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




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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



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Renewal of Government Leadership to Implement the AODA


In the third review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is a renewal of government leadership to implement the AODA. During the public meetings Onley held while preparing his review, attendees requested more government commitment to the AODA. Attendees value the new government department of Seniors and Accessibility. However, attendees believe that the government needs to recommit to implementing the AODA.

Renewal of Government Leadership to Implement the AODA

The Ontario government is required to ensure that the province is accessible in 2025. Therefore, some review meeting attendees suggest that the government should plan the steps needed to reach this goal. Furthermore, the government should make this year-by-year plan public and include deadlines for each of the steps. Moreover, attendees also suggest that changes to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO) could help enforce the AODA.

All-Government Approach to Accessibility

In addition, Onley’s review recommends that all government departments must take more responsibility for making the government accessible. In other words, attendees believe that the Premier and Cabinet should promote accessibility in every sector of the government. For instance, the Premier’s mandate letters to ministers should include requirements to make accessibility a priority in their sectors.

Moreover, Onley’s review states that the government once promised to examine existing laws and make note of any accessibility problems they contain. Therefore, Onley recommends that the government make a plan to complete this examination. Likewise, the plan should include how the government will ensure that new laws do not create new accessibility problems.

In short, Onley’s review recommends that every person in government should take more responsibility for accessibility. The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility is an important new department of the government. Nonetheless, every government department and decision should have accessibility in mind. Moreover, both previous reviews of the AODA, in 2010 and 2014, have made a similar recommendation. In other words, Ontarians with disabilities have waited at least ten years for renewal of government leadership to implement the AODA.




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Renewal of Government Leadership to Implement the AODA


In the third review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is a renewal of government leadership to implement the AODA. During the public meetings Onley held while preparing his review, attendees requested more government commitment to the AODA. Attendees value the new government department of Seniors and Accessibility. However, attendees believe that the government needs to recommit to implementing the AODA.

Renewal of Government Leadership to Implement the AODA

The Ontario government is required to ensure that the province is accessible in 2025. Therefore, some review meeting attendees suggest that the government should plan the steps needed to reach this goal. Furthermore, the government should make this year-by-year plan public and include deadlines for each of the steps. Moreover, attendees also suggest that changes to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO) could help enforce the AODA.

All-Government Approach to Accessibility

In addition, Onley’s review recommends that all government departments must take more responsibility for making the government accessible. In other words, attendees believe that the Premier and Cabinet should promote accessibility in every sector of the government. For instance, the Premier’s mandate letters to ministers should include requirements to make accessibility a priority in their sectors.

Moreover, Onley’s review states that the government once promised to examine existing laws and make note of any accessibility problems they contain. Therefore, Onley recommends that the government make a plan to complete this examination. Likewise, the plan should include how the government will ensure that new laws do not create new accessibility problems.

In short, Onley’s review recommends that every person in government should take more responsibility for accessibility. The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility is an important new department of the government. Nonetheless, every government department and decision should have accessibility in mind. Moreover, both previous reviews of the AODA, in 2010 and 2014, have made a similar recommendation. In other words, Ontarians with disabilities have waited at least ten years for renewal of government leadership to implement the AODA.




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The Third Review of the AODA


Every four years, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario appoints someone to review the AODA. This reviewer spends time meeting with the public, especially people with disabilities, discussing possible improvements the AODA might need. Based on this public feedback, the reviewer writes a report about how effective the AODA and its mandates are. In addition, the reviewer recommends steps the government can take to improve the Act. The reviewer then submits this report to the Minister in charge of the AODA. The third review of the AODA became public in 2019.

The Third Review of the AODA

The Honourable David C. Onley, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, wrote the third review of the AODA. In this review, he outlines many barriers that Ontarians with disabilities encounter every day. Moreover, Onley states that the current AODA does not do enough to remove or prevent barriers. In short, Onley states that the current AODA will not meet its goal of making Ontario fully accessible by 2025. However, he recommends many changes the government can make that will help the AODA become better law. In addition, Onley recommends how changes to our culture can help people understand disability more clearly. As a result of this clearer understanding, Ontarians may be more willing to create a barrier-free province.

Furthermore, Onley outlines steps that the first and second reviewers of the AODA have recommended. In many cases, the government has not yet taken these steps. Therefore, some of the steps Onley recommends repeat suggestions that other reviewers have already made. Nonetheless, these suggestions are still important for the government to follow. In fact, they may be more important, because people with disabilities have waited for them for almost ten years.

Our next series of articles will explore Onley’s recommendations in the third review of the AODA. We will outline the steps that Onley recommends to make the AODA better and make Ontario truly accessible.




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AODA Tribunals


AODA tribunals judge appeals that organizations make after they have received orders to comply with AODA standards. The Lieutenant Governor appoints AODA tribunals and specifies the types of appeals each tribunal can judge. In addition, the Lieutenant Governor can give tribunals other tasks or duties.

AODA Tribunals

Organizations have fifteen (15) days after receiving an order to file an appeal. However, the tribunal can extend this time limit to accommodate someone with a disability, or for any other reason. Organizations must pay a filing fee.

People or organizations involved in an appeal to a tribunal include:

  • The organization appealing an order
  • The director who gave the order being appealed
  • Any other person or organization the Tribunal believes necessary for the appeal hearing

Moreover, appeal hearings most often take place in writing. Nonetheless, organizations can request to make their appeals in person. In some cases, the full tribunal hears appeals. In others, the chair of a tribunal can appoint a panel to oversee a hearing.

Orders of Tribunals

After a hearing, a tribunal makes a decision about whether the organization must obey the director’s order. For instance, the tribunal may:

  • Confirm the director’s order
  • Rescind the director’s order
  • Vary the director’s order

In other words, the tribunal may require the organization to comply with the director’s order. In contrast, the tribunal may remove the order. Alternatively, the tribunal may make changes to the order and require the organization to comply with the revised version.

Mediation

AODA tribunals may try to settle part or all of an appeal through mediation. The organization and director involved in the appeal must agree to the mediation. In addition, the tribunal must believe that mediation would be in the public interest. However, the AODA gives no further details about the mediation process, such as how tribunals proceed if mediation does not resolve an appeal.




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Directors of the AODA


Directors of the AODA review accessibility reports to find out who is complying with the Act. In addition, they can order a person or organization to comply, or to pay fines. The AODA states that the deputy minister appoints directors. However, the Act does not state who a deputy minister is.

Directors of the AODA

Directors of the AODA review the accessibility reports that organizations are required to submit. Moreover, directors can ask a person or organization for more details about their compliance. The person or organization must provide the director with this information. When an organization has not submitted a report or information, the director can order the organization to do so. In addition, the order can include a fine. Similarly, a director can order a non-compliant person or organization to obey AODA standards and pay fines. Finally, if organizations do not comply with these orders, directors can fine those organizations using more orders.

All these types of orders must include a description of the AODA rule or previous order that the person or organization has failed to comply with. Furthermore, the order must explain what the organization must do to comply. Finally, the order must include a time limit for organizations to comply. However, the director can extend this time limit to accommodate someone with a disability, or for any other reason.

More Directors’ Orders

A director may also create an order when a non-compliant person or organization claims that they do not need to comply with a standard. For instance, an organization might claim that it does not belong to the industry or sector of the eeconomy that a standard applies to. For example, a rideshare company might claim that it does not need to obey the Transportation Standards. The company might make this claim because it is not a bus, train, ferry, or taxi service. However, a director can order that this organization does belong to an industry that must comply with the standard. For example, a director can create an order stating that the transportation standard applies to the rideshare company.

Likewise, a director can order that two organizations be treated as one organization, for the purposes of the AODA. For instance, an employer with a private company of sixty workers might not want to obey AODA rules for companies with fifty or more workers. As a result, this employer might divide their company into two organizations, each with thirty workers. In this way, the employer could claim that rules for companies with fifty or more workers do not apply to their organizations. However, a director can order that these two companies must be treated as one company. Therefore, the company must still obey AODA rules for large private organizations.

These last two types of orders must explain what the order is about and offer reasons.

Notice of Orders

Before giving any order, directors must give notice to the non-compliant organizations. This notice tells the organizations what the order is about and what steps they should take to comply with the Act. Moreover, notice allows these organizations to explain any reasons they might have for not complying with the AODA. Furthermore, organizations have thirty days after receiving notice to explain in writing. However, the director can extend this time limit to accommodate someone with a disability, or for any other reason.

In addition, organizations who receive any order can appeal it in front of a tribunal that the Lieutenant Governor appoints.

More Duties of the Directors

Finally, when appointing directors of the AODA, the deputy minister can give them other responsibilities. In turn, a director can authorize another person to perform any of these duties. To do so, the director must specify in writing the duties they are delegating to each person.




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AODA Inspections


AODA Inspections allow the government to find out if businesses are complying with the Act. Inspectors can perform inspections with or without warrants. The AODA states that the deputy minister appoints inspectors. However, the Act does not state who a deputy minister is.

AODA Inspections

An inspector can enter a business without a warrant if the inspector believes the place contains relevant documents or things. However, the inspector must enter during the hours the place is open for business. Alternatively, if a place does not have business hours, an inspector must enter during daylight hours.

Moreover, during the inspection, the inspector can ask for any item that is related to the inspection. For instance, the inspector can request a document or record. However, the inspector must make this request in writing. Furthermore, the inspector can use any equipment, such as a computer, to retrieve the items they need to view. In addition, the inspector can borrow these documents, records, or things, to make copies. However, the inspector must give a receipt for the documents, records, or things they borrow. In addition, the inspector must give the owner of the documents or things access to them, if needed. This access must take place at a time convenient for both the inspector and the owner.

Other People Involved in Inspections

Inspectors can bring other people, such as people with expert knowledge, to help with inspections. In addition, the inspector can question any person on the premises about the inspection. People on the premises must give the inspector all the help they can. For instance, they must help the inspector use computers or other devices to retrieve documents, if required.

Inspections with Warrants

If an inspector believes that a business is not complying with the AODA, thee inspector can acquire a search warrant from a justice of the peace. A warrant gives inspectors more power than they have during inspections without warrants. For instance, warrants allow inspectors to:

  • Enter dwellings
  • Search before or after business hours
  • Use force, or ask for assistance from police officers

Inspectors have thirty (30) days, after a warrant has been issued, to conduct a search. However, this time limit can be renewed for another thirty (30) days.

AODA inspections help the government learn whether businesses are obeying the law. Moreover, they encourage people to comply with the AODA and make their businesses accessible to Ontarians with disabilities.




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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.



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The Minister in Charge of the AODA


The government assigns one member of the Executive Council to be the Minister in charge of the AODA. Throughout the Act, this person is simply called the Minister. In this article, we will outline the tasks and responsibilities that the Minister is in charge of.

The Minister in Charge of the AODA

The Minister in charge of the AODA oversees the development of AODA standards to make the province more accessible. The Minister decides which people, industries, organizations, or sectors of the economy a standard applies to. In other words, the Minister mandates who must obey the standards once they are created. For instance, some sections of standards apply only to public sector organizations or large private businesses. Before developing standards, the Minister consults other Ministers who govern the industries or sectors that a standard will impact.

Overseeing Standards Development Committees

The Minister then creates standards development committees. These committees are groups of people who decide what rules a standard should include. The Minister invites people to be part of standards development committees. Committee members may include:

  • People with disabilities
  • Representatives from the industries or sectors that the standard will one day apply to
  • Members of government organizations responsible for those industries or sectors
  • Other people or organizations the Minister chooses to include
  • Experts who advise the committee
  • Members of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council

The Minister sets deadlines for the different stages of the committee’s work. In addition, the committee provides the Minister with reports on their progress creating the standard, upon request. Furthermore, the Minister may choose to pay committee members for their time and expenses. The Minister must make all this information, within a document called the terms of reference, public. For instance, the Minister can post the terms of reference  on a government website or other location.

Submitting a Standard

Once a committee proposes an accessibility standard, the members submit it to the Minister. The Minister must make the proposed standard public, so that people can comment on it and recommend improvements. The Act suggests a forty-five-day time limit for comments. However, the Act gives the Minister the power to choose a different time limit. For instance, the Minister can extend the limit to accommodate someone with a disability, or for any other reason. The committee can then revise the proposed standard based on those public reactions and resubmit it to the Minister. Within ninety days of receiving the revised standard, the Minister must recommend how the government should respond. For instance, the Minister may recommend to the Lieutenant Governor that the standard be accepted:

  • in whole
  • in part
  • with modifications

In other words, while the committee creates the standard, the Minister determines how much of it becomes law. Furthermore, the Minister must inform the committee of the response in writing.

The Minister and committee go through the same process when they make changes to an existing standard. For example, committees must review existing standards every five years. However, the Minister can choose to begin this process at an earlier time. Therefore, the Minister has a profound impact on how up-to-date the AODA is.

Yearly Report

The Minister in charge of the AODA also writes a yearly report on how effective the Act is. In the report, the Minister analyzes how well the standards, committees, and enforcement procedures are fulfilling the AODA’s purpose. In short, the Minister has a very large influence on how soon the AODA will make Ontario accessible.




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