Ontario Liberal Leadership Candidate Steven Del Duca Only Makes Four of the Ten Full Commitments on Accessibility for 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities that the AODA Alliance Seeks, and Gives Weaker Commitments on the Other Six Issues


We Analyze Del Duca’s Responses Compared to Leadership Candidate Michael Coteau Who Made All Ten Commitments We Seek

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

February 17, 2020

SUMMARY

On January 11, 2020, the AODA Alliance sent an open letter to all Ontario Liberal leadership candidates. We asked for 10 pledges to ensure that Ontario becomes accessible for 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities. On February 15, 2020, Steven Del Duca became the second Ontario Liberal leadership candidate to write to the AODA Alliance in order to spell out his specific responses regarding those commitments. We set out his letter below.

The first Ontario Liberal leadership candidate to give a detailed response to us, Michael Coteau, earlier made all ten commitments on disability accessibility that we sought. In contrast, Mr. Del Duca in substance made only four of the ten commitments we sought. On the other six issues, his commitments fell short of what we seek. Below we provide an issue-by-issue comparison.

We urge Mr. Del Duca and all the Liberal leadership candidates who have not yet done so to now make all the commitments we seek. There is still time for them to do so.

We will be closely watching the televised Liberal Leadership Candidates Debate on February 19, 2020 at 8 pm and 11 pm on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin to see what the candidates have to say about disability rights, including accessibility for 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities.

As always, in this leadership race or in similar races in other parties, we do not support, endorse or oppose any candidate. We seek their commitments and make public their responses. We aim to get strong commitments from all of them.

The issue of achieving accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities is important as the Ontario Liberal Party seeks to rejuvenate itself after it so resoundingly lost the 2018 Ontario election. It is our hope that their rejuvenation includes a strengthened approach to accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. As always, we aim to get all parties to take as strong an approach to accessibility as we can achieve.

Turning brief attention to the current Ontario Government, as of today, 382 days have passed since the Ford Government received the blistering final report of the Independent Review of the implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. It called for strong new action to strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. The Ford Government has still not announced a plan of action to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of the AODA. On January 28, 2020, the Ford Government held a media event where it mainly re-announced some measures that will not strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement, measures which we describe as thin gruel for 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities

Would you like to send us feedback? Email us at [email protected]

MORE DETAILS
Analysis of Steven Del Duca’s Commitments on Disability Accessibility Compared to the Other Five Liberal Leadership Candidates

Mr. Del Duca in effect fully made four of the ten commitments we sought, and gave more general answers on the other six. Michael Coteau made all ten commitments we seek.

It is good that Mr. Del Duca committed to meet with accessibility advocates should he become party leader, and again should he become Ontario premier (our request #1). It is also good that he promised to press the Ford Government on accessibility issues (our request #2), and that in advance of the next election, he would set out policies on accessibility for people with disabilities (our request #3). When asked for commitments to ensure that elections become accessible to people with disabilities (our request #10), he committed that he would “work hard to ensure that elections in Ontario are accessible to everyone.”

However, Mr. Del Duca did not make six of the specific commitments we sought. His responses on those issues were more limited.

Mr. Del Duca did not commit to fully maintain the implementation of the AODA 2005 nor did he commit not to weaken or reduce any provisions or protections in that legislation or regulations enacted under them, or any Government policies, practices, strategies or initiatives that exist to implement them or achieve their objectives (our request #4). Michael Coteau gave the commitment we sought. So did Kathleen Wynne when she was running in 2012 for Ontario Liberal Party leadership, though she did not later keep that promise. On this issue, Mr. Del Duca more generally pledged: “my government will fulfill the AODA standards and will strive to implement fair policies that advance accessibility for all Ontarians.”

Unlike Michael Coteau in this race and Kathleen Wynne in the last Liberal leadership race, Mr. Del Duca did not commit to honour past Liberal Party commitments on accessibility (our request #5). He only committed to enforce the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), just one of those prior Liberal Party commitments.

When asked if he would show new leadership on accessibility and breathe new life into the AODA’s implementation (our request #6), Mr. Del Duca more generally said “my government will consult closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the AODA is implemented and enforced effectively.”

Mr. Del Duca did not specifically commit to direct cabinet ministers, the Secretary of Cabinet and other senior public officials in his mandate letters to them to implement his Government’s duties and commitments on disability accessibility (our request #7) . He gave the more limited commitment that “I will expect all members of my government to work in a coordinated fashion to advance our accessibility policies.”

Here again, Michael Coteau gave the commitment we sought. In substance, so did the Kathleen Wynne Government in the 2014 Ontario election. The Wynne Government did not keep that pledge in many cases.

Unlike Michael Coteau, Mr. Del Duca did not commit to ensure that Ontario is on schedule for full accessibility for persons with disabilities by 2025, the deadline that the AODA requires. Should the Liberals form the Government at a time when it is too late to achieve that deadline, he did not commit to get Ontario as close to being accessible as reasonably possible by 2025. In that event, he did not commit to work with us and to take any needed action, including passing new legislation, to set a new achievable deadline and to institute measures that will ensure that it is achieved (and that will not weaken or reduce any provisions or policies then in place,our request #8).

Mr. Del Duca gave this more limited commitment:

“I will consult closely with all stakeholders to determine how Ontario can achieve greater accessibility, and I will work with all stakeholders to implement accessibility policies that achieve our goals.”

We note that “greater accessibility” is a very weak goal. Merely installing one more ramp somewhere in Ontario fulfils that goal. The AODA has the far more substantial goal of making Ontario accessible to people with disabilities by 2025.

Mr. Del Duca did not categorically commit that under his leadership, public money will not be used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities (our request #9). He gave this more limited commitment:

“I will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that public buildings are accessible to all Ontarians.”

This is helpful, but limited. Accessibility concerns many different kinds of barriers, not only those in the built environment.

Once again, Michael Coteau gave the commitment we sought. Kathleen Wynne’s Government also gave this commitment in the 2014 Ontario election, but broke that promise during its time in office.,

As for the four other Liberal leadership candidates, Mitzie Hunter has not responded to us at all. Kate Graham thanked us for sharing our requests with her, but did not answer any of them.

Brenda Hollingsworth sent us a message on Facebook around January 14, 2020. She said she would send us a letter making all the commitments we seek. However, we have not yet gotten a letter to that effect from her.

Finally, on January 11 or 12, 2020, Alvin Tedjo sent us a tweet on Twitter. He said that

“As leader, I’ll consult with Ontarians with disabilities, advocates and service providers to make sure our party puts forward a robust and achievable accessibility platform in 2022.”

That answer does not give most of the ten commitments we sought.
February 15, 2020, Letter to the AODA Alliance from Ontario Liberal Leadership Candidate Steven Del Duca

Steven Del Duca Leadership Campaign

February 15, 2020

Mr. David Lepofsky, CM, O. Ont.
Chair, AODA Alliance

Dear David,

Thank-you for your letter. You and the AODA Alliance have been tireless champions for accessibility in Ontario, and I am pleased to respond to your important questions.

Achieving real accessibility for all Ontarians is vital to building an Ontario where everyone can fully enjoy our province’s social and economic prosperity. If I am honoured to be elected leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and Premier of Ontario, I am committed to working closely with all Ontarians to make Ontario accessible.

1. We have welcomed face-to-face meetings with the past two Premiers, Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne, to discuss accessibility issues (in addition to face-to-face meetings with different cabinet ministers, successive Secretaries of Cabinet, and other senior government officials). If you become your Party’s leader, will you maintain the practice of personally meeting with us to discuss accessibility issues, in addition to our meetings with your appropriate caucus members? As part of this, will you meet with us within 60 days of becoming your party’s leader, so that we can brief you on these issues? If your Party is elected to form the Government, will you as Premier agree to periodically meet with us, in addition to our meeting with appropriate cabinet ministers?

If I am honoured to be elected leader, I will meet with accessibility leaders and advocates within 60 days. If I am honoured to be elected Premier of Ontario, I will meet regularly with the accessibility leaders and advocates to hear concerns and develop policies that advance accessibility in Ontario.

2. Under your leadership, will your Party make it a priority to press the current Government to keep its commitments and fulfil its duties on accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities?

If I am honoured to be elected leader, the Ontario Liberal Party will advocate for real action by the Ford Government to advance accessibility in Ontario and will demand that the Ford Government fulfill its obligations to all Ontarians with disabilities.

3. In Ontario elections, will you continue the practice of the last three Ontario Liberal Party leaders, of making specific election commitments to us on the issue of achieving an accessible province for persons with disabilities, in letters to us?

If I am honoured to be elected leader, I will set out policies in advance of the 2022 election that will demonstrate real leadership by the Ontario Liberal Party on accessibility, in stark contrast to the regressive policies of the Ford Government.

4. Under your leadership, will the Liberal Party fully maintain the implementation of the AODA 2005 and not weaken or reduce any provisions or protections in that legislation or regulations enacted under them, or any Government policies, practices, strategies or initiatives that exist to implement them or achieve their objectives?

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, my government will fulfill the AODA standards and will strive to implement fair policies that advance accessibility for all Ontarians.

5. Will you keep the past commitments that your Party has made to Ontarians with disabilities regarding disability accessibility, including e.g. its previous commitments to effectively enforce the AODA? We set out links to those commitments below.

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, my government will work with all stakeholders to ensure that the AODA is enforced effectively and fairly.

6. Under the AODA, three Government-appointed mandatory Independent Reviews have examined the Government’s implementation of the AODA. These were conducted in 2009-2010 by Charles Beer, in 2013-2014 by Prof. Mayo Moran and in 2018-2019 by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. All three reports called on the Government to revitalize and breathe new life into the implementation of the AODA, and for the Government to show strong new leadership on this issue. The Moran report and the Onley Report specifically recommended that Ontario’s Premier should show strong new leadership on disability accessibility. (See a quotation later in this letter) If you become Ontario’s Premier, will you show new, strong leadership on accessibility and breathe new life into and revitalize the Government’s implementation of the AODA?

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, my government will consult closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the AODA is implemented and enforced effectively and fairly. It is essential that we build an Ontario where everyone can fully participate in our society and economy.

7. Each premier sends Mandate Letters to each of his or her cabinet ministers, setting out their priorities. In your Mandate Letters, will you direct your cabinet ministers, the Secretary of Cabinet and other senior public officials to implement your Government’s duties and commitments on disability accessibility?

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, I will expect all members of my government to work in a coordinated fashion to advance our accessibility policies.

8. If you become Premier, will you ensure that Ontario is on schedule for full accessibility for persons with disabilities by 2025, the deadline that the AODA requires? Should your party form the Government at a time when it is too late to achieve that deadline, will you commit to get Ontario as close to being accessible as reasonably possible by 2025? In that event, will you also commit to work with us and to take any needed action, including passing new legislation, to set a new achievable deadline and to institute measures that will ensure that it is achieved (and that will not weaken or reduce any provisions or policies then in place)?

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, I will consult closely with all stakeholders to determine how Ontario can achieve greater accessibility, and I will work with all stakeholders to implement accessibility policies that achieve our goals.

9. The Moran and Onley reports expressed concerns that public money has been used to create new accessibility barriers against people with disabilities. Will you commit that under your leadership, public money will not be used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities?

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, I will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that public buildings are accessible to all Ontarians.

10. Ontario voters and candidates with disabilities still face too many barriers in provincial and municipal elections. Under your leadership as premier, will the Government bring forward new measures, including new legislation, to ensure that provincial and municipal elections in Ontario are fully accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities?

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, my government will work hard to ensure that elections in Ontario are accessible to everyone.

Sincerely,

Steven Del Duca
Candidate for the Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party




Source link

Ontario Liberal Leadership Candidate Steven Del Duca Only Makes Four of the Ten Full Commitments on Accessibility for 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities that the AODA Alliance Seeks, and Gives Weaker Commitments on the Other Six Issues – We Analyze Del Duca’s Responses Compared to Leadership Candidate Michael Coteau Who Made All Ten Commitments We Seek


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/

Ontario Liberal Leadership Candidate Steven Del Duca Only Makes Four of the Ten Full Commitments on Accessibility for 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities that the AODA Alliance Seeks, and Gives Weaker Commitments on the Other Six Issues – We Analyze Del Duca’s Responses Compared to Leadership Candidate Michael Coteau Who Made All Ten Commitments We Seek

February 17, 2020

          SUMMARY

On January 11, 2020, the AODA Alliance sent an open letter to all Ontario Liberal leadership candidates. We asked for 10 pledges to ensure that Ontario becomes accessible for 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities. On February 15, 2020, Steven Del Duca became the second Ontario Liberal leadership candidate to write to the AODA Alliance in order to spell out his specific responses regarding those commitments. We set out his letter below.

The first Ontario Liberal leadership candidate to give a detailed response to us, Michael Coteau, earlier made all ten commitments on disability accessibility that we sought. In contrast, Mr. Del Duca in substance made only four of the ten commitments we sought. On the other six issues, his commitments fell short of what we seek. Below we provide an issue-by-issue comparison.

We urge Mr. Del Duca and all the Liberal leadership candidates who have not yet done so to now make all the commitments we seek. There is still time for them to do so.

We will be closely watching the televised Liberal Leadership Candidates Debate on February 19, 2020 at 8 pm and 11 pm on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin to see what the candidates have to say about disability rights, including accessibility for 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities.

As always, in this leadership race or in similar races in other parties, we do not support, endorse or oppose any candidate. We seek their commitments and make public their responses. We aim to get strong commitments from all of them.

The issue of achieving accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities is important as the Ontario Liberal Party seeks to rejuvenate itself after it so resoundingly lost the 2018 Ontario election. It is our hope that their rejuvenation includes a strengthened approach to accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. As always, we aim to get all parties to take as strong an approach to accessibility as we can achieve.

Turning brief attention to the current Ontario Government, as of today, 382 days have passed since the Ford Government received the blistering final report of the Independent Review of the implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. It called for strong new action to strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. The Ford Government has still not announced a plan of action to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of the AODA. On January 28, 2020, the Ford Government held a media event where it mainly re-announced some measures that will not strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement, measures which we describe as thin gruel for 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities

Would you like to send us feedback? Email us at [email protected]

          MORE DETAILS

Analysis of Steven Del Duca’s Commitments on Disability Accessibility Compared to the Other Five Liberal Leadership Candidates

Mr. Del Duca in effect fully made four of the ten commitments we sought, and gave more general  answers on the other six. Michael Coteau made all ten commitments we seek.

It is good that Mr. Del Duca committed to meet with accessibility advocates should he become party leader, and again should he become Ontario premier (our request #1). It is also good that he promised to press the Ford Government on accessibility issues (our request #2), and that in advance of the next election, he would set out policies on accessibility for people with disabilities (our request #3). When asked for commitments to ensure that elections become accessible to people with disabilities (our request #10), he committed that he would “work hard to ensure that elections in Ontario are accessible to everyone.”

However, Mr. Del Duca did not make six of the specific commitments we sought. His responses on those issues were more limited.

Mr. Del Duca did not commit to fully maintain the implementation of the AODA 2005 nor did he commit not to weaken or reduce any provisions or protections in that legislation or regulations enacted under them, or any Government policies, practices, strategies or initiatives that exist to implement them or achieve their objectives (our request #4). Michael Coteau gave the commitment we sought. So did Kathleen Wynne when she was running in 2012 for Ontario Liberal Party leadership, though she did not later keep that promise. On this issue, Mr. Del Duca more generally pledged: “my government will fulfill the AODA standards and will strive to implement fair policies that advance accessibility for all Ontarians.”

Unlike Michael Coteau in this race and Kathleen Wynne in the last Liberal leadership race, Mr. Del Duca did not commit to honour past Liberal Party commitments on accessibility (our request #5). He only committed to enforce the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), just one of those prior Liberal Party commitments.

When asked if he would show new leadership on accessibility and breathe new life into the AODA’s implementation (our request #6), Mr. Del Duca more generally said “my government will consult closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the AODA is implemented and enforced effectively.”

Mr. Del Duca did not specifically commit to direct cabinet ministers, the Secretary of Cabinet and other senior public officials in his mandate letters to them to implement his Government’s duties and commitments on disability accessibility (our request #7) . He gave the more limited commitment that “I will expect all members of my government to work in a coordinated fashion to advance our accessibility policies.”

Here again, Michael Coteau gave the commitment we sought. In substance, so did the Kathleen Wynne Government in the 2014 Ontario election. The Wynne Government did not keep that pledge in many cases.

Unlike Michael Coteau, Mr. Del Duca did not commit to ensure that Ontario is on schedule for full accessibility for persons with disabilities by 2025, the deadline that the AODA requires. Should the Liberals form the Government at a time when it is too late to achieve that deadline, he did not commit to get Ontario as close to being accessible as reasonably possible by 2025. In that event, he did not commit to work with us and to take any needed action, including passing new legislation, to set a new achievable deadline and to institute measures that will ensure that it is achieved (and that will not weaken or reduce any provisions or policies then in place,our request #8).

Mr. Del Duca gave this more limited commitment:

“I will consult closely with all stakeholders to determine how Ontario can achieve greater accessibility, and I will work with all stakeholders to implement accessibility policies that achieve our goals.”

We note that “greater accessibility” is a very weak goal. Merely installing one more ramp somewhere in Ontario fulfils that goal. The AODA has the far more substantial goal of making Ontario accessible to people with disabilities by 2025.

Mr. Del Duca did not categorically commit that under his leadership, public money will not be used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities (our request #9). He gave this more limited commitment:

“I will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that public buildings are accessible to all Ontarians.”

This is helpful, but limited. Accessibility concerns many different kinds of barriers, not only those in the built environment.

Once again, Michael Coteau gave the commitment we sought. Kathleen Wynne’s Government also gave this commitment in the 2014 Ontario election, but broke that promise during its time in office.,

As for the four other Liberal leadership candidates, Mitzie Hunter has not responded to us at all. Kate Graham thanked us for sharing our requests with her, but did not answer any of them.

Brenda Hollingsworth sent us a message on Facebook around January 14, 2020. She said she would send us a letter making all the commitments we seek. However, we have not yet gotten a letter to that effect from her.

Finally, on January 11 or 12, 2020, Alvin Tedjo sent us a tweet on Twitter. He said that

“As leader, I’ll consult with Ontarians with disabilities, advocates and service providers to make sure our party puts forward a robust and achievable accessibility platform in 2022.”

That answer does not give most of the ten commitments we sought.

February 15, 2020, Letter to the AODA Alliance from Ontario Liberal Leadership Candidate Steven Del Duca

Steven Del Duca Leadership Campaign

February 15, 2020

Mr. David Lepofsky, CM, O. Ont.

Chair, AODA Alliance

Dear David,

Thank-you for your letter. You and the AODA Alliance have been tireless champions for accessibility in Ontario, and I am pleased to respond to your important questions.

Achieving real accessibility for all Ontarians is vital to building an Ontario where everyone can fully enjoy our province’s social and economic prosperity. If I am honoured to be elected leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and Premier of Ontario, I am committed to working closely with all Ontarians to make Ontario accessible.

  1. We have welcomed face-to-face meetings with the past two Premiers, Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne, to discuss accessibility issues (in addition to face-to-face meetings with different cabinet ministers, successive Secretaries of Cabinet, and other senior government officials). If you become your Party’s leader, will you maintain the practice of personally meeting with us to discuss accessibility issues, in addition to our meetings with your appropriate caucus members? As part of this, will you meet with us within 60 days of becoming your party’s leader, so that we can brief you on these issues? If your Party is elected to form the Government, will you as Premier agree to periodically meet with us, in addition to our meeting with appropriate cabinet ministers?

 

If I am honoured to be elected leader, I will meet with accessibility leaders and advocates within 60 days. If I am honoured to be elected Premier of Ontario, I will meet regularly with the accessibility leaders and advocates to hear concerns and develop policies that advance accessibility in Ontario.

  1. Under your leadership, will your Party make it a priority to press the current Government to keep its commitments and fulfil its duties on accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities?

 

If I am honoured to be elected leader, the Ontario Liberal Party will advocate for real action by the Ford Government to advance accessibility in Ontario and will demand that the Ford Government fulfill its obligations to all Ontarians with disabilities.

 

  1. In Ontario elections, will you continue the practice of the last three Ontario Liberal Party leaders, of making specific election commitments to us on the issue of achieving an accessible province for persons with disabilities, in letters to us?

 

If I am honoured to be elected leader, I will set out policies in advance of the 2022 election that will demonstrate real leadership by the Ontario Liberal Party on accessibility, in stark contrast to the regressive policies of the Ford Government.

  1. Under your leadership, will the Liberal Party fully maintain the implementation of the AODA 2005 and not weaken or reduce any provisions or protections in that legislation or regulations enacted under them, or any Government policies, practices, strategies or initiatives that exist to implement them or achieve their objectives?

 

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, my government will fulfill the AODA standards and will strive to implement fair policies that advance accessibility for all Ontarians.

 

  1. Will you keep the past commitments that your Party has made to Ontarians with disabilities regarding disability accessibility, including e.g. its previous commitments to effectively enforce the AODA? We set out links to those commitments below.

 

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, my government will work with all stakeholders to ensure that the AODA is enforced effectively and fairly.

 

  1. Under the AODA, three Government-appointed mandatory Independent Reviews have examined the Government’s implementation of the AODA. These were conducted in 2009-2010 by Charles Beer, in 2013-2014 by Prof. Mayo Moran and in 2018-2019 by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. All three reports called on the Government to revitalize and breathe new life into the implementation of the AODA, and for the Government to show strong new leadership on this issue. The Moran report and the Onley Report specifically recommended that Ontario’s Premier should show strong new leadership on disability accessibility. (See a quotation later in this letter) If you become Ontario’s Premier, will you show new, strong leadership on accessibility and breathe new life into and revitalize the Government’s implementation of the AODA?

 

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, my government will consult closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the AODA is implemented and enforced effectively and fairly. It is essential that we build an Ontario where everyone can fully participate in our society and economy.

 

  1. Each premier sends Mandate Letters to each of his or her cabinet ministers, setting out their priorities. In your Mandate Letters, will you direct your cabinet ministers, the Secretary of Cabinet and other senior public officials to implement your Government’s duties and commitments on disability accessibility?

 

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, I will expect all members of my government to work in a coordinated fashion to advance our accessibility policies.

 

  1. If you become Premier, will you ensure that Ontario is on schedule for full accessibility for persons with disabilities by 2025, the deadline that the AODA requires? Should your party form the Government at a time when it is too late to achieve that deadline, will you commit to get Ontario as close to being accessible as reasonably possible by 2025? In that event, will you also commit to work with us and to take any needed action, including passing new legislation, to set a new achievable deadline and to institute measures that will ensure that it is achieved (and that will not weaken or reduce any provisions or policies then in place)?

 

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, I will consult closely with all stakeholders to determine how Ontario can achieve greater accessibility, and I will work with all stakeholders to implement accessibility policies that achieve our goals.

 

  1. The Moran and Onley reports expressed concerns that public money has been used to create new accessibility barriers against people with disabilities. Will you commit that under your leadership, public money will not be used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities?

 

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, I will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that public buildings are accessible to all Ontarians.

 

  1. Ontario voters and candidates with disabilities still face too many barriers in provincial and municipal elections. Under your leadership as premier, will the Government bring forward new measures, including new legislation, to ensure that provincial and municipal elections in Ontario are fully accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities?

If I am honoured to be elected leader and Premier of Ontario, my government will work hard to ensure that elections in Ontario are accessible to everyone.

Sincerely,

 

Steven Del Duca

Candidate for the Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party



Source link

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Asks Toronto Mayor John Tory to Help Ensure that Canada’s Largest City Does Not Lift the Ban on Electric Scooters


Torontonians with Disabilities Need Mayor Tory’s Leadership to Prevent the Dangers to Their Safety and Accessibility that E-Scooters Pose

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

February 6, 2020

SUMMARY

The AODA Alliance has written Toronto Mayor John Tory. We asked him to use his leadership to help us ensure that Toronto does not lift the ban in place on electric scooters (e-scooters). Our letter details the dangers that e-scooters pose, and the serious problems with the option for permitting them that Toronto City Staff have said they prefer. We set out our letter below.

Meanwhile, 371 days have now gone by since the Ford Government received the final report on the AODA’s implementation and enforcement that was prepared by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. We are still waiting for the Ford Government to come up with an effective plan to implement the Onley Report’s recommendations to strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement.

Your feedback is always welcome. Write us at [email protected]

MORE DETAILS

Text of the AODA Alliance’s February 6, 2020 Letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Email: [email protected]
Visit: www.aodalliance.org

February 6, 2020

To: Mayor John Tory
Via Email: [email protected]
Office of the Mayor
City Hall, 2nd Floor
100 Queen St. W.
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Twitter: @JohnTory

Dear Mayor Tory,

Re: Protecting Torontonians with Disabilities and Others from the Dangers of Electric Scooters

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on the phone on December 9, 2019 about the serious dangers that electric scooters (e-scooters) pose for Torontonians with disabilities and others. I am writing as a follow-up to that call, and to address new developments since then. We seek your help and leadership.

1. New Open Letter to All Ontario Mayors and City Councilors from 11 Major Disability Organizations

On January 22, 2020, 11 major disability organizations including the AODA Alliance made public an open letter to all the mayors and city councilors of Ontario municipalities. Its message is clear, simple and compelling: Do not lift the ban on e-scooters.

This is easy for you to accomplish. You needn’t do anything. Right now, e-scooters are banned in Ontario, unless a municipality takes active steps to allow them, by passing a bylaw permitting them. If Toronto passes no bylaw, the ban on e-scooters remains in place. People with disabilities remain protected from the dangers that e-scooters pose.

To pass a bylaw that lifts the ban on e-scooters will endanger the physical safety and accessibility for people with disabilities and others, as our open letter explains. Please read our open letter. Please help us ensure that your City Council colleagues and senior City staff read our open letter.

2. The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee Unanimously Passed a Strong Motion Calling on the City of Toronto Not to Allow E-scooters

Reinforcing our open letter, on February 3, 2020, the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee, chaired by Councilor Wong-Tam and appointed by the City unanimously passed a very important motion. The motion calls on the City of Toronto to leave in place the ban on e-scooters in public places.

That motion combines with our open letter to shift a very heavy onus to anyone who wants to permit e-scooters in public places in Toronto. For the City to permit them would be to reject the serious documented concerns that have been presented to the City by people with disabilities. These are among our community’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents.

We are grateful that you have publicly recognized some problems that e-scooters would create. As you know, the AODA requires Toronto, like all of Ontario, to become barrier-free for people with disabilities by 2025. We are behind schedule for reaching that goal. To create new disability barriers will set things back further.

3. Despite These Concerns, City Staff Prefer to Allow E-scooters in Toronto on Terms that Won’t Solve these Problems

At the February 3, 2020 Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting, City staff said that they are preparing a report on e-scooters for City Council. That staff report will have an important impact. You have publicly said that you are awaiting their report as you decide what Toronto should do.

According to the February 4, 2020 Toronto Star, City staff told the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee at its February 3, 2020 meeting that it has a preferred option. We understand that staff would not go public with this unless that “preferred option” has made its way through key levels of review within the City’s public service.

We are exceedingly concerned about the City staff’s preferred option. Instead of keeping the current ban on e-scooters, City staff prefer an option where e-scooters would be unleashed on Torontonians. They would be managed by the Toronto Parking Authority. The Toronto Star article stated:

“Senior project manager Janet Lo gave a preview Monday to members of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee. Those members later called the devices an unacceptable threat to the safety of disabled Torontonians.

Lo said work on the report continues. But staff’s “preferred” model would see riders pick up and leave e-scooters only in designated spots potentially Bike Share Toronto stations, or on-street vehicle parking spots converted to scooter use by Toronto Parking Authority (TPA).

“What we are suggesting is the designated-parking model … The high density of bike share stations they are planning for 625 makes it easy for people to be able to walk to them and access these shared micromobility options,” Lo said. “This addresses the sidewalk clutter and obstructions issue.””

We first learned about this from the Toronto Star article. Senior City staff had not before then reached out to discuss it with us. We are well-known for our advocacy efforts on this issue. City staff should not have chosen a preferred option before speaking to the broader disability community, including us about that option and ensuring that their option resolves our concerns. The unanimous February 3, 2020 Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee motion emphasized the need for proper consultation by the City with the disability community on the e-scooters issue.

The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee’s recommendation is especially timely. Last fall, the Ford Government gave our concerns short shrift. The provincial e-scooters regulation looks like it was written by the corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies who are pressing for e-scooters in Ontario.

The City staff’s preferred option is seriously flawed. It should not be preferred by anyone.

The City staff’s preferred option does not eliminate or even reduce the danger to our physical safety posed by unlicensed, uninsured, untrained e-scooter drivers rocketing towards us at 24 KPH on roads or sidewalks on a silent e-scooter. People will get injured or worse. The most vulnerable will be people with disabilities and seniors. They should be able to walk in public in Toronto without our city government exposing them to this new danger.

Beyond the pain and suffering that e-scooters will inflict, they will force new costs, including costs to the City Government, and therefore, to the taxpayer. This includes:

* Increased policing costs, ambulance costs, and other emergency first responder costs.

* The City staff’s preferred option would have the City erect new racks for parking e-scooters in selected parking spots, forcing more costs on the City.

* If the Toronto Parking Authority is to operate an e-scooter rental program on behalf of the City, there will be additional City staffing and other costs for its planning, administration and monitoring.

* If the City operates this program, or contracts with a private e-scooter rental company, the City risks being on the hook for added costs for personal injury and property damage claims arising out of the use of the e-scooters that the City would either own or manage.

We respectfully suggest that there are better ways for the City to use public money.

Beyond these costs, the staff’s preferred option would lead to a reduction in the number of available public parking spots in Toronto. Some would be converted into sites for e-scooter racks. Too often, it is already hard to find street parking in Toronto. For people with disabilities among others, this threatens a further accessibility problem that our Open Letter had not anticipated.

As but one example, the Ontario Government is building a massive new courthouse in the middle of downtown Toronto. We have been active for over two years, raising a series of accessibility problems with that courthouse design. Among other things, that new courthouse will have no public parking, including no accessible public parking for court participants with disabilities who will be coming to court. They have to find street parking. The Ontario Government told us that they are turning to the City of Toronto to make available more accessible public parking. If e-scooter racks eat up more downtown parking spots, that will make things worse, not better, for solving that disability parking problem.

4. Wrong for Others to Be Forced to in Effect Subsidize E-Scooter Rental Companies Who Get the Profits

The taxpayer will be on the hook for all these additional costs, not to mention the added provincial health care costs from the personal injuries that e-scooters will cause. The e-scooter companies will walk away with the profits.

5. City Staff’s Preferred Option Does Not Eliminate the Risk of Some E-Scooters Being Left on Public Sidewalks, Creating Accessibility Barriers and Tripping Hazards

While it is an improvement over some other options, the City staff’s preferred option does not prevent e-scooters from being abandoned in the middle of the sidewalks. These will pose an unpredictable and unforeseeable accessibility barrier and tripping hazard. Beyond this impact on people with disabilities, it will also create barriers for others, such as parents pushing a shopping cart or baby stroller on a sidewalk.

The only way to prevent this, and to prevent e-scooters from being ridden on sidewalks, short of the more appropriate solution of banning them outright, is to flood the city with an armada of police officers on every block. Our overburdened police have too much on their hands as it is. This involves even more costs for the taxpayer.

6. Ontarians with Disabilities Need Your Leadership

Other cities are no doubt looking to Toronto for its leadership on this issue. They will be watching to see if Toronto lifts the e-scooter ban. We therefore need your leadership more than ever to prevent the dangers to people with disabilities and others that e-scooters pose.

The Ford Government has burdened Ontarians with disabilities with the undue hardship of having to advocate on this issue in one municipality after another, right across Ontario. In contrast, the corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies have had the ear of Premier Ford. We anticipate that they are hard at work, lobbying members of Toronto City Council and senior staff behind closed doors.

Mayor Tory, Ontarians with disabilities are deeply indebted to you for your leadership on the issue of accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities when you were at Queen’s Park. In 2003-2005, you led the Ontario Progressive Conservative party to support the enactment in 2005 of the AODA, and to press for amendments to strengthen it when it was being debated before the Legislature. We reap the benefits of your support and dedication on this issue to this day. The fact that that legislation passed unanimously has been vital to our cause. It set a trend that has been followed in two other provinces, and federally.

Fifteen years later, we turn to you once again to show that spirited and decisive leadership. Don’t lift the ban on e-scooters in Toronto. Toronto will progress very well without exposing people with disabilities and others to the dangers that e-scooters cause. There are far better ways to address the traffic and other concerns that the e-scooter corporate lobbyists advance in their effort to make money renting e-scooters here.

There are more important issues for City staff to address. There are greater priorities for you and other members of City Council. There are greater unmet needs to which public funds should be directed.

At the very least, please direct City staff to go back to the drawing board. Please direct the City’s top officials to meet with us, before this goes any further. Direct them to review with us and the broader disability community any and all options that they might recommend. There is no reason to rush. If despite all of this, City Council were to decide to disregard the unanimous and wise call from Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, we ask that the City adopt all the restrictions on e-scooters that are set out in our open letter.

We would welcome a chance to discuss this with you further. We would be pleased to provide any help that we can.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont
Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance




Source link

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Asks Toronto Mayor John Tory to Help Ensure that Canada’s Largest City Does Not Lift the Ban on Electric Scooters


Torontonians with Disabilities Need Mayor Tory’s Leadership to Prevent the Dangers to Their Safety and Accessibility that E-Scooters Pose

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

February 6, 2020

SUMMARY

The AODA Alliance has written Toronto Mayor John Tory. We asked him to use his leadership to help us ensure that Toronto does not lift the ban in place on electric scooters (e-scooters). Our letter details the dangers that e-scooters pose, and the serious problems with the option for permitting them that Toronto City Staff have said they prefer. We set out our letter below.

Meanwhile, 371 days have now gone by since the Ford Government received the final report on the AODA’s implementation and enforcement that was prepared by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. We are still waiting for the Ford Government to come up with an effective plan to implement the Onley Report’s recommendations to strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement.

Your feedback is always welcome. Write us at [email protected]

MORE DETAILS

Text of the AODA Alliance’s February 6, 2020 Letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Email: [email protected]
Visit: www.aodalliance.org

February 6, 2020

To: Mayor John Tory
Via Email: [email protected]
Office of the Mayor
City Hall, 2nd Floor
100 Queen St. W.
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Twitter: @JohnTory

Dear Mayor Tory,

Re: Protecting Torontonians with Disabilities and Others from the Dangers of Electric Scooters

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on the phone on December 9, 2019 about the serious dangers that electric scooters (e-scooters) pose for Torontonians with disabilities and others. I am writing as a follow-up to that call, and to address new developments since then. We seek your help and leadership.

1. New Open Letter to All Ontario Mayors and City Councilors from 11 Major Disability Organizations

On January 22, 2020, 11 major disability organizations including the AODA Alliance made public an open letter to all the mayors and city councilors of Ontario municipalities. Its message is clear, simple and compelling: Do not lift the ban on e-scooters.

This is easy for you to accomplish. You needn’t do anything. Right now, e-scooters are banned in Ontario, unless a municipality takes active steps to allow them, by passing a bylaw permitting them. If Toronto passes no bylaw, the ban on e-scooters remains in place. People with disabilities remain protected from the dangers that e-scooters pose.

To pass a bylaw that lifts the ban on e-scooters will endanger the physical safety and accessibility for people with disabilities and others, as our open letter explains. Please read our open letter. Please help us ensure that your City Council colleagues and senior City staff read our open letter.

2. The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee Unanimously Passed a Strong Motion Calling on the City of Toronto Not to Allow E-scooters

Reinforcing our open letter, on February 3, 2020, the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee, chaired by Councilor Wong-Tam and appointed by the City unanimously passed a very important motion. The motion calls on the City of Toronto to leave in place the ban on e-scooters in public places.

That motion combines with our open letter to shift a very heavy onus to anyone who wants to permit e-scooters in public places in Toronto. For the City to permit them would be to reject the serious documented concerns that have been presented to the City by people with disabilities. These are among our community’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents.

We are grateful that you have publicly recognized some problems that e-scooters would create. As you know, the AODA requires Toronto, like all of Ontario, to become barrier-free for people with disabilities by 2025. We are behind schedule for reaching that goal. To create new disability barriers will set things back further.

3. Despite These Concerns, City Staff Prefer to Allow E-scooters in Toronto on Terms that Won’t Solve these Problems

At the February 3, 2020 Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting, City staff said that they are preparing a report on e-scooters for City Council. That staff report will have an important impact. You have publicly said that you are awaiting their report as you decide what Toronto should do.

According to the February 4, 2020 Toronto Star, City staff told the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee at its February 3, 2020 meeting that it has a preferred option. We understand that staff would not go public with this unless that “preferred option” has made its way through key levels of review within the City’s public service.

We are exceedingly concerned about the City staff’s preferred option. Instead of keeping the current ban on e-scooters, City staff prefer an option where e-scooters would be unleashed on Torontonians. They would be managed by the Toronto Parking Authority. The Toronto Star article stated:

“Senior project manager Janet Lo gave a preview Monday to members of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee. Those members later called the devices an unacceptable threat to the safety of disabled Torontonians.

Lo said work on the report continues. But staff’s “preferred” model would see riders pick up and leave e-scooters only in designated spots potentially Bike Share Toronto stations, or on-street vehicle parking spots converted to scooter use by Toronto Parking Authority (TPA).

“What we are suggesting is the designated-parking model … The high density of bike share stations they are planning for 625 makes it easy for people to be able to walk to them and access these shared micromobility options,” Lo said. “This addresses the sidewalk clutter and obstructions issue.””

We first learned about this from the Toronto Star article. Senior City staff had not before then reached out to discuss it with us. We are well-known for our advocacy efforts on this issue. City staff should not have chosen a preferred option before speaking to the broader disability community, including us about that option and ensuring that their option resolves our concerns. The unanimous February 3, 2020 Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee motion emphasized the need for proper consultation by the City with the disability community on the e-scooters issue.

The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee’s recommendation is especially timely. Last fall, the Ford Government gave our concerns short shrift. The provincial e-scooters regulation looks like it was written by the corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies who are pressing for e-scooters in Ontario.

The City staff’s preferred option is seriously flawed. It should not be preferred by anyone.

The City staff’s preferred option does not eliminate or even reduce the danger to our physical safety posed by unlicensed, uninsured, untrained e-scooter drivers rocketing towards us at 24 KPH on roads or sidewalks on a silent e-scooter. People will get injured or worse. The most vulnerable will be people with disabilities and seniors. They should be able to walk in public in Toronto without our city government exposing them to this new danger.

Beyond the pain and suffering that e-scooters will inflict, they will force new costs, including costs to the City Government, and therefore, to the taxpayer. This includes:

* Increased policing costs, ambulance costs, and other emergency first responder costs.

* The City staff’s preferred option would have the City erect new racks for parking e-scooters in selected parking spots, forcing more costs on the City.

* If the Toronto Parking Authority is to operate an e-scooter rental program on behalf of the City, there will be additional City staffing and other costs for its planning, administration and monitoring.

* If the City operates this program, or contracts with a private e-scooter rental company, the City risks being on the hook for added costs for personal injury and property damage claims arising out of the use of the e-scooters that the City would either own or manage.

We respectfully suggest that there are better ways for the City to use public money.

Beyond these costs, the staff’s preferred option would lead to a reduction in the number of available public parking spots in Toronto. Some would be converted into sites for e-scooter racks. Too often, it is already hard to find street parking in Toronto. For people with disabilities among others, this threatens a further accessibility problem that our Open Letter had not anticipated.

As but one example, the Ontario Government is building a massive new courthouse in the middle of downtown Toronto. We have been active for over two years, raising a series of accessibility problems with that courthouse design. Among other things, that new courthouse will have no public parking, including no accessible public parking for court participants with disabilities who will be coming to court. They have to find street parking. The Ontario Government told us that they are turning to the City of Toronto to make available more accessible public parking. If e-scooter racks eat up more downtown parking spots, that will make things worse, not better, for solving that disability parking problem.

4. Wrong for Others to Be Forced to in Effect Subsidize E-Scooter Rental Companies Who Get the Profits

The taxpayer will be on the hook for all these additional costs, not to mention the added provincial health care costs from the personal injuries that e-scooters will cause. The e-scooter companies will walk away with the profits.

5. City Staff’s Preferred Option Does Not Eliminate the Risk of Some E-Scooters Being Left on Public Sidewalks, Creating Accessibility Barriers and Tripping Hazards

While it is an improvement over some other options, the City staff’s preferred option does not prevent e-scooters from being abandoned in the middle of the sidewalks. These will pose an unpredictable and unforeseeable accessibility barrier and tripping hazard. Beyond this impact on people with disabilities, it will also create barriers for others, such as parents pushing a shopping cart or baby stroller on a sidewalk.

The only way to prevent this, and to prevent e-scooters from being ridden on sidewalks, short of the more appropriate solution of banning them outright, is to flood the city with an armada of police officers on every block. Our overburdened police have too much on their hands as it is. This involves even more costs for the taxpayer.

6. Ontarians with Disabilities Need Your Leadership

Other cities are no doubt looking to Toronto for its leadership on this issue. They will be watching to see if Toronto lifts the e-scooter ban. We therefore need your leadership more than ever to prevent the dangers to people with disabilities and others that e-scooters pose.

The Ford Government has burdened Ontarians with disabilities with the undue hardship of having to advocate on this issue in one municipality after another, right across Ontario. In contrast, the corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies have had the ear of Premier Ford. We anticipate that they are hard at work, lobbying members of Toronto City Council and senior staff behind closed doors.

Mayor Tory, Ontarians with disabilities are deeply indebted to you for your leadership on the issue of accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities when you were at Queen’s Park. In 2003-2005, you led the Ontario Progressive Conservative party to support the enactment in 2005 of the AODA, and to press for amendments to strengthen it when it was being debated before the Legislature. We reap the benefits of your support and dedication on this issue to this day. The fact that that legislation passed unanimously has been vital to our cause. It set a trend that has been followed in two other provinces, and federally.

Fifteen years later, we turn to you once again to show that spirited and decisive leadership. Don’t lift the ban on e-scooters in Toronto. Toronto will progress very well without exposing people with disabilities and others to the dangers that e-scooters cause. There are far better ways to address the traffic and other concerns that the e-scooter corporate lobbyists advance in their effort to make money renting e-scooters here.

There are more important issues for City staff to address. There are greater priorities for you and other members of City Council. There are greater unmet needs to which public funds should be directed.

At the very least, please direct City staff to go back to the drawing board. Please direct the City’s top officials to meet with us, before this goes any further. Direct them to review with us and the broader disability community any and all options that they might recommend. There is no reason to rush. If despite all of this, City Council were to decide to disregard the unanimous and wise call from Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, we ask that the City adopt all the restrictions on e-scooters that are set out in our open letter.

We would welcome a chance to discuss this with you further. We would be pleased to provide any help that we can.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont
Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance




Source link

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Asks Toronto Mayor John Tory to Help Ensure that Canada’s Largest City Does Not Lift the Ban on Electric Scooters – Torontonians with Disabilities Need Mayor Tory’s Leadership to Prevent the Dangers to Their Safety and Accessibility that E-Scooters Pose


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/

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Asks Toronto Mayor John Tory to Help Ensure that Canada’s Largest City Does Not Lift the Ban on Electric Scooters – Torontonians with Disabilities Need Mayor Tory’s Leadership to Prevent the Dangers to Their Safety and Accessibility that E-Scooters Pose

February 6, 2020

          SUMMARY

The AODA Alliance has written Toronto Mayor John Tory. We asked him to use his leadership to help us ensure that Toronto does not lift the ban in place on electric scooters (e-scooters).  Our letter details the dangers that e-scooters pose, and the serious problems with the option for permitting them that Toronto City Staff have said they prefer. We set out our letter below.

Meanwhile, 371 days have now gone by since the Ford Government received the final report on the AODA’s implementation and enforcement that was prepared by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. We are still waiting for the Ford Government to come up with an effective plan to implement the Onley Report’s recommendations to strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement.

Your feedback is always welcome. Write us at [email protected]

          MORE DETAILS

Text of the AODA Alliance’s February 6, 2020 Letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

1929 Bayview Avenue

Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8

Email: [email protected]

Visit: www.aodalliance.org

February 6, 2020

To: Mayor John Tory

Via Email: [email protected]

Office of the Mayor

City Hall, 2nd Floor

100 Queen St. W.

Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Twitter: @JohnTory

Dear Mayor Tory,

Re: Protecting Torontonians with Disabilities and Others from the Dangers of Electric Scooters

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on the phone on December 9, 2019 about the serious dangers that electric scooters (e-scooters) pose for Torontonians with disabilities and others. I am writing as a follow-up to that call, and to address new developments since then. We seek your help and leadership.

  1. New Open Letter to All Ontario Mayors and City Councilors from 11 Major Disability Organizations

On January 22, 2020, 11 major disability organizations including the AODA Alliance made public an open letter to all the mayors and city councilors of Ontario municipalities. Its message is clear, simple and compelling: Do not lift the ban on e-scooters.

This is easy for you to accomplish. You needn’t do anything. Right now, e-scooters are banned in Ontario, unless a municipality takes active steps to allow them, by passing a bylaw permitting them. If Toronto passes no bylaw, the ban on e-scooters remains in place. People with disabilities remain protected from the dangers that e-scooters pose.

To pass a bylaw that lifts the ban on e-scooters will endanger the physical safety and accessibility for people with disabilities and others, as our open letter explains. Please read our open letter. Please help us ensure that your City Council colleagues and senior City staff read our open letter.

  1. The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee Unanimously Passed a Strong Motion Calling on the City of Toronto Not to Allow E-scooters

Reinforcing our open letter, on February 3, 2020, the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee, chaired by Councilor Wong-Tam and appointed by the City unanimously passed a very important motion. The motion calls on the City of Toronto to leave in place the ban on e-scooters in public places.

That motion combines with our open letter to shift a very heavy onus to anyone who wants to permit e-scooters in public places in Toronto. For the City to permit them would be to reject the serious documented concerns that have been presented to the City by people with disabilities. These are among our community’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents.

We are grateful that you have publicly recognized some problems that e-scooters would create. As you know, the AODA requires Toronto, like all of Ontario, to become barrier-free for people with disabilities by 2025. We are behind schedule for reaching that goal. To create new disability barriers will set things back further.

  1. Despite These Concerns, City Staff Prefer to Allow E-scooters in Toronto on Terms that Won’t Solve these Problems

At the February 3, 2020 Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting, City staff said that they are preparing a report on e-scooters for City Council. That staff report will have an important impact. You have publicly said that you are awaiting their report as you decide what Toronto should do.

According to the February 4, 2020 Toronto Star, City staff told the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee at its February 3, 2020 meeting that it has a preferred option. We understand that staff would not go public with this unless that “preferred option” has made its way through key levels of review within the City’s public service.

We are exceedingly concerned about the City staff’s preferred option. Instead of keeping the current ban on e-scooters, City staff prefer an option where e-scooters would be unleashed on Torontonians. They would be managed by the Toronto Parking Authority. The Toronto Star article stated:

“Senior project manager Janet Lo gave a preview Monday to members of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee. Those members later called the devices an unacceptable threat to the safety of disabled Torontonians.

Lo said work on the report continues. But staff’s “preferred” model would see riders pick up and leave e-scooters only in designated spots — potentially Bike Share Toronto stations, or on-street vehicle parking spots converted to scooter use by Toronto Parking Authority (TPA).

“What we are suggesting is the designated-parking model … The high density of bike share stations — they are planning for 625 — makes it easy for people to be able to walk to them and access these shared micromobility options,” Lo said. “This addresses the sidewalk clutter and obstructions issue.””

We first learned about this from the Toronto Star article. Senior City staff had not before then reached out to discuss it with us. We are well-known for our advocacy efforts on this issue. City staff should not have chosen a preferred option before speaking to the broader disability community, including us about that option and ensuring that their option resolves our concerns. The unanimous February 3, 2020 Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee motion emphasized the need for proper consultation by the City with the disability community on the e-scooters issue.

The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee’s recommendation is especially timely. Last fall, the Ford Government gave our concerns short shrift. The provincial e-scooters regulation looks like it was written by the corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies who are pressing for e-scooters in Ontario.

The City staff’s preferred option is seriously flawed. It should not be preferred by anyone.

The City staff’s preferred option does not eliminate or even reduce the danger to our physical safety posed by unlicensed, uninsured, untrained e-scooter drivers rocketing towards us at 24 KPH on roads or sidewalks on a silent e-scooter. People will get injured or worse. The most vulnerable will be people with disabilities and seniors. They should be able to walk in public in Toronto without our city government exposing them to this new danger.

Beyond the pain and suffering that e-scooters will inflict, they will force new costs, including costs to the City Government, and therefore, to the taxpayer. This includes:

* Increased policing costs, ambulance costs, and other emergency first responder costs.

* The City staff’s preferred option would have the City erect new racks for parking e-scooters in selected parking spots, forcing more costs on the City.

* If the Toronto Parking Authority is to operate an e-scooter rental program on behalf of the City, there will be additional City staffing and other costs for its planning, administration and monitoring.

* If the City operates this program, or contracts with a private e-scooter rental company, the City risks being on the hook for added costs for personal injury and property damage claims arising out of the use of the e-scooters that the City would either own or manage.

We respectfully suggest that there are better ways for the City to use public money.

Beyond these costs, the staff’s preferred option would lead to a reduction in the number of available public parking spots in Toronto. Some would be converted into sites for e-scooter racks. Too often, it is already hard to find street parking in Toronto. For people with disabilities among others, this threatens a further accessibility problem that our Open Letter had not anticipated.

As but one example, the Ontario Government is building a massive new courthouse in the middle of downtown Toronto. We have been active for over two years, raising a series of accessibility problems with that courthouse design. Among other things, that new courthouse will have no public parking, including no accessible public parking for court participants with disabilities who will be coming to court. They have to find street parking. The Ontario Government told us that they are turning to the City of Toronto to make available more accessible public parking. If e-scooter racks eat up more downtown parking spots, that will make things worse, not better, for solving that disability parking problem.

  1. Wrong for Others to Be Forced to in Effect Subsidize E-Scooter Rental Companies Who Get the Profits

The taxpayer will be on the hook for all these additional costs, not to mention the added provincial health care costs from the personal injuries that e-scooters will cause. The e-scooter companies will walk away with the profits.

  1. City Staff’s Preferred Option Does Not Eliminate the Risk of Some E-Scooters Being Left on Public Sidewalks, Creating Accessibility Barriers and Tripping Hazards

While it is an improvement over some other options, the City staff’s preferred option does not prevent e-scooters from being abandoned in the middle of the sidewalks. These will pose an unpredictable and unforeseeable accessibility barrier and tripping hazard. Beyond this impact on people with disabilities, it will also create barriers for others, such as parents pushing a shopping cart or baby stroller on a sidewalk.

The only way to prevent this, and to prevent e-scooters from being ridden on sidewalks, short of the more appropriate solution of banning them outright, is to flood the city with an armada of police officers on every block. Our overburdened police have too much on their hands as it is. This involves even more costs for the taxpayer.

  1. Ontarians with Disabilities Need Your Leadership

Other cities are no doubt looking to Toronto for its leadership on this issue. They will be watching to see if Toronto lifts the e-scooter ban. We therefore need your leadership more than ever to prevent the dangers to people with disabilities and others that e-scooters pose.

The Ford Government has burdened Ontarians with disabilities with the undue hardship of having to advocate on this issue in one municipality after another, right across Ontario. In contrast, the corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies have had the ear of Premier Ford. We anticipate that they are hard at work, lobbying members of Toronto City Council and senior staff behind closed doors.

Mayor Tory, Ontarians with disabilities are deeply indebted to you for your leadership on the issue of accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities when you were at Queen’s Park. In 2003-2005, you led the Ontario Progressive Conservative party to support the enactment in 2005 of the AODA, and to press for amendments to strengthen it when it was being debated before the Legislature. We reap the benefits of your support and dedication on this issue to this day. The fact that that legislation passed unanimously has been vital to our cause. It set a trend that has been followed in two other provinces, and federally.

Fifteen years later, we turn to you once again to show that spirited and decisive leadership. Don’t lift the ban on e-scooters in Toronto. Toronto will progress very well without exposing people with disabilities and others to the dangers that e-scooters cause. There are far better ways to address the traffic and other concerns that the e-scooter corporate lobbyists advance in their effort to make money renting e-scooters here.

There are more important issues for City staff to address. There are greater priorities for you and other members of City Council. There are greater unmet needs to which public funds should be directed.

At the very least, please direct City staff to go back to the drawing board. Please direct the City’s top officials to meet with us, before this goes any further. Direct them to review with us and the broader disability community any and all options that they might recommend. There is no reason to rush. If despite all of this, City Council were to decide to disregard the unanimous and wise call from Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, we ask that the City adopt all the restrictions on e-scooters that are set out in our open letter.

We would welcome a chance to discuss this with you further. We would be pleased to provide any help that we can.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont

Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance



Source link

More Media Coverage Focuses on the Dangers to People with Disabilities and Others that the Ford Government Has Created by Its New Regulation that Permits Electric Scooters in Ontario – and – A New AODA Alliance Captioned Online Video Explores the Barriers Facing Patients with Disabilities in Ontario’s Health Care System


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/

More Media Coverage Focuses on the Dangers to People with Disabilities and Others that the Ford Government Has Created by Its New Regulation that Permits Electric Scooters in Ontario – and – A New AODA Alliance Captioned Online Video Explores the Barriers Facing Patients with Disabilities in Ontario’s Health Care System

January 21, 2020

          SUMMARY

1. More Media Coverage Exposes the Danger to Accessibility and Safety for Ontarians with Disabilities and Others Posed by the Ford Government’s New Regulation that Permits Electric Scooters in Ontario

As the new year was beginning, we secured more helpful media coverage of an important part of our campaign for accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. Last fall, over our strong objections, the Ford Government passed a new regulation that allows municipalities to permit uninsured, untrained and unlicensed people, as young as 16 years old, to race around their roads, sidewalks and other public places on electric scooters (e-scooters). Below we set out:

* The December 31, 2019 National Post article, written by Shawn Jeffords of the Canadian Press, and published in a number of news outlets. That article included:

“Stewart Lyon said he has met with organizations that advocate on behalf of the disabled, including the CNIB Foundation and the City of Toronto’s accessibility committee, to address their concerns.

“We have bells on the scooters and we work very hard to make sure they are parked correctly,” he said. “It’s not in our interest to be a pain in anyone’s side. It’s not in our interest to impinge the accessible community in any way.””

The pro-e-scooters corporate lobbyist quoted in that passage, who clearly had the inside track with the Doug Ford Government, has not reached out to meet with the AODA Alliance as part of his stated efforts to reach out to the disability community. We are known to be a leading voice on this issue. We invite him to agree to a public debate with us on e-scooters.

The fact that an e-scooter has a bell on it, as the corporate lobbyist said in that passage, does not eliminate the serious danger to people with disabilities. Nothing ensures that an e-scooter rider will ever use the bell. Moreover, when an e-scooter rider leaves an e-scooter on the sidewalk for people to trip over, blocking people using wheelchairs, the bell won’t remove these safety and accessibility dangers.

* A letter to the editor in the January 4, 2020 Toronto Star, pointing out the serious danger that e-scooters also pose to seniors. That letter warns that e-scooters are not supposed to be ridden on sidewalks, but they will at times be ridden there. In fact, the Ford Government’s new regulation explicitly lets a municipality permit people to ride e-scooters on sidewalks.

* An article in the January 10, 2020 Globe and Mail detailing the problems that e-scooters have posed in other places where they have been allowed.

Read the September 12, 2019 brief that the AODA Alliance submitted to the Ford Government on e-scooters, and our November 28, 2019 news release on the Ford Government’s new e-scooters regulation.

2. New AODA Alliance Captioned Online Video Explains What We Need the Forthcoming Health Care Accessibility Standard to Include to Make Ontario’s Health Care system Barrier-Free for Patients with Disabilities

Here is a new resource you will want to check out and share with others. At any time, you can watch online the captioned 1-hour lecture by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on what we need the forthcoming Health Care Accessibility Standard to include to tear down the many barriers that impede patients with disabilities in our health care system.

The AODA Alliance has been in the lead, pressing the Ontario Government for years to enact a strong and effective Health Care Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act to make our health care system fully barrier-free for patients with disabilities. This lecture, given last fall to a Health Law course at the Osgoode Hall Law School, gives practical suggestions on what we need the Health Care Accessibility Standard to include. To learn more about the campaign for a strong and effective AODA Health Care Accessibility Standard, check out our website’s specific resources on health care accessibility issues.

You don’t need to have any education in the law to enjoy this lecture. This online lecture has already gotten a good amount of interest and attention. Over the six weeks since we announced it on Facebook and Twitter, it has been viewed well over 800 times. That number keeps growing.

Please encourage others to watch this online lecture. It would be great if you could share it with anyone you know who works in health care , including doctors, dentists, nurses, physiotherapists and other health professionals. Also, share it with anyone you know who has an administrative job in the health care system, such as a manager in a hospital, community health centre or nursing home.

If e-scooters are permitted in municipalities in Ontario, more people, including people with disabilities, will sadly have to go to our hospitals to treat the injuries that we know are caused by e-scooters and the accessibility of our health care system will become even more important.

3. The Ford Government Still Has Announced No Plan to Implement the Onley Report

As of today, there have been 355 days since the Doug Ford Government received the final report of the Government-appointed mandatory Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation and enforcement that was conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. That report found that Ontario remains full of “soul-crushing barriers “that impede Ontarians with disabilities daily, and that for people with disabilities, Ontario is not a land of opportunity.

The Ford Government said that Mr. Onley did a “marvelous job.” His report called for strong new action to speed up and strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. Yet the Ford Government has still announced no plan to implement it.

We are now a scant 10 days away from hitting the one year anniversary of the Government’s receiving the Onley Report. In the meantime, the Ford Government has made the situation worse for people with disabilities, by passing its e-scooter regulation that will create new barriers to accessibility and public safety for Ontarians with disabilities.

Stay tuned for more news and action tips on the accessibility front, concerning these and other important issues.

          MORE DETAILS

National Post December 31, 2019

Originally posted at https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/five-year-electric-scooter-pilot-begins-new-years-day-in-ontario

Five-year electric scooter pilot begins New Year’s Day in Ontario

The Canadian Press

Shawn Jeffords

December 31, 2019

TORONTO — A five-year pilot project allowing the use of electric scooters on provincial roads launches in Ontario on Wednesday, despite safety concerns raised by some advocates for the disabled.

The Ontario government announced the pilot in November after holding several weeks of consultations, saying the move will expand business opportunities and help cut down congestion on provincial roads.

But a long-time accessibility advocate said this week he still hopes to convince Premier Doug Ford’s government to require strict enforcement when the e-scooters hit the roads in the coming months.

“Premier Ford seems to want to motor ahead with this plan,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance. “We’d like him to put the brakes on. What’s the hurry?”

The Ministry of Transportation floated the idea of legalizing e-scooters during the summer, allowing them to be driven anywhere a bicycle can operate.

The two-wheeled, motorized vehicles are currently illegal to operate anywhere other than private property. Under the new regulations, they will be permitted on roads but cannot exceed a maximum operating speed of 24 kilometres per hour and must also have a horn or bell.

Riders must be at least 16 years old and must wear a helmet while driving one of the vehicles, which cannot weigh more than 45 kilograms.

The ministry said Tuesday that municipalities can pass their own individual bylaws to permit e-scooter use and set safety standards in their communities.

“We expect the municipalities that participate in the pilot to make safety a priority and establish rules that promote the safe operation and integration of e-scooters in their communities,” spokesman Jacob Henry in a statement.

Lepofsky said the vehicles move quickly and quietly and will present a safety threat for the disabled and non-disabled alike.

“As a blind person, I want to walk safely in public,” he said. “I fear an inattentive, unlicensed, uninsured person, as young as 16, with no training, experience or knowledge of the rules of the road, silently rocketing towards me at 24 kilometres per hour on an e-scooter.”

Lepofsky said provincial laws should require e-scooter drivers to have a licence and insurance. They should also ensure that if an e-scooter is left in a public place like a sidewalk, it should be forfeited and confiscated, he said.

E-scooter rental companies should have mandatory liability for any injuries that the vehicles cause, and limits on the number of e-scooters, he added.

Earlier this year, the CNIB Foundation, which advocates for the blind or people living with vision loss, said it was concerned about the rules spelled out in the government’s proposal not taking into account the potential for the vehicles to be improperly driven on sidewalks.

The CEO of Bird Canada, an e-scooter rental company preparing to launch in Toronto this spring, said the company is committed to safety.

Stewart Lyon said he has met with organizations that advocate on behalf of the disabled, including the CNIB Foundation and the City of Toronto’s accessibility committee, to address their concerns.

“We have bells on the scooters and we work very hard to make sure they are parked correctly,” he said. “It’s not in our interest to be a pain in anyone’s side. It’s not in our interest to impinge the accessible community in any way.”

Toronto Star January 4, 2020

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2020/01/04/e-scooters-will-lead-to-more-deaths.html

Letters to the Editor

E-scooters will lead to more deaths

There’s every chance that e-scooters will increase pedestrian deaths in Toronto. They’re not supposed to go on the sidewalk, but they will. And when they do, there will be no police to stop them.

I’ve lived on St. Clair West for 11 years and have never seen a car stopped for travelling at 60 or even 80 km/h, which they regularly do, let alone an e-scooter.

David Lepofsky is right to be worried about untrained, unlicensed 16-year-olds silently driving towards him at 24 km/h. I turn 83 this month and being knocked down by a scooter could be fatal.

Bikes are not supposed to be on sidewalks, but they are frequently are on St. Clair West because the street is treacherous and there are no bike lanes.

We’ve had decades of kicking infrastructure investment down the road by all three levels of government. To tell us now that e-scooters are even a partial solution to the problem isn’t laughable, it’s deceptive and tragic.

Deaths caused by e-scooters will be on the heads of those who approve them.

Douglas Buck, Toronto

The Globe and Mail January 10, 2020

Originally posted at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/drive/mobility/

E-scooters may be allowed in Ontario now, but they won’t solve our traffic woes

By MATT BUBBERS

Special to The Globe and Mail

It’s shaping up to be a very happy new year for e-scooter jockeys in Ontario. The first day of 2020 kicks off a five-year pilot project to test the viability

in Ontario of electric kick-scooters, also known as e-scooters – not the sit-down Vespa-style ones, but the stand-up variety.

We’re in for in for a wild, potentially dangerous and undeniably fun ride, but don’t think that these overhyped scooters are a cure for our traffic ailments.

Feelings tend to run hot on any question that asks drivers to share the road, be it bike lanes, e-bikes or streetcars. Depending on where you stand on

e-scooters – which, in some cases, may be not at all, if you’re among those who would prefer they simply didn’t exist – these little electric devices are

an obvious road hazard or an ingenious solution to climate change.

For a vehicle often pitched as a salve for congested cities, research suggests that e-scooters don’t replace trips by car. In Germany, people tended to

use them in inner cities – areas already well served by public transit – for short trips otherwise made by walking or biking, according to a 2019 study

by Civity, a management consulting firm.

The company analyzed data from multiple shared e-scooter providers in Germany, which have been operating en masse since summer, 2019.

“From our point of view, there are neither major advantages nor a serious danger for public transport – at most the tourist Segway rental companies may

be disrupted,” the authors of the Civity study found. In other words, e-scooters might just be a novelty.

In Hamburg, the same study found that escooter use peaked on weekends and later in the day, indicating they’re being ridden mostly for recreational and

tourism purposes, not commuting. In Berlin, usage was highest in tourist areas.

So much for easing rush-hour traffic.

For those with a disability, having e-scooters strewn across sidewalks – as seen in many cities when the devices first launched – presents a more serious

concern.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, a non-partisan advocacy group, called on the Ford government to withdraw the pilot program,

or ban shared e-scooter programs and require users to be licensed and insured.

In Los Angeles, Calgary and Austin, Tex., e-scooter riders have so far proved to be more of a danger to themselves than to others.

Over a three-month period, 190 people were injured in e-scooter crashes in Austin, according to a 2019 study conducted by the city.

Nearly half had head injuries and just more than a third had bone fractures.

Among the 190, two people – a cyclist and a pedestrian – were injured when an e-scooter collided with them.

In Munich, 400 people were arrested for riding e-scooters while drunk during the first few months after the shared devices became available.

There are other issues too, which sharedscooter providers and cities are already trying to solve. In Montreal, users can be fined for leaving a scooter

strewn on roads or sidewalks, although enforcement is difficult.

Providers such as Lime and Bird are working to improve the longevity of shared e-scooters, from as little as 28 days to around two years.

That would greatly reduce their carbon footprint, which was found to be smaller than cars but larger than a bus or bicycle.

The thing is, e-scooters are fun. They’re electric skateboards for people who lack balance and like brakes; they’re surfboards for people who don’t live

near any heavy waves.

Sure, they’re kind of dorky, but once all the Bay Street bros get on them, that will probably change.

Or, e-scooters might simply go the way of the unicycle, the Segway or the hoverboard, and that would be just fine, too.

The thing to remember through all the hype is that even if, by some miracle, e-scooters are implemented flawlessly, they are unlikely to fix the urban

mobility problem.

The media coverage has been disproportionate to the scope of their current and future impact. At best, e-scooters could be a small part of our transportation

network. At worst, they could be a genuine hazard, and there’s no guarantee they’ll make commuting any faster.

Whether they actually end up on a road near you in Ontario is still up to individual municipalities, which can decide when and where to allow them, if

at all.

A spokesperson for the City of Toronto said staff is currently looking into it and will report back to the relevant committee in the first quarter of 2020.



Source link

AODA Alliance Sends an Open Letter to the Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, Seeking Specific Commitments on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities


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

January 12, 2020

SUMMARY

Happy new year to one and all. Although the new year has scarcely begun, were already back at it, sleeves rolled up, plowing ahead with advocacy to tear down the barriers that people with disabilities too often still face. Here is the first news for you in 2020.

At its party convention starting on March 7, 2020, the Ontario Liberal Party will choose its next leader. Today, we wrote an open letter to all the candidates for Ontario Liberal leadership, which we set out below. In it, we ask each candidate to make commitments on making our society accessible for people with disabilities. We will make public any responses that we receive.

We will not endorse, support or oppose any candidate. As always, our non-partisan goal is to get strong commitments from all the leadership candidates, whatever be their party.

This is certainly not the first such leadership race in which we have used this strategy. When the Ontario Liberals last had a leadership race, in 2012-13, we did the same thing. In that leadership race, all six candidates made written commitments to us. During the two leadership races held by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party since then, we deployed the same strategy. In both of those leadership races, none of the candidates answered our request for commitments on accessibility for people with disabilities.

Stay tuned for lots more news on accessibility issues over the next days, weeks and months. There have now been 345 days, or over eleven months, since the Doug Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the AODAs implementation conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has still failed to announce a plan to implement that report. The AODAs mandatory 2025 deadline for Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities is now less than 5 years away.

In this new year, we welcome your feedback as much as ever! Write us at [email protected] Tweet us at @aodaalliance. Check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

MORE DETAILS

Text of the January 11, 2020 Open Letter from the AODA Alliance to All Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Email: [email protected]
Visit: www.aodalliance.org

January 11, 2020

To: Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party

Michael Coteau
Email: [email protected] and [email protected] Twitter: @coteau

Steven Del Duca
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @StevenDelDuca

Kate Graham
Email:[email protected]
Twitter: @KateMarieGraham

Brenda Hollingsworth
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @OttawaLawyers

Mitzie Hunter
Email: [email protected] and [email protected] Twitter: @MitzieHunter

Alvin Tedjo
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @AlvinTedjo

Dear Candidates,

This open letter to all candidates for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal party seeks each candidates commitments on disability accessibility. These commitments would aim at ensuring that Ontario achieves the goal of full accessibility for some 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities on or before 2025, the end date that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) requires by law. We will make public all responses we receive to this open letter.

In the last race for leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, back in 2012-2013, all six leadership candidates made written commitments to us on accessibility for people with disabilities. We hope that each candidate in this leadership race will do the same.

The Issue

Some 2.6 million people with disabilities in Ontario still face too many barriers when they try to get a job, ride public transit, get around in our community, or enjoy the goods, services and facilities that are available to the public. This hurts all Ontarians. Everyone either has a disability now or is bound to get one later as they age. That is why we often say that people with disabilities are the minority of everyone.

The Ontario Liberal Party can be proud that when it formed Government in 2003, it had committed to pass strong new Ontario accessibility legislation, working in consultation with Ontarios disability community to design it. Ontarios Liberals can also be proud that in 2005, the Legislature unanimously passed the AODA, and shortly afterwards, got a good start on implementing it.

However, after that, progress slowed. It got mired in the bureaucracy. Since then, Ontario has made some progress on accessibility for people with disabilities. However there is still a great deal to be done to achieve the goal of full accessibility by 2025 that the AODA requires of us all.

Ontario is far behind reaching full accessibility by 2025. One year ago, the final report of the Government-appointed Independent Review of the AODAs implementation and enforcement, conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley, made strong findings about this. Based on public feedback, Mr. Onley found that the pace of change since 2005 for people with disabilities has been “glacial.” The Onley report found that “the promised accessible Ontario is nowhere in sight.” Progress on accessibility under this law has been “highly selective and barely detectable.”

Mr. Onley found “this province is mostly inaccessible.” The Onley report correctly concluded:

“For most disabled persons, Ontario is not a place of opportunity but one of countless, dispiriting, soul-crushing barriers.”

The Onley report in substance found that there has been a protracted, troubling lack of Government leadership on this issue, even though two prior Government-appointed AODA Independent Reviews called for renewed, strengthened leadership:

“The Premier of Ontario could establish accessibility as a government-wide priority with the stroke of a pen. Our previous two Premiers did not listen to repeated pleas to do this.”

As of this letters date, the current Ontario Government under Premier Doug Ford has not strengthened or accelerated the AODAs implementation or enforcement. It has not shown the new revitalized leadership on this issue that Ontarians with disabilities need. If anything, progress has slowed even more.

What We Ask of You

We are eager to ensure that the next Ontario Liberal Party leader will fully maintain the Liberal Partys past commitments on disability accessibility, and will build on those commitments. We would be delighted if you could simply give a yes answer to the following questions. We realize that in a busy leadership campaign, you may not be in a position to write more extensively than that on these questions:

1. We have welcomed face-to-face meetings with the past two Premiers, Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne, to discuss accessibility issues (in addition to face-to-face meetings with different cabinet ministers, successive Secretaries of Cabinet, and other senior government officials).

If you become your Partys leader, will you maintain the practice of personally meeting with us to discuss accessibility issues, in addition to our meetings with your appropriate caucus members? As part of this, will you meet with us within 60 days of becoming your partys leader, so that we can brief you on these issues? If your Party is elected to form the Government, will you as Premier agree to periodically meet with us, in addition to our meeting with appropriate cabinet ministers?

2. Under your leadership, will your Party make it a priority to press the current Government to keep its commitments and fulfil its duties on accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities?

3. In Ontario elections, will you continue the practice of the last three Ontario Liberal Party leaders, of making specific election commitments to us on the issue of achieving an accessible province for persons with disabilities, in letters to us?

4. Under your leadership, will the Liberal Party fully maintain the implementation of the AODA 2005 and not weaken or reduce any provisions or protections in that legislation or regulations enacted under them, or any Government policies, practices, strategies or initiatives that exist to implement them or achieve their objectives?

5. Will you keep the past commitments that your Party has made to Ontarians with disabilities regarding disability accessibility, including e.g. its previous commitments to effectively enforce the AODA? We set out links to those commitments below.

6. Under the AODA, three Government-appointed mandatory Independent Reviews have examined the Governments implementation of the AODA. These were conducted in 2009-2010 by Charles Beer, in 2013-2014 by Prof. Mayo Moran and in 2018-2019 by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. All three reports called on the Government to revitalize and breathe new life into the implementation of the AODA, and for the Government to show strong new leadership on this issue. The Moran report and the Onley Report specifically recommended that Ontarios Premier should show strong new leadership on disability accessibility. (See a quotation later in this letter)

If you become Ontarios Premier, will you show new, strong leadership on accessibility and breathe new life into and revitalize the Governments implementation of the AODA?

7. Each premier sends Mandate Letters to each of his or her cabinet ministers, setting out their priorities. In your Mandate Letters, will you direct your cabinet ministers, the Secretary of Cabinet and other senior public officials to implement your Governments duties and commitments on disability accessibility?

8. If you become Premier, will you ensure that Ontario is on schedule for full accessibility for persons with disabilities by 2025, the deadline that the AODA requires? Should your party form the Government at a time when it is too late to achieve that deadline, will you commit to get Ontario as close to being accessible as reasonably possible by 2025? In that event, will you also commit to work with us and to take any needed action, including passing new legislation, to set a new achievable deadline and to institute measures that will ensure that it is achieved (and that will not weaken or reduce any provisions or policies then in place)?

9. The Moran and Onley reports expressed concerns that public money has been used to create new accessibility barriers against people with disabilities. Will you commit that under your leadership, public money will not be used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities?

10. Ontario voters and candidates with disabilities still face too many barriers in provincial and municipal elections. Under your leadership as premier, will the Government bring forward new measures, including new legislation, to ensure that provincial and municipal elections in Ontario are fully accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities?

Who Are We?

As a volunteer grassroots non-partisan community coalition, the AODA Alliance does not seek to get any party or candidate elected. We do not endorse or oppose any candidate for leadership of any party.

Founded in 2005, we united to achieve a fully accessible Ontario for over 1.7 million Ontarians with disabilities, through the prompt and effective implementation of the AODA. Our supporters include persons with disabilities, people who have not yet gotten a disability, and community organizations concerned with the rights of persons with disabilities in Ontario.

Our predecessor coalition was the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee (ODA Committee). From 1994 to 2005, the ODA Committee spearheaded a province-wide accessibility campaign. It led to the enactment of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 (passed by the Mike Harris Government), and later, the AODA (passed by the Dalton McGuinty Government).

Our leadership on the issue of accessibility for people with disabilities, as well as that of our predecessor coalition, has been repeatedly recognized by all parties in the Ontario Legislature, as well as by the media. We have been recognized as a leading non-partisan grassroots voice in Ontario, that advocates to make Ontario a fully disability-accessible province.

We have also given our input on these issues to the Federal Government, and to those addressing these issues in Manitoba, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Our input has also been sought from others outside Canada, including in Israel, New Zealand and the European Union.

The Ontario Liberal Party’s Past Commitments on Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities

Starting in 1995, the Ontario Liberal Party has made written election commitments on accessibility legislation for persons with disabilities, in each of the past seven Ontario general elections. These commitments were set out in letters from the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party to the ODA Committee in the 1995, 1999, and 2003 elections. After the ODA Committee wound up in 2005 with the passage of the AODA that year, the Ontario Liberal leader made these commitments in letters to its successor coalition, the AODA Alliance, in the 2007, 2011, 2014 and 2018 Ontario general elections.

On October 29, 1998, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed a landmark and historic resolution setting out eleven important principles that a strong and effective Disabilities Act should fulfil. That resolution was introduced into the Legislature by Liberal MPP Dwight Duncan, at the request of our predecessor coalition, the ODA Committee. Right after that resolution was passed, Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty took part in a joint Queen’s Park news conference with ODA Committee Chair David Lepofsky. At that news conference, Mr. McGuinty, then Ontario’s Opposition leader, committed that a Liberal Government would implement a Disabilities Act that fulfilled that resolution.

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 1999 Ontario election, visit http://www.odacommittee.net/letters/march26-99.html

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2003 Ontario election, visit http://www.odacommittee.net/news80.html#letter

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2007 Ontario election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/newsub2011/liberal-party-writes-aoda-alliance-with-election-commitments-regarding-disability-accessibility/

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2011 Ontario election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/new2011/read-the-ontario-liberal-partys-august-19-2011-letter-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2011-election-commitments-on-disability-accessibility/

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2014 election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/new2015-whats-new/may-14-2014-letter-from-liberal-party-leader-premier-kathleen-wynne-on-her-partys-2014-disability-accessibility-election-pledges/

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2018 election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/read-the-may-14-2018-letter-from-the-liberal-party-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2018-election-commitments-on-accessibility/

In Conclusion

The Ontario Liberal Party’s leadership race concludes on March 7, 2020. We would very much appreciate a response to these questions by February 15, 2020. Please send your response by email to [email protected] and please attach it as an accessible MS Word file. Do not send it as a PDF as that format presents accessibility problems. We would be delighted to give you and your team any background information on this issue that you request.

We look forward to working with the leaders and members of all Ontarios political parties now and in the future on the shared goal that all the major parties have endorsed, of achieving a fully accessible Ontario on or before 2025.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky, CM, O. Ont,
Chair AODA Alliance




Source link

AODA Alliance Sends an Open Letter to the Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, Seeking Specific Commitments on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

www.aodaalliance.org [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

AODA Alliance Sends an Open Letter to the Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, Seeking Specific Commitments on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities

January 11, 2020

          SUMMARY

Happy new year to one and all. Although the new year has scarcely begun, we’re already back at it, sleeves rolled up, plowing ahead with advocacy to tear down the barriers that people with disabilities too often still face. Here is the first news for you in 2020.

At its party convention starting on March 7, 2020, the Ontario Liberal Party will choose its next leader. Today, we wrote an open letter to all the candidates for Ontario Liberal leadership, which we set out below. In it, we ask each candidate to make commitments on making our society accessible for people with disabilities. We will make public any responses that we receive.

We will not endorse, support or oppose any candidate. As always, our non-partisan goal is to get strong commitments from all the leadership candidates, whatever be their party.

This is certainly not the first such leadership race in which we have used this strategy. When the Ontario Liberals last had a leadership race, in 2012-13, we did the same thing. In that leadership race, all six candidates made written commitments to us. During the two leadership races held by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party since then, we deployed the same strategy. In both of those leadership races, none of the candidates answered our request for commitments on accessibility for people with disabilities.

Stay tuned for lots more news on accessibility issues over the next days, weeks and months. There have now been 345 days, or over eleven months, since the Doug Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has still failed to announce a plan to implement that report. The AODA’s mandatory 2025 deadline for Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities is now less than 5 years away.

In this new year, we welcome your feedback as much as ever! Write us at [email protected] Tweet us at @aodaalliance. Check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

          MORE DETAILS

Text of the January 11, 2020 Open Letter from the AODA Alliance to All Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

1929 Bayview Avenue

Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8

Email: [email protected]

Visit: www.aodalliance.org

January 11, 2020

To: Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party

Michael Coteau

Email: [email protected] and [email protected]

Twitter: @coteau

 

Steven Del Duca

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @StevenDelDuca

Kate Graham

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @KateMarieGraham

Brenda Hollingsworth

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @OttawaLawyers

Mitzie Hunter

Email: [email protected] and [email protected]

Twitter: @MitzieHunter

Alvin Tedjo

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @AlvinTedjo

Dear Candidates,

This open letter to all candidates for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal party seeks each candidate’s commitments on disability accessibility. These commitments would aim at ensuring that Ontario achieves the goal of full accessibility for some 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities on or before 2025, the end date that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) requires by law. We will make public all responses we receive to this open letter.

In the last race for leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, back in 2012-2013, all six leadership candidates made written commitments to us on accessibility for people with disabilities. We hope that each candidate in this leadership race will do the same.

The Issue

Some 2.6 million people with disabilities in Ontario still face too many barriers when they try to get a job, ride public transit, get around in our community, or enjoy the goods, services and facilities that are available to the public. This hurts all Ontarians. Everyone either has a disability now or is bound to get one later as they age. That is why we often say that people with disabilities are the minority of everyone.

The Ontario Liberal Party can be proud that when it formed Government in 2003, it had committed to pass strong new Ontario accessibility legislation, working in consultation with Ontario’s disability community to design it. Ontario’s Liberals can also be proud that in 2005, the Legislature unanimously passed the AODA, and shortly afterwards, got a good start on implementing it.

However, after that, progress slowed. It got mired in the bureaucracy. Since then, Ontario has made some progress on accessibility for people with disabilities. However there is still a great deal to be done to achieve the goal of full accessibility by 2025 that the AODA requires of us all.

Ontario is far behind reaching full accessibility by 2025. One year ago, the final report of the Government-appointed Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation and enforcement, conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley, made strong findings about this. Based on public feedback, Mr. Onley found that the pace of change since 2005 for people with disabilities has been “glacial.” The Onley report found that “…the promised accessible Ontario is nowhere in sight.” Progress on accessibility under this law has been “highly selective and barely detectable.”

Mr. Onley found “…this province is mostly inaccessible.” The Onley report correctly concluded:

“For most disabled persons, Ontario is not a place of opportunity but one of countless, dispiriting, soul-crushing barriers.”

The Onley report in substance found that there has been a protracted, troubling lack of Government leadership on this issue, even though two prior Government-appointed AODA Independent Reviews called for renewed, strengthened leadership:

“The Premier of Ontario could establish accessibility as a government-wide priority with the stroke of a pen. Our previous two Premiers did not listen to repeated pleas to do this.”

As of this letter’s date, the current Ontario Government under Premier Doug Ford has not strengthened or accelerated the AODA’s implementation or enforcement. It has not shown the new revitalized leadership on this issue that Ontarians with disabilities need. If anything, progress has slowed even more.

What We Ask of You

We are eager to ensure that the next Ontario Liberal Party leader will fully maintain the Liberal Party’s past commitments on disability accessibility, and will build on those commitments. We would be delighted if you could simply give a “yes” answer to the following questions. We realize that in a busy leadership campaign, you may not be in a position to write more extensively than that on these questions:

  1. We have welcomed face-to-face meetings with the past two Premiers, Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne, to discuss accessibility issues (in addition to face-to-face meetings with different cabinet ministers, successive Secretaries of Cabinet, and other senior government officials).

If you become your Party’s leader, will you maintain the practice of personally meeting with us to discuss accessibility issues, in addition to our meetings with your appropriate caucus members? As part of this, will you meet with us within 60 days of becoming your party’s leader, so that we can brief you on these issues? If your Party is elected to form the Government, will you as Premier agree to periodically meet with us, in addition to our meeting with appropriate cabinet ministers?

  1. Under your leadership, will your Party make it a priority to press the current Government to keep its commitments and fulfil its duties on accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities?
  1. In Ontario elections, will you continue the practice of the last three Ontario Liberal Party leaders, of making specific election commitments to us on the issue of achieving an accessible province for persons with disabilities, in letters to us?
  1. Under your leadership, will the Liberal Party fully maintain the implementation of the AODA 2005 and not weaken or reduce any provisions or protections in that legislation or regulations enacted under them, or any Government policies, practices, strategies or initiatives that exist to implement them or achieve their objectives?
  1. Will you keep the past commitments that your Party has made to Ontarians with disabilities regarding disability accessibility, including e.g. its previous commitments to effectively enforce the AODA? We set out links to those commitments below.
  1. Under the AODA, three Government-appointed mandatory Independent Reviews have examined the Government’s implementation of the AODA. These were conducted in 2009-2010 by Charles Beer, in 2013-2014 by Prof. Mayo Moran and in 2018-2019 by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. All three reports called on the Government to revitalize and breathe new life into the implementation of the AODA, and for the Government to show strong new leadership on this issue. The Moran report and the Onley Report specifically recommended that Ontario’s Premier should show strong new leadership on disability accessibility. (See a quotation later in this letter)

If you become Ontario’s Premier, will you show new, strong leadership on accessibility and breathe new life into and revitalize the Government’s implementation of the AODA?

  1. Each premier sends Mandate Letters to each of his or her cabinet ministers, setting out their priorities. In your Mandate Letters, will you direct your cabinet ministers, the Secretary of Cabinet and other senior public officials to implement your Government’s duties and commitments on disability accessibility?
  1. If you become Premier, will you ensure that Ontario is on schedule for full accessibility for persons with disabilities by 2025, the deadline that the AODA requires? Should your party form the Government at a time when it is too late to achieve that deadline, will you commit to get Ontario as close to being accessible as reasonably possible by 2025? In that event, will you also commit to work with us and to take any needed action, including passing new legislation, to set a new achievable deadline and to institute measures that will ensure that it is achieved (and that will not weaken or reduce any provisions or policies then in place)?
  1. The Moran and Onley reports expressed concerns that public money has been used to create new accessibility barriers against people with disabilities. Will you commit that under your leadership, public money will not be used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities?
  1. Ontario voters and candidates with disabilities still face too many barriers in provincial and municipal elections. Under your leadership as premier, will the Government bring forward new measures, including new legislation, to ensure that provincial and municipal elections in Ontario are fully accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities?

Who Are We?

As a volunteer grassroots non-partisan community coalition, the AODA Alliance does not seek to get any party or candidate elected. We do not endorse or oppose any candidate for leadership of any party.

Founded in 2005, we united to achieve a fully accessible Ontario for over 1.7 million Ontarians with disabilities, through the prompt and effective implementation of the AODA. Our supporters include persons with disabilities, people who have not yet gotten a disability, and community organizations concerned with the rights of persons with disabilities in Ontario.

Our predecessor coalition was the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee (ODA Committee). From 1994 to 2005, the ODA Committee spearheaded a province-wide accessibility campaign. It led to the enactment of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 (passed by the Mike Harris Government), and later, the AODA (passed by the Dalton McGuinty Government).

Our leadership on the issue of accessibility for people with disabilities, as well as that of our predecessor coalition, has been repeatedly recognized by all parties in the Ontario Legislature, as well as by the media. We have been recognized as a leading non-partisan grassroots voice in Ontario, that advocates to make Ontario a fully disability-accessible province.

We have also given our input on these issues to the Federal Government, and to those addressing these issues in Manitoba, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Our input has also been sought from others outside Canada, including in Israel, New Zealand and the European Union.

The Ontario Liberal Party’s Past Commitments on Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities

Starting in 1995, the Ontario Liberal Party has made written election commitments on accessibility legislation for persons with disabilities, in each of the past seven Ontario general elections. These commitments were set out in letters from the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party to the ODA Committee in the 1995, 1999, and 2003 elections. After the ODA Committee wound up in 2005 with the passage of the AODA that year, the Ontario Liberal leader made these commitments in letters to its successor coalition, the AODA Alliance, in the 2007, 2011, 2014 and 2018 Ontario general elections.

On October 29, 1998, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed a landmark and historic resolution setting out eleven important principles that a strong and effective Disabilities Act should fulfil. That resolution was introduced into the Legislature by Liberal MPP Dwight Duncan, at the request of our predecessor coalition, the ODA Committee. Right after that resolution was passed, Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty took part in a joint Queen’s Park news conference with ODA Committee Chair David Lepofsky. At that news conference, Mr. McGuinty, then Ontario’s Opposition leader, committed that a Liberal Government would implement a Disabilities Act that fulfilled that resolution.

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 1999 Ontario election, visit http://www.odacommittee.net/letters/march26-99.html

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2003 Ontario election, visit http://www.odacommittee.net/news80.html#letter

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2007 Ontario election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/newsub2011/liberal-party-writes-aoda-alliance-with-election-commitments-regarding-disability-accessibility/

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2011 Ontario election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/new2011/read-the-ontario-liberal-partys-august-19-2011-letter-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2011-election-commitments-on-disability-accessibility/

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2014 election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/new2015-whats-new/may-14-2014-letter-from-liberal-party-leader-premier-kathleen-wynne-on-her-partys-2014-disability-accessibility-election-pledges/

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2018 election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/read-the-may-14-2018-letter-from-the-liberal-party-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2018-election-commitments-on-accessibility/

In Conclusion

The Ontario Liberal Party’s leadership race concludes on March 7, 2020. We would very much appreciate a response to these questions by February 15, 2020. Please send your response by email to [email protected] and please attach it as an accessible MS Word file. Do not send it as a PDF as that format presents accessibility problems. We would be delighted to give you and your team any background information on this issue that you request.

We look forward to working with the leaders and members of all Ontario’s political parties now and in the future on the shared goal that all the major parties have endorsed, of achieving a fully accessible Ontario on or before 2025.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky, CM, O. Ont,

Chair AODA Alliance





Source link

Send Us Feedback on the Draft AODA Alliance Framework for the Health Care Accessibility Standard


And–Results of The December 3 Celebration of the 25th Birthday of the Grassroots AODA Movement

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

December 5, 2019

SUMMARY

After a very busy year, this may be our last AODA Alliance Update until the New Year. It is full of important news for you.

We thank one and all for your ongoing support for and help with our campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities. We wish one and all a safe and happy holiday season and a barrier-free new year!

1. Send Us Feedback on Our Draft of an AODA Alliance Proposed Framework for the Promised Health Care Accessibility Standard

We have made public a draft of an important brief. We want your feedback on it before we finalize it. This time, we are focusing on disability accessibility barriers in the health care system.

The Ontario Government is working on developing a Health Care Accessibility Standard under the AODA. It would address barriers in the health care system that patients with disabilities and their support people with disabilities face in the health care system. The Health Care Standards Development Committee is developing recommendations for the Ontario Government on what the Health Care Accessibility Standard should include.

To help the Health Care Standards Development Committee with this work, we plan to send it an AODA Alliance Proposed Framework for the Health Care Accessibility Standard. We have written a 24-page draft of this Framework. We are eager for your feedback. This draft is the result of a great deal of work. It builds on feedback that our supporters have shared with us. We’ve gotten tremendous help from the ARCH Disability Law Centre and from a wonderful team of volunteers who are law students at the Osgoode Hall Law School.

Please download and read our draft of this Proposed Framework for the Health Care Accessibility Standard. You can download it in an accessible MS Word format by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Dec-2-2019-AODA-Alliance-Draft-of-Proposed-Framework-for-Health-Care-Accessibility-Standard.docx

Send us your feedback by December 20, 2019 by emailing us at [email protected]

Also, please encourage your friends and family members to share their feedback with us. We aim to use that feedback to finalize this Proposed Framework for the Health Care Accessibility Standard and submit it to the Ontario Government and the Health Care Standards Development Committee in early January 2020.

Here are the headings in this draft Framework:

1. What Should the Long-term Objectives of the Health Care Accessibility Standard Be?

2. A Vision of An Accessible Health Care System

3. General provisions that the Health Care Accessibility Standard Should Include

4. The Right of Patients with Disabilities and Their Support People with Disabilities to Know about The Health Care Services Available to Them, about Available Disability-Related Supports and Accommodations, about Important Information Regarding Their Diagnosis and Treatment, and How to Access Them

5. The Right of Patients and Their Support People with Disabilities to Get to Health Care Services

6. The Right of Patients and Their Support People with Disabilities to Get into and Around Facilities Where Health Care Services are Provided

7. The Right of Patients and Their Support People with Disabilities to Accessible Furniture and Floor Plans in Health Care Facilities

8. The Right of Patients with Disabilities to Identify their Disability-Related Accessibility Needs in Advance and Request Accessibility/Accommodation from a Health Care Provider or Facility

9. The Right of Patients with Disabilities to Accessible Diagnostic and Treatment Equipment

10. The Right of Patients with Disabilities to the Privacy of Their Health Care Information

11. The Right of Patients with Disabilities and Support People with Disabilities to Accessible Information and Communication in Connection with Health Care

12. The Right of Patients with Disabilities to the Support Services They Need to Access Health Care Services

13. The Right of Patients and their Support People with Disabilities to Health Care Providers Free from Knowledge and Attitude Barriers Regarding Disabilities

14. The Right of Patients and Support People with Disabilities to Accessible Complaint Processes at Health Care Providers’ Self-Governing Colleges and To Have Those Colleges Ensure that the Profession They Regulate Are Trained to Meet the Needs of Patients with Disabilities

15. The Right of Patients with Disabilities to Systemic Action and Safeguards to Remove and Prevent Barriers in Ontario’s Health Care System

16. The Need to Harness the Experience and Expertise of People with Disabilities Working in the Health Care System, To Expedite the Removal and Prevention of Barriers Facing Patients and Their Support People with Disabilities

2. A Very Successful Day to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Grassroots AODA Movement at the Ontario Legislature on December 3, 2019

On Tuesday, December 3, 2019, the International Day of People with Disabilities, we had a very successful day at Queen’s Park to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the birth of the grassroots movement for the enactment and implementation of strong accessibility legislation in Ontario.

Our 10 a.m. news conference went very well. We are working on getting it posted online. It yielded a detailed article in the December 3, 2019 edition of QP Briefing, an influential news publication about issues at Queen’s Park. We set that article out below.

From 4 to 6 pm, the big birthday party for the grassroots AODA movement was a huge success. Some 200 people signed up to attend. There was also a great turnout of MPPs from all the political parties.

Both the 25th anniversary of the AODA movement and the International Day of People with Disabilities were mentioned several times in the Legislature. Below we set out four key excerpts from the Legislature’s official transcript, called “Hansard.”

Meanwhile, the partying is over and the work must continue. As of today, there have now been 308 days since the Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation prepared by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government did not take the opportunity on December 3 to finally announce a comprehensive plan to implement the Onley Report. This is so even though a spokesperson for Premier Ford’s Accessibility Minister is quoted in the QP Briefing article below as stating that accessibility for people with disabilities is a “top priority.” We are still waiting.

MORE DETAILS

QP Briefing December 3, 2019

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, advocate says Ontario “nowhere near close” to accessibility goal

Sneh Duggal

Disability advocateDavid Lepofskywarned Ontario is “not on schedule” to meet its goal of becoming fully accessible by 2025 as people across the globe marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3.

“That was ambitious, but doable,” Lepofsky said of the goal that is outlined in theAccessibility for Ontarians with DisabilitiesAct, legislation that was passed in 2005.”With just over five years left, we’re not on schedule, we’re nowhere near close.”
The legislation called on the province to develop, implement and enforce accessibility standards “in order to achieveaccessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025.”
The province’s former lieutenant governorDavid Onleywas tasked with reviewing the implementation of the AODA and said in a report tabled earlier this year that the “promised accessible Ontario is nowhere in sight.”

“There’s no question we’ve made progress, but nowhere near the progress we need and nowhere near the progress the law guaranteed to us,” said Lepofsky, who is chair of an advocacy group called the AODA Alliance.

Lepofsky was at Queen’s Park on Tuesday to discuss accessibility issues in the province, although his media availability took on a slightly different format. He was joined byLaura Kirby-McIntosh, president of the Ontario Autism Coalition, who fired numerous questions at Lepofsky about his years of work advocating for people with disabilities. The AODA Alliance also marked the 25th anniversary of the movement its chair helped spearhead on the “enactment and effective implementation of accessibility legislation in Ontario” with a celebration at Queen’s Park.

During his fireside chat with Kirby-McIntosh, Lepofsky noted that barriers remain in many areas for people with disabilities.

“This is a province where many of our buildings are ones that are hard to get into and hard to get around, our public transit systems are full of accessibility barriers,” he said. Lepofsky said the education system meant to serve all students “treats students with disabilities as second-class citizens,” and that the health-care system is “full of barriers” such as getting accessible information about a diagnosis, treatment or medication.

Lepofsky said while the provincial government had a good start at trying to implement the legislation after it was passed in 2005 until about 2011, progress started to slow down “to a virtual snail’s pace.”

“And the new government ofDoug Ford, rather than speed things up, slowed things down,” Lepofsky said. He said while he appreciates statements of support from the government, “this province right now has no plan and this current government has no plan to get us to full accessibility by 2025.”

As part of the implementation of the AODA, various committees were struck and tasked with proposing standards that could be turned into regulation in areas like transportation and customer service.

Lepofsky criticized the Progressive Conservative government for “months of delay” in getting some of the committee work underway. He’s involved in one of the committees and said work is being done.

RaymondCho,the minister responsible for seniors and accessibility, said earlier this year that the government had resumed the Employment Standards Development Committee and the Information and Communications Standards Development Committee last fall.

“I am proud to say that these committees have already met and completed their work,” the minister said at the time.

He said the government also resumed the education and health standard development committees in March, and that the chairs “have been engaged with the ministry and are working to develop new work-plans.”

In response to a query during question period from NDP MPPLisa Gretzkyabout when the government would put forward a “comprehensive plan to improve the lives of people living with disabilities,” Cho thanked Onley for his report and pinned some blame on the previous Liberal government.

“The previous government had 14 years to improve the AODA. Mr. Onley said in his report that they did so little,” Cho said on Tuesday.

“The government knows that a lot of work needs to be done to make Ontario accessible for everyone. Making Ontario accessible is a journey. This government will continue to take an all-of-government approach to tearing down barriers,” he said.

Pooja Parekh,Cho’s spokesperson, said the government sees accessibility as a “top priority.” A lot of work needs to be done to make Ontario accessible for everyone, and it cannot be completed overnight,” Parekh said. “A key part of this journey includes recognizing that there are 2.6 million people in the province that have a disability.”

She pointed to provincial initiatives focused on accessibility such as the EnAbling Change Program, which funds not-for-profit disability and industry associations “to develop practical tools and guides to help communities and businesses understand the benefits of accessibility.”

“As well, families will experience clearer and more transparent processes when requesting service animals accompany their children to school, no matter where they live in Ontario,” Parekh noted. “The updated elementary Health and Physical Education curriculum reflects the diversity of Ontario students of all abilities.”

In May, NDP MPPJoel Hardenproposed a motion in the House calling on the government to “release a plan of action on accessibility in response toDavid Onley’s review of theAccessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act(AODA) that includes, but is not limited to, a commitment to implement new standards for the built environment, stronger enforcement of the Act, accessibility training for design professionals, and an assurance that public money is never again used to create new accessibility barriers.” The motion was struck down by the government.

Speaking just before question period on Tuesday, Lepofsky said he wants to see the provincial government develop a roadmap “on how to get us to full accessibility” and ensure that the government “doesn’t make things worse.”

“We want them to adopt a strategy now to ensure that public money is never used to create new barriers,” he said.

Lepofsky also raised concerns about policies that he feels could post a threat to the safety of those with disabilities. He pointed to the government’s recent announcement to launch a pilot project that would let municipalities allow the use of electric scooters.

He said a priority for him going forward will be on “making sure that the current provincial government doesn’t create a new series of barriers to our accessibility and our personal safety.”

Meanwhile, earlier on Tuesday, the NDP and disability advocates called on the government to boost funding for adults with disabilities, with Gretzky saying the province is facing a “crisis in developmental services.”

Christine Wood, press secretary for Minister of Children, Community and Social ServicesTodd Smith, said the province is providing $2.57 billion in annual funding for developmental services. Wood previously noted that”adults with developmental disabilities may be eligible for funding from the Ontario Disability Support Program and the Passport program.

The Passport program provides funding to adults with a development disability for community classes, hiring a support worker, respite for caregivers or developing skills. Wood noted that “the maximum annual funding an individual can receive through the Passport program is up to $40,250.”

But Gretzky said many young adults face a wait-list for the program and that not every individual receives the maximum amount of support. She said that individuals “fall through the gap” in terms of services when they turn 18.

“The biggest gap that families are facing now and individuals is the fact that they lose all supports and services once an individual celebrates an 18thbirthday,” said Gretzky, who introduced a private member’s bill about a year ago that aimed to address this issue. The bill passed second reading and was referred to committee in February.

“As soon as a person is deemed eligible for adult developmental services, they are automatically approved for $5000 in direct funding through the Passport program,” Wood said. “This allows people to purchase services and support. Following the completion of the developmental services application package, additional funding may be provided as it becomes available.”
She said Smith’s ministry works with the education ministry to provide “transition planning” for youth with disabilities who are transitioning to adulthood.

She also noted that since he took over this file, Smith has been “talking to families, adults with developmental disabilities and service providers about how our government can better serve those who depend on us.”

Excerpts from Ontario Hansard for December 3, 2019

Excerpt 1

Mr. Joel Harden: Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and we are very privileged in this House to be joined by some of our country’s leaders on that front. I want to mention the great David Lepofsky, who I just got back from a press conference with, Odelia Bay, and Sarah Jama. Thank you for all the work you do for our country, for our province, and for people with disabilities.

Excerpt 2

Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. I would like to invite members to the reception hosted by the All Disability Network later this afternoon in room 228. More than 160 representatives from the disability community will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ontario’s provincial accessibility legislation. I encourage all members to join me there.

Excerpt 3

Question Period

Assistance to persons with disabilities
Mr. Joel Harden: My question is to the Premier. Today is the international day for people with disabilities. Living with disabilities in Ontario is getting harder for them. This is a crisis, but the actions of this government so far have been to include a cutin halfto planned increases to the Ontario Disability Support Program, and take $1 billion out of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. That has made life worse.

We know that there are 16,000 people waiting for supportive housing in Ontario. We know that people with disabilities experience higher rates of homelessness, violence, food insecurity and poverty. We know that from the time children with disabilities are born to the time they grow old, we’re failing them. We’re failing them right now, and we are failing their caregivers, who suffer from ritual burnout right across this province.

On this day, for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, will this Premier keep making things worse, or will he finally turn this around and start making life better for people with disabilities?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.

Hon. Todd Smith: Thanks to the member opposite for the question. It’s very important, particularly on this day. But every day, my ministry is working to ensure that we’re improving supports for those living with disabilities, including all of the types of disabilities that the member opposite mentioned. When it comes to developmental disabilities, we are looking into how we are delivering services to those in the DS sectorthe developmental services sectorto ensure that we get them what they need.

The previous government, for many, many years, didn’t improve supports for these individuals. That’s why we’re taking an approach where we’re looking across all of the different programs that are available. I’ve met with OASISand I know the members opposite were with OASIS when they were here last weekand Community Living and all those different organizations. As a matter of fact, I had a great meeting on Friday with Terri Korkush in my own riding. She is the executive director of Community Visions and Networking in the Quinte region.

There are many different models out there. We’re going to find the ones that work

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much.

Supplementary, the member for Windsor West.

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: Back to the Premier: The fact of the matter is, there have been numerous studies and reports done. You have the Nowhere to Turn report done by the Ombudsman. You have the housing task force report that was put forward. You have the Deputy Premier, who sat on a select committee and made recommendations about the crisis for people with disabilities.

It’s time for you to actually act to help those people. On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it is important to take stock of how we as a society support those living with a disability to lead full and happy lives. The reality is that living with a disability in Ontario is hard, and the government is not doing nearly enough to make life better for people living with disabilities. Wait times under the Assistive Devices Program, which helps people access things like hearing aids and wheelchairs, have ballooned to as much as six months under this Conservative government, and there is still no response to the Onley report, or any plan for Ontario to achieve full accessibility by 2025. In fact, this government is going backwards when it comes to accessibility.

When will this government put forward a real, comprehensive plan to improve the lives of people living with disabilities?

Hon. Todd Smith: Minister for Seniors and Accessibility.

Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: I would like to thank the member for raising that question. But first of all, I would like to thank the Honourable David Onley once again for his work with the AODA review. The previous government had 14 years to improve the AODA. Mr. Onley said in his report that they did so little. When I tabled Mr. Onley’s report, I was very pleased to announce the return of the health and education SDCs, which was one of his recommendations.

The government knows that a lot of work needs to be done to make Ontario accessible for everyone. Making Ontario accessible is a journey. This government will continue to take an all-of-government approach to tearing down barriers.

Excerpt 4

Statements by the Ministry and Responses
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: I’m honoured to rise today to mark the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Since 1992, countries around the world have observed December 3 as a time to raise awareness about accessibility.

In Ontario, 2.6 million people have a disability.

Mr. Speaker, in Ontario we continue on our journey to make our province accessible. Our government is committed to protecting what matters most to people with disabilities and their families. By helping to remove accessibility barriers, we are empowering everyone to drive their own futures on their own terms.

We are taking a cross-government approach towards accessibility. This includes working with partners in the disability community, business, not-for-profit and broader public sectors. Collaboration is key in making this happen. By working together, we’ll make a positive difference that will impact the daily lives of people with disabilities.

We are helping improve understanding and awareness about accessibility. For example, our EnAbling Change program provides funding to not-for-profit disability and industry associations to develop practical tools and guides to help communities and businesses understand the benefits of accessibility. Many of these free resources are available on a convenient web page at ontario.ca/accessiblebusiness.

One of the resources is a handbook called The Business of Accessibility: How to Make Your Main Street Business Accessibility Smart. It includes helpful tips to help businesses be welcoming to all customers.

When communities and businesses are accessible, everyone benefits. People with disabilities can take part in everyday life, and businesses gain potential talent, customers and higher profits.

As part of our government’s commitment to break down barriers in the built environment, we are providing $1.3 million to the Rick Hansen Foundation to help make buildings more accessible. This accessibility certification program will provide free accessibility ratings of 250 building over two years.

Just two months ago, we announced ways that Ontario is making its education system more accessible. For example, the updated elementary health and physical education curriculum reflects the diversity of Ontario students.

The K-12 and Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committees resumed their work this fall to provide advice to government on addressing education barriers.

Also, the processes for families requesting service animals to accompany their child to school are clearer.

We’re providing $1.4 billion in funding for the 2019-20 school year to help school boards install accessibility features in learning environments.

Ontario is advancing accessibility. However, we know that a lot of work still needs to be done. It requires changing attitudes about disability.

As we recognize the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I invite my MPP colleagues to join me as we work to bring positive change to the daily lives of people with disabilities.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Responses?

Mr. Joel Harden: This is an important day. This is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. This is also the 25th anniversary, last Friday, of the accessibility movement in Ontario embodied in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

I want to acknowledge at this moment, as the critic for people with disabilities in this province, that that act was created by sympathetic people in this chamber, pushed by disability rights activists in this province and around this country.

I want to salute in particular David Lepofsky, who is here, who is the current chair of the AODA Alliance. I also want to salute my friend Sarah Jama, who is here with the Disability Justice Network of Ontario, and who is one of this country’s tireless campaigners for disability rights.

I also want to salute the legacy of Gary Malkowski, who was part of the NDP government from 1990 to 1995, who was the first deaf parliamentarian in this space, and who championed the case brought in 1994 to have an act that was finally realized in 2005 with the AODA.

I want to salute people like Laura Kirby-McIntosh, her daughter, Clara McIntosh, and her partner, Bruce McIntosh. I want to salute Sherry Caldwell, with the Ontario Disability Coalition. I want to salute Sally Thomas and I want to salute Kenzie McCurdy, folks back in Ottawa Centre who have fought tirelessly to get people in our profession to pay attention to them so that it might get embodied in an act like the AODA.

But let me be perfectly clear: While we celebrate the AODA, we have to acknowledge, as Mr. Onley acknowledged in his latest report, that we are nowhere near meeting our AODA obligations. Let me be very clear: A $1.3-million investment to look into the building infrastructure of 250 buildings in this province is vastly short of what we need.

Speaker, I want us to ask ourselves how we would feel if we showed up for work in this place and there was a sign, real or imagined, that said, “You don’t get to come into this place today”because what Mr. Onley said in his report is that those signs, real or imagined, exist across this province. They exist for the dyslexic child right now who is sitting in a school somewhere in Ontario and who is being asked or compelled to write or learn in a way that is not accessible to her or to him. They exist right now for people who, as Sarah has mentioned so eloquently, cannot get life-essential devices for them for monthsfor monthswith the absolute gong show that is the Assistive Devices Program. Can you imagine, Speaker, what would happen to any one of us if crucial services essential for our lives spun around in circleswhich happens sometimes when power chairs malfunctionor if crucial devices that allow diabetics to live safely and monitor their insulin level weren’t available to us? What would people who are neurotypical or who are the so-called able-bodied have to say? We wouldn’t put up with it.

Let us be honest on this day for the elimination of all barriers: We do not have sufficient urgency. Who are we looking after? Let’s talk about that for a second.

We returned to this sitting of Parliament to find out that there were five new associate ministers created in this government, each of whom got a $22,000 pay increase. We found out that this government set in place an incentive structure for deputy ministers so that if they met their targets, they got a 14% pay increase. We found out that this government is constantly maintaining tax expenditures created under previous Liberal governments that allow people who are affluent to deduct things like Raptors tickets and Maple Leafs tickets as legitimate business expenses.

We are hemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars every year lavishing things upon the already affluent. That’s who Ontario currently serves. What can we spare for people with disabilities? Just $1.3 million; platitudes around education while people who are hurting, who are suffering, are not getting the essential things they need in life.

I want to name something as I close my remarks. This government, as were previous governments before it, is stuck in a charity model when they regard people with disabilities. They want to think that they’re compassionate if they do awareness days or if they do boutique announcements. People with disabilities don’t want our charity. They want solidarity. They want an equal opportunity to be themselves. “Free to be,” as the DJNO folks say: That’s what they want, what any of us would want. What it requires is for us to use the resources of this province fairly and make sure that when we talk about people with disabilities, we empower them to be their fullest selves and we do not create a disabling society.

Mr. John Fraser: It’s a pleasure to speak on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We’re encouraged to reflect on how persons with disabilities participate in society and how we evaluate the barriers that lay in front of them. It’s an opportunity to examine what we can do better to help integrate everybody to fully participate in our society in this province. We have a responsibility as legislators to better include all people in this province.

I want to stop now and tell a little story about a woman named Linda Smith. Linda Smith died about four years ago. She was an exceptional person. She lived in Ottawa and she touched the lives of many as a volunteer for politicians of every stripeand as you can imagine, in Ottawa, that’s a lot of politicians.

Linda had a developmental disability or, as I like to refer to it, an exceptionality. That exceptionality filled her with love and acceptance in abundance. She would often call our office several times a day just to check in, and more than one person has said to me, “You could be having an awful day, and Linda would call and you’d forget all your troubles.” She had that effect.

Linda was a regular at city council meetings, often sitting in the front row until the mayor recognized her. There’s a plaque at city hall now in honour of her. She loved to have her picture taken with everybody; it didn’t matter who. There are hundreds of pictures of her with all sorts of politicians from all over Canada, actually.

Linda would help out with any mundane task. I was thinking about it this year, because she loved to do Christmas cards, especially because it came with lunch: two slices of pizza, with one to take home, and a Pepsi.

She was great company. She loved strawberry milkshakes and ice cream.

Her exceptionality left her vulnerable, and she struggled with how people could be cruel, mean and thoughtless, although she was resilient and was always quick to forgive.

Linda was our friend, and we are the better for it. She had this ability to bring everybody together. It was really quite incredible, and we all miss her.

When I think of Linda, I try to understand what the world looked like through her eyes. I’ve never quite gotten to that point; I’ve seen some of that. As legislators, it’s not just for the Lindas of the world who have a developmental exceptionalitywhich also gives them a great gift, in another waybut there are people who have disabilities and exceptionalities that are different than that. We need to try to see the world through their eyes and understand the barriers that are in front of themwhether that’s a device they need to be healthy, as the member from Ottawa Centre said, or whether that’s access to a public building, access to a restaurant.

My eyes were opened when my father-in-law became wheelchair-bound and we tried to find a restaurant where we could get him in and out, with an accessible washroom. The definition of “accessible” is definitely different in many different places.

So our job is to see the world through their eyes and then make laws and investments with that in mind.

I really appreciate the opportunity to speak to this today, and all the members’ words in this House.

Let’s remember to try to see the world through their eyes.




Source link

Send Us Feedback on the Draft AODA Alliance Framework for the Health Care Accessibility Standard – and – Results of The December 3 Celebration of the 25th Birthday of the Grassroots AODA Movement


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

www.aodaalliance.org [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

Send Us Feedback on the Draft AODA Alliance Framework for the Health Care Accessibility Standard – and – Results of The December 3 Celebration of the 25th Birthday of the Grassroots AODA Movement

December 5, 2019

          SUMMARY

After a very busy year, this may be our last AODA Alliance Update until the New Year. It is full of important news for you.

We thank one and all for your ongoing support for and help with our campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities. We wish one and all a safe and happy holiday season and a barrier-free new year!

1. Send Us Feedback on Our Draft of an AODA Alliance Proposed Framework for the Promised Health Care Accessibility Standard

We have made public a draft of an important brief. We want your feedback on it before we finalize it. This time, we are focusing on disability accessibility barriers in the health care system.

The Ontario Government is working on developing a Health Care Accessibility Standard under the AODA. It would address barriers in the health care system that patients with disabilities and their support people with disabilities face in the health care system. The Health Care Standards Development Committee is developing recommendations for the Ontario Government on what the Health Care Accessibility Standard should include.

To help the Health Care Standards Development Committee with this work, we plan to send it an AODA Alliance Proposed Framework for the Health Care Accessibility Standard. We have written a 24-page draft of this Framework. We are eager for your feedback. This draft is the result of a great deal of work. It builds on feedback that our supporters have shared with us. We’ve gotten tremendous help from the ARCH Disability Law Centre and from a wonderful team of volunteers who are law students at the Osgoode Hall Law School.

Please download and read our draft of this Proposed Framework for the Health Care Accessibility Standard. You can download it in an accessible MS Word format by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Dec-2-2019-AODA-Alliance-Draft-of-Proposed-Framework-for-Health-Care-Accessibility-Standard.docx

Send us your feedback by December 20, 2019 by emailing us at [email protected]

Also, please encourage your friends and family members to share their feedback with us. We aim to use that feedback to finalize this Proposed Framework for the Health Care Accessibility Standard and submit it to the Ontario Government and the Health Care Standards Development Committee in early January 2020.

Here are the headings in this draft Framework:

  1. What Should the Long-term Objectives of the Health Care Accessibility Standard Be?
  1. A Vision of An Accessible Health Care System
  1. General provisions that the Health Care Accessibility Standard Should Include
  1. The Right of Patients with Disabilities and Their Support People with Disabilities to Know about The Health Care Services Available to Them, about Available Disability-Related Supports and Accommodations, about Important Information Regarding Their Diagnosis and Treatment, and How to Access Them
  1. The Right of Patients and Their Support People with Disabilities to Get to Health Care Services
  1. The Right of Patients and Their Support People with Disabilities to Get into and Around Facilities Where Health Care Services are Provided
  1. The Right of Patients and Their Support People with Disabilities to Accessible Furniture and Floor Plans in Health Care Facilities
  1. The Right of Patients with Disabilities to Identify their Disability-Related Accessibility Needs in Advance and Request Accessibility/Accommodation from a Health Care Provider or Facility
  1. The Right of Patients with Disabilities to Accessible Diagnostic and Treatment Equipment
  1. The Right of Patients with Disabilities to the Privacy of Their Health Care Information
  1. The Right of Patients with Disabilities and Support People with Disabilities to Accessible Information and Communication in Connection with Health Care
  1. The Right of Patients with Disabilities to the Support Services They Need to Access Health Care Services
  1. The Right of Patients and their Support People with Disabilities to Health Care Providers Free from Knowledge and Attitude Barriers Regarding Disabilities
  1. The Right of Patients and Support People with Disabilities to Accessible Complaint Processes at Health Care Providers’ Self-Governing Colleges and To Have Those Colleges Ensure that the Profession They Regulate Are Trained to Meet the Needs of Patients with Disabilities
  1. The Right of Patients with Disabilities to Systemic Action and Safeguards to Remove and Prevent Barriers in Ontario’s Health Care System
  1. The Need to Harness the Experience and Expertise of People with Disabilities Working in the Health Care System, To Expedite the Removal and Prevention of Barriers Facing Patients and Their Support People with Disabilities

2. A Very Successful Day to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Grassroots AODA Movement at the Ontario Legislature on December 3, 2019

On Tuesday, December 3, 2019, the International Day of People with Disabilities, we had a very successful day at Queen’s Park to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the birth of the grassroots movement for the enactment and implementation of strong accessibility legislation in Ontario.

Our 10 a.m. news conference went very well. We are working on getting it posted online. It yielded a detailed article in the December 3, 2019 edition of QP Briefing, an influential news publication about issues at Queen’s Park. We set that article out below.

From 4 to 6 pm, the big birthday party for the grassroots AODA movement was a huge success. Some 200 people signed up to attend. There was also a great turnout of MPPs from all the political parties.

Both the 25th anniversary of the AODA movement and the International Day of People with Disabilities were mentioned several times in the Legislature. Below we set out four key excerpts from the Legislature’s official transcript, called “Hansard.”

Meanwhile, the partying is over and the work must continue. As of today, there have now been 308 days since the Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation prepared by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government did not take the opportunity on December 3 to finally announce a comprehensive plan to implement the Onley Report. This is so even though a spokesperson for Premier Ford’s Accessibility Minister is quoted in the QP Briefing article below as stating that accessibility for people with disabilities is a “top priority.”  We are still waiting.

          MORE DETAILS

QP Briefing December 3, 2019

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, advocate says Ontario “nowhere near close” to accessibility goal

Sneh Duggal

Disability advocate David Lepofsky warned Ontario is “not on schedule” to meet its goal of becoming fully accessible by 2025 as people across the globe marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3.

“That was ambitious, but doable,” Lepofsky said of the goal that is outlined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, legislation that was passed in 2005.”With just over five years left, we’re not on schedule, we’re nowhere near close.”

The legislation called on the province to develop, implement and enforce accessibility standards “in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025.”

The province’s former lieutenant governor David Onley was tasked with reviewing the implementation of the AODA and said in a report tabled earlier this year that the “promised accessible Ontario is nowhere in sight.”

“There’s no question we’ve made progress, but nowhere near the progress we need and nowhere near the progress the law guaranteed to us,” said Lepofsky, who is chair of an advocacy group called the AODA Alliance.

Lepofsky was at Queen’s Park on Tuesday to discuss accessibility issues in the province, although his media availability took on a slightly different format. He was joined by Laura Kirby-McIntosh, president of the Ontario Autism Coalition, who fired numerous questions at Lepofsky about his years of work advocating for people with disabilities. The AODA Alliance also marked the 25th anniversary of the movement its chair helped spearhead on the “enactment and effective implementation of accessibility legislation in Ontario” with a celebration at Queen’s Park.

During his fireside chat with Kirby-McIntosh, Lepofsky noted that barriers remain in many areas for people with disabilities.

“This is a province where many of our buildings are ones that are hard to get into and hard to get around, our public transit systems are full of accessibility barriers,” he said. Lepofsky said the education system meant to serve all students “treats students with disabilities as second-class citizens,” and that the health-care system is “full of barriers” such as getting accessible information about a diagnosis, treatment or medication.

Lepofsky said while the provincial government had a good start at trying to implement the legislation after it was passed in 2005 until about 2011, progress started to slow down “to a virtual snail’s pace.”

“And the new government of Doug Ford, rather than speed things up, slowed things down,” Lepofsky said. He said while he appreciates statements of support from the government, “this province right now has no plan and this current government has no plan to get us to full accessibility by 2025.”

As part of the implementation of the AODA, various committees were struck and tasked with proposing standards that could be turned into regulation in areas like transportation and customer service.

Lepofsky criticized the Progressive Conservative government for “months of delay” in getting some of the committee work underway. He’s involved in one of the committees and said work is being done.

Raymond Cho, the minister responsible for seniors and accessibility, said earlier this year that the government had resumed the Employment Standards Development Committee and the Information and Communications Standards Development Committee last fall.

“I am proud to say that these committees have already met and completed their work,” the minister said at the time.

He said the government also resumed the education and health standard development committees in March, and that the chairs “have been engaged with the ministry and are working to develop new work-plans.”

In response to a query during question period from NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky about when the government would put forward a “comprehensive plan to improve the lives of people living with disabilities,” Cho thanked Onley for his report and pinned some blame on the previous Liberal government.

“The previous government had 14 years to improve the AODA. Mr. Onley said in his report that they did so little,” Cho said on Tuesday.

“The government knows that a lot of work needs to be done to make Ontario accessible for everyone. Making Ontario accessible is a journey. This government will continue to take an all-of-government approach to tearing down barriers,” he said.

Pooja Parekh, Cho’s spokesperson, said the government sees accessibility as a “top priority.” A lot of work needs to be done to make Ontario accessible for everyone, and it cannot be completed overnight,” Parekh said. “A key part of this journey includes recognizing that there are 2.6 million people in the province that have a disability.”

She pointed to provincial initiatives focused on accessibility such as the EnAbling Change Program, which funds not-for-profit disability and industry associations “to develop practical tools and guides to help communities and businesses understand the benefits of accessibility.”

“As well, families will experience clearer and more transparent processes when requesting service animals accompany their children to school, no matter where they live in Ontario,” Parekh noted. “The updated elementary Health and Physical Education curriculum reflects the diversity of Ontario students of all abilities.”

In May, NDP MPP Joel Harden proposed a motion in the House calling on the government to “release a plan of action on accessibility in response to David Onley’s review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) that includes, but is not limited to, a commitment to implement new standards for the built environment, stronger enforcement of the Act, accessibility training for design professionals, and an assurance that public money is never again used to create new accessibility barriers.” The motion was struck down by the government.

Speaking just before question period on Tuesday, Lepofsky said he wants to see the provincial government develop a roadmap “on how to get us to full accessibility” and ensure that the government “doesn’t make things worse.”

“We want them to adopt a strategy now to ensure that public money is never used to create new barriers,” he said.

Lepofsky also raised concerns about policies that he feels could post a threat to the safety of those with disabilities. He pointed to the government’s recent announcement to launch a pilot project that would let municipalities allow the use of electric scooters.

He said a priority for him going forward will be on “making sure that the current provincial government doesn’t create a new series of barriers to our accessibility and our personal safety.”

Meanwhile, earlier on Tuesday, the NDP and disability advocates called on the government to boost funding for adults with disabilities, with Gretzky saying the province is facing a “crisis in developmental services.”

Christine Wood, press secretary for Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Todd Smith, said the province is providing $2.57 billion in annual funding for developmental services. Wood previously noted that “adults with developmental disabilities may be eligible for funding from the Ontario Disability Support Program and the Passport program.

The Passport program provides funding to adults with a development disability for community classes, hiring a support worker, respite for caregivers or developing skills. Wood noted that “the maximum annual funding an individual can receive through the Passport program is up to $40,250.”

But Gretzky said many young adults face a wait-list for the program and that not every individual receives the maximum amount of support. She said that individuals “fall through the gap” in terms of services when they turn 18.

“The biggest gap that families are facing now and individuals is the fact that they lose all supports and services once an individual celebrates an 18th birthday,” said Gretzky, who introduced a private member’s bill about a year ago that aimed to address this issue. The bill passed second reading and was referred to committee in February.

“As soon as a person is deemed eligible for adult developmental services, they are automatically approved for $5000 in direct funding through the Passport program,” Wood said. “This allows people to purchase services and support. Following the completion of the developmental services application package, additional funding may be provided as it becomes available.”

She said Smith’s ministry works with the education ministry to provide “transition planning” for youth with disabilities who are transitioning to adulthood.

She also noted that since he took over this file, Smith has been “talking to families, adults with developmental disabilities and service providers about how our government can better serve those who depend on us.”

Excerpts from Ontario Hansard for December 3, 2019

Excerpt 1

Mr. Joel Harden: Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and we are very privileged in this House to be joined by some of our country’s leaders on that front. I want to mention the great David Lepofsky, who I just got back from a press conference with, Odelia Bay, and Sarah Jama. Thank you for all the work you do for our country, for our province, and for people with disabilities.

Excerpt 2

Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. I would like to invite members to the reception hosted by the All Disability Network later this afternoon in room 228. More than 160 representatives from the disability community will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ontario’s provincial accessibility legislation. I encourage all members to join me there.

Excerpt 3

Question Period

Assistance to persons with disabilities

Mr. Joel Harden: My question is to the Premier. Today is the international day for people with disabilities. Living with disabilities in Ontario is getting harder for them. This is a crisis, but the actions of this government so far have been to include a cut—in half—to planned increases to the Ontario Disability Support Program, and take $1 billion out of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. That has made life worse.

We know that there are 16,000 people waiting for supportive housing in Ontario. We know that people with disabilities experience higher rates of homelessness, violence, food insecurity and poverty. We know that from the time children with disabilities are born to the time they grow old, we’re failing them. We’re failing them right now, and we are failing their caregivers, who suffer from ritual burnout right across this province.

On this day, for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, will this Premier keep making things worse, or will he finally turn this around and start making life better for people with disabilities?

Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.

Hon. Todd Smith: Thanks to the member opposite for the question. It’s very important, particularly on this day. But every day, my ministry is working to ensure that we’re improving supports for those living with disabilities, including all of the types of disabilities that the member opposite mentioned. When it comes to developmental disabilities, we are looking into how we are delivering services to those in the DS sector—the developmental services sector—to ensure that we get them what they need.

The previous government, for many, many years, didn’t improve supports for these individuals. That’s why we’re taking an approach where we’re looking across all of the different programs that are available. I’ve met with OASIS—and I know the members opposite were with OASIS when they were here last week—and Community Living and all those different organizations. As a matter of fact, I had a great meeting on Friday with Terri Korkush in my own riding. She is the executive director of Community Visions and Networking in the Quinte region.

There are many different models out there. We’re going to find the ones that work—

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you very much.

Supplementary, the member for Windsor West.

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: Back to the Premier: The fact of the matter is, there have been numerous studies and reports done. You have the Nowhere to Turn report done by the Ombudsman. You have the housing task force report that was put forward. You have the Deputy Premier, who sat on a select committee and made recommendations about the crisis for people with disabilities.

It’s time for you to actually act to help those people. On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it is important to take stock of how we as a society support those living with a disability to lead full and happy lives. The reality is that living with a disability in Ontario is hard, and the government is not doing nearly enough to make life better for people living with disabilities. Wait times under the Assistive Devices Program, which helps people access things like hearing aids and wheelchairs, have ballooned to as much as six months under this Conservative government, and there is still no response to the Onley report, or any plan for Ontario to achieve full accessibility by 2025. In fact, this government is going backwards when it comes to accessibility.

When will this government put forward a real, comprehensive plan to improve the lives of people living with disabilities?

Hon. Todd Smith: Minister for Seniors and Accessibility.

Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: I would like to thank the member for raising that question. But first of all, I would like to thank the Honourable David Onley once again for his work with the AODA review. The previous government had 14 years to improve the AODA. Mr. Onley said in his report that they did so little. When I tabled Mr. Onley’s report, I was very pleased to announce the return of the health and education SDCs, which was one of his recommendations.

The government knows that a lot of work needs to be done to make Ontario accessible for everyone. Making Ontario accessible is a journey. This government will continue to take an all-of-government approach to tearing down barriers.

Excerpt 4

Statements by the Ministry and Responses

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: I’m honoured to rise today to mark the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Since 1992, countries around the world have observed December 3 as a time to raise awareness about accessibility.

In Ontario, 2.6 million people have a disability.

Mr. Speaker, in Ontario we continue on our journey to make our province accessible. Our government is committed to protecting what matters most to people with disabilities and their families. By helping to remove accessibility barriers, we are empowering everyone to drive their own futures on their own terms.

We are taking a cross-government approach towards accessibility. This includes working with partners in the disability community, business, not-for-profit and broader public sectors. Collaboration is key in making this happen. By working together, we’ll make a positive difference that will impact the daily lives of people with disabilities.

We are helping improve understanding and awareness about accessibility. For example, our EnAbling Change program provides funding to not-for-profit disability and industry associations to develop practical tools and guides to help communities and businesses understand the benefits of accessibility. Many of these free resources are available on a convenient web page at ontario.ca/accessiblebusiness.

One of the resources is a handbook called The Business of Accessibility: How to Make Your Main Street Business Accessibility Smart. It includes helpful tips to help businesses be welcoming to all customers.

When communities and businesses are accessible, everyone benefits. People with disabilities can take part in everyday life, and businesses gain potential talent, customers and higher profits.

As part of our government’s commitment to break down barriers in the built environment, we are providing $1.3 million to the Rick Hansen Foundation to help make buildings more accessible. This accessibility certification program will provide free accessibility ratings of 250 building over two years.

Just two months ago, we announced ways that Ontario is making its education system more accessible. For example, the updated elementary health and physical education curriculum reflects the diversity of Ontario students.

The K-12 and Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committees resumed their work this fall to provide advice to government on addressing education barriers.

Also, the processes for families requesting service animals to accompany their child to school are clearer.

We’re providing $1.4 billion in funding for the 2019-20 school year to help school boards install accessibility features in learning environments.

Ontario is advancing accessibility. However, we know that a lot of work still needs to be done. It requires changing attitudes about disability.

As we recognize the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I invite my MPP colleagues to join me as we work to bring positive change to the daily lives of people with disabilities.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Responses?

Mr. Joel Harden: This is an important day. This is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. This is also the 25th anniversary, last Friday, of the accessibility movement in Ontario embodied in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

I want to acknowledge at this moment, as the critic for people with disabilities in this province, that that act was created by sympathetic people in this chamber, pushed by disability rights activists in this province and around this country.

I want to salute in particular David Lepofsky, who is here, who is the current chair of the AODA Alliance. I also want to salute my friend Sarah Jama, who is here with the Disability Justice Network of Ontario, and who is one of this country’s tireless campaigners for disability rights.

I also want to salute the legacy of Gary Malkowski, who was part of the NDP government from 1990 to 1995, who was the first deaf parliamentarian in this space, and who championed the case brought in 1994 to have an act that was finally realized in 2005 with the AODA.

I want to salute people like Laura Kirby-McIntosh, her daughter, Clara McIntosh, and her partner, Bruce McIntosh. I want to salute Sherry Caldwell, with the Ontario Disability Coalition. I want to salute Sally Thomas and I want to salute Kenzie McCurdy, folks back in Ottawa Centre who have fought tirelessly to get people in our profession to pay attention to them so that it might get embodied in an act like the AODA.

But let me be perfectly clear: While we celebrate the AODA, we have to acknowledge, as Mr. Onley acknowledged in his latest report, that we are nowhere near meeting our AODA obligations. Let me be very clear: A $1.3-million investment to look into the building infrastructure of 250 buildings in this province is vastly short of what we need.

Speaker, I want us to ask ourselves how we would feel if we showed up for work in this place and there was a sign, real or imagined, that said, “You don’t get to come into this place today”—because what Mr. Onley said in his report is that those signs, real or imagined, exist across this province. They exist for the dyslexic child right now who is sitting in a school somewhere in Ontario and who is being asked or compelled to write or learn in a way that is not accessible to her or to him. They exist right now for people who, as Sarah has mentioned so eloquently, cannot get life-essential devices for them for months—for months—with the absolute gong show that is the Assistive Devices Program. Can you imagine, Speaker, what would happen to any one of us if crucial services essential for our lives spun around in circles—which happens sometimes when power chairs malfunction—or if crucial devices that allow diabetics to live safely and monitor their insulin level weren’t available to us? What would people who are neurotypical or who are the so-called able-bodied have to say? We wouldn’t put up with it.

Let us be honest on this day for the elimination of all barriers: We do not have sufficient urgency. Who are we looking after? Let’s talk about that for a second.

We returned to this sitting of Parliament to find out that there were five new associate ministers created in this government, each of whom got a $22,000 pay increase. We found out that this government set in place an incentive structure for deputy ministers so that if they met their targets, they got a 14% pay increase. We found out that this government is constantly maintaining tax expenditures created under previous Liberal governments that allow people who are affluent to deduct things like Raptors tickets and Maple Leafs tickets as legitimate business expenses.

We are hemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars every year lavishing things upon the already affluent. That’s who Ontario currently serves. What can we spare for people with disabilities? Just $1.3 million; platitudes around education while people who are hurting, who are suffering, are not getting the essential things they need in life.

I want to name something as I close my remarks. This government, as were previous governments before it, is stuck in a charity model when they regard people with disabilities. They want to think that they’re compassionate if they do awareness days or if they do boutique announcements. People with disabilities don’t want our charity. They want solidarity. They want an equal opportunity to be themselves. “Free to be,” as the DJNO folks say: That’s what they want, what any of us would want. What it requires is for us to use the resources of this province fairly and make sure that when we talk about people with disabilities, we empower them to be their fullest selves and we do not create a disabling society.

Mr. John Fraser: It’s a pleasure to speak on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We’re encouraged to reflect on how persons with disabilities participate in society and how we evaluate the barriers that lay in front of them. It’s an opportunity to examine what we can do better to help integrate everybody to fully participate in our society in this province. We have a responsibility as legislators to better include all people in this province.

I want to stop now and tell a little story about a woman named Linda Smith. Linda Smith died about four years ago. She was an exceptional person. She lived in Ottawa and she touched the lives of many as a volunteer for politicians of every stripe—and as you can imagine, in Ottawa, that’s a lot of politicians.

Linda had a developmental disability or, as I like to refer to it, an exceptionality. That exceptionality filled her with love and acceptance in abundance. She would often call our office several times a day just to check in, and more than one person has said to me, “You could be having an awful day, and Linda would call and you’d forget all your troubles.” She had that effect.

Linda was a regular at city council meetings, often sitting in the front row until the mayor recognized her. There’s a plaque at city hall now in honour of her. She loved to have her picture taken with everybody; it didn’t matter who. There are hundreds of pictures of her with all sorts of politicians from all over Canada, actually.

Linda would help out with any mundane task. I was thinking about it this year, because she loved to do Christmas cards, especially because it came with lunch: two slices of pizza, with one to take home, and a Pepsi.

She was great company. She loved strawberry milkshakes and ice cream.

Her exceptionality left her vulnerable, and she struggled with how people could be cruel, mean and thoughtless, although she was resilient and was always quick to forgive.

Linda was our friend, and we are the better for it. She had this ability to bring everybody together. It was really quite incredible, and we all miss her.

When I think of Linda, I try to understand what the world looked like through her eyes. I’ve never quite gotten to that point; I’ve seen some of that. As legislators, it’s not just for the Lindas of the world who have a developmental exceptionality—which also gives them a great gift, in another way—but there are people who have disabilities and exceptionalities that are different than that. We need to try to see the world through their eyes and understand the barriers that are in front of them—whether that’s a device they need to be healthy, as the member from Ottawa Centre said, or whether that’s access to a public building, access to a restaurant.

My eyes were opened when my father-in-law became wheelchair-bound and we tried to find a restaurant where we could get him in and out, with an accessible washroom. The definition of “accessible” is definitely different in many different places.

So our job is to see the world through their eyes and then make laws and investments with that in mind.

I really appreciate the opportunity to speak to this today, and all the members’ words in this House.

Let’s remember to try to see the world through their eyes.



Source link