partisan campaign that it has waged for over a decade to get the Ontario Government to enact a strong and effective health Care Accessibility Standard under the AODA, documented on the AODA Alliance’s health care web page.

There has been a series of inexcusable Government delays in getting to this important interim stage on the road to the enactment of a strong and effective Health Care Accessibility Standard in Ontario. As a result of our five or more years of advocacy up to that point, on February 13, 2015, the Ontario cabinet minister then responsible for the AODA, Eric Hoskins, announced that the Government of Ontario would develop and enact a Health Care Accessibility Standard under the AODA. That was six years ago.

Under the AODA, the first step required for the government to develop an accessibility standard is for the Minister responsible for the AODA to appoint an advisory committee (a “Standards Development Committee”) to make recommendations on what the specific accessibility standard should include. That Standards Development Committee is required to include representatives from the disability community as well as representatives from the obligated sector, such as health or education.

Some two years later, in or around 2017, the government appointed the advisory Health Care Standards Development Committee to develop recommendations on what should be included in the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard. It should not have taken the previous Kathleen Wynne Government some two years just to appoint an advisory committee.

Under the AODA, a Standards Development Committee is first required to develop initial or draft recommendations for the government. These initial or draft recommendations on what the accessibility standard in issue should include are to be submitted to the Minister. Under s. 10(1) of the AODA, upon receiving initial or draft recommendations from a Standards Development Committee, the minister is required to make those initial or draft recommendations public for at least 45 days, including posting them on the internet. The public is to be invited to give feedback on those initial or draft recommendations. That is the interim stage we have now reached.

That public feedback is to then be given to the Standards Development Committee. After that public feedback is received, the Standards Development Committee meets to review the feedback and to finalize its recommendations for the government on what the accessibility standard in issue should include.

Once finalized, the Standards Development Committee then is required to submit its final recommendations to the Minister. Section 10(1) of the AODA requires the Minister to make those final recommendations public upon receiving them. Thereafter, the government can enact some, all, or none of what the Standards Development Committee recommended.

Here we are, some four years after the Health Care Standards Development Committee was appointed, and we are now just getting to the stage of being able to review their initial or draft recommendations. This illustrates why progress towards an accessible Ontario has been so painfully slow.

The delays in the health care context are certainly not the sole fault of the previous Wynne Government. The Ford Government left the Health Care Standards Development Committee frozen and unable to work for over a year after it took office. Precious time was lost.

After it finally got back to work, the Health Care Standards Development Committee submitted its initial or draft recommendations to the Ford Government by the end of last December, over five months ago. Yet the Ford Government only made them public last Friday. Section 10 of the AODA required the Government to make them public upon receiving them.

Had the Government made these initial or draft recommendations public upon receiving them, the public consultation could have wrapped up by now. The Health Care Standards Development Committee could have now been going back to work, drawing on that public input to finalize its recommendations. Instead, that Committee won’t be able to resume its work until some time this fall, depending on the extent of further Government delays. More time is wasted due to the Government.

Will the Ford Government’s delays on disability accessibility ever stop? There have now been 830 days, or over 2 and a quarter years, since the Ford Government received the ground-breaking final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has announced no effective plan of new action to implement that report. That makes even worse the serious problems facing Ontarians with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis. The Ontario Government only has 1,332 days left until 2025, the deadline by which the Government must have led Ontario to become fully accessible to people with disabilities.

More Details

The Ford Government’s May 7, 2021 Announcement on the Health Care Standards Development Committee’s Initial or Draft Recommendations

In Ontario, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 outlines the legislated process for the development of new accessibility standards through Standards Development Committees.

Standards Development Committees are responsible for developing and reviewing accessibility standards in Ontario. These accessibility standards help move Ontario forward on its journey to create a more accessible and inclusive province.

The Health Care Standards Development Committee was tasked with developing recommendations for proposed accessibility health care standards for hospitals. The Committee is a group of representatives comprised of people with disabilities, disability organizations and health sector experts.

The Initial Recommendations Report of the Health Care Standards Development Committee is now available for public comment.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/consultation-initial-recommendations-development-health-care-accessibility-standards

The Report will be posted online for a period of 65 business days. Members of the public can submit feedback until August 11, 2021.

The initial report contains 22 recommendations that the committee developed and on which it voted.

As these recommendations may impact you or your community, we would encourage you to participate in this process. We would also encourage you to share this information broadly with your networks.

A survey has been developed to seek public feedback and is linked from the consultation page together with the report itself.

Written submissions can also be sent in by email to

[email protected].

Members of the public or interested organizations can also reach out to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division by email at

[email protected]

for any questions.

All feedback received will be considered by the Committee before finalizing their recommendations to the Minister. Identifying information will remain confidential as per the Government of Ontario’s Privacy Policy, and all survey responses will remain anonymous.

Sincerely,

Mary Bartolomucci

Assistant Deputy Minister (A)



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Download in an accessible MS Word format the initial recommendations of the Health Care Standards Development Committee, made public on May 7, 2021, on What the Promised Health Care Accessibility Standard Should Include



Download in an accessible MS Word format the initial recommendations of the Health Care Standards Development Committee, made public on May 7, 2021, on What the Promised Health Care Accessibility Standard Should Include



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Disability Rights Advocate Launches Court Application Against the Ford Government for Violating the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act – AODA Alliance


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Disability Rights Advocate Launches Court Application Against the Ford Government for Violating the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

May 7, 2021 Toronto: Today, blind lawyer, law professor and volunteer disability rights advocate David Lepofsky filed a court application against the Ford Government in the Ontario Divisional Court for violating a mandatory provision in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). He asks the Court to order Ontario’s Minister for Seniors and Accessibility to immediately post on line and otherwise make public the initial recommendations for measures needed to tear down barriers in Ontario’s education system plaguing students with disabilities and in Ontario’s health care system, impeding patients with disabilities, that the Minister received from three advisory committees appointed under the AODA. Text of the notice of application and Lepofsky’s supporting affidavit are set out below.

The AODA requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to become accessible to over 2.6 million people with disabilities by 2025. It must enact and effectively enforcing a series of regulations, called accessibility standards, that spell out what organizations must do to become accessible to people with disabilities, and by when. The Government must appoint a series of committees, called Standards Development Committees, to advise on what those regulations should include.

According to section 10 of the AODA, when an advisory Standards Development Committee submits initial or draft recommendations to the Minister, the Minister is required to make those recommendations public upon receiving them, e.g. by posting them on the Government’s website. Yet the ford Government sat on three sets of such initial or draft recommendations for months. The Health Care Standards Development Committee submitted its initial recommendations to the Ford Government by the end of December 2020. The K-12 Education Standards Development Committee submitted its initial recommendations to the Government on March 12, 2021. The Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee submitted its initial recommendations to the Government around the same time.

Just as this application was being served on the Government, the Government belatedly announced that it made public the initial recommendations of the Health Care Standards Development Committee. Lepofsky does not claim that this was triggered by the court application. However, the Government has still not made public the other two Standards Development Committees’ recommendations. Therefore this court application remains important and urgent.

“The Ford Government’s inexcusable contravention of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act hurts people with disabilities, by delaying overdue progress on accessibility. It is leadership by a poor example, from a Government that pledged to lead on this issue by a good example,” said Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance which campaigns for accessibility for people with any kind of disability. “The fact that for over five months in the middle of a pandemic, the Government sat on important recommendations on how to tear down disability barriers in Ontario’s health care system impeding patients with disabilities is especially hurtful.”

Lepofsky will argue that schools, colleges,, universities and health care providers deserved and were entitled to see all these initial recommendations immediately, so that they can try to put them into action where possible long before the Government enacts new regulations in this area.

“People with disabilities should not have to resort to going to court to get the Ford Government to obey the law,” said Lepofsky. “Fortunately, I’m blessed to have excellent pro bono representation by Martha McCarthy of McCarthy Hansen & Company LLP, and I have my own legal training, but no one should have to go through this.”

Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, [email protected] Twitter: @davidlepofsky and @aodaalliance

More background at www.aodaalliance.org

Text of the May 7, 2021 Notice of Application

APPLICATION

  1. The applicant makes application for:
  1. Judicial review of the respondent’s failure to act in accordance with s. 10(1) of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (the “AODA”), more specifically:
  1. The respondent’s failure to make available the initial or draft recommendations of the Health Care Standards Development Committee for public viewing on a government website or through such other means as the Minister considers advisable;
  2. The respondent’s failure to make available the initial or draft recommendations of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee for public viewing on a government website or through such other means as the Minister considers advisable; and,
  • The respondent’s failure to make available the initial or draft recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee for public viewing on a government website or through such other means as the Minister considers advisable.
  1. An order for mandamus, directing the respondent to make the documents listed in paragraph 1. a., above, immediately available to the public by posting them on a government website and by such other means the Minister considers advisable;
  2. If necessary, leave for this application to be heard urgently pursuant to s. 6(2) of the Judicial Review Procedures Act and Part I of the Consolidated Practice Direction for Divisional Court Hearings;
  3. The applicant’s costs in this proceeding on a full indemnity basis; and,
  4. Such further and other relief as counsel may request and as to this court seems just.
  5. The grounds for the application are:
  1. In or about 2017, the Government of Ontario appointed the Health Care Standards Development Committee to prepare recommendations on what should be included in a Health Care Accessibility Standard to be enacted under the AODA. A Health Care Accessibility Standard would outline disability barriers that should be removed and prevented in Ontario’s health care system that impede people with disabilities.
  2. In or about 2018, the Government of Ontario appointed the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee to prepare recommendations on what should be included in a Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA. A Kindergarten to Grade 12 Accessibility Standard could require the removal and prevention of disability barriers in Ontario schools that impede students with disabilities.
  3. In or about 2018, the Government of Ontario appointed the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee to prepare recommendations on what should be included in a Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA. A Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard could require the removal and prevention of disability barriers in post-secondary educational organizations such as colleges and universities in Ontario that impede students with disabilities.
  4. In or about December 2020, the Health Care Standards Development Committee delivered its initial or draft recommendations to the respondent, pursuant to s. 9 of the AODA.
  5. In or about March 2021, the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee delivered its initial or draft recommendations to the respondent, pursuant to s. 9 of the AODA.
  6. In March 2021, the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee delivered its initial or draft recommendations to the respondent, pursuant to s. 9 of the AODA.
  7. Pursuant to s. 10 of the AODA, the respondent has a mandatory duty to post those initial or draft recommendations upon receiving them. Section 10(1) of the AODA provides:
  8. (1) Upon receiving a proposed accessibility standard from a standards development committee under subsection 9 (5) or clause 9 (9) (c), the Minister shall make it available to the public by posting it on a government internet site and by such other means as the Minister considers advisable.
  9. The respondent has not posted any of the initial or draft recommendations from any of the Committees on the Government of Ontario website or otherwise made them public.
  10. The respondent’s failure to fulfil his mandatory statutory duty post those initial or draft recommendations of the Committees on the internet and otherwise make them public is contrary to and flies in the face of the spirit and purpose of the AODA, which is to make Ontario accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. This failure delays Ontario from reaching the goal of becoming accessible to people with disabilities in the important contexts of health care and education – fields in which a lack of accessibility has dire consequences.
  11. The AODA aims to effectively implement the right to equality in areas like health care and education for people with disabilities that is guaranteed by s. 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and s. 1 of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  12. The applicant has a strong public interest in this application’s issues, both as a blind person and having acted as a volunteer disability accessibility community organizer and advocate for decades. The applicant led the volunteer campaign from 1994 to 2005 to get the AODA The applicant is currently the chair of the AODA Alliance, a non-partisan coalition that leads the campaign to get the AODA implemented in a meaningful and timely manner.
  13. The Government of Ontario appointed the applicant as a member of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee, on which he has served since the Committee was established.
  14. The applicant is a member and past chair of the Special Education Advisory Committee of the Toronto District School Board, established under O. Reg. 464/97.
  1. The following documentary evidence will be used at the hearing of the application:
  2. The Affidavit of the Applicant, David Lepofsky; and,
  3. Such further and other material as counsel may request and this Honourable Court will permit.

Text of the May 7, 2021 Affidavit of David Lepofsky

I, David Lepofsky, CM, O. Ont., LLB (Osgoode Hall), LLM (Harvard University), LLD (Hon. Queen’s University, University of Western Ontario, Law Society of Ontario), of the City of Toronto, in the Province of Ontario,

AFFIRM:

  1. I am the Chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance (the “AODA Alliance”) and am blind. As such, I have knowledge of the matters to herein deposed.
  2. I affirm this affidavit in support of my application for judicial review, in which I am seeking mandamus directing the Minister of Seniors and Accessibility to fulfil his statutory duties under s. 10(1) the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”), and for no other or improper purpose.
  1. The AODA Alliance is an unincorporated, volunteer-run, non-partisan community coalition of individuals and organizations.
  2. The AODA Alliance was established in the fall of 2005, shortly after the Ontario legislature enacted the AODA. Its mission is to contribute to the achievement of a barrier-free society for all persons with disabilities, by promoting and supporting the timely, effective, and comprehensive implementation of the AODA. Its activities are documented in detail on its website at https://www.aodaalliance.org.
  3. The AODA Alliance is the successor to the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee (the “ODA Committee”). From 1994 to mid-2005, the ODA Committee led a non-partisan province-wide campaign, advocating for the enactment of strong, effective disability accessibility legislation in Ontario, culminating in the enactment of the AODA in 2005.
  4. The AODA Alliance builds on the ODA Committee’s work, and draws its membership from the ODA Committee’s broad grassroots base. The work of the ODA Committee from 1994 up to the time when it finished its work in mid-2005 is documented in detail at: http://www.odacommittee.net.
  5. The AODA Alliance has received broad recognition as a credible non-partisan voice on disability accessibility issues. For example:
    1. The Government of Ontario and members of the provincial legislature have repeatedly and publicly recognized and commended the efforts of the AODA Alliance, and before it, the ODA Committee, for its volunteer advocacy on the cause of accessibility for people with disabilities.
    2. In every provincial election starting in 1995, at least two of the major Ontario political parties have made election commitments concerning accessibility for people with disabilities. In every case where such commitments were made, they were set out in letters from the party leader to the ODA Committee up to 2005, and after that, to the AODA Alliance. For example, Premier Dalton McGuinty made his 2011 election promises on disability accessibility in his August 19, 2011 letter to me, as chair of the AODA Alliance. In the 2014 election, Premier Kathleen Wynne made her party’s disability accessibility election pledges in her May 14, 2014 letter to me, as chair of the AODA Alliance. In the 2018 election, Doug Ford made his party’s commitments on disability accessibility in his May 15, 2018 letter to me as chair of the AODA Alliance. All these letters are posted on one or other of the websites referred to above.
    3. Our input on accessibility issues has been provided to community groups and government officials in several Canadian provinces, by the Government of Canada, and in other countries, such as Israel and New Zealand.
  1. I am intimately familiar with the work of the AODA Alliance, and of its predecessor, the ODA Committee because:
    1. I served as Co-Chair, and later as Chair, of the ODA Committee from early 1995 up to its dissolution in August 2005.
    2. I was present during the establishment of the AODA Alliance and was a driving force behind its establishment as the successor to the ODA Committee. Its initial Chair was Catherine Dunphy Tardik. I initially took no leadership role with the AODA Alliance although I remained available to assist as requested.
    3. In early 2006, the AODA Alliance appointed me as its Human Rights Reform Representative. I served as lead spokesperson for the AODA Alliance during controversial public and legislative debates over Bill 107, a reform to the Ontario Human Rights Code. Over that period, I worked very closely with the AODA Alliance Chair.
    4. In February 2009, I became the Chair of the AODA Alliance, a position I have held to the present time.
  2. My extensive work for the AODA Alliance and the ODA Committee is documented on the two websites identified above. All my work for these coalitions has been conducted as a volunteer. I have never been an employee of the AODA Alliance or the ODA Committee and have never received any salary from either organization.
  3. Over more than two decades, I have had very extensive dealings with the Government of Ontario at all levels, both in my capacity with the AODA Alliance, and prior to that, as co-chair and then chair of the ODA Committee. In these capacities, I have met with Ontario Premiers, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Secretaries of Cabinet, Assistant Deputy Ministers, and a myriad of other public officials in the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Public Service. I have similarly had extensive dealings with opposition parties and their staffs throughout my time doing volunteer work in this area.
  4. I have received several awards for my volunteer activities on disability accessibility issues, including my volunteer work for the ODA Committee and later for the AODA Alliance. Among these, I was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 1995, as a member of the Order of Ontario in 2008 and in the Terry Fox Hall of Fame in 2003. I have received honorary doctorates from Queen’s University, the University of Western Ontario, and the Law Society of Ontario arising from this activity.
  1. The AODA requires Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. Under the AODA, an Ontario cabinet minister is to be designated to be responsible to lead the Act’s implementation and enforcement.
  2. Since June 2018, that designated lead Minister has been the respondent, Ontario’s Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, the Hon. Raymond Cho (the “Minister”).
  3. Among other things, the Minister is responsible for leading the development, enactment, and enforcement of AODA accessibility standards, in accordance with the powers, duties, and procedures set out in the AODA.
  4. From 2003 to 2005, I was extensively involved in the negotiations with the Government of Ontario concerning the development of the provisions of the AODA, in my capacity as Chair of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee.
  5. In my capacity as AODA Alliance Chair, I have been extensively involved for years in grassroots non-partisan disability advocacy to ensure that strong and effective accessibility standards are enacted and enforced under the AODA. This has included an ongoing push since 2009 to remove and prevent the barriers that people with disabilities face in Ontario’s education and health care systems.
  6. If enacted, the enforceable regulations we seek would respectively be called the “Education Accessibility Standard” and the “Health Care Accessibility Standard”. Our efforts to secure the enactment of a strong Education Accessibility Standard are documented at aodaalliance.org/education. Our efforts to secure the enactment of a strong Health Care Accessibility Standard are set out at www.aodaalliance.org/healthcare.
  7. As a result of our years of advocacy, on February 13, 2015, the Ontario cabinet minister then responsible for the AODA, the Hon. Eric Hoskins, announced that the Government of Ontario would develop and enact a Health Care Accessibility Standard under the AODA. Over one year later, on December 5, 2016, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced during Question Period in the Ontario Legislature that the Government of Ontario would develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA.
  8. Under the AODA, the first step required for the government to develop an accessibility standard is for the Minister responsible for the AODA to appoint an advisory committee (a “Standards Development Committee”) to make recommendations on what the specific accessibility standard should include. That Standards Development Committee is required to include representatives from the disability community as well as representatives from the obligated sector, such as health or education.
  9. In or about 2017, the government appointed the “Health Care Standards Development Committee” (or the “Health Care Committee”) to develop recommendations on what should be included in the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard.
  10. In early 2018, the government appointed two Standards Development Committees to make recommendations on what should be included in the promised Education Accessibility Standard.
    1. One committee was appointed to deal with barriers impeding students with disabilities from kindergarten to grade twelve. That committee is called the “K-12 Education Standards Development Committee” (or the “K-12 Committee”).
    2. The other committee was appointed to deal with barriers facing students with disabilities in post-secondary education. It is called the “Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee” (or the “Post-Secondary Committee”).
  11. I was appointed to serve on the K-12 Committee and have spent a great many volunteer hours working on that Committee since it was established.
  1. Under the AODA, a Standards Development Committee is first required to develop initial or draft recommendations for the government. These initial or draft recommendations on what the accessibility standard in issue should include are to be submitted to the Minister. Under s. 10(1) of the AODA, upon receiving initial or draft recommendations from a Standards Development Committee, the minister is required to make those initial or draft recommendations public for at least 45 days, including posting them on the internet. The public is to be invited to give feedback on those initial or draft recommendations.
  2. That public feedback is to then be given to the Standards Development Committee. The public feedback can serve as an important aid for the Standards Development Committee to refine, improve, and finalize the Committee’s recommendations, drawing on input from people with disabilities, the obligated sector of the economy, and the public. After that public feedback is received, the Standards Development Committee meets to review the feedback and to finalize its recommendations for the government on what the accessibility standard in issue should include.
  3. Once finalized, the Standards Development Committee then is required to submit its final recommendations to the Minister. Section 10(1) of the AODA requires the Minister to make those final recommendations public upon receiving them. Thereafter, the government can enact some, all, or none of what the Standards Development Committee recommended.
  1. By December 31, 2020, the Health Care Standards Development Committee submitted its initial or draft recommendations to the Minister. Those initial or draft recommendations have not been made public, despite the statutory requirement for the Minister to do so.
  2. On or about March 12, 2021, the K-12 Committee submitted its initial or draft recommendations to the Minister. Just like the draft recommendations submitted by the Health Care Standards Development Committee, the K-12 Committee’s recommendations have still not been released to the public.
  3. I understand that the Post-Secondary Committee submitted its initial or draft recommendations to the Minister around the same time as did the K-12 Committee. The Post-Secondary Committee’s recommendations have also not been released to the public.
  4. I asked the Ministry of Senior Accessibility to provide the initial or draft recommendations of the Post-Secondary Committee to me, in my capacity as a member of the K-12 Committee. To date, the Ministry has not provided the Post-Secondary Committee’s recommendations to me.
  5. I requested a copy of the Post-Secondary Committee’s recommendations because there is an obvious and substantial connection between its work and the work of the K-12 Education Committee. Both committees are making recommendations concerning barriers in education for students with disabilities.
  6. As members of the K-12 Committee, we know about some of what the Post-Secondary Committee is recommending, because a joint subcommittee exists with representatives of the two Standards Development Committees to address technical overlap issues. There is thus no reason why we should not now have seen all of what the Post-Secondary Committee has recommended, and vice versa.
  7. I have been urging the Government to quickly make public all these Standards Development Committee recommendations, on Twitter and otherwise. On April 29, 2021, I along with the rest of the K-12 Committee received the following email from the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility:

Dear K-12 Standards Development Committee members:

We hope this message finds you doing well.

We would like to provide an update on the progress of the committee’s initial recommendations report.

As you know, your committee Chair, Lynn Ziraldo, submitted the report – and the accompanying report of the Technical Sub-Committee on Transitions – to MSAA Minister Raymond Cho on March 12.

We have been busy preparing the reports for online posting, as well as translating them into French and preparing the survey that will accompany the postings. All of this work goes towards ensuring that the reports receive the most comprehensive feedback possible from the public.

As well, we understand the importance of posting this document as soon as possible, so that respondents will have a chance to consider providing input before the end of the school year. As I am sure you understand, our government is facing unprecedented challenges in delivering services to the public, and must prioritize all public-facing initiatives.

We look forward to notifying you when these postings are going to occur and appreciate your patience and understanding as we move closer to the posting date.

As always, you can reach out to the Chair, Lynn Ziraldo or the Ministry anytime with questions.

Thank you.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division

Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility

A copy of the email dated April 29, 2021 is attached as Exhibit A.

  1. Since receiving this email, the initial or draft recommendations of these three Standards Development Committees have not been publicly posted.
  1. The Government has not provided a compelling reason why it could not have earlier posted these initial or draft recommendations.
  2. The government was throughout well-aware of the work and the progress of each Standards Development Committee. The Ministry had staff organize and take part in committee meetings. Ministry staff had regular communications with each committee Chair and its members.
  3. As of the date of this affidavit, the Ministry has had the final text of each set of initial or draft recommendations for ample time – over five months in the case of the ones regarding health care, and almost two months in the case of those regarding education. The Ministry knew these were coming, well in advance, and what they would contain.
  4. It would take little or no time to make these documents available in an accessible format. That cannot justify this delay.
  5. Referring to the April 29, 2021 email quoted above, the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic do not justify this delay. The staff of the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility are not responsible for leading the government’s pandemic response.
  6. Moreover, that email states that the during the pandemic, the Government “…must prioritize all public-facing initiatives.” From my 33 years working in the Ontario Government before my retirement at the end of 2015, and from my extensive interaction with the Government as a disability rights community organizer and advocate, I understand this to mean that the Government wants to set priorities in the timing of messages it transmits to the public. Yet the Government can and does regularly transmit many different messages to the public at any one time. It can post multiple messages or documents on the internet on the same day. Its preferences or priorities over political messaging are not identified in s. 10 of the AODA with regard to the duty to make public a Standards Development Committee’s initial or draft recommendations upon the minister receiving them.
  1. Ontario only has 1,335 days left before January 1, 2025, the date by which the AODA requires Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities. This includes, among other things, a requirement that Ontario’s education system and health care system must have become accessible to people with disabilities by that date.
  2. I, and many other people with disabilities, are concerned about the delay that is facing accessibility initiatives in Ontario. Ontarians with disabilities are concerned about the delay that is facing accessibility initiatives in Ontario. According to the Final Report of the Third Independent Review of the AODA’s Implementation and Enforcement, by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley, prepared pursuant to s. 41 of the AODA, Ontario was not on schedule for reaching that goal on time, as of that report’s date (January 31, 2019). While I have linked to the Final Report, I have not attached it as an exhibit as I am conscious of the need to keep my materials brief.
  3. The delay in releasing these initial or draft recommendations hurts students with disabilities and patients with disabilities. Until Ontario enacts and effectively enforces strong and effective accessibility standards in the areas of health care and education, patients with disabilities and students with disabilities respectively will continue to suffer from the many barriers that they must face in Ontario’s health care and education systems.
  4. The unfortunate reality is that this is just one of many delays that has already plagued the development of the Health Care Accessibility Standard and Education Accessibility Standard, at the hands of the government.
  5. The previous government contributed to delay by taking some two years to just appoint the Health Care Committee. It also took that government over one year to appoint the K-12 Committee and the Post-Secondary Committee. In contrast, it took the government one year to develop the entire AODA and to introduce it into the Legislature for first reading in October 2004.
  6. The committees’ work was paused during the provincial 2018 election. However, upon the current government taking office, it left the committees frozen for months. The AODA Alliance had to campaign to get the government to permit the committees to continue their work. The committees eventually returned to work in the fall of 2019. This delay, at the hands of this government, further unnecessarily delayed the eventual enactment of a Health Care Accessibility Standard and an Education Accessibility Standard.
  7. I am particularly concerned about the government’s inaction because it delays progress on accessibility in health care and education that could begin immediately. For example, in a speech I gave last month, I encouraged senior officials of Ontario’s school boards to immediately study the K-12 recommendations and implement as many of them as possible, once the draft is public. I have been told by some officials at the Toronto District School Board (Canada’s largest school board) that they want to see the initial or draft recommendations so that they can start to use the recommendations. The government’s inaction is delaying this.
  8. Compounding my concern about delays is the impending summer break for school boards. Boards are seldom fully operational during the summer, and further delay risks the boards not providing feedback until the fall.
  9. I am also a member and past Chair of the Special Education Advisory Committee (“SEAC”) of the Toronto District School Board. Ontario regulations require each school board to have a SEAC to give advice on how to meet the needs of students with special education needs. I am eager for our SEAC and for each of the SEACs at every Ontario school board to see the K-12 Committee’s initial or draft recommendations as soon as possible, so they can recommend actions that their school boards should take now, drawing on the Standards Development Committee’s thorough and detailed work product.
  10. In the same way, it is my aim that the Health Care Standards Development Committee draft recommendations spawn action on disability barriers in Ontario hospitals.
  11. I similarly aim for the release of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committees initial or draft recommendations to lead colleges and universities to act now to tackle the many barriers that students with disabilities face in those institutions. The government’s delay in releasing these initial or draft recommendations further delays those much-needed actions.
  12. Publicly, the government has claimed to lead by example on accessibility for people with disabilities, and to take an “all of government approach” to disability accessibility. For example, these commitments were made at a media event staged on February 28, 2020. It is difficult to reconcile the government’s promises with its unnecessary and inexplicable delay in the release of these initial or draft recommendations.
  13. The irony of the government attempting to explain its delay using the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic should not be lost on anyone. The harm caused to people with disabilities by the government’s delay in fulfilling its duty to make public the committees’ draft recommendations is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two key examples come to mind:
    1. First, people with disabilities are disproportionately adversely affected by COVID-19, including having higher rates of severe infection and death. For five months of the pandemic, the government has sat on the Health Care Standards Development Committee’s initial or draft recommendations, that could make health care more accessible to people with disabilities.
  1. Second, during the pandemic, students with disabilities have faced even more barriers in Ontario’s education system. I have been involved in advocating against these, on behalf of the AODA Alliance. The government is stalling efforts to help improve the plight of students with disabilities during the pandemic by keeping secret the draft or initial recommendations of the K-12 Committee and Post-Secondary Committee. While the government waits, these students fall further behind their peers.



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New Toronto Star Guest Column Blasts the Ford Government’s Critical Care Triage Plans and the Government’s Harmful Secrecy Surrounding Those Plans


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

New Toronto Star Guest Column Blasts the Ford Government’s Critical Care Triage Plans and the Government’s Harmful Secrecy Surrounding Those Plans

May 7, 2021

            SUMMARY

Below is an important guest column that ran in the May 7, 2021 Toronto Star in the print newspaper and online, by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. It summarizes the serious problems with Ontario’s critical care triage protocol and plans. Even if the crisis in Ontario hospitals seems to be levelling off for the moment, it is still very important that the Ford Government address these issues which people with disabilities have been raising for over a year.

We encourage you to:

  1. Write a letter to the editor at the Toronto Star with your comments on this guest column. Email the Star at: [email protected]

Encourage the Star to give this topic as much attention as possible.

  1. Forward this guest column to your member of the Ontario Legislature with your comments.
  1. Share this guest column on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Encourage others to read it and to share it with others. The link to post that takes people right to the Toronto Star guest column is https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/05/07/ontarios-triage-protocol-unlawfully-discriminates-against-people-with-disabilities.html
  1. Send this guest column to your local media and to any reporters you know. Encourage them to cover this disability issue, which touches the lives of so many Ontarians. Phone in to call-in radio programs to raise this issue. Tell them how you feel about the danger of disability discrimination in Ontario’s critical care triage protocol.

For more background, check out and widely share:

  1. The new captioned online video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky that explains the entire critical care triage protocol issue from a disability perspective, for those who don’t know the ins and outs.
  1. The AODA Alliance’s February 25, 2021 report that details serious problems with the Ontario critical care triage protocol.
  1. The AODA Alliance website’s health care page.

Toronto Star May 7, 2021

Originally posted at: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/05/07/ontarios-triage-protocol-unlawfully-discriminates-against-people-with-disabilities.html

Editorial

Triage protocol unlawfully discriminates against disabilities

David Lepofsky Contributor

People with disabilities are disproportionately prone to get COVID-19, to suffer its worst effects and to die from it. Cruelly compounding this, Ontario’s protocol for triage of critical care would explicitly discriminate against some patients with disabilities who need life-saving critical care. People with disabilities deserve better.

If overloaded ICUs can’t accommodate all patients, rationing or “triage” means some patients will die because doctors will deny them needed critical care. We need a lawful protocol to govern such decisions. Ontario’s protocol isn’t lawful in part because of its disability discrimination.

For example, Ontario’s protocol would rank a cancer patient lower depending on their disability’s severity. That’s blatant disability discrimination. As well, patients over 65 with progressive diseases (e.g., MS, arthritis or Parkinson’s) are ranked lower for each of these activities they can’t do independently: get out of bed, eat, shop, use the phone or do finances.

Ontario’s protocol treats you like a blob on a gurney with no due process and no say. Two doctors rank you and give you the bad news.

With your life at stake, you cannot get the decision reviewed, even on a lightning-fast basis.

No wonder the Ontario Human Rights Commission, disability organizations and six bioethicists on Premier Ford’s advisory Bioethics Table all voiced serious objections. Ford’s approach is dangerously wrong. The protocol was developed and sent to hospitals in secret, with no public consultation by the government’s decision-makers. It isn’t on the government website. (We posted a leaked copy on www.aodaalliance.org.)

Some doctors and others are calling the shots in government back rooms. That is unfair to the public, people with disabilities and triage doctors.

Doctors use this protocol at their peril. Premier Ford is tap-dancing in a constitutional minefield. It’s wrong to direct doctors on who lives or dies by memo. Even worse, Ford may try to suspend the requirement that a patient must consent before needed care is discontinued.

Those defending the protocol argue it doesn’t discriminate because it says a patient’s stable disability, like autism, mustn’t be held against them. Yet the protocol discriminates against others based on progressive disabilities.

Government must remove disability discrimination from Ontario’s critical care triage protocol. It must afford due process to patients whose lives are in jeopardy. Instead of hiding and ducking questions, the premier should hold an open debate and pass legislation governing this, with public input.

The government must commit that if critical care triage occurs, it will daily report the number of people who are refused needed critical care due to triage. If Ford sombrely announces that the pandemic emergency requires critical care triage, remember he’s secretly planned for this possibility for over a year.

David Lepofsky is chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.



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New Captioned Video Tells the Whole Disability Discrimination Story in Ontario’s Critical Care Triage Plan – and – More Media Reports Reveal More Cause for Worry


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

New Captioned Video Tells the Whole Disability Discrimination Story in Ontario’s Critical Care Triage Plan – and – More Media Reports Reveal More Cause for Worry

May 6, 2021

            SUMMARY

Here are six more important developments in our campaign to protect people with disabilities from disability discrimination in Ontario’s critical care triage protocol.

 1. New Captioned Video — Learn About the Disability Issues in Ontario’s Critical Care Triage Protocol

Day after day, you are getting so much information from us and others about the critical care triage issue for people with disabilities. That includes all the new information we report in this AODA Alliance Update.

Are you eager for a video that will explain what this is all about, from beginning to end? Check out the new captioned video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky where the whole story is explained. The video brings you up to date as of now. It explains the disability objections to the Ontario critical care triage, the troubling way the Ontario Government his dealing with this issue, and the bogus defences that the Government’s defenders have been giving the media, in their attempt to justify what the Government is doing.

We invite you to watch the video and share it with others. If you are teaching a course where this might be helpful, feel free to use this video. It is available at https://youtu.be/Ju8cyH7TbQo

Let us know what you think. Email your feedback to us at [email protected]

 2. Where is the Public Accountability for Critical Care Triage Now Being Conducted by Ambulance Crews?

We have been warning for months about the danger of “trickle down triage”. For example, an ambulance crew, called to a medical emergency at your home, could decide whether or not to give a patient life-saving care, before they even get to hospital. We expect ambulance crews to do all they can to save lives, and not to decide whether or not to even try to save a life.

The Ford Government has refused to answer questions about this, whether from the AODA Alliance in writing or from the opposition in Question Period in the Legislature. In a very upsetting article in the April 28, 2021 Toronto Sun, set out below, it is evident that this triage is already going on.

This is a life and death issue. The public should daily be told how many lives are lost due to any form of triage, including this roadside triage. The Ford Government should now make public any directions to ambulance and emergency crews on this kind of triage. Protections need to be put in place to avert the danger of disability discrimination. We know that there is clear disability discrimination in the directions already sent to Ontario doctors, should they have to triage critical care services. There is no reason to be confident that there is no such danger if triage is done by ambulance crews before even reaching a hospital.

 3. Who Exactly Will Live and Who Will Die if There is Critical care Triage in Hospitals? Behind Closed Doors, Practice Drills Have Been Going on For Months with No Public Accountability

The April 27, 2021 report by Global News, set out below, confirms that hospitals have been training for months on how to conduct critical care triage, in case it becomes necessary. This is all happening behind closed doors. We have no idea who ends up living and who ends up dying, according to these practice drills or simulations. We have no idea how differently the same case is decided from one hospital to the next, or from one doctor to the next. We have no word that anyone with human rights expertise is part of this, to alert doctors when they are running afoul of the Charter of Rights and the Ontario Human Rights Code. We have no idea if the Ford Government is monitoring any of this, to find out where its disability discriminatory Ontario critical care triage protocol needs to be fixed.

 4. Pulling Back the Curtain on A Troubling and Misleading Media Strategy Now In Place, Seemingly Led by Those Behind Ontario’s Disability-Discriminatory Critical Care Triage Protocol

Those who are behind the creation and implementation of Ontario’s disability-discriminatory critical care triage protocol appear now to be conducting some sort of media public relations strategy to get out their version of this controversial issue. This appears to be underway to manage public expectations about critical care triage and to respond to some bad press that The Government has gotten on this issue. In the January 23, 2021 online webinar for doctors on the critical care triage protocol, those evidently at the centre of this indicated that they were planning such a communications strategy, to be later rolled out close to the time that critical care triage may become necessary.

Among the key people quoted in these stories include Dr. James Downar, co-author of the disability-discriminatory Ontario critical care triage protocol, and Dr. David Neilipovitz, a lead at the Ford Government’s secretive Critical Care COVID-19 Command Centre. We have asked the Ford Government who are the members of that command centre, and what its mandate includes. As with all our other inquiries, the Ford Government has refused to answer.

Part of this communication strategy seems to be the repetition of bogus arguments to defend the critical care triage protocols disability discrimination. In the April 20, 2021 AODA Alliance Update, we listed some of those bogus arguments.

In the April 26, 2021 Metroland report set out below, yet another bogus defence is offered, as follows, quoting Dr. Downar:

“Regarding disability concerns, he added that the protocol will also ensure patients are being compared across different conditions the same way.

“There’s cancer guidance that applies only to people with cancer, heart failure guidance that only applies to people with heart failure, the frailty scale is only applied to people with frailty,” he explained. “It’s not applied to everybody who has a disability.””

As in other contexts which we document in the April 20, 2021 AODA Alliance Update, this absurd argument presupposes that disability discrimination only exists if you discriminate against all people with disabilities at the same time. By that bankrupt approach, Nazi Germany’s viciously anti-Semitic Nuremberg laws did not discriminate because of religion. That is because they only applied to Jews and equally applied to all Jews. It would similarly justify separate schools for black children, as was the case in the US for decades, under the widely denounced 1896 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson.

The Supreme Court of Canada wisely rejected such an impoverished approach to equality decades ago, in Andrews v. Law Society of BC, where the Court stated:

“The test as stated, however, is seriously deficient in that it excludes any consideration of the nature of the law. If it were to be applied literally, it could be used to justify the Nuremberg laws of Adolf Hitler. Similar treatment was contemplated for all Jews. The similarly situated test would have justified the formalistic separate but equal doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 637 (1896), …”

We encourage the Ford Government to get their human rights legal advice from the Ontario Human Rights Commission and human rights experts, and not from physicians.

Another bogus and misleading part of this communication strategy is to try to misleadingly water down what critical care triage is. If a patient is refused critical care triage, they are bound to die. Yet part of the communication strategy on which we pull back the curtain is to claim that no one will be refused care. The April 26, 2021 Metroland article, set out below, includes this:

“What would triaging look like in Ontario?

“It’s really important to note that with emergency standards of care, no patient is not going to get care,” said Dr. Randy Wax, a critical care doctor who is also a lead at the Ontario Critical Care COVID-19 Command Centre.”

Let’s decode this. If you are refused critical care you need, you won’t be kicked right out of the hospital. You will be offered some lesser form of care, like palliative care. However, that is not the care you need to have any hope o of surviving.

This would be like someone who gets a gunshot wound who is told that they can’t have surgery they need to survive, and then being told: “But we are not refusing you care. Here’s an aspirin.”

Later in this Update, a May 5, 2021 article from CBC news online includes some of the same dubious defences. It gives no attention to voices from the disability community. This appears to be another story that could well be part of the communication strategy being conducted on behalf of the Ford Government’s Critical Care COVID Command Centre, to manage public expectations.

 5. Due to Protracted and Harmful Government Secrecy, Media Must Continue to Rely on Leaks to Report on Ontario’s Critical Care Triage situation

In a May 4, 2021 news report set out below, The Globe and Mail reported that Ontario’s ICU overload may be levelling off. This could avoid the need for The Government to green light rationing or triage of critical care, even though, as noted above, this appears to be going on already in our health care system in one form or another.

It is worrisome that the Globe and Mail report is based on a leaked internal memo. Those making these decisions are still cloistered behind closed doors.

That leak could have come from an aggrieved doctor working in the system. On the other hand, it could well have come from an official at the Ministry of Health, the Premier’s office or Ontario Health. They are taking heat for the critical care triage issue. Such a leak would help deflect some of that pressure. It could lead some reporters to think (wrongly, if so) that there is no longer a story here to cover, when it comes to disability discrimination in critical care triage. However, Ontario is certainly not out of the woods by any means.

 6. Disability Accessibility, the Ford Government and the Big Picture

The Ford Government’s delays on disability accessibility just carry on. There have now been 826 days, or over 2 and a quarter years, since the Ford Government received the ground-breaking final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has announced no effective plan of new action to implement that report. That makes even worse the serious problems facing Ontarians with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis. The Ontario Government only has 1,336 days left until 2025, the deadline by which the Government must have led Ontario to become fully accessible to people with disabilities.

            MORE DETAILS

 Toronto Sun April 28, 2021

Originally posted at https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/to-live-or-die-waves-of-covid-reality-hit-torontos-paramedics

TO LIVE OR DIE: Waves of COVID reality hit Toronto’s paramedics

Struggling to keep up with Toronto’s third wave, city paramedics say they’re having to ‘triage’ cardiac arrest patients

Author of the article: Bryan Passifiume

Paramedics wheel a patient into the emergency department at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. PHOTO BY COLE BURSTON /The Canadian Press

As soon as the call clears, another one’s loaded and ready.

And these days, it’ll most likely be another COVID patient.

That’s the reality for Toronto’s paramedics, who say nobody among their ranks thought COVID-19’s third wave would be this bad.

“You just don’t believe the news, the news says hospitals are overwhelmed, but are they?” said a veteran Toronto advanced-care paramedic, whom the Toronto Sun agreed not to identify.

“From the horse’s mouth: we’re seeing it — that’s something we’re all now realizing.”

While Toronto’s professional lifesavers have indeed been busy this past year, he told the Sun things really started to get bad earlier this month.

In fact, he remembers the exact call.

“Honestly, it was three weeks ago,” he said, describing the short-of-breath 30-something male he and his partner were dispatched to assist.

“This guy had a fever and couldn’t get up, and we’re like, ‘Oh, damn,’” he recalled.

“He had a room-air sat of 50%.”

Patients with blood-oxygen levels that low are almost always unconscious. In fact, anything below 90% is cause for concern.

Called “silent hypoxia,” it’s one of this pandemic’s biggest medical mysteries: how patients with such dangerously low oxygen levels show little outward evidence of their dire condition.

“They don’t even look tired,” he said.

“Then you check them and realize … ‘Dude, really?! You don’t feel this?! We need to go to the hospital.’”

It’s this deceptive pathology that makes COVID such a challenge.

“It causes moments where the patient looks OK, but they’re actually really, really bad,” he said, adding those patients often crash quickly and catastrophically.

What sticks out the most are the ages — and a lack of comorbidities — of those going into the back of his ambulance.

“Waves one and two were elderly people,” he said.

“Now we’re averaging late 40s.”

What irks him and his co-workers most are those who dismiss COVID as a bad flu.

“Influenza doesn’t make your O2 (oxygen) saturation drop below your age,” he said.

“We’re seeing patients with oxygen levels not seen without opioids in play, and neither Narcan nor oxygen are going to fix it.”

Emergency rooms and ICUs are full, he said — with many receiving care in the ER normally seen in intensive care.

“That’s what overcapacity means,” he said.

“It means that there’s people in emerge receiving ICU treatment — and that’s not the place for it.”

A paramedic transports a patient to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, April 17, 2020.

City Council orders check-up on Toronto paramedics

Erik Sande is the president of Medavie Health Services.

SANDE: Paramedics answer the call — across Ontario’s health system

A Region of Durham Paramedic Services ambulance.

Gravely-ill patients more likely to be pronounced dead at scene

As city hospitals steel themselves for worst-case triage protocols, paramedics say it’s a reality they’re already experiencing.

Overrun emergency rooms and intensive-care units put paramedics in the position — as well as the base physic

ians overseeing them — of having to pronounce gravely ill patients, particularly in cases of cardiac arrest, deceased on scene rather than going through the usually hopeless motions of seeking hospital treatment.

“I haven’t actively run a cardiac arrest in the past five I’ve done,” said the Toronto advanced-care paramedic.

“We just said to the family, ‘Do you want anything done?’”

Cardiac arrest, particularly in older patients, is a dire medical emergency with less than 10% survival rates, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The COVID emergency, the paramedic said, means they’re more likely to pronounce such patients dead over pursuing lifesaving efforts that only serve to prolong the inevitable.

Except in cases of obvious and catastrophic trauma, paramedics seek guidance on pronouncing death from physicians over the phone.

“I got a pronouncement in 20 seconds the other day,” the paramedic said.

The alternative, he said, is often worse.

“If you get them back, where are they going to go, into the ICU to live for a day on a vent and die?” he said.

“The family’s able to see them now, be with them — there’s no closure bringing (the patient) to the hospital where, oh by the way, they can’t come.”

This leads to paramedics forced into end-of-life discussions with grieving family members.

“You know who does those? Doctors. Doctors have those conversations,” he said.

“Now, it’s us.”

Experts, including outspoken critical care physician Dr. Michael Warner, are warning Toronto’s hospitals are just days away from ICU triage, where decisions are made on who is and isn’t entitled to lifesaving care.

“The way Dr. Warner’s talking about how we don’t want to have to triage ICU patients, we are now triaging cardiac arrest patients,” the paramedic said. “If bringing this person back or giving them hope means only living for one more day on a ventilator … man, no. Let them go.”

Families forced to make this decision, he said, are almost always grateful.

“They say ‘Thank you for not working on them, thank you for letting them pass as peacefully as possible,” he said.

“Then you walk out, do your paperwork, grab a coffee, then go on to the next one.”

[email protected]

On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

 Global News April 27, 2021

Originally posted at https://fm96.com/news/7812658/covid-ontario-icu-emergency-triage/

Pushing Ontario’s ICUs to the brink: How some hospitals are preparing for the worst FM96 London

Rachael D’Amore GlobalNews.ca

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario doctors and nurses may have more experience treating the disease but are increasingly staring life-or-death decisions in the face.

The spike in cases has strained intensive care capacity across the province. There are about 875 COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospital ICUs as of Tuesday — an all-time high — and 589 people in intensive care units (ICUs) on a ventilator. With staffing shortages — particularly the lack of ICU-trained nurses — and beds rapidly filling up, discussions about the possible need to triage life-saving care are mounting.

A “critical care triage protocol,” something that was not done during earlier waves of the virus, could be enacted, meaning health-care providers may have to decide who gets potentially life-saving care and who doesn’t.

“If you’ve ever participated in a fire drill, you understand what we’re talking about here,” said Dr. James Downar, a palliative and critical care physician in Ottawa who co-wrote Ontario’s ICU protocol.

“The purpose of training is to be prepared because if a crisis arrives and you run out of your resources and you don’t have a plan and you’re not prepared to institute your plan, things will get very, very bad.”

Ontario hospitals received a document in January laying out guidelines on how to deal with critical care triage. In other words, what to do if there aren’t enough ICU beds.

Under those guidelines, patients are essentially ranked on their likelihood to survive one year after the onset of a critical illness. The process came under criticism from human rights advocates, saying it is discriminatory, particularly toward people with disabilities and seniors.

At this point, the province has not finalized the protocol nor has it officially been published, but a widely circulating draft titled “Adult Critical Care Clinical Emergency Standard of Care for Major Surge” – said patients could be scored by doctors on a “short-term mortality risk assessment.”

The aim would be to “prioritize those patients who are most likely to survive their critical illness,” the document reads.

“Patients who have a high likelihood of dying within twelve months from the onset of their episode of critical illness (based on an evaluation of their clinical presentation at the point of triage) would have a lower priority for critical care resources,” it said.

The lists three levels of critical care triage:

  • Level 1 triage deprioritizes critical care resources for patients with a predicted mortality greater than 80 per cent.
  • Level 2 triage deprioritizes critical care resources for patients with a predicted mortality greater than 50 per cent.
  • At Level 3 triage, patients with predicted mortality of 30 per cent — or a 70 per cent chance of surviving beyond a year — will not receive critical care.

At this level, clinicians may abandon the short-term mortality predictions in favour of randomization, which the document noted is to be used “as a last resort” and should be conducted by an administrator, not by bedside clinicians.

The leaked document was prepared by the province’s critical care COVID-19 command centre, which would ultimately declare when to use it.

Hundreds of COVID-19 ICU patient transfers planned as Ontario braces for ‘horrific’ 2 weeks

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told doctors on April 8 that the province was considering “enacting the critical care triage protocol,” and that it would support such a tool once it is “initiated by the command tables of the province” and “even when doing so requires departing from our policy expectations.”

Downar emphasized that the protocol has not been instituted, echoing Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott who on April 7 said “there are some emergency protocols out there” but they “have not finalized any of that yet.”

“None of us want to be in this position, none of us want to be doing this,” said Downar. “We are prepared for it if it comes to that, but we are focused on not letting it come to that.”

While a standard provincial protocol has not been formally established, some Ontario hospitals have been preparing anyway.

The University Health Network (UHN), which includes Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret hospitals, have started virtual training sessions for staff on what to do if the virus’ growth gets the better of all other efforts to expand and accommodate the ICU system.

Dr. Niall Ferguson, the head of critical care at UHN, said while preparations for worst-case scenarios are happening, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be enacted.

“We’re not expecting to be implementing them anytime in the near future… I think the likelihood is probably low,” he told Global News.

“COVID is more like a controlled train crash as opposed to an actual train crash where you’ve got a thousand critically ill people all on the same day — then triage is inevitable. When you’re getting a thousand critical care patients over the course of weeks, which we are here, then there is an opportunity to adapt the system and grow capacity and do things differently.”

Ontario’s latest modelling predictions cast doubt on short-term improvements. Even as cases slow or plateau, hospitalizations and ICU numbers are so-called “lagging indicators” of the severity of the virus in a certain jurisdiction. The provincial data predicts a peak of at least 1,500 virus cases in ICUs by the first week of May — that’s next week — and it could be higher, pushing Ontario’s total 2,000-ICU-bed capacity over the edge.

Downar said some training around emergency care standards has been “going on for months.”

He said avoiding the worst-case scenario depends on a lot of things and is not as simple as “staring at the number of COVID cases.”

“It’s tough. Everybody wants to know a number and everybody wants to know where that line is, but it’s just not something that is easily put into numbers at the moment.”

What’s unfolded over the past few weeks exemplifies just how bad it’s gotten — but also how the system has been forced to adapt, as Ferguson said. Hundreds of patients from already over-capacity hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area are being transferred to other hospitals hours away. The province has directed hospitals to “ramp down” all elective and non-emergency surgeries to help alleviate pressure on the health-care system.

“Transfers are not completely benign. There is a risk when we transfer people from one place to another,” Downar said. “It’s important for everybody to recognize that there already consequences to what we’ve been doing.”

 Metroland DurhamRegion.com April 26, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.durhamregion.com/news-story/10381003-what-would-triaging-patients-look-like-in-ontario-s-hospitals-if-invoked-/

What would triaging patients look like in Ontario’s hospitals if invoked?

Protocol created to ‘counteract implicit biases and subjectivity’

Veronica Appia

OurWindsor.Ca

Monday, April 26, 2021

This story is Part Two of a two-part explainer about the current surge of patients in Ontario’s intensive care units amid the third wave of COVID-19, and the possibility of the province invoking the Emergency Standard of Care protocol. Read Part One here.

Amid a rise in ICU admissions across the province, medical experts have been discussing the possibility of invoking the Emergency Standard of Care protocol, released by the Ontario Critical Care COVID-19 Command Centre earlier this year, which includes three triaging scenarios.

Dr. David Neilipovitz, the department head of critical care at the Ottawa Hospital and a lead at the Ontario Critical Care COVID-19 Command Centre, said it’s important to note that the Emergency Standard of Care protocol has different aspects to it and “not everything is triage.”

“Triage has a different connotation,” he said, adding that this would typically mean withdrawing care from patients without their family’s consent.

Neilipovitz said that while the Emergency Standard of Care protocol has similar aspects, there is no withdrawal of care.

What would triaging look like in Ontario?

“It’s really important to note that with emergency standards of care, no patient is not going to get care,” said Dr. Randy Wax, a critical care doctor who is also a lead at the Ontario Critical Care COVID-19 Command Centre.

Rather, he said, it would be a matter of determining other appropriate ways to support the patients that would not have access to critical care.

“The whole principle of triage is to try to maximize the number of lives saved with the resources that you have and so, in general, the concept is we want to be able to identify patients who are most likely to benefit from receiving IC services,” Wax noted.

Dr. James Downar, a palliative and critical care specialist who was responsible for creating the protocol, added that the decision as to who would have access, under the protocol, would solely be determined by mortality risk.

Is triaging patients a likely reality for Ontario’s hospitals?

“Everybody who would be considered for critical care would have two separate assessments performed by qualified physicians to assess what would be felt to be their short-term mortality risk and they would use their clinical judgment, aided by the guidance provided,” he said, adding that in cases where there is insufficient data or disagreement between physicians, the hospital would take the most optimistic approach.

What are the human rights implications?

The concept of triaging has been cause for concern for human rights advocates and disability groups.

In an April 22 statement to Metroland, Ena Chadha, chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), said the Emergency Standard of Care protocol “includes potentially discriminatory triage criteria, should doctors be forced to decide who gets access to critical care and who does not.”

She stated that since December 2020, human rights groups and vulnerable populations have not been consulted on the protocol.

On April 9, the OHRC issued a public statement asking the government to provide the status of the Emergency Standard of Care protocol, confirm that the Health Care Consent Act prevails to protect the rights of patients and families, consult human rights stakeholders and require hospitals to collect data about the populations most affected by COVID-19.

In response to these concerns, Downar said that the reason the protocol was created in the first place was to ensure there wouldn’t be any human rights concerns in these scenarios.

“When human beings are overwhelmed and confronted by difficult decisions in emotional situations, that’s where implicit biases and subjectivity become major factors and undermine decision-making,” he said.

“You counteract that with explicit guidance and consistent rules.”

Regarding disability concerns, he added that the protocol will also ensure patients are being compared across different conditions the same way.

“There’s cancer guidance that applies only to people with cancer, heart failure guidance that only applies to people with heart failure, the frailty scale is only applied to people with frailty,” he explained. “It’s not applied to to everybody who has a disability.”

Veronica Appia is a reporter with Torstar Corporation Community Brands, covering COVID-19 news across Ontario.

 The Globe and Mail May 4, 2021

Memo says Ontario hospitals may avoid triage protocol

By JEFF GRAY

Staff

Ontario’s hospitals, despite facing an unprecedented strain from COVID-19, will likely escape the pandemic’s third wave without resorting to a triage protocol that would have forced doctors to decide who lives and who dies, according to a memo obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Doctors and hospital officials warn that weeks of tough public-health restrictions are still needed to keep slowing the virus’s spread. Hospitals will also need to keep increasing their already ballooned intensive-care capacity, postponing non-emergency operations and helicoptering patients from jammed facilities in hot spots to other beds across the province.

As of Monday, Ontario had 881 COVID-19 patients in its ICUs, more than double the total from just a month ago.

But the rate of increase appeared to be slowing. (In all, there were just over 2,000 patients of all kinds in the province’s ICUs.)

In a message to hospital chief executives dated May 2, Andrew Baker, the incident commander of the province’s critical-care COVID-19 command centre, says recent provincial modelling is still “concerning,” even as it shows a lower estimated number of COVID-19 ICU admissions than it did two weeks ago.

The memo asks hospitals to put 284 more ICU beds, already identified as ready to go at short notice, into operation and to prepare to receive more transferred patients. And it says the command centre will monitor staffing levels, and the effects of recent moves to transfer more elderly patients into long-term care homes, to determine whether hospitals should try to create even more critical-care capacity.

But the memo adds that it now looks as though the worst can be avoided: “I also wanted to share with you and your teams that we are increasingly confident that we will not need to activate the Emergency Standard of Care or recommend the use of the triage protocol.”

Requests for comment from Dr. Baker, who is chair of the critical-care department at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, were referred to Ontario Health, the government agency that oversees health care in the province.

Ontario Health executive vice-president Chris Simpson, also a Kingston cardiologist, said the worst-case scenario from the most recent modelling by the province’s external COVID-19 Science Table – which projected the potential for more than 1,400 COVID-19 patients in the province’s ICUs by month’s end – would mean triage could be necessary.

But the province appears to be tracking the modelling’s mid-range scenario, in which ICU admissions crest around 1,000 before descending gradually.

“I think that scenario, if that were to unfold, does keep us out of triage-tool territory,” Dr. Simpson said. “But only because of the extra capacity that we have been able to bring online.”

He cautioned that the stresses on the system were already having effects on the quality of care for patients. He also raised concerns there could be “tremendous pressure” to reopen the province too quickly if cases continue to plateau or fall.

Doing so, he warned, could plunge the province into a fourth wave.

Kevin Smith, president and CEO of University Health Network, which includes Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret hospitals, said even as numbers appear to be levelling off, hospitals and their staff are stretched past their normal limits. To avoid the worst, he said Ontarians need to keep following strict public-health rules, get vaccinated as quickly as possible and not let their guard down over the May long weekend.

“I would certainly hate for anyone to think that this is a time to relax,” he said.

“Absolutely that is not the case.”

Anthony Dale, president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, said the science table predictions are cause for hope, noting that daily new infection numbers have been moderating. (Ontario recorded 3,436 new cases on Monday, down from a peak of more than 4,800 in mid-April.)

But he said nothing about COVID-19 can be taken for granted. Even if these encouraging trends continue, he said, the health care system will still be in a state of massive disruption for months, noting that more than 250,000 operations have been postponed in the pandemic.

“There’s nothing natural or normal about any of this,” Mr. Dale said.

Ontario’s triage protocol has been clouded by secrecy. A draft was only made public after a leaked copy was obtained by a disability rights group. Under the plans, incoming patients would be assessed for their likelihood of survival after 12 months. Those with the best chances would be prioritized for ICU beds.

 CBC Online News May 5, 2021

Originally posted at: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/doctors-describe-critical-care-triage-training-as-surreal-emotional-1.6013411

Doctors express relief, cautious optimism at news Ontario will likely avoid triage protocol

Province says no triage model has been activated in Ontario at this time

Talia Ricci CBC News

Dr. Shajan Ahmed says most of his colleagues had never done any kind of triage training before. He was part of a group of physicians at UHN who participated in mock scenarios during the second wave. (Submitted/Shajan Ahmed)

Dr. Shajan Ahmed says he always thought of triage training as something needed in other countries or in war zones, where doctors must decide who gets potentially life-saving care and who doesn’t.

So when the emergency room physician with Toronto’s University Health Network found himself watching a webinar about it to help prepare doctors for the third wave of COVID-19, he says he was in a bit of shock.

“To come to grips with this being right at our [doorsteps] here in Toronto, a place where we have all kinds of resources, it was really bizarre, it was surreal,” he told CBC Toronto.

“None of us had trained for it before and none of us really signed up for this, to be honest with you.”

Ahmed was among a group of around 60 physicians who received the training earlier this year. It included running through mock cases, reading material and referencing online resources. The virtual sessions were conducted over Zoom with experts in simulation, ethics and palliative care.

The province says no triage model has been activated in Ontario at this time, and although the overall number of ICU admissions climbed to 900 for the first time last Saturday, the rate of increase appears to have started to slow down. In a memo obtained by CBC News directed to hospital CEOs, Andrew Baker, the incident commander of the province’s critical-care COVID-19 command centre, says projections remained “very concerning.” But the memo also adds they are “increasingly confident” that they will not need to recommend the use of the triage protocol.

But the prospect still weighs on the minds of some doctors, and for Ahmed, the training made the situation feel “very real.”

Hospitals in Ontario may not have to use triage protocol, memo says

“You read about it and you think it may come, but until you are actually doing the training it doesn’t feel real until that point,” he said, adding the sessions were more challenging than he anticipated.

“We would debrief after the sessions to talk about how it felt, and what was going through our minds and collectively everyone had to take a deep breath and, I guess, also a bit of a sigh of relief because we aren’t actually in this situation.”

Despite describing the current situation in GTA hospitals as “bursting at the seams,” Ahmed wants people to know if the triage model is activated, patients will still be cared for. The decision is not whether someone lives or dies but whether the person would be offered ICU level care.

“It’s very complex and there’s a lot of logistics involved but I don’t want the public to think we’re making decisions as to booting people to the street without providing care,” he said.

“We absolutely will provide care.”

Compassionate conversations part of the training

Dr. Erin O’ Connor, the deputy medical director of the University Health Network’s emergency departments, was part of the team that led the training.

“There’s a lot of emotion around this and this isn’t something any physician or any health-care provider wants to do, but when we were getting ever closer to it we realized we needed to prepare ourselves,” she said.

She adds that conversations with patients and their families were a big part of it.

“It helped people find the right way to say this kindly and empathetically and to also recognize and process their own emotions around it.”

Dr. Erin O’Connor is the deputy medical director of emergency departments at Toronto’s University

Health Network. O’Connor describes the process as an application of tools to help determine how likely someone is to survive and their likelihood of survival after a year of any acute illness, not just COVID-19. She says the team looked at five cases that represented typical situations in the emergency department and had participants evaluate the patients’ chances of survival.

“It was a little bit of how you would apply the tools to different cases, so it wasn’t so abstract,” she explained. She says the whole point of developing the short term mortality risk tools was to remove any bias from the system.

Canadian Armed Forces sending teams to Ontario as COVID-19 cases strain critical care capacity

“It was very clearly laid out that decisions cannot be made based on race, gender, economic status, disability, or age. This is really looking at as much as possible the medical factors that contribute to whether someone has a high chance of survival at a year,” she said.

Resources have been expanded through bringing health-care workers from other parts of the country, redeploying and retraining health-care workers, cancelling surgeries, bringing in more ventilators and transferring patients from hot-spot areas, among other measures. The Ministry of Health says the province continues to create additional hospital beds in the province, including the creation of two mobile health units.

“The logistics have been massive. But all of these things are being done to prevent us from getting into a position where we have to triage resources,” O’Connor said.

She says she’s feeling cautiously optimistic given the recent trends.

“We’re not out of the woods yet because we know patients stay in the ICU for a long time but we are slightly backing away from the need to use this.”

But Ahmed still thinks about it, and is still concerned about the current state of ICUs. He’s encouraging people to have conversations with loved ones about their goals of care.

“A lot of us lose sleep over it.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Talia Ricci

Talia Ricci is a CBC reporter based in Toronto. She has travelled around the globe with her camera documenting people and places as well as volunteering. Talia enjoys covering offbeat human interest stories and exposing social justice issues. When she’s not reporting, you can find her reading or strolling the city with a film camera.



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After a Major Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto City Council Unanimously Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After a Major Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto City Council Unanimously Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters

May 5, 2021 Toronto: As a major victory for people with disabilities, Toronto’s City Council Today unanimously voted not to allow e-scooters in public and not to conduct a pilot project. Terrified of the danger to them that e-scooters pose, people with disabilities have been working hard to oppose the efforts of corporate lobbyists on this issue.

City staff, Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee made strong recommendations to City Council against allowing e-scooters in Toronto, and against conducting a pilot project. In the same direction, an impressive spectrum of disability advocates told the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on April 28, 2021 that Toronto City Council must not unleash dangerous electric scooters in Toronto (now banned, unless Council legalizes them).

A City Staff Report, which the Toronto City Council unanimously supported, amply shows e-scooters endanger public safety in places allowing them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people can’t tell when silent e-scooters rocket at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmetted fun-seeking riders. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for blind people and accessibility nightmares for wheelchair users.

The Infrastructure Committee was told last week that Toronto has been getting less accessible to people with disabilities. Allowing e-scooters would make that worse.

Last week, the Infrastructure and Environment Committee was also told over and over that it accomplishes nothing to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The City Staff Report documents the silent menace of e-scooters continue to be ridden on sidewalks in cities that just ban them from sidewalks. We would need cops on every block. Toronto law enforcement told City Councilors last July 9 that they have no resources to enforce such new e-scooter rules.

E-scooters would impose significant costs on taxpayers for new law enforcement, OHIP for treating those injured by e-scooters, lawsuits by the injured, etc. Toronto has more pressing budget priorities.

The AODA Alliance has exposed the stunning well-funded behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure that corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies have inundated City Hall with for months.

“We applaud the Toronto City Council for its unanimous vote and we congratulate all the disability organizations and individual disability advocates who devoted their volunteer efforts to help protect our safety and accessibility,” said AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. “The small number of Ontario cities that started an e-scooter pilot project should now suspend those pilot projects, and learn from the wise Toronto decision, in the interest of protecting their vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities, and others that e-scooters endanger. We need Ontario cities to become more accessible to people with disabilities, and not allow any new disability barriers to be created.”

Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, [email protected]

Twitter: @aodaalliance

For more background, check out the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto on e-scooters, the AODA Alliance video on why e-scooters are so dangerous (which media can use in any reports), and the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.



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Toronto City Council Must Reject E-Scooter Corporate Lobbyists’ Attempt to Delay the May 5, 2021 Vote on City Staff’s Recommendation not to Conduct an E-Scooter Pilot Project


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

Toronto City Council Must Reject E-Scooter Corporate Lobbyists’ Attempt to Delay the May 5, 2021 Vote on City Staff’s Recommendation not to Conduct an E-Scooter Pilot Project

May 3, 2021

            SUMMARY

1. Where Do We Stand?

We must fend off any last-minute efforts by the corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies, over the last days before Toronto City Council gets to vote on this issue at the Wednesday, May 5, 2021 meeting. Those corporate lobbyists want to delay the vote and drag out this issue so they can continue their backroom lobbying at City Hall. We call on all members of City Council to oppose any such stalling tactics.

Several important developments overwhelmingly support our call for City Council to say no to e-scooters on May 5, 2021, and to say no to holding a pilot project on e-scooters:

  1. Last month, City staff submitted an excellent, detailed, well-researched report on e-scooters. It recommends that Toronto should not lift the ban on e-scooters and should not conduct a pilot project with e-scooters. This is because e-scooters endanger the personal safety of people with disabilities, seniors and others. They would also create serious new accessibility barriers against people with disabilities. There is no option that would eliminate these serious dangers.
  1. Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee twice passed unanimous recommendations that Toronto not allow e-scooters at all, on February 3, 2020 and February 25, 2021. Both times, that Committee made those recommendations after receiving deputations from the public.
  1. The City staff report and recommendation was unanimously supported on April 28, 2021 by the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee. That unanimous vote came after the Committee heard from an impressive number of deputations, including many from Toronto’s disability community. Those people with disabilities and disability organizations strongly and unanimously called for Toronto to retain the ban on e-scooters that is now the law, and for Toronto not to conduct a pilot project. Over and over, serious fears were voiced about the additional dangers that e-scooters pose to people with disabilities and seniors, beyond the great number of barriers they already face when trying to get around in Toronto. In recent years, Toronto has gotten less accessible, not more accessible, deputants said.
  1. E-scooters are also bad for the business community. Below we set out the excellent written submission in opposition to e-scooters that was sent to the City of Toronto from the Broadview Danforth Business Improvement Area BIA, speaking for small businesses in the Danforth area.
  1. As well, e-scooters are bad for Toronto residents more generally. The Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations spoke in opposition to e-scooters at the April 28, 2021 Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee. Below we set out that Federation’s April 27, 2021 written submission to the City of Toronto.

We still don’t know where Toronto Mayor John Tory stands on this issue. For months he has said he’s waiting for a City staff report. Well, now he has that report. It gives a clear and strong recommendation not to conduct a pilot project with e-scooters due to their dangers. We call on him to follow the City staff recommendation for which he has been waiting.

2. What Will the E-scooter Rental Corporate Lobbyists Try Now?

With things not looking good for them, we anticipate that e-scooter corporate lobbyists are now unleashing a last-ditch effort to get the access they seek to the Toronto market. Their last-minute strategy appears to be to ask City Council to direct that City staff conduct more research on the disability accessibility concerns regarding e-scooters. It is clear that this is just a stalling tactic, to give those corporate lobbyists more time to infest City Hall with even more of their well-financed back room lobbying efforts.

We are reaching out to all members of Toronto City Council to warn them of this tactic, and to ask them to oppose any effort to delay a May 5, 2021 Toronto City Council vote on the City staff recommendations regarding e-scooters. For example, below we set out the AODA Alliance ‘s May 2, 2021 letter emailed to Toronto Mayor John Tory.

We are telling members of Toronto City Council that any effort to delay the vote to get more research done is bogus. City staff have been very thorough. There is nothing more to research. No one from the disability community has been asking for more such research. The e-scooter corporate lobbyists have not approached those of us advocating from the disability perspective, to identify any further research that they say is needed, or to ask if we see any need for further research.

City staff were assigned to further research this issue back on July 28, 2020. That was nine months ago. They did what they were assigned to do. If anyone wanted to bring more to their attention or ask for more research, they had ample chance to do so before now.

How do we know this is the strategy of the corporate lobbyists? Some of them publicly sought such delays in their deputations to the April 28, 2021 meeting of the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee.

As well, at the April 28, 2021 Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting, Councillor Paul Ainslie urged that instead of there being a vote now on the City staff report, City staff should be directed to do another five months of research on the accessibility concerns regarding e-scooters from the disability community. Commendably, the Committee did not take up that bad idea. It voted instead unanimously to support the City staff recommendation. No one on the Committee spoke in favour of Councillor Ainslie’s disturbing and inappropriate proposal. Councillor Ainslie is not a member of that Committee.

We were taken aback by Councillor Ainslie’s April 28, 2021 effort to delay a vote on the City staff e-scooter recommendation. As noted above, all the April 28, 2021 deputants from the Toronto disability community strongly supported the ban on e-scooters. None asked for more research. None suggested that there is any more research that is needed.

Moreover, Councillor Ainslie himself did not reach out to us or, to our knowledge, to any other disability organizations doing advocacy on this issue, in advance of his effort at the April 28, 2021 Infrastructure and Environment Committee. He did not ask us if there is any more research needed, or whether we supported the idea of a delay in the vote so that more research could be done. We have contacted all members of Toronto City Council over the past months to raise our concerns regarding e-scooters.

After he tried to get the e-scooters issue delayed for five months at the April 28, 2021 Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee, we immediately reached out to Councillor Ainslie to ask if we could speak about this. He has not agreed to do so. We wrote Councillor Ainslie a detailed letter via email on May 2, 2021, which we set out below.

For more background, check out the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto on e-scooters, the AODA Alliance video on why e-scooters are so dangerous (which media can use in any reports), and the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.

            MORE DETAILS

 April 26, 2021 Submission from Broadview Danforth Business Improvement Area Regarding Electric Scooters

April 26, 2021

TO:         Infrastructure and Environment Committee Clerk

FROM:  The Broadview Danforth BIA

RE:         Item: IE21.7 Pilot Project: Electric Kick-Scooters

 

I’m writing on behalf of the 355 business members in the Broadview Danforth BIA to support the recommendation being made by the General Manager, Transportation Services to decline the option to participate in O.Reg 389/19 Pilot Project for Electric Kick-Scooters. Our comments below can be shared with the Infrastructure and Environment Committee – meeting on April 28, 2021.

We have reviewed the components related to this proposed pilot project and have serious concerns that it would be very difficult to implement in a manner consistent with public safety and order.

Following a presentation made by Janet Lo from Transportation Services to BIAs, our key concerns are as follows:

  • Safety issues related to people with disabilities who use our sidewalks and wouldn’t be able to safely continue doing so if e-scooters were allowed on sidewalks.
  • Safety issues related to all people using sidewalks – the potential of e- scooters being left on the sidewalks or tied to benches, tree guards etc. and falling over will lead to potential tripping hazards.
  • Lack of clarity on insurance coverage for riders, e-scooter rental companies and the general public who may be injured by e-scooter riders.
  • Lack of City/police resources to enforce any kind of e-scooter laws. At the moment we have cyclists improperly using the roads and bike lanes and enforcement is almost non-existent. It’s impossible to believe that enforcement will be available for e-scooters.
  • Our businesses are fighting for their survival during this pandemic and the last thing we need is for customers to feel unsafe using our sidewalks.

Thank you for your time and consideration of our feedback on this issue.

Albert Stortchak Board Chair

Broadview Danforth BIA

April 27, 2021 Written Submission on E-Scooters to the City of Toronto from the Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations

April 27, 2021

10th floor, West Tower, City Hall 100 Queen Street West Toronto, ON M5H 2N2 Attention: Matthew Green

Re: IE21.7 – E-scooters – Accessibility and Insurance Issues

Dear Councillor Jennifer McKelvie, Chair, and Members of Infrastructure and

Environment Committee,

FoNTRA represents over 30 residents associations in Midtown, North Toronto and North York. We strongly support the staff report analysis and recommendation, dated April 14, 2021. We continue to have serious concerns with the proposal, consistent with our comments submitted in regard to the earlier staff report on this important matter.1

We appreciate the extensive research and stakeholder consultations now being reported on by Transportation Services Division staff, including the learning from other jurisdictions with more experience on the matter. Experiments in large cities such as Chicago, New York, London, and Amsterdam, which have comparable population size and density to Toronto, point to many unresolved issues associated with the use of e-scooters. The experience of e-scooter-associated issues in those cities are more likely to be similar and relevant, than that of smaller cities like Ottawa and Calgary. However, we note that even Ottawa, one of those smaller cities, has banned e-scooters from its most popular destination, the Byward Market, and from National Capital Commission walkways and paths.

The staff report outlines in detail the unique risk factors associated with Toronto’s existing public infrastructure – both road and sidewalk design – that did not contemplate the addition of e-scooters. These include:

  • Risks to public safety
  • Risks to public health
  • Impacts on the vulnerable, seniors and people with disabilities • Community nuisance
  • Burden and costs to health care resources
  • Liability and cost to the City

1 (July 8, 2020) Letter from Geoff Kettel and Cathie Macdonald, Co-Chairs, Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations (IE.New.IE14.10.10) (http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ie/comm/communicationfile-108188.pdf)

  • Lack of available medical and disability coverage for e-scooter users and non-users when injured

For example, some of the key concerns related to these risks that have not been resolved:

  • • additional barriers created for pedestrians and persons with disabilities who use sidewalks out of necessity, especially people living with no vision/low vision, users of mobility assistive devices, or older adults encountering illegal sidewalk riding or poorly parked e-scooters;
  • • significant challenges and difficulties with enforcing moving violations (i.e., lack of policing resources to witness/enforce illegal e-scooter use on sidewalks, ‘hit and runs’, and the inability to identify the e-scooter rider); and
  • • how someone injured by an e-scooter rider or trip hazard caused by an improperly parked e-scooter would be compensated for damages (i.e. rehabilitation, lost wages, and medical costs).
  • • e-scooters tend to replace bike share programs, and would certainly make walking less safe.

FONTRA supports alternative modes of transportation, especially climate friendly modes that reduce GHG emissions; however we believe that devoting increased City resources to improving pedestrian and biking infrastructure would provide more benefit, and safer transportation to more of the City’s population, than e-scooters, and without the increased risks and costs associated with them.

FoNTRA recommends:

  • that Planning and Housing Committee recommend to City Council that it decline the option to participate in O.Reg 389/19 – Pilot Project – Electric Kick-Scooters

Yours truly,

Geoff Kettel Co-Chair, FoNTRA

[email protected]

Cathie Macdonald Co-Chair, FoNTRA

[email protected]

Cc: Barbara Gray, General Manager, Transportation Services Division

Elyse Parker, Director, Policy and Innovation, Transportation Services Division Janet Lo, Senior Project Manager, Transportation Services Division

The Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations (FoNTRA) is a non-profit, volunteer organization comprised of over 30 member organizations. Its members, all residents’ associations, include at least 170,000 Toronto residents within their boundaries. The residents’ associations that make up FoNTRA believe that Ontario and Toronto can and should achieve better development. Its central issue is not whether Toronto will grow, but how. FoNTRA believes that sustainable urban regions are characterized by environmental balance, fiscal viability, infrastructure investment and social renewal.

 May 2, 2021 Letter from AODA Alliance to Toronto Mayor John Tory

May 2, 2021

To: Toronto Mayor John Tory

Via email: [email protected]

Dear Mayor Tory,

At the Wednesday, May 5, 2021 meeting of Toronto City Council, a vote is expected on whether Toronto should lift the ban on e-scooters. A City staff report recommends that Toronto not lift the ban on e-scooters, and not conduct a pilot project with e-scooters. We strongly agree.

We write to ask if you will vote to approve the City staff recommendation, and to urge you to do so. The excellent, thorough City staff report is based on extensive, impartial, professional research and investigation. It fully explored all sides of the issue. E-scooter corporate lobbyists were given a full and fair opportunity to give input, and to respond to concerns that have been raised about e-scooters.

Mayor Tory, you have been saying for over a year that you were waiting for a report from City staff before taking a position on whether to lift the ban on e-scooters in Toronto. You now have received that City staff report. It is clear and unambiguous. We Will you now act on that City staff advice for which you have been waiting?

Further showing why you should approve that report, the City staff report and recommendation was unanimously supported on April 28, 2021 by the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee. That unanimous vote came after the Committee heard from an impressive number of deputations, include many from Toronto’s disability community. Those people with disabilities and disability organization strongly and unanimously called for Toronto to retain the ban on e-scooters that is now the law, and for Toronto not to conduct a pilot project. Over and over, serious fears were voiced about the additional dangers that e-scooters pose to people with disabilities and seniors, beyond the great number of barriers they already face when trying to get around in Toronto.

Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee twice passed unanimous recommendations that Toronto not allow e-scooters at all, on February 3, 2020 and February 25, 2021. Both times, that Committee made those recommendations after receiving deputations from the public.

You should also support the City staff report because it has received endorsements from the local business and residents’ association perspectives. The Danforth Business Improvement Area’s written submission to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee called for e-scooters to be banned, and supported the City staff report. A local residents’ association took the same position in an oral deputation to that Committee on April 28, 2021.

As you know, the core pressure for Toronto to allow e-scooters comes from the corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies. We have fully documented the feeding frenzy of corporate lobbying with which they have been inundating City Hall. Several members of City Council have observed that this is the largest corporate lobbyist campaign now underway at City Hall. One can only imagine how much money they are spending to wage their campaign

Our March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto further details the dangers that e-scooters present for people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. It also shows that the arguments that the e-scooter corporate lobbyists present are entirely unpersuasive. They often are inaccurate or misleading.

We anticipate that those e-scooter corporate lobbyists are now unleashing a last-ditch effort to get access they seek to Toronto. Their last-minute strategy appears to be to ask City Council to direct that City staff conduct more research on the disability accessibility concerns regarding e-scooters. It is clear that this is a stalling tactic, to give those corporate lobbyists more time to infest City Hall with even more of their back room lobbying efforts.

Please oppose any effort to delay a May 5, 2021 Toronto City Council vote on the City staff recommendations regarding e-scooters. Any effort to delay the vote to get more research done is bogus. City staff have been very thorough. There is nothing more to research. No one from the disability community has been asking for more such research. The e-scooter corporate lobbyists have not approached those of us advocating from the disability perspective, to identify any further research that they say is needed, or to ask if we see any need for further research. City staff were assigned this further research on July 28, 2020, nine months ago.

At the April 28, 2021 Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting, Councillor Paul Ainslie urged that instead of there being a vote now on the City staff report, City staff should be directed to do another five months of research on the accessibility concerns regarding e-scooters from the disability community. Commendably, the Committee did not take up that idea. It voted instead unanimously to support the City staff recommendation. No one on the Committee spoke in favour of Councillor Ainslie’s proposal. Councillor Ainslie is not a member of that Committee.

We were taken aback by Councillor Ainslie’s April 28, 2021 effort to delay a vote on the City staff e-scooter recommendation. As noted above, all the April 28, 2021 deputants from the Toronto disability community strongly supported the ban on e-scooters. None asked for more research, or suggested that there is any more research that is needed.

Councillor Ainslie did not reach out to us or, to our knowledge, to any other disability organizations doing advocacy on this issue, in advance of his effort at the April 28, 2021 Infrastructure and Environment Committee. He did not ask us if there is any more research needed, or whether we supported the idea of a delay in the vote so that more research could be done. We immediately reached out to Councillor Ainslie to ask if we could speak about this. He has not agreed to do so.

On May 5, 2021, please vote to approve the ban on e-scooters, and not to conduct a pilot project. Please vote against any effort to stall this issue, and to drag it out. People with disabilities have been through enough hardship during this COVID-19 pandemic. Please free us from the lurking fear that we will face the dangers to our safety and accessibility against which the City staff report, the unanimous Infrastructure and Environment Committee and the unanimous Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee all warned. Please stand up for people with disabilities and stand up to the well-financed, well-connected e-scooter corporate lobbyists.

Please stay safe.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont

Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

Twitter: @davidlepofsky

 May 2, 2021 Letter from AODA Allianceto Toronto City Councillor Paul Ainslie

May 2, 2021

To Toronto City Councillor Paul Ainslie

Via email: [email protected]

Twitter: @cllrainslie

Dear Councillor Ainslie,

At the Wednesday, May 5, 2021 meeting of Toronto City Council, a vote is expected on whether Toronto should lift the ban on e-scooters. As you know, a City staff report recommends that Toronto not lift the ban on e-scooters, and not conduct a pilot project with e-scooters. We strongly agree with that report.

We write to ask if you will vote to approve the City staff recommendation, and to urge you to do so. The excellent, thorough City staff report is based on extensive, impartial, professional research and investigation. It fully explored all sides of the issue. E-scooter corporate lobbyists were given a full and fair opportunity to give input, and to respond to concerns that have been raised about e-scooters.

The City staff report and recommendation was unanimously supported on April 28, 2021 by the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee. That unanimous vote came after the Committee heard from an impressive number of deputations, include many from Toronto’s disability community. Those people with disabilities and disability organization strongly and unanimously called for Toronto to retain the ban on e-scooters that is now the law, and for Toronto not to conduct a pilot project. Over and over, serious fears were voiced about the additional dangers that e-scooters pose to people with disabilities and seniors, beyond the great number of barriers they already face when trying to get around in Toronto.

Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee twice passed unanimous recommendations that Toronto not allow e-scooters at all, on February 3, 2020 and February 25, 2021. Both times, that Committee made those recommendations after receiving deputations from the public.

You should also support the City staff report because it has received endorsements from the local business and residents’ association perspectives. The Danforth Business Improvement Area’s written submission to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee called for e-scooters to be banned, and supported the City staff report. A local residents’ association took the same position in an oral deputation to that Committee on April 28, 2021.

As you also know, the core pressure for Toronto to allow e-scooters comes from the corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies. We have fully documented the feeding frenzy of corporate lobbying with which they have been inundating City Hall. Several members of City Council have observed that this is the largest corporate lobbyist campaign now underway at City Hall. One can only imagine how much money they are spending to wage their campaign

Our March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto further details the dangers that e-scooters present for people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. It also shows that the arguments that the e-scooter corporate lobbyists present are entirely unpersuasive. They often are inaccurate or misleading.

Those e-scooter corporate lobbyists are no doubt now unleashing a last-ditch effort to get access that they seek to the Toronto market. Their last-minute strategy appears to be to ask City Council to direct that City staff conduct more research on the disability accessibility concerns regarding e-scooters. It is clear that this is a stalling tactic, to give those corporate lobbyists more time to infest City Hall with even more of their back room lobbying efforts.

Please oppose any effort to delay a May 5, 2021 Toronto City Council vote on the City staff recommendations regarding e-scooters. Any effort to delay the vote to get more research done is bogus. City staff have been very thorough. There is nothing more to research. No one from the disability community has been asking for more such research. The e-scooter corporate lobbyists have not approached those of us advocating from the disability perspective, to identify any further research that they say is needed, or to ask if we see any need for further research. Had there been any need for further research, they could have identified it weeks or months ago. City staff were assigned this further research on July 28, 2020, nine months ago.

We were deeply troubled by the fact that at the April 28, 2021 Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting, you urged that instead of there being a vote now on the City staff report, City staff should be directed to do another five months of research on the accessibility concerns regarding e-scooters from the disability community. Commendably, the Committee did not take up your proposal.

You are not a member of that Committee. It is very good that the Infrastructure and Environment Committee unanimously voted instead to support the City staff recommendation. No one on the Committee spoke in favour of your delay proposal.

We were taken aback by your unexpected April 28, 2021 effort to delay a vote on the very commendable City staff e-scooter recommendations. As noted above, all the April 28, 2021 deputants from the Toronto disability community strongly supported the ban on e-scooters. None asked for more research, or suggested that there is any more research that is needed.

Before that meeting, you did not reach out to us or, to our knowledge, to any other disability organizations advocating on this issue, in advance of your effort at the April 28, 2021 Infrastructure and Environment Committee. You did not ask us if there is any more research needed, or whether we supported the idea of a delay in the vote so that more research could be done.

Via Twitter, we immediately reached out to you on April 28, 2021 to ask if we could speak with you about this. You and your staff have not agreed to do so or responded to that request.

Please do not try at the May 5, 2021 City Council meeting to delay a decision on the City staff report. Please do not take steps that will hurt people with disabilities. Please do not invoke accessibility for people with disabilities as a reason for trying to delay this vote. Such a delay would only serve the interests of the well-financed and well-connected e-scooter corporate lobbyists. It would hurt vulnerable people with disabilities.

On May 5, 2021, please vote to approve the ban on e-scooters, and not to conduct a pilot project. Please vote against any effort to stall this issue, and to drag it out. People with disabilities have been through enough hardship during this COVID-19 pandemic. Please free us from the lurking fear that we will face the dangers to our safety and accessibility against which the City staff report, the unanimous Infrastructure and Environment Committee and the unanimous Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee all warned. Please stand up for people with disabilities and stand up to the well-financed, well-connected e-scooter corporate lobbyists.

Stay safe.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont

Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

Twitter: @davidlepofsky



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In One Day, Advocacy Action on 3 Accessibility Fronts- Critical Care Triage, Electric Scooters and B.C. Disabilities Act – AODA Alliance


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

In One Day, Advocacy Action on 3 Accessibility Fronts– Critical Care Triage, Electric Scooters and B.C. Disabilities Act

April 29, 2021

            SUMMARY

The grassroots volunteer campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities must be waged on so many fronts. Yesterday, we saw action at the same time on three of those fronts. In a nutshell:

  1. On its April 28, 2021 evening TV news broadcast, Global News included a superb report on the disability discrimination in Ontario’s critical care triage protocol by senior journalist Caryn Lieberman. We set out below the slightly longer text version of that report that Global also posted online. This is another in Ms. Lieberman’s consistently excellent reportage on disability issues in recent years.

For more on this issue, visit the AODA Alliance health care web page.

  1. On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, after tenacious grassroots efforts by so many, the City of Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee unanimously voted to not allow e-scooters in Toronto, and not to conduct a pilot project with e-scooters. E-scooters endanger the safety and accessibility for people with disabilities and seniors, and frankly, endanger everyone. Disability concerns were at the centre of this decision.

Thanks to all who joined in this grassroots campaign. However, we are not done yet. On May 5, 2021, the entire Toronto City Council will vote on the question. We must keep up the pressure. To help us press all members of Toronto City Council, please follow @aodaalliance on Twitter and retweet our tweets over the next days. Call as many members of Toronto City Council as possible to urge them to vote no to e-scooters, and no to conducting a Toronto e-scooter pilot project.

The disability campaign against e-scooters has gotten more media attention. Below we set out a letter to the editor in today’s Toronto Star by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, and two articles on this issue in the Star over the past two days. You can also watch a good report by reporter Jessica Ng on this topic that appeared on the April 28, 2021 6 o’clock Toronto news broadcast on CBC TV.

Yesterday was an unusual if not unique day for the AODA Alliance. At the same time over the supper hour, two different TV networks, Global and CBC, each aired news reports that included the AODA Alliance, each addressing different issues. On CBC, it was the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities. On Global, it was the dangers that Ontario’s critical care triage protocol poses for people with disabilities.

The April 28, 2021 report on the e-scooters issue in the Toronto Star, set out below, that ran before the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee voted on this issue, included this information:

“The chair of Bird Canada is John Bitove. His brother Jordan Bitove is the publisher of the Toronto Star and co-proprietor of Torstar, the company that owns the newspaper.”

Bird Canada is one of the two biggest e-scooter rental companies that are aggressively lobbying Toronto City Council to let them rent e-scooters in Toronto, despite their danger for people with disabilities and others.

For more background, check out the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto on e-scooters, the AODA Alliance video on why e-scooters are so dangerous (which media can use in any reports), and the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.

  1. While all this was going on in Ontario, great news reached us from Canada’s west coast. Following the lead that Ontario set back in 2005 with the enactment of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the BC Government introduced a bill for first reading in the B.C. Legislature, Bill 6, the Accessible British Columbia Act. We have not yet had a chance to review the bill itself.

We congratulate B.C. disability advocates, led by the grassroots Barrier-Free BC, for this major milestone event. The AODA Alliance has been proud to lend assistance to their efforts from afar, when asked. Back in October 2015, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky was the keynote speaker at a town hall event that led to the birth that day of Barrier-Free B.C. From there on in, it was the excellent work of grassroots disability advocates in B.C. that carried the ball, did the hard work, and got their province to this important point. We remain eager to help B.C. in any way we can as this bill makes its way through the B.C. Legislature.

The Ford Government’s delays on disability accessibility seem endless. There have now been 819 days, or over 2 and a quarter years, since the Ford Government received the ground-breaking final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has announced no effective plan of new action to implement that report. That makes even worse the serious problems facing Ontarians with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis. The Ontario Government only has 1,343 days left until 2025, the deadline by which the Government must have led Ontario to become fully accessible to people with disabilities.

            MORE DETAILS

Global News April 28, 2021

Originally posted at https://963bigfm.com/news/7816548/ontario-covid-triage-protocol-discriminates-disability-advocates/

Ontario’s COVID-19 triage protocol ‘discriminates because of disability,’ advocates say

Caryn Lieberman GlobalNews.ca

With Ontario’s ICUs being pushed to the brink, hospitals are preparing for the worst. For health-care workers, that means staring difficult life-changing choices in the face. If there aren’t enough beds, who gets one? As Caryn Lieberman reports, there would be a process to follow, but some says it discriminates against people with disabilities.

When Tracy Odell experienced bleeding in her stomach last summer during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, she went to hospital but vowed she would not return.

“I don’t feel safe in hospitals and a lot of people with disabilities similar to mine, where you need this much assistance, don’t feel safe in a hospital,” she said.

Odell was born with spinal muscular atrophy and requires assistance to complete many daily tasks.

Now, amid the third wave and with critical care units filling up, Odell said she fears if she ever needed the care, she would not be able to get it.

“I, personally, wouldn’t go to a hospital. I would feel it would be a waste of time and I’d feel very unsafe to go there … It’s a real indictment, I think, of our system, that people who have disabilities, have severe needs, don’t feel safe in a place where everyone’s supposed to be safe,” she said.

Odell is most concerned about a “critical care triage protocol” that could be activated in Ontario.

It would essentially allow health-care providers to decide who gets potentially life-saving care and who doesn’t.

Under the guidelines, as set out in a draft protocol circulating among hospitals, patients would be ranked on their likelihood to survive one year after the onset of critical illness.

“Patients who have a high likelihood of dying within twelve months from the onset of their episode of critical illness (based on an evaluation of their clinical presentation at the point of triage) would have a lower priority for critical care resources,” states the document.

Odell says it’s tough to predict who will survive an illness.

“They have to guess who’s going to last a year … As a child with my disability, my projected life expectancy was like a kid … they didn’t think I’d live to be a teenager and here I am retired, so it’s a very hard thing to judge,” said Odell.

Disability advocates have been raising alarm bells over the triage protocol for months.

David Lepofsky, of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, sent multiple letters to Minister of Health Christine Elliott demanding transparency, arguing “the Ontario government’s pervasive secrecy over its critical care triage plans has made many people with disabilities terrified, angry and distrustful.”

“People with disabilities have disproportionately had to suffer for the past year from the most severe aspects of COVID … People with disabilities are disproportionately prone to end up in intensive care units and die from the disease,” said Lepofsky.

“Now we face the double cruelty that we are disproportionately prone to get told, ‘No, you can’t have that life-saving care.’”

Lepofsky said the document that is circulating, while not finalized, is problematic, unethical and discriminatory.

“The rules that have been given to intensive care units for deciding who gets critical care and who doesn’t, if they have to ration, may look fine because they’re full of medical jargon, but they actually explicitly discriminate because of disability,” he said.

“We agree there should be a protocol, but it can’t be one that discriminates because of disability. That’s illegal.”

John Mossa, who is living with muscular dystrophy, has been homebound for more than a year, afraid he would contract COVID-19 if he went outside and not survive it.

“COVID is a very serious disease for me … if I do get COVID, I would probably become very ill and pass away because of my poor respiratory condition. I have about 30 per cent lung capacity due to my muscular dystrophy so COVID is very serious. It’s been a very scary time,” he said.

Never more frightening than right now, Mossa said, amid a surging third wave with a record number of patients in Ontario’s critical care units and the potential for triaging life-saving care.

“The people that would be affected the most are the least considered to get care … I’m afraid, I’m totally afraid to go to hospital right now,” he said.

A few weeks ago, Mossa said, he had a hip accident but he has avoided the hospital, even though he is suffering and should seek medical help.

“I should be considering going to hospital, but I’m not going to go to hospital because I know that I won’t get the care I need and if it gets any worse. I know that I wouldn’t be given an ICU bed,” he said.

On Wednesday, when asked about the triage protocol, Elliott said it has not yet been activated.

That was echoed by Dr. James Downar, a palliative and critical care physician in Ottawa who co-wrote Ontario’s ICU protocol.

“I don’t think that there’s any plan to initiate a triage process in the next couple of days. I think a lot is going to depend on which way our ICU numbers go. They have been climbing at a fairly alarming rate,” he said.

On concerns by advocates that the protocol discriminates against people with disabilities, Downar said, “The only criterion in the triage plan is mortality risk.”

“We absolutely don’t want to make any judgments about whose life is more valuable, certainly nothing based on ability, disability or need for accommodations … If you value all lives equally, that, I think, is the strongest argument for using an approach that would save as many lives as you can,” he said.

Toronto Star April 29, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2021/04/29/e-scooters-are-a-danger-to-people-with-disabilities.html

Letters to the Editor

E-scooters are a danger to people with disabilities

Scoot over, progress. Not in this town, April 27

Matt Elliott is wrong to urge Toronto to allow e-scooters; city council must not unleash dangerous electric scooters in Toronto, now banned, unless council legalizes them.

A city staff report shows e-scooters endanger public safety. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people, like me, can’t know silent e-scooters rocket at us at over 20 kph, driven by unlicensed, uninsured, unhelmeted fun-seeking riders.

It is no solution to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks.

As a blind person, if I get hit by a silent e-scooter racing towards me, it injures me just as badly, whether the rider owns the e-scooter or rents it.

Toronto has too many disability barriers. E-scooters would make it worse.

Toronto’s Disability Accessibility Advisory Committee and disability organizations unanimously called on Toronto not to allow e-scooters.

Mayor John Tory should stand up for people with disabilities, and should stand up to the corporate lobbyists conducting a high-price feeding frenzy at City Hall.

David Lepofsky, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

 Toronto Star April 29, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/04/28/committee-votes-unanimously-to-uphold-torontos-e-scooter-ban.html

Greater Toronto

Committee upholds T.O. e-scooter ban

Final decision on vehicles to be debated at council next month

Ben Spurr Toronto Star

A city committee has voted to uphold Toronto’s ban on e-scooters, setting up a final decision on the controversial vehicles at council next month.

More than 40 people signed up to speak to a city staff report on e-scooters at a remote meeting of the infrastructure and environment committee Wednesday.

The debate largely pitted transportation experts and representatives of e-scooter companies, who argued the vehicles are an innovative and sustainable transportation option, against disability and seniors advocates, who said e-scooters pose a danger to people with accessibility challenges.

Patricia Israel, a 69-year-old wheelchair user, told the committee she was scared of being hit by someone riding an e-scooter, which are quiet and can have top speeds of more than 40 km/h, although provincial guidelines say they should top out at 24 km/h.

“When a senior crashes to the sidewalk with a broken hip, he or she may die … do you want that?” she asked.

“E-scooters are left scattered all over sidewalks in cities around the world. Some people in wheelchairs cannot pick them up to move them … We’ll be on the sidewalk saying, ‘What do I do now?’” she added.

Jen Freiman, general manager of Lime Canada, an e-scooter sharing company, countered that cars represent the most serious threat on Toronto’s streets, and the city should be allowing safer alternatives.

“I’m not worried about my two young children being hit by someone (on) a scooter in Toronto,” she said. “What does scare me though is a frustrated driver ripping down the side streets by my house.”

She said that e-scooter companies operating in dozens of other cities have found ways to mitigate concerns about safety, street clutter and other issues raised by critics.

E-scooters have become popular in big cities around the world, both for private use and as part of sharing operations that allow users to hop on and off rented vehicles for short trips.

Both uses are currently prohibited on Toronto streets, sidewalks and other public spaces, and the staff report recommended against joining a provincial pilot project that allows cities to legalize the vehicles, subject to conditions.

Staff cited numerous concerns, including the vehicles becoming tripping hazards, unsafe riding on sidewalks, a lack of insurance coverage and insufficient enforcement resources.

Councillors on the committee voted unanimously to support the staff recommendation. Committee member Mike Layton (Ward 11, University-Rosedale) said he was “very conflicted” about the decision, because he believed that the city and e-scooter companies could likely find solutions to the objections critics raised about the vehicles.

But he said the disability community had “very real concerns” and he couldn’t vote against staff advice on a safety issue.

City council will debate the report at its May 5 meeting.

Toronto Star April 28, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/04/22/as-city-committee-debates-e-scooters-concerns-over-a-missed-opportunity.html#:~:text=GTA-,As%20city%20committee%20debates%20e%2Dscooters,concerns%20over%20’a%20missed%20opportunity’&text=They’re%20fun%2C%20fast%20and,to%20ride%20on%20city%20streets.&text=In%20the%20U.S.%2C%20there%20were,Association%20of%20City%20Transportation%20Officials.

Greater Toronto

E-scooters look for green light on T.O. streets

Method of transportation can be ‘useful part of the puzzle,’ one expert says

Ben Spurr Toronto Star

They’re fun, fast and for the moment, they’re illegal to ride on city streets.

But some transportation experts say Toronto is being too timid in its approach to e-scooters, and council should take a stab at legalizing the zippy two-wheeled vehicles on municipal roads, at least on a trial basis.

E-scooters are prohibited on Toronto streets and other public spaces, and in a report released last week, city transportation staff recommend maintaining the status quo. The city’s infrastructure committee will debate the report Wednesday, before the recommendation goes to council next month.

Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s former chief city planner, argues the city should “work toward safely integrating e-scooters into the transportation landscape … because they can be a useful part of the puzzle.”

Keesmaat said the disruption to travel patterns caused by COVID-19 has presented cities with a golden opportunity to rethink policies that have historically prioritized private cars above other modes. She argued e-scooters could provide an additional, more sustainable transportation alternative and help make cities “greener and quieter places.”

“If we take as a given that we need more micro mobility in the city, and that we want to move away from assuming that getting around in a car is the best or only approach, overcoming the challenges associated with scooters is in the best interest of the city over the long term,” she said, while acknowledging there have been problems with the rollout of e-scooters elsewhere.

Motorized electric stand-up scooters have exploded in popularity in recent years and they’re now used in dozens of cities around the world by both private owners and as part of e-scooter sharing operations, which allow riders to hop on and off rented vehicles for short trips.

In the U.S., there were 86 million trips taken on e-scooters in 2019, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials. The average trip length was about 1.6 kilometres. Around one-third of all car trips in the U.S. are less than about three kilometres, which is why some experts believe the two-wheeled devices have the potential to significantly displace car use.

Shauna Brail, an urban planner and associate professor at the Institute for Management & Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga, said she’s not convinced e-scooters represent the transformative change their proponents sometimes pitch them as.

But Brail said there’s evidence the electric-powered vehicles have potential to help solve the first mile/last mile problem of connecting people to transit hubs at the beginning or end of their commutes, and not testing them out would be “a missed opportunity.”

Raktim Mitra, co-director of TransForm Laboratory of Transportation and Land Use Planning at Ryerson University, agreed that city staff are being overly conservative.

He said misgivings about safety, liability and street clutter related to e-scooters are valid, but those problems could likely be addressed through “a combination of technology and regulations.”

There is indication that e-scooters are “one of the most interesting innovations to solve the first mile/last mile problem,” Mitra said. “If it was up to me, I would probably support at least a pilot to try it out.”

The Toronto staff report flagged concerns about the devices, chief among them the potential risk they could pose to Torontonians with accessibility challenges if they were left on the street or improperly ridden on sidewalks. The report also warned insurers won’t cover the vehicles, and the city lacks enforcement resources to ensure users follow the rules.

Staff are advising that council vote against joining a five-year pilot project the Ontario government launched in 2020 that allows cities to legalize e-scooters. Under the terms of the pilot, the vehicles must have a top speed of 24 km/h, and weigh no more than 45 kg. Windsor and Ottawa are among those taking part.

Ahead of the Toronto council vote, global e-scooter sharing companies like Bird and Lime have lobbied city hall in an effort to open up the market to their operations.

The chair of Bird Canada is John Bitove. His brother Jordan Bitove is the publisher of the Toronto Star and co-proprietor of Torstar, the company that owns the newspaper.

Matti Siemiatycki, a professor of geography and interim director of the School of Cities at the University of Toronto, said city staff are right to not embrace e-scooters.

“I think that with every technology there’s trade-offs, and with e-scooters, especially the shared approach, the negative consequences of this technology (outweigh the benefits),” he said, citing the hazards they pose to people with disabilities.



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After a Major Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto Infrastructure Committee Unanimously Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters – Next Week Toronto City Council Will Decide


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After a Major Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto Infrastructure Committee Unanimously Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters – Next Week Toronto City Council Will Decide

April 28, 2021 Toronto: As an important interim victory for people with disabilities, Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee Today unanimously voted not to allow e-scooters in public and not to conduct a pilot project. On May 5, Toronto City Council will have this issue on its agenda.

City staff and Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee made strong recommendations to City Council against allowing e-scooters in Toronto, and against conducting a pilot project. In the same direction, an impressive spectrum of disability advocates told the Committee today that Mayor Tory and City Council must not unleash dangerous electric scooters in Toronto (now banned, unless Council legalizes them).

A City Staff Report, which the Committee unanimously supported, amply shows e-scooters endanger public safety in places allowing them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people can’t tell when silent e-scooters rocket at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmetted fun-seeking riders. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for blind people and accessibility nightmares for wheelchair users.

The Infrastructure Committee was told that Toronto has been getting less accessible to people with disabilities. Allowing e-scooters would make that worse.

The Committee was told over and over that it accomplishes nothing to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The City Staff Report documents the silent menace of e-scooters continue to be ridden on sidewalks in cities that just ban them from sidewalks. We would need cops on every block. Toronto law enforcement told City Councilors last July 9 that they have no resources to enforce such new e-scooter rules.

E-scooters would impose significant costs on taxpayers for new law enforcement, OHIP for treating those injured by e-scooters, lawsuits by the injured, etc. Toronto has more pressing budget priorities.

Disability advocates explained that City Council should not conduct an e-scooter pilot. A pilot to study what? How many innocent people will be injured? We already know they will from cities that allowed them. Torontonians should not be subjected to such a human experiment, especially without the consent of those at risk of being injured.

The AODA Alliance has exposed the stunning well-funded behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure that corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies have inundated City Hall with for months.

“We applaud the Toronto Infrastructure Committee for its unanimous vote and urge all of City Council to take the same position next week,” said AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. “We call on Mayor Tory and the entire City Council to stand up for people with disabilities and to stand up to the e-scooter corporate lobbyists.”

Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, [email protected]

Twitter: @aodaalliance

For more background, check out the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto on e-scooters, the AODA Alliance video on why e-scooters are so dangerous (which media can use in any reports), and the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.



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