After Winning the Battle in Toronto Last Spring, AODA Alliance and Other Disability Advocates Now Call on London City Council Not to Endanger People with Disabilities, Seniors and Others by Allowing Electric Scooters


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 30, 2021

SUMMARY

Will it ever end? Now It’s London Ontario that is considering the possibility of legalizing electric scooters (e-scooters). Due to the Ford Government, we must fight this battle in one city after the next. It was the Ford Government that gave municipalities the power to allow e-scooters. Premier Ford ignored all disability concerns and acted instead at the behest of the e-scooter corporate lobbyists.

With this issue now rearing its ugly head in London Ontario, the AODA Alliance and other disability advocates are now hitting the ground running, in an effort to avert this danger to people with disabilities, seniors, children and others who live in or visit London. On Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at noon, this issue is an agenda item on the City of London’s Civic Works Committee. The AODA Alliance is one of the disability organizations that have sent in written submissions to that Committee, asking London to say no to e-scooters. The AODA Alliance’s August 27, 2021 brief to the London Civic Works Committee is set out below.

We understand that London’s Accessibility Advisory Committee has commendably recommended that London say no to e-scooters. Earlier this year, the AODA Alliance and several other disability organizations and advocates convinced the Toronto City Council to unanimously say no to e-scooters. We are now trying to convince London to do the same thing, without burdening people with disabilities with the hardship of having to mount another hard-fought campaign to protect our safety and accessibility. We need London City Council to stand up for people with disabilities, seniors and others, and to stand up to the e-scooter rental companies’ corporate lobbyists.

We have asked London’s Civic Works Committee to allow for a deputation by the AODA Alliance at its August 31, 2021 meeting. We understand that no final votes on the e-scooters issue are expected at that meeting.

You can watch the August 31, 2021 London Civic Works Committee meeting live-streamed on Youtube on the City of London’s Youtube stream at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmRugRQ2sUo

For more details on the battle that people with disabilities have fought in Ontario over the past two years to avert the danger that e-scooters pose for them, visit the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooter page.

Riding Electric Scooters in London is Dangerous and Must Remain Banned — AODA Alliance brief to the City of London Civic Works Committee August 27, 2021
Via email: [email protected]

On its agenda for its August 31, 2021 meeting, the Civic Works Committee of London City Council has an agenda item regarding the possibility of allowing electric scooters (e-scooters) in the City of London. The AODA Alliance submits this brief to London’s Civic Works Committee on that agenda item, and requests an opportunity to make a presentation or deputation at that meeting via whatever virtual platform is being used.

In summary, London City Council must not unleash dangerous e-scooters in London. Riding e-scooters in public places in London is now banned and remains banned unless City Council legalizes them.

The non-partisan AODA Alliance has played a leading role in raising serious disability safety and accessibility concerns with e-scooters. To learn more about the AODA Alliance’s advocacy efforts to protect people with disabilities and others from the dangers that e-scooters pose, visit its e-scooters web page.

The AODA Alliance strongly commends the London Accessibility Advisory Committee for recommending that e-scooters should not be allowed in London. The AODA Alliance asks the City of London Civic Works Committee to follow that advice, and to recommend the following:

1. London should not permit the use of e-scooters, and should not conduct a pilot project with e-scooters.

2. If the City of London is going to explore the possibility of allowing e-scooters, e-scooters should not be permitted if they present any risk to the health or safety of people with disabilities, seniors, children or others, or if they are prone to create new accessibility barriers that would impede people with disabilities within London.

3. At the very least, if this issue is not simply taken right off the table, before proceeding any further, City staff should investigate the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. A public consultation on that issue should be held, beyond a purely online digital survey form.

London should benefit from the extensive and commendable work done on this issue in Toronto. This past spring, Toronto City Council voted unanimously not to allow e-scooters, after very extensive consideration of the issue. Toronto City Staff undertook the most thorough investigation of this issue of any Ontario municipality, as far as we have been able to discover.

An initial July 2020 Toronto City Staff Report, supplemented by a second February 2021 Toronto City Staff report, together amply show that e-scooters endanger public safety in communities that have permitted them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people cannot detect silent e-scooters that can accelerate at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmeted fun-seeking riders. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for people with vision loss and an accessibility nightmare for wheelchair users.

It is no solution to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The Toronto City Staff reports, referred to above, document the silent menace of e-scooters continuing to be ridden on sidewalks in cities that just ban them from sidewalks. London would need police officers on every block. Toronto City Staff reported to Toronto City Council last summer that no city that allows e-scooters has gotten enforcement right.

E-scooters would cost taxpayers a great deal. This would include new law enforcement, OHIP for treating those injured by e-scooters, and lawsuits by the injured. London has far more pressing budget priorities.

Especially with COVID still raging, London City Council should not be considering the legalization of dangerous e-scooters. In Toronto, a stunning well-funded behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure by corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies had inundated City Hall with for months. The corporate lobbyists want to make money on e-scooter rentals, laughing all the way to the bank, while injured pedestrians sob all the way to hospital emergency rooms. That the Toronto City Council unanimously said no to e-scooters despite this massive corporate lobbying should signal to London how important it is to stand up for people with disabilities and others endangered by e-scooters.

London City Council should not conduct an e-scooter pilot. A pilot to study what? How many of people living in or visiting London will be injured? We already know they will, from cities that have allowed them. It would be immoral to subject people in London to a City-wide human experiment, especially without their consent, where they can get injured. The call for a “pilot project with e-scooters is just the corporate lobbyists’ ploy to try to get their foot firmly planted in the door, so it will be harder to later get rid of e-scooters.

London, like the rest of Ontario, already has too many disability barriers that impede accessibility for people with disabilities. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires London and the rest of Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. To allow e-scooters would be to make things worse, not better, by creating new barriers impeding people with disabilities.

E-scooters create problems for businesses, as well as for people with disabilities. That is why Toronto’s Broadview Danforth BIA made an April 26, 2021 submission to the City of Toronto, set out below, that urged that e-scooters not be allowed. That BIA includes a part of Toronto that has similarities to downtown London.

Since we allow bikes, why not e-scooters? An e-scooter, unlike a bike, is a motor vehicle. As such, they should not be exempt from public safety regulations that apply to motor vehicles. A person who has never ridden an e-scooter can hop on one and instantly throttle up to race over 20 KPH. A person cannot instantly pedal a bike that fast, especially if they have never ridden a bike. In any event, London already has bikes. It does not need the dangers of e-scooters.

The July 2020 Toronto City Staff Report shows that e-scooters do not bring the great benefits for reduced car traffic and pollution that the corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies claim.

London should now call a stop to its exploration of e-scooters. Its residents with disabilities, its seniors and others should not have to mount an advocacy effort like the one that was necessary in Toronto to prevent the City from exposing its residents and visitors to the proven dangers that e-scooters pose. This is so especially while they along with all others must continue trying to cope with the pandemic.

Please make London easier and not harder for people with disabilities, seniors and others to get around. Protect those who need safe, accessible streets and sidewalks, not the interests of corporate lobbyists.

These references to banning e-scooters do not refer to the very different scooters that some people with disabilities use for mobility devices. Those mobility devices are now permitted and of course, should remain permitted.

Learn more about the dangers that e-scooters pose to people with disabilities, seniors, children and others, by visiting the AODA Alliance e-scooter web page and by watching the AODA Alliance’s short, captioned video on this issue. Read the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 detailed brief to Toronto City Council on e-scooters. Read the January 22, 2020 open letter to all municipalities and to Premier Doug Ford co-signed by 11 disability organization, that oppose e-scooters in Ontario.

Learn more about the AODA Alliance by visiting www.aodaalliance.org, by following @aodaalliance on Twitter, by visiting our Facebook page at www.facebook.com or by emailing us at [email protected]

April 26, 2021 Written Submission to the City of Toronto by the Broadview Danforth Business Improvement Area

April 26, 2021

TO: Infrastructure and Environment Committee Clerk

FROM: The Broadview Danforth BIA

RE: Item: 1E21.7 Pilot Project: Electric Kick-Scooters

I’m writing on behalf of the 355 business members in the Broadview Danforth BIA to support the recommendation being made by the General Manager, Transportation Services to decline the option to participate in O.Reg 389/19 Pilot Project for Electric Kick-Scooters. Our comments below can be shared with the Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting on April 28, 2021.

We have reviewed the components related to this proposed pilot project and have serious concerns that it would be very difficult to implement in a manner consistent with public safety and order.

Following a presentation made by Janet Lo from Transportation Services to BIAs, our key concerns are as follows:
Safety issues related to people with disabilities who use our sidewalks and wouldn’t be able to safely continue doing so if e-scooters were allowed on sidewalks.

Safety issues related to all people using sidewalks the potential of e-scooters being left on the sidewalks or tied to benches, tree guards etc. and falling over will lead to potential tripping hazards.

Lack of clarity on insurance coverage for riders, e-scooter rental companies and the general public who may be injured by e-scooter riders. Lack of City/police resources to enforce any kind of e-scooter laws. At the moment we have cyclists improperly using the roads and bike lanes and enforcement is almost non-existent. It’s impossible to believe that enforcement will be available for e-scooters. Our businesses are fighting for their survival during this pandemic and the last thing we need is for customers to feel unsafe using our sidewalks.

Thank you for your time and consideration of our feedback on this issue.

Albert Stortchak
Board Chair
Broadview Danforth BIA




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After Winning the Battle in Toronto Last Spring, AODA Alliance and Other Disability Advocates Now Call on London City Council Not to Endanger People with Disabilities, Seniors and Others by Allowing Electric Scooters


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/

After Winning the Battle in Toronto Last Spring, AODA Alliance and Other Disability Advocates Now Call on London City Council Not to Endanger People with Disabilities, Seniors and Others by Allowing Electric Scooters

August 30, 2021

        SUMMARY

Will it ever end? Now It’s London Ontario that is considering the possibility of legalizing electric scooters (e-scooters). Due to the Ford Government, we must fight this battle in one city after the next. It was the Ford Government that gave municipalities the power to allow e-scooters. Premier Ford ignored all disability concerns and acted instead at the behest of the e-scooter corporate lobbyists.

With this issue now rearing its ugly head in London Ontario, the AODA Alliance and other disability advocates are now hitting the ground running, in an effort to avert this danger to people with disabilities, seniors, children and others who live in or visit London. On Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at noon, this issue is an agenda item on the City of London’s Civic Works Committee. The AODA Alliance is one of the disability organizations that have sent in written submissions to that Committee, asking London to say no to e-scooters. The AODA Alliance’s August 27, 2021 brief to the London Civic Works Committee is set out below.

We understand that London’s Accessibility Advisory Committee has commendably recommended that London say no to e-scooters. Earlier this year, the AODA Alliance and several other disability organizations and advocates convinced the Toronto City Council to unanimously say no to e-scooters. We are now trying to convince London to do the same thing, without burdening people with disabilities with the hardship of having to mount another hard-fought campaign to protect our safety and accessibility. We need London City Council to stand up for people with disabilities, seniors and others, and to stand up to the e-scooter rental companies’ corporate lobbyists.

We have asked London’s Civic Works Committee to allow for a deputation by the AODA Alliance at its August 31, 2021 meeting. We understand that no final votes on the e-scooters issue are expected at that meeting.

You can watch the August 31, 2021 London Civic Works Committee meeting live-streamed on Youtube on the City of London’s Youtube stream at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmRugRQ2sUo

For more details on the battle that people with disabilities have fought in Ontario over the past two years to avert the danger that e-scooters pose for them, visit the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooter page.

Riding Electric Scooters in London is Dangerous and Must Remain Banned — AODA Alliance brief to the City of London Civic Works Committee

August 27, 2021

Via email: [email protected]

On its agenda for its August 31, 2021 meeting, the Civic Works Committee of London City Council has an agenda item regarding the possibility of allowing electric scooters (e-scooters) in the City of London. The AODA Alliance submits this brief to London’s Civic Works Committee on that agenda item, and requests an opportunity to make a presentation or deputation at that meeting via whatever virtual platform is being used.

In summary, London City Council must not unleash dangerous e-scooters in London. Riding e-scooters in public places in London is now banned and remains banned unless City Council legalizes them.

The non-partisan AODA Alliance has played a leading role in raising serious disability safety and accessibility concerns with e-scooters. To learn more about the AODA Alliance’s advocacy efforts to protect people with disabilities and others from the dangers that e-scooters pose, visit its e-scooters web page.

The AODA Alliance strongly commends the London Accessibility Advisory Committee for recommending that e-scooters should not be allowed in London. The AODA Alliance asks the City of London Civic Works Committee to follow that advice, and to recommend the following:

  1. London should not permit the use of e-scooters, and should not conduct a pilot project with e-scooters.
  1. If the City of London is going to explore the possibility of allowing e-scooters, e-scooters should not be permitted if they present any risk to the health or safety of people with disabilities, seniors, children or others, or if they are prone to create new accessibility barriers that would impede people with disabilities within London.
  1. At the very least, if this issue is not simply taken right off the table, before proceeding any further, City staff should investigate the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. A public consultation on that issue should be held, beyond a purely online digital survey form.

London should benefit from the extensive and commendable work done on this issue in Toronto. This past spring, Toronto City Council voted unanimously not to allow e-scooters, after very extensive consideration of the issue. Toronto City Staff undertook the most thorough investigation of this issue of any Ontario municipality, as far as we have been able to discover.

An initial July 2020 Toronto City Staff Report, supplemented by a second February 2021 Toronto City Staff report, together amply show that e-scooters endanger public safety in communities that have permitted them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people cannot detect silent e-scooters that can accelerate at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmeted fun-seeking riders. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for people with vision loss and an accessibility nightmare for wheelchair users.

It is no solution to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The Toronto City Staff reports, referred to above, document the silent menace of e-scooters continuing to be ridden on sidewalks in cities that just ban them from sidewalks. London would need police officers on every block. Toronto City Staff reported to Toronto City Council last summer that no city that allows e-scooters has gotten enforcement right.

E-scooters would cost taxpayers a great deal. This would include new law enforcement, OHIP for treating those injured by e-scooters, and lawsuits by the injured. London has far more pressing budget priorities.

Especially with COVID still raging, London City Council should not be considering the legalization of dangerous e-scooters. In Toronto, a stunning well-funded behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure by corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies had inundated City Hall with for months. The corporate lobbyists want to make money on e-scooter rentals, laughing all the way to the bank, while injured pedestrians sob all the way to hospital emergency rooms. That the Toronto City Council unanimously said no to e-scooters despite this massive corporate lobbying should signal to London how important it is to stand up for people with disabilities and others endangered by e-scooters.

London City Council should not conduct an e-scooter pilot. A pilot to study what? How many of people living in or visiting London will be injured? We already know they will, from cities that have allowed them. It would be immoral to subject people in London to a City-wide human experiment, especially without their consent, where they can get injured. The call for a “pilot project with e-scooters is just the corporate lobbyists’ ploy to try to get their foot firmly planted in the door, so it will be harder to later get rid of e-scooters.

London, like the rest of Ontario, already has too many disability barriers that impede accessibility for people with disabilities. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires London and the rest of Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. To allow e-scooters would be to make things worse, not better, by creating new barriers impeding people with disabilities.

E-scooters create problems for businesses, as well as for people with disabilities. That is why Toronto’s Broadview Danforth BIA made an April 26, 2021 submission to the City of Toronto, set out below, that urged that e-scooters not be allowed. That BIA includes a part of Toronto that has similarities to downtown London.

Since we allow bikes, why not e-scooters? An e-scooter, unlike a bike, is a motor vehicle. As such, they should not be exempt from public safety regulations that apply to motor vehicles. A person who has never ridden an e-scooter can hop on one and instantly throttle up to race over 20 KPH. A person cannot instantly pedal a bike that fast, especially if they have never ridden a bike. In any event, London already has bikes. It does not need the dangers of e-scooters.

The July 2020 Toronto City Staff Report shows that e-scooters do not bring the great benefits for reduced car traffic and pollution that the corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies claim.

London should now call a stop to its exploration of e-scooters. Its residents with disabilities, its seniors and others should not have to mount an advocacy effort like the one that was necessary in Toronto to prevent the City from exposing its residents and visitors to the proven dangers that e-scooters pose. This is so especially while they along with all others must continue trying to cope with the pandemic.

Please make London easier and not harder for people with disabilities, seniors and others to get around. Protect those who need safe, accessible streets and sidewalks, not the interests of corporate lobbyists.

These references to banning e-scooters do not refer to the very different scooters that some people with disabilities use for mobility devices. Those mobility devices are now permitted and of course, should remain permitted.

Learn more about the dangers that e-scooters pose to people with disabilities, seniors, children and others, by visiting the AODA Alliance e-scooter web page and by watching the AODA Alliance’s short, captioned video on this issue. Read the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 detailed brief to Toronto City Council on e-scooters. Read the January 22, 2020 open letter to all municipalities and to Premier Doug Ford co-signed by 11 disability organization, that oppose e-scooters in Ontario.

Learn more about the AODA Alliance by visiting www.aodaalliance.org, by following @aodaalliance on Twitter, by visiting our Facebook page at www.facebook.com or by emailing us at [email protected].

April 26, 2021 Written Submission to the City of Toronto by the Broadview Danforth Business Improvement Area

April 26, 2021

TO: Infrastructure and Environment Committee Clerk

FROM: The Broadview Danforth BIA

RE: Item: 1E21.7 Pilot Project: Electric Kick-Scooters

I’m writing on behalf of the 355 business members in the Broadview Danforth BIA to support the recommendation being made by the General Manager, Transportation Services to decline the option to participate in O.Reg 389/19 Pilot Project for Electric Kick-Scooters. Our comments below can be shared with the Infrastructure and Environment Committee — meeting on April 28, 2021.

We have reviewed the components related to this proposed pilot project and have serious concerns that it would be very difficult to implement in a manner consistent with public safety and order.

Following a presentation made by Janet Lo from Transportation Services to BIAs, our key concerns are as follows:

Safety issues related to people with disabilities who use our sidewalks and wouldn’t be able to safely continue doing so if e-scooters were allowed on sidewalks.

Safety issues related to all people using sidewalks — the potential of e-scooters being left on the sidewalks or tied to benches, tree guards etc. and falling over will lead to potential tripping hazards.

Lack of clarity on insurance coverage for riders, e-scooter rental companies and the general public who may be injured by e-scooter riders. Lack of City/police resources to enforce any kind of e-scooter laws. At the moment we have cyclists improperly using the roads and bike lanes and enforcement is almost non-existent. It’s impossible to believe that enforcement will be available for e-scooters. Our businesses are fighting for their survival during this pandemic and the last thing we need is for customers to feel unsafe using our sidewalks.

Thank you for your time and consideration of our feedback on this issue.

Albert Stortchak

Board Chair

Broadview Danforth BIA



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Advocates Call on TTC to Pause Wheel-Trans Changes, Saying Thousands Could Lose Access


Changes mean people with disabilities, seniors may just stay home, advocates say Muriel Draaisma, CBC News
Posted: Jun 17, 2021

Advocates are calling on the TTC to pause a program that requires users to reregister for Wheel-Trans, saying they fear the process could mean thousands of people with disabilities will lose access to the specialized service.

According to a report approved by the TTC board on Wednesday, the TTC plans to divert 50 per cent of Wheel-Trans users to the conventional TTC system for part of their trips by 2025. The conventional TTC system means buses, streetcars and subways. Wheel-Trans is TTC’s door-to-door service for people with mobility issues.

Adam Cohoon, a TTCriders accessibility committee member, told the board that people with disabilities are “not really ready” to begin using the conventional system under what is known as the Wheel-Trans Transformational Program.

If people with disabilities have to reregister for Wheel-Trans, they could be forced to take the conventional TTC for part of their trips, and that could mean they simply do not go out or go out much less, Cohoon said.

“I really think you guys have to rethink some of this mandatory screening because there are going to be people that actually fall through the cracks and are just going to end up having the same isolated lives that they already have had for 18 months,” Cohoon said at the virtual meeting.

Cohoon, who has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair, said he is concerned about changes to Wheel-Trans because the TTC is not yet fully accessible and its subways lack blue accessibility buttons that users could press when they need to talk to customer service or transit control staff.

As well, he said he believes the TTC has fewer staff than in previous years to help people with disabilities on its conventional system. Cohoon has used Wheel-Trans for more than 20 years.

Adina Lebo, a member of the Toronto Seniors’ Forum, told the board that seniors will become isolated and confined to their homes if they are required to use the conventional system. The forum is a city-sponsored group of seniors who are Toronto residents.

Lebo said some seniors say the conventional TTC system is inaccessible and they are terrified for their safety.

“When I read that 50 per cent of Wheel-Trans users will be transitioned to the conventional TTC and forced onto buses, streetcars and subways that are not totally accessible at this point in time, it’s scary,” she said.

“I see 50 per cent of seniors choosing to stay at home and minimize their lives.”

TTC classifying Wheel-Trans users into 3 categories

According to the TTC, Wheel-Trans users have to reregister for the service to comply with the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). More than 7,000 people have reregistered since 2019. The TTC says re-registration is now being done on a voluntary basis.

Under that law, users are categorized into three classifications for eligibility:

  • Unconditional service, which is for customers who have a disability that always prevents them from using the TTC’s conventional system. These customers require door-to-door service for all of their trips.
  • Conditional service, which is for customers who have a disability that limits their ability to use the TTC’s conventional system “consistently.” These customers may be able to use conventional transit for all or part of a trip, but may also qualify for door-to-door service under specific circumstances, such as weather or travel to a remote location.
  • Temporary service, which is for customers who have a temporary disability that prevents them from using the TTC’s conventional system. Customers are provided Wheel-Trans for all or part of a trip for a defined period of time, such as following an injury or surgery.

Dwayne Geddes, head of Wheel-Trans at the TTC, said on Wednesday that it is a “misconception” that people who need the service will lose access to Wheel-Trans after having to re-register.

“I think some of the concern is that it’s believed that Wheel-Trans door-to-door service will disappear and will no longer be there for customers. That’s not the case. That’s a misconception. Door-to-door service will always be there for customers who need it,” Geddes said.

“If you require Wheel-Trans door-to-door service, it will be there guaranteed.”

The point of re-registration, he added, is that the TTC wants to ensure it has the right eligibility classification for its Wheel-Trans users.

Geddes said the TTC is not prepared to pause the program.

“We don’t have information that says the program isn’t working. In fact, the information we have is pointing to the opposite, that it is working,” he said. “We are committed to ensure that we provide a transit system that is fair and equitable for all customers.”

TTC say program introduced in part to sustain Wheel-Trans

In his report to the board, Geddes said the Wheel-Trans Transformational Program, which started in 2016, was an attempt to address legislative changes and an attempt to modernize and sustain the service. An expansion of eligibility under the law meant increasing demand, he said.

In an interview later, he said: “The whole plan of the program is to introduce a fully accessible conventional service, which means a service that anybody can use. It’s equitable for all.”

Geddes said the TTC was long known for having buses with stairs, streetcars with stairs, subways that had no elevators or escalators that didn’t work, but the transit agency has “turned a corner.” It has upgraded its stations and it is making its streetcars low floor, its buses and trains accessible, he said.

“Now that we’ve made the system more accessible, it’s almost like a reintroduction to the TTC for those with disabilities or mobility impairments,” he said.

“It’s basically saying, here’s our family of services that is now fully accessible and we want to encourage you to take it, if you can take it. I think the key point here is, if you can, if you’re comfortable taking it, if you can take it, we want you to take it,” he added.

“With this program, it really promotes and ensures that we are providing our customers with equity, dignity, spontaneity, fairness and freedom of travel.”

Original at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/advocates-disabled-people-seniors-access-wheel-trans-ttc-board-1.6068843




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People with learning disabilities call for greater protections | Watch News Videos Online



There’s a renewed call today for greater protections for the many British Columbians with a hidden disability. As Kylie Stanton reports, those with learning disabilities say they’re being left out simply because their condition is not as obvious.



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Accessibility Advocates Call for Constant Sound to Be Emitted By Ottawa e-Scooters in 2021


by Jon Willing
Publishing date:
Feb 02, 2021

Electronic scooters, which could hit Ottawa streets in greater numbers this spring, are receiving a tough ride from accessibility advocates as councillors decide if rental companies should be allowed to operate again in 2021.

The city’s transportation department is pleased with the results from the first year of the pilot project in 2020, leading staff to suggest an expanded e-scooter program in 2021. Council’s transportation committee on Wednesday will make a recommendation on the staff proposal to continue the e-scooter program this year.

But Phillip Turcotte, chair of the city’s accessibility advisory committee, said a majority his members don’t want the e-scooter program to continue under the current recommendations from staff.

“Our point of view at this time is it’s something that transportation committee should not adopt,” Turcotte said, adding that people with disabilities get no benefits from the e-scooter pilot project but they’re impacted the most.

The accessibility advisory committee has two main criticisms of the e-scooter rental program: the devices make no sounds and the complaint process for improperly parked e-scooters is arduous.

Since battery-powered e-scooters are virtually silent, there’s no way for someone who’s blind or visually impaired to know if one is approaching, Turcotte said.

The advisory committee wants the city to require rental companies to make sure their e-scooters emit a constant sound, especially since some users illegally operate e-scooters on sidewalks, he said.

Turcotte said improperly parked e-scooters, such as one blocking a sidewalk, involve a cumbersome two-step reporting process to make sure the devices are moved. A company has an hour to move the e-scooter after receiving the call, and if that doesn’t work, the city needs to be notified to impound the e-scooter.

City staff are recommending for 2021 that rental companies be required to proactively monitor and move improperly parked scooters in high-use areas and provide a reporting option in their apps so people aren’t waiting on the phone for a response. A call to 311 would also trigger an email to e-scooter companies for quick response.

Kathleen Forestell, CNIB’s local lead for advocacy and community outreach and also a member of the city’s accessibility advisory committee, said the quiet nature of e-scooters is a top concern for people who are blind or partially sighted.

E-scooters must be equipped with a bell left up to the rider to use, but it’s not fair to compare e-scooters with bikes, Forestell said.

“A bicycle in some ways makes more sound than an e-scooter does because of the mechanical components on it,” she said..

“For me as a blind pedestrian, having a constant noise emitted by the e-scooter would allow me to know where it is in the vicinity and just have a greater awareness if it’s navigating near me and at what speed.”

Forestell said the technology is available, since a German company called Tier has been working with a U.K.-based charity to add sounds to its e-scooters.

So far, the city isn’t recommending e-scooter companies make their devices have constant sounds for the 2021 season.

If approved by committee and then council, the city will allow three e-scooter rental companies to operate in Ottawa this year, making available a total of 1,200-1,500 e-scooters for the paying public in an expanded area, which could include a community outside the Greenbelt. The 2020 season involved 600 e-scooters in the downtown region.

Turcotte said the increased number of e-scooters could present a bigger problem when it comes to accessibility barriers.

Coun. Matthew Luloff, the council liaison to the accessibility advisory committee and a member of council’s transportation committee, said he’s encouraging e-scooter rental companies to speak with Turcotte about accessibility improvements to their programs.

[email protected]

twitter.com/JonathanWilling

Original at https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/accessibility-advocates-call-for-constant-noise-emitted-by-ottawa-e-scooters-in-2021






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64 Organizations Call for Action Now to ensure Patients will Not Face Disability Discrimination if COVID Surge Requires Critical Care Rationing


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
ARCH Disability Law Centre

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 64 Organizations Call for Immediate Action to ensure all Patients including those with Disabilities will Not be Discriminated Against if COVID Surge Requires Rationing of Critical Medical Care

December 3, 2020 Toronto: Today, to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 64 organizations and groups sent Premier Doug Ford a powerful open letter (below) pressing him to ensure that patients with disabilities face no discrimination in access to life-saving critical medical care if the skyrocketing COVID surge requires rationing or triage of critical care. They urge an end to protracted Government secrecy over its triage plans. They ask Ford to release the recommended triage rules that Fords Bioethics Table gave the Government in September.

Signatories represent people with vision loss, the Deaf, HIV & AIDS, persons labelled with intellectual disabilities, autism, mental health and psychosocial disabilities, communication disabilities, neuromuscular disabilities, neurological disabilities, and mobility disabilities, as well as respected cross-disability organizations.

From the outset, this process has been plagued by secrecy and that lack of transparency continues to dominate. Last March, the Government sent Ontario hospitals a discriminatory critical care triage protocol which was never made public, said Robert Lattanzio, Executive Director of the ARCH Disability Law Centre, a disability rights legal clinic. If applied, the discriminatory nature of that protocol would have disproportionately impacted persons with disabilities and persons from other equity seeking groups. Following public outcry and over six months of advocacy, the Government finally cancelled that secret triage protocol but more must be done.

Its a good partial step that Ford cancelled his earlier discriminatory March critical care triage protocol, but hes created a dangerous vacuum if the COVID surge necessitates critical care triage. Doctors could choose whom to deny life-saving critical care based on stereotypes or unconscious bias about disabilities, said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance that advocates for accessibility for 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities. Its wrong for the Ford Government to promise openness in its response to COVID, but to keep secret its Bioethics Tables new recommendations on how to fill this vacuum, especially when the Ontario Human Rights Commission said those recommendations raise human rights concerns.

When the NDP pressed the Ford Government on November 5 to make public its secret Bioethics Tables triage recommendations, the Government said it may send a new triage framework to health professionals if conditions deteriorate significantly. It never committed to let the public see that new triage framework. Since November 5, COVID-19 conditions have deteriorated significantly. New daily infections break records day after day. Government models project horrifying increases. A growing number of communities have been locked down. – 30 –
Contact:

AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @aodaalliance

Robert Lattanzio, Executive Director
ARCH Disability Law Centre
Toll-free: 1-866-482-2724 extension 2233
Email: [email protected]

For more background on this issue, check out:
1. The November 5, 2020 exchange in Question Period on the critical care triage issue.
2. The AODA Alliances unanswered September 25, 2020 letter, its November 2, 2020 letter and its November 9, 2020 letter to Health Minister Christine Elliott
3. The August 30, 2020 AODA Alliance submission to the Ford Governments Bioethics Table, and a captioned online video of the AODA Alliances August 31, 2020 oral presentation to the Bioethics Table on disability discrimination concerns in critical care triage.
4. The September 1, 2020 submission and July 20, 2020 submission by the ARCH Disability Law Centre to the Bioethics Table.
5. The November 5, 2020 captioned online speech by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on the disability rights concerns with Ontarios critical care triage protocol

6. The April 14, 2020 AODA Alliance Discussion Paper on Ensuring that Medical Triage or Rationing of Health Care Services During the COVID-19 Crisis Does Not Discriminate Against Patients with Disabilities.
7. The AODA Alliance websites health care page, detailing its efforts to tear down barriers in the health care system facing patients with disabilities, and our COVID-19 page, detailing our efforts to address the needs of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis.
8. The ARCH Disability Law Centre websites COVID-19 page offers more about ARCHs work on the clinical triage protocol, including a September 15, 2020 published article, visitation ban policies, access to technology and other issues concerning the rights of persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis. Text of the December 3, 2020 Open Letter to the Ontario Government

OPEN LETTER: Ontarios COVID-19 Clinical Triage Protocol
December 3, 2020

To: Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building
Queens Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Via email: [email protected]

Hon. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health of Ontario College Park 5th Floor,
777 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M7A 2J3
Via email: [email protected]

Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility of Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility
College Park, 5th Floor
777 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5G 2C8
Via email: [email protected]

Dear Hon. Premier Ford, Hon. Deputy Premier and Minister Elliott, and Hon. Minister Cho: Re: Ontarios COVID-19 Clinical Triage Protocol
We write about a life-and-death issue now facing Ontarians over which the Ontario Government has key responsibility. COVID-19 continues to surge, repeatedly breaking prior records for daily new infections. Expert projections show that this surge will continue to get worse, reaching new record infection rates. Our hospitals are being strained to the limit. The risk grows that hospitals may get overwhelmed, with more demand for critical medical care than there are critical care beds, staff and services to meet that demand. If that happens, it would be necessary for there to be triage or rationing of critical care. Some patients, needing life-saving critical care, may be refused that care a publicly-insured medical service covered by OHIP.
Last spring, the Ontario Government sent a March 28, 2020 critical care protocol to all Ontario hospitals, directing how hospitals should decide whom to refuse critical care they need, if triage becomes necessary. The Government did not make public its March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol, or the fact that it had been sent to Ontario hospitals.
When word of that protocol leaked, an April 8, 2020 open letter to the Ontario Government was sent by over 200 disability organizations and groups, and over 4,800 individuals. It expressed the serious concern that the Governments March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol would discriminate against some patients with disabilities. It called for that protocol to be cancelled, and for the Government to consult people with disabilities on this issue.
In response to an opposition question during Question Period in the Legislature on November 5, 2020, the Government revealed that it had cancelled the March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol. We commend the Government for cancelling it.
However, to our knowledge, the Government has not put in place a replacement for the March 28, 2020 protocol. If critical care triage becomes necessary, decisions over who gets refused life-saving critical care would be wrongly left to individual hospitals and doctors, without safeguards against the serious danger of arbitrary and discriminatory decisions made because of disability.
Last winter, the Ontario Government appointed a Bioethics Table, including doctors and bioethicists, to give advice in this area. That Table wrote the March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol, now cancelled. Last summer, the Bioethics Table held meetings and consultations on this issue, including meetings with some disability advocates and experts.
In mid-September 2020, The Bioethics Table submitted a report to the Ontario Government Ministry of Health, to Ontario Health (part of the Government) and to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. That report made recommendations on how critical care triage should be conducted, to replace the March 28, 2020 triage protocol. The Government has refused to make that report public.
The Bioethics Table itself and the Ontario Human Rights Commission have called on the Government to make public the Bioethics Tables report and recommendations. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has expressed that the human rights concerns persist with the Bioethics Tables recommendations.
On November 5, 2020, the Government stated in the Legislature that it may provide a new critical care triage framework to health professionals if conditions deteriorate significantly. To continue waiting creates great risk that any new critical care triage framework that discriminates against patients with disabilities cannot be fixed if it becomes too late, and triage is already taking place. It took the disability community over six months to get the discriminatory March 28, 2020 triage protocol withdrawn. Moreover, the COVID-19 situation is now deteriorating significantly, with modelling projecting that it risks quickly getting much worse.
Accordingly, the organizations and groups that are signatories to this open letter call on the Ontario Government to:

1. Immediately make public the report and recommendations of the Government-appointed Bioethics Table submitted to the Government in mid-September, which are now secret, on how to choose which patients should be refused critical care if the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelms hospitals, requiring triage or rationing of critical care beds and services.
2. Now hold an open, accessible and inclusive public consultation on how such critical care triage decisions should be made, and what protections for patients must be in place.
3. Develop and make public any new directives or protocols regarding critical care triage, and ensure that they are primarily guided by, and respect, the constitutional and human rights of all patients, including patients with disabilities, ensure due process to patients that are exposed to the risk of being denied life-saving critical care due to triage or rationing of that care, and that such directives and protocols are founded on a properly mandated legislative foundation.

We urge the Government to act immediately in response to this call for action.

Sincerely,

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance (AODA Alliance) Accessible Housing Network
Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE)
Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians/l’Alliance pour l’Égalité des Personnes Aveugles du Canada ARCH Disability Law Centre
Barrier-Free Canada/Canada Sans Barrieres (BFC/CSB)
B.C. Aboriginal Network on Disability Society
Bellwoods Centres for Community Living Inc
Breaking Down Barriers Independent Living Resource Centre
Brockville and District Association for Community Involvement Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance
Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)
Chatham-Kent Legal Clinic
Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario (CWDO)
CNIB Foundation
Communication Disabilities Access Canada
Community Living Chatham-Kent
Community Living Ontario
Community Living Prince Edward
Council of Canadians With Disabilities
DeafBlind Ontario Services
DEEN Support Services
Durham Association for Family Resources and Support
Empowered Kids Ontario
Family Network Thames Valley
Family Support Network-York region
Good Things In Life
Guelph Independent Living
Guide Dog Users of Canada
Hamilton Community Legal Clinic/Clinique juridique communautaire de Hamilton HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario
HIV Legal Network
Hydrocephalus Canada
Inclusion Canada
Independent Living Canada
Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic
Joyce Scott Non Profit Homes Inc.
Lupus Canada
March of Dimes Canada
MPN Ontario Patient Support Group
Muscular Dystrophy Canada
National Coalition of People who use Guide and Service Dogs
National Network for Mental Health
Network of Women with Disabilities NOW
Ontario Association of the Deaf
Ontario Disability Coalition
Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy
Ontario Parents of Visually Impaired Children OPVIC (Also known as Views for the Visually Impaired) OPTIONS NORTHWEST
Organization of Canadian Tamils with Disabilities
Parents of Adults with Developmental Disabilities
Peterborough Community Legal Centre
PHSS – Medical and Complex Care in Community
PooranLaw Professional Corporation
RISE: Resource Centre for Independent Living
Shannon law office
Spinal Cord Injury Ontario
Sudbury Community Legal Clinic
Susan Morris Consulting Inc
Tangled Art + Disability
The Older Women’s Network
The Ontario Autism Coalition
Working for Change




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On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 64 Organizations Call for Immediate Action to ensure all Patients including those with Disabilities will Not be Discriminated Against if COVID Surge Requires Rationing of Critical Medical Care


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

ARCH Disability Law Centre

 

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 64 Organizations Call for Immediate Action to ensure all Patients including those with Disabilities will Not be Discriminated Against if COVID Surge Requires Rationing of Critical Medical Care

December 3, 2020 Toronto: Today, to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 64 organizations and groups sent Premier Doug Ford a powerful open letter (below) pressing him to ensure that patients with disabilities face no discrimination in access to life-saving critical medical care if the skyrocketing COVID surge requires rationing or “triage” of critical care. They urge an end to protracted Government secrecy over its triage plans. They ask Ford to release the recommended triage rules that Ford’s Bioethics Table gave the Government in September.

Signatories represent people with vision loss, the Deaf, HIV & AIDS, persons labelled with intellectual disabilities, autism, mental health and psychosocial disabilities, communication disabilities, neuromuscular disabilities, neurological disabilities, and mobility disabilities, as well as respected cross-disability organizations.

“From the outset, this process has been plagued by secrecy and that lack of transparency continues to dominate. Last March, the Government sent Ontario hospitals a discriminatory critical care triage protocol which was never made public,” said Robert Lattanzio, Executive Director of the ARCH Disability Law Centre, a disability rights legal clinic. “If applied, the discriminatory nature of that protocol would have disproportionately impacted persons with disabilities and persons from other equity seeking groups. Following public outcry and over six months of advocacy, the Government finally cancelled that secret triage protocol but more must be done.”

“It’s a good partial step that Ford cancelled his earlier discriminatory March critical care triage protocol, but he’s created a dangerous vacuum if the COVID surge necessitates critical care triage. Doctors could choose whom to deny life-saving critical care based on stereotypes or unconscious bias about disabilities,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance that advocates for accessibility for 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities. “It’s wrong for the Ford Government to promise openness in its response to COVID, but to keep secret its Bioethics Table’s new recommendations on how to fill this vacuum, especially when the Ontario Human Rights Commission said those recommendations raise human rights concerns.”

When the NDP pressed the Ford Government on November 5 to make public its secret Bioethics Table’s triage recommendations, the Government said it “may” send a new triage framework to health professionals if “conditions deteriorate significantly”. It never committed to let the public see that new triage framework. Since November 5, COVID-19 conditions have deteriorated significantly. New daily infections break records day after day. Government models project horrifying increases. A growing number of communities have been locked down.

Contact:

AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @aodaalliance

Robert Lattanzio, Executive Director

ARCH Disability Law Centre

Toll-free: 1-866-482-2724 extension 2233

Email: [email protected]

For more background on this issue, check out:

  1. The November 5, 2020 exchange in Question Period on the critical care triage issue.
  2. The AODA Alliance’s unanswered September 25, 2020 letter, its November 2, 2020 letter and its November 9, 2020 letter to Health Minister Christine Elliott
  3. The August 30, 2020 AODA Alliance submission to the Ford Government’s Bioethics Table, and a captioned online video of the AODA Alliance’s August 31, 2020 oral presentation to the Bioethics Table on disability discrimination concerns in critical care triage.
  4. The September 1, 2020 submission and July 20, 2020 submission by the ARCH Disability Law Centre to the Bioethics Table.
  5. The November 5, 2020 captioned online speech by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on the disability rights concerns with Ontario’s critical care triage protocol
  1. The April 14, 2020 AODA Alliance Discussion Paper on Ensuring that Medical Triage or Rationing of Health Care Services During the COVID-19 Crisis Does Not Discriminate Against Patients with Disabilities.
  2. The AODA Alliance website’s health care page, detailing its efforts to tear down barriers in the health care system facing patients with disabilities, and our COVID-19 page, detailing our efforts to address the needs of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis.
  3. The ARCH Disability Law Centre website’s COVID-19 page offers more about ARCH’s work on the clinical triage protocol, including a September 15, 2020 published article, visitation ban policies, access to technology and other issues concerning the rights of persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis.

Text of the December 3, 2020 Open Letter to the Ontario Government

OPEN LETTER: Ontario’s COVID-19 Clinical Triage Protocol

December 3, 2020

To: Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario

Legislative Building

Queen’s Park

Toronto, ON M7A 1A1

Via email: [email protected]

Hon. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health of Ontario

College Park 5th Floor,

777 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M7A 2J3

Via email: [email protected]

Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility of Ontario

Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility

College Park, 5th Floor

777 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5G 2C8

Via email: [email protected]

Dear Hon. Premier Ford, Hon. Deputy Premier and Minister Elliott, and Hon. Minister Cho:

Re:     Ontario’s COVID-19 Clinical Triage Protocol

We write about a life-and-death issue now facing Ontarians over which the Ontario Government has key responsibility. COVID-19 continues to surge, repeatedly breaking prior records for daily new infections. Expert projections show that this surge will continue to get worse, reaching new record infection rates. Our hospitals are being strained to the limit. The risk grows that hospitals may get overwhelmed, with more demand for critical medical care than there are critical care beds, staff and services to meet that demand. If that happens, it would be necessary for there to be “triage” or rationing of critical care. Some patients, needing life-saving critical care, may be refused that care – a publicly-insured medical service covered by OHIP.

Last spring, the Ontario Government sent a March 28, 2020 critical care protocol to all Ontario hospitals, directing how hospitals should decide whom to refuse critical care they need, if triage becomes necessary. The Government did not make public its March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol, or the fact that it had been sent to Ontario hospitals.

When word of that protocol leaked, an April 8, 2020 open letter to the Ontario Government was sent by over 200 disability organizations and groups, and over 4,800 individuals. It expressed the serious concern that the Government’s March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol would discriminate against some patients with disabilities. It called for that protocol to be cancelled, and for the Government to consult people with disabilities on this issue.

In response to an opposition question during Question Period in the Legislature on November 5, 2020, the Government revealed that it had cancelled the March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol. We commend the Government for cancelling it.

However, to our knowledge, the Government has not put in place a replacement for the March 28, 2020 protocol. If critical care triage becomes necessary, decisions over who gets refused life-saving critical care would be wrongly left to individual hospitals and doctors, without safeguards against the serious danger of arbitrary and discriminatory decisions made because of disability.

Last winter, the Ontario Government appointed a “Bioethics Table”, including doctors and bioethicists, to give advice in this area. That Table wrote the March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol, now cancelled. Last summer, the Bioethics Table held meetings and consultations on this issue, including meetings with some disability advocates and experts.

In mid-September 2020, The Bioethics Table submitted a report to the Ontario Government Ministry of Health, to Ontario Health (part of the Government) and to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. That report made recommendations on how critical care triage should be conducted, to replace the March 28, 2020 triage protocol. The Government has refused to make that report public.

The Bioethics Table itself and the Ontario Human Rights Commission have called on the Government to make public the Bioethics Table’s report and recommendations. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has expressed that the human rights concerns persist with the Bioethics Table’s recommendations.

On November 5, 2020, the Government stated in the Legislature that it “may” provide a new critical care triage framework to health professionals if conditions deteriorate significantly. To continue waiting creates great risk that any new critical care triage framework that discriminates against patients with disabilities cannot be fixed if it becomes too late, and triage is already taking place. It took the disability community over six months to get the discriminatory March 28, 2020 triage protocol withdrawn. Moreover, the COVID-19 situation is now deteriorating significantly, with modelling projecting that it risks quickly getting much worse.

Accordingly, the organizations and groups that are signatories to this open letter call on the Ontario Government to:

  1. Immediately make public the report and recommendations of the Government-appointed Bioethics Table submitted to the Government in mid-September, which are now secret, on how to choose which patients should be refused critical care if the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelms hospitals, requiring triage or rationing of critical care beds and services.
  2. Now hold an open, accessible and inclusive public consultation on how such critical care triage decisions should be made, and what protections for patients must be in place.
  3. Develop and make public any new directives or protocols regarding critical care triage, and ensure that they are primarily guided by, and respect, the constitutional and human rights of all patients, including patients with disabilities, ensure due process to patients that are exposed to the risk of being denied life-saving critical care due to triage or rationing of that care, and that such directives and protocols are founded on a properly mandated legislative foundation.

We urge the Government to act immediately in response to this call for action.

Sincerely,

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance (AODA Alliance)

Accessible Housing Network

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE)

Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians/l’Alliance pour l’Égalité des Personnes Aveugles du Canada

ARCH Disability Law Centre

Barrier-Free Canada/Canada Sans Barrieres (BFC/CSB)

B.C. Aboriginal Network on Disability Society

Bellwoods Centres for Community Living Inc

Breaking Down Barriers Independent Living Resource Centre

Brockville and District Association for Community Involvement

Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance

Canadian Down Syndrome Society

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)

Chatham-Kent Legal Clinic

Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario (CWDO)

CNIB Foundation

Communication Disabilities Access Canada

Community Living Chatham-Kent

Community Living Ontario

Community Living Prince Edward

Council of Canadians With Disabilities

DeafBlind Ontario Services

DEEN Support Services

Durham Association for Family Resources and Support

Empowered Kids Ontario

Family Network Thames Valley

Family Support Network-York region

Good Things In Life

Guelph Independent Living

Guide Dog Users of Canada

Hamilton Community Legal Clinic/Clinique juridique communautaire de Hamilton

HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario

HIV Legal Network

Hydrocephalus Canada

Inclusion Canada

Independent Living Canada

Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic

Joyce Scott Non Profit Homes Inc.

Lupus Canada

March of Dimes Canada

MPN Ontario Patient Support Group

Muscular Dystrophy Canada

National Coalition of People who use Guide and Service Dogs

National Network for Mental Health

Network of Women with Disabilities NOW

Ontario Association of the Deaf

Ontario Disability Coalition

Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy

Ontario Parents of Visually Impaired Children OPVIC (Also known as Views for the Visually Impaired)

OPTIONS NORTHWEST

Organization of Canadian Tamils with Disabilities

Parents of Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Peterborough Community Legal Centre

PHSS – Medical and Complex Care in Community

PooranLaw Professional Corporation

RISE: Resource Centre for Independent Living

Shannon law office

Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

Sudbury Community Legal Clinic

Susan Morris Consulting Inc

Tangled Art + Disability

The Older Women’s Network

The Ontario Autism Coalition

Working for Change



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A Call for Stronger Information and Communications Standards in Education


 Our last article explored how information standards in education make information accessible to some students, parents, and educators with disabilities. In this article, we discuss how stronger information standards in education are needed to fully support students with disabilities.  

A Call for Stronger Information and Communications Standards in Education 

The regulations in the existing Standards provide an important starting point for educational accessibility. However, under the current standard, educators, students, or parents must request accessible-format materials at the time they are needed and wait until the school or producer can create them. The Standards mandate that formats and supports must be available in a timely manner. Nonetheless, in an educational context, students may need information much sooner than they can access it. For example, a teacher might request a textbook from a publisher at the beginning of the school year. The educator, and the student who needs the accessible book, must then wait for the book to be produced. By the time the accessible book arrives, the other students may have been using the book for several days or weeks.

An education standard could improve school access by mandating that academic publishers create accessible-format versions of everything they publish. Moreover, this requirement could apply to both print and online resources. Educators who request accessible resources could then receive them at the same time they receive standard print resources. In this way, every student would have the same access to their textbooks.

Expanding the Information Standards to include mandates for students with parents with disabilities and teachers

In addition, the Information Standards’ focus on accessible information supports only students with print disabilities. For instance, these rules support students who are/have:

  • Blind 
  • Visually impaired
  • Deafblind
  • Learning disabilities that affect reading
  • Physical disabilities that affect their ability to hold or turn pages

However, there are no rules supporting the accessible-format needs of parents with disabilities. For example, the standard could mandate a process for parents to request alternate-format copies of:

  • Their child’s report cards
  • Consent forms for field trips or other school activities

Moreover, there are no mandates that detail how teachers should make their lessons accessible for students with other disabilities. For instance, there are no rules in the standards about providing communication supports during lessons for students who are/have:

  • Deaf
  • Hard of hearing
  • Deafblind
  • Speech disabilities
  • Learning disabilities affecting verbal information processing
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Mental health challenges

As more people develop disabilities, access to information will become more important, in education and in all other sectors. The new education standard will need to ensure accessible lessons and books for students with all disabilities.




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