Long-awaited Vendome tunnel will finally open Monday


Delayed by several years and more than $30 million over its initial budget, the long-awaited newly accessible tunnel linking the Vendome Metro Station to the MUHC’s Glen site will open next week.

“It’s a priority for the STM. I think it’s very important to state that it’s a real priority and the results are there to show it’s a priority,” said Philippe Schnobb, the chairman of the board of directors of the STM.

The $110-million project to create the multimodal station will make access to the Vendome Metro, the Exo commuter rail, buses and the MUHC much easier for people with disabilities and mobility issues, and parents with strollers. Previously, the tunnel was only accessible by stairs.

New wheelchair-friendly turnstiles were installed, as were five new elevators.

STM board of directors member Laurence Parent says it will encourage more people with disabilities to use the station.

Story continues below advertisement

“For disabled people, it’s also about being visible now that this station is accessible,” said Parent, who uses a wheelchair. “Now it means you will see more disabled people around and I think it’s how you change society.”

Read more:
Train disruptions likely as work on Montreal’s Vendome Tunnel continues

It will also make life much easier for patients needing to access the hospital.

“This improves the situation a lot,” said Dr. Pierre Gfeller, the director-general of the MUHC. “It also increases our accessibility of our patients and staff to this building where we have many medical clinics, where some of our staff are working. So for now in the winter you won’t have to go out, you will go directly to the hospital.”

The project to retrofit the station proved incredibly complex because the STM tried to avoid disrupting service.

“Our biggest challenge was an engineering challenge because we had to build a tunnel underneath the train tracks,” said Maha Clour, the project director of the STM. “Our metro system is built in the 1960s and the urban mapping has evolved all over the years so it becomes more difficult to manage a construction site with buildings around us and tunnels underneath us.”


Click to play video: 'Community groups worried after Montreal transit authority inspectors granted new powers'







Community groups worried after Montreal transit authority inspectors granted new powers


Community groups worried after Montreal transit authority inspectors granted new powers – May 7, 2021

Critics and advocates for those with disabilities say it should have been done long ago, when the hospital was initially built.

Story continues below advertisement

“It was ludicrous, it was completely out of our minds why they did not plan for this in advance. It adds insult to injury,” said Laurent Morissette of the RAPLIQ. “Knowing this metro would service a huge clientele with special needs it was ridiculous.”

Even STM officials admit they are confounded it wasn’t done earlier.

“I asked the same question when I got my job seven years ago, why did we not have universal accessibility,” said Schnobb. “I was not there at the time, I can’t explain why someone missed that opportunity.”

The STM hopes to have 30 of its 68 stations accessible by 2025, and the whole network completed by 2038.




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





Source link

Group urges province to open COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration to all Ontarians


A Toronto city councillor and a group of health-care professionals are calling on the province to open COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration to all Ontarians in a bid to improve the rollout of shots.

Coun. Josh Matlow and health-care professionals from the University Health Network and the University of Toronto, posted an open letter to Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott, and the co-chairs of the COVID-19 science advisory table on Wednesday.

Read more:
Scarborough hospital forced to cancel 10,000 appointments from lack of COVID-19 vaccine supply

“While the vaccine rollout offers an end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, too many Ontarians who have yet to be eligible for the current phase of the vaccination plan are left feeling anxious about when, and how they’ll learn that their turn will finally come,” the letter said.

Story continues below advertisement

“That is why we recommend the province offer a specific category on their call-in and online booking systems that gives Ontarians an opportunity to pre-register for the vaccine.”

The letter said residents should be able to enter their date of birth, postal code, and contact information and get onto a registration list.

“Once eligible, Ontarians could receive an email and/or text message outlining the next steps on how to officially book their vaccine appointment and applicable location(s),” the letter said.

They said this could improve the management of vaccine supply, offer insight into vaccine hesitancy, and give residents the feeling of being closer to overcoming the pandemic.





© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





Source link

Open House: Converting homes to safely age in place



The aging population spread of COVID-19 in care homes has lead to an increase in renovations on current homes to allow aging in place. One local company has been kept busy converting homes and especially bathrooms to safely allow people to stay in their homes longer.



Source link

Major Disability Organizations’ Open Letter to the Ford Government and Ontario Municipalities – Don’t Allow Electric Scooters On Our Roads, Sidewalks and Public Places Because They Endanger Our Safety and Create New Barriers to Accessibility


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Major Disability Organizations’ Open Letter to the Ford Government and Ontario Municipalities – Don’t Allow Electric Scooters On Our Roads, Sidewalks and Public Places Because They Endanger Our Safety and Create New Barriers to Accessibility

January 22, 2020 Toronto: Eleven major community organizations concerned with the rights of over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities today made public a compelling open letter (set out below) to the Ford Government and mayors and councils of all Ontario municipalities, urging them not to permit electric scooters (e-scooters) on roads, sidewalks or other public places.

Last November, the Ford Government passed a regulation which lets municipalities permit dangerously fast e-scooters on roads, sidewalks and other public places. It ignored serious safety and accessibility concerns documented by Ontarians with disabilities. Rental e-scooters, strewn in public places, will be new mobility barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities. Silent e-scooters, racing at 24 kph, driven by uninsured, unlicensed untrained riders as young as 16, will endanger the physical safety of people with disabilities and others on sidewalks and in other public places.

That regulation lifts the provincial ban on e-scooters, but none may be used unless a municipality passes a bylaw permitting it. The Ford Government did not set strong, mandatory provincial rules to prevent the dangers that e-scooters pose nor did it ensure that municipalities would do so.

This open letter urges the Ontario Government to call off this “pilot project”, now authorized for an excessive five years. It calls on the mayors and councils of each municipality not to allow e-scooters in their communities. If a municipality does nothing, the danger is avoided, at least in that community. We are confident that municipalities have many other pressing priorities to deal with.

“This regulation inflicts on Ontarians with disabilities the undue hardship of having to campaign in hundreds of municipalities across Ontario, one after the next, to prevent this danger,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance, a grassroots disability coalition that has led the campaign on this issue. “We fear that the e-scooter rental companies’ corporate lobbyists are lobbying city councillors behind closed doors.”

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

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

Twitter: @aodaalliance

Open Letter

January 22, 2020

To: Hon. Premier Doug Ford

Via Email: [email protected] [email protected]

Room 281, Legislative Building

Queen’s Park

Toronto, Ontario

M7A 1A1

And to: All Members of the Ontario Legislature

And to: The Mayors and Councils of All Municipalities in Ontario

Copy to: The Hon. Raymond Cho, Minister for Accessibility and Seniors

Via email: [email protected]

College Park 5th Floor

777 Bay St

Toronto, ON M7A 1S5

And copied to:

The Hon. Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation

Via email: [email protected]

5th Floor

777 Bay St.

Toronto, ON M7A 1Z8

I. Introduction

The undersigned community organizations and groups ask the Ontario Government and Ontario municipalities to take the actions listed below to protect the public, and especially Ontarians with disabilities, from the danger to public safety and the accessibility of their communities that is created by the Ontario Government’s new regulation on electric scooters (e-scooters). This regulation lets municipalities choose to permit people to use e-scooters in public.

On November 27, 2019, the Ontario Government announced a new regulation. It lets Ontario municipalities allow the use of e-scooters for a pilot of up to five years. An e-scooter is a motor vehicle that a person rides standing up. It can be very quickly throttled up to fast speeds of at least 24 KPH. It is silent even when ridden at fast speeds.

This Ontario regulation lets e-scooters be ridden on roads as well as sidewalks. It does not require a rider to have a driver’s license, or to have training in the e-scooter’s safe use or in the rules of the road. It does not require the e-scooter’s driver or owner to have insurance.

The e-scooter model does not have to be certified as safe by the Canada Safety Association or other recognized certifying body. The e-scooter need not have a vehicle license, or display a license number, that could help identify the vehicle in the case of an injury.

The Ontario Government said that this pilot is to study use of e-scooters. However, the regulation has not required a municipality that permits e-scooters to study their impact, or to report any study to the public. There has been no showing why five years is needed.

II. E-Scooters Endanger Public Safety, Especially for People with Disabilities

Unlicensed, untrained, uninsured people racing on silent e-scooters in public places, including sidewalks, endanger the public, and especially people with disabilities. Ontarians with disabilities and others will be exposed to the danger of serious personal injuries or worse. Pedestrians cannot hear silent e-scooters racing towards them. This is especially dangerous for people who are blind or have low vision or balance issues, or whose disability makes them slower to move out of the way.

In jurisdictions where they are allowed, e-scooters present these dangers. Ontario does not need a pilot to prove this. In an August 30, 2019 CityTV report, the Ontario Government stated that it had compromised between protecting public safety on the one hand, and advancing business opportunities and consumer choice on the other, when it first designed its proposal for a five-year e-scooter pilot.

III. E-Scooters Will Create New Accessibility Barriers for People with Disabilities

The new Ontario e-scooter regulation will also lead to the creation of serious new accessibility barriers against accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. In jurisdictions where e-scooters are allowed, e-scooters are frequently left lying in public, strewed around sidewalks and other public places.

Leaving e-scooters on sidewalks is central to the plans of at least some businesses who want to rent e-scooters in Ontario, according to a September 10, 2019 Toronto Star article. The companies that rent e-scooters to the public provide a mobile app. Using that app, anyone can pick up an e-scooter, rent it, ride it to their destination, and then leave it in a random place on the sidewalk or other public place for another person to later pick it up and rent it.

For people who are blind, deafblind or have low vision, e-scooters can be a serious and unexpected tripping hazard. There is no way to plan a walking route to avoid them. They should not have to face the new prospect of e-scooters potentially lying in their path at any time.

Leaving e-scooters randomly on sidewalks also creates a serious, unpredictable new accessibility barrier for people using a wheelchair, walker or other mobility device. An e-scooter can block them from continuing along an otherwise-accessible sidewalk. People with disabilities using a mobility device may not be able to go up on the grass or down onto the road, to get around an e-scooter blocking the sidewalk. Sidewalks or other public spaces should not be made available to private e-scooter rental companies as free publicly-funded parking spaces.

Under the Charter of Rights, the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the Ontario Government and municipalities are required to prevent the creation of new accessibility barriers against Ontarians with disabilities. As the 2019 final report of the most recent Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation, by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley revealed, Ontario is behind schedule for becoming accessible by 2025. The Onley report found that Ontario remains a province full of “soul-crushing barriers”. The introduction of e-scooters will create new barriers and make this worse.

IV. Measures In Place Don’t Effectively Remove These Serious Dangers to Public Safety and Disability Accessibility

The Ontario Government’s November 27, 2019 announcement of its new e-scooter regulation did not refer to any disability concerns. The Government announced some restrictions on use of e-scooters. However, those measures do not effectively address the serious concerns raised here.

The Government lists some optional recommended “best practices” for municipalities. Those don’t remove the dangers to public safety or accessibility for people with disabilities. In any event, no municipality is required to implement them.

The regulation permits the use of e-scooters on sidewalks if a municipality wishes. It has restrictions on the speed for riding an e-scooter on sidewalks, and on the rider leaving an e-scooter on the ground, blocking pedestrian travel. However, these are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. Municipalities don’t have enforcement officers on every sidewalk to catch offenders. When a pedestrian, including a person with a disability, is blocked by an e-scooter abandoned on the sidewalk, there is no way to identify the rider who left it there. A pedestrian who is the victim of a hit and run, will find it extremely difficult if not impossible to identify who hit them. E-scooter rental companies are not made responsible for their e-scooters endangering public safety or accessibility.

E-scooters will increase costs for the taxpayer, including hospital and ambulance costs and law enforcement costs. The Ontario Government has not announced any new funding for municipalities for these costs.

The new Ontario regulation leaves it to each municipality to decide whether to allow e-scooters, and if so, on what terms. This requires Ontarians with disabilities to have to advocate to hundreds of municipalities, one at a time, to protect their safety and accessibility in public places. Ontarians with disabilities don’t have the resources and capacity for this.

It would not be sufficient for e-scooter rental companies to launch a campaign to urge renters not to leave e-scooters on sidewalks, or for e-scooter rental companies to make it a condition on their mobile app that the user will not leave a rented e-scooter on a sidewalk. People routinely agree to mobile app conditions without reading them. This does not excuse e-scooter rental companies from e-scooters’ known dangers.

V. Actions We Ask the Ontario Government and Ontario Municipalities To Take

We therefore ask for the following actions to protect Ontarians with disabilities:

(i) Actions We Ask The Ontario Government To Take
  1. E-scooters should not be allowed in public places in Ontario. There should be no pilot project in Ontario because it would endanger public safety and disability accessibility. If the Ontario Government wants to study e-scooters, it should study their impact on public safety and disability accessibility in other jurisdictions that have allowed them.
  1. If, despite these concerns, the Ontario Government wants to hold a trial period with e-scooters, it should suspend its new Ontario e-scooters regulation until it has implemented measures to ensure that they do not endanger the public’s safety or accessibility for people with disabilities.
  1. If Ontario holds an e-scooter pilot, it should be for much less than five years, e.g. six months. The Ontario Government should retain a trusted independent organization with expertise in public safety and disability accessibility to study e-scooters’ impact. It should make public the study’s findings.
  1. If despite these dangers, Ontario allows the use of e-scooters in public in Ontario, the Ontario Government should first enact and effectively enforce the following strong province-wide mandatory legal requirements for their use. Ontarians with disabilities should not have to advocate to each of the hundreds of Ontario municipalities to set these requirements:
  1. a) Riding an e-scooter on any sidewalk should be strictly prohibited with strong penalties.
  1. b) The rental of e-scooters should be prohibited, because the rental business model is based on e-scooters being left strewn about in public places like sidewalks.
  1. c) There should be a strict ban on leaving an e-scooter in a public sidewalk or like public location, except in a municipally-approved rack that is located well out of the path of pedestrian travel. If an e-scooter is left on a sidewalk or other public place that is not such a rack, it should be subject to immediate confiscation and forfeiture, as well as a strict penalty.
  1. d) If e-scooter rentals are allowed, rental companies should be required to obtain a license. They should be liable for loss or injuries caused by any renter of the company’s e-scooter.
  1. e) There should be a ban on parking an e-scooter within 250 meters of a public establishment serving alcohol.
  1. f) If e-scooters are permitted, they should be required to make an ongoing clearly audible beeping sound when powered on, to warn others of their approach.
  1. g) The speed limit for e-scooters should be set much lower than 24 KPH, such as 15 KPH.
  1. h) An e-scooter driver should be required to successfully complete training on its safe operation and on the rules of the road, and to get a license.
  1. i) Each e-scooter should be required to have a vehicle license whose number is visibly displayed.
  1. j) An e-scooter’s owner and driver should be required to carry sufficient liability insurance for injuries or damages that the e-scooter causes to others.
  1. k) E-scooter drivers of any age should be required to wear a helmet, and not just those under 18.
  1. If the Ontario Government does not impose all the safety and accessibility requirements in Recommendation 4 above, then it should pass legislation that empowers each municipality to impose all the preceding requirements.
(ii) Actions We Ask Each Municipality in Ontario To Take
  1. To protect the safety of the public, including people with disabilities, and to avoid creating new barriers to accessibility impeding people with disabilities, no municipality should allow e-scooters in their community.
  1. If a municipality nevertheless decides to allow e-scooters, it should impose all the requirements in Recommendation 4 above. It should not allow e-scooters for more than six months as a pilot project, while undertaking the study on their impact on public safety and accessibility for people with disabilities.

In proposing these seven measures, we emphasize that nothing should be done to reduce or restrict the availability or use of powered mobility devices used by people with disabilities, which travel at much slower speeds and which are a vital form of accessibility technology.

Signed,

  1. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
  2. March of Dimes of Canada
  3. Canadian National Institute for the Blind
  4. ARCH Disability Law Centre
  5. Spinal Cord Injury Ontario
  6. Ontario Autism Coalition
  7. Older Women’s Network
  8. Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
  9. Guide Dog Users of Canada
  10. Views for the Visually Impaired
  11. Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario



Source link

Major Disability Organizations’ Open Letter to the Ford Government and Ontario Municipalities


Don’t Allow Electric Scooters On Our Roads, Sidewalks and Public Places Because They Endanger Our Safety and Create New Barriers to Accessibility

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

January 22, 2020 Toronto: Eleven major community organizations concerned with the rights of over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities today made public a compelling open letter (set out below) to the Ford Government and mayors and councils of all Ontario municipalities, urging them not to permit electric scooters (e-scooters) on roads, sidewalks or other public places.

Last November, the Ford Government passed a regulation which lets municipalities permit dangerously fast e-scooters on roads, sidewalks and other public places. It ignored serious safety and accessibility concerns documented by Ontarians with disabilities. Rental e-scooters, strewn in public places, will be new mobility barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities. Silent e-scooters, racing at 24 kph, driven by uninsured, unlicensed untrained riders as young as 16, will endanger the physical safety of people with disabilities and others on sidewalks and in other public places.

That regulation lifts the provincial ban on e-scooters, but none may be used unless a municipality passes a bylaw permitting it. The Ford Government did not set strong, mandatory provincial rules to prevent the dangers that e-scooters pose nor did it ensure that municipalities would do so.

This open letter urges the Ontario Government to call off this “pilot project”, now authorized for an excessive five years. It calls on the mayors and councils of each municipality not to allow e-scooters in their communities. If a municipality does nothing, the danger is avoided, at least in that community. We are confident that municipalities have many other pressing priorities to deal with.

“This regulation inflicts on Ontarians with disabilities the undue hardship of having to campaign in hundreds of municipalities across Ontario, one after the next, to prevent this danger,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance, a grassroots disability coalition that has led the campaign on this issue. “We fear that the e-scooter rental companies’ corporate lobbyists are lobbying city councillors behind closed doors.”

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

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

Open Letter

January 22, 2020

To: Hon. Premier Doug Ford
Via Email: [email protected] [email protected]
Room 281, Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1

And to: All Members of the Ontario Legislature

And to: The Mayors and Councils of All Municipalities in Ontario

Copy to: The Hon. Raymond Cho, Minister for Accessibility and Seniors Via email: [email protected]
College Park 5th Floor
777 Bay St
Toronto, ON M7A 1S5

And copied to:
The Hon. Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation
Via email: [email protected]
5th Floor
777 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M7A 1Z8

I. Introduction

The undersigned community organizations and groups ask the Ontario Government and Ontario municipalities to take the actions listed below to protect the public, and especially Ontarians with disabilities, from the danger to public safety and the accessibility of their communities that is created by the Ontario Government’s new regulation on electric scooters (e-scooters). This regulation lets municipalities choose to permit people to use e-scooters in public.

On November 27, 2019, the Ontario Government announced a new regulation. It lets Ontario municipalities allow the use of e-scooters for a pilot of up to five years. An e-scooter is a motor vehicle that a person rides standing up. It can be very quickly throttled up to fast speeds of at least 24 KPH. It is silent even when ridden at fast speeds.

This Ontario regulation lets e-scooters be ridden on roads as well as sidewalks. It does not require a rider to have a driver’s license, or to have training in the e-scooter’s safe use or in the rules of the road. It does not require the e-scooter’s driver or owner to have insurance.

The e-scooter model does not have to be certified as safe by the Canada Safety Association or other recognized certifying body. The e-scooter need not have a vehicle license, or display a license number, that could help identify the vehicle in the case of an injury.

The Ontario Government said that this pilot is to study use of e-scooters. However, the regulation has not required a municipality that permits e-scooters to study their impact, or to report any study to the public. There has been no showing why five years is needed.

II. E-Scooters Endanger Public Safety, Especially for People with Disabilities

Unlicensed, untrained, uninsured people racing on silent e-scooters in public places, including sidewalks, endanger the public, and especially people with disabilities. Ontarians with disabilities and others will be exposed to the danger of serious personal injuries or worse. Pedestrians cannot hear silent e-scooters racing towards them. This is especially dangerous for people who are blind or have low vision or balance issues, or whose disability makes them slower to move out of the way.

In jurisdictions where they are allowed, e-scooters present these dangers. Ontario does not need a pilot to prove this. In an August 30, 2019 CityTV report, the Ontario Government stated that it had compromised between protecting public safety on the one hand, and advancing business opportunities and consumer choice on the other, when it first designed its proposal for a five-year e-scooter pilot.

III. E-Scooters Will Create New Accessibility Barriers for People with Disabilities

The new Ontario e-scooter regulation will also lead to the creation of serious new accessibility barriers against accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. In jurisdictions where e-scooters are allowed, e-scooters are frequently left lying in public, strewed around sidewalks and other public places.

Leaving e-scooters on sidewalks is central to the plans of at least some businesses who want to rent e-scooters in Ontario, according to a September 10, 2019 Toronto Star article. The companies that rent e-scooters to the public provide a mobile app. Using that app, anyone can pick up an e-scooter, rent it, ride it to their destination, and then leave it in a random place on the sidewalk or other public place for another person to later pick it up and rent it.

For people who are blind, deafblind or have low vision, e-scooters can be a serious and unexpected tripping hazard. There is no way to plan a walking route to avoid them. They should not have to face the new prospect of e-scooters potentially lying in their path at any time.

Leaving e-scooters randomly on sidewalks also creates a serious, unpredictable new accessibility barrier for people using a wheelchair, walker or other mobility device. An e-scooter can block them from continuing along an otherwise-accessible sidewalk. People with disabilities using a mobility device may not be able to go up on the grass or down onto the road, to get around an e-scooter blocking the sidewalk. Sidewalks or other public spaces should not be made available to private e-scooter rental companies as free publicly-funded parking spaces.

Under the Charter of Rights, the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the Ontario Government and municipalities are required to prevent the creation of new accessibility barriers against Ontarians with disabilities. As the 2019 final report of the most recent Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation, by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley revealed, Ontario is behind schedule for becoming accessible by 2025. The Onley report found that Ontario remains a province full of “soul-crushing barriers”. The introduction of e-scooters will create new barriers and make this worse.

IV. Measures In Place Don’t Effectively Remove These Serious Dangers to Public Safety and Disability Accessibility

The Ontario Government’s November 27, 2019 announcement of its new e-scooter regulation did not refer to any disability concerns. The Government announced some restrictions on use of e-scooters. However, those measures do not effectively address the serious concerns raised here.

The Government lists some optional recommended “best practices” for municipalities. Those don’t remove the dangers to public safety or accessibility for people with disabilities. In any event, no municipality is required to implement them.

The regulation permits the use of e-scooters on sidewalks if a municipality wishes. It has restrictions on the speed for riding an e-scooter on sidewalks, and on the rider leaving an e-scooter on the ground, blocking pedestrian travel. However, these are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. Municipalities don’t have enforcement officers on every sidewalk to catch offenders. When a pedestrian, including a person with a disability, is blocked by an e-scooter abandoned on the sidewalk, there is no way to identify the rider who left it there. A pedestrian who is the victim of a hit and run, will find it extremely difficult if not impossible to identify who hit them. E-scooter rental companies are not made responsible for their e-scooters endangering public safety or accessibility.

E-scooters will increase costs for the taxpayer, including hospital and ambulance costs and law enforcement costs. The Ontario Government has not announced any new funding for municipalities for these costs.

The new Ontario regulation leaves it to each municipality to decide whether to allow e-scooters, and if so, on what terms. This requires Ontarians with disabilities to have to advocate to hundreds of municipalities, one at a time, to protect their safety and accessibility in public places. Ontarians with disabilities don’t have the resources and capacity for this.

It would not be sufficient for e-scooter rental companies to launch a campaign to urge renters not to leave e-scooters on sidewalks, or for e-scooter rental companies to make it a condition on their mobile app that the user will not leave a rented e-scooter on a sidewalk. People routinely agree to mobile app conditions without reading them. This does not excuse e-scooter rental companies from e-scooters’ known dangers.

V. Actions We Ask the Ontario Government and Ontario Municipalities To Take

We therefore ask for the following actions to protect Ontarians with disabilities:

(i) Actions We Ask The Ontario Government To Take

1. E-scooters should not be allowed in public places in Ontario. There should be no pilot project in Ontario because it would endanger public safety and disability accessibility. If the Ontario Government wants to study e-scooters, it should study their impact on public safety and disability accessibility in other jurisdictions that have allowed them.

2. If, despite these concerns, the Ontario Government wants to hold a trial period with e-scooters, it should suspend its new Ontario e-scooters regulation until it has implemented measures to ensure that they do not endanger the public’s safety or accessibility for people with disabilities.

3. If Ontario holds an e-scooter pilot, it should be for much less than five years, e.g. six months. The Ontario Government should retain a trusted independent organization with expertise in public safety and disability accessibility to study e-scooters’ impact. It should make public the study’s findings.

4. If despite these dangers, Ontario allows the use of e-scooters in public in Ontario, the Ontario Government should first enact and effectively enforce the following strong province-wide mandatory legal requirements for their use. Ontarians with disabilities should not have to advocate to each of the hundreds of Ontario municipalities to set these requirements:

a) Riding an e-scooter on any sidewalk should be strictly prohibited with strong penalties.

b) The rental of e-scooters should be prohibited, because the rental business model is based on e-scooters being left strewn about in public places like sidewalks.

c) There should be a strict ban on leaving an e-scooter in a public sidewalk or like public location, except in a municipally-approved rack that is located well out of the path of pedestrian travel. If an e-scooter is left on a sidewalk or other public place that is not such a rack, it should be subject to immediate confiscation and forfeiture, as well as a strict penalty.

d) If e-scooter rentals are allowed, rental companies should be required to obtain a license. They should be liable for loss or injuries caused by any renter of the company’s e-scooter.

e) There should be a ban on parking an e-scooter within 250 meters of a public establishment serving alcohol.

f) If e-scooters are permitted, they should be required to make an ongoing clearly audible beeping sound when powered on, to warn others of their approach.

g) The speed limit for e-scooters should be set much lower than 24 KPH, such as 15 KPH.

h) An e-scooter driver should be required to successfully complete training on its safe operation and on the rules of the road, and to get a license.

i) Each e-scooter should be required to have a vehicle license whose number is visibly displayed.

j) An e-scooter’s owner and driver should be required to carry sufficient liability insurance for injuries or damages that the e-scooter causes to others.

k) E-scooter drivers of any age should be required to wear a helmet, and not just those under 18.

5. If the Ontario Government does not impose all the safety and accessibility requirements in Recommendation 4 above, then it should pass legislation that empowers each municipality to impose all the preceding requirements.

(ii) Actions We Ask Each Municipality in Ontario To Take

6. To protect the safety of the public, including people with disabilities, and to avoid creating new barriers to accessibility impeding people with disabilities, no municipality should allow e-scooters in their community.

7. If a municipality nevertheless decides to allow e-scooters, it should impose all the requirements in Recommendation 4 above. It should not allow e-scooters for more than six months as a pilot project, while undertaking the study on their impact on public safety and accessibility for people with disabilities.

In proposing these seven measures, we emphasize that nothing should be done to reduce or restrict the availability or use of powered mobility devices used by people with disabilities, which travel at much slower speeds and which are a vital form of accessibility technology.

Signed,

1. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance 2. March of Dimes of Canada
3. Canadian National Institute for the Blind
4. ARCH Disability Law Centre
5. Spinal Cord Injury Ontario
6. Ontario Autism Coalition
7. Older Women’s Network
8. Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
9. Guide Dog Users of Canada
10. Views for the Visually Impaired
11. Citizens With Disabilities Ontario




Source link

AODA Alliance Sends an Open Letter to the Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, Seeking Specific Commitments on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities


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

January 12, 2020

SUMMARY

Happy new year to one and all. Although the new year has scarcely begun, were already back at it, sleeves rolled up, plowing ahead with advocacy to tear down the barriers that people with disabilities too often still face. Here is the first news for you in 2020.

At its party convention starting on March 7, 2020, the Ontario Liberal Party will choose its next leader. Today, we wrote an open letter to all the candidates for Ontario Liberal leadership, which we set out below. In it, we ask each candidate to make commitments on making our society accessible for people with disabilities. We will make public any responses that we receive.

We will not endorse, support or oppose any candidate. As always, our non-partisan goal is to get strong commitments from all the leadership candidates, whatever be their party.

This is certainly not the first such leadership race in which we have used this strategy. When the Ontario Liberals last had a leadership race, in 2012-13, we did the same thing. In that leadership race, all six candidates made written commitments to us. During the two leadership races held by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party since then, we deployed the same strategy. In both of those leadership races, none of the candidates answered our request for commitments on accessibility for people with disabilities.

Stay tuned for lots more news on accessibility issues over the next days, weeks and months. There have now been 345 days, or over eleven months, since the Doug Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the AODAs implementation conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has still failed to announce a plan to implement that report. The AODAs mandatory 2025 deadline for Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities is now less than 5 years away.

In this new year, we welcome your feedback as much as ever! Write us at [email protected] Tweet us at @aodaalliance. Check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

MORE DETAILS

Text of the January 11, 2020 Open Letter from the AODA Alliance to All Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Email: [email protected]
Visit: www.aodalliance.org

January 11, 2020

To: Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party

Michael Coteau
Email: [email protected] and [email protected] Twitter: @coteau

Steven Del Duca
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @StevenDelDuca

Kate Graham
Email:[email protected]
Twitter: @KateMarieGraham

Brenda Hollingsworth
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @OttawaLawyers

Mitzie Hunter
Email: [email protected] and [email protected] Twitter: @MitzieHunter

Alvin Tedjo
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @AlvinTedjo

Dear Candidates,

This open letter to all candidates for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal party seeks each candidates commitments on disability accessibility. These commitments would aim at ensuring that Ontario achieves the goal of full accessibility for some 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities on or before 2025, the end date that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) requires by law. We will make public all responses we receive to this open letter.

In the last race for leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, back in 2012-2013, all six leadership candidates made written commitments to us on accessibility for people with disabilities. We hope that each candidate in this leadership race will do the same.

The Issue

Some 2.6 million people with disabilities in Ontario still face too many barriers when they try to get a job, ride public transit, get around in our community, or enjoy the goods, services and facilities that are available to the public. This hurts all Ontarians. Everyone either has a disability now or is bound to get one later as they age. That is why we often say that people with disabilities are the minority of everyone.

The Ontario Liberal Party can be proud that when it formed Government in 2003, it had committed to pass strong new Ontario accessibility legislation, working in consultation with Ontarios disability community to design it. Ontarios Liberals can also be proud that in 2005, the Legislature unanimously passed the AODA, and shortly afterwards, got a good start on implementing it.

However, after that, progress slowed. It got mired in the bureaucracy. Since then, Ontario has made some progress on accessibility for people with disabilities. However there is still a great deal to be done to achieve the goal of full accessibility by 2025 that the AODA requires of us all.

Ontario is far behind reaching full accessibility by 2025. One year ago, the final report of the Government-appointed Independent Review of the AODAs implementation and enforcement, conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley, made strong findings about this. Based on public feedback, Mr. Onley found that the pace of change since 2005 for people with disabilities has been “glacial.” The Onley report found that “the promised accessible Ontario is nowhere in sight.” Progress on accessibility under this law has been “highly selective and barely detectable.”

Mr. Onley found “this province is mostly inaccessible.” The Onley report correctly concluded:

“For most disabled persons, Ontario is not a place of opportunity but one of countless, dispiriting, soul-crushing barriers.”

The Onley report in substance found that there has been a protracted, troubling lack of Government leadership on this issue, even though two prior Government-appointed AODA Independent Reviews called for renewed, strengthened leadership:

“The Premier of Ontario could establish accessibility as a government-wide priority with the stroke of a pen. Our previous two Premiers did not listen to repeated pleas to do this.”

As of this letters date, the current Ontario Government under Premier Doug Ford has not strengthened or accelerated the AODAs implementation or enforcement. It has not shown the new revitalized leadership on this issue that Ontarians with disabilities need. If anything, progress has slowed even more.

What We Ask of You

We are eager to ensure that the next Ontario Liberal Party leader will fully maintain the Liberal Partys past commitments on disability accessibility, and will build on those commitments. We would be delighted if you could simply give a yes answer to the following questions. We realize that in a busy leadership campaign, you may not be in a position to write more extensively than that on these questions:

1. We have welcomed face-to-face meetings with the past two Premiers, Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne, to discuss accessibility issues (in addition to face-to-face meetings with different cabinet ministers, successive Secretaries of Cabinet, and other senior government officials).

If you become your Partys leader, will you maintain the practice of personally meeting with us to discuss accessibility issues, in addition to our meetings with your appropriate caucus members? As part of this, will you meet with us within 60 days of becoming your partys leader, so that we can brief you on these issues? If your Party is elected to form the Government, will you as Premier agree to periodically meet with us, in addition to our meeting with appropriate cabinet ministers?

2. Under your leadership, will your Party make it a priority to press the current Government to keep its commitments and fulfil its duties on accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities?

3. In Ontario elections, will you continue the practice of the last three Ontario Liberal Party leaders, of making specific election commitments to us on the issue of achieving an accessible province for persons with disabilities, in letters to us?

4. Under your leadership, will the Liberal Party fully maintain the implementation of the AODA 2005 and not weaken or reduce any provisions or protections in that legislation or regulations enacted under them, or any Government policies, practices, strategies or initiatives that exist to implement them or achieve their objectives?

5. Will you keep the past commitments that your Party has made to Ontarians with disabilities regarding disability accessibility, including e.g. its previous commitments to effectively enforce the AODA? We set out links to those commitments below.

6. Under the AODA, three Government-appointed mandatory Independent Reviews have examined the Governments implementation of the AODA. These were conducted in 2009-2010 by Charles Beer, in 2013-2014 by Prof. Mayo Moran and in 2018-2019 by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. All three reports called on the Government to revitalize and breathe new life into the implementation of the AODA, and for the Government to show strong new leadership on this issue. The Moran report and the Onley Report specifically recommended that Ontarios Premier should show strong new leadership on disability accessibility. (See a quotation later in this letter)

If you become Ontarios Premier, will you show new, strong leadership on accessibility and breathe new life into and revitalize the Governments implementation of the AODA?

7. Each premier sends Mandate Letters to each of his or her cabinet ministers, setting out their priorities. In your Mandate Letters, will you direct your cabinet ministers, the Secretary of Cabinet and other senior public officials to implement your Governments duties and commitments on disability accessibility?

8. If you become Premier, will you ensure that Ontario is on schedule for full accessibility for persons with disabilities by 2025, the deadline that the AODA requires? Should your party form the Government at a time when it is too late to achieve that deadline, will you commit to get Ontario as close to being accessible as reasonably possible by 2025? In that event, will you also commit to work with us and to take any needed action, including passing new legislation, to set a new achievable deadline and to institute measures that will ensure that it is achieved (and that will not weaken or reduce any provisions or policies then in place)?

9. The Moran and Onley reports expressed concerns that public money has been used to create new accessibility barriers against people with disabilities. Will you commit that under your leadership, public money will not be used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities?

10. Ontario voters and candidates with disabilities still face too many barriers in provincial and municipal elections. Under your leadership as premier, will the Government bring forward new measures, including new legislation, to ensure that provincial and municipal elections in Ontario are fully accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities?

Who Are We?

As a volunteer grassroots non-partisan community coalition, the AODA Alliance does not seek to get any party or candidate elected. We do not endorse or oppose any candidate for leadership of any party.

Founded in 2005, we united to achieve a fully accessible Ontario for over 1.7 million Ontarians with disabilities, through the prompt and effective implementation of the AODA. Our supporters include persons with disabilities, people who have not yet gotten a disability, and community organizations concerned with the rights of persons with disabilities in Ontario.

Our predecessor coalition was the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee (ODA Committee). From 1994 to 2005, the ODA Committee spearheaded a province-wide accessibility campaign. It led to the enactment of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 (passed by the Mike Harris Government), and later, the AODA (passed by the Dalton McGuinty Government).

Our leadership on the issue of accessibility for people with disabilities, as well as that of our predecessor coalition, has been repeatedly recognized by all parties in the Ontario Legislature, as well as by the media. We have been recognized as a leading non-partisan grassroots voice in Ontario, that advocates to make Ontario a fully disability-accessible province.

We have also given our input on these issues to the Federal Government, and to those addressing these issues in Manitoba, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Our input has also been sought from others outside Canada, including in Israel, New Zealand and the European Union.

The Ontario Liberal Party’s Past Commitments on Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities

Starting in 1995, the Ontario Liberal Party has made written election commitments on accessibility legislation for persons with disabilities, in each of the past seven Ontario general elections. These commitments were set out in letters from the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party to the ODA Committee in the 1995, 1999, and 2003 elections. After the ODA Committee wound up in 2005 with the passage of the AODA that year, the Ontario Liberal leader made these commitments in letters to its successor coalition, the AODA Alliance, in the 2007, 2011, 2014 and 2018 Ontario general elections.

On October 29, 1998, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed a landmark and historic resolution setting out eleven important principles that a strong and effective Disabilities Act should fulfil. That resolution was introduced into the Legislature by Liberal MPP Dwight Duncan, at the request of our predecessor coalition, the ODA Committee. Right after that resolution was passed, Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty took part in a joint Queen’s Park news conference with ODA Committee Chair David Lepofsky. At that news conference, Mr. McGuinty, then Ontario’s Opposition leader, committed that a Liberal Government would implement a Disabilities Act that fulfilled that resolution.

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 1999 Ontario election, visit http://www.odacommittee.net/letters/march26-99.html

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2003 Ontario election, visit http://www.odacommittee.net/news80.html#letter

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2007 Ontario election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/newsub2011/liberal-party-writes-aoda-alliance-with-election-commitments-regarding-disability-accessibility/

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2011 Ontario election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/new2011/read-the-ontario-liberal-partys-august-19-2011-letter-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2011-election-commitments-on-disability-accessibility/

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2014 election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/new2015-whats-new/may-14-2014-letter-from-liberal-party-leader-premier-kathleen-wynne-on-her-partys-2014-disability-accessibility-election-pledges/

To see the Ontario Liberal Partys election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2018 election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/read-the-may-14-2018-letter-from-the-liberal-party-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2018-election-commitments-on-accessibility/

In Conclusion

The Ontario Liberal Party’s leadership race concludes on March 7, 2020. We would very much appreciate a response to these questions by February 15, 2020. Please send your response by email to [email protected] and please attach it as an accessible MS Word file. Do not send it as a PDF as that format presents accessibility problems. We would be delighted to give you and your team any background information on this issue that you request.

We look forward to working with the leaders and members of all Ontarios political parties now and in the future on the shared goal that all the major parties have endorsed, of achieving a fully accessible Ontario on or before 2025.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky, CM, O. Ont,
Chair AODA Alliance




Source link

AODA Alliance Sends an Open Letter to the Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, Seeking Specific Commitments on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

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

AODA Alliance Sends an Open Letter to the Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, Seeking Specific Commitments on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities

January 11, 2020

          SUMMARY

Happy new year to one and all. Although the new year has scarcely begun, we’re already back at it, sleeves rolled up, plowing ahead with advocacy to tear down the barriers that people with disabilities too often still face. Here is the first news for you in 2020.

At its party convention starting on March 7, 2020, the Ontario Liberal Party will choose its next leader. Today, we wrote an open letter to all the candidates for Ontario Liberal leadership, which we set out below. In it, we ask each candidate to make commitments on making our society accessible for people with disabilities. We will make public any responses that we receive.

We will not endorse, support or oppose any candidate. As always, our non-partisan goal is to get strong commitments from all the leadership candidates, whatever be their party.

This is certainly not the first such leadership race in which we have used this strategy. When the Ontario Liberals last had a leadership race, in 2012-13, we did the same thing. In that leadership race, all six candidates made written commitments to us. During the two leadership races held by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party since then, we deployed the same strategy. In both of those leadership races, none of the candidates answered our request for commitments on accessibility for people with disabilities.

Stay tuned for lots more news on accessibility issues over the next days, weeks and months. There have now been 345 days, or over eleven months, since the Doug Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has still failed to announce a plan to implement that report. The AODA’s mandatory 2025 deadline for Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities is now less than 5 years away.

In this new year, we welcome your feedback as much as ever! Write us at [email protected] Tweet us at @aodaalliance. Check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

          MORE DETAILS

Text of the January 11, 2020 Open Letter from the AODA Alliance to All Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

1929 Bayview Avenue

Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8

Email: [email protected]

Visit: www.aodalliance.org

January 11, 2020

To: Candidates for Leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party

Michael Coteau

Email: [email protected] and [email protected]

Twitter: @coteau

 

Steven Del Duca

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @StevenDelDuca

Kate Graham

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @KateMarieGraham

Brenda Hollingsworth

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @OttawaLawyers

Mitzie Hunter

Email: [email protected] and [email protected]

Twitter: @MitzieHunter

Alvin Tedjo

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @AlvinTedjo

Dear Candidates,

This open letter to all candidates for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal party seeks each candidate’s commitments on disability accessibility. These commitments would aim at ensuring that Ontario achieves the goal of full accessibility for some 2.6 million Ontarians with disabilities on or before 2025, the end date that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) requires by law. We will make public all responses we receive to this open letter.

In the last race for leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, back in 2012-2013, all six leadership candidates made written commitments to us on accessibility for people with disabilities. We hope that each candidate in this leadership race will do the same.

The Issue

Some 2.6 million people with disabilities in Ontario still face too many barriers when they try to get a job, ride public transit, get around in our community, or enjoy the goods, services and facilities that are available to the public. This hurts all Ontarians. Everyone either has a disability now or is bound to get one later as they age. That is why we often say that people with disabilities are the minority of everyone.

The Ontario Liberal Party can be proud that when it formed Government in 2003, it had committed to pass strong new Ontario accessibility legislation, working in consultation with Ontario’s disability community to design it. Ontario’s Liberals can also be proud that in 2005, the Legislature unanimously passed the AODA, and shortly afterwards, got a good start on implementing it.

However, after that, progress slowed. It got mired in the bureaucracy. Since then, Ontario has made some progress on accessibility for people with disabilities. However there is still a great deal to be done to achieve the goal of full accessibility by 2025 that the AODA requires of us all.

Ontario is far behind reaching full accessibility by 2025. One year ago, the final report of the Government-appointed Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation and enforcement, conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley, made strong findings about this. Based on public feedback, Mr. Onley found that the pace of change since 2005 for people with disabilities has been “glacial.” The Onley report found that “…the promised accessible Ontario is nowhere in sight.” Progress on accessibility under this law has been “highly selective and barely detectable.”

Mr. Onley found “…this province is mostly inaccessible.” The Onley report correctly concluded:

“For most disabled persons, Ontario is not a place of opportunity but one of countless, dispiriting, soul-crushing barriers.”

The Onley report in substance found that there has been a protracted, troubling lack of Government leadership on this issue, even though two prior Government-appointed AODA Independent Reviews called for renewed, strengthened leadership:

“The Premier of Ontario could establish accessibility as a government-wide priority with the stroke of a pen. Our previous two Premiers did not listen to repeated pleas to do this.”

As of this letter’s date, the current Ontario Government under Premier Doug Ford has not strengthened or accelerated the AODA’s implementation or enforcement. It has not shown the new revitalized leadership on this issue that Ontarians with disabilities need. If anything, progress has slowed even more.

What We Ask of You

We are eager to ensure that the next Ontario Liberal Party leader will fully maintain the Liberal Party’s past commitments on disability accessibility, and will build on those commitments. We would be delighted if you could simply give a “yes” answer to the following questions. We realize that in a busy leadership campaign, you may not be in a position to write more extensively than that on these questions:

  1. We have welcomed face-to-face meetings with the past two Premiers, Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne, to discuss accessibility issues (in addition to face-to-face meetings with different cabinet ministers, successive Secretaries of Cabinet, and other senior government officials).

If you become your Party’s leader, will you maintain the practice of personally meeting with us to discuss accessibility issues, in addition to our meetings with your appropriate caucus members? As part of this, will you meet with us within 60 days of becoming your party’s leader, so that we can brief you on these issues? If your Party is elected to form the Government, will you as Premier agree to periodically meet with us, in addition to our meeting with appropriate cabinet ministers?

  1. Under your leadership, will your Party make it a priority to press the current Government to keep its commitments and fulfil its duties on accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities?
  1. In Ontario elections, will you continue the practice of the last three Ontario Liberal Party leaders, of making specific election commitments to us on the issue of achieving an accessible province for persons with disabilities, in letters to us?
  1. Under your leadership, will the Liberal Party fully maintain the implementation of the AODA 2005 and not weaken or reduce any provisions or protections in that legislation or regulations enacted under them, or any Government policies, practices, strategies or initiatives that exist to implement them or achieve their objectives?
  1. Will you keep the past commitments that your Party has made to Ontarians with disabilities regarding disability accessibility, including e.g. its previous commitments to effectively enforce the AODA? We set out links to those commitments below.
  1. Under the AODA, three Government-appointed mandatory Independent Reviews have examined the Government’s implementation of the AODA. These were conducted in 2009-2010 by Charles Beer, in 2013-2014 by Prof. Mayo Moran and in 2018-2019 by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. All three reports called on the Government to revitalize and breathe new life into the implementation of the AODA, and for the Government to show strong new leadership on this issue. The Moran report and the Onley Report specifically recommended that Ontario’s Premier should show strong new leadership on disability accessibility. (See a quotation later in this letter)

If you become Ontario’s Premier, will you show new, strong leadership on accessibility and breathe new life into and revitalize the Government’s implementation of the AODA?

  1. Each premier sends Mandate Letters to each of his or her cabinet ministers, setting out their priorities. In your Mandate Letters, will you direct your cabinet ministers, the Secretary of Cabinet and other senior public officials to implement your Government’s duties and commitments on disability accessibility?
  1. If you become Premier, will you ensure that Ontario is on schedule for full accessibility for persons with disabilities by 2025, the deadline that the AODA requires? Should your party form the Government at a time when it is too late to achieve that deadline, will you commit to get Ontario as close to being accessible as reasonably possible by 2025? In that event, will you also commit to work with us and to take any needed action, including passing new legislation, to set a new achievable deadline and to institute measures that will ensure that it is achieved (and that will not weaken or reduce any provisions or policies then in place)?
  1. The Moran and Onley reports expressed concerns that public money has been used to create new accessibility barriers against people with disabilities. Will you commit that under your leadership, public money will not be used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities?
  1. Ontario voters and candidates with disabilities still face too many barriers in provincial and municipal elections. Under your leadership as premier, will the Government bring forward new measures, including new legislation, to ensure that provincial and municipal elections in Ontario are fully accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities?

Who Are We?

As a volunteer grassroots non-partisan community coalition, the AODA Alliance does not seek to get any party or candidate elected. We do not endorse or oppose any candidate for leadership of any party.

Founded in 2005, we united to achieve a fully accessible Ontario for over 1.7 million Ontarians with disabilities, through the prompt and effective implementation of the AODA. Our supporters include persons with disabilities, people who have not yet gotten a disability, and community organizations concerned with the rights of persons with disabilities in Ontario.

Our predecessor coalition was the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee (ODA Committee). From 1994 to 2005, the ODA Committee spearheaded a province-wide accessibility campaign. It led to the enactment of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 (passed by the Mike Harris Government), and later, the AODA (passed by the Dalton McGuinty Government).

Our leadership on the issue of accessibility for people with disabilities, as well as that of our predecessor coalition, has been repeatedly recognized by all parties in the Ontario Legislature, as well as by the media. We have been recognized as a leading non-partisan grassroots voice in Ontario, that advocates to make Ontario a fully disability-accessible province.

We have also given our input on these issues to the Federal Government, and to those addressing these issues in Manitoba, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Our input has also been sought from others outside Canada, including in Israel, New Zealand and the European Union.

The Ontario Liberal Party’s Past Commitments on Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities

Starting in 1995, the Ontario Liberal Party has made written election commitments on accessibility legislation for persons with disabilities, in each of the past seven Ontario general elections. These commitments were set out in letters from the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party to the ODA Committee in the 1995, 1999, and 2003 elections. After the ODA Committee wound up in 2005 with the passage of the AODA that year, the Ontario Liberal leader made these commitments in letters to its successor coalition, the AODA Alliance, in the 2007, 2011, 2014 and 2018 Ontario general elections.

On October 29, 1998, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed a landmark and historic resolution setting out eleven important principles that a strong and effective Disabilities Act should fulfil. That resolution was introduced into the Legislature by Liberal MPP Dwight Duncan, at the request of our predecessor coalition, the ODA Committee. Right after that resolution was passed, Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty took part in a joint Queen’s Park news conference with ODA Committee Chair David Lepofsky. At that news conference, Mr. McGuinty, then Ontario’s Opposition leader, committed that a Liberal Government would implement a Disabilities Act that fulfilled that resolution.

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 1999 Ontario election, visit http://www.odacommittee.net/letters/march26-99.html

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2003 Ontario election, visit http://www.odacommittee.net/news80.html#letter

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2007 Ontario election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/newsub2011/liberal-party-writes-aoda-alliance-with-election-commitments-regarding-disability-accessibility/

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2011 Ontario election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/new2011/read-the-ontario-liberal-partys-august-19-2011-letter-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2011-election-commitments-on-disability-accessibility/

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2014 election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/new2015-whats-new/may-14-2014-letter-from-liberal-party-leader-premier-kathleen-wynne-on-her-partys-2014-disability-accessibility-election-pledges/

To see the Ontario Liberal Party’s election commitments on disability accessibility in the 2018 election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/read-the-may-14-2018-letter-from-the-liberal-party-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2018-election-commitments-on-accessibility/

In Conclusion

The Ontario Liberal Party’s leadership race concludes on March 7, 2020. We would very much appreciate a response to these questions by February 15, 2020. Please send your response by email to [email protected] and please attach it as an accessible MS Word file. Do not send it as a PDF as that format presents accessibility problems. We would be delighted to give you and your team any background information on this issue that you request.

We look forward to working with the leaders and members of all Ontario’s political parties now and in the future on the shared goal that all the major parties have endorsed, of achieving a fully accessible Ontario on or before 2025.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky, CM, O. Ont,

Chair AODA Alliance





Source link

Join in Our New “Dial Doug” Campaign! — A Grassroots Blitz, Unveiled Today, to Get the Doug Ford Government to Make Ontario Open for Over 1.9 Million Ontarians with Disabilities


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

Twitter: #DialDoug

July 24, 2019

Please help our new grassroots blitz, unveiled today! We want the Doug Ford Government to come up with a plan to make Ontario accessible to over 1.9 million Ontarians who have any kind of disability. It just takes you a few minutes to help, from home, or anywhere.

Grab a smart phone! DIAL DOUG! Phone or email him! Ask him where is his plan to get Ontario to be accessible to Ontarians with disabilities by 2025? Tell him our rights are not red tape!

The phone number for the Office of the Premier of Ontario is (416) 325-1941. Premier Ford’s email address is [email protected] He had made his cell number public and was open to getting calls and text messages from voters on it. He portrays himself as being a very accessible premier who wants to hear directly from the people. He recently cancelled that cell number. But we the public can still try to reach him on his office phone or his email address.

Doug Ford says he is the premier “for the People”. His Government says it’s focusing on what matters most to Ontarians. Let’s take him at his word. Call or email him. Have your say. Read on for action tips and helpful background at a glance, below. We’ll have even more tips for you in future AODA Alliance Updates.

Here’s What to Do

Please phone or email Premier Doug Ford, whichever makes you most comfortable. If you phone him at his office, you will likely get connected with one of his staff. You can tell them what you have to say to the premier. You can even ask him to call you back, if you like. You might get directed to a voice mail box to leave a message. If you send him an email, you can take the time to write out what you want. You can do both, phone him and email him.

What might you say? Here are some ideas. It’s best if you share your thoughts in your own words.

Tell Doug Ford how many people around you have disabilities. We’re voters! Describe disability barriers that hurt you or your friends or family members with disabilities. These might be barriers you or others face when trying to shop, use public transit or health care services, go to school or university, or get a job.

Most important, ask him what is his plan to lead Ontario to become accessible to Ontarians with disabilities by 2025? That is the deadline that the Disabilities Act (AODA) sets.

You might tell him that our rights are not “red tape”. In the Legislature on May 30, 2019, several Conservative MPPs said it would just create red tape for the Ontario Government to make new regulations on accessibility or to do a better job at enforcing Ontario’s Disabilities Act (AODA).

Ontario won’t be open for business if it is not open to all Ontarians with disabilities as customers and employees. We need Doug Ford to use the Disabilities Act to tear down the barriers that close Ontario to so many of us.

Tell him that this past January, former Lieutenant Governor David Onley gave the Government a report that said that for people with disabilities, Ontario is full of “countless, dispiriting, soul-crushing barriers”.

Be open about your concerns but also remember that it is important to be respectful, no matter how frustrated you may feel. That is far more effective and appropriate than sounding angry.

We are non-partisan. We work with all parties, commend them when they do good things, and hold them publicly accountable when they fall short on our issues.

Let us know what you tried and what you were told. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, tweet or post about your text message or call to Doug Ford. Use our new #DialDoug hashtag in your tweet or post. You can email us about it, at [email protected]

Encourage family and friends to also take part in our Dial Doug campaign. If you have more time, please also contact your nearest members of the Ontario Legislature with the same message. Their contact information is at https://www.ola.org/en/members

Background at a Glance

Over 1.9 million Ontarians have a physical, mental, sensory, intellectual, learning, communication or other disability. This number is increasing as the population grows and ages.

In the 2018 Ontario election, Doug Ford said:

“Too many Ontarians with disabilities still face barriers when they try to get a job, ride public transit, get an education, use our healthcare system, buy goods or services, or eat in restaurants.”

In 2005, the Legislature unanimously passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). It requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities by 2025 (less than 5 and a half years away). The Ontario Government must enact regulations, called accessibility standards. These tell organizations what they need to do to become accessible, and set time lines. the Government is supposed to enforce these standards.

Progress on accessibility since 2005 has been far too slow. Ontarians with disabilities know this from their experience. It was also the strong finding of a Government-appointed Independent Review by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Onley Report concluded this province is mostly inaccessible.”

The Onley report found that there has been a protracted, troubling lack of Government leadership for years on this issue. The Onley Report recommended:

“The Premier of Ontario could establish accessibility as a government-wide priority with the stroke of a pen.”

The Onley report made practical recommendations. Among other things, it called for the Government to substantially strengthen AODA enforcement, create new accessibility standards including for the built environment, strengthen existing AODA accessibility standards, and ensure that public money is never again used to create disability barriers.

The Ford Government has been studying the Onley Report for almost six months. It has announced no plan to implement the Onley Report.

Doug Ford’s Government voted against creating a plan to implement the Onley Report. Yet the Ford Government’s Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho said that David Onley did a “marvelous job”. On May 30, 2019, during National AccessAbility Week, the Ford Government voted to defeat a motion in the Legislature proposed by NDP MPP Joel Harden. That motion had called on the Ford Government to come up with a plan to implement the Onley Report.

In statements in the Legislature on May 30, 2019 that are hurtful to people with disabilities, several of Doug Ford’s members of the Legislature inaccurately rejected the Onley Report’s recommendations as leading to “more duplication, red tape and high costs for business.” Our rights to accessibility under the AODA are not red tape!

The AODA Alliance recently gave the Ford Government a failing “F” grade for its work on accessibility in its first year in office.

On July 10, 2019, 21 disability organizations sent an open letter to Premier Ford, calling on his Government to come up with a plan to implement the Onley Report. More organizations have signed on since then.

In one year, Doug Ford’s Government announced only one new measure to fix disability barriers. Doug Ford plans to give the Rick Hansen Foundation 1.3 million dollars of the public’s money to conduct a private accessibility certification of 250 public or private buildings over two years. This plan is riddled with problems. It’s an inappropriate use of public money. The Government should instead use that money to beef up AODA implementation and enforcement.



Source link

Join in Our New “Dial Doug” Campaign! — A Grassroots Blitz, Unveiled Today, to Get the Doug Ford Government to Make Ontario Open for Over 1.9 Million Ontarians with Disabilities


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

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

Join in Our New “Dial Doug” Campaign! — A Grassroots Blitz, Unveiled Today, to Get the Doug Ford Government to Make Ontario Open for Over 1.9 Million Ontarians with Disabilities

Twitter: #DialDoug

July 24, 2019

Please help our new grassroots blitz, unveiled today! We want the Doug Ford Government to come up with a plan to make Ontario accessible to over 1.9 million Ontarians who have any kind of disability. It just takes you a few minutes to help, from home, or anywhere.

Grab a smart phone! DIAL DOUG! Phone or email him! Ask him where is his plan to get Ontario to be accessible to Ontarians with disabilities by 2025? Tell him our rights are not red tape!

The phone number for the Office of the Premier of Ontario is (416) 325-1941. Premier Ford’s email address is [email protected]. He had made his cell number public and was open to getting calls and text messages from voters on it. He portrays himself as being a very accessible premier who wants to hear directly from the people. He recently cancelled that cell number. But we the public can still try to reach him on his office phone or his email address.

Doug Ford says he is the premier “for the People”. His Government says it’s focusing on what matters most to Ontarians. Let’s take him at his word. Call or email him. Have your say. Read on for action tips and helpful background at a glance, below. We’ll have even more tips for you in future AODA Alliance Updates.

Here’s What to Do

Please phone or email Premier Doug Ford, whichever makes you most comfortable. If you phone him at his office, you will likely get connected with one of his staff. You can tell them what you have to say to the premier. You can even ask him to call you back, if you like. You might get directed to a voice mail box to leave a message. If you send him an email, you can take the time to write out what you want. You can do both, phone him and email him.

What might you say? Here are some ideas. It’s best if you share your thoughts in your own words.

Tell Doug Ford how many people around you have disabilities. We’re voters! Describe disability barriers that hurt you or your friends or family members with disabilities. These might be barriers you or others face when trying to shop, use public transit or health care services, go to school or university, or get a job.

Most important, ask him what is his plan to lead Ontario to become accessible to Ontarians with disabilities by 2025? That is the deadline that the Disabilities Act (AODA) sets.

You might tell him that our rights are not “red tape”. In the Legislature on May 30, 2019, several Conservative MPPs said it would just create red tape for the Ontario Government to make new regulations on accessibility or to do a better job at enforcing Ontario’s Disabilities Act (AODA).

Ontario won’t be open for business if it is not open to all Ontarians with disabilities as customers and employees. We need Doug Ford to use the Disabilities Act to tear down the barriers that close Ontario to so many of us.

Tell him that this past January, former Lieutenant Governor David Onley gave the Government a report that said that for people with disabilities, Ontario is full of “countless, dispiriting, soul-crushing barriers”.

Be open about your concerns but also remember that it is important to be respectful, no matter how frustrated you may feel. That is far more effective and appropriate than sounding angry.

We are non-partisan. We work with all parties, commend them when they do good things, and hold them publicly accountable when they fall short on our issues.

Let us know what you tried and what you were told. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, tweet or post about your text message or call to Doug Ford. Use our new #DialDoug hashtag in your tweet or post. You can email us about it, at [email protected]

Encourage family and friends to also take part in our Dial Doug campaign. If you have more time, please also contact your nearest members of the Ontario Legislature with the same message. Their contact information is at https://www.ola.org/en/members

Background at a Glance

Over 1.9 million Ontarians have a physical, mental, sensory, intellectual, learning, communication or other disability. This number is increasing as the population grows and ages.

In the 2018 Ontario election, Doug Ford said:

“Too many Ontarians with disabilities still face barriers when they try to get a job, ride public transit, get an education, use our healthcare system, buy goods or services, or eat in restaurants.”

In 2005, the Legislature unanimously passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). It requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities by 2025 (less than 5 and a half years away). The Ontario Government must enact regulations, called accessibility standards. These tell organizations what they need to do to become accessible, and set time lines. the Government is supposed to enforce these standards.

Progress on accessibility since 2005 has been far too slow. Ontarians with disabilities know this from their experience. It was also the strong finding of a Government-appointed Independent Review by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Onley Report concluded this province is mostly inaccessible.”

The Onley report found that there has been a protracted, troubling lack of Government leadership for years on this issue. The Onley Report recommended:

“The Premier of Ontario could establish accessibility as a government-wide priority with the stroke of a pen.”

The Onley report made practical recommendations. Among other things, it called for the Government to substantially strengthen AODA enforcement, create new accessibility standards including for the built environment, strengthen existing AODA accessibility standards, and ensure that public money is never again used to create disability barriers.

The Ford Government has been studying the Onley Report for almost six months. It has announced no plan to implement the Onley Report.

Doug Ford’s Government voted against creating a plan to implement the Onley Report. Yet the Ford Government’s Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho said that David Onley did a “marvelous job”. On May 30, 2019, during National AccessAbility Week, the Ford Government voted to defeat a motion in the Legislature proposed by NDP MPP Joel Harden. That motion had called on the Ford Government to come up with a plan to implement the Onley Report.

In statements in the Legislature on May 30, 2019 that are hurtful to people with disabilities, several of Doug Ford’s members of the Legislature inaccurately rejected the Onley Report’s recommendations as leading to “more duplication, red tape and high costs for business.” Our rights to accessibility under the AODA are not red tape!

The AODA Alliance recently gave the Ford Government a failing “F” grade for its work on accessibility in its first year in office.

On July 10, 2019, 21 disability organizations sent an open letter to Premier Ford, calling on his Government to come up with a plan to implement the Onley Report. More organizations have signed on since then.

In one year, Doug Ford’s Government announced only one new measure to fix disability barriers. Doug Ford plans to give the Rick Hansen Foundation 1.3 million dollars of the public’s money to conduct a private accessibility certification of 250 public or private buildings over two years. This plan is riddled with problems. It’s an inappropriate use of public money. The Government should instead use that money to beef up AODA implementation and enforcement.



Source link