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.




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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.



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Disability Activists Mark a Quarter Century of Tenacious Advocacy for Accessibility for Over 2 Million Ontarians with Disabilities – AODA Alliance


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

News Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Disability Activists Mark a Quarter Century of Tenacious Advocacy for Accessibility for Over 2 Million Ontarians with Disabilities

December 3, 2019 Toronto:

What does Ontario learn when two veteran disability rights advocates compare their approaches to tenacious non-partisan political activism on disability issues, especially when they do so on the International Day for People with Disabilities, and mark the 25th anniversary of the birth of the grassroots movement for strong provincial accessibility legislation?? At a Queen’s Park news conference this morning, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, leading this accessibility campaign, was interviewed by the highly-successful president of the Ontario Autism Coalition, Laura Kirby-McIntosh, that led the relentless campaign against the Ford Government’s cuts to the Ontario Autism Program.

“Even after a quarter century of tireless advocacy, over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities still face far too many unfair barriers when they try to get a job, ride public transit, get an education shop in stores, eat in restaurants or use public services like our health care system,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the AODA Alliance, the non-partisan grassroots coalition that spearheads this accessibility campaign. He earlier chaired the predecessor coalition, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, that carried this torch from 1994 to 2005. “After our first decade we won good accessibility legislation in 2005 that was passed unanimously. Initially, the former Liberal Government acted decisively to implement it. But since the 2011 summer, progress under three successive premiers ground down to a snail’s pace, with endless delays.”

The 2005 Disabilities Act requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to full accessibility by 2025, by enacting and enforcing all the accessibility standards needed to show the way to full accessibility, for the public and private sectors. Yet the blistering report of a Government-appointed Independent Review of progress on disability accessibility conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley, delivered to the Ford Government last January, concluded that progress has been at a “glacial” pace and “barely detectable.” the report found that “…the promised accessible Ontario is nowhere in sight.” And that for most Ontarians with disabilities, Ontario is replete with “soul-crushing barriers.”

“We’ve worked together and learned from each other’s strategies and tactics as we press to make disability issues achieve the prominence they deserve,” said Kirby-McIntosh. “And we want to be sure that any victories we win benefit people with all kinds of disabilities.”

Advocates for accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities are not the least daunted by the fact that Ontario has only five years left to reach full accessibility, while the Ford Government has done nothing new to strengthen the Disabilities Act’s implementation and enforcement. They’ve faced insurmountable odds when they launched this campaign on November 29, 1994.

“When we started 25 years ago, no one thought we had any hope of uniting a movement behind us and winning legislation. We’ve beat the odds before, and we’re determined to beat the odds again,” said Lepofsky. “Whether it’s opposing the provincial plan to unleash electric scooters in Ontario that threatens our safety and accessibility or the Ontario Government wastefully using public money to create new barriers against people with disabilities in the built environment, our sleeves remain rolled up and ready for action.”

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

Twitter: @aodaalliance

All the news on the AODA Alliance’s campaign for accessibility in Ontario is available at: www.aodaalliance.org

Check out the background on the actual events at Queen’s Park on November 29, 1994 that led to the birth of the AODA movement. Read a timeline of major events over the first 20 years of this campaign.



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Tomorrow 4-5 pm EST Watch Live Stream of the Birthday Party for the 25th Anniversary of the Birth of the AODA Movement at Queen’s Park – and — Toronto Star Publishes Letter to the Editor from the AODA Alliance on the Dangers to People with Disabilities Posed by the Ford Government’s Allowing E-scooters in Ontario


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

Tomorrow 4-5 pm EST Watch Live Stream of the Birthday Party for the 25th Anniversary of the Birth of the AODA Movement at Queen’s Park – and — Toronto Star Publishes Letter to the Editor from the AODA Alliance on the Dangers to People with Disabilities Posed by the Ford Government’s Allowing E-scooters in Ontario

December 2, 2019

          SUMMARY

1. If You Did Not RSVP to Attend the AODA Movement’s 25th Birthday Party Tomorrow at the Ontario Legislature, You Can Watch the Speeches Streamed Live

Tomorrow from 4 to 6 pm EST will be the big birthday party for the 25th anniversary of the birth of the grassroots non-partisan campaign to get a strong Ontario accessibility law enacted and implemented. It takes place at the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park, as we earlier announced.

If you have not already registered to attend, the event is now filled to capacity. There won’t be room for any others to be added.

However, don’t fret or feel left out! You can watch the speeches live-streamed on the AODA Alliance’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

There will be live captioning of the speeches. They will be available online in real time. You need to open them in a separate window. They will not be streaming with the video itself. For the captions,  visit https://2020archive.1capapp.com/event/marchofdimes/

We will only be streaming the speeches, and not the rest of the event. We expect them to begin around 4:30 pm and to go for no more than 30 minutes. The video will come on the Facebook live stream just before the speeches begin, and not beforehand.

We hope to later archive this video. We hope that it all works as planned. Of course, with technology, we regret that you can never be sure! We will do our best.

To read about the historic events that got this movement started 25 years ago, visit our website.

2. Toronto Star Publishes the ‘AODA Alliances Letter to the Editor on the Dangers that the Ford Government Has Created for Ontarians with Disabilities by Allowing Electric Scooters

The December 1, 2019 Toronto Star published a somewhat edited version of the letter to the editor that AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky sent to the newspaper. We set it out below. It addresses the dangers to Ontarians with disabilities that the Ford Government has created by allowing e-scooters in Ontario. We have been raising this issue with the Government and the media over the past three months since the Ford Government made public its troubling intentions.

We will keep up the pressure and invite you to do the same. Please raise these issues you’re your member of the Ontario Legislature. Send your own letter to the editor of the Toronto Star. Email it to [email protected]

3. Will the Ford Government Ever Implement the Onley Report?

There have now been 305 days since the Doug Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation that former Lieutenant Governor David Onley conducted. The Government has announced no plans to implement that report. The AODA’s mandatory 2025 deadline for Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities is only 5 years and one month away.

          MORE DETAILS

Toronto Star December 1, 2019

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2019/12/01/ontarios-e-scooter-regulations-will-endanger-people-with-disabilities.html

Letters to the Editor

E-scooter rules will endanger people with disabilities

Rules that make sense, Editorial, Nov. 29

The Star was wrong to applaud the Doug Ford government’s decision to let municipalities pilot electric scooters.

Ford ignored serious safety and accessibility concerns, documented by Ontarians with disabilities, by allowing dangerously fast e-scooters on roads, sidewalks and other places. We and others will be exposed to the danger of serious injuries, if not worse. E-scooters will be unforeseeable new barriers blocking the accessibility of public spaces for people with disabilities.

As a blind person, I want to walk safely in public. 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 km/h. Ford will even let municipalities allow e-scooters on sidewalks, endangering pedestrians.

Ford paid lip service to safety and disability accessibility. He created weak, unenforceable provisions to limit how e-scooters are ridden and whether they may be left on sidewalks. He appears to have bowed to e-scooter rental companies. Ontarians with disabilities are disproportionately poor and disadvantaged. We don’t have the resources to fight corporate lobbyists in hundreds of municipalities to fend off these dangers.

David Lepofsky, Chair, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, Toronto



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Tomorrow 4-5 pm EST Watch Live Stream of the Birthday Party for the 25th Anniversary of the Birth of the AODA Movement at Queen’s Park


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

Toronto Star Publishes Letter to the Editor from the AODA Alliance on the Dangers to People with Disabilities Posed by the Ford Government’s Allowing E-scooters in Ontario

December 2, 2019

SUMMARY

1. If You Did Not RSVP to Attend the AODA Movement’s 25th Birthday Party Tomorrow at the Ontario Legislature, You Can Watch the Speeches Streamed Live

Tomorrow from 4 to 6 pm EST will be the big birthday party for the 25th anniversary of the birth of the grassroots non-partisan campaign to get a strong Ontario accessibility law enacted and implemented. It takes place at the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park, as we earlier announced.

If you have not already registered to attend, the event is now filled to capacity. There won’t be room for any others to be added.

However, don’t fret or feel left out! You can watch the speeches live-streamed on the AODA Alliance’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

There will be live captioning of the speeches. They will be available online in real time. You need to open them in a separate window. They will not be streaming with the video itself. For the captions, visit https://2020archive.1capapp.com/event/marchofdimes/

We will only be streaming the speeches, and not the rest of the event. We expect them to begin around 4:30 pm and to go for no more than 30 minutes. The video will come on the Facebook live stream just before the speeches begin, and not beforehand.

We hope to later archive this video. We hope that it all works as planned. Of course, with technology, we regret that you can never be sure! We will do our best.

To read about the historic events that got this movement started 25 years ago, visit our website.

2. Toronto Star Publishes the ‘AODA Alliances Letter to the Editor on the Dangers that the Ford Government Has Created for Ontarians with Disabilities by Allowing Electric Scooters

The December 1, 2019 Toronto Star published a somewhat edited version of the letter to the editor that AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky sent to the newspaper. We set it out below. It addresses the dangers to Ontarians with disabilities that the Ford Government has created by allowing e-scooters in Ontario. We have been raising this issue with the Government and the media over the past three months since the Ford Government made public its troubling intentions.

We will keep up the pressure and invite you to do the same. Please raise these issues you’re your member of the Ontario Legislature. Send your own letter to the editor of the Toronto Star. Email it to [email protected]

3. Will the Ford Government Ever Implement the Onley Report?

There have now been 305 days since the Doug Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation that former Lieutenant Governor David Onley conducted. The Government has announced no plans to implement that report. The AODA’s mandatory 2025 deadline for Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities is only 5 years and one month away.

MORE DETAILS

Toronto Star December 1, 2019

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2019/12/01/ontarios-e-scooter-regulations-will-endanger-people-with-disabilities.html Letters to the Editor

E-scooter rules will endanger people with disabilities

Rules that make sense, Editorial, Nov. 29

The Star was wrong to applaud the Doug Ford government’s decision to let municipalities pilot electric scooters.

Ford ignored serious safety and accessibility concerns, documented by Ontarians with disabilities, by allowing dangerously fast e-scooters on roads, sidewalks and other places. We and others will be exposed to the danger of serious injuries, if not worse. E-scooters will be unforeseeable new barriers blocking the accessibility of public spaces for people with disabilities.

As a blind person, I want to walk safely in public. 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 km/h. Ford will even let municipalities allow e-scooters on sidewalks, endangering pedestrians.

Ford paid lip service to safety and disability accessibility. He created weak, unenforceable provisions to limit how e-scooters are ridden and whether they may be left on sidewalks. He appears to have bowed to e-scooter rental companies. Ontarians with disabilities are disproportionately poor and disadvantaged. We don’t have the resources to fight corporate lobbyists in hundreds of municipalities to fend off these dangers.

David Lepofsky, Chair, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, Toronto




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Today Is the AODA Movement’s 25th Birthday! – Watch Our Movement’s Latest Interview on TVO’s “The Agenda with Steve Paikin” Any Time on YouTube – and – Toronto Star Runs Very Troubling Editorial that Wrongly Applauds the Ford Government’s Unleashing Electric Scooters on Ontarians, Despite their Proven Dangers to Safety and 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

Today Is the AODA Movement’s 25th Birthday! – Watch Our Movement’s Latest Interview on TVO’s “The Agenda with Steve Paikin” Any Time on YouTube – and – Toronto Star Runs Very Troubling Editorial that Wrongly Applauds the Ford Government’s Unleashing Electric Scooters on Ontarians, Despite their Proven Dangers to Safety and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities

November 29, 2019

                    Summary

1. A Quarter-Century of Tenacious Advocacy Started on this Date in 1994

Twenty-five years ago today, a group of some twenty people with disabilities spontaneously gathered in a meeting room at Queen’s Park, feeling that they had to do something. The “something” that they did was to create a new and enduring grassroots non-partisan movement to campaign for strong accessibility legislation in Ontario.

Twenty-five years later, we have a lot to show for our efforts, but a lot more that we need to accomplish. Next Tuesday, on December 3, 2019, the International Day for People with Disabilities, we will have more to say about the past 25 years and about the future that we must create. For today, however, we encourage you to remember–or learn for the first time–about how it all got started and to reflect on where we need to go.

You can read about the events that led up to the birth of Ontario’s enduring disability accessibility movement by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/come-to-a-birthday-party-on-december-3-2019-the-international-day-for-people-with-disabilities-at-queens-park-to-celebrate-the-25th-anniversary-of-the-birth-of-the-non-partisan-grassroots-movemen/

You can watch a captioned one-hour video of the celebration we held on November 28, 2014, the 20th anniversary of the birth of the AODA movement

2. Watch on YouTube the Interview on TVO’s “The Agenda with Steve Paikin” Reflecting on the 25th Anniversary of the AODA Movement

Did you miss the live broadcast of the November 28, 2019, edition of TVO’s “The Agenda with Steve Paikin”? It included an interview with AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky and expert accessibility consultant Thea Kurdi. No worries! You can watch it anytime on YouTube. Encourage others to do the same.

We understand that TVO typically takes a few days to upload its captioning for these interviews. It may be available now only with YouTube’s less reliable automated captioning.

Encourage others to watch the video, including your Member of the Ontario Legislature. Encourage your local media to cover this too! That interview was taped the day before the Ford Government announced its new regulation permitting electric scooters in Ontario, despite their proven dangers to safety and accessibility for people with disabilities.

3. A Painful Irony on Our 25th Birthday! A Very Disturbing Toronto Star Editorial Today Applauds the Ford Government’s Unleashing Dangerous E-scooters on Ontarians When it Should Have Condemned Them

Regrettably, we can never rest when it comes to advocating for accessibility for people with disabilities! It is a painful though undoubtedly an inadvertent irony that today, the 25th anniversary of the AODA movement, is when the Toronto Star ran a very troubling editorial, set out below. It applauds the Ford Government’s decision to unleash e-scooters on Ontario, despite their dangers to safety and accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. This is a very disturbing departure from the Star’s long and commendable tradition of strongly supporting our accessibility cause.

We encourage everyone to write a letter to the editor at the Toronto Star to take issue with this editorial. Below we set out the letter to the editor that AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky has already sent to the Toronto Star. We hope the Star will include it in both the hard copy and online version of the paper.

If you want ideas of what to say, check out the AODA Alliance’s November 28, 2019 news release on this topic. Letters can be emailed to the Star by writing [email protected]

We also set out below the November 28, 2019 report in the Toronto Star on the Ford Government’s e-scooter announcement, and the November 27, 2019 report on this topic in the Mississauga News. The Star made a general reference to disability concerns, while the Mississauga News quoted the AODA Alliance.

We will keep up pressure on the Ford Government to get them to rein in its e-scooter plans so that the safety and accessibility of people with disabilities are protected. We have not yet heard back regarding our request earlier this week to meet with Premier Ford. We will also press local municipalities not to expose their communities and people with disabilities who live in them to the safety and accessibility dangers that e-scooters have been proven to pose.

As of this 25th anniversary of our campaign, 302 days have passed since the Ontario Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation that was conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. We are waiting for the Ontario Government to announce a plan to implement that report.

We always welcome your feedback. Write us today or any day at [email protected]

          MORE DETAILS

The Toronto Star November 29, 2019

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2019/11/28/the-ford-government-e-scooter-pilot-gets-better.html

Editorial

Rules that make sense

The Ford government made the right decision this week in giving municipalities the final say on whether to allow two-wheeled electric scooters on their roadways and what local rules rental companies must follow.

That gives cities like Toronto and Mississauga time to come up with bylaws that can, hopefully, balance the needs of those who want to use e-scooters to commute around town and those who have serious safety concerns about them.

The government got it right, too, for the most part, on the rules the vehicles must operate under in all jurisdictions.

It sensibly reduced the maximum allowable speed to 24 km/h, down from the 32 km/h it originally proposed.

Other smart rules include: no riders under 16, mandatory helmets for riders under 18, no passengers and mandatory bells and lights.

It’s individual cities that will now have to decide the thorny issue of where the scooters can be used – roads, bike lanes or sidewalks. And, just as crucially, where the dockless scooters can be parked.

In cities around the world where e-scooter rentals have already been rolled out, there’s been considerable controversy over the devices that have a tendency to be strewn all over sidewalks and paths, creating tripping hazards. (Montreal has tried to get around that problem by designating parking spots where scooters must be left.)

The province still missed the mark on one major point: Its e-scooter pilot project, which begins Jan. 1, is five years long.

That’s too long considering the problems and safety concerns that have cropped up elsewhere.

Ontario needs to review the results of the pilot sooner than that. And the province and cities need to be ready to pull the plug if e-scooters prove to be a serious danger to pedestrians, especially those with disabilities, and to the users themselves.

Letter to the Toronto Star Editor from AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky

Via email: [email protected]

November 29, 2019

The Star was wrong to applaud Doug Ford’s decision to let municipalities pilot electric scooters (Editorial Rules that make sense.) Ford ignored serious safety and accessibility concerns documented by Ontarians with disabilities, by allowing dangerously fast e-scooters on roads, sidewalks and other places. We and others will be exposed to the danger of serious injuries, if not worse. E-scooters will be unforeseeable new barriers blocking the accessibility of public spaces for people with disabilities.

As a blind person, I want to walk safely in public. 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 KPH. Ford even lets municipalities allow e-scooters on sidewalks, endangering pedestrians.

Ford says one of his priorities is to “build safer communities.” He claims this regulation makes it easier for people to get around. Yet rental e-scooters, strewn in public places, do the opposite for people with disabilities.

Ford paid lip service to safety and disability accessibility. He created weak, unenforceable provisions to limit how e-scooters are ridden and whether they may be left on sidewalks.

Ford appears to have bowed to e-scooter rental companies. The regulation reads as if their corporate lobbyists wrote it.

We oppose e-scooters. If permitted, provincial laws should require each e-scooter and driver to have a license, a helmet (even if over age 17) and insurance. If an e-scooter is left in a public place like a sidewalk, it should be forfeited and confiscated. E-scooter rental companies should be liable for injuries e-scooters cause, and caps on numbers of e-scooters.

Ontarians with disabilities are disproportionately poor and disadvantaged. We don’t have the resources to fight corporate lobbyists in hundreds of municipalities, to fend off these dangers.

David Lepofsky CM, O.Ont

Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

Visiting Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School

The Toronto Star, November 28, 2019

News

Ontario to allow e-scooters on streets in 5-year trial

But province leaves final say to municipalities

David Rider Toronto Star Chief

Electric scooters are quietly gliding closer to becoming a transportation option on GTA streets.

The Ontario government on Wednesday released “broad rules and requirements” for e-scooters, including maximum speed and helmet use, as part of a five-year pilot project beginning Jan. 1.

But the province is leaving the final say to Toronto and other municipalities on allowing and regulating e-scooter sharing services that are slowly spreading across Canada after rapid rollout across the world, including cities that have had them and later banned them.

“It is now up to the municipalities to pass bylaws to allow their use and determine where they can operate most safely in each unique environment,” the transportation ministry said in a new release.

In a video posted on Twitter, MPP Vijay Thanigasalam, parliamentary secretary to Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney, rolls up to the camera and calls the devices “a cool new way for people to get from point A to point B in their communities.”

Provincial rules include: no riders under age 16; mandatory helmet use for riders under 18; top speed of 24 km/h, down from 32 km/h in earlier provincial documents; no passengers; a mandatory horn, bell, white light in front and red light in back.

Rules for cities to decide, if they allow the service, include whether riders can go on roads, sidewalks or bike lanes, and the thorny question of where people can leave them when they walk away.

Lime and Bird, the world’s two biggest e-scooter sharing services in the world, are eager to add the biggest city in Canada to their service maps. They

both welcomed the Ontario announcement, saying they await detailed regulations and hope to have Torontonians whizzing around by next spring.

“What Ontario is saying is consistent with other provinces, and the regulatory change will enable cities in Ontario to proceed if they wish to have scooter-share operations in 2020,” said Chris Schafer, a Lime Canada senior executive.

Bird Canada chief executive Stewart Lyons told the Star: “Overall we’re extremely excited that the government is taking this first step for Ontario following in the footsteps of where Alberta and Quebec have gone,” with pilot projects underway on the streets of Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal.

“The feedback from (Toronto) city staff and councillors has been positive, that they want to bring the scooter program to Toronto for next spring.”

At Toronto City Hall, however, Mayor John Tory said his city won’t be rushed into anything. Last month city council voted to ban the e-scooter services until city staff release a report, with recommendations on e-scooter rules, early in 2020.

Tory said his main concerns are safety – Toronto is already dealing with a spike in pedestrian and cyclist deaths, and Calgary saw a rush of people to hospital emergency wards after e-scooters debuted there – and “clutter if there aren’t rules in place and provisions to ensure they are stored properly when not in use.”

Advocates for disabled Ontarians have voiced concerns about e-scooters being left on sidewalks and other places that could block access. The Ontario NDP blasted Premier Doug Ford’s government for failing to address their feedback in the guidelines released Wednesday.

Councillor Paul Ainslie, head of the Toronto’s licensing committee that will receive the e-scooter report, said: “I would appreciate the province working on a number of other areas first – housing, poverty reduction, red-light cameras.”

Mississauga city council in late October tasked staff with a report to come back with recommendations on e-scooter regulations next year.

“Staff are currently looking at a variety of options and models including publicly owned and operated, privately owned and operated as well as mixed publicly and privately owned and operated programs,” said a statement from Mayor Bonnie Crombie’s office.

“We look forward to exploring how we can expand transportation options for our residents while ensuring road safety remains a top priority.”

Edmonton and Calgary’s pilot projects share similar rules, with no helmet requirement and speeds capped at 20 km/h. But Calgary users can glide along sidewalks, something forbidden in Edmonton.

Montreal adopted more rules than the Alberta cities, including designated parking spots where e-scooters must be left, mandatory helmet usage and no sidewalk riding. Authorities there have expressed dismay with riders ignoring the helmet rule.

The e-scooter craze first exploded in the U.S., sometimes in cities caught by surprise when the devices appeared, and quickly spread internationally as a fun and relatively inexpensive way to take short urban trips.

But there has been a backlash and rule tightening, as well as bans in some places. Germany, where scooter regulations passed in June, has reported serious

injuries, impaired riders and one user following his GPS onto a highway.

The council for Elizabeth, N.J., on Tuesday voted to immediately end that city’s e-scooter pilot project after a 16-year-old riding a scooter was struck and killed by a tow truck.

Mississauga News November 27, 2019

Originally posted at https://www.mississauga.com/news-story/9738260-mississauga-considering-how-to-encourage-bike-e-bike-and-e-scooter-share-systems/

Mississauga considering how to encourage bike, e-bike and e-scooter share systems

Province starts 5-year e-scooter pilot in 2020

NEWS Nov 27, 2019 by Steve Cornwell, Mississauga News

Next summer, Mississauga residents and visitors might have a few more options to get around.

City council directed its staff to look at how Mississauga can encourage “micromobility” sharing systems, including e-scooters, e-bikes and bicycles.

The city hopes that the devices could help residents and visitors travel short distances in the downtown core, along the future Hurontario LRT and in Mississauga neighbourhoods like Meadowvale and Lisgar.

According to Matthew Sweet, the city’s active transportation manager, all vehicles, docking systems and operational models are under consideration.

We’re not prescribing the type of vehicle or device at this point,” he said. “Not least because the industry is so fast moving and changing.”

Sweet said the most important aspect for the city is not the device, how it’s parked or whether it’s publicly or privately owned.

“Really the first thing you should think about is how do these systems meet the city’s goals,” he said.

According to a staff report, micromobility systems align with City of Mississauga goals including promoting environmental sustainability and equity by “increasing access to viable transportation options for all.”

The move comes as the province is set to start a five-year pilot allowing e-scooters on Ontario roadways. Municipalities can opt-in to allowing e-scooters after Jan. 1, 2020. Bikes and e-bikes are already allowed on roadways in Ontario.

E-scooters abandoned on sidewalks, roadways and other undesignated parking spots have been an issue in several cities where they’ve launched in North America, including Calgary and Edmonton.

Accessibility advocate and lawyer David Lepofsky said that e-scooters are a “blight” wherever they are deployed and have been a consistent tripping hazard for people with disabilities.

“(E-scooter shares) are a brilliant business model for a company that wants free parking at the taxpayer’s expense,” he said.

Lepofsky is also the volunteer chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance and the group has asked the province to forbid rental e-scooters.

The city staff report from August 2019 recommends that the city accept micromobility sharing systems be introduced in phases and that bikes and e-bikes be favoured over e-scooters for now.

City staff is anticipating the next phase of the micromobility study will be finalized in June 2020.



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Today Is the AODA Movement’s 25th Birthday!


Watch Our Movement’s Latest Interview on TVO’s “The Agenda with Steve Paikin” Any Time on YouTube and Toronto Star Runs Very Troubling Editorial that Wrongly Applauds the Ford Government’s Unleashing Electric Scooters on Ontarians, Despite their Proven Dangers to Safety and 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

November 29, 2019

Summary

1. A Quarter-Century of Tenacious Advocacy Started on this Date in 1994

Twenty-five years ago today, a group of some twenty people with disabilities spontaneously gathered in a meeting room at Queen’s Park, feeling that they had to do something. The “something” that they did was to create a new and enduring grassroots non-partisan movement to campaign for strong accessibility legislation in Ontario.

Twenty-five years later, we have a lot to show for our efforts, but a lot more that we need to accomplish. Next Tuesday, on December 3, 2019, the International Day for People with Disabilities, we will have more to say about the past 25 years and about the future that we must create. For today, however, we encourage you to remember–or learn for the first time–about how it all got started and to reflect on where we need to go.

You can read about the events that led up to the birth of Ontario’s enduring disability accessibility movement by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/come-to-a-birthday-party-on-december-3-2019-the-international-day-for-people-with-disabilities-at-queens-park-to-celebrate-the-25th-anniversary-of-the-birth-of-the-non-partisan-grassroots-movemen/

You can watch a captioned one-hour video of the celebration we held on November 28, 2014, the 20th anniversary of the birth of the AODA movement

2. Watch on YouTube the Interview on TVO’s “The Agenda with Steve Paikin” Reflecting on the 25th Anniversary of the AODA Movement

Did you miss the live broadcast of the November 28, 2019, edition of TVO’s “The Agenda with Steve Paikin”? It included an interview with AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky and expert accessibility consultant Thea Kurdi. No worries! You can watch it anytime on YouTube. Encourage others to do the same.

We understand that TVO typically takes a few days to upload its captioning for these interviews. It may be available now only with YouTube’s less reliable automated captioning.

Encourage others to watch the video, including your Member of the Ontario Legislature. Encourage your local media to cover this too! That interview was taped the day before the Ford Government announced its new regulation permitting electric scooters in Ontario, despite their proven dangers to safety and accessibility for people with disabilities.

3. A Painful Irony on Our 25th Birthday! A Very Disturbing Toronto Star Editorial Today Applauds the Ford Government’s Unleashing Dangerous E-scooters on Ontarians When it Should Have Condemned Them

Regrettably, we can never rest when it comes to advocating for accessibility for people with disabilities! It is a painful though undoubtedly an inadvertent irony that today, the 25th anniversary of the AODA movement, is when the Toronto Star ran a very troubling editorial, set out below. It applauds the Ford Government’s decision to unleash e-scooters on Ontario, despite their dangers to safety and accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. This is a very disturbing departure from the Star’s long and commendable tradition of strongly supporting our accessibility cause.

We encourage everyone to write a letter to the editor at the Toronto Star to take issue with this editorial. Below we set out the letter to the editor that AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky has already sent to the Toronto Star. We hope the Star will include it in both the hard copy and online version of the paper.

If you want ideas of what to say, check out the AODA Alliance’s November 28, 2019 news release on this topic. Letters can be emailed to the Star by writing [email protected]

We also set out below the November 28, 2019 report in the Toronto Star on the Ford Government’s e-scooter announcement, and the November 27, 2019 report on this topic in the Mississauga News. The Star made a general reference to disability concerns, while the Mississauga News quoted the AODA Alliance.

We will keep up pressure on the Ford Government to get them to rein in its e-scooter plans so that the safety and accessibility of people with disabilities are protected. We have not yet heard back regarding our request earlier this week to meet with Premier Ford. We will also press local municipalities not to expose their communities and people with disabilities who live in them to the safety and accessibility dangers that e-scooters have been proven to pose.

As of this 25th anniversary of our campaign, 302 days have passed since the Ontario Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation that was conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. We are waiting for the Ontario Government to announce a plan to implement that report.

We always welcome your feedback. Write us today or any day at [email protected]

MORE DETAILS

The Toronto Star November 29, 2019

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2019/11/28/the-ford-government-e-scooter-pilot-gets-better.html Editorial

Rules that make sense

The Ford government made the right decision this week in giving municipalities the final say on whether to allow two-wheeled electric scooters on their roadways and what local rules rental companies must follow.

That gives cities like Toronto and Mississauga time to come up with bylaws that can, hopefully, balance the needs of those who want to use e-scooters to commute around town and those who have serious safety concerns about them.

The government got it right, too, for the most part, on the rules the vehicles must operate under in all jurisdictions.

It sensibly reduced the maximum allowable speed to 24 km/h, down from the 32 km/h it originally proposed.

Other smart rules include: no riders under 16, mandatory helmets for riders under 18, no passengers and mandatory bells and lights.

It’s individual cities that will now have to decide the thorny issue of where the scooters can be used – roads, bike lanes or sidewalks. And, just as crucially, where the dockless scooters can be parked.

In cities around the world where e-scooter rentals have already been rolled out, there’s been considerable controversy over the devices that have a tendency to be strewn all over sidewalks and paths, creating tripping hazards. (Montreal has tried to get around that problem by designating parking spots where scooters must be left.)

The province still missed the mark on one major point: Its e-scooter pilot project, which begins Jan. 1, is five years long.

That’s too long considering the problems and safety concerns that have cropped up elsewhere.

Ontario needs to review the results of the pilot sooner than that. And the province and cities need to be ready to pull the plug if e-scooters prove to be a serious danger to pedestrians, especially those with disabilities, and to the users themselves.

Letter to the Toronto Star Editor from AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky Via email: [email protected]
November 29, 2019

The Star was wrong to applaud Doug Ford’s decision to let municipalities pilot electric scooters (Editorial Rules that make sense.) Ford ignored serious safety and accessibility concerns documented by Ontarians with disabilities, by allowing dangerously fast e-scooters on roads, sidewalks and other places. We and others will be exposed to the danger of serious injuries, if not worse. E-scooters will be unforeseeable new barriers blocking the accessibility of public spaces for people with disabilities.

As a blind person, I want to walk safely in public. 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 KPH. Ford even lets municipalities allow e-scooters on sidewalks, endangering pedestrians.

Ford says one of his priorities is to “build safer communities.” He claims this regulation makes it easier for people to get around. Yet rental e-scooters, strewn in public places, do the opposite for people with disabilities.

Ford paid lip service to safety and disability accessibility. He created weak, unenforceable provisions to limit how e-scooters are ridden and whether they may be left on sidewalks.

Ford appears to have bowed to e-scooter rental companies. The regulation reads as if their corporate lobbyists wrote it.

We oppose e-scooters. If permitted, provincial laws should require each e-scooter and driver to have a license, a helmet (even if over age 17) and insurance. If an e-scooter is left in a public place like a sidewalk, it should be forfeited and confiscated. E-scooter rental companies should be liable for injuries e-scooters cause, and caps on numbers of e-scooters.

Ontarians with disabilities are disproportionately poor and disadvantaged. We don’t have the resources to fight corporate lobbyists in hundreds of municipalities, to fend off these dangers.

David Lepofsky CM, O.Ont
Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Visiting Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School

The Toronto Star, November 28, 2019
News

Ontario to allow e-scooters on streets in 5-year trial
But province leaves final say to municipalities

David Rider Toronto Star Chief

Electric scooters are quietly gliding closer to becoming a transportation option on GTA streets.

The Ontario government on Wednesday released “broad rules and requirements” for e-scooters, including maximum speed and helmet use, as part of a five-year pilot project beginning Jan. 1.

But the province is leaving the final say to Toronto and other municipalities on allowing and regulating e-scooter sharing services that are slowly spreading across Canada after rapid rollout across the world, including cities that have had them and later banned them.

“It is now up to the municipalities to pass bylaws to allow their use and determine where they can operate most safely in each unique environment,” the transportation ministry said in a new release.

In a video posted on Twitter, MPP Vijay Thanigasalam, parliamentary secretary to Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney, rolls up to the camera and calls the devices “a cool new way for people to get from point A to point B in their communities.”

Provincial rules include: no riders under age 16; mandatory helmet use for riders under 18; top speed of 24 km/h, down from 32 km/h in earlier provincial documents; no passengers; a mandatory horn, bell, white light in front and red light in back.
Rules for cities to decide, if they allow the service, include whether riders can go on roads, sidewalks or bike lanes, and the thorny question of where people can leave them when they walk away.

Lime and Bird, the world’s two biggest e-scooter sharing services in the world, are eager to add the biggest city in Canada to their service maps. They
both welcomed the Ontario announcement, saying they await detailed regulations and hope to have Torontonians whizzing around by next spring.

“What Ontario is saying is consistent with other provinces, and the regulatory change will enable cities in Ontario to proceed if they wish to have scooter-share operations in 2020,” said Chris Schafer, a Lime Canada senior executive.

Bird Canada chief executive Stewart Lyons told the Star: “Overall we’re extremely excited that the government is taking this first step for Ontario following in the footsteps of where Alberta and Quebec have gone,” with pilot projects underway on the streets of Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal.

“The feedback from (Toronto) city staff and councillors has been positive, that they want to bring the scooter program to Toronto for next spring.”

At Toronto City Hall, however, Mayor John Tory said his city won’t be rushed into anything. Last month city council voted to ban the e-scooter services until city staff release a report, with recommendations on e-scooter rules, early in 2020.

Tory said his main concerns are safety – Toronto is already dealing with a spike in pedestrian and cyclist deaths, and Calgary saw a rush of people to hospital emergency wards after e-scooters debuted there – and “clutter if there aren’t rules in place and provisions to ensure they are stored properly when not in use.”

Advocates for disabled Ontarians have voiced concerns about e-scooters being left on sidewalks and other places that could block access. The Ontario NDP blasted Premier Doug Ford’s government for failing to address their feedback in the guidelines released Wednesday.

Councillor Paul Ainslie, head of the Toronto’s licensing committee that will receive the e-scooter report, said: “I would appreciate the province working on a number of other areas first – housing, poverty reduction, red-light cameras.”
Mississauga city council in late October tasked staff with a report to come back with recommendations on e-scooter regulations next year.

“Staff are currently looking at a variety of options and models including publicly owned and operated, privately owned and operated as well as mixed publicly and privately owned and operated programs,” said a statement from Mayor Bonnie Crombie’s office.

“We look forward to exploring how we can expand transportation options for our residents while ensuring road safety remains a top priority.”
Edmonton and Calgary’s pilot projects share similar rules, with no helmet requirement and speeds capped at 20 km/h. But Calgary users can glide along sidewalks, something forbidden in Edmonton.

Montreal adopted more rules than the Alberta cities, including designated parking spots where e-scooters must be left, mandatory helmet usage and no sidewalk riding. Authorities there have expressed dismay with riders ignoring the helmet rule.

The e-scooter craze first exploded in the U.S., sometimes in cities caught by surprise when the devices appeared, and quickly spread internationally as a fun and relatively inexpensive way to take short urban trips.

But there has been a backlash and rule tightening, as well as bans in some places. Germany, where scooter regulations passed in June, has reported serious injuries, impaired riders and one user following his GPS onto a highway.

The council for Elizabeth, N.J., on Tuesday voted to immediately end that city’s e-scooter pilot project after a 16-year-old riding a scooter was struck and killed by a tow truck.

Mississauga News November 27, 2019

Originally posted at https://www.mississauga.com/news-story/9738260-mississauga-considering-how-to-encourage-bike-e-bike-and-e-scooter-share-systems/ Mississauga considering how to encourage bike, e-bike and e-scooter share systems Province starts 5-year e-scooter pilot in 2020
NEWS Nov 27, 2019 by Steve Cornwell, Mississauga News

Next summer, Mississauga residents and visitors might have a few more options to get around.
City council directed its staff to look at how Mississauga can encourage “micromobility” sharing systems, including e-scooters, e-bikes and bicycles.

The city hopes that the devices could help residents and visitors travel short distances in the downtown core, along the future Hurontario LRT and in Mississauga neighbourhoods like Meadowvale and Lisgar.

According to Matthew Sweet, the city’s active transportation manager, all vehicles, docking systems and operational models are under consideration.

We’re not prescribing the type of vehicle or device at this point,” he said. “Not least because the industry is so fast moving and changing.”

Sweet said the most important aspect for the city is not the device, how it’s parked or whether it’s publicly or privately owned.
“Really the first thing you should think about is how do these systems meet the city’s goals,” he said.

According to a staff report, micromobility systems align with City of Mississauga goals including promoting environmental sustainability and equity by “increasing access to viable transportation options for all.”

The move comes as the province is set to start a five-year pilot allowing e-scooters on Ontario roadways. Municipalities can opt-in to allowing e-scooters after Jan. 1, 2020. Bikes and e-bikes are already allowed on roadways in Ontario.

E-scooters abandoned on sidewalks, roadways and other undesignated parking spots have been an issue in several cities where they’ve launched in North America, including Calgary and Edmonton.

Accessibility advocate and lawyer David Lepofsky said that e-scooters are a “blight” wherever they are deployed and have been a consistent tripping hazard for people with disabilities.
“(E-scooter shares) are a brilliant business model for a company that wants free parking at the taxpayer’s expense,” he said.

Lepofsky is also the volunteer chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance and the group has asked the province to forbid rental e-scooters.

The city staff report from August 2019 recommends that the city accept micromobility sharing systems be introduced in phases and that bikes and e-bikes be favoured over e-scooters for now.

City staff is anticipating the next phase of the micromobility study will be finalized in June 2020.




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Key Documents Regarding the Ford Government’s November 27, 2019 Announcement of Its 5-Year E-scooter Pilot – AODA Alliance


Key Documents Regarding the Ford Government’s November 27, 2019 Announcement of Its 5-Year E-scooter Pilot

Here are the Key Documents that are connected to the Ford Government’s November 27, 2019 news release, announcing its new regulation that allows electric scooters (e-scooters in Ontario. These are all referred to in the AODA Alliance’s November 28, 2019 news release on this topic.

Below you can find:

* the Ford Government’s November 27, 2019 news release

* the backgrounder to the Ford Government’s November 27, 2019 news release.

* the New Democratic Party’s November 27,2019 news release, criticizing the Government’s announcement, and

* the text of the Government’s new e-scooter regulation.

Ontario Government November 27, 2019 News Release

Originally posted at https://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2019/11/ontario-announces-e-scooter-pilot-to-help-grow-ontarios-economy.html

[email protected]

Ontario Newsroom

News Release

Ontario Announces E-Scooter Pilot to Help Grow Ontario’s Economy

November 27, 2019

E-scooter pilot will make it easier for people to get around

TORONTO – As part of the government’s plan to help businesses expand and allow consumers and commuters more choice, Vijay Thanigasalam, Parliamentary Assistant to Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, announced a 5-year e-scooter pilot that will begin on January 1, 2020. E-scooters have the potential to help hundreds of thousands of commuters get to transit connections, reduce congestion and open the Ontario market to a new and growing sector. Under the pilot, municipalities can choose whether to allow e-scooters on their roadways.

“Ontario’s five-year e-scooter pilot will give people a new, clean and green way to get from point A to point B in their communities,” said Thanigasalam.

“This pilot is another way that our government is giving consumers more choice and making Ontario open for business.”

“Ontario’s e-scooter pilot will help businesses expand, enrich local economies and offer people more options to get around safely,” said Mulroney. “Our government is strongly committed to promoting the highest standards of safety for all Ontarians who travel on our roads.”

“With Ontario adopting regulations for its e-scooter pilot, we’re excited by the momentum micromobility continues to gain across Canada,” said Chris Schafer, Senior Director, Strategic Development at Lime in Canada. “This development means that Ontario’s municipalities can now offer their residents new and sustainable ways to get around in their communities. We look forward to working in partnership with governments across the province and continuing to advance our shared transportation goals.”

The province has developed best practice guidelines to help municipalities safely integrate e-scooters in their communities. E-scooters have been launched in over 125 U.S. cities and are being allowed under pilot conditions in Quebec and Alberta.

QUICK FACTS

  • Municipalities that choose to permit e-scooters will be responsible for considerations such as whether to allow or prohibit them on municipal roads including parks and trails; where parking will be located; and how e-scooters will be managed in their municipality.
  • Under the 5-year pilot, the province has set out rules and requirements for e-scooters such as helmet requirements and a minimum age of 16 years old.
  • E-scooters will also need to be equipped with a horn or bell and must have a front and rear light.
  • Municipalities can choose to pass by-laws to allow use of e-scooters and determine where they can operate most safely in each unique environment.
  • Ontario’s Open for Business Action Plan has set targets of reducing regulatory red tape affecting businesses by 25 per cent and the cost of complying with regulations by $400 million annually by 2020 to help business keep, grow and create good jobs.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Best Practice Guidelines for Municipalities
  • Open for Business – Helping to Grow the Economy and Create Good Jobs

CONTACTS

Barbara Mottram

Minister’s Office

[email protected]

416-327-1158

[email protected]

Ontario Government Backgrounder on Its e-scooter Pilot

Originally posted at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/vehicles/electric/electric-scooters.shtml

Ministry of Transportation

Electric Kick-Style Scooters (e-scooters)

The Ontario Government is committed to supporting new and emerging technologies that can help move people safely and efficiently while limiting environmental impacts. As new and emerging transportation modes evolve, new forms of electric vehicles present an opportunity to reduce traffic congestion, provide first and last mile connections to transit and present a new way for residents to get around their communities.

Effective January 1, 2020 a new pilot to permit Electric Kick Scooters (e-scooters) on Ontario’s roads will be in place.

Under the pilot, the province has set out the broad rules and requirements for e-scooters such as helmet requirements and minimum age. It is now up to the municipalities to pass by-laws to allow their use and determine where they can operate most safely in each unique environment.

Municipalities that choose to permit their use would be responsible for deciding such things as allowing or prohibiting them on municipal roads including parks, and trails; where parking would be located and how e-scooters would be managed in their municipality. The ministry has also developed a best practices document for municipalities to support them in developing their e-scooter program in a safe environment. For reference here is this Best Practices document (PDF – 200 KB).

Ontario’s objective is to create a viable framework for municipalities to allow e-scooters in their jurisdictions.

The pilot is intended to evaluate the use of e-scooters over a 5-year period to examine their ability to safely integrate with other vehicle types and determine whether existing rules of the road are adequate.

Key elements of the pilot

Municipalities must pass a by-law to allow them on municipal roads

5-year pilot

Maximum speed 24 km/h

Maximum weight 45kg

Maximum power output 500W

Minimum operating age 16

No passengers allowed

No cargo may be carried

No baskets allowed

Riders must stand at all times

Bicycle helmet required for those under 18 years old

No pedals or seat allowed

Must have 2 wheels and brakes

Must have horn or bell

Must have one white light on front, one red light on rear and reflective material on sides

Maximum wheel diameter 17 inches

All HTA rules of the road will apply to the operation of e-scooters like bicycles

Penalties in HTA s. 228(8) will also apply to violations of pilot regulation (fine of $250 to $2,500)

Not allowed on controlled access highways

For the full list of pilot requirements, please see Ontario Regulation Electric Kick-Scooters, which will be posted soon.

After the pilot is done

The Ministry of Transportation expects that this pilot framework, in addition to continued discussions with municipalities, will provide the ministry with meaningful evidence to determine whether a permanent framework is warranted. Following a safety evaluation of these vehicles, the ministry will make a long-term decision on whether e-scooters are permanently allowed on road in Ontario.

Additional information

The e-scooters that are permitted under Ontario’s pilot are the electric kick style scooters.

The scooters can vary in design, weight and speed and there are a number of different configurations that Ontario’s pilot framework would cover. The pilot framework lists all the requirements that an e-scooter must meet to participate in the pilot. Below is an example of an electric kick style scooter.

an electric kick style scooter

This pilot approach allows the ministry to establish rules, monitor and evaluate any safety impacts of e-scooters. It is a measured approach that will promote road safety, foster business innovation and open the Ontario market to this new and growing sector. By allowing municipalities to permit the use of e-scooters in their jurisdiction creates more mobility options for Ontarians and demonstrates that the province is open for business by allowing new companies to operate in Ontario.

Municipalities will have the authority to create by-laws to prohibit e-scooters from any municipal areas that fall under their jurisdiction such as sidewalks; where the e-scooter parking would be located and how e-scooters would be managed in their municipality.

While the province is establishing a regulatory framework to define where and how e-scooters can be operated it will be the responsibility of the user/e-scooter company/municipality to ensure that the rider is able to safely operate the vehicle if a municipal by-law is passed to allow their use. Municipalities may require permits or licencing for those e-scooter companies wishing to offer e-scooter rental services and as part of those agreements there may be training requirements as well.

Resources

e-Scooter Best Practices document (PDF – 200 KB)

Low Carbon Vehicles

About Low Carbon Vehicles

Charging an Electric Vehicle

Green Licence Plates

 NDP November 27, 2019 News Release

Originally posted at http://www.joelharden.ca/ford_government_s_e_scooter_pilot_fails_to_consider_concerns_from_disability_community

Ford government’s e-scooter pilot fails to consider concerns from disability community

QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP critic for Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities, Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre), made the following statement in response to

the Ford government’s announcement Wednesday of a five-year e-scooter pilot program:

“People with disabilities face constant barriers to moving through our cities’ public spaces safely and accessibly. The Ford government’s e-scooter pilot program has raised serious concern among people with disabilities, who worry that e-scooters will make sidewalks more crowded, and more dangerous.

The Ford government’s e-scooter pilot consultation was extremely rushed, and it failed to seek out proper feedback from the disability community. It is telling that Ford’s announcement of the plan makes no mention whatsoever of accessibility.

The Ford Conservatives should halt their e-scooter pilot program and conduct an in-depth consultation with the disability community.”

-30-

Media contact: Jodie Shupac, 416-806-9147

November 27, 2019 Ontario Electric Scooters Regulation

Originally posted at https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/190389

  1. Reg. 389/19: PILOT PROJECT – ELECTRIC KICK-SCOOTERS

under Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8

current            November 27, 2019

ONTARIO REGULATION 389/19

PILOT PROJECT – ELECTRIC KICK-SCOOTERS

Note: THIS REGULATION IS NOT YET IN FORCE. It comes into force on January 1, 2020.

Note: This Regulation is revoked on November 27, 2024, the fifth anniversary of the day it was filed. (See: O. Reg. 389/19, s. 14)

Definitions

  1. (1) In this Regulation,

“electric kick-scooter” means a vehicle that has,

(a) two wheels placed along the same longitudinal axis, one placed at the front of the kick-scooter and one at the rear,

(b) a platform for standing between the two wheels,

(c) a steering handlebar that acts directly on the steerable wheel, and

(d) an electric motor not exceeding 500 watts that provides a maximum speed of 24 kilometres per hour; (“trottinette électrique”)

“public park” means a provincial park or land designated by a municipality for use as a park. (“parc public”)

(2) An electric kick-scooter is deemed not to be a motor vehicle under the Act.

(3) Despite subsection (2), any municipal by-law that governs or prohibits the operation of a motorized vehicle applies to an electric kick-scooter unless the by-law provides otherwise.

Pilot project re electric kick-scooters

  1. A pilot project to evaluate the use and operation of electric kick-scooters is established.

Prohibition

  1. No person shall operate an electric kick-scooter on a highway, sidewalk, trail, path or walkway or in a public park or exhibition ground unless,

(a) such operation is permitted by and in accordance with this Regulation; and

(b) where the highway, sidewalk, trail, path, walkway, public park or exhibition ground is under the jurisdiction of a municipality, such operation is permitted by and in accordance with a municipal by-law.

Where electric kick-scooters permitted

  1. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a person may operate an electric kick-scooter on a roadway or on the shoulder of a highway.

(2) An electric kick-scooter shall not be operated on,

(a) those parts of the controlled-access highways described in Schedule 1 to Regulation 627 of the Revised Regulations of Ontario, 1990 (Use of Controlled-Access Highways by Pedestrians) made under the Act;

(b) those parts of the controlled-access highways described in Schedule 1 to Regulation 630 of the Revised Regulations of Ontario, 1990 (Vehicles on Controlled-Access Highways) made under the Act; or

(c) any highway to which access by pedestrians or bicycles is prohibited under any Act, regulation or municipal by-law.

Roadway use

  1. (1) Where bicycle lanes are provided on a highway, an electric kick-scooter shall only be operated in the bicycle lanes.

(2) Despite subsection (1), where the highway is located in a tunnel or underpass, an electric kick-scooter may be operated on a sidewalk in the tunnel or underpass rather than the bicycle lane except where such operation is prohibited by municipal by-law.

(3) Where bicycle lanes are not provided on a highway or where the operation of electric kick-scooters in bicycle lanes is prohibited by municipal by-law, an electric kick-scooter shall only be operated,

(a) if there is a shoulder on the highway, on the shoulder as close to the right edge of the shoulder as possible; or

(b) if there is no shoulder on the highway, on the right side of the roadway as close to the edge of the roadway as possible.

Application of the Act

  1. (1) Parts II, IV, VI and X.3, sections 179 and 199 and subsection 214 (2) of the Act do not apply to the operation of an electric kick-scooter or to a person who operates an electric kick-scooter.

(2) Sections 140 and 144 of the Act apply to an electric kick-scooter as if the electric kick-scooter were a bicycle.

(3) When an electric kick-scooter is being operated on a sidewalk, trail, path or walkway or in a public park or exhibition ground, the provisions of the Act, other than the Parts and sections listed in subsection (1), apply to the operation of the electric kick-scooter and to the operator of the electric kick-scooter as if the electric kick-scooter were a bicycle and the operator a cyclist.

(4) When an electric kick-scooter is being operated on a roadway or on the shoulder of a highway, the provisions of the Act, other than the Parts and sections listed in subsection (1) or the provisions listed in subsection (2), apply to the operation of the electric kick-scooter and to its operator as if the electric kick-scooter were a bicycle and the operator a cyclist.

Safe operation

  1. (1) The operator of an electric kick-scooter shall keep a safe distance from pedestrians and other users of the roadway, shoulder, sidewalk, trail, path, walkway, public park or exhibition ground at all times and shall give way to a pedestrian or bicycle by slowing or stopping, as necessary, where there is insufficient space for the pedestrian or bicycle and the electric kick-scooter to pass.

(2) An electric kick-scooter shall not be operated on a sidewalk, trail, path or walkway or in a public park or exhibition ground at a speed that is markedly greater than the speed of the pedestrians who are proximate to the electric kick-scooter.

(3) Every electric kick-scooter shall be equipped with a bell or horn which shall be kept in good working order and sounded whenever it is reasonably necessary to notify cyclists, pedestrians or others of its approach.

(4) When operated at any time from one-half hour before sunset to one-half hour after sunrise and at any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavourable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles are not clearly discernible at a distance of 150 metres or less, every electric kick-scooter shall carry a lighted lamp displaying a white or amber light at the front and a lighted lamp displaying a red light at the rear.

(5) The lamps referred to in subsection (4) may be attached to the electric kick-scooter or may be carried or worn by the operator on his or her person.

(6) An electric kick-scooter shall not be operated in such a manner that it may harm, injure or damage, either directly or indirectly, any person or property.

General rules re operation

  1. (1) No person under the age of 16 years shall operate an electric kick-scooter.

(2) No person operating an electric kick-scooter shall carry any other person thereon.

(3) No person operating an electric kick-scooter shall tow another person, vehicle or device.

(4) No person operating an electric kick-scooter shall attach himself or herself to another electric kick-scooter, vehicle or device for the purpose of being drawn or towed.

(5) No person operating an electric kick-scooter shall operate it in any position other than while standing at all times.

(6) No cargo may be carried on an electric kick-scooter.

(7) No person operating an electric kick-scooter shall leave it in a location that is intended for the passage of vehicles or pedestrians.

Equipment

  1. (1) An electric kick-scooter shall have one or more electric batteries that are the sole source of power to the motor.

(2) An electric kick-scooter shall not have,

(a) a seat, surface or structure that could be used as a seat;

(b) pedals attached to it;

(c) a basket attached to it;

(d) wheels with a diameter of more than 430 millimetres; or

(e) any structure to enclose the electric kick-scooter.

(3) The weight of an electric kick-scooter, including the weight of the battery but otherwise unladen, shall not exceed 45 kilograms.

(4) The battery and motor of an electric kick-scooter shall be securely fastened to the electric kick-scooter to prevent them from moving while the electric kick-scooter is in motion.

(5) All electric terminals on an electric kick-scooter shall be completely insulated and covered.

(6) An electric kick-scooter shall not be modified after its manufacture in any way that may result in increasing its power or its maximum speed beyond the limits set out in the definition of “electric kick-scooter”.

(7) The motor of an electric kick-scooter shall cease to propel the electric kick-scooter forward if the accelerator is released or the brakes are applied.

(8) The braking system of an electric kick-scooter must be capable of bringing the electric kick-scooter, while being operated at a speed of 24 kilometres per hour on a clean, paved and level surface, to a full stop within nine metres from the point at which the brakes were applied.

(9) An electric kick-scooter and all of its components shall be maintained in good working order at all times.

Helmets

  1. A person who is under 18 years old shall wear a helmet that complies with the requirements of subsection 104 (1) or (2.1) of the Act when operating an electric kick-scooter.

Operator to stop for police officer

  1. Every operator of an electric kick-scooter shall stop when required to do so by a police officer and shall, on the demand of the police officer,

(a) surrender his or her driver’s licence, if he or she has one and has it in his or her possession, for reasonable inspection by the officer; or

(b) provide the officer with his or her correct name, address and date of birth.

Duty to report accident

  1. (1) Where an electric kick-scooter is involved in an accident with a pedestrian, animal or vehicle that results in personal injury or property damage, the operator of the electric kick-scooter shall forthwith report the accident to a police officer and furnish him or her with the information concerning the accident as may be required by the officer under subsection (2).

(2) A police officer receiving a report of an accident, as required by this section, shall secure from the person making the report, or by other inquiries where necessary, the particulars of the accident, the persons involved, the extent of the personal injuries or property damage, if any, and the other information that may be necessary to complete a written report concerning the accident and shall forward the report to the Registrar within 10 days of the accident.

(3) The report of a police officer under subsection (2) shall be in the form that is approved by the Minister.

Reports to Minister

  1. Any municipality in which electric kick-scooters are being used shall, if requested by the Minister, report to the Minister on the use of electric kick-scooters in the municipality, or on any aspect of such use as may be specified by the Minister.

Revocation

  1. This Regulation is revoked on the fifth anniversary of the day it is filed.
  1. Omitted (provides for coming into force of provisions of this Regulation).



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Ford Government Endangers Safety and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities in New E-Scooter Pilot Regulation – AODA Alliance


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ford Government Endangers Safety and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities in E-Scooter Pilot Regulation

November 28, 2019 Toronto: The Ford Government ignored serious safety and accessibility concerns documented by Ontarians with disabilities. A new regulation announced yesterday allows dangerously fast electric scooters (e-scooters) on roads, sidewalks and other public places. Ontarians with disabilities and others will be exposed to the danger of serious personal injuries, if not worse. E-scooters will become unpredictable new barriers blocking the accessibility of public spaces for people with disabilities.

“As a blind person, I want to walk safely in public. 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 KPH on an e-scooter,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance. The Alliance has spoken out against the dangers that e-scooters pose to people with disabilities. “Last August, the Ford Government gave the clear impression that e-scooters would only be allowed on roads. But this new regulation lets municipalities allow them on sidewalks, at serious risk to pedestrians.”

Last summer the Ford Government said it’s committed to the “highest level of safety.” Premier Ford’s website proclaims that one of his Government’s priorities is to “build safer communities.” Yet unlicensed, untrained, and uninsured people racing on silent e-scooters in public places, including our sidewalks, endanger the public, especially people with disabilities.

The Government’s November 27, 2019 news release says that this regulation “will make it easier for people to get around.” Yet rental e-scooters, strewn in public places, do the exact opposite for people with disabilities.

The Ford Government only paid lip service to safety and disability accessibility. Its regulation includes weak, unenforceable provisions to limit how e-scooters are ridden and whether they may be left on sidewalks. It will be extremely difficult if not impossible to ever convict anyone of violating these restrictions, even in the unlikely event that overworked police will have time to investigate e-scooter offences.

The Government appears to have bowed to e-scooter rental companies. The regulation reads as if those companies’ corporate lobbyists wrote it. Earlier this fall, the Ford Government told City News that its proposed e-scooter pilot involved a “compromise” between public safety on the one hand, and the interests of businesses and consumers on the other. The Government’s November 27, 2019 news release proclaimed this policy as expanding business opportunities, featuring one of the e-scooter rental companies that no doubt lobbied for this regulation.

The regulation imposes no obligations on e-scooter rental companies. They need no license or insurance. They are not made liable for their customers leaving e-scooters lying strewn all over our public sidewalks. They do not require those companies to have e-scooter parking docks, to keep them off sidewalks. There’s no cap on the numbers of e-scooters they can flood onto city streets and sidewalks.

We seek an urgent meeting with Premier Ford. We call on the Government to suspend this pilot for at least six months, to conduct a proper consultation and to listen to the people, not just corporate lobbyists. No one wants or needs to ride e-scooters in Ontario in January of 2020, when this pilot begins.

We oppose e-scooters altogether. However, if permitted, mandatory provincial laws should require each e-scooter and driver to have a license, a helmet (even if over age 17) and insurance. If an e-scooter is left in a public place like a sidewalk, it should be forfeited and confiscated. E-scooter rental companies should have mandatory liability for any injuries that e-scooters cause, and limits on the number of e-scooters.

The Government lets any municipality allow e-scooters. Ontarians with disabilities, who are disproportionately poor and disadvantaged, don’t have the resources and capacity to fight the corporate lobbyists in hundreds of municipalities, to fend off these dangers that the Ford Government unleashed. We call on mayors and city councils to protect the public and not allow e-scooters.

It is wrong for the Government to experiment on non-consenting people in this pilot. The Government should instead visit cities that already exposed their population to e-scooters’ risks, to gather data about the injuries they have caused.

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

Twitter: @aodaalliance

All the news on the AODA Alliance’s campaign for accessibility in Ontario is available at: www.aodaalliance.org

Background information:

The Ford Government’s November 27, 2019 news release and backgrounder.

The Ontario New Democratic Party’s November 27, 2019 news release, slamming the Ford Government’s e-scooters announcement that didn’t even mention disability concerns.

The text of the Ford Government’s new regulation on e-scooters.



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