With a Federal Election Looming, Two Captioned Videos Explain Why Canada Needs a Strong Accessible Canada Act and Why the One that Passed in 2019 Needs to Be Strengthened


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities
Web: https://www.aodaalliance.org Email: aoda[email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

July 28, 2021

It sure looks, sounds, tastes and smells like there is a federal election in the air. That means it is time for disability advocates to gear up to ask the federal parties for election commitments on accessibility for over six million people with disabilities in Canada!

To get ready, we would welcome your feedback. What should we be asking for regarding the implementation of the Accessible Canada Act. It was passed over two years ago. Yet the Federal Government has still not hired the national Accessibility Commissioner or the Chief Accessibility Officer to lead its implementation. No accessibility standards have yet been enacted to require specific action to remove and prevent disability barriers.

To learn more about this subject, we today unveil for you two captioned videos. Together, they bring you up to speed.

The first video, ” What should Canada’s promised national accessibility legislation include?” tells you why Canada needs a strong national accessibility law. It is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzUKVs28T8U

The second video, called “2018-2019 Campaign to get Canada’s parliament to Pass a Strong Accessible Canada Act,” gives you the history of the trip that the Accessible Canada Act took through Canada’s House of Commons, Senate, and back to the House of Commons again, in 2018-2019. That video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMdC0wi5FlM
Together these videos show that the Accessible Canada Act is helpful, but too weak. We and many others were especially worried because it commendably gave the Federal Government new powers, without imposing needed time lines on the Government to ensure that the law is implemented in a timely and effective way. By splintering its implementation and enforcement across three federal agencies, it made the law unnecessarily complicated and hard to navigate. Events since then have proven us correct.

In the October 2019 federal election, the governing Liberal party made election commitments on its implementation. It pledged to use a disability lens for all Government decisions. It also committed:

” We are fully committed to the timely and ambitious implementation of the Accessible Canada Act so that it can fully benefit all Canadians.”

Have they kept their word? What promises should we ask all the major parties to make? The Accessible Canada Act requires Canada to become accessible to people with disabilities by 2040, at least within federal jurisdiction. In the two years since the Accessible Canada Act was passed, has Canada made two years’ worth of progress towards that goal? Are we on schedule?

Send us your feedback. Write us at [email protected]

For even more background on the AODA Alliance’s efforts regarding the Accessible Canada Act, visit the AODA Alliance website’s Canada page.




Source link

Accessible Complaint Processes in Healthcare


Currently, there are still no AODA healthcare standards. However, an AODA standards development committee drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA healthcare standards should include. These guidelines include accessible complaint processes in healthcare.

The committee’s mandate from the Ontario government requires recommendations focused on the hospital setting. However, patients and healthcare workers with disabilities also face barriers in other parts of the healthcare system, including:

  • Doctors’ offices
  • Walk-in clinics
  • Wellness centres
  • Pharmacies
  • Labs
  • Nursing homes
  • Outpatient rehabilitation centres
  • Health regulatory colleges

Therefore, all these settings should have accessible complaint processes.

Accessible Complaint Processes in Healthcare

When patients experience accessibility barriers in healthcare, they may be unaware that they can use complaint processes to alert their healthcare providers to the barriers. Moreover, these processes can help providers learn about frequent barriers that patients face, and begin removing or preventing these ongoing barriers. Therefore, the committee recommends that all hospitals should have timely and efficient processes for patients to express their concerns.

Hospitals should document their accessible complaint processes, and make these documents available to the public. Moreover, hospitals should inform new patients about their processes, and that patients can make complaints without reprisals. In addition, patients should be able to make their complaints in various ways, including in accessible formats. Patients should also be able to make complaints anonymously, if they wish. Hospitals should use these anonymous reports to discover repeated instances of the same accessibility barriers.

Hospitals should also create and implement processes to frequently review their policies and practices, based on patterns of inaccessible services patients have experienced. Staff should then update their policies and practices to improve accessibility.

Furthermore, the committee recommends that the government should amend requirements for patient complaint processes, under the Excellent Care for All Act (2015). For example, the Act should allow a fast process for urgent accessibility-related complaints during emergency situations or pandemic conditions, such as complaints about:

  • Ableism and discrimination in medical triage protocols
  • The need for visitors to be designated as essential, for accessibility reasons

Finally, the government should also amend the Act’s requirement for a robust patient relations process. This process involves a delegate whom patients can contact. The delegate’s contact information should be available in accessible formats for patients who request it. Likewise, patients should be able to contact the delegate in accessible formats.

These processes will improve hospital accessibility, for patients and staff.




Source link

I Am Trying and Struggling: Lack of Accessible, Affordable Units Leaves Kitchener Man Stranded


CBC News
Posted July 12, 2021

Ronald Hoppe said shock turned to anger when he found out he would be waiting years on Waterloo regions affordable housing list before he would be able to get a unit that was accessible.

Hoppe, who has run Kitcheners Comic-Con since 2015, started using a wheelchair earlier this year after part of his left leg was amputated in December 2020.

Hoppe also previously had all his toes on his right foot amputated and has cataract scarring in both his eyes, which he said has caused problems with his vision.

I was upset because here I am, a person in need who is trying to live independent, trying to get my life back in order, and when I heard about this wait list I was like, You have to be kidding me?’ Hoppe told CBC News.

Im doing what I can to piece the broken pieces together with scotch tape. I am trying and struggling every single day.

During his recovery at St. Josephs Health Centre in Guelph, Hoppe said he found out he was being pushed out of the Kitchener townhouse he shared with a roommate in part because of his disability. He then tried to find an alternative place to stay.

Hoppe said at the same time he registered for the regions affordable housing program with the hope of getting a unit, and he discovered he might be waiting up to seven years.

Youre hoping to see a light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel, you fill out all the paperwork and you find out its a seven year waiting list, he said.

What are you supposed to do in the meantime? The answer is, suffer.

Average wait time 3 to 7 years

According to the region, the average wait time for an affordable unit can be anywhere from three to seven years, and it can often be an even longer wait for those looking for an accessible unit.

As demand for affordable housing continues to rise in Waterloo region, local advocates say there needs to be a bigger push for more accessible and affordable units as well.

The Region of Waterloo oversees roughly 5,600 affordable housing units through different programs like Waterloo Region Housing and the regions rent supplement program.

The region also works with non-profit organizations, co-op living communities and private landlords to provide and build more affordable housing.

In general its a big issue, but especially for people with disabilities because there is so little of it, said Edward Faruzel, executive director of KW AccessAbility, a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities in the region.

Faruzel said his organization has been advocating for more accessible and affordable housing for years.

KW AcessAbility doesnt provide affordable housing units, but the organization helps people navigate the regions affordable housing system and assisted living, Faruzel said.

He said the number of people reaching out to his organization for help has been on the rise over the last five years, many not knowing how to begin finding a home.

It might be an injury thats happened recently, weve received a lot of calls about that. Or, people will call for a loved one or a parent whos had a stroke, he said.

In the past it might have been a few a year, but now were getting a few a month. Its increased dramatically.

Shelter system a horrific experience

After being released from the hospital in May, Hoppe said he was dropped off at The Bridges shelter in Cambridge because it was the only accessible shelter in Waterloo region.

He said hes struggled to get help from other local homeless organizations because he is not considered chronically homeless and is not part of the regions emergency shelter system.

Hoppe said he spent one night at The Bridges, but decided not to stay due to the shelters condition. He said the shelter had a number of COVID-19 cases at the time and he was not told where he could find an accessible washroom.

No one was wearing masks, there was no physical distancing. It was a horrific experience, he said.

After that, Hoppe said he couch surfed with a friend while he tried to work out where he could go next and was eventually allowed to go back to his previous home in June. But Hoppe fears he could get pushed out again.

An added challenge he said, is that the townhouse hes currently subleasing is not wheelchair accessible and he is forced to crawl through doorways, to use the bathroom or to go up and down stairs.

Hoppe said hes also on social assistance and cant work because of his condition.

He adds the cost of rent in Waterloo region is too high and looking for a different apartment or townhouse to move into is no longer a viable option.

If I didnt have this place to come back to, I would be in so much trouble right now, he said.

I was naive thinking I could get over not having a leg in six months. Im still adjusting.

People aren’t moving because of affordability

High cost of rent in Waterloo region and a shortage of affordable housing units are major contributing factors to why thousands of people are on the wait list for years, according to Kelly-Anne Solerno, manager of Waterloo Region Housing.

Solerno said there are currently 6,000 people on the regions wait list for affordable housing, 81 of them in need of an accessible unit, and the wait list is only getting longer.

In terms of Waterloo Region Housing [?] were looking at a less than two per cent vacancy rate, which is very similar to what the community is feeling right now in terms of stock, and our turn over rate is really low right now, she said.

People arent moving because of affordability. As we have vacant units, we rent them up as soon as we can.

And it can become more challenging for people looking for accessible units, she said.

The majority of the affordable units that the region took over from the Ontario Housing Corporation 20 years ago were not built to be accessible.

As the region builds new affordable housing, making sure theres more accessible, affordable units is a much bigger priority now, Solerno said.

The provinces standard is that 15 per cent of the new units that we build must have basic accessibility features such as barrier-free paths, travel in doorways, kitchen and bedroom, she said.

Faruzel and Hoppe said 15 per cent is a small step in the right direction and more needs to be done to increase the number of accessible units locally.

The region has plans to build up to 2,500 new affordable housing units over the next five years and Solerno said they are willing to work with more non-profits and landlords to bring more affordable housing and accessible units to the community.

As we continue to build and ramp up, well start to see more accessible units coming into the stock, Solerno said.

Original at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/accessible-affordable-housing-waterloo-region-1.6094745




Source link

‘I was hoping that there will be more empathy’: Kelowna accessible housing proposal opposed


Gary and Joan McEwan have a vision.

“We are trying to make a completely inclusive building,” said Gary. “Because we have lived a life of inaccessibility in our town.”

The Kelowna couple’s 14-year-old son Ben is disabled and has a lot of special needs.

“Ben does not walk … he doesn’t talk, he doesn’t eat orally — he’s fed through a tube,” Gary told Global News. “He has multiple seizures on a daily basis. He has scoliosis.”

Read more:
Halifax wheelchair user ‘trapped’ in apartment due to 15-day-long elevator repair

The couple has devoted their life to taking care of Ben but it’s a full-time job.

“You don’t know what it takes out of you as a person,” Joan McEwan said. “It’s hard work and I don’t want to get emotional but it is hard work, it’s tiring.”

Story continues below advertisement

With Ben requiring 24-7 care, the couple has little time for much else, including maintaining a home.


Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia woman hopes to address lack of appropriate housing for disabled adults during National AccessAbility Week'







Nova Scotia woman hopes to address lack of appropriate housing for disabled adults during National AccessAbility Week


Nova Scotia woman hopes to address lack of appropriate housing for disabled adults during National AccessAbility Week – May 27, 2019

They decided a while back they needed to downsize to an apartment to reduce house and yard work in order to have more time for their son, but finding an apartment that is fully wheelchair accessible proved impossible.

“There’s nothing available here in town,” Gary said.

He said with nearly 300 families similar to his living in the health region, the need for a fully accessible building is enormous.

So he’s proposing to build one on a lot he purchased in the Manhattan Point neighbourhood in the north end of downtown.


This is an artist rendering of the five-storey building the McEwans are proposing to build in Kelowna’s Manhattan Point neighbourhood.


Contributed

“We’ve deleted all of the hurdles such as curbs going out to decks, curbs going to showers, [created] wide hallways … that kind of thing,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

The proposed housing complex includes a five-storey building with eight units, as well as two townhouses at the front of the building.

It would be situated on a half-acre lot in the 900-block of Manhattan Drive.

Read more:
OnTree introduces new wheelchair-accessible zipline route

But the project requires the land to be re-zoned to allow for multi-unit housing and an amendment to the Official Community Plan, something many residents oppose.

“It’s so precedent-setting. I think it would definitely set a tone, a signal in the neighbourhood, that others can come in and consolidate and put up lots and apartment blocks,” said area resident Carmen Gray.

The neighbourhood consists of family homes, carriage houses and duplexes.

“It does not fit at all,” said Gray. “Clearly we’re not apartment buildings.”

Gray said a petition against the project has been sent to the city.

“Ninety per cent of the residents in this community — 63 households out of 70 — have said they are opposed. Not because they’re not willing to have more density or change in this neighbourhood, but because they don’t want to put an apartment block and that level of density on the street,” Gray said.

Story continues below advertisement

Gray said other concerns surrounding the project include an already narrow roadway and lack of sidewalks.

Gray said this type of housing belongs on a street with more infrastructure.

“It’s just the wrong location,” Gray said. “You would think … that they would want to put something like this on a street with more infrastructure, sidewalks, busing, even a place for a handicap bus to stop and park.”

The McEwans said they already have four families interested in moving into the building and feel disheartened at the reaction from some of the neighbours.

“You have push-back from a community that you want to live in, you want to live there for the rest of your life,” Joan McEwan said. “I was hoping that there will be more empathy for something like this.”

The proposal will go to a public hearing on Tuesday, July 13 at 4:30 p.m.


Click to play video: 'Kelowna’s Starbright Children’s Development Centre gets new playground thanks to community'







Kelowna’s Starbright Children’s Development Centre gets new playground thanks to community


Kelowna’s Starbright Children’s Development Centre gets new playground thanks to community – May 18, 2021




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





Source link

Kelowna couple proposes to build a fully accessible apartment complex but the proposal is being met with opposition | Watch News Videos Online



A Kelowna couple with a vision to create a first-of-its kind housing complex is hoping city council approves the plan. The pair, who have a disabled son, want to build a fully accessible apartment complex. The need for this type of housing is said to be enormous but the project is being met with opposition. Klaudia Van Emmerik reports.



Source link

Send Your Feedback on the Initial Report/Recommendations by the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on What Must Be Done to Make Ontario Colleges and Universities Accessible for Students with Disabilities


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 Your Feedback on the Initial Report/Recommendations by the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on What Must Be Done to Make Ontario Colleges and Universities Accessible for Students with Disabilities

June 30, 2021

SUMMARY

There are now three different public consultations going on at the same time on the content of new accessibility standards to be enacted under the AODA. The first, ending on August 11, 2021, concerns the disability barriers facing patients with disabilities in Ontario hospitals. The second, ending on September 2, 2021, concerns the barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario schools between Kindergarten and Grade 12. The third, which ends on September 29, 2021, and which we are focusing on in this Update, concerns the barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario colleges and universities.

The AODA Alliance will be taking part in all three consultations. We urge you to do so as well. We will say more over the next weeks about each of them.

The AODA Alliance campaigned for over half a decade to get the Ontario Government to agree to develop and enact accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in each of these three areas. The door is now wide open for your input. These opportunities don’t often come along. We will make public tools available to make it easier for you to have your say. The Ontario Government has not enacted a new accessibility standard under the AODA in fully nine years.

            MORE DETAILS

1. Send Us Your Feedback on the Initial Report and Recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee

What needs to be done to tear down the many barriers that impede students with disabilities in college and university programs? The Ontario Government has promised to develop a Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard to address these barriers under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Since 2018, the Government-appointed Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee has been coming up with recommendations for the Ontario Government on what should be included in the promised Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard. On March 12, 2021, it submitted its initial or draft report and recommendations to the Ontario Government.

Three and a half months later, on June 25, 2021, the Ford Government made that initial report public. The public can send feedback on it. Feedback is invited until September 29, 2021. You can send your input to the Government by writing [email protected]

That feedback will be shared with the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. That Committee will then finalize its recommendations and submit them to the Government.

You can download the initial report and recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PSE-SDC-Initial-Recommendations-Report_June-25-2021.docx

You can download the initial recommendations on student transitions, prepared jointly by the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee and the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee, by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/MSAA-NP-K-12-SDC-Sub-Committee-Transition-Report-FINAL-EN.docx

You can download the Ford Government’s survey form for giving the Government feedback in this area by visiting the Government’s website, or by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Postsecondary_Education_Standards_Initial_Recommendations_Survey-June-25-2021.docx

The AODA Alliance will be making submissions on this initial report and its initial recommendations. We also welcome your feedback as we prepare our brief to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. Write us at [email protected]

Don’t confuse the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that we are discussing here with the promised new accessibility standard to address barriers facing students with disabilities in schools between Kindergarten and Grade 12. That would be addressed in the promised K-12 Education Accessibility Standard.

We will have more to say in the coming weeks about the initial report and recommendations by the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. Stay tuned.

You can learn more about this topic by looking at the draft framework for the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that the AODA Alliance sent to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee in March, 2020. You can learn more about our years of advocacy to make all parts of Ontario’s education system accessible for students with disabilities by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s education page.

2. The AODA Alliance’s Video Summarizing the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s Initial Reports and Recommendations is Now Captioned

The AODA Alliance’s new online video that summarizes the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report and recommendations is now captioned. Please encourage educators and parents of students with disabilities to watch this video. It gives you all the information you need in order to take part in the current public consultation on the barriers that confront students with disabilities in K-12 education in Ontario schools.

If you know anyone that sits on a school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee or a municipality’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, urge them to watch this video. It is available to one and all at https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8

If you just want to watch part of that video, you can jump to any of the topics it covers, by using these links:

  1. Start of the video: https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8
  1. 2. What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act? What is an accessibility standard? (3:30 minutes) https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=210
  1. What is the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee? (4:45 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=285
  1. What is the current public consultation? (6:45 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=405
  1. What can an accessibility standard include? (7:35 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=455
  1. Why do we need an Education Accessibility Standard? (8:10 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=490
  1. How to have your say. Different ways you can give your feedback to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee up to September 2, 2021 (11 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=660
  1. What did the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee recommend in its initial report? Review of the 20 major themes in the initial recommendations of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee (13:20 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=800
  1. Tips on what you can do right now to use the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report, in order to press for action to help students with disabilities (43 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=2580
  1. Conclusion and further resources for more information and to help you give feedback (46:50): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=2810

3. The Ford Government’s Delay on Accessibility Drags on as the 2021 Summer Begins

For three years, we have been urging the Ford Government to develop a detailed plan on accessibility, to lay out how it will get Ontario to the AODA’s mandatory goal of becoming accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. It has never done so.

On January 31, 2019, the Government received the final report of the David Onley Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. Minister for Accessibility Raymond Cho publicly said on April 10, 2019, that David Onley did a “marvelous job.”

The Onley report found that Ontario is still full of “soul-crushing” barriers impeding people with disabilities. It concluded that progress on accessibility has taken place at a “glacial pace.” It determined that that the goal of accessibility by 2025 is nowhere in sight, and that specific new Government actions, spelled out in the report, are needed.

However, in the 881 days since receiving the Onley Report, the Ford Government has not made public a detailed and comprehensive plan to implement that report’s findings and recommendations. The Government has staged some media events with the Accessibility Minister to make announcements, but little if anything new was ever announced.



Source link

Send Your Feedback on the Initial Report/Recommendations by the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on What Must Be Done to Make Ontario Colleges and Universities Accessible for Students with Disabilities


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

June 30, 2021

SUMMARY

There are now three different public consultations going on at the same time on the content of new accessibility standards to be enacted under the AODA. The first, ending on August 11, 2021, concerns the disability barriers facing patients with disabilities in Ontario hospitals. The second, ending on September 2, 2021, concerns the barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario schools between Kindergarten and Grade 12. The third, which ends on September 29, 2021, and which we are focusing on in this Update, concerns the barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario colleges and universities.

The AODA Alliance will be taking part in all three consultations. We urge you to do so as well. We will say more over the next weeks about each of them.

The AODA Alliance campaigned for over half a decade to get the Ontario Government to agree to develop and enact accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in each of these three areas. The door is now wide open for your input. These opportunities don’t often come along. We will make public tools available to make it easier for you to have your say. The Ontario Government has not enacted a new accessibility standard under the AODA in fully nine years.

MORE DETAILS

1. Send Us Your Feedback on the Initial Report and Recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee

What needs to be done to tear down the many barriers that impede students with disabilities in college and university programs? The Ontario Government has promised to develop a Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard to address these barriers under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Since 2018, the Government-appointed Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee has been coming up with recommendations for the Ontario Government on what should be included in the promised Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard. On March 12, 2021, it submitted its initial or draft report and recommendations to the Ontario Government.

Three and a half months later, on June 25, 2021, the Ford Government made that initial report public. The public can send feedback on it. Feedback is invited until September 29, 2021. You can send your input to the Government by writing [email protected]

That feedback will be shared with the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. That Committee will then finalize its recommendations and submit them to the Government.

You can download the initial report and recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PSE-SDC-Initial-Recommendations-Report_June-25-2021.docx

You can download the initial recommendations on student transitions, prepared jointly by the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee and the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee, by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/MSAA-NP-K-12-SDC-Sub-Committee-Transition-Report-FINAL-EN.docx

You can download the Ford Government’s survey form for giving the Government feedback in this area by visiting the Government’s website, or by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Postsecondary_Education_Standards_Initial_Recommendations_Survey-June-25-2021.docx

The AODA Alliance will be making submissions on this initial report and its initial recommendations. We also welcome your feedback as we prepare our brief to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. Write us at [email protected]

Don’t confuse the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that we are discussing here with the promised new accessibility standard to address barriers facing students with disabilities in schools between Kindergarten and Grade 12. That would be addressed in the promised K-12 Education Accessibility Standard.

We will have more to say in the coming weeks about the initial report and recommendations by the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. Stay tuned.

You can learn more about this topic by looking at the draft framework for the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that the AODA Alliance sent to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee in March, 2020. You can learn more about our years of advocacy to make all parts of Ontario’s education system accessible for students with disabilities by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s education page.

2. The AODA Alliance’s Video Summarizing the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s Initial Reports and Recommendations is Now Captioned

The AODA Alliance’s new online video that summarizes the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report and recommendations is now captioned. Please encourage educators and parents of students with disabilities to watch this video. It gives you all the information you need in order to take part in the current public consultation on the barriers that confront students with disabilities in K-12 education in Ontario schools.

If you know anyone that sits on a school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee or a municipality’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, urge them to watch this video. It is available to one and all at https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8

If you just want to watch part of that video, you can jump to any of the topics it covers, by using these links:

1. Start of the video: https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8

2. What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act? What is an accessibility standard? (3:30 minutes) https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=210

3. What is the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee? (4:45 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=285

4. What is the current public consultation? (6:45 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=405

5. What can an accessibility standard include? (7:35 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=455

6. Why do we need an Education Accessibility Standard? (8:10 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=490

7. How to have your say. Different ways you can give your feedback to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee up to September 2, 2021 (11 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=660

8. What did the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee recommend in its initial report? Review of the 20 major themes in the initial recommendations of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee (13:20 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=800

9. Tips on what you can do right now to use the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report, in order to press for action to help students with disabilities (43 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=2580

10. Conclusion and further resources for more information and to help you give feedback (46:50): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=2810

3. The Ford Government’s Delay on Accessibility Drags on as the 2021 Summer Begins

For three years, we have been urging the Ford Government to develop a detailed plan on accessibility, to lay out how it will get Ontario to the AODA’s mandatory goal of becoming accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. It has never done so.

On January 31, 2019, the Government received the final report of the David Onley Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. Minister for Accessibility Raymond Cho publicly said on April 10, 2019, that David Onley did a “marvelous job.”

The Onley report found that Ontario is still full of “soul-crushing” barriers impeding people with disabilities. It concluded that progress on accessibility has taken place at a “glacial pace.” It determined that that the goal of accessibility by 2025 is nowhere in sight, and that specific new Government actions, spelled out in the report, are needed.

However, in the 881 days since receiving the Onley Report, the Ford Government has not made public a detailed and comprehensive plan to implement that report’s findings and recommendations. The Government has staged some media events with the Accessibility Minister to make announcements, but little if anything new was ever announced.




Source link

Pickering mother demands fully accessible playgrounds in community


Pickering has many playgrounds, but none of them are fully accessible. A mother of a child with disabilities is calling for that to change.

She’s launched a petition, and it’s getting the attention of city hall.

“The ground surface is made up of wood chips,” Seana Haley.

“We don’t actually have a fully accessible park. We need to have poured rubber surface on the playground.”

Haley brings her three-year-old son to a park in south Pickering regularly. She says he has two disabilities, and like so many others, could benefit from a fully accessible place to play.

Read more:
‘Many families feel alone’ — Pickering family among millions of Canadians impacted by vision loss

Haley started a petition, to raise awareness of the issue. So far she has received over 500 signatures.

Story continues below advertisement

“There are kids in our city who can’t go to any park right now. We have a few parks that are starting to become a bit more inclusive but even though they call them inclusive they still leave out certain people in our population and I don’t think that’s OK in this day and age,” said Haley.

Maurice Brenner, Pickering Ward 1 councillor, says the city needs to do a better job going forward.

“An inclusive playground falls short of being accessible,” Brenner said.

He wants to bring forward recommendations to staff that every future park be accessible to everyone.

“Unfortunately, at this point, I’d have to give myself and the city a failing grade of an ‘F’ because it does not meet the accessibility needs,” said Brenner.

Pickering has about 60 playgrounds across the city; 14 are inclusive.

“I see a fully accessible playground as more of a destination park-type playground,” said Arnold Mostert, Pickering landscape and parks development manager.

Read more:
BetterSocks shining light on brain cancer one step at a time

Mostert says an accessible playground with specialized equipment can cost between $200,000 and $250,000.

Story continues below advertisement

He adds that they also require more space.

“There’s definitely a need for it in the city, just they have to be at the right location, with additional services such as washrooms, parking; a lot of our neighbourhood parks don’t provide those services,” said Mostert.

The city says it is looking at adding a fully accessible playground at a northern community park in the near future and that it will need to start replacing some of the older structures around the community, which it could convert to accessible places to play.

As for Haley, she says every municipality should have an accessible park.

“I think every kid should have access to a playground. It’s a hugely important part of their lives,” said Haley.




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





Source link

Help Make Ontario Schools Accessible for Students with Disabilities Action Kit – 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/

Help Make Ontario Schools Accessible for Students with Disabilities Action Kit

June 23, 2021

Help Tear Down the Many Disability Barriers Facing a Third of a Million Students with Disabilities in Ontario Schools

Here’s an important and rare opportunity right now to help tear down the many barriers facing students with disabilities in Ontario schools. A public consultation is underway on this topic from now until September 2, 2021. This Action Kit explains how you can help.

The AODA Alliance has campaigned for over a decade to get the Ontario Government to create a new law that would spell out what barriers must be removed from Ontario’s school system. This regulation would be called the “Education Accessibility Standard.” It would be enacted under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

The Ontario Government committed to enact an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA. It appointed an advisory committee, the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee, to recommend what the Education Accessibility Standard should include.

On June 1, 2021, the Ontario Government made public the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial recommendations. This initial report is the most comprehensive top-to-bottom review in a generation of Ontario’s school system from the perspective of students with disabilities. It is 185 pages. Below, you’ll read about the AODA Alliance’s 15-page summary of it, and our 55-page condensed and annotated version of it, for those who don’t have the time to read the whole report.

The Government gave the public to September 2, 2021 to send the Standards Development Committee feedback on its initial recommendations. The Standards Development Committee can use that feedback to refine and finalize its report and recommendations to The Government.

The AODA Alliance supports the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky is a member of that Standards Development Committee and took active part in the development of its initial recommendations, along with all the other members of that Committee.

How You Can Use the Standards Development Committee’s Initial Report

Here is how you can help students with disabilities right now:

  1. Send the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee your feedback on the Standards Development Committee’s report before September 2, 2021. See below for ideas on how to do this.
  1. Your local school board will be giving feedback to the Government on this report. Urge your school board to support the recommendations in this report, and not to try to weaken any of them. Contact your school board trustee to share your thoughts.
  1. Urge your local school board to implement as much of this report as it can right now. School boards don’t have to wait for action by the Ontario Government to create the promised Education Accessibility Standard. Unfortunately, that provincial action may not come for months if not years. School boards can act now. Grassroots pressure can help make that happen.
  1. Contact your school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee. Every school board must have a SEAC to give advice to the school board’s staff and elected trustees. Find their contact info on the school board website, or by asking the school board.

Give your SEAC your feedback on this report. Urge the SEAC to take these three actions:

  1. a) the SEAC should send the Standards Development Committee its feedback on this report by September 2, 2021. SEACs should be supportive of the Standards Development Committee’s report and could offer helpful suggestions on how to refine and supplement those recommendations.
  1. b) the SEAC should advise its school board to support the Standards Development Committee’s recommendations and not to try to get them weakened in any way. A SEAC can try to have a major impact on what feedback the school board sends to the Ontario Government.
  1. c) The SEAC should advise its school board to start to implement the Standards Development Committee’s recommendations now. For example, the SEAC could select key recommendations in the Standards Development Committee’s report that the school board should get an immediate start on.
  1. Tell your member of the Ontario Legislature that Ontario’s Ministry of Education should get to work now on implementing as many of the Standards Development Committee’s recommendations now as it can. Many if not most can be implemented now, if the Government agrees.
  1. Share your feedback with the AODA Alliance. Let us know what steps you take on the ideas we list in this Action Kit. What kind of responses did you get? Write us at [email protected]

How The AODA Alliance Has Made It Easier for You to Read the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee Report

We’ve made it easier for you to read and give feedback on this important report. Here are three options you have for reviewing what the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee recommended:

  1. If you only have a short time to look at this issue, read the AODA Alliance’s 15-page summary of the Standards Development Committees report, which is available on the AODA Alliance website at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/15-page-summary-of-the-k-12-education-standards-development-committees-initial-recommendations-summarized-by-the-aoda-alliance/
  1. If you have more time, read the AODA Alliance’s 55-page condensed and annotated version of the Standards Development Committees report, available on the AODA Alliance website at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/55-page-condensed-and-annotated-version-of-the-march-12-2021-initial-report-recommendations-of-the-k-12-education-standards-development-committee-on-what-an-education-accessibility-standard-should-in/
  1. If you have even more time, instead read the entire 185-page report, which is available on the AODA Alliance website in MS Word format at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/download-in-ms-word-format-the-ontario-governments-survey-on-the-initial-or-draft-recommendations-of-the-k-12-education-standards-development-committee/

The best statement of what the Standards Development Committee recommended is in the Committee’s full report. The K-12 Education Standards Development Committee took no part in creating or approving the AODA Alliance’s 15-page summary or its 55-page condensed version of the Committee’s 185-page report. Any summary or condensed version of course leaves out some content. The AODA Alliance is solely responsible for those decisions.

What You Might Say in Your Feedback

The Government has posted an online survey to give feedback, which you are free to use, if you wish. We find it more complicated than helpful. You can also simply write out your feedback in whatever way you wish, and email it to the Standards Development Committee before September 2, 2021 by writing to [email protected]

If you don’t have time to go through the Government’s online survey, you might find it easiest to answer this short list of questions:

  1. Say if you agree with all the Standards Development Committee’s recommendations. If you disagree with any recommendations, say which ones. Explain why you disagree with them.
  1. Explain which of the recommendations you consider especially important. What are your biggest priorities? Why are they important to you?
  1. If there are any recommendations that you disagree with, explain what the Standards Development Committee might change in those recommendations to improve them.
  1. Are there any recommendations that you would like the Standards Development Committee to add? Did it leave out anything that you consider important?

The entire Committee report is long. If you don’t have the time to review it all, just comment on the parts you have time to read, either in the report itself, or in either of the 2 shorter versions that the AODA Alliance created.

To learn about the campaign that the AODA Alliance has waged for over a decade to win the enactment of a strong and effective Education Accessibility Standard check out the AODA Alliance website’s education page.



Source link