Download the final text of the Accessible Canada Act, as passed by Canada’s Parliament, previously called Bill C-81, in English or French, and in an accessible MS Word or a pdf format



Click here to download the English version of the Accessible Canada Act in MS Word format. Click here to down load the English version of the Accessible Canada Act in pdf format. Click here to download the French version of the Accessible Canada Act in an accessible MS Word format. Click here to download the … Continue reading Download the final text of the Accessible Canada Act, as passed by Canada’s Parliament, previously called Bill C-81, in English or French, and in an accessible MS Word or a pdf format



Source link

Canada’s Parliament Has Now Passed Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act


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

June 3, 2019
SUMMARY

We are right back in action, after being off-line during a short but eventful time in the campaign for accessibility in Canada and Ontario. Get ready for a number of updates to bring you up to speed!

In the most important development last week, right in the middle of National Accessibility Week, the House of Commons passed all the amendments to Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act, that the Senate earlier made to the bill. Therefore, Bill C-81 has completed its current journey through Canada’s Parliament.

The Accessible Canada Act does not go into effect until the Federal Government gives the bill “Royal Assent.” We understand that this step may well take place in the next few weeks.

We thank everyone who helped in our shared efforts to get this bill improved. We thank those disability organizations and groups who worked with us on this shared goal. We thank all the AODA Alliance supporters and volunteers who contributed to our efforts. We appreciate every tweet or email sent to add pressure in favour of a stronger bill. As well the feedback we regularly received from our supporters have helped improve our message and our strategies.

We also thank all the MPs and Senators and their staff who helped press for a stronger bill, and all the federal public servants who did the same. Some of their efforts were undertaken behind the scenes, and without an opportunity for public acknowledgement and thanks.

Below we offer seven reflections on this achievement. In summary:

1. Final passage of the amended Bill C-81 is a helpful step forward for people with disabilities in Canada.

2. We got some of the ingredients in the bill that we were seeking.

3. We found creative ways to constructively contribute to advocacy efforts on this legislation where there are so many disability organizations and groups spread over such a big country.

4. While helpful, Bill C-81 still falls well short of what people with disabilities need.

5. We’re ready for the next round in this non-partisan campaign.

6. Our advocacy principles served us well.

7. The media too often failed to cover this important issue a disservice to all Canadians.

As well, for those who want more detail on all of the above, below we provide this further background information:

* A May 30, 2019 report by CTV on line, written by Michelle McQuigge of the Canadian Press, on the final passage of Bill C-81.

* The May 24, 2019 Globe and Mail article, also by CP’s Michelle McQuigge, on the Federal Government’s announcement that it would agree to ratify all the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-81.

* The May 22, 2019 Globe and Mail article reporting on efforts to get the Federal Government to finally pass Bill C-81. This article includes some of the inaccurate statements that overstates what Bill C-81 requires.

* The May 30, 2019 news release by the ARCH Disability Law Centre, on the passage of Bill C-81, which provides a good response to the bill’s final passage with which we agree.

* The final version of this spring’s second open letter to the House of Commons, calling for all the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-81 to be ratified. Fully 84 disability organizations and groups signed this open letter, listed below.

MORE DETAILS

Our Top Seven Preliminary Reflections on the Enactment of the Accessible Canada Act

Here are our top seven preliminary reflections we offer about this news:

1. Final Passage of the Amended Bill C-81 is a Helpful Step Forward

It is a helpful step forward that Parliament has passed the Accessible Canada Act, replete with all the amendments to it that the Senate made last month. As amended, this law gives us and all people with disabilities in Canada added tools we can try to use in an effort to tear down the many barriers that persist across this country. We plan to be active in pressing the Federal Government to ensure the achievement of the law’s goal of a barrier-free Canada without delay, and in any event, no later than 2040.

2. We Got Some of the Ingredients in the Bill that We Were Seeking

The Act includes features for which we and others pressed over the past four years. These include a fixed deadline to achieve an accessible Canada, a complaints-based enforcement process, a national body to recommend accessibility standards to be enacted, and reductions in the improper power of the Canadian Transportation Agency to enact regulations that can cut back on the human rights of people with disabilities.

Working with others in the disability community, we saw improvements to the law at each stage of the process. We saw improvements when the law was being initially designed, when it first came before the House of Commons for debate in the fall of 2018, and after that, when it came before the Senate this spring. This included some improvements to which the Federal Government had been opposed throughout the process.

3. We Found Ways to Constructively Contribute in a Country with so Many Disability Organizations and Groups

We found constructive and creative ways to work within Canada’s disability community throughout this four-year process. From coast to coast, Canada has a large and diverse landscape of disability organizations and groups. The AODA Alliance is but one of them. We certainly were not the leader of the effort, and at no time purported to be such. There was no one “leader” in this effort.

Moreover, in a country as big as Canada, there is no way to bring all of these disability organizations and groups together at one time and in one place to operate as one unanimous voice. With over five million people with disabilities, there are bound to be differences of opinion and approach.

Our goal was to try to offer influential ideas for the content of Bill C-81 and effective strategies for achieving as strong a bill as possible. We wanted to offer ideas around which as many people with disabilities and disability organizations could rally, based on the strength of those ideas.

We found it very constructive to collaborate with a good number of disability organizations and groups. Among other things, this included a close and ongoing collaboration with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the ARCH Disability Law Centre.

Among our contributions and efforts in this process were the following:

* We took part in behind-the-scenes efforts to get 2016 election commitments to pass national accessibility legislation from the federal Liberals and New Democratic Party. We also mounted a major social media campaign to press candidates across Canada to support the enactment of strong national accessibility legislation.

* In 2016, we made public a detailed Discussion Paper on what the national accessibility legislation should include. We refined it after receiving public input on it. We can trace some key features in Bill C-81 to ideas set out in this Discussion Paper. The Discussion Paper built on experience with provincial accessibility legislation.

* In August 2017, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky designed and moderated a 3-hour captioned online policy experts conference on what the promised national accessibility legislation should include. Federal Accessibility Minister Carla Qualtrough and her deputy minister attended and took active part in this event. It remains archived online for any Canadian province or other government around the world to learn from our ideas. This was conducted under the auspices of a coalition that formed for purposes of the Federal Government’s consultation on this bill, the Alliance for an Accessible and Inclusive Canada.

* We took part in behind-the-scenes briefings of several successive ministers that had responsibility for this file, several MPs from the various federal parties, and senior public servants involved with this issue.
* AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky delivered a lecture on what the promised national accessibility legislation should include at the Osgoode Hall Law School where he is a part-time faculty member. This captioned lecture has remained available online, to assist others advocating in this area.

* Before Bill C-81 was introduced into Parliament in June 2018, we made public a beginner’s guide to how a law goes through parliament. This was written to help everyone involved in this campaign learn the processes for passing a federal law.

* We submitted a very detailed brief to the House of Commons in Fall 2017. It analyzed Bill C-81 in detail and sought 96 amendments. We also made an oral presentation to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee that held public hearings on the bill last fall.

* We joined together with ARCH Disability Law Centre and CCD to collectively spearhead an open letter to the House of Commons at the conclusion of its public hearings. Over 90 disability organizations and groups signed it. It listed key amendments needed to make this legislation strong and effective.

* After the House of Commons passed the bill with some but not all of the amendments we and others had sought, we worked together with other disability organizations to advocate at the Senate for further amendments to the bill. Again, our efforts were coordinated with other like-minded organizations, with a special effort together with ARCH and CCD.

* This spring, we submitted a brief to the Senate as well as the text of a short list of amendments that we proposed. We were also one of the disability organizations that made an oral presentation at the Senate’s Standing Committee hearings in April and May of this year. Here again, the Senate made some but not all of the amendments that we and others sought.

* At the Senate, as at the House of Commons, we were also very busy with extensive behind-the-scenes advocacy efforts with several Senators and their staff. We were delighted at how many were open to consult with us right up to the last minute.

* Over the final three weeks, we and others mounted a concerted and successful campaign to get the House of Commons to ratify all the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-81. This ratification was far from a certainty when we began that effort. This included our Twitter blitz to as many MPs as possible.

Again, we joined with ARCH and CCD to create another open letter to the House of Commons. This one called for the House to approve all the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-81. Set out below, fully 84 disability organizations and groups signed it.

* We kept our supporters and the broader public aware of each major step in this four-year campaign via our AODA Alliance updates and our tweets. This entire saga is reported at www.aodaalliance.org/canadaHere

* We attempted to use the conventional media, as well as social media, to spread the word on this campaign and get more public support for our cause. We issued news releases at several major steps along the way. Most recently, the April 30, 2019 online Toronto Star included our guest column on this campaign.

* Throughout this process, several members of the House of Commons and the Senate made supportive and flattering references to our presentations and recommendations and advocated for their adoption. We, like ARCH and CCD, were often the sources quoted when a member of the House or Senate was pointing out deficiencies with the bill and the needed improvements. Several other disability organizations pointed to and relied on the detailed analysis of the bill and the detailed recommendations for amendments that we and/or ARCH presented. We worked very closely with ARCH to coordinate our respective analysis and proposals.

4. While Helpful, Bill C-81 Still Falls Well Short of What People with Disabilities Need

While the final version of Bill C-81 is helpful and a step forward, it still suffers from serious deficiencies. For example:

* It gives the Federal Government helpful powers to promote accessibility, but largely does not require that these ever be used. For example, it lets the Federal Government create helpful and enforceable national accessibility standards but does not require the Federal Government to ever do so.

* It provides for helpful enforcement tools but splinters its enforcement across four federal agencies, which is a real disadvantage to people with disabilities.

* It continues to allow federal public money to be used to create or perpetuate accessibility barriers against people with disabilities.

* It lets the Federal Government grant sweeping exemptions from some of the bill’s requirements to regulated organizations, including the Federal Government itself.

* It is excessively complicated and hard to read. This threatens to make it less effective and harder to implement.

In the excitement over the passage of a new law called “the Accessible Canada Act,” it is important not to overstate what this law actually does. As we noted in our April 30, 2019 AODA Alliance Update, Rick Hansen incorrectly stated in a guest column in the April 22, 2019 Globe and Mail that Bill C-81 (the proposed Accessible Canada Act), now before Parliament “will require the Government of Canada and organizations under its jurisdiction to ensure that public spaces, workplaces, employment, program, services and information be accessible to everyone.”

We regret that the Globe never ran our letter to the editor correcting this inaccuracy, and that, to our knowledge, Mr. Hansen did not himself correct it. We had asked him to do so.

Similarly, a May 22, 2019 Globe and Mail article, set out below, included these two inaccuracies about Bill C-81:

* “If the amendments recently added by the Senate are accepted, the bill would ensure federal agencies proactively fix their buildings to allow disabled people to move freely as well as design their programs in ways that can be delivered to all Canadians.”

* “Bill C-81 would force more accessible workplaces on agencies such as the RCMP, as well as federally run services that cross provincial lines such as banking and long-range bus transportation.”

We wish Bill C-81 did what the Globe reported in that article and what Rick Hansen wrote in the April 22, 2019 Globe. We regret that it does not require these measures. It only permits them.

5. We’re Ready for the Next Round in This Non-Partisan Campaign

Our volunteer advocacy work is not finished. Over the next weeks and months, we will launch a non-partisan campaign to get the federal political parties to make strong commitments during the upcoming 2019 federal election campaign. We will ask them to make detailed commitments to effectively implement this law, and to strengthen it with further amendments that the Federal Government did not agree to over the past year. Stay tuned for more on this.

6. Our Advocacy Principles Served Us Well

Throughout this process we adhered to important principles:
* We never give up. We took every opportunity up to the last to get this bill strengthened. We did not simply settle for what we considered a weak bill, and we did not give up the chance to get more amendments.

* We maintained complete independence from the Federal Government by not applying for any grant money from the Government at any time. We also will seek no federal grant money in the future.

* We offered our best ideas to the Government and the disability community, focusing on amendments that are substantive and as impactful as possible for all people with disabilities.

7. The Media too Often Failed to Cover this Important Issue A Disservice to All Canadians

It remains deeply troubling that throughout the past four years, the campaign for this legislation secured very little media coverage. It deserved much more coverage, both during the 2015 federal election campaign, during the Federal Government’s 18-month public consultation leading to the bill, and during the bill’s two trips through the House of Commons and one trip through the Senate. It is commendable that despite this, a few reporters tried to cover this issue. You can find most of these reports at www.aodaalliance.org/canada

This is a newsworthy subject. This bill directly affects the needs of over five million people with disabilities in Canada. It ultimately addresses the needs of all in Canada, since everyone is bound to get a disability as they age.

The media should reflect on this. It is profoundly regrettable that the media’s preoccupation with certain scandals and perceived headline-grabbing issues has left far too many Canadians unaware that there even was a Bill C-81 or a campaign to get it strengthened.

CTV News Online May 30, 2019

First national accessibility legislation gets unanimous support in House

Originally posted at https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/first-national-accessibility-legislation-gets-unanimous-support-in-house-1.4444877?cache=yes%3FclipId%3D375756%3FautoPlay%3Dtrue%3Fot%3DAjaxLayout%3FautoPlay%3Dtrue%3FclipId%3D89619

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Service and Procurement and Accessibility stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Disabled Canadians declared a partial victory Thursday hours after the government voted to enact Canada’s first national accessibility law, calling it a major step forward while cautioning that more work was still needed to ensure it achieves its goal.

The Accessible Canada Act, which aims to improve life for those with disabilities, received unanimous support in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening. It awaits only royal assent, expected in the coming weeks, before officially becoming law.

Advocates who fought for amendments to strengthen the legislation praised the governing Liberals for delivering on a promise to implement the bill and bring Canada more in line with other countries that have had such laws for years. But they also cautioned against complacency, saying more work lay ahead.

“We applaud the government for its willingness to listen to Canadians with disabilities,” Council of Canadians with Disabilities chair Jewelles Smith said in a statement.

“CCD reminds the government that there are many serious ongoing barriers that will not be addressed by this act, and encourages the federal government to pursue policy solutions to these well-known concerns.”

Accessibility Minister Carla Qualtrough, who spearheaded national consultations on the bill and shepherded it through Parliament, hailed its passage as a significant moment.

“This is the most transformative piece of legislation since enacting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and a true testament to the work, commitment and contributions of the Canadian disability community,” she said in a statement. “This historic act sends a clear signal to Canadians that persons with disabilities will no longer be treated as an afterthought.”

The act passed by Parliament bears striking differences from the version initially tabled last June.

Its stated purpose — to “identify, remove and prevent” accessibility barriers in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction — was greeted with enthusiasm and remains the same. Those areas include built environments, federally run programs and services, banking, telecommunications and transportation that crosses provincial lines.

But disabled advocates almost immediately began raising concerns about the effectiveness of the legislation and lobbied for changes.

Last fall, a group of 95 disability groups signed an open letter outlining nine areas of perceived weakness, including the lack of a timeline for the bill’s implementation and failure to recognize various forms of sign language as official languages of the deaf.

The Senate’s committee on social affairs, science and technology, citing community concerns, amended the bill to include sign language recognition as well as a timeline for the bill to be fully implemented by 2040.

Those amendments were reflected in the bill that garnered parliamentary approval.

Activists celebrated the passage of the act as genuine progress, but some continued to voice concerns about areas where they feel it still falls short.

The Arch Disability Law Centre indicated Thursday that it was particularly troubled by the language employed throughout the bill, which repeatedly uses “may” rather than “shall” or “must” when describing initiatives.

This language gives government … power to make and enforce the new accessibility requirements, but does not actually require them to use these powers,” Arch said in a statement.

An amendment before the Senate committee addressed that concern but was defeated.

Advocates also criticized the bill for granting the government broad powers to exempt people from the new rules, spreading enforcement over numerous agencies, and opting not to withhold federal funding from organizations that don’t comply with accessibility measures. Conservatives and New Democrats echoed those issues in Parliament.

Gabrielle Peters, a Vancouver-based wheelchair user, said the government’s failure to address those areas leaves the law lacking compared to similar legislation in other countries. She said she questions whether the law will prove significant for all its meant to serve.

“I and many like me will be at home with my broken wheelchair in my tiny box of an improperly adapted apartment living in poverty in a city with 8,000 corners where I can’t cross the street,” she said.

“Nothing in the act will change that. But I am glad Canada finally has an Accessible Canada Act, however lacking I find it, and I want to recognize the work of those who actually worked on and for it.”

The Globe and Mail May 24, 2019

Originally posted at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-federal-government-will-implement-senate-proposals-to-strengthen/

Accessibility bill will be amended to address concerns: minister

By MICHELLE MCQUIGGE
THE CANADIAN PRESS

The federal government will heed the calls of Canada’s disabled community and amend the country’s first piece of national accessibility legislation to
include some of the changes they sought, the minister spearheading the effort said Thursday.

Accessibility Minister Carla Qualtrough said the government will be adopting all the amendments the Senate introduced to Bill C-81, also known as the Accessible Canada Act, when it comes back before the House next week.

Earlier this month, the upper chamber’s committee on social affairs, science and technology amended the proposed act to include a handful of measures disability
advocacy organizations across the country said were necessary to make the bill more effective.

Ms. Qualtrough conceded that the government had initially resisted some of their most pressing calls, such as the demand to include a timeline that would require the bill to be fully implemented by 2040.

But Ms. Qualtrough said the legislation, which was drafted after cross-country consultations with disabled individuals and advocacy groups, needed to reflect the will of the people it’s meant to serve.

“It’s just paying tribute to all the work and all the people that have been here in the past 40, 50 years really insisting that disability rights are human rights,” Ms. Qualtrough said in a telephone interview.

Activists had been crusading for Canadian accessibility legislation for decades and watched as other countries, including the United States, got laws on their books.

The Liberals began making good on an election promise to deliver a Canadian version when they tabled the Accessible Canada Act last June, pledging $290-million over six years toward its implementation.

The act’s stated purpose is to “identify, remove and prevent” accessibility barriers in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction. This includes built
environments, federally run programs and services, banking, telecommunications and transportation that crosses provincial lines.

Barrier, as defined by the act, includes anything “architectural, physical, technological or attitudinal” that “hinders the full participation in society
of a person with a physical, mental, intellectual, learning, communication or sensory impairment.”

Disabled Canadians reacted with wary optimism when the draft act was first tabled, but soon began voicing concerns that it was too weak to make a difference in their lives.

Last year, an open letter signed by 95 organizations, including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, National Network for Mental Health and March
of Dimes Canada, raised a number of measures they said the act must include to be effective.

Chief among their concerns was the bill’s unwillingness to include a timeline for implementation, as well as its failure to name various forms of sign language as official languages of deaf Canadians.

The Senate’s social-affairs committee, citing community concerns, amended the bill to address those issues. Ms. Qualtrough said their proposed amendments
will now be incorporated into the bill, which will come before Parliament for final debate next week and could be officially passed into law by the end of June.

The government, Ms. Qualtrough said, has already begun work to appoint the people who will be tasked with implementing and enforcing the bill.

A chief accessibility officer will oversee the implementation of the legislation across all sectors, while a new Accessibility Commissioner will be responsible
for compliance. A new Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization, comprised largely of people with a broad spectrum of disabilities, will also be put in place.

“Canadians deserve this,” Ms. Qualtrough said.

Activists celebrated the inclusion of the Senate’s amendments, saying they help to strengthen the bill in some key areas.

“This is an important victory,” accessibility activist David Lepofsky said in a statement. “While the Senate’s amendments don’t fix all the deficiencies with Bill C-81 … they are an important and helpful step forward.”

Many community members said they remain concerned about other areas the Senate did not address when making revisions to the act.

The open letter criticized the bill for granting the government broad powers to exempt people from the new rules, spreading enforcement over numerous agencies,
and opting not to withhold federal funding from organizations that don’t comply with accessibility measures.

Advocates also raised concerns about the way the bill was written. The bill repeatedly uses “may” rather than “shall” or “must” when describing initiatives,
meaning the government is empowered to take actions but never required to follow through on them, they argued.

The Globe and Mail May 22, 2019

Originally posted at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-push-is-on-to-pass-canadian-accessibility-law/

Activists urge Ottawa to pass accessibility law before summer

By MIKE HAGER
Globe and Mail, May 22, 2019

VANCOUVER – Disabled Canadians and their supporters are pushing Ottawa to pass a bill enshrining their right to more accessible and inclusive federal workplaces before the next election, legislation they say could help improve the lives of those with physical and mental disabilities.

Bill Adair, a spokesperson for a group of 96 organizations, said more than a thousand people and non-profit groups have recently sent letters to every MP in a blitz aimed at getting Bill C-81, known as the Accessible Canada Act, passed by Parliament and written into law before the summer break begins next month.

“We worked hard at bringing this into effect over the past three years and it is time for our country to take this step forward and throw the doors wide open for participation,” said Mr. Adair, who is also executive director of Spinal Cord Injury Canada.

Mr. Adair said his umbrella group believes the bill, which would “identify, remove and prevent” accessibility barriers in agencies and programs that fall under federal jurisdiction, could help level the considerable unemployment gap for disabled people, roughly 60 per cent of whom are employed, compared with 80 per cent for the general population.

If the amendments recently added by the Senate are accepted, the bill would ensure federal agencies proactively fix their buildings to allow disabled people to move freely as well as design their programs in ways that can be delivered to all Canadians.

As well, the bill would recognize various forms of sign language – including Indigenous sign languages – and include them among government services.

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, said passing the amended bill remains a priority for her government.

“I expect the debate in the House of Commons to take place next week coinciding with National AccessAbility Week – a timely opportunity to highlight the work our government is doing to create a more accessible and inclusive Canada for all,” her statement Tuesday said.

Bill C-81 would force more accessible workplaces on agencies such as the RCMP, as well as federally run services that cross provincial lines such as banking and long-range bus transportation.

The government has pledged $290-million over six years toward implementing the act, which will see Ottawa appoint an accessibility commissioner and create an organization to develop accessibility standards for the industries covered by the law.

Rick Hansen, a former Paralympian whose eponymous foundation is part of the push to pass the bill, said it would be a huge disappointment if the act didn’t pass before the federal election. “Canada can’t afford to let down the one in five Canadians with disabilities,” Mr. Hansen said.

In the absence of national accessibility standards, his organization is launching an awareness campaign called Everyone Everywhere to identify common barriers disabled people face. These include: a lack of visual fire alarms; no push button doors at a building’s main entrance; steep curbs, narrow parking spaces, circular doorknobs; signage without Braille or raised lettering; ramps that are too steep or not wide enough and a lack of grab bars in bathrooms.

Mr. Hansen said a pilot project completed over two years rated about 1,100 buildings across B.C.

for their accessibility and found just more than a third didn’t meet the minimum standard.

Mr. Hansen’s organization also commissioned a Conference Board of Canada report last year that suggested the estimated 2.9 million Canadians with physical disabilities would be able to contribute $16.8-billion more to the gross domestic product by 2030 if they faced fewer barriers to participating in the workforce. Earlier this year, an independent review found deficiencies to nearly all aspects of Ontario’s 14-yearold accessibility law, including that too many buildings are still designed in ways that make it impossible for some disabled people to enter.

Gabrielle Peters, a Vancouverbased writer who led a campaign that created a matted trail for wheelchair users to access one of the city’s most popular beaches last summer, said Bill C-81 needs to give Ottawa the teeth to limit the funding of any agencies not making the effort to improve life for disabled Canadians. Ms. Peters, who uses a wheelchair, said she is genuinely uncertain how the legislation would affect her own life and the lives of other disabled people if it passes. Text of the ARCH Disability Law Centre May 30, 2109 News Release

Originally posted at https://archdisabilitylaw.ca/press-release-arch-disability-law-centre-welcomes-the-passage-of-the-accessible-canada-act/ Press Release ARCH Disability Law Centre welcomes the passage of the Accessible Canada Act

ARCH Disability Law Centre welcomes the passage of the Accessible Canada Act, an important moment in Canadas disability rights movement continuing towards our goal of full inclusion and equality for persons with disabilities across Canada.

The Accessible Canada Act is federal accessibility legislation. Its stated purpose is to achieve a barrier free Canada by 2040. To do this, the Act gives powers to the Government of Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Canadian Radio-television and telecommunications commission to create new legal requirements for advancing accessibility in federal employment, the built environment, transportation, procurement of goods, services and facilities, information and communication technologies, communication, and the design and delivery of programs and services. These new legal requirements will be aimed at identifying, removing and preventing barriers, which the Act defines as anything that hinders the full and equal participation in society of persons with a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment or functional limitation.

Bill C-81 Accessible Canada Act was first introduced in the House of Commons in June 2018. As the Bill wound its way through the legislative process, a number of important changes were made to it. In particular, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (SOCI) made several amendments which strengthened the Bill. For example, SOCI included in the Bill a timeline of 2040 for achieving a barrier free Canada; added multiple and intersectional discrimination as a principle which must be considered when laws, policies, services and programs are developed; clarified that nothing in the Bill or its regulations limits the existing legal obligation to accommodate persons with disabilities; and recognized sign languages as the primary languages for communication by Deaf persons in Canada.

SOCI adopted these amendments after receiving recommendations from disability organizations across Canada. ARCH thanks Senators for listening to the concerns of disability communities and taking action to address them. The amendments made by the Senate strengthen the Accessible Canada Act. We commend Minister Qualtrough and the Government for voting to pass Bill C-81 with all the amendments made by the Senate said Robert Lattanzio, Executive Director of ARCH.

Throughout Bill C-81s journey, disability communities across Canada were actively involved in advocating for the Bill to be as strong as possible. ARCH worked closely with Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), AODA Alliance and over 90 national, provincial and local disability groups. To support disability communities with their advocacy, ARCH wrote an extensive legal analysis of Bill C-81, provided updates on the Bills progress in our quarterly newsletter, gave presentations on the legislation, and produced a series of Briefing Notes explaining key amendments sought. ARCH also worked with CCD and AODA Alliance to coordinate 2 Open Letter campaigns. Advocating to strengthen Bill C-81 has provided opportunities for disability communities to work together. It has been a privilege to work closely with so many dedicated advocates. The Accessible Canada Act is stronger because of their tireless work said Kerri Joffe, ARCH Staff Lawyer.

Despite the helpful amendments that were made to the legislation, a number of concerns raised by ARCH and other disability groups remain. One such weakness is the use of permissive language may rather than directive language shall or must in the Accessible Canada Act. This language gives government, the Canadian Transportation Agency, the CRTC and other bodies power to make and enforce the new accessibility requirements, but does not actually require them to use these powers.

The Accessible Canada Act has been passed by the House of Commons, but there is still one more step before it becomes law the Act must receive Royal Asset. ARCH urges the Government to ensure that the Act receives Royal Assent before the next federal election is called.

For more details contact:

Robert Lattanzio, Executive Director
416-482-8255 x. 2233

Kerri Joffe, Staff Lawyer
416-482-8255 x. 2222

Open Letter to the House of Commons Updated

Open Letter on the Need to Swiftly Pass All Senate Amendments to Bill C-81- Accessible Canada Act

[Le français suit]

To: All Members of Parliament
Date: May 14, 2019
The undersigned national, provincial and local disability groups ask all Members of Parliament to commit to swiftly pass all the amendments to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act that the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (SOCI) passed on May 2, 2019.
We commend the Honourable Minister Carla Qualtrough for championing this Bill and her openness to considering amendments to it, as she expressed to the Senate Standing Committee.
The Senate Standing Committee heard from a spectrum of disability organizations and advocates who supported the need for national accessibility legislation and who recommended areas where the bill could be improved to achieve its goal of ensuring that Canada becomes barrier-free for people with disabilities. SOCI chair Senator Chantal Petitclerc concluded the committees debates by stating that the committees amendments reflect the maxim of disability communities: Nothing about us without us.
While they do not include all the improvements that disability organizations and advocates sought, the Senates amendments improve Bill C-81. The amendments include: setting 2040 as the end date for Canada to become accessible; ensuring that this time line does not justify any delay in removing and preventing accessibility barriers as soon as reasonably possible; recognizing American Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language and Indigenous Sign Languages as the primary languages for communication used by Deaf people; making it a principle to govern the bill that multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination faced by persons with disabilities must be considered; ensuring that Bill C-81 and regulations made under it cannot cut back on the human rights of people with disabilities guaranteed by the Canadian Human Rights Act; ensuring that the Canadian Transportation Agency cannot reduce existing human rights protections for passengers with disabilities when the Agency handles complaints about barriers in transportation; and fixing problems the Federal Government identified between the bills employment provisions and legislation governing the RCMP.
It is expected that the Senate will pass Bill C-81 as amended by May 16, 2019. The bill then returns to the House of Commons, for a vote on the Senates amendments. It is critical that the House pass all of the Senates amendments to Bill C-81, to ensure that this important bill swiftly becomes law.
We ask the House of Commons to schedule a vote on the bill as soon as possible. We ask all MPs to vote to pass all the Senates amendments to Bill C-81.
If the House of Commons does anything less, it will weaken the bill, and risk the possibility that the bill will not finish its journey through Parliament before the fall election. Signed:
AODA Alliance
ARCH Disability Law Centre
Citizens With Disabilities Ontario (CWDO)
Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)
Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance (FALA)
Ontario Autism Coalition
Spinal Cord Injury Canada
StopGap Foundation
Travel for All
Older Womens Network
PONDA
Barrier Free Canada Canada sans Barrières
BC Coalition of People who use Guide Dogs
Keremeos Measuring Up Team
National Coalition of People who use Guide and Service Dogs in Canada The Project Group Consulting Cooperative
VIEWS Ontario For the Vision ImpairedDoing It Blind
Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)
British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) DeafBlind Ontario Services
March of Dimes Canada
North Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre Inc.
Peterborough Council for Persons with Disabilities
Québec Accessible
CNIB
Electromagnetic Pollution Illnesses Canada Foundation (EPIC) Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy
Rick Hansen Foundation
Access 2 Accessibility
BALANCE for Blind Adults
Barrier Free Manitoba (BFM)
Canadian Association of the Deaf Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC) Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf
Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)
Community Living Ontario
Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO)
Hydrocephalus Canada
LArche Canada
Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario
National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) NWT Disability Council
Realize
Tetra Society of North America Ontario Division
Unitarian Commons Co-Housing Corporation
Vibrant Healthcare Alliance
Vie Autonome Montréal
Association du Syndrome de Usher du Québec
Association multiethnique pour lintégration des personnes handicapées (AMEIPH) Barrier Free Saskatchewan
Canadian Association for Community Living
Canadian Centre on Disability Studies Inc. o/a Eviance
Canadian Epilepsy Alliance
Community Services for Independence North West (CSINW)
Deaf Literacy Initiative
Guide Dog Users of Canada
Handicapped Action Group Inc. (HAGI)
Law, Disability & Social Change Research Project
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
Muscular Dystrophy Canada
National Network for Mental Health
OCASI- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
Ontarian with Disabilitites League for Human Rights of Bnai Brith Canada People First of Canada
reachAbility Association
Regroupement des associations de personnes handicapées de lOutaouais (RAPHO) Silent Voice Canada Inc.
The Canadian Council of the Blind
The Club Inclusion
The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (Toronto Chapter) Family Network for Deaf Children
SPH Planning & Consulting Limited (SPH)
Disability Awareness Consultants
Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD)
Empowered Kids Ontario Enfants Avenir Ontario
Sound Times Support Services
Coalition of Persons with Disabilities
JRG Society for the Arts
A Resource Centre for Families Cumberland
Community Inclusion Society
Abilities Centre
Ontario Association of the Deaf
L’Arche Comox Valley
ALS Society of Canada
Saskatchewan ALS Society
Lettre ouverte pour une rapide ratification des modifications sénatoriales au projet de loi C-81, la Loi canadienne sur laccessibilité. À: Tous les membres du Parlement
Date: 14 mai 2019
Nous, les soussignés, organisations nationales, provinciales et locales de personnes handicapées, recommandons à tous les membres du Parlement de sengager à adopter rapidement toutes les modifications au projet de loi C-81, Loi canadienne sur laccessibilité, adoptées le 2 mai 2019 par le Comité sénatorial permanent des affaires sociales, sciences et technologie (SOCI).
Nous félicitons lhonorable ministre Carla Qualtrough davoir défendu ce projet de loi et, tel quexprimé au Comité sénatorial permanent, de son ouverture envers les modifications proposées.
Le Comité sénatorial a entendu une vaste gamme dorganisations de personnes en situation de handicap et dintervenants marteler le besoin dune loi nationale sur laccessibilité et recommander lamélioration de certains secteurs afin que le projet de loi atteigne son objectif, à savoir faire du Canada un pays exempt dobstacles. En clôturant les débats, la sénatrice Chantal Peticlerc, présidente du SOCI, a déclaré que les modifications apportées par le Comité traduisaient le slogan des collectivités de personnes handicapées Rien pour nous, sans nous.
Bien que nincluant pas toutes les améliorations revendiquées par les organisations de personnes handicapées et les intervenants, les modifications sénatoriales améliorent le projet de loi C-81. Elles stipulent : que le Canada devienne un pays totalement exempt dobstacles dici 2040; que cet échéancier ne justifie aucun délai quant à lélimination et la prévention des obstacles le plus tôt possible; que lAmerican Sign Language, de la langue des signes québécoise et de les langues des signes autochtones soient reconnues comme langues de communication fondamentales des personnes Sourdes; que les formes multiples et intersectorielles de discrimination subies par les personnes en situation de handicap soient un principe sous-tendant lapplication du projet de loi; que le projet de loi C-81 et les règlements afférents ne puissent restreindre les droits humains des personnes handicapées, garantis par la Loi canadienne sur les droits de la personne; que lors du règlement des plaintes basées sur les obstacles dans les transports, lOffice des transports du Canada ne puisse atténuer les droits des voyageurs en situation de handicap, actuellement garantis; que soient réglés les problèmes identifiés par le gouvernement fédéral entre les dispositions du projet de loi en matière demploi et la loi régissant la GRC.
Le Sénat devrait adopter le projet de loi C-81, tel que modifié, avant le 16 mai 2019. Le projet de loi reviendra alors en la Chambre des communes pour un vote sur les modifications sénatoriales. Et pour que le projet de loi devienne rapidement loi, ces modifications doivent absolument être adoptées.
Nous demandons à la Chambre des communes de programmer un vote aussitôt que possible et nous demandons à tous les membres du Parlement de voter en faveur des modifications sénatoriales au projet de loi C-81.
La Chambre des communes affaiblira le projet de loi si elle se contente de moins; dans ce cas-là, la course parlementaire de ce projet de loi risque dêtre stoppée avant lélection de cet automne. Lettre ouverte signée par:
AODA Alliance
ARCH Disability Law Centre
Citizens With Disabilities Ontario (CWDO)
Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)
Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance (FALA)
Ontario Autism Coalition
Spinal Cord Injury Canada
StopGap Foundation
Travel for All
Older Womens Network
PONDA
Barrier Free Canada Canada sans Barrières
BC Coalition of People who use Guide Dogs
Keremeos Measuring Up Team
National Coalition of People who use Guide and Service Dogs in Canada The Project Group Consulting Cooperative
VIEWS Ontario For the Vision ImpairedDoing It Blind
Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)
British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) DeafBlind Ontario Services
March of Dimes Canada
North Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre Inc.
Peterborough Council for Persons with Disabilities
Québec Accessible
CNIB
Electromagnetic Pollution Illnesses Canada Foundation (EPIC) Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy
Rick Hansen Foundation
Access 2 Accessibility
BALANCE for Blind Adults
Barrier Free Manitoba (BFM)
Canadian Association of the Deaf Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC) Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf
Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)
Community Living Ontario
Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO)
Hydrocephalus Canada
LArche Canada
Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario
National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) NWT Disability Council
Realize
Tetra Society of North America Ontario Division
Unitarian Commons Co-Housing Corporation
Vibrant Healthcare Alliance
Vie Autonome Montréal
Association du Syndrome de Usher du Québec
Association multiethnique pour lintégration des personnes handicapées (AMEIPH) Barrier Free Saskatchewan
Canadian Association for Community Living
Canadian Centre on Disability Studies Inc. o/a Eviance
Canadian Epilepsy Alliance
Community Services for Independence North West (CSINW)
Deaf Literacy Initiative
Guide Dog Users of Canada
Handicapped Action Group Inc. (HAGI)
Law, Disability & Social Change Research Project
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
Muscular Dystrophy Canada
National Network for Mental Health
OCASI- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
Ontarian with Disabilitites League for Human Rights of Bnai Brith Canada People First of Canada
reachAbility Association
Regroupement des associations de personnes handicapées de lOutaouais (RAPHO) Silent Voice Canada Inc.
The Canadian Council of the Blind
The Club Inclusion
The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (Toronto Chapter) Family Network for Deaf Children
SPH Planning & Consulting Limited (SPH)
Disability Awareness Consultants
Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD)
Empowered Kids Ontario Enfants Avenir Ontario
Sound Times Support Services
Coalition of Persons with Disabilities
JRG Society for the Arts
A Resource Centre for Families Cumberland
Community Inclusion Society
Abilities Centre
Ontario Association of the Deaf
L’Arche Comox Valley
ALS Society of Canada
Saskatchewan ALS Society



Source link

Canada’s Parliament Has Now Passed Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act -Here Are Seven Preliminary Reflections – AODA Alliance


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

Canada’s Parliament Has Now Passed Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act –Here Are Seven Preliminary Reflections

June 3, 2019

          SUMMARY

We are right back in action, after being off-line during a short but eventful time in the campaign for accessibility in Canada and Ontario. Get ready for a number of updates to bring you up to speed!

In the most important development last week, right in the middle of National Accessibility Week, the House of Commons passed all the amendments to Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act, that the Senate earlier made to the bill. Therefore, Bill C-81 has completed its current journey through Canada’s Parliament.

The Accessible Canada Act does not go into effect until the Federal Government gives the bill “Royal Assent.” We understand that this step may well take place in the next few weeks.

We thank everyone who helped in our shared efforts to get this bill improved. We thank those disability organizations and groups who worked with us on this shared goal. We thank all the AODA Alliance supporters and volunteers who contributed to our efforts. We appreciate every tweet or email sent to add pressure in favour of a stronger bill. As well the feedback we regularly received from our supporters have helped improve our message and our strategies.

We also thank all the MPs and Senators and their staff who helped press for a stronger bill, and all the federal public servants who did the same. Some of their efforts were undertaken behind the scenes, and without an opportunity for public acknowledgement and thanks.

Below we offer seven reflections on this achievement. In summary:

  1. Final passage of the amended Bill C-81 is a helpful step forward for people with disabilities in Canada.
  1. We got some of the ingredients in the bill that we were seeking.
  1. We found creative ways to constructively contribute to advocacy efforts on this legislation where there are so many disability organizations and groups spread over such a big country.
  1. While helpful, Bill C-81 still falls well short of what people with disabilities need.
  1. We’re ready for the next round in this non-partisan campaign.
  1. Our advocacy principles served us well.
  1. The media too often failed to cover this important issue – a disservice to all Canadians.

As well, for those who want more detail on all of the above, below we provide this further background information:

* A May 30, 2019 report by CTV on line, written by Michelle McQuigge of the Canadian Press, on the final passage of Bill C-81.

* The May 24, 2019 Globe and Mail article, also by CP’s Michelle McQuigge, on the Federal Government’s announcement that it would agree to ratify all the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-81.

* The May 22, 2019 Globe and Mail article reporting on efforts to get the Federal Government to finally pass Bill C-81. This article includes some of the inaccurate statements that overstates what Bill C-81 requires.

* The May 30, 2019 news release by the ARCH Disability Law Centre, on the passage of Bill C-81, which provides a good response to the bill’s final passage with which we agree.

* The final version of this spring’s second open letter to the House of Commons, calling for all the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-81 to be ratified. Fully 84 disability organizations and groups signed this open letter, listed below.

          MORE DETAILS

Our Top Seven Preliminary Reflections on the Enactment of the Accessible Canada Act

Here are our top seven preliminary reflections we offer about this news:

1. Final Passage of the Amended Bill C-81 is a Helpful Step Forward

It is a helpful step forward that Parliament has passed the Accessible Canada Act, replete with all the amendments to it that the Senate made last month. As amended, this law gives us and all people with disabilities in Canada added tools we can try to use in an effort to tear down the many barriers that persist across this country. We plan to be active in pressing the Federal Government to ensure the achievement of the law’s goal of a barrier-free Canada without delay, and in any event, no later than 2040.

2. We Got Some of the Ingredients in the Bill that We Were Seeking

The Act includes features for which we and others pressed over the past four years. These include a fixed deadline to achieve an accessible Canada, a complaints-based enforcement process, a national body to recommend accessibility standards to be enacted, and reductions in the improper power of the Canadian Transportation Agency to enact regulations that can cut back on the human rights of people with disabilities.

Working with others in the disability community, we saw improvements to the law at each stage of the process. We saw improvements when the law was being initially designed, when it first came before the House of Commons for debate in the fall of 2018, and after that, when it came before the Senate this spring. This included some improvements to which the Federal Government had been opposed throughout the process.

3. We Found Ways to Constructively Contribute in a Country with so Many Disability Organizations and Groups

We found constructive and creative ways to work within Canada’s disability community throughout this four-year process. From coast to coast, Canada has a large and diverse landscape of disability organizations and groups. The AODA Alliance is but one of them. We certainly were not the leader of the effort, and at no time purported to be such. There was no one “leader” in this effort.

Moreover, in a country as big as Canada, there is no way to bring all of these disability organizations and groups together at one time and in one place to operate as one unanimous voice. With over five million people with disabilities, there are bound to be differences of opinion and approach.

Our goal was to try to offer influential ideas for the content of Bill C-81 and effective strategies for achieving as strong a bill as possible. We wanted to offer ideas around which as many people with disabilities and disability organizations could rally, based on the strength of those ideas.

We found it very constructive to collaborate with a good number of disability organizations and groups. Among other things, this included a close and ongoing collaboration with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the ARCH Disability Law Centre.

Among our contributions and efforts in this process were the following:

* We took part in behind-the-scenes efforts to get 2016 election commitments to pass national accessibility legislation from the federal Liberals and New Democratic Party. We also mounted a major social media campaign to press candidates across Canada to support the enactment of strong national accessibility legislation.

* In 2016, we made public a detailed Discussion Paper on what the national accessibility legislation should include. We refined it after receiving public input on it. We can trace some key features in Bill C-81 to ideas set out in this Discussion Paper. The Discussion Paper built on experience with provincial accessibility legislation.

* In August 2017, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky designed and moderated a 3-hour captioned online policy experts conference on what the promised national accessibility legislation should include. Federal Accessibility Minister Carla Qualtrough and her deputy minister attended and took active part in this event. It remains archived online for any Canadian province or other government around the world to learn from our ideas. This was conducted under the auspices of a coalition that formed for purposes of the Federal Government’s consultation on this bill, the Alliance for an Accessible and Inclusive Canada.

* We took part in behind-the-scenes briefings of several successive ministers that had responsibility for this file, several MPs from the various federal parties, and senior public servants involved with this issue.

* AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky delivered a lecture on what the promised national accessibility legislation should include at the Osgoode Hall Law School where he is a part-time faculty member. This captioned lecture has remained available online, to assist others advocating in this area.

* Before Bill C-81 was introduced into Parliament in June 2018, we made public a beginner’s guide to how a law goes through parliament. This was written to help everyone involved in this campaign learn the processes for passing a federal law.

* We submitted a very detailed brief to the House of Commons in Fall 2017. It analyzed Bill C-81 in detail and sought 96 amendments. We also made an oral presentation to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee that held public hearings on the bill last fall.

* We joined together with ARCH Disability Law Centre and CCD to collectively spearhead an open letter to the House of Commons at the conclusion of its public hearings. Over 90 disability organizations and groups signed it. It listed key amendments needed to make this legislation strong and effective.

* After the House of Commons passed the bill with some but not all of the amendments we and others had sought, we worked together with other disability organizations to advocate at the Senate for further amendments to the bill. Again, our efforts were coordinated with other like-minded organizations, with a special effort together with ARCH and CCD.

* This spring, we submitted a brief to the Senate as well as the text of a short list of amendments that we proposed. We were also one of the disability organizations that made an oral presentation at the Senate’s Standing Committee hearings in April and May of this year. Here again, the Senate made some but not all of the amendments that we and others sought.

* At the Senate, as at the House of Commons, we were also very busy with extensive behind-the-scenes advocacy efforts with several Senators and their staff. We were delighted at how many were open to consult with us right up to the last minute.

* Over the final three weeks, we and others mounted a concerted and successful campaign to get the House of Commons to ratify all the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-81. This ratification was far from a certainty when we began that effort. This included our Twitter blitz to as many MPs as possible.

Again, we joined with ARCH and CCD to create another open letter to the House of Commons. This one called for the House to approve all the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-81. Set out below, fully 84 disability organizations and groups signed it.

* We kept our supporters and the broader public aware of each major step in this four-year campaign via our AODA Alliance updates and our tweets. This entire saga is reported at www.aodaalliance.org/canadaHere

* We attempted to use the conventional media, as well as social media, to spread the word on this campaign and get more public support for our cause. We issued news releases at several major steps along the way. Most recently, the April 30, 2019 online Toronto Star included our guest column on this campaign.

* Throughout this process, several members of the House of Commons and the Senate made supportive and flattering references to our presentations and recommendations and advocated for their adoption. We, like ARCH and CCD, were often the sources quoted when a member of the House or Senate was pointing out deficiencies with the bill and the needed improvements. Several other disability organizations pointed to and relied on the detailed analysis of the bill and the detailed recommendations for amendments that we and/or ARCH presented. We worked very closely with ARCH to coordinate our respective analysis and proposals.

4. While Helpful, Bill C-81 Still Falls Well Short of What People with Disabilities Need

While the final version of Bill C-81 is helpful and a step forward, it still suffers from serious deficiencies. For example:

* It gives the Federal Government helpful powers to promote accessibility, but largely does not require that these ever be used. For example, it lets the Federal Government create helpful and enforceable national accessibility standards but does not require the Federal Government to ever do so.

* It provides for helpful enforcement tools but splinters its enforcement across four federal agencies, which is a real disadvantage to people with disabilities.

* It continues to allow federal public money to be used to create or perpetuate accessibility barriers against people with disabilities.

* It lets the Federal Government grant sweeping exemptions from some of the bill’s requirements to regulated organizations, including the Federal Government itself.

* It is excessively complicated and hard to read. This threatens to make it less effective and harder to implement.

In the excitement over the passage of a new law called “the Accessible Canada Act,” it is important not to overstate what this law actually does. As we noted in our April 30, 2019 AODA Alliance Update, Rick Hansen incorrectly stated in a guest column in the April 22, 2019 Globe and Mail that Bill C-81 (the proposed Accessible Canada Act), now before Parliament “…will require the Government of Canada and organizations under its jurisdiction to ensure that public spaces, workplaces, employment, program, services and information be accessible to everyone.”

We regret that the Globe never ran our letter to the editor correcting this inaccuracy, and that, to our knowledge, Mr. Hansen did not himself correct it. We had asked him to do so.

Similarly, a May 22, 2019 Globe and Mail article, set out below, included these two inaccuracies about Bill C-81:

* “If the amendments recently added by the Senate are accepted, the bill would ensure federal agencies proactively fix their buildings to allow disabled people to move freely as well as design their programs in ways that can be delivered to all Canadians.”

* “Bill C-81 would force more accessible workplaces on agencies such as the RCMP, as well as federally run services that cross provincial lines such as banking and long-range bus transportation.”

We wish Bill C-81 did what the Globe reported in that article and what Rick Hansen wrote in the April 22, 2019 Globe. We regret that it does not require these measures. It only permits them.

5. We’re Ready for the Next Round in This Non-Partisan Campaign

Our volunteer advocacy work is not finished. Over the next weeks and months, we will launch a non-partisan campaign to get the federal political parties to make strong commitments during the upcoming 2019 federal election campaign. We will ask them to make detailed commitments to effectively implement this law, and to strengthen it with further amendments that the Federal Government did not agree to over the past year. Stay tuned for more on this.

6. Our Advocacy Principles Served Us Well

Throughout this process we adhered to important principles:

* We never give up. We took every opportunity up to the last to get this bill strengthened. We did not simply settle for what we considered a weak bill, and we did not give up the chance to get more amendments.

* We maintained complete independence from the Federal Government by not applying for any grant money from the Government at any time. We also will seek no federal grant money in the future.

* We offered our best ideas to the Government and the disability community, focusing on amendments that are substantive and as impactful as possible for all people with disabilities.

7. The Media too Often Failed to Cover this Important Issue – A Disservice to All Canadians

It remains deeply troubling that throughout the past four years, the campaign for this legislation secured very little media coverage. It deserved much more coverage, both during the 2015 federal election campaign, during the Federal Government’s 18-month public consultation leading to the bill, and during the bill’s two trips through the House of Commons and one trip through the Senate. It is commendable that despite this, a few reporters tried to cover this issue. You can find most of these reports at www.aodaalliance.org/canada

This is a newsworthy subject. This bill directly affects the needs of over five million people with disabilities in Canada. It ultimately addresses the needs of all in Canada, since everyone is bound to get a disability as they age.

The media should reflect on this. It is profoundly regrettable that the media’s preoccupation with certain scandals and perceived headline-grabbing issues has left far too many Canadians unaware that there even was a Bill C-81 or a campaign to get it strengthened.

CTV News Online May 30, 2019

First national accessibility legislation gets unanimous support in House

Originally posted at https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/first-national-accessibility-legislation-gets-unanimous-support-in-house-1.4444877?cache=yes%3FclipId%3D375756%3FautoPlay%3Dtrue%3Fot%3DAjaxLayout%3FautoPlay%3Dtrue%3FclipId%3D89619

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Service and Procurement and Accessibility stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Disabled Canadians declared a partial victory Thursday hours after the government voted to enact Canada’s first national accessibility law, calling it a major step forward while cautioning that more work was still needed to ensure it achieves its goal.

The Accessible Canada Act, which aims to improve life for those with disabilities, received unanimous support in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening. It awaits only royal assent, expected in the coming weeks, before officially becoming law.

Advocates who fought for amendments to strengthen the legislation praised the governing Liberals for delivering on a promise to implement the bill and bring Canada more in line with other countries that have had such laws for years. But they also cautioned against complacency, saying more work lay ahead.

“We applaud the government for its willingness to listen to Canadians with disabilities,” Council of Canadians with Disabilities chair Jewelles Smith said in a statement.

“CCD reminds the government that there are many serious ongoing barriers that will not be addressed by this act, and encourages the federal government to pursue policy solutions to these well-known concerns.”

Accessibility Minister Carla Qualtrough, who spearheaded national consultations on the bill and shepherded it through Parliament, hailed its passage as a significant moment.

“This is the most transformative piece of legislation since enacting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and a true testament to the work, commitment and contributions of the Canadian disability community,” she said in a statement. “This historic act sends a clear signal to Canadians that persons with disabilities will no longer be treated as an afterthought.”

The act passed by Parliament bears striking differences from the version initially tabled last June.

Its stated purpose — to “identify, remove and prevent” accessibility barriers in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction — was greeted with enthusiasm and remains the same. Those areas include built environments, federally run programs and services, banking, telecommunications and transportation that crosses provincial lines.

But disabled advocates almost immediately began raising concerns about the effectiveness of the legislation and lobbied for changes.

Last fall, a group of 95 disability groups signed an open letter outlining nine areas of perceived weakness, including the lack of a timeline for the bill’s implementation and failure to recognize various forms of sign language as official languages of the deaf.

The Senate’s committee on social affairs, science and technology, citing community concerns, amended the bill to include sign language recognition as well as a timeline for the bill to be fully implemented by 2040.

Those amendments were reflected in the bill that garnered parliamentary approval.

Activists celebrated the passage of the act as genuine progress, but some continued to voice concerns about areas where they feel it still falls short.

The Arch Disability Law Centre indicated Thursday that it was particularly troubled by the language employed throughout the bill, which repeatedly uses “may” rather than “shall” or “must” when describing initiatives.

This language gives government … power to make and enforce the new accessibility requirements, but does not actually require them to use these powers,” Arch said in a statement.

An amendment before the Senate committee addressed that concern but was defeated.

Advocates also criticized the bill for granting the government broad powers to exempt people from the new rules, spreading enforcement over numerous agencies, and opting not to withhold federal funding from organizations that don’t comply with accessibility measures. Conservatives and New Democrats echoed those issues in Parliament.

Gabrielle Peters, a Vancouver-based wheelchair user, said the government’s failure to address those areas leaves the law lacking compared to similar legislation in other countries. She said she questions whether the law will prove significant for all its meant to serve.

“I and many like me will be at home with my broken wheelchair in my tiny box of an improperly adapted apartment living in poverty in a city with 8,000 corners where I can’t cross the street,” she said.

“Nothing in the act will change that. But I am glad Canada finally has an Accessible Canada Act, however lacking I find it, and I want to recognize the work of those who actually worked on and for it.”

The Globe and Mail May 24, 2019

Originally posted at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-federal-government-will-implement-senate-proposals-to-strengthen/

Accessibility bill will be amended to address concerns: minister

By MICHELLE MCQUIGGE

THE CANADIAN PRESS

The federal government will heed the calls of Canada’s disabled community and amend the country’s first piece of national accessibility legislation to

include some of the changes they sought, the minister spearheading the effort said Thursday.

Accessibility Minister Carla Qualtrough said the government will be adopting all the amendments the Senate introduced to Bill C-81, also known as the Accessible

Canada Act, when it comes back before the House next week.

Earlier this month, the upper chamber’s committee on social affairs, science and technology amended the proposed act to include a handful of measures disability

advocacy organizations across the country said were necessary to make the bill more effective.

Ms. Qualtrough conceded that the government had initially resisted some of their most pressing calls, such as the demand to include a timeline that would

require the bill to be fully implemented by 2040.

But Ms. Qualtrough said the legislation, which was drafted after cross-country consultations with disabled individuals and advocacy groups, needed to reflect

the will of the people it’s meant to serve.

“It’s just paying tribute to all the work and all the people that have been here in the past 40, 50 years really insisting that disability rights are human

rights,” Ms. Qualtrough said in a telephone interview.

Activists had been crusading for Canadian accessibility legislation for decades and watched as other countries, including the United States, got laws on

their books.

The Liberals began making good on an election promise to deliver a Canadian version when they tabled the Accessible Canada Act last June, pledging $290-million

over six years toward its implementation.

The act’s stated purpose is to “identify, remove and prevent” accessibility barriers in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction. This includes built

environments, federally run programs and services, banking, telecommunications and transportation that crosses provincial lines.

Barrier, as defined by the act, includes anything “architectural, physical, technological or attitudinal” that “hinders the full participation in society

of a person with a physical, mental, intellectual, learning, communication or sensory impairment.”

Disabled Canadians reacted with wary optimism when the draft act was first tabled, but soon began voicing concerns that it was too weak to make a difference

in their lives.

Last year, an open letter signed by 95 organizations, including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, National Network for Mental Health and March

of Dimes Canada, raised a number of measures they said the act must include to be effective.

Chief among their concerns was the bill’s unwillingness to include a timeline for implementation, as well as its failure to name various forms of sign

language as official languages of deaf Canadians.

The Senate’s social-affairs committee, citing community concerns, amended the bill to address those issues. Ms. Qualtrough said their proposed amendments

will now be incorporated into the bill, which will come before Parliament for final debate next week and could be officially passed into law by the end

of June.

The government, Ms. Qualtrough said, has already begun work to appoint the people who will be tasked with implementing and enforcing the bill.

A chief accessibility officer will oversee the implementation of the legislation across all sectors, while a new Accessibility Commissioner will be responsible

for compliance. A new Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization, comprised largely of people with a broad spectrum of disabilities, will

also be put in place.

“Canadians deserve this,” Ms. Qualtrough said.

Activists celebrated the inclusion of the Senate’s amendments, saying they help to strengthen the bill in some key areas.

“This is an important victory,” accessibility activist David Lepofsky said in a statement. “While the Senate’s amendments don’t fix all the deficiencies

with Bill C-81 … they are an important and helpful step forward.”

Many community members said they remain concerned about other areas the Senate did not address when making revisions to the act.

The open letter criticized the bill for granting the government broad powers to exempt people from the new rules, spreading enforcement over numerous agencies,

and opting not to withhold federal funding from organizations that don’t comply with accessibility measures.

Advocates also raised concerns about the way the bill was written. The bill repeatedly uses “may” rather than “shall” or “must” when describing initiatives,

meaning the government is empowered to take actions but never required to follow through on them, they argued.

The Globe and Mail May 22, 2019

Originally posted at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-push-is-on-to-pass-canadian-accessibility-law/

Activists urge Ottawa to pass accessibility law before summer

By MIKE HAGER

Globe and Mail, May 22, 2019

VANCOUVER – Disabled Canadians and their supporters are pushing Ottawa to pass a bill enshrining their right to more accessible and inclusive federal workplaces before the next election, legislation they say could help improve the lives of those with physical and mental disabilities.

Bill Adair, a spokesperson for a group of 96 organizations, said more than a thousand people and non-profit groups have recently sent letters to every MP in a blitz aimed at getting Bill C-81, known as the Accessible Canada Act, passed by Parliament and written into law before the summer break begins next month.

“We worked hard at bringing this into effect over the past three years and it is time for our country to take this step forward and throw the doors wide open for participation,” said Mr. Adair, who is also executive director of Spinal Cord Injury Canada.

Mr. Adair said his umbrella group believes the bill, which would “identify, remove and prevent” accessibility barriers in agencies and programs that fall under federal jurisdiction, could help level the considerable unemployment gap for disabled people, roughly 60 per cent of whom are employed, compared with 80 per cent for the general population.

If the amendments recently added by the Senate are accepted, the bill would ensure federal agencies proactively fix their buildings to allow disabled people to move freely as well as design their programs in ways that can be delivered to all Canadians.

As well, the bill would recognize various forms of sign language – including Indigenous sign languages – and include them among government services.

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, said passing the amended bill remains a priority for her government.

“I expect the debate in the House of Commons to take place next week coinciding with National AccessAbility Week – a timely opportunity to highlight the work our government is doing to create a more accessible and inclusive Canada for all,” her statement Tuesday said.

Bill C-81 would force more accessible workplaces on agencies such as the RCMP, as well as federally run services that cross provincial lines such as banking and long-range bus transportation.

The government has pledged $290-million over six years toward implementing the act, which will see Ottawa appoint an accessibility commissioner and create an organization to develop accessibility standards for the industries covered by the law.

Rick Hansen, a former Paralympian whose eponymous foundation is part of the push to pass the bill, said it would be a huge disappointment if the act didn’t pass before the federal election. “Canada can’t afford to let down the one in five Canadians with disabilities,” Mr. Hansen said.

In the absence of national accessibility standards, his organization is launching an awareness campaign called Everyone Everywhere to identify common barriers disabled people face. These include: a lack of visual fire alarms; no push button doors at a building’s main entrance; steep curbs, narrow parking spaces, circular doorknobs; signage without Braille or raised lettering; ramps that are too steep or not wide enough and a lack of grab bars in bathrooms.

Mr. Hansen said a pilot project completed over two years rated about 1,100 buildings across B.C.

for their accessibility and found just more than a third didn’t meet the minimum standard.

Mr. Hansen’s organization also commissioned a Conference Board of Canada report last year that suggested the estimated 2.9 million Canadians with physical disabilities would be able to contribute $16.8-billion more to the gross domestic product by 2030 if they faced fewer barriers to participating in the workforce. Earlier this year, an independent review found deficiencies to nearly all aspects of Ontario’s 14-yearold accessibility law, including that too many buildings are still designed in ways that make it impossible for some disabled people to enter.

Gabrielle Peters, a Vancouverbased writer who led a campaign that created a matted trail for wheelchair users to access one of the city’s most popular beaches last summer, said Bill C-81 needs to give Ottawa the teeth to limit the funding of any agencies not making the effort to improve life for disabled Canadians. Ms. Peters, who uses a wheelchair, said she is genuinely uncertain how the legislation would affect her own life and the lives of other disabled people if it passes.

Text of the ARCH Disability Law Centre May 30, 2109 News Release

Originally posted at https://archdisabilitylaw.ca/press-release-arch-disability-law-centre-welcomes-the-passage-of-the-accessible-canada-act/

Press Release – ARCH Disability Law Centre welcomes the passage of the Accessible Canada Act

ARCH Disability Law Centre welcomes the passage of the Accessible Canada Act, an important moment in Canada’s disability rights movement continuing towards our goal of full inclusion and equality for persons with disabilities across Canada.

The Accessible Canada Act is federal accessibility legislation. Its stated purpose is to achieve a barrier free Canada by 2040. To do this, the Act gives powers to the Government of Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Canadian Radio-television and telecommunications commission to create new legal requirements for advancing accessibility in federal employment, the built environment, transportation, procurement of goods, services and facilities, information and communication technologies, communication, and the design and delivery of programs and services. These new legal requirements will be aimed at identifying, removing and preventing barriers, which the Act defines as anything that hinders the full and equal participation in society of persons with a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment or functional limitation.

Bill C-81 – Accessible Canada Act was first introduced in the House of Commons in June 2018. As the Bill wound its way through the legislative process, a number of important changes were made to it. In particular, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (SOCI) made several amendments which strengthened the Bill. For example, SOCI included in the Bill a timeline of 2040 for achieving a barrier free Canada; added multiple and intersectional discrimination as a principle which must be considered when laws, policies, services and programs are developed; clarified that nothing in the Bill or its regulations limits the existing legal obligation to accommodate persons with disabilities; and recognized sign languages as the primary languages for communication by Deaf persons in Canada.

SOCI adopted these amendments after receiving recommendations from disability organizations across Canada. “ARCH thanks Senators for listening to the concerns of disability communities and taking action to address them. The amendments made by the Senate strengthen the Accessible Canada Act. We commend Minister Qualtrough and the Government for voting to pass Bill C-81 with all the amendments made by the Senate” said Robert Lattanzio, Executive Director of ARCH.

Throughout Bill C-81’s journey, disability communities across Canada were actively involved in advocating for the Bill to be as strong as possible. ARCH worked closely with Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), AODA Alliance and over 90 national, provincial and local disability groups. To support disability communities with their advocacy, ARCH wrote an extensive legal analysis of Bill C-81, provided updates on the Bill’s progress in our quarterly newsletter, gave presentations on the legislation, and produced a series of Briefing Notes explaining key amendments sought. ARCH also worked with CCD and AODA Alliance to coordinate 2 Open Letter campaigns. “Advocating to strengthen Bill C-81 has provided opportunities for disability communities to work together. It has been a privilege to work closely with so many dedicated advocates. The Accessible Canada Act is stronger because of their tireless work” said Kerri Joffe, ARCH Staff Lawyer.

Despite the helpful amendments that were made to the legislation, a number of concerns raised by ARCH and other disability groups remain. One such weakness is the use of permissive language “may” rather than directive language “shall” or “must” in the Accessible Canada Act. This language gives government, the Canadian Transportation Agency, the CRTC and other bodies power to make and enforce the new accessibility requirements, but does not actually require them to use these powers.

The Accessible Canada Act has been passed by the House of Commons, but there is still one more step before it becomes law – the Act must receive Royal Asset. ARCH urges the Government to ensure that the Act receives Royal Assent before the next federal election is called.

For more details contact:

Robert Lattanzio, Executive Director

416-482-8255 x. 2233

Kerri Joffe, Staff Lawyer

416-482-8255 x. 2222

Open Letter to the House of Commons Updated

Open Letter on the Need to Swiftly Pass All Senate Amendments to Bill C-81- Accessible Canada Act

[Le français suit]

To: All Members of Parliament

Date: May 14, 2019

The undersigned national, provincial and local disability groups ask all Members of Parliament to commit to swiftly pass all the amendments to Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act that the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (SOCI) passed on May 2, 2019.

We commend the Honourable Minister Carla Qualtrough for championing this Bill and her openness to considering amendments to it, as she expressed to the Senate Standing Committee.

The Senate Standing Committee heard from a spectrum of disability organizations and advocates who supported the need for national accessibility legislation and who recommended areas where the bill could be improved to achieve its goal of ensuring that Canada becomes barrier-free for people with disabilities. SOCI chair Senator Chantal Petitclerc concluded the committee’s debates by stating that the committee’s amendments reflect the maxim of disability communities: “Nothing about us without us.

While they do not include all the improvements that disability organizations and advocates sought, the Senate’s amendments improve Bill C-81. The amendments include: setting 2040 as the end date for Canada to become accessible; ensuring that this time line does not justify any delay in removing and preventing accessibility barriers as soon as reasonably possible; recognizing American Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language and Indigenous Sign Languages as the primary languages for communication used by Deaf people; making it a principle to govern the bill that multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination faced by persons with disabilities must be considered; ensuring that Bill C-81 and regulations made under it cannot cut back on the human rights of people with disabilities guaranteed by the Canadian Human Rights Act; ensuring that the Canadian Transportation Agency cannot reduce existing human rights protections for passengers with disabilities when the Agency handles complaints about barriers in transportation; and fixing problems the Federal Government identified between the bill’s employment provisions and legislation governing the RCMP.

It is expected that the Senate will pass Bill C-81 as amended by May 16, 2019. The bill then returns to the House of Commons, for a vote on the Senate’s amendments. It is critical that the House pass all of the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-81, to ensure that this important bill swiftly becomes law.

We ask the House of Commons to schedule a vote on the bill as soon as possible. We ask all MPs to vote to pass all the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-81.

If the House of Commons does anything less, it will weaken the bill, and risk the possibility that the bill will not finish its journey through Parliament before the fall election.

Signed:

AODA Alliance

ARCH Disability Law Centre

Citizens With Disabilities Ontario (CWDO)

Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)

Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance (FALA)

Ontario Autism Coalition

Spinal Cord Injury Canada

StopGap Foundation

Travel for All

Older Women’s Network

PONDA

Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières

BC Coalition of People who use Guide Dogs

Keremeos Measuring Up Team

National Coalition of People who use Guide and Service Dogs in Canada

The Project Group Consulting Cooperative

VIEWS Ontario For the Vision ImpairedDoing It Blind

Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)

British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS)

DeafBlind Ontario Services

March of Dimes Canada

North Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre Inc.

Peterborough Council for Persons with Disabilities

Québec Accessible

CNIB

Electromagnetic Pollution Illnesses Canada Foundation (EPIC)

Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy

Rick Hansen Foundation

Access 2 Accessibility

BALANCE for Blind Adults

Barrier Free Manitoba (BFM)

Canadian Association of the Deaf – Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC)

Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)

Community Living Ontario

Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO)

Hydrocephalus Canada

L’Arche Canada

Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)

NWT Disability Council

Realize

Tetra Society of North America – Ontario Division

Unitarian Commons Co-Housing Corporation

Vibrant Healthcare Alliance

Vie Autonome Montréal

Association du Syndrome de Usher du Québec

Association multiethnique pour l’intégration des personnes handicapées (AMEIPH)

Barrier Free Saskatchewan

Canadian Association for Community Living

Canadian Centre on Disability Studies Inc. o/a Eviance

Canadian Epilepsy Alliance

Community Services for Independence North West (CSINW)

Deaf Literacy Initiative

Guide Dog Users of Canada

Handicapped Action Group Inc. (HAGI)

Law, Disability & Social Change Research Project

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Muscular Dystrophy Canada

National Network for Mental Health

OCASI- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Ontarian with Disabilitites League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada

People First of Canada

reachAbility Association

Regroupement des associations de personnes handicapées de l’Outaouais (RAPHO)

Silent Voice Canada Inc.

The Canadian Council of the Blind

The Club Inclusion

The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (Toronto Chapter)

Family Network for Deaf Children

SPH Planning & Consulting Limited (SPH)

Disability Awareness Consultants

Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD)

Empowered Kids Ontario – Enfants Avenir Ontario

Sound Times Support Services

Coalition of Persons with Disabilities

JRG Society for the Arts

A Resource Centre for Families Cumberland

Community Inclusion Society

Abilities Centre

Ontario Association of the Deaf

L’Arche Comox Valley

ALS Society of Canada

Saskatchewan ALS Society

Lettre ouverte pour une rapide ratification des modifications sénatoriales au projet de loi C-81, la Loi canadienne sur l’accessibilité.

À: Tous les membres du Parlement

Date: 14 mai 2019

Nous, les soussignés, organisations nationales, provinciales et locales de personnes handicapées, recommandons à tous les membres du Parlement de s’engager à adopter rapidement toutes les modifications au projet de loi C-81, Loi canadienne sur l’accessibilité, adoptées le 2 mai 2019 par le Comité sénatorial permanent des affaires sociales, sciences et technologie (SOCI).

Nous félicitons l’honorable ministre Carla Qualtrough d’avoir défendu ce projet de loi et, tel qu’exprimé au Comité sénatorial permanent, de son ouverture envers les modifications proposées.

Le Comité sénatorial a entendu une vaste gamme d’organisations de personnes en situation de handicap et d’intervenants marteler le besoin d’une loi nationale sur l’accessibilité et recommander l’amélioration de certains secteurs afin que le projet de loi atteigne son objectif, à savoir faire du Canada un pays exempt d’obstacles. En clôturant les débats, la sénatrice Chantal Peticlerc, présidente du SOCI, a déclaré que les modifications apportées par le Comité traduisaient le slogan des collectivités de personnes handicapées “Rien pour nous, sans nous”.

Bien que n’incluant pas toutes les améliorations revendiquées par les organisations de personnes handicapées et les intervenants, les modifications sénatoriales améliorent le projet de loi C-81. Elles stipulent : que le Canada devienne un pays totalement exempt d’obstacles d’ici 2040; que cet échéancier ne justifie aucun délai quant à l’élimination et la prévention des obstacles le plus tôt possible; que l’American Sign Language, de la langue des signes québécoise et de les langues des signes autochtones soient reconnues comme langues de communication fondamentales des personnes Sourdes; que les formes multiples et intersectorielles de discrimination subies par les personnes en situation de handicap soient un principe sous-tendant l’application du projet de loi; que le projet de loi C-81 et les règlements afférents ne puissent restreindre les droits humains des personnes handicapées, garantis par la Loi canadienne sur les droits de la personne; que lors du règlement des plaintes basées sur les obstacles dans les transports, l’Office des transports du Canada ne puisse atténuer les droits des voyageurs en situation de handicap, actuellement garantis; que soient réglés les problèmes identifiés par le gouvernement fédéral entre les dispositions du projet de loi en matière d’emploi et la loi régissant la GRC.

Le Sénat devrait adopter le projet de loi C-81, tel que modifié, avant le 16 mai 2019. Le projet de loi reviendra alors en la Chambre des communes pour un vote sur les modifications sénatoriales. Et pour que le projet de loi devienne rapidement loi, ces modifications doivent absolument être adoptées.

Nous demandons à la Chambre des communes de programmer un vote aussitôt que possible et nous demandons à tous les membres du Parlement de voter en faveur des modifications sénatoriales au projet de loi C-81.

La Chambre des communes affaiblira le projet de loi si elle se contente de moins; dans ce cas-là, la course parlementaire de ce projet de loi risque d’être stoppée avant l’élection de cet automne.

Lettre ouverte signée par:

AODA Alliance

ARCH Disability Law Centre

Citizens With Disabilities Ontario (CWDO)

Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)

Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance (FALA)

Ontario Autism Coalition

Spinal Cord Injury Canada

StopGap Foundation

Travel for All

Older Women’s Network

PONDA

Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières

BC Coalition of People who use Guide Dogs

Keremeos Measuring Up Team

National Coalition of People who use Guide and Service Dogs in Canada

The Project Group Consulting Cooperative

VIEWS Ontario For the Vision ImpairedDoing It Blind

Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)

British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS)

DeafBlind Ontario Services

March of Dimes Canada

North Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre Inc.

Peterborough Council for Persons with Disabilities

Québec Accessible

CNIB

Electromagnetic Pollution Illnesses Canada Foundation (EPIC)

Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy

Rick Hansen Foundation

Access 2 Accessibility

BALANCE for Blind Adults

Barrier Free Manitoba (BFM)

Canadian Association of the Deaf – Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC)

Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)

Community Living Ontario

Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO)

Hydrocephalus Canada

L’Arche Canada

Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)

NWT Disability Council

Realize

Tetra Society of North America – Ontario Division

Unitarian Commons Co-Housing Corporation

Vibrant Healthcare Alliance

Vie Autonome Montréal

Association du Syndrome de Usher du Québec

Association multiethnique pour l’intégration des personnes handicapées (AMEIPH)

Barrier Free Saskatchewan

Canadian Association for Community Living

Canadian Centre on Disability Studies Inc. o/a Eviance

Canadian Epilepsy Alliance

Community Services for Independence North West (CSINW)

Deaf Literacy Initiative

Guide Dog Users of Canada

Handicapped Action Group Inc. (HAGI)

Law, Disability & Social Change Research Project

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Muscular Dystrophy Canada

National Network for Mental Health

OCASI- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Ontarian with Disabilitites League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada

People First of Canada

reachAbility Association

Regroupement des associations de personnes handicapées de l’Outaouais (RAPHO)

Silent Voice Canada Inc.

The Canadian Council of the Blind

The Club Inclusion

The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (Toronto Chapter)

Family Network for Deaf Children

SPH Planning & Consulting Limited (SPH)

Disability Awareness Consultants

Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD)

Empowered Kids Ontario – Enfants Avenir Ontario

Sound Times Support Services

Coalition of Persons with Disabilities

JRG Society for the Arts

A Resource Centre for Families Cumberland

Community Inclusion Society

Abilities Centre

Ontario Association of the Deaf

L’Arche Comox Valley

ALS Society of Canada

Saskatchewan ALS Society



Source link

AODA Alliance Writes Federal Party Leaders Seeking Commitments to Strengthen Bill C-81, and to Bring It Back Before Parliament After This Fall’s Federal Election If It is Not Passed With Amendments to Strengthen It


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

April 5, 2019

SUMMARY

We are diving head-first into our blitz before Canada’s Senate to get much-needed amendments to strengthen the weak Bill C-81, the Federal Government’s proposed Accessible Canada Act. Bill C-81 is called “An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada” for people with disabilities. Yet it does not require a single disability barrier to ever be removed or prevented anywhere in Canada.

Last week, on March 29, 2019, we sent the Senate our punchy 6-page brief on Bill C-81. It describes five of the major amendments that are desperately needed to strengthen this bill. See also the Open Letter to the Federal Government that fully 95 disability organizations (including the AODA Alliance) sent to the House of Commons last fall. It called for essential amendments to the bill.

In parallel with our strategy before the Senate, we have today written the leaders of the major federal parties in the House of Commons. We set that letter out below.

In this new letter, we ask the federal parties to each make two important commitments to us. We want these commitments now. In short, we want them to support amendments to strengthen Bill C-81, if the Senate passes any, and returns the bill to the House of Commons for a vote on those amendments before the fall federal election. We also want the party leaders to commit that they will bring a stronger national accessibility bill before Parliament after this fall’s federal election, if this bill does not get passed before the fall election, or if it is passed this spring “as is”, without these much-needed amendments.

We want Canada’s senators to feel free to strengthen Bill C-81 over the next short period when they consider this bill. The Senate’s Standing Committee on Social Affairs will be holding hearings on this bill on April 10 and 11, and May 1. After that, that committee will only have one meeting to consider passing amendments to the bill. That will be on May 2. We are all operating under extreme time pressure.

We are delighted that individuals and organizations have already been emailing the Senate’s Standing Committee to support the AODA Alliance’s March 29, 2019 brief. They are calling on the Senate to strengthen this weak bill.

It is not too late for you to help with this effort! Please add your voice. Get others to do so as well. Use your own words. Email the Senate Standing Committee today, by writing this email address:

[email protected]

We will have more to share over the next days about this blitz. Over five million people with disabilities in Canada deserve a strong national accessibility law. We need not settle for a weak bill. Now is the time to be heard!

We are tenacious! Visit our website to learn all about the background to Bill C-81 and our efforts to get it strengthened. more details

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
1929 Bayview Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Email [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance www.aodaalliance.org United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

April 5, 2019

To:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Via email: [email protected]
Office of the Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Twitter: @JustinTrudeau

The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Loyal Opposition and the Conservative Party Leader of the Conservative Party; MP, Regina-QuAppelle
Via email: [email protected]
Leader of the Conservative Party
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Twitter: @AndrewScheer

The Hon. Jagmeet Singh Leader of the NDP
Via email: [email protected]
300 279 Laurier West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J9
Twitter: @theJagmeetSingh

The Hon. Elizabeth May Leader of the Green Party; MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands Via email: [email protected]
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Twitter: @ElizabethMay

The Hon. Rhéal Fortin Interim Leader of the Bloc Québécois
Via email: [email protected]
3730 boul. Crémazie Est, 4e étage
Montréal, Québec H2A 1B4
Twitter: @RhealFortin

The Hon. Maxime Bernier, Leader of the People’s Party of Canada Via email: [email protected]
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 Canada
Twitter: @MaximeBernier

Dear Federal Party Leaders,

Re: Seeking Your Parties’ Commitments to Ensure that Canada Has A Strong and Effective National Accessibility Law

With a federal election this fall, we seek commitments from each federal political party now on the need for Canada to have a strong national accessibility law. Last fall, the House of Commons passed a weak bill, Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act. It is now before the Senate.

We and others in the disability community are urging the Senate to strengthen that bill. It is unclear whether Parliament will finish with this bill before this fall’s federal election, and if so, whether the current weak bill will be strengthened before it is enacted. We seek your parties’ commitments now, as this will help ensure that the senators can feel free to amend this bill to strengthen it, without fearing that this will jeopardize the bill.

In this letter, we explain what we seek, who we are, and why over five million people with disabilities in Canada need Bill C-81 to be strengthened.

Commitments We Ask Your Parties to Each Make Now

We ask your parties to now make these two commitments:

1. If this spring, the Senate amends Bill C-81(the proposed Accessible Canada Act) to strengthen it, and returns the bill to the House of Commons before it rises for this year’s federal election, will your party support swift passage of amendments that strengthen the bill in the areas that we refer to in this letter and in our March 29, 2019 brief to the Senate?

2. If Bill C-81 does not finish its path through Parliament before this falls’ federal election, or if it is passed without the amendments needed to strengthen it in areas referred to in this letter and in our March 29, 2019 brief to the Senate, will your party commit to bring this bill, these needed amendments, back to Parliament to be enacted or strengthened, as the case may be, after the fall federal election?

Who Are We?

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. In every Ontario election since 2005, each provincial political party that has made election pledges on Ontario’s provincial accessibility legislation has done so in the form of letters to our coalition.

We have given advice to many, including several provinces, a United Nations conference, the European Union, Israel and New Zealand. We are the successor to the community coalition that successfully campaigned from 1994 to 2005 for the AODA’s enactment.

We have been very actively involved in the campaign for national accessibility legislation in Canada. We have gathered input from our grassroots supporters and have actively worked with other key players in Canada’s disability community to forge common ground on what national accessibility legislation needs to include. We provided input to each successive federal minister responsible for this legislation, to federal parties, and to the Federal Public Service.

Why Canada Needs Strong National Accessibility Legislation

People with all kinds of disabilities in Canada face too many accessibility barriers when they try to get a job, use public or private services, or enjoy all the other things that the public ordinarily takes for granted. As the Federal Government has commendably recognized, it is unfair and ineffective to leave it to individuals with disabilities to have to bring their own legal proceedings to battle against these obstacles, one barrier at a time, and one organization at a time. We need comprehensive accessibility legislation to remove these barriers along reasonable timelines, and to prevent the creation of new disability accessibility barriers in the future.

Canada needs a national accessibility law to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities dealing with those operating in the realm that the Federal Government can regulate, such as banking, air travel, postal services, services offered by the Federal Government, as well as radio, television and telephone/cell phone services. We also need it to ensure that whoever receives federal funding never uses that money to create or perpetuate disability barriers.

How Does Bill C-81 Measure Up?

The bill has very serious problems. It is quite weak.

Bill C-81 is called “An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada” for people with disabilities. Yet it does not require a single disability barrier to ever be removed or prevented anywhere in Canada.

1. The bill gives federal accessibility agencies/officials helpful powers to promote accessibility. However, the bill imposes no duty on them to ever use those powers, with one inconsequential exception.

The bill sets no deadlines for taking many of the major implementation steps that the Government needs to take to implement this bill. The Government could drag its feet for years if not indefinitely.

For example, the bill lets the Government enact accessibility standards as enforceable regulations. This is the bill’s vital core. However, the bill does not require the Government to ever enact any. Without them, the bill is a hollow shell.

The bill gives the Federal Government enforcement powers. However it doesn’t require the bill to be effectively enforced.

During the first five years after this bill goes into effect, the Federal Government’s only mandatory duty under the bill is for Cabinet, the CRTC and Canada Transportation agency to enact one regulation within two years after the bill comes into force. However that regulation could be an inconsequential one on minor procedural matters, without ever requiring that any disability barriers be removed or prevented.

2. Unlike Ontario’s 2005 accessibility legislation, this bill does not set a deadline for Canada to become accessible to people with disabilities. Under Bill C-81, Canada may not become accessible to people with disabilities for hundreds of years, if ever.

3. The 105-page bill is far too complicated and confusing. It will be hard for people with disabilities and others to navigate it. This is because the bill 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 makes the bill’s implementation and enforcement more confusing, complicated and costly. It will take longer and be harder to get strong, effective and non-contradictory accessibility regulations enacted.

It is wrong for the bill to give almost exclusive powers over accessibility to 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 on accessibility is not good.

4. The bill does not ensure that federal public money is never used by any recipient of those funds, to create or perpetuate disability barriers. Under it, the Federal Government can continue to sit idly by when those who receive federal money use that money to create new disability barriers. This allows for a wasteful and harmful use of public money.

The bill lets the Federal Government set accessibility requirements for instances when it buys goods or services. However it doesn’t require the Federal Government to ever do so.

The bill doesn’t require the Federal Government to attach accessibility strings when it gives money to a municipality, college, university, local transit authority or other organization to build new infrastructure. Those recipients of federal money are left free to design and build new infrastructure without ensuring that it is fully accessible to people with disabilities. That’s what happened when the Federal Government helped fund the construction of Toronto’s new Women’s College Hospital, which has accessibility problems.

Also, the bill doesn’t require the Federal Government to attach any federal accessibility strings when it gives business development loans or grants to private businesses.

5. The bill has too many loopholes. As one example, the bill gives the Federal Government the power to exempt itself from some of its duties under the bill. The Government should not ever be able to exempt itself. Will Bill C-81 Be Passed by Parliament by the Fall 2019 Federal Election?

The Senate is expediting its debates on Bill C-81. The Senate’s Standing Committee on Social Affairs is scheduled to complete its consideration of Bill C-81 on May 2, 2019.

We and others from Canada’s disability community are urging the Senate to make vital amendments needed to address Bill C-81’s serious flaws, such as those addressed in this letter. Our preference is for the Senate to make these amendments, and for Bill C-81 to be returned to the House of Commons for a vote on those amendments this spring, before Parliament rises for the fall general election. We are eager for the Senate and then the House of Commons to pass those amendments.

Should this bill not pass before the fall federal election, or if it is simply passed by Parliament before the election “as is”, we are eager to get commitments, sought earlier in this letter, that after the fall election, people with disabilities in Canada will have a chance to get a national accessibility law addressed in the next Parliament. We seek an assurance that after the fall federal election, a national accessibility bill will be returned to Parliament for debate one that includes the improvements to Bill C-81 that we seek.

People with disabilities should not be confronted with the unfair choice to have to accept this bill “as is”, no matter how deficient it is, just because it might not otherwise be passed before the fall federal election. Years of experience have also taught us never to settle for the palpably inadequate, without pressing for better, simply because that is all a government has offered. This is not a charitable hand-out to be gratefully accepted, no matter how inadequate.

This bill is about the fundamental equality and human rights of people with disabilities. All parties agreed in the House of Commons that there is a need for new national accessibility legislation. After all the effort that has gone into the public consultations on this bill, and with the widespread support in the disability community for the need for strong federal accessibility legislation, there is no reason why this effort should be treated by anyone as dead if it did not finish its travels through Parliament before the fall federal election.

We would be happy to answer any questions your party may have as it considers this request. We are eager to get an answer to our request as soon as possible. We want to ensure that the Senate is not deterred from making much-needed amendments to Bill C-81, out of any fear that doing so might jeopardize the bill’s future. A commitment that a national accessibility bill will be brought back before the House of Commons after the fall election, if needed, will remove that issue, and free Senators to do the right thing when they consider this bill over the next four to six weeks.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont
Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance



Source link

AODA Alliance Writes Federal Party Leaders Seeking Commitments to Strengthen Bill C-81, and to Bring It Back Before Parliament After This Fall’s Federal Election If It is Not Passed With Amendments to Strengthen It


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 Writes Federal Party Leaders Seeking Commitments to Strengthen Bill C-81, and to Bring It Back Before Parliament After This Fall’s Federal Election If It is Not Passed With Amendments to Strengthen It

April 5, 2019

          SUMMARY

We are diving head-first into our blitz before Canada’s Senate to get much-needed amendments to strengthen the weak Bill C-81, the Federal Government’s proposed Accessible Canada Act. Bill C-81 is called “An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada” for people with disabilities. Yet it does not require a single disability barrier to ever be removed or prevented anywhere in Canada.

Last week, on March 29, 2019, we sent the Senate our punchy 6-page brief on Bill C-81. It describes five of the major amendments that are desperately needed to strengthen this bill. See also the Open Letter to the Federal Government that fully 95 disability organizations (including the AODA Alliance) sent to the House of Commons last fall. It called for essential amendments to the bill.

In parallel with our strategy before the Senate, we have today written the leaders of the major federal parties in the House of Commons. We set that letter out below.

In this new letter, we ask the federal parties to each make two important commitments to us. We want these commitments now. In short, we want them to support amendments to strengthen Bill C-81, if the Senate passes any, and returns the bill to the House of Commons for a vote on those amendments before the fall federal election. We also want the party leaders to commit that they will bring a stronger national accessibility bill before Parliament after this fall’s federal election, if this bill does not get passed before the fall election, or if it is passed this spring “as is”, without these much-needed amendments.

We want Canada’s senators to feel free to strengthen Bill C-81 over the next short period when they consider this bill. The Senate’s Standing Committee on Social Affairs will be holding hearings on this bill on April 10 and 11, and May 1. After that, that committee will only have one meeting to consider passing amendments to the bill. That will be on May 2. We are all operating under extreme time pressure.

We are delighted that individuals and organizations have already been emailing the Senate’s Standing Committee to support the AODA Alliance’s March 29, 2019 brief. They are calling on the Senate to strengthen this weak bill.

It is not too late for you to help with this effort! Please add your voice. Get others to do so as well. Use your own words. Email the Senate Standing Committee today, by writing this email address:

[email protected]

We will have more to share over the next days about this blitz. Over five million people with disabilities in Canada deserve a strong national accessibility law. We need not settle for a weak bill. Now is the time to be heard!

We are tenacious! Visit our website to learn all about the background to Bill C-81 and our efforts to get it strengthened.

          more details

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

1929 Bayview Avenue,

Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8

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

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

April 5, 2019

To:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau

Via email: [email protected]

Office of the Prime Minister of Canada

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Twitter: @JustinTrudeau

The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Loyal Opposition and the Conservative Party

Leader of the Conservative Party; MP, Regina-Qu’Appelle

Via email: [email protected]

Leader of the Conservative Party

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Twitter: @AndrewScheer

The Hon. Jagmeet Singh Leader of the NDP

Via email: [email protected]

300 – 279 Laurier West

Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J9

Twitter: @theJagmeetSingh

The Hon. Elizabeth May Leader of the Green Party; MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands

Via email: [email protected]

House of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Twitter: @ElizabethMay

The Hon. Rhéal Fortin Interim Leader of the Bloc Québécois

Via email: [email protected]

3730 boul. Crémazie Est, 4e étage

Montréal, Québec H2A 1B4

Twitter: @RhealFortin

The Hon. Maxime Bernier, Leader of the People’s Party of Canada

Via email: [email protected]

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 Canada

Twitter: @MaximeBernier

Dear Federal Party Leaders,

Re: Seeking Your Parties’ Commitments to Ensure that Canada Has A Strong and Effective National Accessibility Law

With a federal election this fall, we seek commitments from each federal political party now on the need for Canada to have a strong national accessibility law. Last fall, the House of Commons passed a weak bill, Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act. It is now before the Senate.

We and others in the disability community are urging the Senate to strengthen that bill. It is unclear whether Parliament will finish with this bill before this fall’s federal election, and if so, whether the current weak bill will be strengthened before it is enacted. We seek your parties’ commitments now, as this will help ensure that the senators can feel free to amend this bill to strengthen it, without fearing that this will jeopardize the bill.

In this letter, we explain what we seek, who we are, and why over five million people with disabilities in Canada need Bill C-81 to be strengthened.

Commitments We Ask Your Parties to Each Make Now

We ask your parties to now make these two commitments:

  1. If this spring, the Senate amends Bill C-81(the proposed Accessible Canada Act) to strengthen it, and returns the bill to the House of Commons before it rises for this year’s federal election, will your party support swift passage of amendments that strengthen the bill in the areas that we refer to in this letter and in our March 29, 2019 brief to the Senate?
  1. If Bill C-81 does not finish its path through Parliament before this falls’ federal election, or if it is passed without the amendments needed to strengthen it in areas referred to in this letter and in our March 29, 2019 brief to the Senate, will your party commit to bring this bill, these needed amendments, back to Parliament to be enacted or strengthened, as the case may be, after the fall federal election?

Who Are We?

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. In every Ontario election since 2005, each provincial political party that has made election pledges on Ontario’s provincial accessibility legislation has done so in the form of letters to our coalition.

We have given advice to many, including several provinces, a United Nations conference, the European Union, Israel and New Zealand. We are the successor to the community coalition that successfully campaigned from 1994 to 2005 for the AODA’s enactment.

We have been very actively involved in the campaign for national accessibility legislation in Canada. We have gathered input from our grassroots supporters and have actively worked with other key players in Canada’s disability community to forge common ground on what national accessibility legislation needs to include. We provided input to each successive federal minister responsible for this legislation, to federal parties, and to the Federal Public Service.

Why Canada Needs Strong National Accessibility Legislation

People with all kinds of disabilities in Canada face too many accessibility barriers when they try to get a job, use public or private services, or enjoy all the other things that the public ordinarily takes for granted. As the Federal Government has commendably recognized, it is unfair and ineffective to leave it to individuals with disabilities to have to bring their own legal proceedings to battle against these obstacles, one barrier at a time, and one organization at a time. We need comprehensive accessibility legislation to remove these barriers along reasonable timelines, and to prevent the creation of new disability accessibility barriers in the future.

Canada needs a national accessibility law to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities dealing with those operating in the realm that the Federal Government can regulate, such as banking, air travel, postal services, services offered by the Federal Government, as well as radio, television and telephone/cell phone services. We also need it to ensure that whoever receives federal funding never uses that money to create or perpetuate disability barriers.

How Does Bill C-81 Measure Up?

The bill has very serious problems. It is quite weak.

Bill C-81 is called “An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada” for people with disabilities. Yet it does not require a single disability barrier to ever be removed or prevented anywhere in Canada.

  1. The bill gives federal accessibility agencies/officials helpful powers to promote accessibility. However, the bill imposes no duty on them to ever use those powers, with one inconsequential exception.

The bill sets no deadlines for taking many of the major implementation steps that the Government needs to take to implement this bill. The Government could drag its feet for years if not indefinitely.

For example, the bill lets the Government enact accessibility standards as enforceable regulations. This is the bill’s vital core. However, the bill does not require the Government to ever enact any. Without them, the bill is a hollow shell.

The bill gives the Federal Government enforcement powers. However it doesn’t require the bill to be effectively enforced.

During the first five years after this bill goes into effect, the Federal Government’s only mandatory duty under the bill is for Cabinet, the CRTC and Canada Transportation agency to enact one regulation within two years after the bill comes into force. However that regulation could be an inconsequential one on minor procedural matters, without ever requiring that any disability barriers be removed or prevented.

  1. Unlike Ontario’s 2005 accessibility legislation, this bill does not set a deadline for Canada to become accessible to people with disabilities. Under Bill C-81, Canada may not become accessible to people with disabilities for hundreds of years, if ever.
  1. The 105-page bill is far too complicated and confusing. It will be hard for people with disabilities and others to navigate it. This is because the bill 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 makes the bill’s implementation and enforcement more confusing, complicated and costly. It will take longer and be harder to get strong, effective and non-contradictory accessibility regulations enacted.

It is wrong for the bill to give almost exclusive powers over accessibility to 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 on accessibility is not good.

  1. The bill does not ensure that federal public money is never used by any recipient of those funds, to create or perpetuate disability barriers. Under it, the Federal Government can continue to sit idly by when those who receive federal money use that money to create new disability barriers. This allows for a wasteful and harmful use of public money.

The bill lets the Federal Government set accessibility requirements for instances when it buys goods or services. However it doesn’t require the Federal Government to ever do so.

The bill doesn’t require the Federal Government to attach accessibility strings when it gives money to a municipality, college, university, local transit authority or other organization to build new infrastructure. Those recipients of federal money are left free to design and build new infrastructure without ensuring that it is fully accessible to people with disabilities. That’s what happened when the Federal Government helped fund the construction of Toronto’s new Women’s College Hospital, which has accessibility problems.

Also, the bill doesn’t require the Federal Government to attach any federal accessibility strings when it gives business development loans or grants to private businesses.

  1. The bill has too many loopholes. As one example, the bill gives the Federal Government the power to exempt itself from some of its duties under the bill. The Government should not ever be able to exempt itself.

Will Bill C-81 Be Passed by Parliament by the Fall 2019 Federal Election?

The Senate is expediting its debates on Bill C-81. The Senate’s Standing Committee on Social Affairs is scheduled to complete its consideration of Bill C-81 on May 2, 2019.

We and others from Canada’s disability community are urging the Senate to make vital amendments needed to address Bill C-81’s serious flaws, such as those addressed in this letter. Our preference is for the Senate to make these amendments, and for Bill C-81 to be returned to the House of Commons for a vote on those amendments this spring, before Parliament rises for the fall general election. We are eager for the Senate and then the House of Commons to pass those amendments.

Should this bill not pass before the fall federal election, or if it is simply passed by Parliament before the election “as is”, we are eager to get commitments, sought earlier in this letter, that after the fall election, people with disabilities in Canada will have a chance to get a national accessibility law addressed in the next Parliament. We seek an assurance that after the fall federal election, a national accessibility bill will be returned to Parliament for debate – one that includes the improvements to Bill C-81 that we seek.

People with disabilities should not be confronted with the unfair choice to have to accept this bill “as is”, no matter how deficient it is, just because it might not otherwise be passed before the fall federal election. Years of experience have also taught us never to settle for the palpably inadequate, without pressing for better, simply because that is all a government has offered. This is not a charitable hand-out to  be gratefully accepted, no matter how inadequate.

This bill is about the fundamental equality and human rights of people with disabilities. All parties agreed in the House of Commons that there is a need for new national accessibility legislation. After all the effort that has gone into the public consultations on this bill, and with the widespread support in the disability community for the need for strong federal accessibility legislation, there is no reason why this effort should be treated by anyone as dead if it did not finish its travels through Parliament before the fall federal election.

We would be happy to answer any questions your party may have as it considers this request. We are eager to get an answer to our request as soon as possible. We want to ensure that the Senate is not deterred from making much-needed amendments to Bill C-81, out of any fear that doing so might jeopardize the bill’s future. A commitment that a national accessibility bill will be brought back before the House of Commons after the fall election, if needed, will remove that issue, and free Senators to do the right thing when they consider this bill over the next four to six weeks.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont

Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance



Source link

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



Source link

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



Source link

Email Addresses and Twitter Handles for All Members of Canada’s Parliament As Of October 11, 2018 – AODA Alliance


List of Federal MPs & Contact Information

Upt to date as of October 11, 2018

Liberal Party of Canada

John Aldag

Cloverdale – Langley City

[email protected]

@jwaldag

Omar Alghabra

Mississauga Centre

[email protected]

@OmarAlghabra

Will Amos

Pontiac

[email protected]

@WillAAmos

Gary Anandasangaree

Scarborough-Rogue Park

[email protected]

@gary_srp

René Arseneault

MADAWASKA–RESTIGOUCHE

[email protected]

Chandra Arya

Nepean

[email protected]

@ChandraNepean

Ramez Ayoub

THÉRÈSE-DE BLAINVILLE

[email protected]

@ramezayoub

Vance Badaway

Niagara Centre

[email protected]

@VBadawey

Hon. Larry Bagnell

Yukon

[email protected]

@LarryBagnell

Hon. Navdeep Bains

Mississauga-Malton

[email protected]

@navdeepsbains

Frank Baylis

Pierrefonds-Dollard

[email protected]

@frankbaylis

Terry Beech

Burnaby North-Seymour

[email protected]

@terrybeech

Hon. Carolyn Bennett

Toronto-St. Paul’s

[email protected]

@Carolyn_Bennett

Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau

Compton-Stanstead

[email protected]

@mclaudebibeau

Chris Bittle

St. Catharines

[email protected]

@Chris_Bittle

Hon. Bill Blair

Scarborough Southwest

[email protected]

@BillBlair

Randy Boissonnault

Edmonton Centre

[email protected]

@R_Boissonnault

Mike Bossio

Hastings-Lennox and Addington

[email protected]

@MikeBossio

Bob Bratina

Hamilton East-Stoney Creek

[email protected]

@BobBratina

Pierre Breton

Shefford

[email protected]

@pierrebretonplc

Hon. Scott Brison

Kings-Hants

[email protected]

@scottbrison

Celina Caesar-Chavannes

Whitby

[email protected]

@MPCelina

Hon. Jim Carr

Winnipeg South Centre

[email protected]

@jimcarr_wpg

Bill Casey

Cumberland-Colchester

[email protected]

@illcaseyns

Sean Casey

Charlottetown

[email protected]

Hon. Bardish Chagger

Waterloo

[email protected]

@BardishKW

Hon. Francois-Philippe Champagne

Saint-Maurice-Champlain

[email protected]

@FP_Champagne

Shaun Chen

Scarborough North

[email protected]

@shaun_chen

Serge Cormier

Acadie-Bathurst

[email protected]

@sergecormierlib

Rodger Cuzner

Cape Breton-Canso

[email protected]

@RodgerCuzner

Julie Dabrusin

Toronto-Danforth

[email protected]

@juliedabrusin

Pam Damoff

Oakville North-Burlington

[email protected]

@PamDamoff

Matt DeCourcey

Fredericton

[email protected]

@MattDeCourcey

Sukh Dhaliwal

Surrey-Newton

[email protected]

@sukhdhaliwal

Anju Dhillon

Dorval-Lachine-Lasalle

[email protected]

@adhillondll

Nichola Di lorio

Saint-Leonard-Saint-Michel

[email protected]

@NDiIorioMP

Francis Drouin

Glengarry-Prescott-Russell

[email protected]

@Francis_Drouin

Emmanuel Dubourg

Bourassa

[email protected]

@ EmmanuelDubourg

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos

Quebec

[email protected]

@jyduclos

Terry Duguid

Winnipeg South

[email protected]

@TerryDuguid

Hon. Kirsty Duncan

Etobicoke North

[email protected]

@kirstyduncanmp

Julie Dzerowicz

Davenport

[email protected]

@JulieDzerowicz

Hon. Wayne Easter

Malpeque

[email protected]

@WayneEaster

Ali Ehsassi

Willowdale

[email protected]

@AliEhsassi

Faycal El-Khoury

Laval-Les Iles

faycal.el-khoury.parl.gc.ca

@F_ElKhoury

Neil Ellis

Bay of Quinte

[email protected]

@NeilREllis

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith

Beaches-East York

[email protected]

@beynate

Hon. Mark Eyking

Sydney-Victoria

[email protected]

@MarkEyking_MP

Doug Eyolfson

Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley

[email protected]

@DougEyolfson

Greg Fergus

Hull-Aylmer

[email protected]

@GregFergus

Andy Fillmore

Halifax

[email protected]

@AndyFillmoreHFX

Pat Finnigan

Miramichi-Grand Lake

[email protected]

@PatFinniganMP

Darren Fisher

Dartmouth-Cole Harbour

[email protected]

@DarrenFisherNS

Peter Fonseca

Mississauga East-Cooksville

[email protected]

@PeterFonsecaMP

Mona Fortier

Ottawa-Vanier

[email protected]

@MonaFortier

Peter Fragiskatos

London North Centre

[email protected]

@pfragiskatos

Sean Fraser

Central Nova

[email protected]

@SeanFraserMP

Colin Fraser

West Nova

[email protected]

@colinfrasermp

Hon. Chrystia Freeland

University-Rosedale

[email protected]

@cafreeland

Hon. Hedy Fry

Vancouver Centre

[email protected]

@HedyFry

Stephen Fuhr

Kelowna-Lake Country

[email protected]

@FuhrMP

Hon. Marc Garneau

Notre-Dame-De-Grace-Westmount

[email protected]

@MarcGarneau

Mark Gerretsen

Kingston and the Islands

[email protected]

@MarkGerretsen

Pamela Goldsmith-Jones

West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country

[email protected]

@pgoldsmithjones

Hon. Ralph Goodale

Regina-Wascana

[email protected]

@RalphGoodale

Hon. Karina Gould

Burlington

[email protected]

@karinagould

David Graham

Laurentides-Labelle

[email protected]

@daviddbgraham

Raj Grewal

Brampton East

[email protected]

@RajLiberal

Hon. Patty Hajdu

Thunder Bay-Superior North

[email protected]

@PattyHajdu

Ken Hardie

Fleetwood-Port Kells

[email protected]

@KenHardie

TJ Harvey

Tobique-Mactaquac

[email protected]

@TJHarveyLib

Richard Hébert

Lac-Saint-Jean

[email protected]

Hon. Kent Hehr

Calgary Centre

[email protected]

@kenthehr

Gordie Hogg

South Surrey-White Rock

[email protected]

@GordieHogg

Mark Holland

Ajax

[email protected]

@markhollandlib

Anthony Housefather

Mount Royal

[email protected]

@AHousefather

Hon. Ahmed Hussen

York South-Weston

[email protected]

@ahmeddhussen

Gudie Hutchings

Long Range Mountains

[email protected]

@Gudie

Angelo Iacono

Alfred-Pellan

angelo.iacono.parl.gc.ca

@AIaconoMP

Hon. Melanie Joly

Ahuntsic-Cartierville

[email protected]

@melaniejoly

Yvonne Jones

Labrador

[email protected]

@YvonneJJones

Bernadette Jordan

South Shore-St. Margaret’s

[email protected]

@BernJordanMP

Majid Jowhari

Richmond Hill

[email protected]

@ MajidJowhari

Iqra Khalid

Mississauga-Erin Mills

[email protected]

@iamIqraKhalid

Kamal Khera

Brampton West

[email protected]

@KamalKheraLib

Emmanuella Lambropoulos

Saint-Laurent

[email protected]

@emlambropoulos

David Lametti

Lasalle-Emard-Verdun

[email protected]

@DavidLametti

Kevin Lamoureux

Winnipeg North

[email protected]

@Kevin_Lamoureux

Linda Lapointe

Riviere-Des-Milles-Iles

[email protected]

@LapointeLinda

Stephane Lauzon

Argenteuil-La-Petite-Nation

[email protected]

@stephanelauzon5

Hon. Diane Lebouthillier

Gaspesie-Les Iles-De-La-Madeleine

[email protected]

@dilebouthillier

Paul Lefebvre

Sudbury

[email protected]

@lefebvrepaul

Hon. Andrew Leslie

Orleans

[email protected]

@AndrewLeslieMP

Michael Levitt

York Centre

[email protected]

@ LevittMichael

Joel Lightbound

Louis-Hebert

[email protected]

@JoelLightbound

Alaina Lockhart

Fundy Royal

[email protected]

@AlainaLockhart

Wayne Long

Saint John-Rothesay

[email protected]

@WayneLongSJ

Lloyd Longfield

Guelph

[email protected]

@LloydLongfield

Karen Ludwig

New Brunswick Southwest

[email protected]

@KarenLudwigMP

Hon. Lawrence MacAulay

Cardigan

[email protected]

@L_MacAulay

Steve MacKinnon

Gatineau

[email protected]

@stevenmackinnon

James Maloney

Etobicoke-Lakeshore

[email protected]

@j_maloney

Rémi Massé

Avignon-La Mitis-Matane-Matapedia

[email protected]

@Remi_Masse1

Bryan May

Cambridge

[email protected]

@_BryanMay

Karen McCrimmon

Kanata-Carleton

[email protected]

@karenmccrimmon

Ken McDonald

Avalon

[email protected]

@avalonMPKen

Hon. David McGuinty

Ottawa South

[email protected]

@DavidMcGuinty

Hon. John McKay

Scarborough-Guildwood

[email protected]

@JohnMcKayLib

Hon. Catherine McKenna

Ottawa Centre

[email protected]

@cathmckenna

Ron McKinnon

Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam

[email protected]

@RonMcKinnonLib

Michael McLeod

Northwest Territories

[email protected]

@MMcLeodNWT

Alexandra Mendes

Brossard-Saint-Lambert

[email protected]

@AlexandraBrStL

Marco Mendicino

Eglinton-Lawrence

[email protected]

@marcomendicino

Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk

Kildonan-St. Paul

[email protected]

@MPMihychuk

Marc Miller

Ville-Marie-Le-Sud-Ouest-Ile_des_Soeurs

[email protected]

@MarcMillerVM

Hon. Maryam Monsef

Peterborough-Kawartha

[email protected]

@MaryamMonsef

Hon. Bill Morneau

Toronto Centre

[email protected]

@Bill_Morneau

Robert Morrissey

Egmont

[email protected]

@MorrisseyEgmont

Joyce Murray

Vancouver Quadra

[email protected]

@joycemurray

Eva Nassif

Vimy

[email protected]

@EvaNassifVimy

Hon. Bob Nault

Kenora

[email protected]

@BobNaultMP

Hon. Mary Ng

Markham-Thornhill

mary.ng.parl.gc.ca

@mary_ng

Jennifer O’Connell

Pickering-Uxbridge

[email protected]

@MPJenOConnell

Hon. Seamus O’Regan

St. John’s South-Mount Pearl

[email protected]

@SeamusORegan

Rob Elephant

Don Valley West

[email protected]

@Rob_Oliphant

John Oliver

Oakville

[email protected]

@JohnOliverMP

Robert-Falcon Ouellette

Winnipeg Centre

[email protected]

@DrRobbieO

Hon. Denis Paradis

Brome-Missisquoi

[email protected]

@DenisParadisPLC

Joe Peschisolido

Steveston-Richmond East

[email protected]

@jpeschisolido

Kyle Peterson

Newmarket-Aurora

[email protected]

@kylejpeterson

Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe

ginette.petitpa[email protected]

@GPTaylorMRD

Hon. Jane Philpott

Markham-Stouffville

[email protected]

@janephilpott

Michel Picard

Montarville

[email protected]

@MPicardLiberal

Jean-Claude Poissant

La Prairie

[email protected]

@PLCLaPrairieJCP

Hon. Carla Qualtrough

Delta

[email protected]

@CQualtro

Yasmin Ratansi

Don Valley East

[email protected]

@Yasmin_Ratansi

Hon. Geoff Regan

Halifax West

[email protected]

geoffregan

Jean Rioux

Saint-Jean

[email protected]

@jeanriouxplc

Yves Robillard

Marc-Aurele-Fortin

[email protected]

@YRobillardPLC

Hon. Pablo Rodriguez

Honore-Mercier

[email protected]

@Rodriguez_Pab

Churence Rogers

Bonavista-Burin-Trinity

[email protected]

Sherry Romanado

Longueuil-Charles-Lemoyne

[email protected]

@ SherryRomanado

Anthony Rota

Nipissing-Timiskaming

[email protected]

@AnthonyRota

Kim Rudd

Northumberland-Peterborough South

[email protected]

@ruddkim

Dan Ruimy

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge

[email protected]

@DanRuimyMP

Don Rusnak

Thunder Bay-Rainy River

[email protected]

@DonRusnakMP

Ruby Sahota

Brampton North

[email protected]

@MPRubySahota

Raj Saini

Kitchener Centre

[email protected]

@RajSainiMP

Hon. Harjit Sajjan

Vancouver South

[email protected]

@HarjitSajjan

Francis Scarpaleggia

Lac-Saint-Louis

[email protected]

@ScarpaleggiaLSL

Peter Schiefke

Vaudreuil-Soulanges

[email protected]

@PeterSchiefke

Deb Schulte

King-Vaughan

[email protected]

@_DebSchulte

Marc Serré

Nickel Belt

[email protected]

@MarcSerreMP

Hon. Judy Sgro

Humber River-Black Creek

[email protected]

@JudySgroMP

Brenda Shanahan

Châteauguay—Lacolle

[email protected]

@BShanahanLib

Terry Sheehan

Sault. Ste. Marie

terry.sheehan

@terrysheehanMP

Jati Sidhu

Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon

[email protected]

@MPJatiSidhu

Sonia Sidhu

Brampton South

[email protected]

@SoniaLiberal

Gagan Sikand

Mississauga-Streetsville

[email protected]

@gagansikand

Scott Simms

Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame

[email protected]

@Scott_Simms

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi

Edmonton Mill Woods

[email protected]

@SohiAmarjeet

Francesco Sorbara

Vaughan-Woodbridge

[email protected]

@fsorbara

Sven Spengemann

Mississauga-Lakeshore

[email protected]

@SvenTrueNorth

Marwan Tabbara

Kitchener South-Hespeler

[email protected]

@marwantabbaraMP

Geng Tan

Don Valley North

geng.tan.parl.gc.ca

@gengtanMP

Hon. Filomena Tassi

hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas

[email protected]

@filomenatassiMP

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau

Papineau

[email protected]

@JustinTrudeau

Dan Vandal

Saint Boniface-Saint Vital

[email protected]

@stbstvdan

Anita Vandenbeld

Ottawa West-Nepean

anita.vandenbeld

@anitavandenbeld

Adam Vaughan

Spading-Fort York

[email protected]

@TOAdamVaughan

Arif Virani

Parkdale-High Park

[email protected]

@viraniarif

Nick Whalen

St. John’s East

[email protected]

@NickWhalenMP

Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson

North Vancouver

jonathan.wilkin[email protected]

@JonathanWNV

Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould

Vancouver Granville

[email protected]

@Puglaas

Borys Wrzesnewskyj

Etobicoke Centre

[email protected]

@BorysWRZ

Jean Yip

Scarborough-Agincourt

[email protected]

Kate Young

London West

[email protected]

@KateYoungMP

Salma Zahid

Scarborough Centre

[email protected]

@SalmaZahid15

Conservative Party of Canada

 

Ziad Aboultaif

Edmonton Manning

[email protected]

@ziad_aboultaif

Dan Albas

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

[email protected]

@DanAlbas

Harold Albrecht

Kitchener-Conestoga

[email protected]

@Albrecht4KitCon

Leona Alleslev

Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill

[email protected]

@LeonaAlleslev

David Anderson

Cypress Hills-Grasslands

[email protected]

@DavidAndersonSK

Dean Allison

Niagara West

[email protected]

@DeanAllisonMP

Mel Arnold

North Okanagan-Shuswap

[email protected]

@MelArnoldMP

John Barlow

Foothills

[email protected]

@JohnBarlowMP

Bob Benzen

Calgary Heritage

[email protected]

@bobbenzen

Hon. Candice Bergen

Portage-Lisgar

[email protected]

@CandiceBergenMP

Luc Berthold

Mégantic—L’Érable

luc.berthold.parl.gc.ca

@LucBerthold

James Bezan

Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman

[email protected]

@jamesbezan

Hon. Steven Blaney

Bellechasse-Les Etchemins-Levis

[email protected]

@HonStevenBlaney

Kelly Block

Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek

[email protected]

@KellyBlockmp

Sylvie Boucher

Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix

[email protected]

@SBoucherMP

John Brassard

Barrie-Innisfil

[email protected]

@JohnBrassardCPC

Blaine Calkins

Red Deer-Lacombe

[email protected]

@blaine_calkins

Colin Carrie

Oshawa

[email protected]

@ColinCarrie

Hon. Michael Chong

Wellington-Halton Hills

[email protected]

@MichaelChongMP

Alupa Clarke

Beauport-Limoilou

[email protected]

@Alupa_Clarke

Hon. Tony Clement

Parry Sound-Muskoka

[email protected]

@TonyclementCPC

Michael Cooper

St. Albert-Edmonton

[email protected]

@Cooper4SAE

Gerard Deltell

Louis-Saint-Laurent

[email protected]

@gerarddeltell

Kerry Diotte

Edmonton Griesbach

[email protected]

@KerryDiotte

Todd Doherty

Caribou-Prince George

[email protected]

@ToddDohertyMP

Earl Dreeshen

Red Deer-Mountain View

[email protected]

@earl_dreeshen

Jim Eglinski

Yellowhead

[email protected]

@JimEglinski

Garnett Genuis

Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan

[email protected]

@GarnettGenuis

Rosemarie Falk

Battlefords-Lloydminster

[email protected]

@ rosemarie_falk

Ted Falk

Provencher

[email protected]

@mptedfalk

Hon. Ed Fast

Abbotsford

ed.fast.parl.gc.ca

@HonEdFast

Hon. Diane Finley

Haldimand-Norfolk

[email protected]

@dianefinleymp

Bernard Généreux

Montmagny―L’Islet―Kamouraska―Rivière-du-Loup

bernard.genereux.parl.gc.ca

@GenereuxBernard

Joel Godin

Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier

[email protected]

@Pjcjoelgodin

Jacques Gourde

Lévis—Lotbinière

[email protected]

Rachael Harder

Lethbridge

[email protected]

@RachaelHarderMP

Randy Hoback

Prince Albert

[email protected]

@MPRandyHoback

Cheryl Gallant

Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke

[email protected]

@cherylgallant

Marilyn Gladu

Sarnia-Lambton

[email protected]

@MPMarilynGladu

Matt Jeneroux

Edmonton Riverbend

[email protected]

@ jeneroux

Pat Kelly

Calgary Rocky Ridge

[email protected]

@ PatKelly_MP

Hon. Peter Kent

Thornhill

[email protected]

@KentThornhillMP

Robert Kitchen

Souris-Moose Mountain

[email protected]

Tom Kmiec

Calgary Shepard

[email protected]

@tomaszkmiec

Stephanie Kusie

Calgary Midnapore

[email protected]

@StephanieKusie

Hon. Mike Lake

Edmonton-Wetaskiwin

[email protected]

@MikeLakeMP

Hon. Guy Lauzon

Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry

[email protected]

@GuyLauzonMP

Hon. Kellie Leitch

Simcoe-Grey

[email protected]

@KellieLeitch

Ron Liepert

Calgary Signal Hill

[email protected]

@ronliepert

Dane Lloyd

Sturgeon River-Parkland

[email protected]

@anelioyd

Ben Lobb

Huron-Bruce

[email protected]

@BenLobbMP

Tom Lukiwski

Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan

[email protected]

@TomLukiwski

Larry MacGuire

Brandon-Souris

[email protected]

@LarryMaguireMP

Dave MacKenzie

Oxford

[email protected]

@DaveMacKenzieMP

Richard Martel

Chicoutimi-Le Fjord

[email protected]

@richardmartelpc

Kelly Mccauley

Edmonton West

[email protected]

@KellyMcCauleyMP

Phil McColeman

Brantford-Brant

[email protected]

@Phil4Brant

Cathy McLeod

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

[email protected]

@Cathy_McLeod

Larry Miller

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound

[email protected]

@LarryMillerMP

Glen Motz

Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner

[email protected]

@GlenMotz

John Nater

Perth-Wellington

[email protected]

@JohnNaterMP

Hon. Rob Nicholson

Niagara Falls

[email protected]

@HonRobNicholson

Alex Nuttall

Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte

[email protected]

@AlexNuttallMP

Hon. Deepak Obhrai

Calgary Forest Lawn

[email protected]

@deepakobhrai

Hon. Erin O’Toole

Durham

[email protected]

@ErinOTooleMP

Pierre Paul-Hus

Charlesbourg-Haute-Saint-Charles

[email protected]

@PierrePaulHus

Pierre Poilievre

Carleton

[email protected]

@PierrePoilievre

Hon. Lisa Raitt

Milton

[email protected]

@lraitt

Alain Rayes

Richmond-Arthabaska

[email protected]

@alainrayes

Scott Reid

Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston

[email protected]

@ScottReidCPC

Hon. Michelle Rempel

Calgary Nose Hill

[email protected]

@MichelleRempel

Blake Richards

Banff-Airdrie

[email protected]

@BlakeRichardsMP

Bob Saroya

Markham-Unionville

[email protected]

@BobSaroya

Hon. Andrew Scheer

Regina-Qu’Appelle

[email protected]

@ andrewscheer

Jamie Schmale

Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock

[email protected]

@jamie_schmale

Martin Shields

Bow River

[email protected]

@MartinBowRiver

Bev Shipley

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex

[email protected]

@BevShipleyMP

Robert Sopuck

Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa

[email protected]

@RobertSopuck

Kevin Sorenson

Battle River-Crowfoot

[email protected]

@KevinASorenson

Bruce Stanton

Simcoe North

[email protected]

@bruce_stanton

Mark Strahl

Chilliwack-Hope

[email protected]

@markstrahl

Shannon Stubbs

Lakeland

[email protected]

@ShannonStubbsMP

David Sweet

Flamborough-Glanbrook

[email protected]

@DavidSweetMP

David Tilson

Dufferin-Caledon

[email protected]

@davidtilson

Brad Trost

Saskatoon-University

[email protected]

@BradTrostCPC

Dave Van Kesteren

Chatham-Kent-Leamington

[email protected]

@DVK_CKL

Hon. Peter Van Loan

York-Simcoe

[email protected]

@PeterVanLoan

Karen Vecchio

Elgin-Middlesex-London

[email protected]

@karen_vecchio

Arnold Viersen

Peace River-Westlock

[email protected]

@ArnoldViersen

Cathay Wagantall

Yorkton-Melville

[email protected]

@cathayw

Mark Warawa

Langley-Aldergrove

[email protected]

@MPmarkwarawa

Chris Warkentin

Grande Prairie-Mackenzie

[email protected]

@chriswarkentin

Kevin Waugh

Saskatoon-Grasswood

[email protected]

@KevinWaugh_CPC

Len Webber

Calgary Confederation

[email protected]

@Webber4Confed

Hon. Alice Wong

Richmond Centre

[email protected]

@AliceWongCanada

David Yurdiga

Fort McMurray-Cold Lake

[email protected]

@DavidYurdiga

Bob Zimmer

Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies

[email protected]

@bobzimmermp

New Democratic Party

Charlie Angus

Timmins-James Bay

[email protected]

@CharlieAngusNDP

Niki Ashton

Churchill-Keewatinook Aski

[email protected]

@nikiashton

Robert Aubin

Trois-Rivières

[email protected]

@RobertAubinNPD

Sheri Benson

Saskatoon West

[email protected]

@sherirbenson

Daniel Blaikie

Elmwood-Transcona

[email protected]

@Daniel_Blaikie

Rachel Blaney

North Island-Powell River

[email protected]

@RABlaney

Alexandre Boulerice

Rosemont-La Petitle-Patrie

[email protected]

@alexboulerice

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet

Hochelaga

[email protected]

@MarjBoutinSweet

Ruth Ellen Brosseau

Berthier-Maskinongé

[email protected]

@RE_Brosseau

Richard Cannings

South Okanagan-West Kootenay

[email protected]

@CanningsNDP

Guy Caron

Rimouski-Neigette-Temiscouata-Les Basques

[email protected]

@GuyCaronNPD

Francois Choquette

Drummond

[email protected]

@F_Choquette

David Christopherson

Hamilton Centre

[email protected]

@DaveChrisMP

Nathan Cullen

Skeena-Bulkley Valley

[email protected]

@nathancullen

Don Davies

Vancouver Kingsway

[email protected]

@DonDavies

Fin Donnelly

Port Moody-Coquitlam

[email protected]

@FinnDonnelly

Matthew Dubé

Beloeil-Chambly

[email protected]

@MattDube

Linda Duncan

Edmonton Strathcona

[email protected]

@LindaDuncanMP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault

Sherbrooke

[email protected]

@PLDusseault

Scott Duvall

Hamilton Mountain

[email protected]

@sduvall07

Randall Garrison

Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke

[email protected]

@r_garrison

Cheryl Hardcastle

Windsor-Tecumseh

[email protected]

@HardcastleNDP

Carol Hughes

Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing

[email protected]

@CarolHughesMP

Gord Johns

Courtenay-Alberni

[email protected]

@GordJohns

Georgina Jolibois

Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River

[email protected]

@GeorginaNDP

Peter Julian

New Westminster-Burnaby

[email protected]

@MPJulian

Jenny Kwan

Vancouver East

[email protected]

@JennyKwanBC

Hélène Laverdière

Laurier-Sainte-Marie

[email protected]

@HLaverdiereNPD

Alistair MacGregor

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford

[email protected]

@AMacGregor4CML

Sheila Malcolmson

Nanaimo-Ladysmith

[email protected]

@s_malcolmson

Brian Masse

Windsor West

[email protected]

@BrianMasseMP

Irene Mathyssen

London-Fanshawe

[email protected]

@irenemathyssen

Christine Moore

Abitibi-Temiscamingue

[email protected]

@MooreNpd

Pierre Nantel

Longueuil-Saint-Hubert

[email protected]

@pierrenantel

Anne Minh-Thu Quach

Salaberry-Suroit

[email protected]

@AnneMTQuach

Tracey Ramsey

Essex

[email protected]

@traceyram

Murray Rankin

Victoria

[email protected]

@MurrayRankin

Romeo Saganash

Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou

[email protected]

@RomeoSaganash

Brigitte Sansoucy

Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot

[email protected]

@bsansoucynpd

Wayne Stetski

Kootenay-Columbia

[email protected]

@WayneStetski

Karine Trudel

Jonquiere

[email protected]

@trudel_karine

Independent MPs

Darshan Kang

Calgary Skyview

[email protected]

@darshankang

Hunter Tootoo

Nunavut

[email protected]

@HunterTootoo

Green Party of Canada

Elizabeth May

Saanich-Gulf Islands

[email protected]

@Elizabeth May

Bloc Quebecois

 

Xavier Barsalou-Duval

Pierre-Boucher-Les Patriotes-Vercheres

xavier.barsalou-duval.parl.gc.ca

@XavierBarsalouD

Mario Beaulieu

La Pointe-de-l’Ile Quebec

[email protected]

@Mario_Beaulieu

Michel Boudrias

Terrebonne

[email protected]

@michelboudrias

Rheal Fortin

Riviere-du-Nord Quebec

[email protected]

@RhealFortin

Marilene Gill

Manicouagan

[email protected]

@GillMarilene

Simon Marcil

Mirabel

[email protected]

@SimonMarcilQc

Monique Pauze

Repentigny

[email protected]

@m_pauze

Louis Plamondon

Becancour-Nicolet-Saurel

[email protected]

@PlamondonLouis

Gabriel Ste-Marie

Joliette

[email protected]

@Gabriel_SMarie

Luc Thériault

Montcalm

[email protected]

@luctheriaultbq

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation

Erin Weir

Regine-Lewvan

[email protected]

@Erin_Weir

People’s Party

Hon. Maxime Bernier

Beauce

[email protected]

@MaximeBernier



Source link

Please Tell the Federal Government if You Support the AODA Alliance’s Finalized brief to the Parliament of Canada, that Requests Amendments to Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

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

Please Tell the Federal Government if You Support the AODA Alliance’s Finalized brief to the Parliament of Canada, that Requests Amendments to Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act

September 28, 2018

          SUMMARY

Here’s a quick and easy way to have your say! The AODA Alliance has just submitted its finalized brief to the Parliament of Canada on Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act. Our brief asks Parliament to make a series of amendments to the bill, in order to make it a strong, effective and good law. It is the result of months of work.

Please let Parliament and the Federal Government know if you support our brief. If you are really busy, just a one-sentence email to them, would help. We give you the email addresses to use, below.

For example you might say the following, 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, if you want, you should also add any additional information about Bill C-81 you might wish to share, including anything we did not say in our brief.

We recommend that you send an email to:

[email protected]

That is the email address for the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities:

Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street

House of Commons

Ottawa ON   K1A 0A6

Fax: 613-947-3089

You should also address your email to the minister who is championing this bill, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister for People with Disabilities. You can email her at:

[email protected]

Please also copy the AODA Alliance on your email, so we know who has voiced their support for us. Email us at:

[email protected]

You can download the AODA Alliance’s September 27, 2018 finalized brief on Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act, by clicking here:

https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Sept-27-2018-AODA-Alliance-Brief-to-Parliament-on-Bill-C81-Final-Version.docx

Download the text of Bill C-81 at First Reading in Parliament by visiting:

https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/new2018/click-here-to-download-in-ms-word-the-text-at-first-reading-june-20-2018-of-bill-c-81-the-proposed-accessible-canada-act/

Things are moving quite fast with Bill C-81. This week, Bill C-81 passed Second Reading in the House of Commons. We will have more to report to you on what was said during Second Reading debates in an upcoming AODA Alliance Update.

We anticipate that Bill C-81 will be coming quite soon before the Standing Committee of the House of Commons for public hearings. We have applied to appear at those hearings. Our brief will be the basis of our presentation.

We hope our brief will also help others who present to the Standing Committee, and that as many as possible will support and endorse our brief, in addition to any recommendations that they choose to bring forward. Feel free to make use of, and even cut and paste from our brief, as much as you want!

Below, we set out a five-page summary of the brief. Our brief is quite detailed. This is because Bill C-81 is itself over 100 pages long, and quite complicated.

For each issue we identify in the brief, we explain what the issue is, and quote the relevant part of the bill. We explain our concerns, and make concrete recommendations on how to address those concerns.

At the end of the brief is an appendix. It gathers together in one place all the recommendations set out in the brief. Each recommendation in the appendix has one, two or three *s next to it. These are meant to signal the priority level of each recommendation. All our recommendations are, of course, important.

This brief builds on the AODA Alliance’s preliminary analysis of the bill which we raced to make public the day after the bill was tabled in Parliament. It also builds on the draft brief which we made public on August 3, 2018, in order for one and all to send us their feedback and suggestions. It builds on the Discussion Paper on the promised national accessibility law that we made public two years ago, and on which we received very helpful feedback.

This brief includes almost all of the contents that were in our August 2, 2018 draft brief. A few topics and details were added as a result of our further research and feedback that we received on our August 2, 2018 draft brief.

We are very indebted to all who have shared their input now and in the past. It has really helped with this major project. We want to especially thank the ARCH Disability Law Centre. As ARCH developed its own analysis of the bill, we and ARCH exchanged our drafts in progress, and shared our feedback. This helped improve all our efforts.

We hope that disability organizations and others across Canada will find our ideas helpful. Please circulate our brief and encourage others to support it, using the contact information we set out above.

Do you want to learn the steps a bill like Bill C-81 must go through to get through Canada’s Parliament and become a law? Check out the AODA Alliance’s introductory guide for beginners on how a law gets through Parliament.

          MORE DETAILS

Summary of the AODA Alliance’s September 27, 2018 Brief on Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act

a) General

We congratulate the Federal Government for committing in 2015 to pass a national accessibility law, and for introducing Bill C-81 in Parliament in June 2018 for First Reading. This bill is quite a good start. It contains a number of important ingredients. It embodies a number of the ideas that we shared with the Federal Government during its two-year public consultation. It shows a serious effort by the Federal Government to craft constructive legislation.

However, the bill has substantial deficiencies that need significant improvement. These improvements are all readily achievable within the bill’s overall framework. We certainly don’t ask the Federal Government to start again from scratch.

With the amendments proposed in this brief, this bill can be turned into good legislation. Without those amendments, it will not be sufficient to achieve its important goals. The need for these improvements to this bill does not take away from the fact that the Federal Government is commended for bringing this bill forward, and for including in it a number of the core components that it did.

We look forward to working with the Federal Government and with all parties in Parliament to get the bill improved through the debates and hearings process. We strongly urge Parliament to hold robust, open, nation-wide, travelling legislative hearings on this bill, where people with disabilities and all Canadians can offer ideas for improvements.

b) Helpful Features in the Bill

This bill’s good and promising features include the following:

It is good that by its title, this bill aims to create an accessible and barrier-free Canada for people with disabilities.

The bill endeavours to broadly define the key terms “disability” and “barrier.”

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

The bill allows for the development of non-binding accessibility standards, which can guide federally or provincially regulated organizations. It allows for the enactment of these standards, either “as is” or with modifications. When enacted, these would become enforceable regulations, that are binding on organizations that the Federal Government can regulate.

The bill aims to provide effective enforcement and for the public accountability of obligated organizations for accessibility efforts, including a formal complaint process. It also provides for legislative and Independent Reviews of the bill’s effectiveness over a period of years.

The bill includes a regime for federally-related organizations to create multi-year accessibility plans and to update these over a period of years.

c) Areas Where the Bill Needs Improvement

The bill’s deficiencies, needing correction by amendments, include the following:

The bill’s “purpose clause” is too weak. It falls well short of the goal proclaimed in the bill’s title. The purpose clause only seeks the “progressive realization,” of a barrier-free Canada. It does not set a much-needed specific deadline for reaching full accessibility, something the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act commendably has. This means that under this bill, people with disabilities could face the prospect of disability accessibility barriers for the indefinite future.

The bill’s well-intended definitions of “disability” and “barrier” are too narrow.

The bill gives the Federal Government and various accessibility agencies a set of helpful powers to promote accessibility. However, it does not impose any duty on them to use those powers, or any mandatory time lines for the major implementation steps that the Government must take to get this bill effectively implemented. For example, the bill commendably empowers the Government to create accessibility standards or regulations. However, it wrongly does not require the Government to ever make any accessibility regulations. Moreover, it wrongly splinters power to make enforceable accessibility regulations over more than one governmental body. This threatens to create a patchwork of confusing and potentially inconsistent if not contradictory accessibility regulations.

The bill wrongly splinters the important power to enact binding and enforceable accessibility standard regulations among three federal bodies, the Federal Cabinet, the Canada Transportation Agency (CTA) and the Canada Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) All power to enact accessibility standard regulations should be assigned to the Federal Cabinet.

The bill wrongly splinters enforcement and implementation in a confusing way over a number of different public enforcement agencies, rather than providing people with disabilities with the simple, easy-to-navigate, one-stop enforcement process that they need. This wasteful duplication will slow and weaken the bill’s effective implementation, and risks inconsistent and unpredictable enforcement. It unfairly makes it harder for people with disabilities to get effective enforcement of the bill. They risk being unfairly shuffled back and forth from one federal enforcement agency to another.

For example, the bill wrongly leaves enforcement for broadcasting and telecommunications to the CRTC and for transportation to the CTA. It does so despite the CRTC’s and CTA’s inadequate track records on enforcing accessibility over many years.

Each of the Accessibility Commissioner, the CRTC and the CTA will have to get regulations enacted to cover very similar topics. This duplication again risks inconsistencies, even further delays, and the real possibility that some sectors of the economy will have these regulations ready for them before other sectors. It unfairly burdens the disability community to lobby each of these different public oversight agencies on the same issues in these duplicative regulations.

The bill unjustifiably gives various public bodies sweeping, unnecessary, unjustified and unaccountable powers to exempt any or all obligated organizations from a number of important of their accessibility obligations under the bill.

The bill helpfully requires obligated organizations to establish accessibility plans, but does not require them to be good plans. It does not require an obligated organization to implement its accessibility plan. It does not provide people with disabilities with an avenue to lodge complaints against an organization if it has a deficient plan, or no plan at all. It also requires some obligated organizations, namely transportation organizations, telecommunications organizations and broadcasts, to make two sets of plans at the same time, and gives different federal oversight agencies mandates over each of these plans. This confusing and convoluted approach will weaken the bill’s implementation, by unnecessarily making it more complex and confusing.

The bill unnecessarily delays some important duties of obligated organizations, and the corresponding rights of people with disabilities, until certain technical regulations are passed. If those regulations are not passed, obligated organizations won’t have those important duties. Thus, the disability community would have to lobby various federal entities, possibly for years, to get all those regulations passed.

The bill does not effectively ensure that the Federal Government will use all 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, e.g. when federal money contributes to new or renovated infrastructure, or when it is used for federal loans, grants or transfer payments.

The bill commendably has some public accountability requirements for key public organizations or offices that have implementation and enforcement duties, and for obligated organizations. However, these are too weak. Both the Federal Government’s accessibility agencies and obligated organizations should have broader public accountability requirements regarding accessibility.

The bill gives too much power to the federal Cabinet to make regulations. This allows a future Government to weaken or largely gut this bill by mere amendments to regulations, without ever having to bring a bill before Parliament and to publicly debate and vote on such plans.

Several needed ingredients are missing from the bill. This includes, for example, needed provisions on the Federal Government in relation to Indigenous People, and on federal duties to review all federal laws for accessibility issues, to ensure federal elections are accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities, and to ensure that the Federal Government itself operates as a model of an accessible employer and service-provider.

d) Recommended Amendments

This brief recommends that the bill be amended to do such things as the following:

  1. To set the bill’s purpose as achieving a barrier-free Canada by a date the bill will fix, in so far as the Federal Government and Parliament can do so.
  1. To specify that the Federal Government as a whole is responsible for leading Canada to the goal of accessibility, in so far as the Federal Government has constitutional authority to do so.
  1. To ensure that the bill’s definitions of “disability” and “barrier” are broad and inclusive.
  1. To ensure that the bill reaches the actions of all organizations that the Federal Government and Parliament can reach, including any recipients of federal money and all operations within Parliament.
  1. To impose specific duties and implementation time lines on the Federal Government, and on specified public officials and agencies, regarding their roles to implement and enforce the bill. For example, the Federal Government should have a duty to enact and enforce all the accessibility standard regulations needed to achieve the bill’s purpose.
  1. To consolidate all the power to make accessibility standard regulations in the federal Cabinet, rather than splintering this power among other federal agencies, beyond the federal Cabinet.
  1. To consolidate all of the bill’s enforcement in the Accessibility Commissioner, rather than it being splintered among several federal regulatory agencies. If not consolidated, then remove duplicative regulation-making requirements to ensure consistent implementation and enforcement across all accessibility enforcement agencies.
  1. To ensure that key bodies responsible for the bill’s oversight, such as CASDO and the Chief Accessibility Officer, are fully and effectively independent of the Government, and are seen by the public to be independent.
  1. To strengthen the mandates of CASDO, the Accessibility Commissioner and the Chief Accessibility Officer.
  1. To strengthen the openness of the standards development process under the bill, while ensuring that people with disabilities have effective input into accessibility regulations that the Federal Cabinet enacts.
  1. To remove from the bill, or drastically reduce and constrain the sweeping and unnecessary powers to exempt obligated organizations from certain obligations under the bill.
  1. To ensure that obligated organizations’ accessibility plans are good plans, and to ensure that they are implemented and enforceable.
  1. To require that obligated organizations each only have to make one accessibility plan at a time, which will be overseen by the Accessibility Commissioner.
  1. To remove preconditions in the bill that require that certain duties of obligated organizations do not come into effect until and unless certain regulations are enacted.
  1. To increase duties to make public key information on accessibility on a timely basis.
  1. To reduce the power of the Federal Cabinet and key accessibility enforcement agencies to make regulations, especially where regulations could weaken or gut the bill.
  1. To speed up the requirements for future reviews of this bill by Parliament and by an Independent Review which the Federal Government will appoint.
  1. To require the Federal Government to focus specific efforts to address its special responsibilities in relation to Indigenous People with disabilities.
  1. To guarantee that in the case of conflicting legal provisions, the strongest accessibility law always prevails.
  1. To ensure that nothing in the Act, or in its regulations or in any actions taken under it shall reduce in any way any rights which people with disabilities enjoy under law.
  1. To require the Federal Government to review all its statutes and regulations for accessibility barriers.
  1. To enforceably require that no public money can be used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities, e.g. money spent on procurement, infrastructure, grants, loans or transfer payments.
  1. To require the Federal Government to use all other readily-available levers of power to advance the goal of accessibility.
  1. To require that whenever a federal statute or regulation confers a discretionary power on any federal public official, department or agency, that decision-maker shall take into account, in its exercise, its impact on accessibility for people with disabilities.
  1. To require the Federal Government to ensure that federal elections become barrier-free for voters and candidates with disabilities.
  1. To include effective measures to ensure that the Federal Government becomes a model accessible workplace and service-provider.
  1. To require the Federal Government to develop and implement a plan to ensure that all federally-operated courts (e.g. the Supreme Court of Canada and Federal Courts), and federally operated regulatory tribunals (like the CRTC and Canada Transportation Agency) become accessible.



Source link

Please Tell the Federal Government if You Support the AODA Alliance’s Finalized brief to the Parliament of Canada, that Requests Amendments to Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act


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

September 28, 2018

SUMMARY

Here’s a quick and easy way to have your say! The AODA Alliance has just submitted its finalized brief to the Parliament of Canada on Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act. Our brief asks Parliament to make a series of amendments to the bill, in order to make it a strong, effective and good law. It is the result of months of work.

Please let Parliament and the Federal Government know if you support our brief. If you are really busy, just a one-sentence email to them, would help. We give you the email addresses to use, below.

For example you might say the following, 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, if you want, you should also add any additional information about Bill C-81 you might wish to share, including anything we did not say in our brief.

We recommend that you send an email to:
[email protected]

That is the email address for the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities: Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Fax: 613-947-3089

You should also address your email to the minister who is championing this bill, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister for People with Disabilities. You can email her at: [email protected]

Please also copy the AODA Alliance on your email, so we know who has voiced their support for us. Email us at: [email protected]

You can download the AODA Alliance’s September 27, 2018 finalized brief on Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act, by clicking here:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Sept-27-2018-AODA-Alliance-Brief-to-Parliament-on-Bill-C81-Final-Version.docx

Download the text of Bill C-81 at First Reading in Parliament by visiting:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/new2018/click-here-to-download-in-ms-word-the-text-at-first-reading-june-20-2018-of-bill-c-81-the-proposed-accessible-canada-act/ Things are moving quite fast with Bill C-81. This week, Bill C-81 passed Second Reading in the House of Commons. We will have more to report to you on what was said during Second Reading debates in an upcoming AODA Alliance Update.

We anticipate that Bill C-81 will be coming quite soon before the Standing Committee of the House of Commons for public hearings. We have applied to appear at those hearings. Our brief will be the basis of our presentation.

We hope our brief will also help others who present to the Standing Committee, and that as many as possible will support and endorse our brief, in addition to any recommendations that they choose to bring forward. Feel free to make use of, and even cut and paste from our brief, as much as you want!

Below, we set out a five-page summary of the brief. Our brief is quite detailed. This is because Bill C-81 is itself over 100 pages long, and quite complicated.

For each issue we identify in the brief, we explain what the issue is, and quote the relevant part of the bill. We explain our concerns, and make concrete recommendations on how to address those concerns.

At the end of the brief is an appendix. It gathers together in one place all the recommendations set out in the brief. Each recommendation in the appendix has one, two or three *s next to it. These are meant to signal the priority level of each recommendation. All our recommendations are, of course, important.

This brief builds on the AODA Alliance’s preliminary analysis of the bill which we raced to make public the day after the bill was tabled in Parliament. It also builds on the draft brief which we made public on August 3, 2018, in order for one and all to send us their feedback and suggestions. It builds on the Discussion Paper on the promised national accessibility law that we made public two years ago, and on which we received very helpful feedback.

This brief includes almost all of the contents that were in our August 2, 2018 draft brief. A few topics and details were added as a result of our further research and feedback that we received on our August 2, 2018 draft brief.

We are very indebted to all who have shared their input now and in the past. It has really helped with this major project. We want to especially thank the ARCH Disability Law Centre. As ARCH developed its own analysis of the bill, we and ARCH exchanged our drafts in progress, and shared our feedback. This helped improve all our efforts.

We hope that disability organizations and others across Canada will find our ideas helpful. Please circulate our brief and encourage others to support it, using the contact information we set out above.

Do you want to learn the steps a bill like Bill C-81 must go through to get through Canada’s Parliament and become a law? Check out the AODA Alliance’s introductory guide for beginners on how a law gets through Parliament.

MORE DETAILS

Summary of the AODA Alliance’s September 27, 2018 Brief on Bill C-81, the Proposed Accessible Canada Act

a) General
We congratulate the Federal Government for committing in 2015 to pass a national accessibility law, and for introducing Bill C-81 in Parliament in June 2018 for First Reading. This bill is quite a good start. It contains a number of important ingredients. It embodies a number of the ideas that we shared with the Federal Government during its two-year public consultation. It shows a serious effort by the Federal Government to craft constructive legislation.

However, the bill has substantial deficiencies that need significant improvement. These improvements are all readily achievable within the bill’s overall framework. We certainly don’t ask the Federal Government to start again from scratch.

With the amendments proposed in this brief, this bill can be turned into good legislation. Without those amendments, it will not be sufficient to achieve its important goals. The need for these improvements to this bill does not take away from the fact that the Federal Government is commended for bringing this bill forward, and for including in it a number of the core components that it did.

We look forward to working with the Federal Government and with all parties in Parliament to get the bill improved through the debates and hearings process. We strongly urge Parliament to hold robust, open, nation-wide, travelling legislative hearings on this bill, where people with disabilities and all Canadians can offer ideas for improvements.

b) Helpful Features in the Bill

This bill’s good and promising features include the following:

It is good that by its title, this bill aims to create an accessible and barrier-free Canada for people with disabilities.

The bill endeavours to broadly define the key terms “disability” and “barrier.”

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

The bill allows for the development of non-binding accessibility standards, which can guide federally or provincially regulated organizations. It allows for the enactment of these standards, either “as is” or with modifications. When enacted, these would become enforceable regulations, that are binding on organizations that the Federal Government can regulate.

The bill aims to provide effective enforcement and for the public accountability of obligated organizations for accessibility efforts, including a formal complaint process. It also provides for legislative and Independent Reviews of the bill’s effectiveness over a period of years.

The bill includes a regime for federally-related organizations to create multi-year accessibility plans and to update these over a period of years.

c) Areas Where the Bill Needs Improvement

The bill’s deficiencies, needing correction by amendments, include the following:
The bill’s “purpose clause” is too weak. It falls well short of the goal proclaimed in the bill’s title. The purpose clause only seeks the “progressive realization,” of a barrier-free Canada. It does not set a much-needed specific deadline for reaching full accessibility, something the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act commendably has. This means that under this bill, people with disabilities could face the prospect of disability accessibility barriers for the indefinite future.

The bill’s well-intended definitions of “disability” and “barrier” are too narrow.

The bill gives the Federal Government and various accessibility agencies a set of helpful powers to promote accessibility. However, it does not impose any duty on them to use those powers, or any mandatory time lines for the major implementation steps that the Government must take to get this bill effectively implemented. For example, the bill commendably empowers the Government to create accessibility standards or regulations. However, it wrongly does not require the Government to ever make any accessibility regulations. Moreover, it wrongly splinters power to make enforceable accessibility regulations over more than one governmental body. This threatens to create a patchwork of confusing and potentially inconsistent if not contradictory accessibility regulations.

The bill wrongly splinters the important power to enact binding and enforceable accessibility standard regulations among three federal bodies, the Federal Cabinet, the Canada Transportation Agency (CTA) and the Canada Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) All power to enact accessibility standard regulations should be assigned to the Federal Cabinet.

The bill wrongly splinters enforcement and implementation in a confusing way over a number of different public enforcement agencies, rather than providing people with disabilities with the simple, easy-to-navigate, one-stop enforcement process that they need. This wasteful duplication will slow and weaken the bill’s effective implementation, and risks inconsistent and unpredictable enforcement. It unfairly makes it harder for people with disabilities to get effective enforcement of the bill. They risk being unfairly shuffled back and forth from one federal enforcement agency to another.

For example, the bill wrongly leaves enforcement for broadcasting and telecommunications to the CRTC and for transportation to the CTA. It does so despite the CRTC’s and CTA’s inadequate track records on enforcing accessibility over many years.

Each of the Accessibility Commissioner, the CRTC and the CTA will have to get regulations enacted to cover very similar topics. This duplication again risks inconsistencies, even further delays, and the real possibility that some sectors of the economy will have these regulations ready for them before other sectors. It unfairly burdens the disability community to lobby each of these different public oversight agencies on the same issues in these duplicative regulations.

The bill unjustifiably gives various public bodies sweeping, unnecessary, unjustified and unaccountable powers to exempt any or all obligated organizations from a number of important of their accessibility obligations under the bill.

The bill helpfully requires obligated organizations to establish accessibility plans, but does not require them to be good plans. It does not require an obligated organization to implement its accessibility plan. It does not provide people with disabilities with an avenue to lodge complaints against an organization if it has a deficient plan, or no plan at all. It also requires some obligated organizations, namely transportation organizations, telecommunications organizations and broadcasts, to make two sets of plans at the same time, and gives different federal oversight agencies mandates over each of these plans. This confusing and convoluted approach will weaken the bill’s implementation, by unnecessarily making it more complex and confusing.

The bill unnecessarily delays some important duties of obligated organizations, and the corresponding rights of people with disabilities, until certain technical regulations are passed. If those regulations are not passed, obligated organizations won’t have those important duties. Thus, the disability community would have to lobby various federal entities, possibly for years, to get all those regulations passed.

The bill does not effectively ensure that the Federal Government will use all 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, e.g. when federal money contributes to new or renovated infrastructure, or when it is used for federal loans, grants or transfer payments.

The bill commendably has some public accountability requirements for key public organizations or offices that have implementation and enforcement duties, and for obligated organizations. However, these are too weak. Both the Federal Government’s accessibility agencies and obligated organizations should have broader public accountability requirements regarding accessibility.

The bill gives too much power to the federal Cabinet to make regulations. This allows a future Government to weaken or largely gut this bill by mere amendments to regulations, without ever having to bring a bill before Parliament and to publicly debate and vote on such plans.

Several needed ingredients are missing from the bill. This includes, for example, needed provisions on the Federal Government in relation to Indigenous People, and on federal duties to review all federal laws for accessibility issues, to ensure federal elections are accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities, and to ensure that the Federal Government itself operates as a model of an accessible employer and service-provider.

d) Recommended Amendments

This brief recommends that the bill be amended to do such things as the following:

1. To set the bill’s purpose as achieving a barrier-free Canada by a date the bill will fix, in so far as the Federal Government and Parliament can do so.

2. To specify that the Federal Government as a whole is responsible for leading Canada to the goal of accessibility, in so far as the Federal Government has constitutional authority to do so.

3. To ensure that the bill’s definitions of “disability” and “barrier” are broad and inclusive.

4. To ensure that the bill reaches the actions of all organizations that the Federal Government and Parliament can reach, including any recipients of federal money and all operations within Parliament.

5. To impose specific duties and implementation time lines on the Federal Government, and on specified public officials and agencies, regarding their roles to implement and enforce the bill. For example, the Federal Government should have a duty to enact and enforce all the accessibility standard regulations needed to achieve the bill’s purpose.

6. To consolidate all the power to make accessibility standard regulations in the federal Cabinet, rather than splintering this power among other federal agencies, beyond the federal Cabinet.

7. To consolidate all of the bill’s enforcement in the Accessibility Commissioner, rather than it being splintered among several federal regulatory agencies. If not consolidated, then remove duplicative regulation-making requirements to ensure consistent implementation and enforcement across all accessibility enforcement agencies.

8. To ensure that key bodies responsible for the bill’s oversight, such as CASDO and the Chief Accessibility Officer, are fully and effectively independent of the Government, and are seen by the public to be independent.

9. To strengthen the mandates of CASDO, the Accessibility Commissioner and the Chief Accessibility Officer.

10. To strengthen the openness of the standards development process under the bill, while ensuring that people with disabilities have effective input into accessibility regulations that the Federal Cabinet enacts.

11. To remove from the bill, or drastically reduce and constrain the sweeping and unnecessary powers to exempt obligated organizations from certain obligations under the bill.

12. To ensure that obligated organizations’ accessibility plans are good plans, and to ensure that they are implemented and enforceable.

13. To require that obligated organizations each only have to make one accessibility plan at a time, which will be overseen by the Accessibility Commissioner.

14. To remove preconditions in the bill that require that certain duties of obligated organizations do not come into effect until and unless certain regulations are enacted.

15. To increase duties to make public key information on accessibility on a timely basis.

16. To reduce the power of the Federal Cabinet and key accessibility enforcement agencies to make regulations, especially where regulations could weaken or gut the bill.

17. To speed up the requirements for future reviews of this bill by Parliament and by an Independent Review which the Federal Government will appoint.

18. To require the Federal Government to focus specific efforts to address its special responsibilities in relation to Indigenous People with disabilities.

19. To guarantee that in the case of conflicting legal provisions, the strongest accessibility law always prevails.

20. To ensure that nothing in the Act, or in its regulations or in any actions taken under it shall reduce in any way any rights which people with disabilities enjoy under law.

21. To require the Federal Government to review all its statutes and regulations for accessibility barriers.

22. To enforceably require that no public money can be used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities, e.g. money spent on procurement, infrastructure, grants, loans or transfer payments.

23. To require the Federal Government to use all other readily-available levers of power to advance the goal of accessibility.

24. To require that whenever a federal statute or regulation confers a discretionary power on any federal public official, department or agency, that decision-maker shall take into account, in its exercise, its impact on accessibility for people with disabilities.

25. To require the Federal Government to ensure that federal elections become barrier-free for voters and candidates with disabilities.

26. To include effective measures to ensure that the Federal Government becomes a model accessible workplace and service-provider.

27. To require the Federal Government to develop and implement a plan to ensure that all federally-operated courts (e.g. the Supreme Court of Canada and Federal Courts), and federally operated regulatory tribunals (like the CRTC and Canada Transportation Agency) become accessible.



Source link