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




Source link

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



Source link

Attend CNIB’s July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall on Dangers that Electric Scooters Pose for People with Disabilities if London Ontario Allows Them


and— Please Fill Out an Important Online Survey About Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Courts

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/

July 22, 2021

SUMMARY

Here’s a buffet of recent news from the trenches of the battle for accessibility for people with disabilities:

1. Please come to CNIB’s July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall between 5 and 7 pm local time to discuss the dangers that e-scooters pose if the City of London Ontario allows them. Read on for details on how to register to take part.

2. Please complete an important online survey before September 30, 2021 about disability barriers you have experienced in Ontario’s Courts. See below for more information on this.

3. What do you think of the initial reports of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee or the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on what needs to be done to tear down the many disability barriers that impede students with disabilities in Ontario? Let us know! Once again, read on for more about this.

Believe it or not, 903 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 still announced no comprehensive plan of action to implement that report. Numbering at least 2.6 million, Ontarians with disabilities deserve better.

MORE DETAILS

1. Come to CNIB’s July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall on Dangers to People with Disabilities if London, Ontario Allows E-Scooters

It is very troubling that London, Ontario is considering allowing e-scooters. After an incredibly tenacious effort, people with disabilities managed to convince the City of Toronto not to allow e-scooters because they endanger people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. Now it is time to mount a similar campaign in other cities in Ontario that are thinking of creating the same danger for people with disabilities.

London, Ontario is now actively considering the possibility of conducting a “pilot project” with e-scooters. The corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies are unquestionably behind this, as they were in Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor and elsewhere.

We are thrilled that on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 from 5 to 7 pm local time, CNIB will be hosting an on-line Virtual Town Hall for people with disabilities to discuss concerns about the possibility of London allowing e-scooters and to explore what you can do about this danger. Please plan to take part! To register for this event, contact Larissa Proctor [email protected] and let her know if you have any accommodation needs.

For background you can check out our short, widely viewed, captioned online video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky about the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities. It formed part of our successful campaign against allowing e-scooters in Toronto.

Toronto City staff did a comprehensive job of documenting the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. That research led Toronto City Council to unanimously defeat a proposal to allow e-scooters, which was heavily backed by the e-scooters corporate lobbyists. We call on all other Ontario cities to show the same wisdom and concern for the safety of people with disabilities and others.

To learn all about our campaign over the past two years to protect Ontarians with disabilities from the dangers that e-scooters pose, visit the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooters page.

Why are we having to fight this battle one city at a time? Sadly, this is all due to Premier Doug Ford refusing to listen to us about this while listening instead only to the e-scooter corporate lobbyists. Two years ago, e-scooters were not allowed in public places in Ontario, thanks to Ontario law. As the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooters page amply documents, the Ford Government decided to change all that in 2019. It passed a harmful regulation that let each municipality conduct a pilot project if they wished with e-scooters over a 5-year period. We tried to convince the Ford Government not to do this, because of the dangers posed to people with disabilities and others. The Ford Government decided, however, to give in to the corporate lobbyists and to entirely reject our concerns.

People with disabilities won this uphill battle against the corporate lobbyists in Toronto. We can do the same in London and elsewhere, with your help. Please register to take part in the July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall to get involved.

2. Please Take Part In an On-Line Survey About Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Court System

Have you had experience encountering any disability barriers in any court proceedings in Ontario? Here is an amazing chance for you to anonymously share your experience and help with an ongoing effort to make Ontario’s courts barrier-free for people with disabilities by 2025, as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires.

In 2007, a major official report, the Weiler Report, mapped out actions needed to make Ontario’s courts fully accessible for court participants with disabilities. It was prepared by a group including representation from the courts, the Government, the legal profession and the disability community. That group was appointed by Ontario’s then Chief Justice Roy McMurtry. It was chaired by then Court of Appeal Justice Karen Weiler. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky was a member of that group.

Among other things, the Weiler Report recommended that a permanent committee be established to monitor and oversee progress in this area. This led to the creation of the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee (OCAC), which has been in action since then. A successor to the Weiler group, OCAC also includes representatives from the courts, the Government, the legal profession and the disability community. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky has also been a member of that committee since it began.

To help OCAC with its ongoing work, an online survey is underway until September 30, 2021. It gives you a chance to give your input without sharing your identity. Please take part in the survey. Please publicize it to others, and urge them to take part as well.

The online survey about disability barriers in Ontario’s courts is available in English at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OCACSurveyEN and in French at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OCACSondageFR

To learn more about the AODA Alliance’s advocacy for accessibility in Ontario’s courts, visit the AODA Alliance website’s courts accessibility page.

3. Reminder to Send Us Input to Help Us Give Feedback on Barriers in Ontario Schools, Colleges and Universities Facing Students with Disabilities

As we earlier announced, we are preparing briefs to submit to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee on its initial report and to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on its initial report. These reports address barriers facing students with disabilities in schools, colleges and universities respectively. Send your input to us at [email protected] to help us with the preparation of our briefs.

We will also very shortly be sharing with you a draft of the brief on disability barriers in the health care system facing patients with disabilities, to see how you like it. That brief, once finalized will be shared with the Health Care Standards Development Committee.

It is extremely rare that people with disabilities get a chance to have input into such important issues. They are all happening at the same time. Let’s take advantage and be sure we all have our say.

To help you, we have made available a captioned online education video that summarizes the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report. Check it out. We have also made available for you an Action Kit on how to take part, as well as a 15-page summary and a 55-page summary of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report. Choose which of these offerings is the most helpful for you.

Learn more about our advocacy efforts in the area of education for students with disabilities by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s education page.




Source link

Attend CNIB’s July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall on Dangers that Electric Scooters Pose for People with Disabilities if London Ontario Allows Them – and— Please Fill Out an Important Online Survey About Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Courts


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/

Attend CNIB’s July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall on Dangers that Electric Scooters Pose for People with Disabilities if London Ontario Allows Them – and— Please Fill Out an Important Online Survey About Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Courts

July 22, 2021

            SUMMARY

Here’s a buffet of recent news from the trenches of the battle for accessibility for people with disabilities:

  1. Please come to CNIB’s July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall between 5 and 7 pm local time to discuss the dangers that e-scooters pose if the City of London Ontario allows them. Read on for details on how to register to take part.
  1. Please complete an important online survey before September 30, 2021 about disability barriers you have experienced in Ontario’s Courts. See below for more information on this.
  1. What do you think of the initial reports of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee or the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on what needs to be done to tear down the many disability barriers that impede students with disabilities in Ontario? Let us know! Once again, read on for more about this.

Believe it or not, 903 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 still announced no comprehensive plan of action to implement that report. Numbering at least 2.6 million, Ontarians with disabilities deserve better.

            MORE DETAILS

1. Come to CNIB’s July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall on Dangers to People with Disabilities if London, Ontario Allows E-Scooters

It is very troubling that London, Ontario is considering allowing e-scooters. After an incredibly tenacious effort, people with disabilities managed to convince the City of Toronto not to allow e-scooters because they endanger people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. Now it is time to mount a similar campaign in other cities in Ontario that are thinking of creating the same danger for people with disabilities.

London, Ontario is now actively considering the possibility of conducting a “pilot project” with e-scooters. The corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies are unquestionably behind this, as they were in Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor and elsewhere.

We are thrilled that on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 from 5 to 7 pm local time, CNIB will be hosting an on-line Virtual Town Hall for people with disabilities to discuss concerns about the possibility of London allowing e-scooters and to explore what you can do about this danger. Please plan to take part! To register for this event, contact Larissa Proctor [email protected] and let her know if you have any accommodation needs.

For background you can check out our short, widely viewed, captioned online video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky about the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities. It formed part of our successful campaign against allowing e-scooters in Toronto.

Toronto City staff did a comprehensive job of documenting the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. That research led Toronto City Council to unanimously defeat a proposal to allow e-scooters, which was heavily backed by the e-scooters corporate lobbyists. We call on all other Ontario cities to show the same wisdom and concern for the safety of people with disabilities and others.

To learn all about our campaign over the past two years to protect Ontarians with disabilities from the dangers that e-scooters pose, visit the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooters page.

Why are we having to fight this battle one city at a time? Sadly, this is all due to Premier Doug Ford refusing to listen to us about this while listening instead only to the e-scooter corporate lobbyists. Two years ago, e-scooters were not allowed in public places in Ontario, thanks to Ontario law. As the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooters page amply documents, the Ford Government decided to change all that in 2019. It passed a harmful regulation that let each municipality conduct a pilot project if they wished with e-scooters over a 5-year period. We tried to convince the Ford Government not to do this, because of the dangers posed to people with disabilities and others. The Ford Government decided, however, to give in to the corporate lobbyists and to entirely reject our concerns.

People with disabilities won this uphill battle against the corporate lobbyists in Toronto. We can do the same in London and elsewhere, with your help. Please register to take part in the July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall to get involved.

2. Please Take Part In an On-Line Survey About Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Court System

Have you had experience encountering any disability barriers in any court proceedings in Ontario? Here is an amazing chance for you to anonymously share your experience and help with an ongoing effort to make Ontario’s courts barrier-free for people with disabilities by 2025, as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires.

In 2007, a major official report, the Weiler Report, mapped out actions needed to make Ontario’s courts fully accessible for court participants with disabilities. It was prepared by a group including representation from the courts, the Government, the legal profession and the disability community. That group was appointed by Ontario’s then Chief Justice Roy McMurtry. It was chaired by then Court of Appeal Justice Karen Weiler. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky was a member of that group.

Among other things, the Weiler Report recommended that a permanent committee be established to monitor and oversee progress in this area. This led to the creation of the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee (OCAC), which has been in action since then. A successor to the Weiler group, OCAC also includes representatives from the courts, the Government, the legal profession and the disability community. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky has also been a member of that committee since it began.

To help OCAC with its ongoing work, an online survey is underway until September 30, 2021. It gives you a chance to give your input without sharing your identity. Please take part in the survey. Please publicize it to others, and urge them to take part as well.

The online survey about disability barriers in Ontario’s courts is available in English at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OCACSurveyEN and in French at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OCACSondageFR

To learn more about the AODA Alliance’s advocacy for accessibility in Ontario’s courts, visit the AODA Alliance website’s courts accessibility page.

3. Reminder to Send Us Input to Help Us Give Feedback on Barriers in Ontario Schools, Colleges and Universities Facing Students with Disabilities

As we earlier announced, we are preparing briefs to submit to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee on its initial report and to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on its initial report. These reports address barriers facing students with disabilities in schools, colleges and universities respectively. Send your input to us at [email protected] to help us with the preparation of our briefs.

We will also very shortly be sharing with you a draft of the brief on disability barriers in the health care system facing patients with disabilities, to see how you like it. That brief, once finalized will be shared with the Health Care Standards Development Committee.

It is extremely rare that people with disabilities get a chance to have input into such important issues. They are all happening at the same time. Let’s take advantage and be sure we all have our say.

To help you, we have made available a captioned online education video that summarizes the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report. Check it out. We have also made available for you an Action Kit on how to take part, as well as a 15-page summary and a 55-page summary of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report. Choose which of these offerings is the most helpful for you.

Learn more about our advocacy efforts in the area of education for students with disabilities by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s education page.



Source link

AODA Alliance Writes Toronto Mayor John Tory and City Council to Thank Them for Maintaining the Ban on 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/

May 12, 2021

SUMMARY

In the wake of the disability community’s major victory in Toronto last week, the AODA Alliance has just written Toronto Mayor John Tory and all members of Toronto City Council. We thank them for unanimously voting last week to keep in place the ban on riding electric scooters in public places. We set out that letter below. In our letter we also urge the City of Toronto to move swiftly to implement City Council’s commendable unanimous decision to conduct a public education campaign to ensure that the public knows that it is illegal to ride e-scooters in public and to beef up enforcement of the ban on riding e-scooters in Toronto.

Our attention now turns to other cities in Ontario that are allowing e-scooters or that are considering this possibility. They should act on the strong message from Toronto’s wise decision that e-scooters must remain banned to protect the safety of people with disabilities, seniors, children and others, and to avoid creating new disability accessibility barriers. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

If you live in a community outside Toronto where e-scooters are allowed or are being considered, we invite you to press your municipal government to ban e-scooters. If you want to learn more about this, check out the AODA Alliance’s short captioned video on this topic that helped with our blitz in Toronto. It has been seen over 1,000 times. Even though it speaks about Toronto, all the points in it are relevant wherever you live. If your city is one of the few conducting a pilot project with e-scooters, nothing prevents the city from cancelling that pilot due to its dangers to the public.

Feel free to let us know what you do. Email us at [email protected]

You can thumb through all our advocacy efforts on this issue around Ontario over the past two years by visiting the AODA Alliance e-scooter web page.

MORE DETAILS

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
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/

May 12, 2021

To: Mayor John Tory and Members of Toronto City Council
City Hall,
100 Queen St. W.
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Via email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Dear Mayor Tory and Members of Toronto City Council

Re: Protecting People with Disabilities in Toronto From the Dangers Posed by Electric Scooters

We write to thank you very much for unanimously voting on May 5, 2021 to keep in place the ban on riding e-scooters in public spaces in Toronto, and not to conduct an e-scooter pilot project. It is a major relief to people with disabilities, seniors and others that they will not face the dangers to their safety and accessibility that would have been created, had the vote gone in the other direction. We thank you for standing up for people with disabilities, and standing up to the e-scooter corporate lobbyists.

You should be proud of Toronto’s handling of this issue, for several reasons. City staff did thorough impartial professional work on this issue, in the highest tradition of the public service. They produced an excellent report to guide you in your deliberations, after carefully researching the subject, and after affording to all sides of the debate a complete and fair opportunity to address the issues raised by e-scooters.

You should also be proud of the important role that accessibility for people with disabilities played in the decision on this issue. City Council’s unanimous decision last week implements the two unanimous recommendations on e-scooters that the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee submitted to City Council, in order to protect personal safety and accessibility for people with disabilities. Once the disability concerns regarding e-scooters were raised by the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee and by deputants from the disability community before Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee last year, City Council commendably directed City staff on July 28, 2020 to do more research on these disability issues, before Council would ultimately vote on the e-scooters issue. The further research that City staff thereafter undertook again verified these disability concerns and documented that there was no effective solution for them, short of a continued ban on public riding of e-scooters. City Council was wise to follow the City staff recommendation.

We thank every member of City Council who took the time to speak with us and/or other representatives from the disability community, as well as those of your staffs that did so. It is so important for you to hear directly from us as you think through public policy issues that can affect us.

It was very commendable that on May 5, 2021, City Council unanimously adopted the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee recommendation that the City undertake a public education strategy to inform the public that riding privately-owned e-scooters in public places is unlawful. As well, Council wisely adopted the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee recommendation that the City effectively enforce the ban on riding privately-owned e-scooters in public. That unanimous Toronto City Council decision reads in material part:

“1. City Council request the Toronto Police Services Board, the General Manager, Transportation Services, and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to consult with accessibility stakeholders to:

a. develop a public education campaign to effectively convey the existing by-laws on the prohibition of e-scooters use in all public spaces; and

b. actively scale up city-wide enforcement of the by-law prohibiting use of e-scooters in all public spaces.”

It is more than ironic that mere days after the City Council vote on e-scooters, I encountered an incident with a privately-owned e-scooter when walking on a public path in a City park. A child, likely no older than 14 or 15, was racing very close to me over and over, back and forth, on an e-scooter on that path. As I am blind, a sighted friend with me, himself a senior citizen whom the e-scooter barely missed, noted for me that the child had no helmet. We told the child that riding that e-scooter was illegal. The child seemed to have no idea of that. A little later, the child’s grandfather belligerently told my wife that it is not illegal to ride that e-scooter, and that he should know, since he is a lawyer. This typifies the need for strong action by the City.

City Council should be proud as well of the important leadership and strong signal that Toronto has provided for other municipalities around Ontario that may now be considering the possibility of lifting the ban on e-scooters, or that are carrying on an e-scooter pilot. Sadly, and contrary to the needs of Ontarians with disabilities, the Ontario Government did not do the much-needed research into disability concerns that Toronto City staff commendably undertook before Ontario exposed us all to the dangers that e-scooters have been proven to pose. Smaller communities don’t have the City staff capacity and expertise that Toronto is fortunate to have. They can all now benefit from the research undertaken by Toronto City staff.

We know that the well-financed e-scooter corporate lobbyists, who inundated Toronto City Hall for over two years on this issue, will target other cities. Toronto’s wise decision not to allow e-scooters will help give those other Ontario communities pause in the face of that corporate lobbying. Once the pandemic is behind us, we will be encouraging tourists and conferences that are looking for destinations in Ontario to choose as their destinations only those Ontario municipalities that ban e-scooters, in order to avoid the dangers of e-scooters.

We ask that City Council and the City of Toronto build on its commendable decision on e-scooters by taking the following important steps, with which we would be pleased to assist:

1. Please immediately implement the Council’s recommendation for a public education blitz and for an enforcement plan regarding illegal riding of privately-owned e-scooters in public places.

2. Please ensure that throughout the development of future City planning regarding micro-mobility, disability accessibility and safety concerns are front and centre, so that people with disabilities do not have to wage so exhausting a volunteer campaign as was the case over the past year and a quarter regarding e-scooters.

3. Please ensure that the impact of City policies are always thoroughly vetted in advance for accessibility issues, as part of the City’s business routine. The City of course can benefit from the advice of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee which did excellent work here. However, this cannot all be left to that committee, especially in a City Government as large and complex as Toronto’s.

4. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, please continue to afford to the public, including to people with disabilities, the opportunity to make deputations via virtual online participation. This can go a long way to overcoming disability barriers to participation in City Government decision-making.

We again congratulate and thank City Council and hope you will all stay safe.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont
Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Twitter: @davidlepofsky




Source link

AODA Alliance Writes Toronto Mayor John Tory and City Council to Thank Them for Maintaining the Ban on Electric Scooters – 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/

AODA Alliance Writes Toronto Mayor John Tory and City Council to Thank Them for Maintaining the Ban on Electric Scooters

May 12, 2021

            SUMMARY

In the wake of the disability community’s major victory in Toronto last week, the AODA Alliance has just written Toronto Mayor John Tory and all members of Toronto City Council. We thank them for unanimously voting last week to keep in place the ban on riding electric scooters in public places. We set out that letter below. In our letter we also urge the City of Toronto to move swiftly to implement City Council’s commendable unanimous decision to conduct a public education campaign to ensure that the public knows that it is illegal to ride e-scooters in public and to beef up enforcement of the ban on riding e-scooters in Toronto.

Our attention now turns to other cities in Ontario that are allowing e-scooters or that are considering this possibility. They should act on the strong message from Toronto’s wise decision that e-scooters must remain banned to protect the safety of people with disabilities, seniors, children and others, and to avoid creating new disability accessibility barriers. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

If you live in a community outside Toronto where e-scooters are allowed or are being considered, we invite you to press your municipal government to ban e-scooters. If you want to learn more about this, check out the AODA Alliance‘s short captioned video on this topic that helped with our blitz in Toronto. It has been seen over 1,000 times. Even though it speaks about Toronto, all the points in it are relevant wherever you live. If your city is one of the few conducting a pilot project with e-scooters, nothing prevents the city from cancelling that pilot due to its dangers to the public.

Feel free to let us know what you do. Email us at [email protected]

You can thumb through all our advocacy efforts on this issue around Ontario over the past two years by visiting the AODA Alliance e-scooter web page.

MORE DETAILS

Text of the AODA Alliance’s May 12, 2021 Letter to Toronto Mayor John Tory and All City Council Members

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

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/

May 12, 2021

To: Mayor John Tory and Members of Toronto City Council

City Hall,

100 Queen St. W.

Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Via email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Dear Mayor Tory and Members of Toronto City Council

Re: Protecting People with Disabilities in Toronto From the Dangers Posed by Electric Scooters

We write to thank you very much for unanimously voting on May 5, 2021 to keep in place the ban on riding e-scooters in public spaces in Toronto, and not to conduct an e-scooter pilot project. It is a major relief to people with disabilities, seniors and others that they will not face the dangers to their safety and accessibility that would have been created, had the vote gone in the other direction. We thank you for standing up for people with disabilities, and standing up to the e-scooter corporate lobbyists.

You should be proud of Toronto’s handling of this issue, for several reasons. City staff did thorough impartial professional work on this issue, in the highest tradition of the public service. They produced an excellent report to guide you in your deliberations, after carefully researching the subject, and after affording to all sides of the debate a complete and fair opportunity to address the issues raised by e-scooters.

You should also be proud of the important role that accessibility for people with disabilities played in the decision on this issue. City Council’s unanimous decision last week implements the two unanimous recommendations on e-scooters that the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee submitted to City Council, in order to protect personal safety and accessibility for people with disabilities. Once the disability concerns regarding e-scooters were raised by the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee and by deputants from the disability community before Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee last year, City Council commendably directed City staff on July 28, 2020 to do more research on these disability issues, before Council would ultimately vote on the e-scooters issue. The further research that City staff thereafter undertook again verified these disability concerns and documented that there was no effective solution for them, short of a continued ban on public riding of e-scooters. City Council was wise to follow the City staff recommendation.

We thank every member of City Council who took the time to speak with us and/or other representatives from the disability community, as well as those of your staffs that did so. It is so important for you to hear directly from us as you think through public policy issues that can affect us.

It was very commendable that on May 5, 2021, City Council unanimously adopted the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee recommendation that the City undertake a public education strategy to inform the public that riding privately-owned e-scooters in public places is unlawful. As well, Council wisely adopted the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee recommendation that the City effectively enforce the ban on riding privately-owned e-scooters in public. That unanimous Toronto City Council decision reads in material part:

“1. City Council request the Toronto Police Services Board, the General Manager, Transportation Services, and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to consult with accessibility stakeholders to:

  1. develop a public education campaign to effectively convey the existing by-laws on the prohibition of e-scooters use in all public spaces; and
  2. actively scale up city-wide enforcement of the by-law prohibiting use of e-scooters in all public spaces.”

It is more than ironic that mere days after the City Council vote on e-scooters, I encountered an incident with a privately-owned e-scooter when walking on a public path in a City park. A child, likely no older than 14 or 15, was racing very close to me over and over, back and forth, on an e-scooter on that path. As I am blind, a sighted friend with me, himself a senior citizen whom the e-scooter barely missed, noted for me that the child had no helmet. We told the child that riding that e-scooter was illegal. The child seemed to have no idea of that. A little later, the child’s grandfather belligerently told my wife that it is not illegal to ride that e-scooter, and that he should know, since he is a lawyer. This typifies the need for strong action by the City.

City Council should be proud as well of the important leadership and strong signal that Toronto has provided for other municipalities around Ontario that may now be considering the possibility of lifting the ban on e-scooters, or that are carrying on an e-scooter pilot. Sadly, and contrary to the needs of Ontarians with disabilities, the Ontario Government did not do the much-needed research into disability concerns that Toronto City staff commendably undertook before Ontario exposed us all to the dangers that e-scooters have been proven to pose. Smaller communities don’t have the City staff capacity and expertise that Toronto is fortunate to have. They can all now benefit from the research undertaken by Toronto City staff.

We know that the well-financed e-scooter corporate lobbyists, who inundated Toronto City Hall for over two years on this issue, will target other cities. Toronto’s wise decision not to allow e-scooters will help give those other Ontario communities pause in the face of that corporate lobbying. Once the pandemic is behind us, we will be encouraging tourists and conferences that are looking for destinations in Ontario to choose as their destinations only those Ontario municipalities that ban e-scooters, in order to avoid the dangers of e-scooters.

We ask that City Council and the City of Toronto build on its commendable decision on e-scooters by taking the following important steps, with which we would be pleased to assist:

  1. Please immediately implement the Council’s recommendation for a public education blitz and for an enforcement plan regarding illegal riding of privately-owned e-scooters in public places.
  2. Please ensure that throughout the development of future City planning regarding micro-mobility, disability accessibility and safety concerns are front and centre, so that people with disabilities do not have to wage so exhausting a volunteer campaign as was the case over the past year and a quarter regarding e-scooters.
  3. Please ensure that the impact of City policies are always thoroughly vetted in advance for accessibility issues, as part of the City’s business routine. The City of course can benefit from the advice of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee which did excellent work here. However, this cannot all be left to that committee, especially in a City Government as large and complex as Toronto’s.
  4. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, please continue to afford to the public, including to people with disabilities, the opportunity to make deputations via virtual online participation. This can go a long way to overcoming disability barriers to participation in City Government decision-making.

We again congratulate and thank City Council and hope you will all stay safe.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont

Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

Twitter: @davidlepofsky



Source link

After a Major Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto City Council Unanimously Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 5, 2021 Toronto: As a major victory for people with disabilities, Toronto’s City Council Today unanimously voted not to allow e-scooters in public and not to conduct a pilot project. Terrified of the danger to them that e-scooters pose, people with disabilities have been working hard to oppose the efforts of corporate lobbyists on this issue.

City staff, Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee made strong recommendations to City Council against allowing e-scooters in Toronto, and against conducting a pilot project. In the same direction, an impressive spectrum of disability advocates told the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on April 28, 2021 that Toronto City Council must not unleash dangerous electric scooters in Toronto (now banned, unless Council legalizes them).

A City Staff Report, which the Toronto City Council unanimously supported, amply shows e-scooters endanger public safety in places allowing them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people can’t tell when silent e-scooters rocket at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmetted fun-seeking riders. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for blind people and accessibility nightmares for wheelchair users.

The Infrastructure Committee was told last week that Toronto has been getting less accessible to people with disabilities. Allowing e-scooters would make that worse.

Last week, the Infrastructure and Environment Committee was also told over and over that it accomplishes nothing to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The City Staff Report documents the silent menace of e-scooters continue to be ridden on sidewalks in cities that just ban them from sidewalks. We would need cops on every block. Toronto law enforcement told City Councilors last July 9 that they have no resources to enforce such new e-scooter rules.

E-scooters would impose significant costs on taxpayers for new law enforcement, OHIP for treating those injured by e-scooters, lawsuits by the injured, etc. Toronto has more pressing budget priorities.

The AODA Alliance has exposed the stunning well-funded behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure that corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies have inundated City Hall with for months.

“We applaud the Toronto City Council for its unanimous vote and we congratulate all the disability organizations and individual disability advocates who devoted their volunteer efforts to help protect our safety and accessibility,” said AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. “The small number of Ontario cities that started an e-scooter pilot project should now suspend those pilot projects, and learn from the wise Toronto decision, in the interest of protecting their vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities, and others that e-scooters endanger. We need Ontario cities to become more accessible to people with disabilities, and not allow any new disability barriers to be created.”

Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance
For more background, check out the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto on e-scooters, the AODA Alliance video on why e-scooters are so dangerous (which media can use in any reports), and the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.




Source link

After a Major Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto City Council Unanimously Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After a Major Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto City Council Unanimously Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters

May 5, 2021 Toronto: As a major victory for people with disabilities, Toronto’s City Council Today unanimously voted not to allow e-scooters in public and not to conduct a pilot project. Terrified of the danger to them that e-scooters pose, people with disabilities have been working hard to oppose the efforts of corporate lobbyists on this issue.

City staff, Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee made strong recommendations to City Council against allowing e-scooters in Toronto, and against conducting a pilot project. In the same direction, an impressive spectrum of disability advocates told the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on April 28, 2021 that Toronto City Council must not unleash dangerous electric scooters in Toronto (now banned, unless Council legalizes them).

A City Staff Report, which the Toronto City Council unanimously supported, amply shows e-scooters endanger public safety in places allowing them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people can’t tell when silent e-scooters rocket at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmetted fun-seeking riders. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for blind people and accessibility nightmares for wheelchair users.

The Infrastructure Committee was told last week that Toronto has been getting less accessible to people with disabilities. Allowing e-scooters would make that worse.

Last week, the Infrastructure and Environment Committee was also told over and over that it accomplishes nothing to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The City Staff Report documents the silent menace of e-scooters continue to be ridden on sidewalks in cities that just ban them from sidewalks. We would need cops on every block. Toronto law enforcement told City Councilors last July 9 that they have no resources to enforce such new e-scooter rules.

E-scooters would impose significant costs on taxpayers for new law enforcement, OHIP for treating those injured by e-scooters, lawsuits by the injured, etc. Toronto has more pressing budget priorities.

The AODA Alliance has exposed the stunning well-funded behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure that corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies have inundated City Hall with for months.

“We applaud the Toronto City Council for its unanimous vote and we congratulate all the disability organizations and individual disability advocates who devoted their volunteer efforts to help protect our safety and accessibility,” said AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. “The small number of Ontario cities that started an e-scooter pilot project should now suspend those pilot projects, and learn from the wise Toronto decision, in the interest of protecting their vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities, and others that e-scooters endanger. We need Ontario cities to become more accessible to people with disabilities, and not allow any new disability barriers to be created.”

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

Twitter: @aodaalliance

For more background, check out the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto on e-scooters, the AODA Alliance video on why e-scooters are so dangerous (which media can use in any reports), and the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.



Source link

In One Day, Advocacy Action on 3 Accessibility Fronts- Critical Care Triage, Electric Scooters and B.C. Disabilities Act


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/

April 29, 2021

SUMMARY

The grassroots volunteer campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities must be waged on so many fronts. Yesterday, we saw action at the same time on three of those fronts. In a nutshell:

1. On its April 28, 2021 evening TV news broadcast, Global News included a superb report on the disability discrimination in Ontarios critical care triage protocol by senior journalist Caryn Lieberman. We set out below the slightly longer text version of that report that Global also posted online. This is another in Ms. Liebermans consistently excellent reportage on disability issues in recent years.

For more on this issue, visit the AODA Alliance health care web page.

2. On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, after tenacious grassroots efforts by so many, the City of Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee unanimously voted to not allow e-scooters in Toronto, and not to conduct a pilot project with e-scooters. E-scooters endanger the safety and accessibility for people with disabilities and seniors, and frankly, endanger everyone. Disability concerns were at the centre of this decision.

Thanks to all who joined in this grassroots campaign. However, we are not done yet. On May 5, 2021, the entire Toronto City Council will vote on the question. We must keep up the pressure. To help us press all members of Toronto City Council, please follow @aodaalliance on Twitter and retweet our tweets over the next days. Call as many members of Toronto City Council as possible to urge them to vote no to e-scooters, and no to conducting a Toronto e-scooter pilot project.

The disability campaign against e-scooters has gotten more media attention. Below we set out a letter to the editor in todays Toronto Star by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, and two articles on this issue in the Star over the past two days. You can also watch a good report by reporter Jessica Ng on this topic that appeared on the April 28, 2021 6 oclock Toronto news broadcast on CBC TV.

Yesterday was an unusual if not unique day for the AODA Alliance. At the same time over the supper hour, two different TV networks, Global and CBC, each aired news reports that included the AODA Alliance, each addressing different issues. On CBC, it was the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities. On Global, it was the dangers that Ontarios critical care triage protocol poses for people with disabilities.

The April 28, 2021 report on the e-scooters issue in the Toronto Star, set out below, that ran before the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee voted on this issue, included this information:

The chair of Bird Canada is John Bitove. His brother Jordan Bitove is the publisher of the Toronto Star and co-proprietor of Torstar, the company that owns the newspaper.

Bird Canada is one of the two biggest e-scooter rental companies that are aggressively lobbying Toronto City Council to let them rent e-scooters in Toronto, despite their danger for people with disabilities and others.

For more background, check out the AODA Alliances March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto on e-scooters, the AODA Alliance video on why e-scooters are so dangerous (which media can use in any reports), and the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.

3. While all this was going on in Ontario, great news reached us from Canadas west coast. Following the lead that Ontario set back in 2005 with the enactment of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the BC Government introduced a bill for first reading in the B.C. Legislature, Bill 6, the Accessible British Columbia Act. We have not yet had a chance to review the bill itself.

We congratulate B.C. disability advocates, led by the grassroots Barrier-Free BC, for this major milestone event. The AODA Alliance has been proud to lend assistance to their efforts from afar, when asked. Back in October 2015, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky was the keynote speaker at a town hall event that led to the birth that day of Barrier-Free B.C. From there on in, it was the excellent work of grassroots disability advocates in B.C. that carried the ball, did the hard work, and got their province to this important point. We remain eager to help B.C. in any way we can as this bill makes its way through the B.C. Legislature.

The Ford Governments delays on disability accessibility seem endless. There have now been 819 days, or over 2 and a quarter years, since the Ford Government received the ground-breaking final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has announced no effective plan of new action to implement that report. That makes even worse the serious problems facing Ontarians with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis. The Ontario Government only has 1,343 days left until 2025, the deadline by which the Government must have led Ontario to become fully accessible to people with disabilities.

MORE DETAILS

Global News April 28, 2021

Originally posted at https://963bigfm.com/news/7816548/ontario-covid-triage-protocol-discriminates-disability-advocates/

Ontario’s COVID-19 triage protocol ‘discriminates because of disability,’ advocates say Caryn Lieberman GlobalNews.ca

With Ontarios ICUs being pushed to the brink, hospitals are preparing for the worst. For health-care workers, that means staring difficult life-changing choices in the face. If there arent enough beds, who gets one? As Caryn Lieberman reports, there would be a process to follow, but some says it discriminates against people with disabilities.

When Tracy Odell experienced bleeding in her stomach last summer during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, she went to hospital but vowed she would not return.

I dont feel safe in hospitals and a lot of people with disabilities similar to mine, where you need this much assistance, dont feel safe in a hospital, she said.

Odell was born with spinal muscular atrophy and requires assistance to complete many daily tasks.

Now, amid the third wave and with critical care units filling up, Odell said she fears if she ever needed the care, she would not be able to get it.

I, personally, wouldnt go to a hospital. I would feel it would be a waste of time and Id feel very unsafe to go there Its a real indictment, I think, of our system, that people who have disabilities, have severe needs, dont feel safe in a place where everyones supposed to be safe, she said.

Odell is most concerned about a critical care triage protocol that could be activated in Ontario.

It would essentially allow health-care providers to decide who gets potentially life-saving care and who doesnt.

Under the guidelines, as set out in a draft protocol circulating among hospitals, patients would be ranked on their likelihood to survive one year after the onset of critical illness.

Patients who have a high likelihood of dying within twelve months from the onset of their episode of critical illness (based on an evaluation of their clinical presentation at the point of triage) would have a lower priority for critical care resources, states the document.

Odell says its tough to predict who will survive an illness.

They have to guess whos going to last a year … As a child with my disability, my projected life expectancy was like a kid they didnt think Id live to be a teenager and here I am retired, so its a very hard thing to judge, said Odell.

Disability advocates have been raising alarm bells over the triage protocol for months.

David Lepofsky, of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, sent multiple letters to Minister of Health Christine Elliott demanding transparency, arguing the Ontario governments pervasive secrecy over its critical care triage plans has made many people with disabilities terrified, angry and distrustful.

People with disabilities have disproportionately had to suffer for the past year from the most severe aspects of COVID People with disabilities are disproportionately prone to end up in intensive care units and die from the disease, said Lepofsky.

Now we face the double cruelty that we are disproportionately prone to get told, No, you cant have that life-saving care.’

Lepofsky said the document that is circulating, while not finalized, is problematic, unethical and discriminatory.

The rules that have been given to intensive care units for deciding who gets critical care and who doesnt, if they have to ration, may look fine because theyre full of medical jargon, but they actually explicitly discriminate because of disability, he said.

We agree there should be a protocol, but it cant be one that discriminates because of disability. Thats illegal.

John Mossa, who is living with muscular dystrophy, has been homebound for more than a year, afraid he would contract COVID-19 if he went outside and not survive it.

COVID is a very serious disease for me if I do get COVID, I would probably become very ill and pass away because of my poor respiratory condition. I have about 30 per cent lung capacity due to my muscular dystrophy so COVID is very serious. Its been a very scary time, he said.

Never more frightening than right now, Mossa said, amid a surging third wave with a record number of patients in Ontarios critical care units and the potential for triaging life-saving care.

The people that would be affected the most are the least considered to get care Im afraid, Im totally afraid to go to hospital right now, he said.

A few weeks ago, Mossa said, he had a hip accident but he has avoided the hospital, even though he is suffering and should seek medical help.

I should be considering going to hospital, but Im not going to go to hospital because I know that I wont get the care I need and if it gets any worse. I know that I wouldnt be given an ICU bed, he said.

On Wednesday, when asked about the triage protocol, Elliott said it has not yet been activated.

That was echoed by Dr. James Downar, a palliative and critical care physician in Ottawa who co-wrote Ontarios ICU protocol.

I dont think that theres any plan to initiate a triage process in the next couple of days. I think a lot is going to depend on which way our ICU numbers go. They have been climbing at a fairly alarming rate, he said.

On concerns by advocates that the protocol discriminates against people with disabilities, Downar said, The only criterion in the triage plan is mortality risk.

We absolutely dont want to make any judgments about whose life is more valuable, certainly nothing based on ability, disability or need for accommodations If you value all lives equally, that, I think, is the strongest argument for using an approach that would save as many lives as you can, he said.

Toronto Star April 29, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2021/04/29/e-scooters-are-a-danger-to-people-with-disabilities.html Letters to the Editor

E-scooters are a danger to people with disabilities
Scoot over, progress. Not in this town, April 27

Matt Elliott is wrong to urge Toronto to allow e-scooters; city council must not unleash dangerous electric scooters in Toronto, now banned, unless council legalizes them.

A city staff report shows e-scooters endanger public safety. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people, like me, can’t know silent e-scooters rocket at us at over 20 kph, driven by unlicensed, uninsured, unhelmeted fun-seeking riders.

It is no solution to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks.

As a blind person, if I get hit by a silent e-scooter racing towards me, it injures me just as badly, whether the rider owns the e-scooter or rents it.

Toronto has too many disability barriers. E-scooters would make it worse.

Toronto’s Disability Accessibility Advisory Committee and disability organizations unanimously called on Toronto not to allow e-scooters.

Mayor John Tory should stand up for people with disabilities, and should stand up to the corporate lobbyists conducting a high-price feeding frenzy at City Hall. David Lepofsky, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

Toronto Star April 29, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/04/28/committee-votes-unanimously-to-uphold-torontos-e-scooter-ban.html

Greater Toronto

Committee upholds T.O. e-scooter ban
Final decision on vehicles to be debated at council next month

Ben Spurr Toronto Star

A city committee has voted to uphold Toronto’s ban on e-scooters, setting up a final decision on the controversial vehicles at council next month.

More than 40 people signed up to speak to a city staff report on e-scooters at a remote meeting of the infrastructure and environment committee Wednesday.

The debate largely pitted transportation experts and representatives of e-scooter companies, who argued the vehicles are an innovative and sustainable transportation option, against disability and seniors advocates, who said e-scooters pose a danger to people with accessibility challenges.

Patricia Israel, a 69-year-old wheelchair user, told the committee she was scared of being hit by someone riding an e-scooter, which are quiet and can have top speeds of more than 40 km/h, although provincial guidelines say they should top out at 24 km/h.

“When a senior crashes to the sidewalk with a broken hip, he or she may die … do you want that?” she asked.

“E-scooters are left scattered all over sidewalks in cities around the world. Some people in wheelchairs cannot pick them up to move them … We’ll be on the sidewalk saying, ‘What do I do now?’” she added.

Jen Freiman, general manager of Lime Canada, an e-scooter sharing company, countered that cars represent the most serious threat on Toronto’s streets, and the city should be allowing safer alternatives.

“I’m not worried about my two young children being hit by someone (on) a scooter in Toronto,” she said. “What does scare me though is a frustrated driver ripping down the side streets by my house.”

She said that e-scooter companies operating in dozens of other cities have found ways to mitigate concerns about safety, street clutter and other issues raised by critics.

E-scooters have become popular in big cities around the world, both for private use and as part of sharing operations that allow users to hop on and off rented vehicles for short trips.

Both uses are currently prohibited on Toronto streets, sidewalks and other public spaces, and the staff report recommended against joining a provincial pilot project that allows cities to legalize the vehicles, subject to conditions.

Staff cited numerous concerns, including the vehicles becoming tripping hazards, unsafe riding on sidewalks, a lack of insurance coverage and insufficient enforcement resources.

Councillors on the committee voted unanimously to support the staff recommendation. Committee member Mike Layton (Ward 11, University-Rosedale) said he was “very conflicted” about the decision, because he believed that the city and e-scooter companies could likely find solutions to the objections critics raised about the vehicles.

But he said the disability community had “very real concerns” and he couldn’t vote against staff advice on a safety issue.

City council will debate the report at its May 5 meeting.

Toronto Star April 28, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/04/22/as-city-committee-debates-e-scooters-concerns-over-a-missed-opportunity.html#:~:text=GTA-,As%20city%20committee%20debates%20e%2Dscooters,concerns%20over%20’a%20missed%20opportunity’&text=They’re%20fun%2C%20fast%20and,to%20ride%20on%20city%20streets.&text=In%20the%20U.S.%2C%20there%20were,Association%20of%20City%20Transportation%20Officials.

Greater Toronto

E-scooters look for green light on T.O. streets
Method of transportation can be ‘useful part of the puzzle,’ one expert says

Ben Spurr Toronto Star

They’re fun, fast and for the moment, they’re illegal to ride on city streets.

But some transportation experts say Toronto is being too timid in its approach to e-scooters, and council should take a stab at legalizing the zippy two-wheeled vehicles on municipal roads, at least on a trial basis.

E-scooters are prohibited on Toronto streets and other public spaces, and in a report released last week, city transportation staff recommend maintaining the status quo. The city’s infrastructure committee will debate the report Wednesday, before the recommendation goes to council next month.

Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s former chief city planner, argues the city should “work toward safely integrating e-scooters into the transportation landscape … because they can be a useful part of the puzzle.”

Keesmaat said the disruption to travel patterns caused by COVID-19 has presented cities with a golden opportunity to rethink policies that have historically prioritized private cars above other modes. She argued e-scooters could provide an additional, more sustainable transportation alternative and help make cities “greener and quieter places.”

“If we take as a given that we need more micro mobility in the city, and that we want to move away from assuming that getting around in a car is the best or only approach, overcoming the challenges associated with scooters is in the best interest of the city over the long term,” she said, while acknowledging there have been problems with the rollout of e-scooters elsewhere.

Motorized electric stand-up scooters have exploded in popularity in recent years and they’re now used in dozens of cities around the world by both private owners and as part of e-scooter sharing operations, which allow riders to hop on and off rented vehicles for short trips.

In the U.S., there were 86 million trips taken on e-scooters in 2019, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials. The average trip length was about 1.6 kilometres. Around one-third of all car trips in the U.S. are less than about three kilometres, which is why some experts believe the two-wheeled devices have the potential to significantly displace car use.

Shauna Brail, an urban planner and associate professor at the Institute for Management & Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga, said she’s not convinced e-scooters represent the transformative change their proponents sometimes pitch them as.

But Brail said there’s evidence the electric-powered vehicles have potential to help solve the first mile/last mile problem of connecting people to transit hubs at the beginning or end of their commutes, and not testing them out would be “a missed opportunity.”

Raktim Mitra, co-director of TransForm Laboratory of Transportation and Land Use Planning at Ryerson University, agreed that city staff are being overly conservative.

He said misgivings about safety, liability and street clutter related to e-scooters are valid, but those problems could likely be addressed through “a combination of technology and regulations.”

There is indication that e-scooters are “one of the most interesting innovations to solve the first mile/last mile problem,” Mitra said. “If it was up to me, I would probably support at least a pilot to try it out.”

The Toronto staff report flagged concerns about the devices, chief among them the potential risk they could pose to Torontonians with accessibility challenges if they were left on the street or improperly ridden on sidewalks. The report also warned insurers won’t cover the vehicles, and the city lacks enforcement resources to ensure users follow the rules.

Staff are advising that council vote against joining a five-year pilot project the Ontario government launched in 2020 that allows cities to legalize e-scooters. Under the terms of the pilot, the vehicles must have a top speed of 24 km/h, and weigh no more than 45 kg. Windsor and Ottawa are among those taking part.

Ahead of the Toronto council vote, global e-scooter sharing companies like Bird and Lime have lobbied city hall in an effort to open up the market to their operations.

The chair of Bird Canada is John Bitove. His brother Jordan Bitove is the publisher of the Toronto Star and co-proprietor of Torstar, the company that owns the newspaper.

Matti Siemiatycki, a professor of geography and interim director of the School of Cities at the University of Toronto, said city staff are right to not embrace e-scooters.

“I think that with every technology there’s trade-offs, and with e-scooters, especially the shared approach, the negative consequences of this technology (outweigh the benefits),” he said, citing the hazards they pose to people with disabilities.




Source link

In One Day, Advocacy Action on 3 Accessibility Fronts- Critical Care Triage, Electric Scooters and B.C. Disabilities Act – 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/

In One Day, Advocacy Action on 3 Accessibility Fronts– Critical Care Triage, Electric Scooters and B.C. Disabilities Act

April 29, 2021

            SUMMARY

The grassroots volunteer campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities must be waged on so many fronts. Yesterday, we saw action at the same time on three of those fronts. In a nutshell:

  1. On its April 28, 2021 evening TV news broadcast, Global News included a superb report on the disability discrimination in Ontario’s critical care triage protocol by senior journalist Caryn Lieberman. We set out below the slightly longer text version of that report that Global also posted online. This is another in Ms. Lieberman’s consistently excellent reportage on disability issues in recent years.

For more on this issue, visit the AODA Alliance health care web page.

  1. On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, after tenacious grassroots efforts by so many, the City of Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee unanimously voted to not allow e-scooters in Toronto, and not to conduct a pilot project with e-scooters. E-scooters endanger the safety and accessibility for people with disabilities and seniors, and frankly, endanger everyone. Disability concerns were at the centre of this decision.

Thanks to all who joined in this grassroots campaign. However, we are not done yet. On May 5, 2021, the entire Toronto City Council will vote on the question. We must keep up the pressure. To help us press all members of Toronto City Council, please follow @aodaalliance on Twitter and retweet our tweets over the next days. Call as many members of Toronto City Council as possible to urge them to vote no to e-scooters, and no to conducting a Toronto e-scooter pilot project.

The disability campaign against e-scooters has gotten more media attention. Below we set out a letter to the editor in today’s Toronto Star by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, and two articles on this issue in the Star over the past two days. You can also watch a good report by reporter Jessica Ng on this topic that appeared on the April 28, 2021 6 o’clock Toronto news broadcast on CBC TV.

Yesterday was an unusual if not unique day for the AODA Alliance. At the same time over the supper hour, two different TV networks, Global and CBC, each aired news reports that included the AODA Alliance, each addressing different issues. On CBC, it was the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities. On Global, it was the dangers that Ontario’s critical care triage protocol poses for people with disabilities.

The April 28, 2021 report on the e-scooters issue in the Toronto Star, set out below, that ran before the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee voted on this issue, included this information:

“The chair of Bird Canada is John Bitove. His brother Jordan Bitove is the publisher of the Toronto Star and co-proprietor of Torstar, the company that owns the newspaper.”

Bird Canada is one of the two biggest e-scooter rental companies that are aggressively lobbying Toronto City Council to let them rent e-scooters in Toronto, despite their danger for people with disabilities and others.

For more background, check out the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto on e-scooters, the AODA Alliance video on why e-scooters are so dangerous (which media can use in any reports), and the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.

  1. While all this was going on in Ontario, great news reached us from Canada’s west coast. Following the lead that Ontario set back in 2005 with the enactment of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the BC Government introduced a bill for first reading in the B.C. Legislature, Bill 6, the Accessible British Columbia Act. We have not yet had a chance to review the bill itself.

We congratulate B.C. disability advocates, led by the grassroots Barrier-Free BC, for this major milestone event. The AODA Alliance has been proud to lend assistance to their efforts from afar, when asked. Back in October 2015, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky was the keynote speaker at a town hall event that led to the birth that day of Barrier-Free B.C. From there on in, it was the excellent work of grassroots disability advocates in B.C. that carried the ball, did the hard work, and got their province to this important point. We remain eager to help B.C. in any way we can as this bill makes its way through the B.C. Legislature.

The Ford Government’s delays on disability accessibility seem endless. There have now been 819 days, or over 2 and a quarter years, since the Ford Government received the ground-breaking final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has announced no effective plan of new action to implement that report. That makes even worse the serious problems facing Ontarians with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis. The Ontario Government only has 1,343 days left until 2025, the deadline by which the Government must have led Ontario to become fully accessible to people with disabilities.

            MORE DETAILS

Global News April 28, 2021

Originally posted at https://963bigfm.com/news/7816548/ontario-covid-triage-protocol-discriminates-disability-advocates/

Ontario’s COVID-19 triage protocol ‘discriminates because of disability,’ advocates say

Caryn Lieberman GlobalNews.ca

With Ontario’s ICUs being pushed to the brink, hospitals are preparing for the worst. For health-care workers, that means staring difficult life-changing choices in the face. If there aren’t enough beds, who gets one? As Caryn Lieberman reports, there would be a process to follow, but some says it discriminates against people with disabilities.

When Tracy Odell experienced bleeding in her stomach last summer during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, she went to hospital but vowed she would not return.

“I don’t feel safe in hospitals and a lot of people with disabilities similar to mine, where you need this much assistance, don’t feel safe in a hospital,” she said.

Odell was born with spinal muscular atrophy and requires assistance to complete many daily tasks.

Now, amid the third wave and with critical care units filling up, Odell said she fears if she ever needed the care, she would not be able to get it.

“I, personally, wouldn’t go to a hospital. I would feel it would be a waste of time and I’d feel very unsafe to go there … It’s a real indictment, I think, of our system, that people who have disabilities, have severe needs, don’t feel safe in a place where everyone’s supposed to be safe,” she said.

Odell is most concerned about a “critical care triage protocol” that could be activated in Ontario.

It would essentially allow health-care providers to decide who gets potentially life-saving care and who doesn’t.

Under the guidelines, as set out in a draft protocol circulating among hospitals, patients would be ranked on their likelihood to survive one year after the onset of critical illness.

“Patients who have a high likelihood of dying within twelve months from the onset of their episode of critical illness (based on an evaluation of their clinical presentation at the point of triage) would have a lower priority for critical care resources,” states the document.

Odell says it’s tough to predict who will survive an illness.

“They have to guess who’s going to last a year … As a child with my disability, my projected life expectancy was like a kid … they didn’t think I’d live to be a teenager and here I am retired, so it’s a very hard thing to judge,” said Odell.

Disability advocates have been raising alarm bells over the triage protocol for months.

David Lepofsky, of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, sent multiple letters to Minister of Health Christine Elliott demanding transparency, arguing “the Ontario government’s pervasive secrecy over its critical care triage plans has made many people with disabilities terrified, angry and distrustful.”

“People with disabilities have disproportionately had to suffer for the past year from the most severe aspects of COVID … People with disabilities are disproportionately prone to end up in intensive care units and die from the disease,” said Lepofsky.

“Now we face the double cruelty that we are disproportionately prone to get told, ‘No, you can’t have that life-saving care.’”

Lepofsky said the document that is circulating, while not finalized, is problematic, unethical and discriminatory.

“The rules that have been given to intensive care units for deciding who gets critical care and who doesn’t, if they have to ration, may look fine because they’re full of medical jargon, but they actually explicitly discriminate because of disability,” he said.

“We agree there should be a protocol, but it can’t be one that discriminates because of disability. That’s illegal.”

John Mossa, who is living with muscular dystrophy, has been homebound for more than a year, afraid he would contract COVID-19 if he went outside and not survive it.

“COVID is a very serious disease for me … if I do get COVID, I would probably become very ill and pass away because of my poor respiratory condition. I have about 30 per cent lung capacity due to my muscular dystrophy so COVID is very serious. It’s been a very scary time,” he said.

Never more frightening than right now, Mossa said, amid a surging third wave with a record number of patients in Ontario’s critical care units and the potential for triaging life-saving care.

“The people that would be affected the most are the least considered to get care … I’m afraid, I’m totally afraid to go to hospital right now,” he said.

A few weeks ago, Mossa said, he had a hip accident but he has avoided the hospital, even though he is suffering and should seek medical help.

“I should be considering going to hospital, but I’m not going to go to hospital because I know that I won’t get the care I need and if it gets any worse. I know that I wouldn’t be given an ICU bed,” he said.

On Wednesday, when asked about the triage protocol, Elliott said it has not yet been activated.

That was echoed by Dr. James Downar, a palliative and critical care physician in Ottawa who co-wrote Ontario’s ICU protocol.

“I don’t think that there’s any plan to initiate a triage process in the next couple of days. I think a lot is going to depend on which way our ICU numbers go. They have been climbing at a fairly alarming rate,” he said.

On concerns by advocates that the protocol discriminates against people with disabilities, Downar said, “The only criterion in the triage plan is mortality risk.”

“We absolutely don’t want to make any judgments about whose life is more valuable, certainly nothing based on ability, disability or need for accommodations … If you value all lives equally, that, I think, is the strongest argument for using an approach that would save as many lives as you can,” he said.

Toronto Star April 29, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2021/04/29/e-scooters-are-a-danger-to-people-with-disabilities.html

Letters to the Editor

E-scooters are a danger to people with disabilities

Scoot over, progress. Not in this town, April 27

Matt Elliott is wrong to urge Toronto to allow e-scooters; city council must not unleash dangerous electric scooters in Toronto, now banned, unless council legalizes them.

A city staff report shows e-scooters endanger public safety. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people, like me, can’t know silent e-scooters rocket at us at over 20 kph, driven by unlicensed, uninsured, unhelmeted fun-seeking riders.

It is no solution to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks.

As a blind person, if I get hit by a silent e-scooter racing towards me, it injures me just as badly, whether the rider owns the e-scooter or rents it.

Toronto has too many disability barriers. E-scooters would make it worse.

Toronto’s Disability Accessibility Advisory Committee and disability organizations unanimously called on Toronto not to allow e-scooters.

Mayor John Tory should stand up for people with disabilities, and should stand up to the corporate lobbyists conducting a high-price feeding frenzy at City Hall.

David Lepofsky, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

 Toronto Star April 29, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/04/28/committee-votes-unanimously-to-uphold-torontos-e-scooter-ban.html

Greater Toronto

Committee upholds T.O. e-scooter ban

Final decision on vehicles to be debated at council next month

Ben Spurr Toronto Star

A city committee has voted to uphold Toronto’s ban on e-scooters, setting up a final decision on the controversial vehicles at council next month.

More than 40 people signed up to speak to a city staff report on e-scooters at a remote meeting of the infrastructure and environment committee Wednesday.

The debate largely pitted transportation experts and representatives of e-scooter companies, who argued the vehicles are an innovative and sustainable transportation option, against disability and seniors advocates, who said e-scooters pose a danger to people with accessibility challenges.

Patricia Israel, a 69-year-old wheelchair user, told the committee she was scared of being hit by someone riding an e-scooter, which are quiet and can have top speeds of more than 40 km/h, although provincial guidelines say they should top out at 24 km/h.

“When a senior crashes to the sidewalk with a broken hip, he or she may die … do you want that?” she asked.

“E-scooters are left scattered all over sidewalks in cities around the world. Some people in wheelchairs cannot pick them up to move them … We’ll be on the sidewalk saying, ‘What do I do now?’” she added.

Jen Freiman, general manager of Lime Canada, an e-scooter sharing company, countered that cars represent the most serious threat on Toronto’s streets, and the city should be allowing safer alternatives.

“I’m not worried about my two young children being hit by someone (on) a scooter in Toronto,” she said. “What does scare me though is a frustrated driver ripping down the side streets by my house.”

She said that e-scooter companies operating in dozens of other cities have found ways to mitigate concerns about safety, street clutter and other issues raised by critics.

E-scooters have become popular in big cities around the world, both for private use and as part of sharing operations that allow users to hop on and off rented vehicles for short trips.

Both uses are currently prohibited on Toronto streets, sidewalks and other public spaces, and the staff report recommended against joining a provincial pilot project that allows cities to legalize the vehicles, subject to conditions.

Staff cited numerous concerns, including the vehicles becoming tripping hazards, unsafe riding on sidewalks, a lack of insurance coverage and insufficient enforcement resources.

Councillors on the committee voted unanimously to support the staff recommendation. Committee member Mike Layton (Ward 11, University-Rosedale) said he was “very conflicted” about the decision, because he believed that the city and e-scooter companies could likely find solutions to the objections critics raised about the vehicles.

But he said the disability community had “very real concerns” and he couldn’t vote against staff advice on a safety issue.

City council will debate the report at its May 5 meeting.

Toronto Star April 28, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/04/22/as-city-committee-debates-e-scooters-concerns-over-a-missed-opportunity.html#:~:text=GTA-,As%20city%20committee%20debates%20e%2Dscooters,concerns%20over%20’a%20missed%20opportunity’&text=They’re%20fun%2C%20fast%20and,to%20ride%20on%20city%20streets.&text=In%20the%20U.S.%2C%20there%20were,Association%20of%20City%20Transportation%20Officials.

Greater Toronto

E-scooters look for green light on T.O. streets

Method of transportation can be ‘useful part of the puzzle,’ one expert says

Ben Spurr Toronto Star

They’re fun, fast and for the moment, they’re illegal to ride on city streets.

But some transportation experts say Toronto is being too timid in its approach to e-scooters, and council should take a stab at legalizing the zippy two-wheeled vehicles on municipal roads, at least on a trial basis.

E-scooters are prohibited on Toronto streets and other public spaces, and in a report released last week, city transportation staff recommend maintaining the status quo. The city’s infrastructure committee will debate the report Wednesday, before the recommendation goes to council next month.

Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s former chief city planner, argues the city should “work toward safely integrating e-scooters into the transportation landscape … because they can be a useful part of the puzzle.”

Keesmaat said the disruption to travel patterns caused by COVID-19 has presented cities with a golden opportunity to rethink policies that have historically prioritized private cars above other modes. She argued e-scooters could provide an additional, more sustainable transportation alternative and help make cities “greener and quieter places.”

“If we take as a given that we need more micro mobility in the city, and that we want to move away from assuming that getting around in a car is the best or only approach, overcoming the challenges associated with scooters is in the best interest of the city over the long term,” she said, while acknowledging there have been problems with the rollout of e-scooters elsewhere.

Motorized electric stand-up scooters have exploded in popularity in recent years and they’re now used in dozens of cities around the world by both private owners and as part of e-scooter sharing operations, which allow riders to hop on and off rented vehicles for short trips.

In the U.S., there were 86 million trips taken on e-scooters in 2019, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials. The average trip length was about 1.6 kilometres. Around one-third of all car trips in the U.S. are less than about three kilometres, which is why some experts believe the two-wheeled devices have the potential to significantly displace car use.

Shauna Brail, an urban planner and associate professor at the Institute for Management & Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga, said she’s not convinced e-scooters represent the transformative change their proponents sometimes pitch them as.

But Brail said there’s evidence the electric-powered vehicles have potential to help solve the first mile/last mile problem of connecting people to transit hubs at the beginning or end of their commutes, and not testing them out would be “a missed opportunity.”

Raktim Mitra, co-director of TransForm Laboratory of Transportation and Land Use Planning at Ryerson University, agreed that city staff are being overly conservative.

He said misgivings about safety, liability and street clutter related to e-scooters are valid, but those problems could likely be addressed through “a combination of technology and regulations.”

There is indication that e-scooters are “one of the most interesting innovations to solve the first mile/last mile problem,” Mitra said. “If it was up to me, I would probably support at least a pilot to try it out.”

The Toronto staff report flagged concerns about the devices, chief among them the potential risk they could pose to Torontonians with accessibility challenges if they were left on the street or improperly ridden on sidewalks. The report also warned insurers won’t cover the vehicles, and the city lacks enforcement resources to ensure users follow the rules.

Staff are advising that council vote against joining a five-year pilot project the Ontario government launched in 2020 that allows cities to legalize e-scooters. Under the terms of the pilot, the vehicles must have a top speed of 24 km/h, and weigh no more than 45 kg. Windsor and Ottawa are among those taking part.

Ahead of the Toronto council vote, global e-scooter sharing companies like Bird and Lime have lobbied city hall in an effort to open up the market to their operations.

The chair of Bird Canada is John Bitove. His brother Jordan Bitove is the publisher of the Toronto Star and co-proprietor of Torstar, the company that owns the newspaper.

Matti Siemiatycki, a professor of geography and interim director of the School of Cities at the University of Toronto, said city staff are right to not embrace e-scooters.

“I think that with every technology there’s trade-offs, and with e-scooters, especially the shared approach, the negative consequences of this technology (outweigh the benefits),” he said, citing the hazards they pose to people with disabilities.



Source link