Preventing Attitudinal Barriers in School


Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In this article, we outline recommended guidelines for preventing attitudinal barriers in school.

Preventing Attitudinal Barriers in School

Attitudinal barriers happen when non-disabled people do not understand how disabilities affect the lives of people who have them. These misunderstandings can lead to false assumptions about what people with disabilities can do, want, or need. For example, a teacher may believe that math is too visual for a student who is blind. As a result, the teacher may not work with the student to find non-visual ways of accessing course content. Therefore, this student will receive lower-quality math instruction than their peers, and may not pursue a career in math.

In other words, attitudinal barriers can impact the rest of a student’s life. However, schools do not create attitudinal barriers purposely. Instead, barriers happen because staff and students lack knowledge about how to interact with peers and colleagues with disabilities. Providing this knowledge to all students and staff will reduce attitudinal barriers and promote full participation. Therefore, the Committee recommends training for all staff and students on the benefits of inclusive education.

Training to Prevent Attitudinal Barriers

For instance, the Committee recommends programs to teach all staff, students, and their families about the importance of inclusion. Each school board should create and implement its own program about accessibility for students and staff with disabilities. A school board could organize activities, such as a “barrier scavenger hunt”. In this game, staff, students, and parents find accessibility barriers at school or in the local community. This exercise would help everyone understand what barriers are, and how to remove them.

Similarly, programs could include presentations from guest speakers with disabilities. These presentations, in class or at school assemblies, would allow school community members without disabilities to learn about what it is like to have them. Attendees could ask questions, learn accurate information, and gain experience interacting with people who have a variety of disabilities. As a result, school communities may feel better prepared to work with classmates or staff members who have disabilities.

School boards could post these activities online, so that other school boards could learn from different games or guest speakers. Similarly, the Ministry of Education should create model training programs or materials, such as videos, to help school boards develop these lessons. Likewise, school boards should communicate with all their students’ families about their commitment to ensuring full participation for students of all abilities.

In addition, all staff members within school boards who interact with students or their parents should receive more training on how to fully include students with disabilities, and how to teach others to do so. Moreover, the Ministry of Education should create training programs that will prepare school boards to offer this additional training to their staff.




Source link

Ford Government Must Ensure the New Vaccine Passport System Does Not Create New Barriers for People with Disabilities


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

September 3, 2021

SUMMARY
The Ford Government’s plan to require vaccination passports starting September 22, 2021 to access certain places is an important step to get as many people as possible to get fully vaccinated. However, it is very important that this new vaccination passport requirement and system not create any new barriers for people with disabilities in Ontario. This can be achieved if the Ford Government shows strong leadership, and takes the steps outlined here as a swift and clear priority.

As it is, people with disabilities face far too many disability barriers when seeking goods, services facilities and jobs. It is good that the Government’s introductory announcement plans for an exemption for people who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons. The Ford Government’s September 1, 2021 news release included:

Individuals who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions will be permitted entry with a doctor’s note until recognized medical exemptions can be integrated as part of a digital vaccine certificate. Children who are 11 years of age and younger and unable to be vaccinated will also be exempted from these requirements.

This general statement, while helpful, does not protect people with disabilities from the creation of new barriers. Before this vaccination passport requirement goes into effect, the Ontario Government must immediately put in place several important measures to ensure that the Government creates no new disability barriers. While this requires further exploration, we know that the following is absolutely necessary:

1. Any mobile app for vaccine passports must be designed and tested to ensure it is fully accessible to adaptive technology for smart phone users with disabilities, such as screen readers. The Federal Government did not do so for its COVID-19-related smart phone ArriveCan app for entering Canada.

2. The Ontario Government must make available an easily-accessed alternative hard copy document to a smart phone app for vaccine passports. Too many people cannot afford smart phones, including many people with disabilities (who disproportionately live in poverty).

3. It is not sufficient for the Government to impose the burden on those individuals with disabilities, who cannot take the vaccine for medical reasons, to get a letter from their physician. This is especially a hardship if it needs to be accomplished in under three weeks.

As it is, well before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, people with disabilities have faced far too many disability barriers in Ontario’s health care system. The initial report of the Government-appointed Health Care Standards Development Committee documents this in detail. The AODA Alliance’s August 3, 2021 brief to that Standards Development Committee amplifies its concerns. Disability barriers in the health care system got considerably worse during the pandemic. See generally, the AODA Alliance website’s health care page and COVID-19 page.

Some people with disabilities have no doctor to give them an exemption letter. For those who do have a doctor, getting to a doctor can involve disability barriers. The Government has not announced that it is going to pay doctors to provide those letters. We fear that doctors will be even harder to reach if flooded with requests for vaccine exemption letters.

As a result, the Ford Government should immediately provide a vaccine exemption passport for people with disabilities who are medically unable to get the vaccine. The process for obtaining these passports should be ensured to be free of disability barriers. The Ford Government’s related record is not good. To apply for a replacement for one’s expired health care card, one can use a Government website and avoid going to a Service Ontario office, but only if one has a driver’s license. This is an obvious barrier for people with disabilities who cannot qualify for a driver’s license, such as blind people.

4. The Ontario Government’s problematic roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine over the past months included real problems facing some people with disabilities who wanted to get vaccinated. The Government did not include in its roll-out plans for the start a comprehensive plan to ensure that there was a barrier-free way for people with disabilities to get vaccinated.

While more vaccination opportunities now exist, the Government needs to now put in place a swift, pro-active, accessible and comprehensive strategy for people with disabilities needing and wanting the vaccine, to get swift, barrier-free and ready access to vaccination

5. Public protections need to be put in place for any vulnerable people with disabilities for whom a substitute decision-maker is in place, to address situations where the substitute decision-maker has refused to let a person with a disability for whom they are responsible get vaccinated, in circumstances where there is no medical justification for that refusal.

People with disabilities have disproportionally suffered the worst hardships of the pandemic. It is essential that this understandable new passport requirement not make things worse for any people with disabilities.

As our AODA Alliance Updates have documented, time and again the Ford Government has failed to effectively accommodate the urgent needs of people with disabilities during the pandemic. Time and again, we and others from the disability community have come forward with constructive proposals to fix this.

Overall, the Ford Government has a poor track record, when it comes to achieving accessibility for people with disabilities by 2025, the deadline that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires. We commend CTV news for focusing on this vaccine passport disability this issue, and for including it in a news report on August 31, 2021, set out below.

MORE DETAILS

CTV News August 31, 2021
Originally posted at: https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/how-will-vaccine-passport-system-work-in-ontario-for-people-without-cellphones-1.5568573

How will vaccine passport system work in Ontario for people without cellphones? Jon Woodward
CTV News Toronto Video Journalist
@CTV_Jon

TORONTO — Advocates are cautioning a headlong rush into implementing a vaccine passport using only smartphone apps warning it could leave the elderly, the poor or the homeless out in the cold.

Angie Peters of the Yonge St. Mission said designing a vaccine passport to work for disadvantaged people has to be as creative and motivated as the push to get those people vaccines was.

“They may have a cellphone but need to print it because technology is fleeting for them. They have a cellphone this month, but not next month,” she said.

And the solution of a printed out code may also not solve all the problems, Peters said.

“If they have a printer, they may not be able to afford the ink. There are people that we work with that lose their ID, they get rolled on the street regularly. If they’re keeping a printed card, it’s going to get lost and it’s going to have to get replaced, just like other ID on a regular basis,” she said.

It all could add up to a barrier that could result in properly vaccinated people denied entry for factors other than just vaccination, she said.

The Ontario government is expected to introduce some form of vaccine passport this week after calls from the medical community that checking vaccine status at the door could prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside any non-essential venues.

The business community has pushed for a vaccine passport, reasoning that it would lead to more business to be done if capacity limits could be raised safely.

But for those without cellphones, with older cellphones, or those who would have a more difficult time navigating the steps to prove that they are vaccinated, this could be a major headache, said David Lepofsky of the AODA Alliance.
If there’s any reason why someone with a disability couldn’t get the passport, they would need an alternative passport, he said, pointing to people for whom there could be medical exemptions from vaccination.

“We don’t want this to become a long-term thing that could be used against people when the health situation has changed so it should be very time-limited and circumstance-dependent,” he said.

In Manitoba, an immunization card alternative has proved so popular that the government ran out of plastic to print it on.

In Quebec and in B.C.’s planned card, printing the code onto paper is an option as the readers can read the QR codes just as well from paper as from a screen.




Source link

Ford Government Must Ensure the New Vaccine Passport System Does Not Create New Barriers for People with Disabilities – AODA Alliance


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

Web: www.aodaalliance.org

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @aodaalliance

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

Ford Government Must Ensure the New Vaccine Passport System Does Not Create New Barriers for People with Disabilities

September 3, 2021

        SUMMARY

The Ford Government’s plan to require vaccination passports starting September 22, 2021 to access certain places is an important step to get as many people as possible to get fully vaccinated. However, it is very important that this new vaccination passport requirement and system not create any new barriers for people with disabilities in Ontario. This can be achieved if the Ford Government shows strong leadership, and takes the steps outlined here as a swift and clear priority.

As it is, people with disabilities face far too many disability barriers when seeking goods, services facilities and jobs. It is good that the Government’s introductory announcement plans for an exemption for people who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons. The Ford Government’s September 1, 2021 news release included:

Individuals who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions will be permitted entry with a doctor’s note until recognized medical exemptions can be integrated as part of a digital vaccine certificate. Children who are 11 years of age and younger and unable to be vaccinated will also be exempted from these requirements.

This general statement, while helpful, does not protect people with disabilities from the creation of new barriers. Before this vaccination passport requirement goes into effect, the Ontario Government must immediately put in place several important measures to ensure that the Government creates no new disability barriers. While this requires further exploration, we know that the following is absolutely necessary:

  1. Any mobile app for vaccine passports must be designed and tested to ensure it is fully accessible to adaptive technology for smart phone users with disabilities, such as screen readers. The Federal Government did not do so for its COVID-19-related smart phone ArriveCan app for entering Canada.
  1. The Ontario Government must make available an easily-accessed alternative hard copy document to a smart phone app for vaccine passports. Too many people cannot afford smart phones, including many people with disabilities (who disproportionately live in poverty).
  1. It is not sufficient for the Government to impose the burden on those individuals with disabilities, who cannot take the vaccine for medical reasons, to get a letter from their physician. This is especially a hardship if it needs to be accomplished in under three weeks.

As it is, well before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, people with disabilities have faced far too many disability barriers in Ontario’s health care system. The initial report of the Government-appointed Health Care Standards Development Committee documents this in detail. The AODA Alliance’s August 3, 2021 brief to that Standards Development Committee amplifies its concerns. Disability barriers in the health care system got considerably worse during the pandemic. See generally, the AODA Alliance website’s health care page and COVID-19 page.

Some people with disabilities have no doctor to give them an exemption letter. For those who do have a doctor, getting to a doctor can involve disability barriers. The Government has not announced that it is going to pay doctors to provide those letters. We fear that doctors will be even harder to reach if flooded with requests for vaccine exemption letters.

As a result, the Ford Government should immediately provide a vaccine exemption passport for people with disabilities who are medically unable to get the vaccine. The process for obtaining these passports should be ensured to be free of disability barriers. The Ford Government’s related record is not good. To apply for a replacement for one’s expired health care card, one can use a Government website and avoid going to a Service Ontario office, but only if one has a driver’s license. This is an obvious barrier for people with disabilities who cannot qualify for a driver’s license, such as blind people.

  1. The Ontario Government’s problematic roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine over the past months included real problems facing some people with disabilities who wanted to get vaccinated. The Government did not include in its roll-out plans for the start a comprehensive plan to ensure that there was a barrier-free way for people with disabilities to get vaccinated.

While more vaccination opportunities now exist, the Government needs to now put in place a swift, pro-active, accessible and comprehensive strategy for people with disabilities needing and wanting the vaccine, to get swift, barrier-free and ready access to vaccination

  1. Public protections need to be put in place for any vulnerable people with disabilities for whom a substitute decision-maker is in place, to address situations where the substitute decision-maker has refused to let a person with a disability for whom they are responsible get vaccinated, in circumstances where there is no medical justification for that refusal.

People with disabilities have disproportionally suffered the worst hardships of the pandemic. It is essential that this understandable new passport requirement not make things worse for any people with disabilities.

As our AODA Alliance Updates have documented, time and again the Ford Government has failed to effectively accommodate the urgent needs of people with disabilities during the pandemic. Time and again, we and others from the disability community have come forward with constructive proposals to fix this.

Overall, the Ford Government has a poor track record, when it comes to achieving accessibility for people with disabilities by 2025, the deadline that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires. We commend CTV news for focusing on this vaccine passport disability this issue, and for including it in a news report on August 31, 2021, set out below.

        MORE DETAILS

CTV News August 31, 2021

Originally posted at: https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/how-will-vaccine-passport-system-work-in-ontario-for-people-without-cellphones-1.5568573

How will vaccine passport system work in Ontario for people without cellphones?

Jon Woodward

CTV News Toronto Video Journalist

@CTV_Jon

TORONTO — Advocates are cautioning a headlong rush into implementing a vaccine passport using only smartphone apps — warning it could leave the elderly, the poor or the homeless out in the cold.

Angie Peters of the Yonge St. Mission said designing a vaccine passport to work for disadvantaged people has to be as creative and motivated as the push to get those people vaccines was.

“They may have a cellphone but need to print it because technology is fleeting for them. They have a cellphone this month, but not next month,” she said.

And the solution of a printed out code may also not solve all the problems, Peters said.

“If they have a printer, they may not be able to afford the ink. There are people that we work with that lose their ID, they get rolled on the street regularly. If they’re keeping a printed card, it’s going to get lost and it’s going to have to get replaced, just like other ID on a regular basis,” she said.

It all could add up to a barrier that could result in properly vaccinated people denied entry for factors other than just vaccination, she said.

The Ontario government is expected to introduce some form of vaccine passport this week after calls from the medical community that checking vaccine status at the door could prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside any non-essential venues.

The business community has pushed for a vaccine passport, reasoning that it would lead to more business to be done if capacity limits could be raised safely.

But for those without cellphones, with older cellphones, or those who would have a more difficult time navigating the steps to prove that they are vaccinated, this could be a major headache, said David Lepofsky of the AODA Alliance.

If there’s any reason why someone with a disability couldn’t get the passport, they would need an alternative passport, he said, pointing to people for whom there could be medical exemptions from vaccination.

“We don’t want this to become a long-term thing that could be used against people when the health situation has changed so it should be very time-limited and circumstance-dependent,” he said.

In Manitoba, an immunization card alternative has proved so popular that the government ran out of plastic to print it on.

In Quebec and in B.C.’s planned card, printing the code onto paper is an option as the readers can read the QR codes just as well from paper as from a screen.



Source link

Under 3 Weeks Before the Federal Election, None of the Party Leaders Answered the AODA Alliance’s Letter Seeking 12 Commitments to Tear Down Barriers Facing 6 Million People with Disabilities in Canada, According to New Guest Column in Toronto Area Local Newspapers


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

Web: www.aodaalliance.org

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @aodaalliance

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

Under 3 Weeks Before the Federal Election, None of the Party Leaders Answered the AODA Alliance’s Letter Seeking 12 Commitments to Tear Down Barriers Facing 6 Million People with Disabilities in Canada, According to New Guest Column in Toronto Area Local Newspapers

September 1, 2021

        SUMMARY

Canada’s federal election campaign has entered its final three weeks. Yet absolutely none of the major federal party leaders have provided a substantive response to the August 3, 2021 letter to them from the AODA Alliance. In that letter, the AODA asked for 12 specific election pledges to tear down disability barriers facing six million people with disabilities in Canada.

A guest column in the Toronto Star’s Metroland local newspapers on this issue by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, set out below, explores this election’s disability accessibility issues. We emphasize that achieving accessibility for people with disabilities is but one of the major disability issues in this federal election. We support and encourage efforts from the disability community to secure commitments on all the major disability issues.

Among other things, the guest column, set out below, identifies serious concerns with the Federal Government giving up to 7.5 million dollars to a non-profit for its private accessibility certification training program. This is the one provided by the Rick Hansen Foundation.

We urge you to share this guest column with all candidates in this federal election. It is not too late for any and all of the federal party leaders to make the 12 election pledges we seek on achieving accessibility for people with disabilities.

We also urge you to send this guest column to your local media. Urge them to cover all this election’s disability issues, including the specific disability accessibility issue on which the AODA Alliance is focusing.

For more background, check out:

The August 27, 2021 AODA Alliance Update that sets out the commitments of the major federal parties so far on accessibility for people with disabilities, in their publicly-posted platform documents.

Metroland August 31, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.toronto.com/opinion-story/10463855-federal-party-platforms-mostly-offer-thin-gruel-for-millions-of-canadians-with-disabilities/

Opinion

Federal party platforms mostly offer ‘thin gruel’ for millions of Canadians with disabilities

‘Voters, demand strong accessibility commitments from all parties,’ writes David Lepofsky

CITY CENTRE MIRROR

If this federal election is like past ones, media coverage and pundit gabfests will leave out key issues vital to six million people with disabilities.

Over the past two years, things got worse for us. We disproportionately suffered COVID’s worst hardships. Yet all levels of government emergency planning often left out our urgent needs.

The federal government harmfully liberalized medical assistance in dying, making it easier to die because of your disability, with state assistance. Ontario let hospitals ready themselves to blatantly discriminate against some patients with disabilities in access to life-saving critical care if COVID overloads hospital emergency rooms. Cities let restaurants open outdoor patios without ensuring an accessible way to get around them. As a blind person, I’ve been forced to walk into dangerous oncoming road traffic.

Something is wrong with this picture. Our governments should make it easier to live with a disability, not make it easier or more likely to die because of a disability.

What will national parties pledge in this election to make Canada become accessible to people with disabilities by 2040, the deadline unanimously enshrined in the 2019 Accessible Canada Act (ACA)?

We asked the parties for detailed commitments, to ensure that the ACA’s implementation is swift, strong and effective, including: making needed accessibility standard regulations within four years, effectively enforcing the ACA, establishing a single unified process for cases, ensuring that nothing done under the ACA cuts back on disability rights, and ensuring that public money is never used to create disability barriers.

We await answers. As for their published platforms, the NDP makes some helpful commitments on point, though not enough. The others offer thin gruel.

In the 2019 election, the Liberals promised the ACA’s “timely and ambitious implementation.” It pledged to use a disability lens for all government decisions.

Since then, Trudeau’s actions weren’t timely or ambitious. There’s been no appreciable improvement in disability accessibility.

No national accessibility standards have been enacted to require specific actions to remove and prevent disability barriers. The federal government has not even hired the national accessibility commissioner or the chief accessibility officer, pivotal to lead the ACA’s implementation.

There was no disability lens when the federal government released the ArriveCan app for people entering Canada, replete with accessibility barriers for blind users. The federal government pours billions into infrastructure projects without requiring their disability accessibility. It enacted no comprehensive, mandatory up-to-date national standards under the ACA for the accessibility of such projects or of the built environment generally.

Instead, the Liberals doled out up to $7.5 million to a private accessibility certification program, run by a third-party non-profit that doesn’t work. Due diligence would show that the foundation’s training program for its inspectors is not sufficiently comprehensive. It green-lights some buildings that aren’t really accessible. Premier Ford similarly announced $1.3 million on the same private process two years ago, with no resulting increase in accessibility to show for it. It’s an easy way for governments to try to claim they’ve accomplished something on accessibility.

Voters, demand strong accessibility commitments from all parties.

David Lepofsky is chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance and visiting professor, Osgoode Hall Law School.



Source link

Under 3 Weeks Before the Federal Election, None of the Party Leaders Answered the AODA Alliance’s Letter Seeking 12 Commitments to Tear Down Barriers Facing 6 Million People with Disabilities in Canada, According to New Guest Column in Toronto Area Local Newspapers


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

September 1, 2021

SUMMARY

Canada’s federal election campaign has entered its final three weeks. Yet absolutely none of the major federal party leaders have provided a substantive response to the August 3, 2021 letter to them from the AODA Alliance. In that letter, the AODA asked for 12 specific election pledges to tear down disability barriers facing six million people with disabilities in Canada.

A guest column in the Toronto Star’s Metroland local newspapers on this issue by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, set out below, explores this election’s disability accessibility issues. We emphasize that achieving accessibility for people with disabilities is but one of the major disability issues in this federal election. We support and encourage efforts from the disability community to secure commitments on all the major disability issues.

Among other things, the guest column, set out below, identifies serious concerns with the Federal Government giving up to 7.5 million dollars to a non-profit for its private accessibility certification training program. This is the one provided by the Rick Hansen Foundation.

We urge you to share this guest column with all candidates in this federal election. It is not too late for any and all of the federal party leaders to make the 12 election pledges we seek on achieving accessibility for people with disabilities.

We also urge you to send this guest column to your local media. Urge them to cover all this election’s disability issues, including the specific disability accessibility issue on which the AODA Alliance is focusing.

For more background, check out:

* The AODA Alliance’s August 3, 2021 letter to the major federal party leaders, seeking election commitments on tearing down barriers impeding people with disabilities.
* The AODA Alliance’s August 24, 2021 news release, explaining why it was wrong for the Federal Government to give up to 7.5 million dollars to the Rick Hanssen Foundation for its problem-ridden private accessibility certification and training program.
* The AODA Alliance’s July 3, 2019 report and its August 15, 2019 supplemental report that each details serious problems with the Rick Hansen Foundation’s private accessibility certification and training program.

The August 27, 2021 AODA Alliance Update that sets out the commitments of the major federal parties so far on accessibility for people with disabilities, in their publicly-posted platform documents.

Metroland August 31, 2021
Originally posted at https://www.toronto.com/opinion-story/10463855-federal-party-platforms-mostly-offer-thin-gruel-for-millions-of-canadians-with-disabilities/ Opinion
Federal party platforms mostly offer ‘thin gruel’ for millions of Canadians with disabilities
‘Voters, demand strong accessibility commitments from all parties,’ writes David Lepofsky CITY CENTRE MIRROR

If this federal election is like past ones, media coverage and pundit gabfests will leave out key issues vital to six million people with disabilities.

Over the past two years, things got worse for us. We disproportionately suffered COVID’s worst hardships. Yet all levels of government emergency planning often left out our urgent needs.

The federal government harmfully liberalized medical assistance in dying, making it easier to die because of your disability, with state assistance. Ontario let hospitals ready themselves to blatantly discriminate against some patients with disabilities in access to life-saving critical care if COVID overloads hospital emergency rooms. Cities let restaurants open outdoor patios without ensuring an accessible way to get around them. As a blind person, I’ve been forced to walk into dangerous oncoming road traffic.

Something is wrong with this picture. Our governments should make it easier to live with a disability, not make it easier or more likely to die because of a disability.

What will national parties pledge in this election to make Canada become accessible to people with disabilities by 2040, the deadline unanimously enshrined in the 2019 Accessible Canada Act (ACA)?

We asked the parties for detailed commitments, to ensure that the ACA’s implementation is swift, strong and effective, including: making needed accessibility standard regulations within four years, effectively enforcing the ACA, establishing a single unified process for cases, ensuring that nothing done under the ACA cuts back on disability rights, and ensuring that public money is never used to create disability barriers.

We await answers. As for their published platforms, the NDP makes some helpful commitments on point, though not enough. The others offer thin gruel.

In the 2019 election, the Liberals promised the ACA’s “timely and ambitious implementation.” It pledged to use a disability lens for all government decisions.

Since then, Trudeau’s actions weren’t timely or ambitious. There’s been no appreciable improvement in disability accessibility.

No national accessibility standards have been enacted to require specific actions to remove and prevent disability barriers. The federal government has not even hired the national accessibility commissioner or the chief accessibility officer, pivotal to lead the ACA’s implementation.

There was no disability lens when the federal government released the ArriveCan app for people entering Canada, replete with accessibility barriers for blind users. The federal government pours billions into infrastructure projects without requiring their disability accessibility. It enacted no comprehensive, mandatory up-to-date national standards under the ACA for the accessibility of such projects or of the built environment generally.

Instead, the Liberals doled out up to $7.5 million to a private accessibility certification program, run by a third-party non-profit that doesn’t work. Due diligence would show that the foundation’s training program for its inspectors is not sufficiently comprehensive. It green-lights some buildings that aren’t really accessible. Premier Ford similarly announced $1.3 million on the same private process two years ago, with no resulting increase in accessibility to show for it. It’s an easy way for governments to try to claim they’ve accomplished something on accessibility.

Voters, demand strong accessibility commitments from all parties.
David Lepofsky is chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance and visiting professor, Osgoode Hall Law School.




Source link

Adults With Disabilities Face Barriers Accessing Food, Leading to Food Insecurity: U of T Study


During an ice storm, Cynthia, a woman in her 50s who lives in downtown Toronto and uses a walker, didn’t know where she would get her next meal. If she couldn’t afford food delivery, her plan was to drink a glass of water and wait to eat the following day.

This is just one of the troubling personal stories that Naomi Schwartz heard while researching food accessibility for people with disabilities living in Canada’s largest city.

Schwartz, a PhD graduate of the University of Toronto Mississauga’s geography program, along with professors Ron Buliung and Kathi Wilson from U of T Mississauga’s department of geography, geomatics and environment, co-authored the study recently published in the journal Disability & Society.

The researchers found that people with disabilities were at considerably greater risk of food insecurity than others – an outcome partially explained by often interconnected physical and economic barriers.

Schwartz interviewed 23 adults with disabilities who use mobility aids or experience physical barriers to their mobility between 2017 and 2018. To get a better understanding of their everyday routines, she accompanied study participants on a “typical food access journey,” usually to the grocery store.

She was surprised by how many small barriers arose throughout the trip – such as garbage cans blocking pathways, inadequate curb cuts and narrow aisles within stores.

“As a non-disabled researcher, it was so important for me to understand the small-level barriers that we don’t necessarily think of,” Schwartz says.

Buliung adds that the study also provides unique insight into the barriers within people’s homes.

“We really wanted to dig into what’s happening in the home,” says Buliung. “When we think about food access we often think about accessibility in the city. We’re often looking outward at destinations but it seemed a bit rare to look at what’s happening at the home site.”

Within the home, some participants on a limited income or living in subsidized housing lived in spaces that were too small to allow them to move comfortably with their mobility device. Many had inaccessible kitchens, and those in apartments or condos faced potential mechanical breakdowns of important services such as elevators and exterior points of entry.

Among those who used Wheel-Trans – Toronto’s paratransit service which provides door-to-door service at the cost of standard TTC transit fares – people with disabilities sometimes waited for the bus for half-an-hour in freezing weather. Some also said the Wheel-Trans monthly pass, which then cost $146.25, ate up a big part of their income.

Schwartz says she was able to access one food bank with a participant during mobile interviews, but that another participant had indicated some food banks were inaccessible.

“There’s a lot of food banks that might not have a lot of funding themselves, so they’re not running necessarily accessible operations,” Schwartz says.

There are potential solutions to the issues outlined in the study, Schwartz says. More financial support could be given through the Assistive Devices Program for people with long-term disabilities. There could also be greater enforcement and improvement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), legislation that aims to make the province fully accessible by 2025. There could also be a greater emphasis on designing the built environment, including inside and around a person’s residence, with people with disabilities in mind.

“Disability needs to be considered further up in the design process, as part of how things are designed from the beginning,” Schwartz says. “We need accessible spaces, and [to] not consider disability as an afterthought.”

Buliung says that, while AODA is supposed to help produce greater accessibility in new builds, processes and access to resources to support retrofit are messy and unclear.

“There is a long way to go before the ‘accessible’ Ontario vision becomes a reality,” he says. “What I really see happening by 2025 is a sort of accessible Ontario, in some places, for some people, some of the time. The presence of AODA does not mean that someone is going to come into your residence and make it suddenly work for you – many of the barriers identified in Dr. Schwartz’s work are not simply going to magically disappear in the coming years.”

Schwartz adds that offering a basic income supplement or increasing payments through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) could also be part of the solution.

“Higher income levels would support so many things in terms of adequate food, but also housing. Or when there’s an emergency, to be able to afford an alternative, like a taxi,” she says. “Flexible income is needed, and right now the levels of income and things like the ODSP are just not adequate to allow that leeway at all. The basic income supplement is hugely important as well. It would just allow so much more flexibility in people’s incomes.”

Ultimately, she hopes that their study can make an impact on people’s lives.

“I hope it can be used to advocate for increases to disability incomes and act as evidence as a need for a basic income program,” she says, adding that she hopes the team’s research can also be used by the food industry to improve accessibility within their services.

Buliung, whose daughter Asha was born with spinal muscular atrophy type 2 and uses a wheelchair, says the issue is deeply personal to him.

“I want a future for my daughter where she doesn’t have to struggle with the issues that we have described in this paper,” he says. “I don’t want her to have to experience food insecurity.”

The researchers have also co-authored two other studies that focus on food insecurity across Canada, including “Disability and food access and insecurity: A scoping review of the literature and Mobility impairments and geographic variation in vulnerability to household food insecurity,”

published in Health & Place in 2019.
.

Original at https://www.utoronto.ca/news/adults-disabilities-face-barriers-accessing-food-leading-food-insecurity-u-t-study




Source link

Ford Government Belatedly Extended to September 13, 2021 the Deadline for Sending Feedback on Recommendations to Remove Disability Barriers from Ontario’s Health Care System


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

Web: www.aodaalliance.org

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @aodaalliance

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

Ford Government Belatedly Extended to September 13, 2021 the Deadline for Sending Feedback on Recommendations to Remove Disability Barriers from Ontario’s Health Care System

August 18, 2021

        SUMMARY

1. Summary of All Deadlines for Sending Feedback to the Ford Government on What is Needed in New Education and Health Care Accessibility Standards

Last week, after the Ford Government’s deadline had already expired for submitting feedback on the barriers that people with disabilities face in the health care system, the Government extended that deadline. The Government never told us about that extension. After we heard a rumour about it, we asked the Government if there was an extension. The Government then put us on a list of people being notified about this extension. We do not know who else has been alerted to it.

You may understandably be very confused about when you can give the Ford Government this feedback, as well as your input on two other proposals that are out for public feedback, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. We here try to clarify things for you.

The bottom line is this: The Ford Government now has the initial reports of three different AODA Standards Development Committees publicly posted for your feedback and input. The Government has now extended two of the three deadlines it earlier announced for giving your feedback.

The AODA Alliance is taking part in all three consultations. We urge you to do so as well. We have submitted our detailed August 3, 2021 brief to the Health Care Standards Development Committee on its initial report. Please email that Committee to endorse the AODA Alliance brief. We know that the March of dimes of Canada and the Ontario Autism Coalition have already done so. Send them your endorsement of our brief by writing [email protected]

The deadlines for sending the Government your feedback are now as follows:

  1. You have up to September 13, 2021 to give feedback on the initial report of the Health Care Standards Development Committee. It recommends what should be included in the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard to tear down the disability barriers facing people with disabilities in Ontario’s health care system.
  1. You have up to September 29, 2021 to give the Government feedback on the initial report of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. It recommends what should be included in the Education Accessibility Standard to tear down the disability barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario’s colleges and universities.
  1. You have up to September 30, 2021 to give feedback on the initial report of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee. It recommends what should be included in the promised Education Accessibility Standard to tear down the disability barriers facing students with disabilities in Ontario’s education system.

Where do you send your feedback? Here are the email addresses to use:

 2. What Comes Next

What happens after all this feedback is gathered? After these feedback periods expire, three Government-appointed Standards Development Committees are to go back to work. They are supposed to review all the public feedback they received, and make any changes to their recommendations to the Government. They then submit their finalized report to the Ford Government on what they think the Government should include in the AODA accessibility standard on which they are working.

Section 10(2) of the AODA requires the Government to publicly post each final report from a Standards Development Committee upon receiving it. After the Government receives a Standards Development Committees final report, it can enact the accessibility standard that the Committee recommended as is, or with any changes it wishes. The Government can also do nothing at all.

At the very lethargic and sluggish rate that the Ford Government has been acting on implementing the AODA, it is extremely unlikely that it will enact a Health Care Accessibility Standard or Education Accessibility Standard before next June’s provincial election. It has enacted no accessibility standards and made no revisions to any accessibility standards since it took office over three years ago.

Making this worse, the Ford Government has not made any changes to strengthen the 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard, even though the Government received a final report from the Transportation Accessibility Standard in the spring of 2018. It has not made any revisions to strengthen the Employment Accessibility Standard, even though it received the final report of the Employment Standards Development Committee over two years ago. It has not enacted any revisions to strengthen the Information and Communication Accessibility Standard, even though it received the Information and Communication Standards Development Committees final report almost one and a half years ago.

The AODA Alliance campaigned for over half a decade to get the Ontario Government to agree to develop and enact accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in health care and education. The door is open for your input. These opportunities don’t often come along.

In next June’s provincial election, we plan to ask the major parties to commit to action to make Ontario’s education system and health care system fully accessible to people with disabilities. The current public consultations can help with that effort.

 3. Helpful Resources

a) On Disability Barriers in the K-12 Ontario School system

  1. The entire 185-page K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and initial recommendations on what the promised Education Accessibility Standard should include to make education in Ontario schools barrier-free for all students with disabilities.
  1. The AODA Alliance’s 55-page condensed and annotated version of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and recommendations.
  1. The AODA Alliance’s 15-page summary of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and recommendations.
  1. The AODA Alliance‘s action kit on how to give public feedback on the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and recommendations.
  1. A captioned video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky explaining what is in the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report.
  1. A captioned video of tips for parents of students with disabilities on how to advocate at school for their child’s needs.
  1. For general background, the AODA Alliance website Education page.

b) On Disability Barriers in Ontario Colleges and Universities

  1. The initial report of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee is available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PSE-SDC-Initial-Recommendations-Report_June-25-2021.docx
  1. The draft framework for the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that the AODA Alliance sent to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee in March, 2020.
  1. You can learn more about our years of advocacy to make all parts of Ontario’s education system accessible for students with disabilities by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s education page.

c) On Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Health Care System

  1. The initial report of the Health Care Standards Development Committee is available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Health-Care-SDC-Initial-Report-As-Submitted.doc
  1. The AODA Alliance’s August 3, 2021 brief to the Health Care Standards Development Committee giving feedback on its initial report is available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/August-3-2021-finalized-AODA-Alliance-Brief-to-Health-Care-Standards-Development-Committee.docx
  1. The AODA Alliance’s February 25, 2020 Framework that it submitted to the Health Care Standards Development Committee on what the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard should include.
  1. A comprehensive captioned video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on the barriers facing people with disabilities in the health care system.
  1. A detailed captioned video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on the dangers of disability discrimination in Ontario’s controversial critical care triage protocol during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  1. Background on the AODA Alliance’s campaign for barrier-free health care services for people with disabilities is available on the AODA Alliance website’s health care page.

 4. The Ford Government’s Confused and Confusing Handling of the current Public Consultations on AODA Accessibility Standards

So far, the Ford Government has shown poor leadership in how it has handled the current public consultations. For example:

  • It withheld publicly posting these three initial reports for a long time, even though the AODA s. 10(1) requires the Government to post each upon receiving the report. It delayed publicly posting the health Care Standards Development Committee initial report for over 5 months after receiving it. It delayed publicly posting the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report for 3.5 months after receiving it. It delayed publicly posting the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report for 2.5 months after receiving it. In the case of the Health Care Standards Development Committee, that Committee voted to approve its initial report back in September 2020, almost a full year ago.
  • The Government’s delay in publicly posting the Health Care Standards Development Committee’s typifies how this governmental lethargy hurts people with disabilities. That initial report includes recommendations for action needed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, it raises concerns about the Government’s critical care triage protocol that endangers some patients with disabilities in Ontario hospitals. The Government kept that report secret from the public over critical months when the danger to people with disabilities was especially high. During that same time, the Minister of Health refused to answer any of the AODA Alliance’s detailed letters raising serious human rights concerns about the Government’s critical care triage protocol and plans.
  • The Government did not announce the extension of the original August 11, 2021 deadline for submitting public feedback on the ‘Health Care Standards Development Committees initial report until August 13, 2021, after that feedback period had already expired. Organizations like the AODA Alliance therefore unnecessarily were forced to rush in the midst of the summer vacation period to submit their feedback before the August 11, 2021 period.
  • Rather than properly informing the entire public, the Ford Government appears to have only let some people know about the extension of the deadline for feedback on the Health Care Standards Development Committees initial report. As noted above, when we heard a rumour about this late last week, we wrote the Government to ask about it. It was only after that that the Government sent out an email to us announcing its extension.
  • The Government initially scheduled the public feedback period on the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report to end on September 2, 2021, before the school year begins. This created hardships for giving feedback in connection with the school system. The Government only belatedly agreed to lengthen that feedback period.

 5. Will the Ford Government’s Delays on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Ever End?

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

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

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

In the 931 days since receiving the Onley Report, the Ford Government has not made public a comprehensive plan to implement that report’s findings and recommendations. The Government has staged some media events with the Accessibility Minister to make announcements, but little if anything new was ever announced.

        MORE DETAILS

August 13, 2021 Broadcast Email from the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario

Dear all,

We are pleased to share that the public feedback period for the Health Care SDC Initial Recommendations has been extended for an additional month, to September 13, 2021. The additional time is intended to recognize that organizations across the health sector and the disability community may require more time to review and respond given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As a reminder, the Initial Recommendations Report of the Health Care Standards Development Committee is available online here for public comment:

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

 

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

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

Written submissions can also be sent by email to [email protected]. Members of the public or interested organizations can also reach out to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division by email at [email protected] for any questions.

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

Sincerely,

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division

Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility



Source link

Ford Government Belatedly Extended to September 13, 2021 the Deadline for Sending Feedback on Recommendations to Remove Disability Barriers from Ontario’s Health Care System


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

August 18, 2021

SUMMARY

1. Summary of All Deadlines for Sending Feedback to the Ford Government on What is Needed in New Education and Health Care Accessibility Standards

Last week, after the Ford Government’s deadline had already expired for submitting feedback on the barriers that people with disabilities face in the health care system, the Government extended that deadline. The Government never told us about that extension. After we heard a rumour about it, we asked the Government if there was an extension. The Government then put us on a list of people being notified about this extension. We do not know who else has been alerted to it.

You may understandably be very confused about when you can give the Ford Government this feedback, as well as your input on two other proposals that are out for public feedback, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. We here try to clarify things for you.

The bottom line is this: The Ford Government now has the initial reports of three different AODA Standards Development Committees publicly posted for your feedback and input. The Government has now extended two of the three deadlines it earlier announced for giving your feedback.

The AODA Alliance is taking part in all three consultations. We urge you to do so as well. We have submitted our detailed August 3, 2021 brief to the Health Care Standards Development Committee on its initial report. Please email that Committee to endorse the AODA Alliance brief. We know that the March of dimes of Canada and the Ontario Autism Coalition have already done so. Send them your endorsement of our brief by writing [email protected]

The deadlines for sending the Government your feedback are now as follows:

1. You have up to September 13, 2021 to give feedback on the initial report of the Health Care Standards Development Committee. It recommends what should be included in the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard to tear down the disability barriers facing people with disabilities in Ontario’s health care system.

2. You have up to September 29, 2021 to give the Government feedback on the initial report of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. It recommends what should be included in the Education Accessibility Standard to tear down the disability barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario’s colleges and universities.

3. You have up to September 30, 2021 to give feedback on the initial report of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee. It recommends what should be included in the promised Education Accessibility Standard to tear down the disability barriers facing students with disabilities in Ontario’s education system.

Where do you send your feedback? Here are the email addresses to use:

* Send your feedback on disability barriers in the health care system to [email protected]
* Send your feedback on disability barriers in the K-12 school system to: [email protected]
* Send your feedback on disability barriers in Ontario’s colleges and universities to: [email protected]

2. What Comes Next

What happens after all this feedback is gathered? After these feedback periods expire, three Government-appointed Standards Development Committees are to go back to work. They are supposed to review all the public feedback they received, and make any changes to their recommendations to the Government. They then submit their finalized report to the Ford Government on what they think the Government should include in the AODA accessibility standard on which they are working.

Section 10(2) of the AODA requires the Government to publicly post each final report from a Standards Development Committee upon receiving it. After the Government receives a Standards Development Committees final report, it can enact the accessibility standard that the Committee recommended as is, or with any changes it wishes. The Government can also do nothing at all.

At the very lethargic and sluggish rate that the Ford Government has been acting on implementing the AODA, it is extremely unlikely that it will enact a Health Care Accessibility Standard or Education Accessibility Standard before next June’s provincial election. It has enacted no accessibility standards and made no revisions to any accessibility standards since it took office over three years ago.

Making this worse, the Ford Government has not made any changes to strengthen the 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard, even though the Government received a final report from the Transportation Accessibility Standard in the spring of 2018. It has not made any revisions to strengthen the Employment Accessibility Standard, even though it received the final report of the Employment Standards Development Committee over two years ago. It has not enacted any revisions to strengthen the Information and Communication Accessibility Standard, even though it received the Information and Communication Standards Development Committees final report almost one and a half years ago.

The AODA Alliance campaigned for over half a decade to get the Ontario Government to agree to develop and enact accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in health care and education. The door is open for your input. These opportunities don’t often come along.

In next June’s provincial election, we plan to ask the major parties to commit to action to make Ontario’s education system and health care system fully accessible to people with disabilities. The current public consultations can help with that effort.

3. Helpful Resources

a) On Disability Barriers in the K-12 Ontario School system

1. The entire 185-page K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and initial recommendations on what the promised Education Accessibility Standard should include to make education in Ontario schools barrier-free for all students with disabilities.

2. The AODA Alliance’s 55-page condensed and annotated version of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and recommendations.

3. The AODA Alliance’s 15-page summary of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and recommendations.

4. The AODA Alliance’s action kit on how to give public feedback on the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and recommendations.

5. A captioned video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky explaining what is in the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report.

6. A captioned video of tips for parents of students with disabilities on how to advocate at school for their child’s needs.

7. For general background, the AODA Alliance website Education page.

b) On Disability Barriers in Ontario Colleges and Universities

1. The initial report of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee is available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PSE-SDC-Initial-Recommendations-Report_June-25-2021.docx

2. The draft framework for the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that the AODA Alliance sent to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee in March, 2020.

3. You can learn more about our years of advocacy to make all parts of Ontario’s education system accessible for students with disabilities by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s education page.

c) On Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Health Care System

1. The initial report of the Health Care Standards Development Committee is available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Health-Care-SDC-Initial-Report-As-Submitted.doc

2. The AODA Alliance’s August 3, 2021 brief to the Health Care Standards Development Committee giving feedback on its initial report is available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/August-3-2021-finalized-AODA-Alliance-Brief-to-Health-Care-Standards-Development-Committee.docx

3. The AODA Alliance’s February 25, 2020 Framework that it submitted to the Health Care Standards Development Committee on what the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard should include.

4. A comprehensive captioned video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on the barriers facing people with disabilities in the health care system.

5. A detailed captioned video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on the dangers of disability discrimination in Ontario’s controversial critical care triage protocol during the COVID-19 pandemic.

6. Background on the AODA Alliance’s campaign for barrier-free health care services for people with disabilities is available on the AODA Alliance website’s health care page.

4. The Ford Government’s Confused and Confusing Handling of the current Public Consultations on AODA Accessibility Standards

So far, the Ford Government has shown poor leadership in how it has handled the current public consultations. For example:

* It withheld publicly posting these three initial reports for a long time, even though the AODA s. 10(1) requires the Government to post each upon receiving the report. It delayed publicly posting the health Care Standards Development Committee initial report for over 5 months after receiving it. It delayed publicly posting the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report for 3.5 months after receiving it. It delayed publicly posting the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report for 2.5 months after receiving it. In the case of the Health Care Standards Development Committee, that Committee voted to approve its initial report back in September 2020, almost a full year ago.
* The Government’s delay in publicly posting the Health Care Standards Development Committee’s typifies how this governmental lethargy hurts people with disabilities. That initial report includes recommendations for action needed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, it raises concerns about the Government’s critical care triage protocol that endangers some patients with disabilities in Ontario hospitals. The Government kept that report secret from the public over critical months when the danger to people with disabilities was especially high. During that same time, the Minister of Health refused to answer any of the AODA Alliance’s detailed letters raising serious human rights concerns about the Government’s critical care triage protocol and plans.
* The Government did not announce the extension of the original August 11, 2021 deadline for submitting public feedback on the ‘Health Care Standards Development Committees initial report until August 13, 2021, after that feedback period had already expired. Organizations like the AODA Alliance therefore unnecessarily were forced to rush in the midst of the summer vacation period to submit their feedback before the August 11, 2021 period.
* Rather than properly informing the entire public, the Ford Government appears to have only let some people know about the extension of the deadline for feedback on the Health Care Standards Development Committees initial report. As noted above, when we heard a rumour about this late last week, we wrote the Government to ask about it. It was only after that that the Government sent out an email to us announcing its extension.
* The Government initially scheduled the public feedback period on the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report to end on September 2, 2021, before the school year begins. This created hardships for giving feedback in connection with the school system. The Government only belatedly agreed to lengthen that feedback period.

5. Will the Ford Government’s Delays on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Ever End?

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

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

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

In the 931 days since receiving the Onley Report, the Ford Government has not made public a comprehensive plan to implement that report’s findings and recommendations. The Government has staged some media events with the Accessibility Minister to make announcements, but little if anything new was ever announced.

MORE DETAILS

August 13, 2021 Broadcast Email from the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario

Dear all,

We are pleased to share that the public feedback period for the Health Care SDC Initial Recommendations has been extended for an additional month, to September 13, 2021. The additional time is intended to recognize that organizations across the health sector and the disability community may require more time to review and respond given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As a reminder, the Initial Recommendations Report of the Health Care Standards Development Committee is available online here for public comment:
https://www.ontario.ca/page/consultation-initial-recommendations-development-health-care-accessibility-standards

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

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

Written submissions can also be sent by email to [email protected] Members of the public or interested organizations can also reach out to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division by email at [email protected] for any questions.

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

Sincerely,

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division
Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility




Source link

CBC Reports on Troubling Disability Barrier at Canada’s Wonderland – and – Ford Government Extends Deadline to September 30, 2021 to Send in Public Feedback on Disability Barriers in Ontario’s School system


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

Web: www.aodaalliance.org

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @aodaalliance

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

CBC Reports on Troubling Disability Barrier at Canada’s Wonderland – and – Ford Government Extends Deadline to September 30, 2021 to Send in Public Feedback on Disability Barriers in Ontario’s School system

August 6, 2021

SUMMARY

1. More Proof that the Ontario Government’s Implementation and Enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is Ineffectual

The AODA was passed in 2005 so that disability barriers in Ontario would be removed and prevented, without people with disabilities having to battle those barriers one at a time. Here is another inexcusable illustration of how still we must continue to battle those barriers, one at a time, even more than 16 years after the AODA was enacted.

CBC Radio Toronto reported yesterday on a recent incident where Canada’s Wonderland, a well-established amusement park north of Toronto, refused to allow a person with a disability to go on any rides whatsoever. We set out below the online report on CBC’s website. If Ontario had a strong, effective Customer Service Accessibility Standard under the AODA, and if the Ford Government enforced it effectively, such incidents would not continue to occur.

Even 918 days after the Ford Government received a strong call to beef up the AODA’s implementation and enforcement by the Independent Review Report prepared by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley, The Government still has no comprehensive plan to ensure that Ontario becomes accessible to people with disabilities by 2025, under 3.5 years from now.

2. The Ford Government Has Extended to September 30, 2021 the Deadline for Submitting Public Feedback on the Initial Report of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee

The Ford Government has given you more time to send in your feedback on the disability barriers that impede students with disabilities in Ontario schools. You now have up to September 30, rather than September 2, 2021, to send in your feedback.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We encourage one and all to let that Standards Development Committee know what you think.

The Government’s original September 2, 2021 deadline was exceedingly unrealistic, since schools are closed for the summer. However, the Government earlier unfairly delayed the entire feedback process, because it withheld the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report for 2.5 months before publicly posting it. We are eager for all Standards Development Committees to have their final reports submitted to the Government by the end of this year, if possible, and to have them made public upon the Government receiving them, not months later.

We especially call on each school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee to take this extended opportunity to have their say by sending their feedback to The Government, and by urging their school board to now start implementing the recommendations that the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee prepared.

The AODA Alliance website has helpful resources to make it easier to give your feedback:

  1. A 50 minute captioned video that explains what the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report recommends.
  1. The entire 185-page K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and initial recommendations on what the promised Education Accessibility Standard should include to make education in Ontario schools barrier-free for all students with disabilities.
  1. The AODA Alliance’s 55-page condensed and annotated version of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and recommendations.
  1. The AODA Alliance’s 15-page summary of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and recommendations.
  1. The AODA Alliance‘s action kit on how to give public feedback on the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report and recommendations.
  1. A captioned video of tips for parents of students with disabilities on how to advocate at school for their child’s needs.
  1. For general background, the AODA Alliance website Education page.

^MORE DETAILS

CBC News Online August 5, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/paraplegic-man-denied-access-to-rides-1.6129624

Man with disability feels ‘belittled’ after Canada’s Wonderland denies him access to all its rides |

By Jessica Cheung, CBC News

Ahmad El Nasser was looking forward to a visit to Canada’s Wonderland with his niece, but when they got there, he found out he wouldn’t be able to go on any of the rides due to his disability.

“When I was denied access. I kind of felt belittled. I felt a little bit humiliated,” El Nasser, who is paralyzed from the waist down due to a spinal cord injury, told CBC News.

“Being able to ride on these rides is not the big deal; the big deal is seeing my niece upset.”

When El Nasser arrived at the park on July 19 he was given a “boarding pass,” which allows guests with mobility restrictions or cognitive impairment to get on attractions at specified times via the alternate access entrance without having to be in lineups.

Then, El Nasser said he was asked a series of questions, such as “Can you transfer?” That means moving from a wheelchair to other locations — something he is able to do.

Ahmad El Nasser is paralyzed from the waist down after a motorcycle accident 10 years ago. He uses a wheelchair but says he is still very active and outgoing.

“I have full, complete upper body control … I can transfer. I can get on beds. I can get in my car. I can get in rides, no problem,” he said.

“I answered all of them as best I could.”

But the rider access form El Nasser received said he would not be allowed to go on any rides in the park and when he asked why, staff said it was due to manufacturers’ liability.

“I couldn’t even get on little kiddy rides,” he said.

“So it pretty much had nothing to do with my physical capabilities, whether I can transfer, whether I can do this or that. It was, ‘Hey, we don’t want to get sued, so you can’t go on.’”

In a statement, Canada’s Wonderland said it is committed to giving all guests with disabilities the same opportunity to enjoy and benefit from their services and attractions in a similar way as other guests.

“The ride admission policy at Canada’s Wonderland is developed in consultation with industry experts and based on the safety recommendations of the ride manufacturers,” the amusement park’s management said in a statement.

“The safety of our guests and associates is our first priority and we reserve the right to make the final decision regarding the eligibility of a rider to endure the dynamics of a ride without risk of injury to themselves or other riders.”

The company said it is equally committed to providing accommodations to people with disabilities.

El Nasser, whose injury is the result of a motorcycle accident about a decade ago, was refunded the money for his park pass. He said the experience felt discriminatory.

“Nobody really took the time on their end to understand each [of our] individual needs … I felt it was easier for them to just put us all in one bag and say, ‘This is the no section.’”

Laverne Jacobs, a faculty of law professor at the University of Windsor, said when El Nasser paid his admission fee for the park, he entered into a contract that gives him the right to be accommodated to the point of undue hardship under Ontario’s Accessibility Standards for Customer Service.

“What that means is that the park not only should be asking questions about what he can do, but should be trying to use that information in order to accommodate him to make sure that they can help to support and enable him to participate in the activities,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs says safety is a factor in this incident but believes the park created a blanket exclusion to “contract out their obligation to accommodate people with disabilities.”

“It seems that [the park] wanted to enter into a contract that says we don’t want to take on any risk of an accident whatsoever … the very problematic piece of this, though, is that in order to avoid all risk, they’ve essentially categorically excluded individuals with particular disabilities.”

David Lepofsky, the chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, says service providers like Canada’s Wonderland have a duty to accommodate customers with disabilities.

“If the individual can make an informed decision for themselves that they want to assume that risk, then it’s not for Canada’s Wonderland to unilaterally make that decision for them,” he said.

Canada’s Wonderland does have a guest assistance guide, but Lepofsky says individuals with disabilities need to be dealt with case-by-case.

“Canada’s Wonderland has a duty to investigate solutions,” he said.

“Including investigating it with the individual and find out if other amusement parks have allowed something similar before they could just slam the door on this individual.”

A petition launched by El Nasser’s sister is calling for an end to the exclusion of paraplegics and quadriplegics from rides at the park. It has since garnered hundreds of signatures. El Nasser said he hopes shedding light on this will spark some action.

“What I would like to see changed is for people with disabilities to have that confidence to know that [the park is] doing more and they’re treating us with respect individually, that they want to let us ride.”



Source link

Please Send Us Your Feedback on the AODA Alliance’s Draft Brief to the Health Care Standards Development Committee on the Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Health Care System


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

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

Please Send Us Your Feedback on the AODA Alliance’s Draft Brief to the Health Care Standards Development Committee on the Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Health Care System

July 23, 2021

            SUMMARY

Did we get it right? Let us know!

We’ve been busy as can be, writing a brief that we plan to submit by August 11, 2021 to the Health Care Standards Development Committee. The Ontario Government appointed that Committee back in 2017 to come up with recommendations on what the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard should include. The Health Care Accessibility Standard is a law that is to be enacted under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act to tear down the barriers that obstruct people with disabilities in Ontario’s health care system.

We’ve come up with a draft brief. We want your feedback on it to help us finalize it.

Back on May 7, 2021, the Ford Government made public the initial report of the Health Care Standards Development Committee. That initial report makes a series of recommendations on what the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard should include. The Government is inviting public feedback on that initial report up to August 11, 2021. The Health Care Standards Development Committee will be given all that public feedback. It can use that feedback to finalize its recommendations to the Government. We want our brief to give as much help as possible to the Health Care Standards Development Committee.

Below we set out a summary of what our draft brief to the Health Care Standards Development Committee recommends. We applaud and agree with most of what the Health Care Standards Development Committee wrote. However, we make a number of recommendations on how it can improve its report.

Our draft brief builds upon all the feedback we have received over the years about disability barriers in the health care system. You can download our draft brief by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/July-23-2021-Draft-AODA-Alliance-brief-on-health-Care-Standards-Development-Committee-initial-report.docx

Please send us your suggestions on our draft brief by August 1, 2021. We will then have to rush to turn our draft brief into a finished product.

Here are resources that you might find helpful:

  1. The Health Care Standards Development Committee’s initial report, recommending what the promise Health Care Accessibility Standard should include.
  1. A captioned talk by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky two years ago about disability barriers in the health care system.
  1. A captioned talk earlier this year by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky about the disability discrimination in Ontario’s critical care triage protocol that is now embedded in Ontario hospitals.
  1. The AODA Alliance website’s health care page, which documents our advocacy efforts over the past decade to make health care services accessible to people with disabilities.

A long 904 days ago, the Ford Government received the blistering final report of the Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. It called for urgent action to speed up and strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. Since then, the Ford Government has announced no comprehensive plan of action to implement that report.

            MORE DETAILS

Summary of the July 23, 2021 Draft AODA Alliance Brief to the Health Care Standards Development Committee

  1. a) The Health Care Standards Development Committee should recommend more concrete actions to ensure that disability barriers are removed and prevented, rather than instead giving primary emphasis to individually accommodating patients with disabilities and having hospitals plan for accessibility.
  1. b) The Health Care Standards Development Committee should more forcefully address all barriers in the hospital sector and the broader health care system.
  1. c) The Health Care Accessibility Standard should ensure that all disability barriers are removed and prevented in hospitals, not just those the Accessibility Minister asked the Standards Development Committee to focus on.
  1. d) The Health Care Accessibility Standard should not assume that smaller hospitals always need more time to comply.
  1. e) The initial report incorrectly understates the role of the Health Care Standards Development Committee.
  1. f) The proposed long-term objective of the Health Care Accessibility Standard should be strengthened.
  1. g) The initial report’s vision of a barrier-free health care system should be strengthened.
  1. h) Additional recommendations are needed to ensure accountability for accessibility within a hospital or other health care provider’s organization.
  1. i) Specific requirements for accessibility of health care facilities’ built environment are needed.
  1. j) Specific actions should be recommended to ensure that diagnostic and treatment equipment are accessible.
  1. k) Specific actions are needed to ensure the accessibility of health records.
  1. l) The initial report’s recommendations on training of health care providers should be strengthened.
  1. m) Detailed recommendations are needed to protect the right of patients with disabilities and of any patients’ support people with disabilities to physically get to health care services.
  1. n) Action is needed to guarantee the right of patients with disabilities to the privacy of their health care information.
  1. o) Additional recommendations are needed to help ensure the rights of patients with disabilities and of patients’ support people with disabilities to accessible information and communication in connection with health care.
  1. p) The initial report’s recommendations should be strengthened to effectively protect the right of patients with disabilities to the support services they need to access health care services.
  1. q) Additional measures should be recommended to ensure right of patients with disabilities to identify their disability-related accessibility needs in advance and to request accessibility/accommodation from a health care provider or facility.
  1. r) Patients with disabilities and support people with disabilities should be assured 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. s) Systemic accessibility safeguards should be built into the health care system from top to bottom.
  1. t) The experience and expertise of people with disabilities working in the health care system should be harnessed to expedite the removal and prevention of barriers facing patients, and those facing their support people with disabilities.
  1. u) The Health Care Standards Development Committee should endorse the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report’s health care recommendations.
  1. v) Further steps should be recommended to supplement the initial report’s recommendations arising from the covid-19 pandemic.
  1. w) The initial report’s recommendations on strengthening AODA enforcement are heartily applauded.t



Source link