Quick Ways You can Help Us Get Parliament to Amend Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act, to Make It a Good Law


David Onley’s Independent Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Re-schedules Thunder Bay Public Hearing

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

October 12, 2018

SUMMARY

Help Us Press the Federal Government to Strengthen Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act – Here Are Several Quick Options

We need your help now. a Standing Committee of Canada’s Parliament will decide in the next few weeks what amendments to make to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act. The AODA Alliance has submitted a detailed brief to Parliament, explaining what changes are needed, and why. We’ve also made public a 4-page summary of the seven most important changes that are needed. Without the reforms we’ve recommended, Bill C-81 will not be a strong and successful law that lives up to the Federal Government’s stated intentions.

Here’s how you can help:

1 It would be great if you would email your Member of Parliament (MP) and, if you have the time, as many other MPs as possible. Urge them to make the amendments to Bill C-81 that we recommend in our September 27, 2018 brief. Here is a sample of what you might say in your email, if you don’t have time to write one yourself:

“It is important for Parliament to make important amendments to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act, in order for that bill to become a good law. Over four million people with disabilities need this bill to be strengthened by these amendments.

I support the brief that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance submitted to Parliament on September 27, 2018. You can find that brief at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/please-tell-the-federal-government-if-you-support-the-aoda-alliances-finalized-brief-to-the-parliament-of-canada-that-requests-amendments-to-bill-c-81-the-proposed-accessible-canada-act/ You can find a 4-page summary of the seven top amendments that are needed at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/the-aoda-alliance-is-invited-to-present-to-the-house-of-commons-standing-committee-on-human-resources-skills-and-social-development-and-the-status-of-persons-with-disabilities-on-october-25-2018-to/

Everyone either has a disability now, or is bound to get one later in life, as they age. We need this bill strengthened for everyone’s sake.”

We’ve made it easy for you to find out the email address for each MP in Parliament. We’ve posted a list on line. You can find it at: https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/email-addresses-and-twitter-handles-for-all-members-of-canadas-parliament-as-of-october-11-2018/

2. Please send a tweet to your MP, urging them to support our brief. Below we set out a sample tweet. You just have to add to it the Twitter handle (Twitter name) for your MP. We’ve also made this easy, by making available a list of the Twitter handles for every MP who is on Twitter. You’ll find that information on the same list as their email addresses, at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/email-addresses-and-twitter-handles-for-all-members-of-canadas-parliament-as-of-october-11-2018/ 3. We are tweeting every MP in Parliament. We are asking each of them, one at a time, to support the amendments that we seek to Bill C-81. It would help if you would retweet our tweets to them. Follow @aodaalliance on Twitter or just search on #AccessibleCanada and you will see all these tweets at a glance. We send out a batch virtually every day. Your retweets can help us make even more of an impact.

4. As we’ve mentioned in earlier Updates, it also really helps if you send a one-sentence email to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and to Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough, supporting our brief.

Email for the Standing Committee: [email protected]
Email for Minister Qualtrough: [email protected]

Please CC us on that email: [email protected]

As we’ve earlier suggested, all you need to include in that email, if you don’t want to write more, is this:

“I’m writing to support the brief which the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance has submitted on September 27, 2018 to the Parliament of Canada that recommends improvements to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act.”

If you can get an organization to support our brief, be sure to get that organization to send in a supporting email to the email addresses above, and to include the name of that organization in their email.

4. Come to the hearings of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities on Thursday, October 25, 2018 from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m., when AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky will be one of the presenters. If you are in Ottawa, the hearing will be at the Parliament Buildings, Room 415, 180 Wellington, Ottawa, ON (Entrance at 197 Sparks Street.

5. If you cannot make it to Parliament that day, why not watch the hearing at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities live online, where it will be streamed, or later, where it will be permanently archived. Check out the Committee’s web page at the link below for information on the accessibility supports at the hearing and online for persons who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.

For information on how to watch that Committee’s hearings live online that day, and throughout its hearings, or later when it is archived, visit http://www.ourcommons.ca/Committees/en/HUMA/StudyActivity?studyActivityId=10268658 Please spread the word about these hearings. Encourage others to watch. You can “live tweet” during the hearings. Repeat what is said at the hearings and add your comments in your tweets on Twitter. Use the hashtag #AccessibleCanada

David Onley’s AODA Independent Review Schedules New Public Hearing in Thunder Bay on October 30, 2018, After the AODA Alliance Objected to Its Cancelling Its Earlier Thunder Bay Public Hearing

The Ontario Government appointed David Onley to conduct a mandatory Independent Review of the implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. To date his public hearings have been very poorly publicized. From what we have heard, they have not been well-attended. We earlier made public our concerns about this. Under the AODA, such an Independent Review has a duty to consult the public, and particularly, people with disabilities.

We learned via the grapevine late in the summer that the David Onley AODA Independent Review had scheduled a public hearing for Thunder Bay on September 13, 2018. We later heard through the grapevine that it had been cancelled due to low registration. We made our concerns about this public in our September 17, 2018 AODA Alliance Update. We also took this issue to the Thunder Bay media.

On September 20, 2018, CBC Radio in Thunder Bay posted a story on this issue, which quoted AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on this issue. Below we set out a transcript of that news report.

After this, we were happy to learn that the David Onley AODA Independent Review had decided to re-schedule a new public hearing for Thunder Bay for October 30, 2018. Our efforts paid off. That Independent Review emailed us to tell us about this hearing date, and to ask us, and others, to publicize it. Below we set out the AODA Independent Review’s October 10, 2018 announcement. It gives the exact time and location for the Thunder Bay public hearing.

Please spread the word about it. If you are in the Thunder Bay area, we encourage you to attend and to give your feedback to the Independent Review on how effectively the Ontario Government has been implementing and enforcing the AODA.

We were copied on an email from an AODA supporter in Thunder Bay who is blind, addressed to the David Onley AODA Independent Review. The supporter reported that they found the online form for registering for the Thunder Bay public hearing difficult to navigate. We do not know if others have experienced this issue.

Finally, we have heard that the David Onley AODA Independent Review has extended its deadline for sending it your written submissions to November 2, 2018. Far too few knew of its earlier deadline.

We commend the Onley AODA Independent Review both for re-scheduling its Thunder Bay hearings and for extending its deadline for receiving written submissions and comments on the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. We want to flag for you that the October 10, 2018 email from the David Onley AODA Independent Review, set out below, incorrectly still gives an earlier deadline for written submissions.

We have alerted the Independent Review that we won’t be able to submit our brief until the end of November. We are working on it now. We always welcome your feedback on what we should include in our brief to the Onley AODA Independent Review. Email your thoughts to us at [email protected]

MORE DETAILS

CBC Radio Thunder Bay September 20, 2018

Originally posted at:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/thunder-bay-disabilities-review-cancelling-1.4830504 Disability rights advocate wants cancelled Thunder Bay accessibility hearing rescheduled

Hearing was cancelled due to low registration, event is part of regular review of Ontario’s accessibility act

Cathy Alex CBC News Posted: Sep 20, 2018

Disability rights advocate David Lepofsky wants the public hearings in Thunder Bay, about Ontario’s accessibility act, to be rescheduled after they were cancelled due to low registration. He says the event was poorly publicized. (Natalie Nanowski/CBC News )

A disability rights advocate is expressing concern about the cancellation of a public hearing in Thunder Bay, saying people have lost an important chance to share their experiences during a provincial review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, led by the Honourable David C. Onley.

The act mandates that by 2025 the province be fully accessible, said David Lepofsky, the chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.

The act pertains to people with physical disabilities such as being blind, deaf or needing to use a wheelchair. It also covers people with intellectual or developmental disabilities such as autism.

Approximately every four years the Ontario government must review how it’s doing in terms of achieving that accessibility goal.

‘Important to see how things are going’

“It’s important to see how things are going,” said Lepofsky, noting the review usually includes inviting people with disabilities, in communities all over the province, to share their experiences.

“Are kids with disabilities able to fully participate in their schools? Are people with disabilities able to shop in stores and eat in restaurants? Are people with disabilities able to use our public parks without facing barriers?”

A public consultation was scheduled for September 13 in Thunder Bay, but a posting on the act review website says it was cancelled due to low registration.

“There’s been precious little done to publicize it,” Lepofsky said, who is visually impaired. He added that he believes people didn’t register for the event because they didn’t know about the hearing.

‘Reschedule Thunder Bay hearings’

He said as far as he’s been able to determine the only advertising for the public consultation was on the review website.

“So unless you know about the website, most don’t, and unless you check that website daily, most don’t, you won’t know first about the hearing, and then about it being cancelled.”

Lepofsky wants the government “to step up and make sure this problem gets solved. The David Onley review should reschedule the Thunder Bay hearings. It should give the public proper and ample notice, well enough in advance, to enable people with disabilities, and the rest of the public, to be able to have their say.”

The review committee posted online that people can email their comments or questions to [email protected] It also tells people to stay tuned for a northern virtual consultation, but does not specify a date.

October 10, 2018 Broadcast Email from the David Onley AODA Independent Review

Please share widely!

As you know, Ontario has appointed the Honourable David Onley, CM, O.Ont., senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough and Ontarios 28th Lieutenant Governor, to lead a review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

As part of the review process, Mr. Onley would like to hear from interested parties and people with disabilities to determine their views on the progress and effectiveness of the AODA, and their vision of accessibility through to 2025 and beyond. To learn more about this review, please visit The Third Review of the AODA website.

We are happy to announce that the Valhalla Inn Hotel will be hosting one of five Public Consultation sessions for the Third Review of the AODA.

The session will be held on Tuesday, October 30th from 1PM to 3PM in the Valhalla Inn Hotel, 1 Valhalla Inn Road Thunder Bay, ON P7E 6J1. Please register on Eventbrite to attend this session.

If you are not available to attend the session above, you may submit a written submission, attend an online session or one of the other in person consultation sessions:

Call for Written Submissions
Until October 1, 2018 the Honourable David C. Onley will be accepting written submissions. Please submit your written submission here. Public Consultations
Attend a public meeting in your area! David C. Onley will be traveling across the province to hear your feedback on the AODA. He will also be hosting online consultation sessions. Please see the list of all events here.
Please share widely with your networks. Contact the event organizers if you have any questions. We hope to see you there

Billi Jo Cox. | Project Lead, Third Review of Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 Phone: 416-208-2719
Address: 1265 Military Trail | Toronto | Ontario | M1C 1A



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Quick Ways You can Help Us Get Parliament to Amend Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act, to Make It a Good Law – and – David Onley’s Independent Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Re-schedules Thunder Bay Public Hearing


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

www.aodaalliance.org  [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

Quick Ways You can Help Us Get Parliament to Amend Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act, to Make It a Good Law – and – David Onley’s Independent Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Re-schedules Thunder Bay Public Hearing

October 12, 2018

          SUMMARY

Help Us Press the Federal Government to Strengthen Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act – Here Are Several Quick Options

We need your help now. a Standing Committee of Canada’s Parliament will decide in the next few weeks what amendments to make to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act. The AODA Alliance has submitted a detailed brief to Parliament, explaining what changes are needed, and why. We’ve also made public a 4-page summary of the seven most important changes that are needed. Without the reforms we’ve recommended, Bill C-81 will not be a strong and successful law that lives up to the Federal Government’s stated intentions.

Here’s how you can help:

1 It would be great if you would email your Member of Parliament (MP) and, if you have the time, as many other MPs as possible. Urge them to make the amendments to Bill C-81 that we recommend in our September 27, 2018 brief. Here is a sample of what you might say in your email, if you don’t have time to write one yourself:

“It is important for Parliament to make important amendments to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act, in order for that bill to become a good law. Over four million people with disabilities need this bill to be strengthened by these amendments.

I support the brief that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance submitted to Parliament on September 27, 2018. You can find that brief at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/please-tell-the-federal-government-if-you-support-the-aoda-alliances-finalized-brief-to-the-parliament-of-canada-that-requests-amendments-to-bill-c-81-the-proposed-accessible-canada-act/  You can find a 4-page summary of the seven top amendments that are needed at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/the-aoda-alliance-is-invited-to-present-to-the-house-of-commons-standing-committee-on-human-resources-skills-and-social-development-and-the-status-of-persons-with-disabilities-on-october-25-2018-to/

Everyone either has a disability now, or is bound to get one later in life, as they age. We need this bill strengthened for everyone’s sake.”

We’ve made it easy for you to find out the email address for each MP in Parliament. We’ve posted a list on line. You can find it at: https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/email-addresses-and-twitter-handles-for-all-members-of-canadas-parliament-as-of-october-11-2018/

  1. Please send a tweet to your MP, urging them to support our brief. Below we set out a sample tweet. You just have to add to it the Twitter handle (Twitter name) for your MP. We’ve also made this easy, by making available a list of the Twitter handles for every MP who is on Twitter. You’ll find that information on the same list as their email addresses, at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/email-addresses-and-twitter-handles-for-all-members-of-canadas-parliament-as-of-october-11-2018/
  1. We are tweeting every MP in Parliament. We are asking each of them, one at a time, to support the amendments that we seek to Bill C-81. It would help if you would retweet our tweets to them. Follow @aodaalliance on Twitter or just search on #AccessibleCanada and you will see all these tweets at a glance. We send out a batch virtually every day. Your retweets can help us make even more of an impact.
  1. As we’ve mentioned in earlier Updates, it also really helps if you send a one-sentence email to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and to Disabilities Minister Carla Qualtrough, supporting our brief.

Email for the Standing Committee: [email protected]

Email for Minister Qualtrough: [email protected]

Please CC us on that email: [email protected]

As we’ve earlier suggested, all you need to include in that email, if you don’t want to write more, is this:

“I’m writing to support the brief which the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance has submitted on September 27, 2018 to the Parliament of Canada that recommends improvements to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act.”

If you can get an organization to support our brief, be sure to get that organization to send in a supporting email to the email addresses above, and to include the name of that organization in their email.

  1. Come to the hearings of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities on Thursday, October 25, 2018 from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m., when AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky will be one of the presenters. If you are in Ottawa, the hearing will be at the Parliament Buildings, Room 415, 180 Wellington, Ottawa, ON (Entrance at 197 Sparks Street.
  1. If you cannot make it to Parliament that day, why not watch the hearing at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities live online, where it will be streamed, or later, where it will be permanently archived. Check out the Committee’s web page at the link below for information on the accessibility supports at the hearing and online for persons who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.

For information on how to watch that Committee’s hearings live online that day, and throughout its hearings, or later when it is archived, visit http://www.ourcommons.ca/Committees/en/HUMA/StudyActivity?studyActivityId=10268658

Please spread the word about these hearings. Encourage others to watch. You can “live tweet” during the hearings. Repeat what is said at the hearings and add your comments in your tweets on Twitter. Use the hashtag #AccessibleCanada

David Onley’s AODA Independent Review Schedules New Public Hearing in Thunder Bay on October 30, 2018, After the AODA Alliance Objected to Its Cancelling Its Earlier Thunder Bay Public Hearing

The Ontario Government appointed David Onley to conduct a mandatory Independent Review of the implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. To date his public hearings have been very poorly publicized. From what we have heard, they have not been well-attended. We earlier made public our concerns about this. Under the AODA, such an Independent Review has a duty to consult the public, and particularly, people with disabilities.

We learned via the grapevine late in the summer that the David Onley AODA Independent Review had scheduled a public hearing for Thunder Bay on September 13, 2018. We later heard through the grapevine that it had been cancelled due to low registration. We made our concerns about this public in our September 17, 2018 AODA Alliance Update. We also took this issue to the Thunder Bay media.

On September 20, 2018, CBC Radio in Thunder Bay posted a story on this issue, which quoted AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on this issue. Below we set out a transcript of that news report.

After this, we were happy to learn that the David Onley AODA Independent Review had decided to re-schedule a new public hearing for Thunder Bay for October 30, 2018. Our efforts paid off. That Independent Review emailed us to tell us about this hearing date, and to ask us, and others, to publicize it. Below we set out the AODA Independent Review’s October 10, 2018 announcement. It gives the exact time and location for the Thunder Bay public hearing.

Please spread the word about it. If you are in the Thunder Bay area, we encourage you to attend and to give your feedback to the Independent Review on how effectively the Ontario Government has been implementing and enforcing the AODA.

We were copied on an email from an AODA supporter in Thunder Bay who is blind, addressed to the David Onley AODA Independent Review. The supporter reported that they found the online form for registering for the Thunder Bay public hearing difficult to navigate. We do not know if others have experienced this issue.

Finally, we have heard that the David Onley AODA Independent Review has extended its deadline for sending it your written submissions to November 2, 2018. Far too few knew of its earlier deadline.

We commend the Onley AODA Independent Review both for re-scheduling its Thunder Bay hearings and for extending its deadline for receiving written submissions and comments on the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. We want to flag for you that the October 10, 2018 email from the David Onley AODA Independent Review, set out below, incorrectly still gives an earlier deadline for written submissions.

We have alerted the Independent Review that we won’t be able to submit our brief until the end of November. We are working on it now. We always welcome your feedback on what we should include in our brief to the Onley AODA Independent Review. Email your thoughts to us at [email protected]

          MORE DETAILS

CBC Radio Thunder Bay September 20, 2018

Originally posted at:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/thunder-bay-disabilities-review-cancelling-1.4830504

Disability rights advocate wants cancelled Thunder Bay accessibility hearing rescheduled

Hearing was cancelled due to low registration, event is part of regular review of Ontario’s accessibility act

Cathy Alex CBC News  Posted: Sep 20, 2018

Disability rights advocate David Lepofsky wants the public hearings in Thunder Bay, about Ontario’s accessibility act, to be rescheduled after they were cancelled due to low registration. He says the event was poorly publicized.  (Natalie Nanowski/CBC News )

A disability rights advocate is expressing concern about the cancellation of a public hearing in Thunder Bay, saying people have lost an important chance to share their experiences during a provincial review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, led by the Honourable David C. Onley.

The act mandates that by 2025 the province be fully accessible, said David Lepofsky, the chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.

The act pertains to people with physical disabilities such as being blind, deaf or needing to use a wheelchair. It also covers people with intellectual or developmental disabilities such as autism.

Approximately every four years the Ontario government must review how it’s doing in terms of achieving that accessibility goal.

‘Important to see how things are going’

“It’s important to see how things are going,” said Lepofsky, noting the review usually includes inviting people with disabilities, in communities all over the province, to share their experiences.

“Are kids with disabilities able to fully participate in their schools? Are people with disabilities able to shop in stores and eat in restaurants? Are people with disabilities able to use our public parks without facing barriers?”

A public consultation was scheduled for September 13 in Thunder Bay, but a posting on the act review website says it was cancelled due to low registration.

“There’s been precious little done to publicize it,” Lepofsky said, who is visually impaired. He added that he believes people didn’t register for the event because they didn’t know about the hearing.

‘Reschedule Thunder Bay hearings’

He said as far as he’s been able to determine the only advertising for the public consultation was on the review website.

“So unless you know about the website, most don’t, and unless you check that website daily, most don’t, you won’t know first about the hearing, and then about it being cancelled.”

Lepofsky wants the government “to step up and make sure this problem gets solved. The David Onley review should reschedule the Thunder Bay hearings. It should give the public proper and ample notice, well enough in advance, to enable people with disabilities, and the rest of the public, to be able to have their say.”

The review committee posted online that people can email their comments or questions to [email protected] It also tells people to stay tuned for a northern virtual consultation, but does not specify a date.

October 10, 2018 Broadcast Email from the David Onley AODA Independent Review

Please share widely!

As you know, Ontario has appointed the Honourable David Onley, CM, O.Ont., senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough and Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor, to lead a review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

As part of the review process, Mr. Onley would like to hear from interested parties and people with disabilities to determine their views on the progress and effectiveness of the AODA, and their vision of accessibility through to 2025 and beyond. To learn more about this review, please visit The Third Review of the AODA website.

We are happy to announce that the Valhalla Inn Hotel will be hosting one of five Public Consultation sessions for the Third Review of the AODA.

The session will be held on Tuesday, October 30th from 1PM to 3PM in the Valhalla Inn Hotel, 1 Valhalla Inn Road Thunder Bay, ON P7E 6J1. Please register on Eventbrite to attend this session.

If you are not available to attend the session above, you may submit a written submission, attend an online session or one of the other in person consultation sessions:

  • Call for Written Submissions

Until October 1, 2018 the Honourable David C. Onley will be accepting written submissions. Please submit your written submission here.

Attend a public meeting in your area! David C. Onley will be traveling across the province to hear your feedback on the AODA. He will also be hosting online consultation sessions. Please see the list of all events here.

Please share widely with your networks. Contact the event organizers if you have any questions. We hope to see you there

Billi Jo Cox. | Project Lead, Third Review of Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

Phone: 416-208-2719

Address: 1265 Military Trail | Toronto | Ontario | M1C 1A



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The AODA Alliance Is Invited to Present to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities On October 25, 2018 To Propose Amendments to Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act – Here are the Seven Most Important Amendments Needed to Make that Bill Become a Good Law


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

www.aodaalliance.org, [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

The AODA Alliance Is Invited to Present to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities On October 25, 2018 To Propose Amendments to Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act – Here are the Seven Most Important Amendments Needed to Make that Bill Become a Good Law

October 3, 2018

          SUMMARY

The House of Commons in Ottawa has invited the AODA Alliance to make a presentation on Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act, to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, October 25, 2018, at the Parliament Building in Ottawa. This will be the last day for public hearings on that bill.

We have already submitted our detailed September 27, 2018 brief to Parliament. It lists all the amendments needed to make Bill C-81 into a good bill. We are today making public our short, punchy 4-page summary of that brief. Set out below, it explains the seven most important changes that must be made to Bill C-81, for it to live up to the public statements that the Federal Government has made about its intentions. Of course, our more detailed brief goes into a great deal of detail, and addresses other important issues, beyond these seven.

Please widely circulate this 4-page summary. Encourage as many people and organizations as possible to write the Federal Government to support the AODA Alliances September 27, 2018 brief.

You might say this, either as an individual, or on behalf of an organization that you can speak for:

“I’m writing to support the brief which the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance has submitted on September 27, 2018 to the Parliament of Canada that recommends improvements to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act.”

Of course, you should feel free to add any additional information and recommendations about Bill C-81 you might wish to share, including anything we did not say in our brief.

Email to the Standing Committee of the House of Commons:

[email protected]

Please also email the minister who is championing this bill, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister for People with Disabilities, at:

[email protected]

Please copy the AODA Alliance on your email. Email us at:

[email protected]

          MORE DETAILS

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

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

www.aodaalliance.org  Email: [email protected]  Twitter: @aodaalliance

How to Make Bill C-81, the Proposed “Accessible Canada Act”, a Good Law –Summary of the AODA Alliance’s September 27, 2018 Brief to the Parliament of Canada            October 2, 2018

We congratulate the Federal Government for committing to enact national accessibility legislation, for widely consulting the public on it in 2016-2017, and for bringing a bill to Parliament on June 20, 2018. Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act, aims to eradicate the barriers that impede accessibility for over four million people with disabilities in Canada, in areas that the Federal Government can regulate. That includes, for example air travel, banking, the post office, TV and radio broadcasts, telecommunications (like telephone and cell phone services), Federal Government Services, and anything that anyone does using money from the Federal Government.

Bill C-81 is a good start. However it needs substantial amendments for it to become a good and effective law, one that lives up to the commendable goals that the Federal Government announced in public statements supporting this bill. The AODA Alliance’s September 27, 2018 brief to Parliament explains in detail what is needed to strengthen this bill. The improvements we seek all fit within the bill’s framework. We here summarize the most important amendments we need. Our detailed September 27, 2018 brief to Parliament also describes other needed changes.

The AODA Alliance is a non-partisan community coalition that has advocated in Ontario since 2005 for the effective implementation and enforcement of Canada’s first comprehensive provincial accessibility law, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005. We are the successor to the community coalition that successfully campaigned from 1994 to 2005 for the AODA’s enactment. We have been consulted by and spoken to many including from several provinces around Canada, and in the United Nations, the European Union, Israel and New Zealand.

Good Ingredients in the Bill

The bill creates several important new federal officials and agencies to promote accessibility. This includes a new federal Accessibility Commissioner to enforce the bill in part, a new federal Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization to create model accessibility standards that the Federal Government can choose to enact as enforceable regulations, a new federal Chief Accessibility Officer to advise and report on progress and needed improvements, and a minister to be responsible for some key functions under the bill.

The bill permits the development of non-binding federal accessibility standards. These can guide organizations across Canada on what they need to do to tear down accessibility barriers, and to avoid creating new barriers. The bill allows for the enactment of these standards as federal laws, called regulations. When enacted, these become enforceable.

The bill requires federally-regulated organizations to create multi-year accessibility plans and to update these over a period of years. The bill aims to provide effective enforcement and for the public accountability of obligated organizations for their accessibility efforts. This includes a complaint process. The bill requires legislative and Independent Reviews of the bill’s effectiveness over a period of years.

Amendments Needed to Make this Bill Become a Good Law

  1. It is good that the bill is called An Act to Ensure a Barrier-Free Canada. However the bill’s section that sets out the law’s purpose is much weaker. It says the law’s purpose is “the progressive realization……of a Canada without barriers”. Unlike Ontario’s 2005 accessibility legislation, this federal bill does not set a deadline for Canada to become accessible to people with disabilities. Under it, Canada may not become accessible to people with disabilities for hundreds of years, if ever.

We ask for the bill to be amended to set a deadline for Canada to become accessible. We urge the Federal Government to work with us and others to arrive at a workable and achievable deadline to enshrine in the bill.

  1. It is good that the bill gives the Federal Government and federal accessibility agencies/officials helpful powers to promote accessibility. However, the bill imposes no duty on them to use those powers. It sets no deadlines for taking major implementation steps that the Government must take to implement this bill. The Government could drag its feet for years.

For example, the bill commendably empowers the Government to create accessibility standards as enforceable regulations. However, it does not require the Government to ever enact any of these accessibility regulations. It gives the Federal Government enforcement powers but doesn’t require the bill to be effectively enforced.

We ask that the bill be amended to impose duties on the Federal Government and its accessibility officials and agencies to use the bill’s powers, such as these, and time lines within which they must act.

  1. It is helpful that the bill requires federally-regulated organizations to establish accessibility plans. However, the bill does not require these to be good plans. It does not require an organization to implement its accessibility plan. It does not provide people with disabilities with a way to lodge complaints against an organization if it makes no plan, or makes a poor plan or doesn’t implement its plan. We ask that the bill be amended to correct this.
  1. The bill is unnecessarily confusing and complicated. It will be hard for people with disabilities and others to figure out what it means, and to navigate its complicated provisions. This is because the bill wrongly splinters the power to make accessibility standard regulations and the power to enforce the bill among a number of federal agencies, such as the new federal Accessibility Commissioner, the Canada Transportation Agency CTA and the Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission CRTC.

This splintering makes the bill’s implementation and enforcement less effective, more confusing, more complicated and more costly. It will take longer to get accessibility regulations enacted. These regulations will be weaker and inconsistent because more than one federal authority can enact them.

This splintering makes it much harder for people with disabilities to navigate the system, and to figure out what rights they have, whether they are being honoured, and how to get this fixed if there are violations. People with disabilities will have to figure out as many as three or four different procedures, rules, forms and time lines for presenting an accessibility complaint. That weakens the rights and voices of people with disabilities.

The only interests this splintering serves are those of existing federal bureaucracies that want more power, and of any obligated organizations that want to oppose taking action on accessibility. Those organizations will relish exploiting the bill’s confusing complexity to delay and impede its implementation and enforcement.

It is wrong for the bill to give almost exclusive powers over accessibility at federally-regulated transportation organizations (like airlines) to the CTA, and almost exclusive powers over broadcasters and telecommunication companies (like Bell Canada and Rogers Communications) to the CRTC. The CTA and CRTC have had powers in this area for years. Their record of action on accessibility is not good.

The CTA and CRTC are too close to the industries they regulate. They lack expertise in, and proven commitment to disability accessibility. The industries the CTA and CRTC regulate will love that the Federal Government wants the CTA and CRTC to stay largely in control of their accessibility obligations. People with disabilities deserve better.

We ask for the bill to be greatly simplified, to get rid of its harmful splintering of federal responsibilities. Only the Federal Cabinet should make all accessibility regulations. The new federal Accessibility Commissioner should do all the bill’s enforcement. This ensures clearer, smoother, lower-cost easier-to-access one-stop-shopping for people with disabilities, and easier implementation for the Federal Government and obligated organizations.

Now under the bill, transportation organizations, broadcasters and telecommunication companies must make two concurrent accessibility plans, one supervised by the Accessibility Commissioner and the other supervised either by the CTA or CRTC. We ask for the bill to be amended so that all obligated organizations will only have to make one accessibility plan at one time, all supervised by the new federal Accessibility Commissioner.

It is no solution to the bill’s serious “splintering” problem for the Federal Government to create a “single door” or single place to lodge a complaint under the bill, after which a bureaucrat will decide which of the bill’s many enforcement agencies to send it to. Adding this additional layer of bureaucracy leaves all the problems in place we identified. This added layer would also inject more delays into the process.

  1. The bill has too many loopholes. These need to be closed.

As one example, the bill gives various federal agencies the sweeping, unjustified and unaccountable power to exempt any or all organizations from a number of important accessibility obligations. The Government can even exempt itself.

No reasons need ever be given for exempting an organization. These exemptions can last into the indefinite future, even if the exempted organization is doing a poor job on accessibility. This power to grant exemptions should be removed from the bill.

As a second example, the bill gives too much power to the federal Cabinet to make regulations. A future government could weaken or largely gut this bill by mere amendments to regulations. They wouldn’t have to bring a bill before Parliament and to publicly debate and vote on those harmful measures. Federal regulations under the bill can be passed by the Federal Cabinet, the CTA and the CRTC, in private meetings. The power to make these regulations under the bill must be substantially reduced.

As a third example, the bill includes no protections to ensure that nothing is done under the bill that cuts back on the rights or opportunities of people with disabilities. We need the bill amended to make it clear that nothing can be done under the bill that reduces the rights or opportunities of people with disabilities, and that if there are ever two different accessibility laws, the stronger one always prevails.

  1. The bill does not ensure that the Federal Government will use its levers of readily-available power to promote accessibility across Canada. For example, it does not require the Federal Government to ensure that federal money is never used by any recipient of those funds, to create or perpetuate disability barriers. It lets the Federal Government impose accessibility requirements when it buys goods or services, but doesn’t require the Federal Government to ever do so. Moreover, the bill doesn’t leverage much if not most federal spending, in order to promote accessibility.

The bill should be amended to require this disability lens, by attaching accessibility strings to any recipient of federal money. This should include, for example, when federal money contributes to building any new or renovated infrastructure, or when it is used for federal loans, grants or transfer payments.

  1. The Federal Government is the largest organization that will have to obey this legislation. Therefore, the key federal accessibility agencies that will oversee and enforce this legislation must be independent of the Federal Government. Under the bill, they are not. They all report to the Federal Government.

We ask for the bill to be amended to make the new Accessibility Commissioner, the new Canada Accessibility Standards Development Organization CASDO, and the new Chief Accessibility Officer report directly to Parliament, rather than to the Government. If this is not done, then we ask for the bill to be amended to give these key federal accessibility agencies/officials real operational independence from the Federal Government.

For more information, contact the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance care of its chair David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont.

Email:  [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance

Visit our website: www.aodaalliance.org



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