Ontario looking to introduce digital ID program, seeking public input


The Ontario government says it is looking for the public’s input on a possible digital ID program that would allow for people to prove who they are online much easier.

The hope is that the program will be introduced by the end of 2021.

The program will allow for people to “securely and conveniently prove their identity online,” according to the Ford government. It will also help people to be able to access things online rather than have to travel to do things in-person, the government said, such as a small business applying for a license or a parent looking for information on their child’s immunization records.

Read more:
Vehicle sticker or driver’s licence expired in 2020? Both still legal in Ontario for now

“We want to assure people that a digital ID will not only offer simpler and easier access to services, but it will be safe and secure, encrypted and harnessing the latest technology to protect your information and credentials,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, minister responsible for Digital and Data Transformation.

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The government said it will also help with COVID-19 safety protocols, as it limits in-person contact.

The public can weigh in online through surveys provided by the government here from now until Feb. 26.

The government said the program will also help to combat identity fraud and protect Ontarians data. They also said it has the potential to add $4.5 billion of value to the “small-and-medium-size enterprises sector nationally.”

Read more:
Questions raised about new support staff hiring for Ontario schools reopening amid COVID-19 pandemic

“By using this innovative technology, users will be in full control of what identity information is shared and with whom,” the statement read.

The digital ID program will be voluntary and for those who do not wish to participate, they can still use physical documents to prove identity.

“As we develop this initiative, we want to hear directly from the people to ensure their priorities are reflected in this innovative, digital approach,” Bethlenfalvy continued. “No one has a monopoly on good ideas and we are prepared to listen.”




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





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Canada and Ontario Invest in Accessible Public Transit Infrastructure for Residents of Peel Region


From: Infrastructure Canada

Region of Peel, Ontario, January 27, 2021-The safety and well-being of Canadians are top priorities of the governments of Canada and Ontario. Investments in Ontario’s infrastructure during this extraordinary time provides an opportunity to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and to make our communities more inclusive and resilient.

That is why, together, these governments are taking decisive action to help families, businesses and communities as they adapt to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontarians need safe and reliable public transit to get to work and home, to appointments, to shop for essentials, and to conduct business. Strategic investments in accessible public transportation infrastructure play a key role in delivering this service.

Today, The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General of Ontario and Member of Provincial Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, on behalf of The Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure; and Nando Iannicca, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation of the Regional Municipality of Peel, announced funding for two projects that will modernize and improve accessibility for Peel Region’s public transit system.

The Government of Canada is investing more than $3.5 million in these projects through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) of the Investing in Canada plan. The Government of Ontario is providing close to $3 million, and the Region of Peel is contributing more than $2.3 million.

One project involves the replacement of existing specialized transit buses with 69 new, specialized, 8-metre buses as the current fleet reaches the end of its planned service lifecycle. The new propane-powered buses, with side-mounted lift, will provide accessible transit in Brampton, Mississauga, and Caledon, and are capable of carrying as many as six wheelchair passengers.

The second project involves the adoption of the PRESTO electronic fare collection system across the Regional Municipality of Peel’s TransHelp fleet. This project includes the design, planning, purchase and hardware installation of up to 145 portable, tablet-based, electronic payment units.

These projects will result in increased capacity, and improved quality, safety and access to the public transit system in the Region of Peel.

All orders of government continue to work together for the people of Ontario to make strategic infrastructure investments in communities across the province when needed most.

Quotes

“These investments will help make sure there’s accessible public transit, powered by lower-emissions propane, for residents across Peel Region, throughout Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. And by modernizing the public transit payment method to one already in use in other Ontario cities, we’re giving TransHelp bus riders more options to make fare payment easier. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“The modernization of public transit is vital to ensure that the system is accessible for all residents of Peel Region. These investments will expand accessibility to transit, improve payment efficiency and give all residents the option to get around quickly and affordably.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Federal Minister of Transport

“Increasing accessibility to transit in our community is welcomed and exciting news. Many residents of Caledon and across our region rely on Peel Transhelp to get to work, school and appointments. Our government’s close to $3 million investment will greatly improve the quality of life for many individuals and families.”

Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General of Ontario and Member of Provincial Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, on behalf of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure

“Making it easier for families to travel in, out, and around Peel region is a priority of our government. Improving public transit accessibility by expanding the Peel Transhelp fleet with more energy efficient buses will help keep Peel moving safely and efficiently for all who call our Region home.”

Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, and Member of Provincial Parliament for Brampton South

“Peel’s goal is to create a place where everyone enjoys a sense of belonging and has access to the services and opportunities needed to thrive. This funding supports initiatives that directly improve the service experience for passengers with disabilities and advances the modernization of specialized transit in Peel. It’s an example of all levels of government working together to directly benefit the community by ensuring residents with disabilities can continue to travel without barriers.”

Nando Iannicca, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation of the Regional Municipality of Peel

Quick facts

Through the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

Across Ontario, the Government of Canada has invested more than $8.1 billion in over 2,750 infrastructure projects.

$28.7 billion of this funding is supporting public transit projects.

Ontario is investing over $10.2 billion under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to improve public transit; community, culture and recreation; green, and rural and northern community and other priority infrastructure.

Across the province, Ontario is investing more than $7.3 billion in public transit infrastructure over 10 years through the

Contacts

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
613-941-0660
[email protected]

Christine Bujold
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure 416-454-1782
[email protected]

Sofia Sousa-Dias
Communications Branch
Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure
437-991-3391
[email protected]

Amie Miles
Manager, Strategic Client Communications
Region of Peel
416-209-4317
[email protected]

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
Email: [email protected]

Original at https://www.canada.ca/en/office-infrastructure/news/2021/01/canada-and-ontario-invest-in-accessible-public-transit-infrastructure-for-residents-of-peel-region.html




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Public Sector Accessibility Advisory Committees Across Canada


Many separate accessibility standards development processes exist in Canada. Ontario, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia all have laws that mandate creation of provincial accessibility standards. In addition, the Accessible Canada Act mandates accessibility standards that apply to organizations under federal jurisdiction. However, the government of Canada intends to coordinate federal and provincial accessibility laws. Moreover, the third review of the AODA recommends that the Ontario government should support this aim by aligning its accessibility law, the AODA, with the laws of other provinces and the country. If the governments work together to make these laws more similar, the AODA standards development process may change to align with laws in other places across the country. In this article, we explore public sector accessibility advisory committees across Canada.

Public Sector Accessibility Advisory Committees Across Canada

Ontario

In Ontario, Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees advise city councils about how to comply with the requirements of the AODA. Cities with ten thousand (10,000) or more people must have a municipal accessibility advisory committee. In contrast, cities with less than ten thousand (10,000) people do not need a committee. Nonetheless, a small city or town can still create a committee. Alternatively, two or more towns or cities can create a joint accessibility advisory committee. More than half of committee members must be people with disabilities.

Municipal accessibility advisory committees advise their city councils about the requirements they must follow under AODA standards. In addition, they suggest ways that cities can implement these rules. Moreover, they also advise city councils on how to complete their accessibility reports.

Furthermore, committees also offer advice about the accessibility of new city buildings or other spaces. For instance, councils must consult committees when building or renovating:

Likewise, cities and towns must consult their committees about how many accessible taxis their community needs.

In addition, the council must seek the committee’s advice about a building that the council:

  • Builds
  • Buys
  • Leases
  • Renovates
  • Agrees to use as a city building or property, if someone provides it

In addition, the committee reviews building site plans and drawings for new buildings or spaces in the city. The committee must choose site plans or drawings to review, and the council must provide the committee with those plans.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia also requires accessibility advisory committees. However, cities are not the only organizations that must establish committees. Instead, every organization in the Nova Scotia public sector must have an accessibility advisory committee. These organizations, which the Nova Scotia Accessibility Act calls “public sector bodies”, include:

  • The provincial government
  • Municipalities
  • Universities
  • Other public sector organizations

Like members of Ontario’s Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committees, at least half of Nova Scotia’s accessibility advisory committee members must be people with disabilities, or belong to organizations representing people with disabilities. However, the Nova Scotia Accessibility Act does not describe any of the duties that these members must perform. Nonetheless, these committees ensure that people with disabilities are involved in a variety of public sector organizations.

As governments work together to align their accessibility laws, Ontario and Nova Scotia may change their legislation. For example, the AODA could mandate that all public sector organizations, not just cities, have accessibility advisory committees. In contrast, the Nova Scotia Accessibility Act could outline more specific guidelines to indicate the purpose and duties of their public sector accessibility advisory committees.




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Improving AODA Compliance in Public Spaces


Under the AODA, private or non-profit businesses with twenty to forty-nine (20-49) workers, or fifty (50) or more workers, must complete accessibility reports every three years. The next accessibility reports for private or non-profit businesses were due on December 31st, 2020. However, the Ontario government has extended this deadline. This extended deadline for accessibility reports for private or non-profit businesses is June 30th, 2021. Nonetheless, businesses should use this extra time to assess how compliant they are with AODA standards. Moreover, businesses should also improve their compliance by changing the services they offer so that their businesses are more accessible. In this article, we will outline ways to improve AODA compliance in public spaces.

Improving AODA Compliance in Public Spaces

Even if businesses are fully compliant with the design of public spaces standards, they can still make changes to their policies and services to enhance accessibility. For instance, the standards only mandate accessibility in buildings and spaces that are new or redeveloped. These legal limitations mean that older buildings and spaces are closed or unwelcoming to people with certain disabilities, including people who:

Business owners or managers may feel that they do not need to worry about making older spaces accessible because the standards do not require them to do so. They may also fear that installing accessible features will be costly, time-consuming, or inconvenient. However, grants for structural accessibility may offset costs. In addition, some changes are less costly and easier to put in place. While renovating for accessibility may take time and construction is inconvenient, inaccessibility is just as time-consuming and inconvenient for people with disabilities.

Moreover, accessible spaces offer many benefits to businesses, in addition to welcoming visitors with disabilities. For instance, accessible areas for walking, waiting, or eating could benefit:

  • Families with babies or small children
  • Shoppers with carts

In addition, people who develop disabilities later in life can continue to patronize businesses with accessible features. Businesses that go above and beyond the AODA standards can prove that they value all visitors.




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Assessing AODA Compliance in Public Spaces


Under the AODA, private or non-profit businesses with twenty to forty-nine (20-49) workers, or fifty (50) or more workers, must complete accessibility reports every three years. The next accessibility reports for private or non-profit businesses were due on December 31st, 2020. However, the Ontario government has extended this deadline. This extended deadline for accessibility reports for private or non-profit businesses is June 30th, 2021. Nonetheless, businesses should use this extra time to assess how compliant they are with AODA standards. Moreover, businesses should also improve their compliance by changing the services they offer so that their businesses are more accessible. In this article, we will outline ways to assess AODA compliance in public spaces.

Assessing AODA Compliance in Public Spaces

Businesses with fifty (50) or more workers need to report on the accessibility of any public spaces they have built or renovated. However, both small and large businesses need to comply with AODA requirements governing public spaces. For instance, people with disabilities must have access to new or renovated:

Furthermore, businesses with fifty (50) or more workers must ensure the accessibility of new or renovated:

The extended deadline for AODA compliance reports gives staff of businesses more time to assess how well their companies are fulfilling all these requirements.

How to Assess AODA Compliance in Public Spaces

Companies can start to assess their AODA compliance by requesting anonymous feedback from customers, workers, or other visitors who have needed accessible features. For instance, visitors can explain whether:

  • They could park their vehicles in accessible spaces
  • There was enough room to exit vehicles with ramps and transfer to assistive devices
  • Parking spaces were close enough for them to reach buildings or events easily

Similarly, customers, workers, and visitors could explain whether they could:

  • Wait in lines or waiting areas that:
  • Receive service at accessible counters
  • Enjoy leisure time on a trail or beach
  • Travel independently on all paths or walkways
  • Access public eating areas with their friends or families
  • Watch their children join peers on accessible play spaces

Accessing Older Public Spaces

Alternatively, if a business does not have accessible features, visitors with disabilities must still be able to access their services. Therefore, visitors could also give feedback about how well staff supported their access needs. For example, visitors can explain whether staff:

  • Knew what accessible features their premises had, or did not have
  • Invited them to wait in an accessible place
  • Alerted them when their turn for service came, when line areas were not accessible
  • Provided service away from high counters when needed
  • Served them remotely if parking and paths were not accessible
  • Recommended locations with more welcoming:
    • Trail or beach access
    • Eating areas
    • Play spaces

If customers or other visitors have the option to describe their positive or negative encounters with staff, these stories can help staff recognize what they should or should not do when supporting visitors’ access to their spaces. If much of the feedback a business receives is negative, it is likely that the business is not compliant with the AODA. As a result, the business will need to make changes, which could include:

  • Making sure that any plans for new or renovated spaces include accessible features
  • Improving their AODA training, to ensure that staff know how to meet visitors’ needs

Accessibility Consulting

In addition, businesses could enter short-term or on-going contracts to consult with people who have disabilities. Alternatively, companies could request the services of professional organizations that specialize in assessing accessibility. In either case, an accessibility assessor with lived experience of disability could:

  • Observe and give feedback on the quality of AODA training
  • Assess any plans for new or renovated spaces, to ensure that accessible features are included

If any of these plans or processes do not comply with AODA requirements, consultants could offer suggestions or assistance. Moreover, consultants could also help companies find resources to support them in strengthening their policies and services.




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Ford Government’s Own Bioethics Table Urges It to Cancel Its controversial March 28 Directions to Hospitals on Which Patients to Refuse Critical Medical Care if the COVID-19 Pandemic Overloads Hospitals, and to Make Public the Bioethics Table’s Recommended Replacement for Those Directions – But Will Doug Ford Listen?


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

Ford Government’s Own Bioethics Table Urges It to Cancel Its controversial March 28 Directions to Hospitals on Which Patients to Refuse Critical Medical Care if the COVID-19  Pandemic Overloads Hospitals, and to Make Public the Bioethics Table’s Recommended Replacement for Those Directions – But Will Doug Ford Listen?

November 2, 2020

          SUMMARY

Serious concern and controversy continue to swirl around the Ford Government’s plans for handling the situation if the growing surge of COVID-19 cases floods Ontario hospitals with more patients than they can handle. Here is the latest news on this deeply distressing issue.

We have just learned that the Ford Government has been told by its own Bioethics Advisory Table that it should withdraw its controversial March 28, 2020 directions to Ontario hospitals on how to decide which patients should be refused needed critical care if the COVID-19 surge overloads hospitals and requires medical care rationing or “triage”. For months, the Ford Government has been told the same thing by the AODA Alliance, other disability advocates and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Now the Government’s own expert advisors in this specialized area have joined in this call. Last spring, disability advocates united to raise serious concerns that the March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol includes serious disability discrimination.

We have also just learned that Ford’s Bioethics Table also recommended that its advice to the Government on how to decide such critical care triage cases should be made public. The Ford Government has refused to date to lift its veil of secrecy over this life-and-death issue.

We learned all this late Friday afternoon when the Ontario Human Rights Commission commendably made public its strong October 16, 2020 letter to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott. The Ford Government and the Human Rights Commission have seen the Bioethics Table’s secret report and recommendations.

As a result, the AODA Alliance today wrote Health Minister Elliott to again ask her to lift the Government’s unjustified veil of secrecy over the Bioethics Table’s report, and to immediately withdraw its March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol that it sent to Ontario hospitals last spring. Over one month ago, on September 25, 2020, we wrote Minister Elliott to this effect. She and her Government have not answered that letter. Last month, the Government told the Toronto Star and Radio Canada that it was not prepared to release the Bioethics Table’s report and recommendations.

Below we set out the AODA Alliance’s November 2, 2020 letter to the Health Minister, as well as the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s October 16, 2020 letter to the Health Minister.

For more background on this issue, check out:

  1. The AODA Alliance’s unanswered September 25, 2020 letter to Health Minister Christine Elliott
  1. The August 30, 2020 AODA Alliance final written submission to the Ford Government’s Bioethics Table
  1. The April 8, 2020 open letter to the Ford Government on the medical triage protocol spearheaded by the ARCH Disability Law Centre, of which the AODA Alliance is one of many co-signatories
  1. The April 14, 2020 AODA Alliance Discussion Paper on Ensuring that Medical Triage or Rationing of Health Care Services During the COVID-19 Crisis Does Not Discriminate Against Patients with Disabilities
  1. The May 13, 2020 ARCH Disability Law Centre’s Analysis of the March 28, 2020 Triage Protocol, which the AODA Alliance endorses.
  1. The July 16, 2020 AODA Alliance Update that lists additional concerns with the revised draft triage protocol. That Update also sets out the Ford Government Bioethics Table’s revised draft triage protocol itself.
  1. The ARCH Disability law Centre’s July 20, 2020 brief to the Bioethics Table on the revised draft triage protocol, which the AODA Alliance endorsed.
  1. The AODA Alliance website’s health care page, detailing our efforts to tear down barriers in the health care system facing patients with disabilities, and our COVID-19 page, detailing our efforts to address the needs of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis.

          MORE DETAILS

November 2, 2020 Letter from the AODA Alliance to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

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

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

November 2, 2020

To: The Hon. Christine Elliott, Minister of Health

Via email: [email protected]

Ministry of Health

5th Floor

777 Bay St.

Toronto, ON M7A 2J3

Dear Minister,

Re: Ontario Government’s Protocol for Medical Triage of Critical Care Cases in the Event Hospitals Cannot Handle All COVID-19 Cases

It is fundamentally wrong and harmful for the Ontario Government to continue to keep shrouded in secrecy its policy, plans and expert advice on how to decide which patients will be refused needed critical medical care if the COVID-19 surge overloads Ontario hospitals, requiring rationing of critical care beds and services. We wrote you on September 25, 2020, over one month ago, asking for prompt answers to four urgent questions, which in substance are these:

  1. Will the Government immediately make public the report and recommendations of the Government-appointed Bioethics Table on the critical care triage protocol, and send it to us and other interested stakeholders, so the public can know what is being considered or recommended on this life-and-death issue?
  1. Will your Government immediately hold an open and accessible public consultation before adopting any clinical care triage protocol, that includes consulting people with disabilities?
  1. Will your Government commit that any directive to hospitals or the health care system on how to undertake critical care triage shall be established in a properly-enacted provincial statute or, if authorized, regulation, and not in a mere “protocol” that some bureaucrat sends to Ontario hospitals?
  1. Will your Government immediately and publicly direct all hospitals that the March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol is rescinded and is not to be used or followed? Our September 25, 2020 letter to you explained that that protocol suffers from serious problems. It discriminates against patients with disabilities.

You and your Government have not answered our September 25, 2020 letter. The Government has not committed to take any of our requested actions.

Over the month since we wrote you, daily COVID-19 infection rates have steadily increased and set new records in the predicted second wave of infections. This brings Ontario closer and closer to the feared point where critical care triage may become necessary, as has been the case in some other parts of the world.

This shows why Ontario cannot afford any further Government delays or secrecy on this important issue. The need for your swift action is further buttressed by the October 16, 2020 letter to you from the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In September, the Government’s Bioethics Table had sent a confidential copy of its report and recommendations on critical care triage to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, a report which we and the public have still not seen. The Commission’s October 16, 2020 letter to you reveals some of what the Bioethics Table recommended, stating:

“We also agree with the Bioethics Table’s recommendations that call on the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health to:

  • Issue clear communications that health care providers must disregard and destroy the March 28 version of the protocol
  • Circulate the proposed framework, including the clinical assessment factors and tools, for public feedback and independent legal review
  • Convene a multidisciplinary panel, including experts in human rights and law to further develop, or refute, the clinical factors and tools identified in the proposed framework
  • Engage health care partners to develop guidance for implementing the protocol including clinical operations, communications, training, patient and clinician supports, data collection and monitoring
  • Provide for governance and accountability mechanisms including responsibility for initiating the protocol, data collection and independent monitoring for adverse consequences
  • Sustain equitable COVID-19 prevention efforts to avoid the need to initiate the protocol, and mitigate disproportionate impacts on vulnerable groups
  • Meaningfully engage vulnerable groups, including Indigenous communities, Black and racialized communities, persons with disabilities, older persons and others for their perspectives and participation throughout the process to finalize and implement the protocol.”

Your Government has now been urged to lift its veil of secrecy in this area, and to rescind its problematic March 28, 2020 critical care triage protocol, by The Government’s own Bioethics Table, by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (The Government’s flagship public human rights agency) and by leading voices in the disability and seniors communities.

This is even more urgent since the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s October 16, 2020 letter to you reveals that the Commission (which has seen the Bioethics Table’s recommendations) still has concerns with the Bioethics Table’s recommendations from a human rights perspective. As noted above, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has seen those recommendations. We have not.

The Human Rights Commission’s October 16, 2020 letter to you commendably gives general support to the human rights concerns that disability advocates and experts have raised with the Bioethics Table last summer. Referring to concerns raised last summer with the Bioethics Table, the Commission’s October 16, 2020 letter states:

“During these discussions, human rights stakeholders, including ARCH, the AODA Alliance and the Canadian Association for Retired Persons raised serious concerns that the versions of the protocol circulated in March and July disproportionately impacted vulnerable groups and violated human rights. The OHRC generally supports the concerns and recommendations that these, and other stakeholders made in their presentations and submissions to government and the Bioethics Table.”

It is essential for you and senior officials at your Ministry and at Ontario Health review the AODA Alliance’s August 30, 2020 written submission to the Bioethics Table, as well as the September 1, 2020 submission by the ARCH Disability Law Centre.

We especially commend the Ontario Human Rights Commission for echoing a serious concern we have raised with you in our September 25, 2020 letter, and earlier with the Bioethics Table, where the Commission wrote:

“Ensure there is a legislative basis for the protocol that will also provide for governance and accountability mechanisms including how to initiate the use of the protocol during a pandemic surge”

Put simply, we do not believe that life and death decisions over whether a patient will be refused critical medical care they need, and which is assured to them by our universal health care program, can be governed by a simple memo from some unnamed public servant to Ontario hospitals, labelled as a “protocol”, without a proper legislative mandate.

Minister, we need you and your Cabinet colleagues to now personally intervene in this issue and show the needed leadership. We fear that this issue is now mired in unaccountable layers of bureaucracy within the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health. We have seen no effort by the Ministry or Ontario Health to reach out to us or others who have publicly raised concerns about this important issue, to even learn from us what might be in issue.

May we get a response as soon as possible?

Please stay safe.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont

Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

CC: Premier Doug Ford [email protected]

Helen Angus, Deputy Minister of Health [email protected]

Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility [email protected]

Denise Cole, Deputy Minister for Seniors and Accessibility [email protected]

Mary Bartolomucci, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Accessibility Directorate, [email protected]

Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services [email protected]

Janet Menard, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services [email protected]

October 30, 2020 Posting on the Ontario Human Rights Commission Website Setting Out the Commission’s October 16, 2020 Letter to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott

Originally posted at: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/news_centre/letter-minister-health-bioethics-table-recommendations-and-proposed-framework-covid-19-triage

Letter to the Minister of Health on Bioethics Table recommendations and proposed framework for a COVID-19 triage protocol

On October 16, 2020, the OHRC wrote to the Minister of Health raising concerns about the proposed framework for a COVID-19 triage protocol to allocate limited critical care services in a potential major surge in COVID-19 cases. Read the letter.

The Honourable Christine Elliott

Minister of Health

College Park 5th Floor, 777 Bay Street

Toronto, ON M7A 2J3

Dear Minister Elliott:

RE: Bioethics Table recommendations and proposed framework for a COVID-19 triage protocol

I am writing to you today about the government’s COVID-19 Bioethics Table’s recommendations and proposed framework for a COVID-19 triage protocol to allocate limited critical care services in a potential major surge in COVID-19 cases.

First, allow me to introduce myself as the recently appointed Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OHRC has called for human rights values and principles to guide responses and recovery planning and affirmed the importance of consultation with impacted communities. You may recall my predecessor, Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane, wrote to you on April 9, 2020, calling for a human rights-based approach to developing a triage protocol.

The OHRC was pleased when the Bioethics Table reached out for our input to ensure a consultative and principled methodology to address the human rights dimension of the pandemic. We welcomed the opportunity to help facilitate and participate in discussions with stakeholders, Ontario Health and the Bioethics Table on the triage protocol.

During these discussions, human rights stakeholders, including ARCH, the AODA Alliance and the Canadian Association for Retired Persons raised serious concerns that the versions of the protocol circulated in March and July disproportionately impacted vulnerable groups and violated human rights. The OHRC generally supports the concerns and recommendations that these, and other stakeholders made in their presentations and submissions to government and the Bioethics Table.

In September, the Bioethics Table informed stakeholders that it submitted recommendations and a proposed framework to your Ministry and Ontario Health. The Bioethics Table also shared the recommendations and proposed framework confidentially with the OHRC. The OHRC and stakeholders have significant concerns that the Ministry has not released the recommendations and proposed framework for public feedback, and in our view, this is particularly urgent and necessary in light of the emerging “second wave” of COVID19 cases.

Further, while the OHRC commends the Bioethics Table for holding productive consultations and incorporating into the proposed framework many of the human rights principles and recommendations identified by stakeholders, the OHRC still has concerns which we have shared with the Bioethics Table and Ontario Health.

Since we understand that the recommendations and proposed framework are now with the Ministry of Health awaiting further direction, the OHRC is calling on the Ministry of Health to:

  • Ensure the protocol recognizes that human rights is the primary guiding principle and law in accordance with the primacy clause under section 47 of Ontario’s Human Rights Code
  • Ensure there is a legislative basis for the protocol that will also provide for governance and accountability mechanisms including how to initiate the use of the protocol during a pandemic surge
  • Exclude the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) and any other clinical assessment factors and tools that are not validated for critical care resource allocation. The Bioethics Table recognizes the CFS was designed and validated to help identify treatment plans and accommodation supports for frail patients, and not for critical care triage. Used as a triage tool, the CFS would likely disproportionately impact Code-protected groups and may not be in keeping with the Code including the duty to accommodate
  • Define short-term predicted mortality as the predicted risk of death in the initial weeks, and not twelve months after the onset of critical illness. The Bioethics Table recognizes that relatively little mortality occurs between six and twelve months.

We also agree with the Bioethics Table’s recommendations that call on the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health to:

  • Issue clear communications that health care providers must disregard and destroy the March 28 version of the protocol
  • Circulate the proposed framework, including the clinical assessment factors and tools, for public feedback and independent legal review
  • Convene a multidisciplinary panel, including experts in human rights and law to further develop, or refute, the clinical factors and tools identified in the proposed framework
  • Engage health care partners to develop guidance for implementing the protocol including clinical operations, communications, training, patient and clinician supports, data collection and monitoring
  • Provide for governance and accountability mechanisms including responsibility for initiating the protocol, data collection and independent monitoring for adverse consequences
  • Sustain equitable COVID-19 prevention efforts to avoid the need to initiate the protocol, and mitigate disproportionate impacts on vulnerable groups
  • Meaningfully engage vulnerable groups, including Indigenous communities, Black and racialized communities, persons with disabilities, older persons and others for their perspectives and participation throughout the process to finalize and implement the protocol.

It is vitally important that the COVID-19 triage protocol accounts for the needs, capacities and circumstances of all vulnerable groups. Indeed, it is a matter of life and death. The OHRC will continue to make itself available to work with and support the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health on this important endeavour and I would welcome the opportunity to meet you and discuss next steps at your earliest convenience.

Please be advised that the OHRC may make this letter public in keeping with its statutory mandate under section 29 of Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

Sincerely,

Ena Chadha, LL.B., LL.M.

Chief Commissioner

cc:       Helen Angus, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health

Matthew Anderson, President and CEO of Ontario Health

Jennifer Gibson, Co-Chair, COVID-19 Bioethics Table

Hon. Doug Downey, Attorney General

David Corbett, Deputy Attorney General, Ministry of the Attorney General

OHRC Commissioners



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Reforming the Management of Public Building Projects in Ontario


In the third review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is the need for more accessibility and fewer barriers in public infrastructure projects. Onley’s review recommends changes to Infrastructure Ontario, the government agency that manages the province’s major building and construction projects. The review states that this agency has the chance to improve accessibility across Ontario by ensuring that there are no barriers in public buildings. Therefore, Onley’s review recommends reforming the management of public building projects in Ontario.

Reforming the Management of Public Building Projects in Ontario

Onley’s review states that many public buildings in Ontario are not accessible. Instead, some of these buildings are full of physical, information, and technological barriers, including:

  • Lack of elevators
  • No ramps or railings
  • Weak colour contrast
  • Incorrect Braille on signs
  • Self-service kiosks without accessibility features

When the province constructs a building or space, every person in Ontario should be able to use it. People with disabilities are members of the public. As a result, they should have access to the spaces that the province has constructed for public use.

Therefore, Onley’s review recommends that Infrastructure Ontario must take people’s accessibility needs into account when choosing designs for buildings and other public spaces. Thinking about accessibility at the design stage often saves time and money later, because retrofits are more costly and time-consuming than accessibility from the start. Therefore, Onley’s review recommends that Infrastructure Ontario should ensure that all the project plans it approves include accessibility requirements. Moreover, if a building design does not include features that remove barriers, Infrastructure Ontario should reject that design. In addition, if a company submits many building designs containing barriers, Infrastructure Ontario should ban that company from submitting designs. The review states that this ban should be temporary, so that companies can resubmit once they learn how to design accessible buildings.

More Solutions

During the public meetings Onley held while preparing his review, attendees suggest more solutions to avoid creating building barriers. For instance, some attendees suggest creating a process to monitor the plans for public buildings. This review process would ensure that every public building would be designed with accessibility features. In addition, if reviewers noticed any barriers in a building’s design, they could help the designers remove them. Similarly, attendees suggest that the provincial auditor should recommend improvements to Infrastructure Ontario’s process of planning for accessibility.

Furthermore, attendees suggest that when reviewers recommend accessibility improvements, these recommendations should be made public. Likewise, if anyone involved in the design process rejects an accessibility recommendation, this rejection should also be made public. For instance, attendees suggest that this public record should include:

  • The name of the person who rejects a recommendation
  • The person’s reasons for rejecting the recommendation

Attendees also recommend inspections after projects are completed. Moreover, attendees suggest that if inspectors find barriers, the builders must be required to remove them.

All these recommendations will help the government work together in reforming the management of public building projects in Ontario. All buildings and services created for public use should be accessible to members of the public who have disabilities.




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Physical Distancing and Public Spaces After the COVID-19 Pandemic


As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, we cheer ourselves by thinking of future socializing in-person. We also think about returning to work or activities we love. These hopes help us through the challenges of physical distancing. Moreover, these challenges show us that we can be more flexible or more creative than we thought we could. For instance, structures and spaces have adapted to physical distancing requirements during the pandemic. Many of these adaptations are also practices that make spaces more accessible for citizens with disabilities. Governments are mandating new guidelines for how people arrange or move through buildings and other spaces. In the post-COVID-19 future, more people may recognize the value of adapting spaces to meet citizens’ diverse needs. Consequently, governments that approve designs for public spaces may think differently about physical distancing and public spaces after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Physical Distancing and Public Spaces After the COVID-19 Pandemic

As spaces adapt to physical distancing requirements, their owners or managers are showing visitors how far apart people should be. For instance, essential businesses are placing markers so that people know how far apart to stand in lines. Alternatively, owners or managers of public spaces could adapt in ways that make their layouts more accessible to citizens with disabilities. For example, they could install fixed-queuing guides for line areas. These guides perform the same functions as markers painted on the floor. However, the guides may be more noticeable and harder for people to ignore as they move through spaces.

More Accessible Features for Public Spaces

People are becoming accustomed to new requirements governing the physical layout of businesses. In the same way, buildings and public spaces could adapt their premises in other ways to improve their accessibility. For instance, they could install:

These and other changes to physical environments make spaces accessible to more people.




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More Overwhelming Proof that Electric Scooters Endanger Public Safety – AODA Alliance


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

More Overwhelming Proof that Electric Scooters Endanger Public Safety

July 27, 2020

          SUMMARY

On the eve of Toronto City Council considering the question of whether to allow electric scooters in Canada’s largest city, here is yet more overwhelming proof that electric scooters pose a danger to the safety of the public. We set out a sampling of four news articles below. A CBC News July 21, 2020 report showed a troubling increase in serious personal injuries in Calgary, resulting in hospital emergency room visits, due to e-scooters. A January 11, 2020 report in MarketWatch documented is entitled “Electric scooter injuries jumped 222% over the past four years.” The Berlin Spectator June 18, 2020 reported on serious injuries in Berlin, Germany, leading police to sound the alarm. A July 26, 2020 report in the Singapore Press is entitled “E-scooter rider who knocked down woman refuses to pay over $445,000 in damages as he can’t afford it, says lawyer.”

If it is so well established that e-scooters endanger public safety, not to mention accessibility for people with disabilities, why is Toronto City Council even talking about the possibility of conducting a “pilot” with e-scooters? What is the purpose of a pilot? To see if Torontonians will get injured? We know they will. There is no need to subject them to e-scooters to find that out. Should Toronto conduct a “pilot” to find out if it will cost the public money to allow e-scooters? We know it will. Do we need a “pilot” to find out that Toronto’s law enforcement officers don’t have the time and resources to enforce proper conduct by those silently racing around on e-scooters? The City knows that they lack sufficient law enforcement capacity right now, without piling e-scooters onto their responsibilities.

The lead proponents of a “pilot” are the corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies. They stand to make piles of money from a new market, without bearing the costs. They no doubt want a “pilot” to try to get a foothold on a new market for their product, hoping that if e-scooters are allowed, it would be harder to get them banned.

An e-scooter is a motor vehicle, pure and simple. Yet the corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies want them treated as if they were not. That would leave public safety less protected.

We will all be watching Toronto City Council tomorrow, July 28, 2020, starting at 9:30 a.m., where its meeting is streamed live at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIKd97OqGeM

It is quite an irony that Toronto City Council has decided to now discuss the possibility of creating this new danger to the public including people with disabilities. On Sunday, July 26, 2020, the US celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Americans with disabilities focused on the progress they’ve made and the barriers yet to be removed for people with disabilities. The US is years ahead of Toronto, of Ontario and of Canada on inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities.

The fight for the Americans with Disabilities Act inspired a generation of disability advocates around the world, including right here in Ontario, to fight for new disability rights laws. Yet here we are, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, having to battle to avoid the silent menace that e-scooters present to all innocent pedestrians, including those with disabilities.

Let’s learn from the experience of Montreal, which called off its e-scooter pilot. Let’s learn from the experience of places like Calgary, Berlin, Singapore and several US cities, which have subjected so many of their residents to undue danger from e-scooters. Let’s learn from their mistakes, rather than repeating them.

Tell Toronto City Council to protect public safety rather than corporate lobbyists’ profits. City Councillors’ contact information is available at https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/council/members-of-council/

          MORE DETAILS

 CBC News July 21, 2020

Originally posted at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/injuries-rise-with-popularity-escooters-calgary-streets-1.5657159

Injuries rise with popularity of e-scooters on Calgary streets

Rider says he looked back and saw his girlfriend on the ground

Elissa Carpenter · CBC News · Posted: Jul 21, 2020 10:58 AM MT | Last Updated: July 21

A Calgary emergency room doctor says rider injuries led to almost 700 emergency-room and urgent-care visits last summer in Calgary. (CBC)

A Calgary couple is telling a cautionary tale involving an ambulance ride, a broken jaw and surgery.

Paul Fox and his girlfriend rented electric scooters Sunday evening. Both had used the ride-share scooters before, but this time something went wrong.

“We were driving the scooters and then I look back and she is just laying there” Fox told CBC News.

His girlfriend was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery for a broken jaw.

Fox was shocked when the surgeon told him he had seen six of the same kind of injury in recent days.

“It’s been the same mechanics of the injury. All jaw injuries … within the last week ” Fox said.

2019  Calgarians wheel into hospitals by the dozen with injuries from new e-scooters

2019 | Calgary e-scooters used nearly 10,000 times per day in August

The department head for emergency medicine in the city isn’t surprised.

Dr. Eddy Lang studied scooter-related injuries last fall after Calgary’s first season of the ride-share program.

“We saw almost 700 emergency-room and urgent-care visits of adults and children with scooter-related injuries last year,” Lang said.

By comparison, about 2,000 people a year are injured while cycling.

“You also have to keep the denominator in mind, if you will ” Lang said. “The number of Calgarians who use bicycles on a regular basis probably far exceeds the number of scooter users.”

Injuries to head, neck and face most common

Lang says the most common injuries were head, neck and face.

“Last year, we studied this in detail and looked at about 30 cases that were transported to hospital by ambulance. The common denominator was speed.”

Lang says the scooters are a great way to see the city or commute quickly to work, but points out they are a motorized vehicle and should be treated as such. He recommends helmet use, staying away from large crowds and riding sober.

With a third company joining the program this year, there are now about 2,500 scooters on the streets.

A second injury study is coming in the fall.

 MarketWatch January 11, 2020

Originally posted at https://www.marketwatch.com/story/your-first-e-scooter-ride-will-probably-land-you-in-the-hospital-2019-05-03

Electric scooter injuries jumped 222% over the past four years

And your first e-scooter ride will probably land you in the hospital, research suggests

Published: Jan. 11, 2020 at 9:36 a.m. ET

By Nicole Lyn Pesce

Many e-scooter riders suffered broken arms and head traumas. XTREKX/ISTOCK

More Americans are taking electric scooters for a spin — and it’s been a bumpy ride.

In fact, the number of e-scooter-related injuries jumped 222% between 2014 and 2018, according to a new study published in JAMA Surgery, adding up to almost 40,000 broken bones, head injuries, cuts and bruises being treated in emergency rooms across the country.

And those injuries spiked over that last year, in particular, jumping 83% from 8,016 in 2017 to 14,651 in 2018.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco analyzed U.S. government data on nonfatal injuries treated in ERs, and reported a “dramatic increase” in injuries and admissions associated with e-scooter use, which has become a popular form of alternative transportation across the U.S.

And the number of hospital admissions jumped 365% to almost 3,300 cases between 2014 and 2018, although most injured riders overall weren’t hospitalized. E-scooter riders aged 18 to 34 were also the most likely to be injured.

This study was limited in that it didn’t have details about collision scenarios, alcohol use or helmet use for each injury report, but two studies published last year reported that between 95% and 98% of injured e-scooter riders weren’t wearing helmets.

“We hope to raise awareness that riders should wear helmets and ride safely,” lead author Dr. Benjamin Breyer from the University of California, San Francisco told the Associated Press.

(Related: Famous British YouTuber dies in electric scooter accident)

This is the latest report to raise concerns about the rising number of e-scooter riders hitting the roads and sidewalks, in some cases before the riders have been properly trained to use the vehicle safely. In fact, one in three people injured on e-scooters gets hurt during their very first ride, according to a government safety report released last May.

The CDC and the Austin Public Health department analyzed emergency department data from nine Austin hospitals between September and November 2018.

The city’s almost 1 million people had access to about 14,000 dockless electric scooters, and the study counted 192 e-scooter-related injuries during those three months alone. Two were non-riders (a pedestrian and a cyclist), and the remaining 190 were navigating the motorized scooter at the time. But this report probably underestimated the true number of injuries, the authors noted, because it didn’t include urgent care centers or primary care physicians’ offices.

And one in three of those injured was riding an e-scooter for the first time. In fact, most of those who landed in the hospital were novices; about 63% had ridden just nine times or less before getting hurt.

Almost half of the accidents resulted in head injuries, as only one of the riders was wearing a helmet. The other most common injuries were to the upper limbs, including the arms, shoulders, wrists and hands (70%); the lower limbs, including the legs, knees, ankles and feet (55%); as well as the chest and abdomen (18%).

Many injured e-scooter riders were speeding and/or not wearing helmets.

Most of the accidents actually didn’t involve cars; only 10% of injured riders were hit by motor vehicles. Rather, half (50%) reported their accidents resulted from road conditions such as potholes and cracks. More than a third admitted they crashed while going too fast, and 10% said they hit a curb. Just under one in five (19%) claimed that their scooter malfunctioned. And more than half (55%) were injured in the street, while one-third were hurt on the sidewalk.

The report pushed for more training and education about e-scooter operation and safety to prevent injuries, advising that, “These educational messages should emphasize both wearing a helmet and maintaining a safe speed while riding an e-scooter.” And these PSAs should target riders ages 18 to 29, in particular, as nearly half of all injuries were reported in young adults, and more than one in four (29%) victims had consumed alcohol within 12 hours of crashing. As it stands, many of the scooter companies offer instructional videos on their apps — such as Lime’s “How to Lime” clip — but riders aren’t required to watch them before taking a spin.

Nick Shapiro, Lime’s vice president and Head of Trust and Safety, told MarketWatch in an emailed statement that, “Lime’s highest priority is the safety of our riders, and we advance this through rider education, community engagement, product innovation and policy development.” He added that, “we appreciate UCSF’s attention on this important topic and remain committed to ensuring safe rides for all users.” Reps for Bird were not immediately available for comment.

Motorized scooters from companies such as Bird, Lime and the Ford-owned Spin have been appearing all over the country, generally charging users anywhere from 15 cents to $1 a minute to rent e-scooters docked throughout an urban area, which can zip around as fast as 15 miles an hour. (The average speed of most city bicycle riders is about the same, although one can hit 20 miles an hour when speeding down a hill.)

The global e-scooter market is expected to hit $41.98 billion by 2030, according to Grand View Research, Inc. And that’s spurring ride-share heavyweights like Lyft and Uber to get in on the action. Uber and Alphabet invested $335 million in Lime in 2018, and Lyft has rolled out its own motorized scooters in cities including Austin, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C.

But the rapid expansion of e-scooters is also revving up safety concerns. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 3,300 scooter-related injuries in 2016, and 25% of them occurred to the head and face. After the Bird scooter landed in Memphis, local doctors reported an increase in emergency department visits for head and face injuries, which were related to e-scooters. Again, many riders were not wearing helmets. After a 26-year-old Nashville resident died in a e-scooter accident in May 2019, the city’s mayor David Briley said he would recommend banning them. Chattanooga, Tenn. went ahead and enacted a six-month ban on dockless electric scooters and bikes.

A handful of e-scooter riders have also died in the U.S. after colliding with cars in Austin and Washington, D.C., while a Dallas man was killed after falling off his scooter while riding home from work. Last July, British YouTube star Emily Hartridge, who presented the online series “10 Reasons Why,” was killed in a collision with a truck, becoming the U.K.’s first death involving an e-scooter. She was 35.

But a Portland, Ore., study published in January 2019 also found that scooter safety risks were no worse than those found in other modes of city transportation. In fact, scooter-related injuries (including injuries from non-motorized scooters) only accounted for about 5% of the estimated 3,220 of total traffic crash injury visits to emergency rooms and urgent care centers. And while scooters were involved in 176 ER visits, that was less than half of the 429 visits for bicycle-related mishaps.

 The Berlin Spectator June 18, 2020

Originally posted at https://berlinspectator.com/2020/06/18/berlin-police-log-high-number-of-e-scooter-accidents/

Berlin Police Log High Number of E-Scooter Accidents

By Imanuel Marcus

Berlin’s Police Department is sounding the alarm. Too many e-scooter users cause accidents. Serious injuries and even one death were reported. Besides, people do not seem to know the rules.

A year ago, on June 15th, 2019, the use of e-scooters on the streets of Berlin was approved. Since, several rental companies have popped up. They place e-scooters on the streets. Their customers locate them in apps, rent them and get going.

Flip Side

The positive side of the coin is obvious: Individuals, including tourists, can move around in Berlin easily. Taking e-scooter rides is fun indeed. But there is a flip side. The Berlin Police Department just released numbers that show there is a problem.

From June 15th, 2019 to March 31st, 2020, there were 354 accidents that involved e-scooters. One person died, 38 individuals were injured severely, while 182 persons sustained light injuries, according to those statistics mentioned by German-language media.

E-Scooter Rules

In the same time period, police in the German capital distributed as many as 3,340 tickets to e-scooter riders because of infractions they were responsible for. As it turns out, many e-scooter enthusiasts do not know there are rules. And those who know do not seem to care much.

These are some of the rules:

Riding e-scooters on sidewalks is prohibited. More than 1,000 persons were caught doing so anyway.

E-scooters need to be parked in an orderly manner where they do not obstruct pedestrians. Nine hundred people got tickets for choosing bad spots.

E-scooters are vehicles the use of which is not allowed under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police gave out 280 tickets to drunk individuals who rode those vehicles anyway.

All general traffic rules need to be adhered to. Too many people did not. For instance, red lights were taken, cell phones were used while riding, people rode through pedestrian zones.

E-scooters may not be used by more than one person.

Head Injuries

Making people aware of the fact that e-scooters are not toys, but vehicles propelled by electric motors is the responsibility of the companies that rent them out. Adding clear instructions to the apps is one way of doing it. The thing is that riding those e-scooters is more difficult and requires more attention that some people seem to believe.

In January, Berlin’s Charité university hospital came up with statistics regarding e-scooter accidents for July of 2019. More than half of all accident victims sustained head injuries. Many wounds on feet needed to be treated. The same applied to broken legs, arms and hands.

Foregone Conclusion

During the first three months of the ongoing Corona crisis, most rental e-scooters disappeared from the streets of Berlin. Now they are back. Renting them is rather expensive. An 8-kilometer trip (5 miles) can cost 12 Euro (13.50 U.S. Dollars or 10.75 Pounds Sterling).

The Berlin Police Department said its officers would continue monitoring e-scooter users. It is a foregone conclusion that more tickets will be distributed to those who do not behave.

Singapore Press July 26, 2020

Originally posted at https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/e-scooter-rider-who-knocked-down-woman-ordered-to-pay-damages-lawyer-says-he

E-scooter rider who knocked down woman refuses to pay over $445,000 in damages as he can’t afford it, says lawyer

Nicholas Ting Nai Jie caused Madam Ang Liu Kiow to suffer severe brain injuries after he hit her while riding his electric scooter in 2016.

Nicholas Ting Nai Jie caused Madam Ang Liu Kiow to suffer severe brain injuries after he hit her while riding his electric scooter in 2016.PHOTOS: ST FILE

Published Jul 26, 2020, 8:19 pm SGT

Selina Lum

Law Correspondent

SINGAPORE – A man who caused a female pedestrian to suffer severe brain injuries after he hit her while riding his electric scooter in 2016 has been ordered to pay her damages of over $445,000.

Madam Ang Liu Kiow, a 57-year-old mother of three, is still unable to speak, read or write nearly four years after the accident and needs help in daily activities such as dressing, using the toilet and eating.

For more background:

Read the AODA Alliance’s July 8, 2020 brief to the City of Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee, already endorsed by Spinal Cord Injury Ontario and the March of Dimes of Canada

Read the open letter to all Ontario municipal councils from 11 major disability organizations, opposing e-scooters in Ontario, and

Read the AODA Alliance’s July 10, 2020 news release explaining what happened at the July 9, 2020 meeting of Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee where the AODA Alliance and others presented on this issue.

Visit the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.



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More Overwhelming Proof that Electric Scooters Endanger Public Safety


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

July 27, 2020

SUMMARY

On the eve of Toronto City Council considering the question of whether to allow electric scooters in Canadas largest city, here is yet more overwhelming proof that electric scooters pose a danger to the safety of the public. We set out a sampling of four news articles below. A CBC News July 21, 2020 report showed a troubling increase in serious personal injuries in Calgary, resulting in hospital emergency room visits, due to e-scooters. A January 11, 2020 report in MarketWatch documented is entitled Electric scooter injuries jumped 222% over the past four years. The Berlin Spectator June 18, 2020 reported on serious injuries in Berlin, Germany, leading police to sound the alarm. A July 26, 2020 report in the Singapore Press is entitled E-scooter rider who knocked down woman refuses to pay over $445,000 in damages as he can’t afford it, says lawyer.

If it is so well established that e-scooters endanger public safety, not to mention accessibility for people with disabilities, why is Toronto City Council even talking about the possibility of conducting a pilot with e-scooters? What is the purpose of a pilot? To see if Torontonians will get injured? We know they will. There is no need to subject them to e-scooters to find that out. Should Toronto conduct a pilot to find out if it will cost the public money to allow e-scooters? We know it will. Do we need a pilot to find out that Torontos law enforcement officers dont have the time and resources to enforce proper conduct by those silently racing around on e-scooters? The City knows that they lack sufficient law enforcement capacity right now, without piling e-scooters onto their responsibilities.

The lead proponents of a pilot are the corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies. They stand to make piles of money from a new market, without bearing the costs. They no doubt want a pilot to try to get a foothold on a new market for their product, hoping that if e-scooters are allowed, it would be harder to get them banned.

An e-scooter is a motor vehicle, pure and simple. Yet the corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies want them treated as if they were not. That would leave public safety less protected.

We will all be watching Toronto City Council tomorrow, July 28, 2020, starting at 9:30 a.m., where its meeting is streamed live at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIKd97OqGeM

It is quite an irony that Toronto City Council has decided to now discuss the possibility of creating this new danger to the public including people with disabilities. On Sunday, July 26, 2020, the US celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Americans with disabilities focused on the progress theyve made and the barriers yet to be removed for people with disabilities. The US is years ahead of Toronto, of Ontario and of Canada on inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities.

The fight for the Americans with Disabilities Act inspired a generation of disability advocates around the world, including right here in Ontario, to fight for new disability rights laws. Yet here we are, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, having to battle to avoid the silent menace that e-scooters present to all innocent pedestrians, including those with disabilities.

Lets learn from the experience of Montreal, which called off its e-scooter pilot. Lets learn from the experience of places like Calgary, Berlin, Singapore and several US cities, which have subjected so many of their residents to undue danger from e-scooters. Lets learn from their mistakes, rather than repeating them.

Tell Toronto City Council to protect public safety rather than corporate lobbyists profits. City Councillors contact information is available at https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/council/members-of-council/

MORE DETAILS

CBC News July 21, 2020

Originally posted at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/injuries-rise-with-popularity-escooters-calgary-streets-1.5657159

Injuries rise with popularity of e-scooters on Calgary streets

Rider says he looked back and saw his girlfriend on the ground
Elissa Carpenter · CBC News · Posted: Jul 21, 2020 10:58 AM MT | Last Updated: July 21

A Calgary emergency room doctor says rider injuries led to almost 700 emergency-room and urgent-care visits last summer in Calgary. (CBC)

A Calgary couple is telling a cautionary tale involving an ambulance ride, a broken jaw and surgery.

Paul Fox and his girlfriend rented electric scooters Sunday evening. Both had used the ride-share scooters before, but this time something went wrong.

“We were driving the scooters and then I look back and she is just laying there” Fox told CBC News.

His girlfriend was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery for a broken jaw.

Fox was shocked when the surgeon told him he had seen six of the same kind of injury in recent days.

“It’s been the same mechanics of the injury. All jaw injuries within the last week ” Fox said.

2019 Calgarians wheel into hospitals by the dozen with injuries from new e-scooters 2019 | Calgary e-scooters used nearly 10,000 times per day in August The department head for emergency medicine in the city isn’t surprised.

Dr. Eddy Lang studied scooter-related injuries last fall after Calgary’s first season of the ride-share program.

“We saw almost 700 emergency-room and urgent-care visits of adults and children with scooter-related injuries last year,” Lang said.

By comparison, about 2,000 people a year are injured while cycling.

“You also have to keep the denominator in mind, if you will ” Lang said. “The number of Calgarians who use bicycles on a regular basis probably far exceeds the number of scooter users.”

Injuries to head, neck and face most common
Lang says the most common injuries were head, neck and face.

“Last year, we studied this in detail and looked at about 30 cases that were transported to hospital by ambulance. The common denominator was speed.”

Lang says the scooters are a great way to see the city or commute quickly to work, but points out they are a motorized vehicle and should be treated as such. He recommends helmet use, staying away from large crowds and riding sober.

With a third company joining the program this year, there are now about 2,500 scooters on the streets.

A second injury study is coming in the fall.
MarketWatch January 11, 2020

Originally posted at https://www.marketwatch.com/story/your-first-e-scooter-ride-will-probably-land-you-in-the-hospital-2019-05-03 Electric scooter injuries jumped 222% over the past four years
And your first e-scooter ride will probably land you in the hospital, research suggests

Published: Jan. 11, 2020 at 9:36 a.m. ET

By Nicole Lyn Pesce

Many e-scooter riders suffered broken arms and head traumas. XTREKX/ISTOCK

More Americans are taking electric scooters for a spin and its been a bumpy ride.

In fact, the number of e-scooter-related injuries jumped 222% between 2014 and 2018, according to a new study published in JAMA Surgery, adding up to almost 40,000 broken bones, head injuries, cuts and bruises being treated in emergency rooms across the country.

And those injuries spiked over that last year, in particular, jumping 83% from 8,016 in 2017 to 14,651 in 2018.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco analyzed U.S. government data on nonfatal injuries treated in ERs, and reported a dramatic increase in injuries and admissions associated with e-scooter use, which has become a popular form of alternative transportation across the U.S.

And the number of hospital admissions jumped 365% to almost 3,300 cases between 2014 and 2018, although most injured riders overall werent hospitalized. E-scooter riders aged 18 to 34 were also the most likely to be injured.

This study was limited in that it didnt have details about collision scenarios, alcohol use or helmet use for each injury report, but two studies published last year reported that between 95% and 98% of injured e-scooter riders werent wearing helmets.

We hope to raise awareness that riders should wear helmets and ride safely, lead author Dr. Benjamin Breyer from the University of California, San Francisco told the Associated Press.

(Related: Famous British YouTuber dies in electric scooter accident)

This is the latest report to raise concerns about the rising number of e-scooter riders hitting the roads and sidewalks, in some cases before the riders have been properly trained to use the vehicle safely. In fact, one in three people injured on e-scooters gets hurt during their very first ride, according to a government safety report released last May.

The CDC and the Austin Public Health department analyzed emergency department data from nine Austin hospitals between September and November 2018.

The citys almost 1 million people had access to about 14,000 dockless electric scooters, and the study counted 192 e-scooter-related injuries during those three months alone. Two were non-riders (a pedestrian and a cyclist), and the remaining 190 were navigating the motorized scooter at the time. But this report probably underestimated the true number of injuries, the authors noted, because it didnt include urgent care centers or primary care physicians offices.

And one in three of those injured was riding an e-scooter for the first time. In fact, most of those who landed in the hospital were novices; about 63% had ridden just nine times or less before getting hurt.

Almost half of the accidents resulted in head injuries, as only one of the riders was wearing a helmet. The other most common injuries were to the upper limbs, including the arms, shoulders, wrists and hands (70%); the lower limbs, including the legs, knees, ankles and feet (55%); as well as the chest and abdomen (18%).

Many injured e-scooter riders were speeding and/or not wearing helmets.

Most of the accidents actually didnt involve cars; only 10% of injured riders were hit by motor vehicles. Rather, half (50%) reported their accidents resulted from road conditions such as potholes and cracks. More than a third admitted they crashed while going too fast, and 10% said they hit a curb. Just under one in five (19%) claimed that their scooter malfunctioned. And more than half (55%) were injured in the street, while one-third were hurt on the sidewalk.

The report pushed for more training and education about e-scooter operation and safety to prevent injuries, advising that, These educational messages should emphasize both wearing a helmet and maintaining a safe speed while riding an e-scooter. And these PSAs should target riders ages 18 to 29, in particular, as nearly half of all injuries were reported in young adults, and more than one in four (29%) victims had consumed alcohol within 12 hours of crashing. As it stands, many of the scooter companies offer instructional videos on their apps such as Limes How to Lime clip but riders arent required to watch them before taking a spin.

Nick Shapiro, Limes vice president and Head of Trust and Safety, told MarketWatch in an emailed statement that, Limes highest priority is the safety of our riders, and we advance this through rider education, community engagement, product innovation and policy development. He added that, we appreciate UCSFs attention on this important topic and remain committed to ensuring safe rides for all users. Reps for Bird were not immediately available for comment.

Motorized scooters from companies such as Bird, Lime and the Ford-owned Spin have been appearing all over the country, generally charging users anywhere from 15 cents to $1 a minute to rent e-scooters docked throughout an urban area, which can zip around as fast as 15 miles an hour. (The average speed of most city bicycle riders is about the same, although one can hit 20 miles an hour when speeding down a hill.)

The global e-scooter market is expected to hit $41.98 billion by 2030, according to Grand View Research, Inc. And thats spurring ride-share heavyweights like Lyft and Uber to get in on the action. Uber and Alphabet invested $335 million in Lime in 2018, and Lyft has rolled out its own motorized scooters in cities including Austin, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C.

But the rapid expansion of e-scooters is also revving up safety concerns. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 3,300 scooter-related injuries in 2016, and 25% of them occurred to the head and face. After the Bird scooter landed in Memphis, local doctors reported an increase in emergency department visits for head and face injuries, which were related to e-scooters. Again, many riders were not wearing helmets. After a 26-year-old Nashville resident died in a e-scooter accident in May 2019, the citys mayor David Briley said he would recommend banning them. Chattanooga, Tenn. went ahead and enacted a six-month ban on dockless electric scooters and bikes.

A handful of e-scooter riders have also died in the U.S. after colliding with cars in Austin and Washington, D.C., while a Dallas man was killed after falling off his scooter while riding home from work. Last July, British YouTube star Emily Hartridge, who presented the online series 10 Reasons Why, was killed in a collision with a truck, becoming the U.K.s first death involving an e-scooter. She was 35.

But a Portland, Ore., study published in January 2019 also found that scooter safety risks were no worse than those found in other modes of city transportation. In fact, scooter-related injuries (including injuries from non-motorized scooters) only accounted for about 5% of the estimated 3,220 of total traffic crash injury visits to emergency rooms and urgent care centers. And while scooters were involved in 176 ER visits, that was less than half of the 429 visits for bicycle-related mishaps.

The Berlin Spectator June 18, 2020

Originally posted at https://berlinspectator.com/2020/06/18/berlin-police-log-high-number-of-e-scooter-accidents/ Berlin Police Log High Number of E-Scooter Accidents By Imanuel Marcus

Berlins Police Department is sounding the alarm. Too many e-scooter users cause accidents. Serious injuries and even one death were reported. Besides, people do not seem to know the rules.

A year ago, on June 15th, 2019, the use of e-scooters on the streets of Berlin was approved. Since, several rental companies have popped up. They place e-scooters on the streets. Their customers locate them in apps, rent them and get going.

Flip Side

The positive side of the coin is obvious: Individuals, including tourists, can move around in Berlin easily. Taking e-scooter rides is fun indeed. But there is a flip side. The Berlin Police Department just released numbers that show there is a problem.

From June 15th, 2019 to March 31st, 2020, there were 354 accidents that involved e-scooters. One person died, 38 individuals were injured severely, while 182 persons sustained light injuries, according to those statistics mentioned by German-language media.

E-Scooter Rules

In the same time period, police in the German capital distributed as many as 3,340 tickets to e-scooter riders because of infractions they were responsible for. As it turns out, many e-scooter enthusiasts do not know there are rules. And those who know do not seem to care much.

These are some of the rules:

Riding e-scooters on sidewalks is prohibited. More than 1,000 persons were caught doing so anyway.
E-scooters need to be parked in an orderly manner where they do not obstruct pedestrians. Nine hundred people got tickets for choosing bad spots.
E-scooters are vehicles the use of which is not allowed under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police gave out 280 tickets to drunk individuals who rode those vehicles anyway.
All general traffic rules need to be adhered to. Too many people did not. For instance, red lights were taken, cell phones were used while riding, people rode through pedestrian zones. E-scooters may not be used by more than one person.

Head Injuries

Making people aware of the fact that e-scooters are not toys, but vehicles propelled by electric motors is the responsibility of the companies that rent them out. Adding clear instructions to the apps is one way of doing it. The thing is that riding those e-scooters is more difficult and requires more attention that some people seem to believe.

In January, Berlins Charité university hospital came up with statistics regarding e-scooter accidents for July of 2019. More than half of all accident victims sustained head injuries. Many wounds on feet needed to be treated. The same applied to broken legs, arms and hands.

Foregone Conclusion

During the first three months of the ongoing Corona crisis, most rental e-scooters disappeared from the streets of Berlin. Now they are back. Renting them is rather expensive. An 8-kilometer trip (5 miles) can cost 12 Euro (13.50 U.S. Dollars or 10.75 Pounds Sterling).

The Berlin Police Department said its officers would continue monitoring e-scooter users. It is a foregone conclusion that more tickets will be distributed to those who do not behave.

Singapore Press July 26, 2020

Originally posted at https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/e-scooter-rider-who-knocked-down-woman-ordered-to-pay-damages-lawyer-says-he E-scooter rider who knocked down woman refuses to pay over $445,000 in damages as he can’t afford it, says lawyer

Nicholas Ting Nai Jie caused Madam Ang Liu Kiow to suffer severe brain injuries after he hit her while riding his electric scooter in 2016.
Nicholas Ting Nai Jie caused Madam Ang Liu Kiow to suffer severe brain injuries after he hit her while riding his electric scooter in 2016.PHOTOS: ST FILE

Published Jul 26, 2020, 8:19 pm SGT

Selina Lum
Law Correspondent

SINGAPORE – A man who caused a female pedestrian to suffer severe brain injuries after he hit her while riding his electric scooter in 2016 has been ordered to pay her damages of over $445,000.

Madam Ang Liu Kiow, a 57-year-old mother of three, is still unable to speak, read or write nearly four years after the accident and needs help in daily activities such as dressing, using the toilet and eating.

For more background:

Read the AODA Alliances July 8, 2020 brief to the City of Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee, already endorsed by Spinal Cord Injury Ontario and the March of Dimes of Canada

Read the open letter to all Ontario municipal councils from 11 major disability organizations, opposing e-scooters in Ontario, and

Read the AODA Alliances July 10, 2020 news release explaining what happened at the July 9, 2020 meeting of Torontos Infrastructure and Environment Committee where the AODA Alliance and others presented on this issue.

Visit the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.




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