Under 3 Weeks Before the Federal Election, None of the Party Leaders Answered the AODA Alliance’s Letter Seeking 12 Commitments to Tear Down Barriers Facing 6 Million People with Disabilities in Canada, According to New Guest Column in Toronto Area Local Newspapers


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/

Under 3 Weeks Before the Federal Election, None of the Party Leaders Answered the AODA Alliance’s Letter Seeking 12 Commitments to Tear Down Barriers Facing 6 Million People with Disabilities in Canada, According to New Guest Column in Toronto Area Local Newspapers

September 1, 2021

        SUMMARY

Canada’s federal election campaign has entered its final three weeks. Yet absolutely none of the major federal party leaders have provided a substantive response to the August 3, 2021 letter to them from the AODA Alliance. In that letter, the AODA asked for 12 specific election pledges to tear down disability barriers facing six million people with disabilities in Canada.

A guest column in the Toronto Star’s Metroland local newspapers on this issue by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, set out below, explores this election’s disability accessibility issues. We emphasize that achieving accessibility for people with disabilities is but one of the major disability issues in this federal election. We support and encourage efforts from the disability community to secure commitments on all the major disability issues.

Among other things, the guest column, set out below, identifies serious concerns with the Federal Government giving up to 7.5 million dollars to a non-profit for its private accessibility certification training program. This is the one provided by the Rick Hansen Foundation.

We urge you to share this guest column with all candidates in this federal election. It is not too late for any and all of the federal party leaders to make the 12 election pledges we seek on achieving accessibility for people with disabilities.

We also urge you to send this guest column to your local media. Urge them to cover all this election’s disability issues, including the specific disability accessibility issue on which the AODA Alliance is focusing.

For more background, check out:

The August 27, 2021 AODA Alliance Update that sets out the commitments of the major federal parties so far on accessibility for people with disabilities, in their publicly-posted platform documents.

Metroland August 31, 2021

Originally posted at https://www.toronto.com/opinion-story/10463855-federal-party-platforms-mostly-offer-thin-gruel-for-millions-of-canadians-with-disabilities/

Opinion

Federal party platforms mostly offer ‘thin gruel’ for millions of Canadians with disabilities

‘Voters, demand strong accessibility commitments from all parties,’ writes David Lepofsky

CITY CENTRE MIRROR

If this federal election is like past ones, media coverage and pundit gabfests will leave out key issues vital to six million people with disabilities.

Over the past two years, things got worse for us. We disproportionately suffered COVID’s worst hardships. Yet all levels of government emergency planning often left out our urgent needs.

The federal government harmfully liberalized medical assistance in dying, making it easier to die because of your disability, with state assistance. Ontario let hospitals ready themselves to blatantly discriminate against some patients with disabilities in access to life-saving critical care if COVID overloads hospital emergency rooms. Cities let restaurants open outdoor patios without ensuring an accessible way to get around them. As a blind person, I’ve been forced to walk into dangerous oncoming road traffic.

Something is wrong with this picture. Our governments should make it easier to live with a disability, not make it easier or more likely to die because of a disability.

What will national parties pledge in this election to make Canada become accessible to people with disabilities by 2040, the deadline unanimously enshrined in the 2019 Accessible Canada Act (ACA)?

We asked the parties for detailed commitments, to ensure that the ACA’s implementation is swift, strong and effective, including: making needed accessibility standard regulations within four years, effectively enforcing the ACA, establishing a single unified process for cases, ensuring that nothing done under the ACA cuts back on disability rights, and ensuring that public money is never used to create disability barriers.

We await answers. As for their published platforms, the NDP makes some helpful commitments on point, though not enough. The others offer thin gruel.

In the 2019 election, the Liberals promised the ACA’s “timely and ambitious implementation.” It pledged to use a disability lens for all government decisions.

Since then, Trudeau’s actions weren’t timely or ambitious. There’s been no appreciable improvement in disability accessibility.

No national accessibility standards have been enacted to require specific actions to remove and prevent disability barriers. The federal government has not even hired the national accessibility commissioner or the chief accessibility officer, pivotal to lead the ACA’s implementation.

There was no disability lens when the federal government released the ArriveCan app for people entering Canada, replete with accessibility barriers for blind users. The federal government pours billions into infrastructure projects without requiring their disability accessibility. It enacted no comprehensive, mandatory up-to-date national standards under the ACA for the accessibility of such projects or of the built environment generally.

Instead, the Liberals doled out up to $7.5 million to a private accessibility certification program, run by a third-party non-profit that doesn’t work. Due diligence would show that the foundation’s training program for its inspectors is not sufficiently comprehensive. It green-lights some buildings that aren’t really accessible. Premier Ford similarly announced $1.3 million on the same private process two years ago, with no resulting increase in accessibility to show for it. It’s an easy way for governments to try to claim they’ve accomplished something on accessibility.

Voters, demand strong accessibility commitments from all parties.

David Lepofsky is chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance and visiting professor, Osgoode Hall Law School.



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Under 3 Weeks Before the Federal Election, None of the Party Leaders Answered the AODA Alliance’s Letter Seeking 12 Commitments to Tear Down Barriers Facing 6 Million People with Disabilities in Canada, According to New Guest Column in Toronto Area Local Newspapers


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

September 1, 2021

SUMMARY

Canada’s federal election campaign has entered its final three weeks. Yet absolutely none of the major federal party leaders have provided a substantive response to the August 3, 2021 letter to them from the AODA Alliance. In that letter, the AODA asked for 12 specific election pledges to tear down disability barriers facing six million people with disabilities in Canada.

A guest column in the Toronto Star’s Metroland local newspapers on this issue by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, set out below, explores this election’s disability accessibility issues. We emphasize that achieving accessibility for people with disabilities is but one of the major disability issues in this federal election. We support and encourage efforts from the disability community to secure commitments on all the major disability issues.

Among other things, the guest column, set out below, identifies serious concerns with the Federal Government giving up to 7.5 million dollars to a non-profit for its private accessibility certification training program. This is the one provided by the Rick Hansen Foundation.

We urge you to share this guest column with all candidates in this federal election. It is not too late for any and all of the federal party leaders to make the 12 election pledges we seek on achieving accessibility for people with disabilities.

We also urge you to send this guest column to your local media. Urge them to cover all this election’s disability issues, including the specific disability accessibility issue on which the AODA Alliance is focusing.

For more background, check out:

* The AODA Alliance’s August 3, 2021 letter to the major federal party leaders, seeking election commitments on tearing down barriers impeding people with disabilities.
* The AODA Alliance’s August 24, 2021 news release, explaining why it was wrong for the Federal Government to give up to 7.5 million dollars to the Rick Hanssen Foundation for its problem-ridden private accessibility certification and training program.
* The AODA Alliance’s July 3, 2019 report and its August 15, 2019 supplemental report that each details serious problems with the Rick Hansen Foundation’s private accessibility certification and training program.

The August 27, 2021 AODA Alliance Update that sets out the commitments of the major federal parties so far on accessibility for people with disabilities, in their publicly-posted platform documents.

Metroland August 31, 2021
Originally posted at https://www.toronto.com/opinion-story/10463855-federal-party-platforms-mostly-offer-thin-gruel-for-millions-of-canadians-with-disabilities/ Opinion
Federal party platforms mostly offer ‘thin gruel’ for millions of Canadians with disabilities
‘Voters, demand strong accessibility commitments from all parties,’ writes David Lepofsky CITY CENTRE MIRROR

If this federal election is like past ones, media coverage and pundit gabfests will leave out key issues vital to six million people with disabilities.

Over the past two years, things got worse for us. We disproportionately suffered COVID’s worst hardships. Yet all levels of government emergency planning often left out our urgent needs.

The federal government harmfully liberalized medical assistance in dying, making it easier to die because of your disability, with state assistance. Ontario let hospitals ready themselves to blatantly discriminate against some patients with disabilities in access to life-saving critical care if COVID overloads hospital emergency rooms. Cities let restaurants open outdoor patios without ensuring an accessible way to get around them. As a blind person, I’ve been forced to walk into dangerous oncoming road traffic.

Something is wrong with this picture. Our governments should make it easier to live with a disability, not make it easier or more likely to die because of a disability.

What will national parties pledge in this election to make Canada become accessible to people with disabilities by 2040, the deadline unanimously enshrined in the 2019 Accessible Canada Act (ACA)?

We asked the parties for detailed commitments, to ensure that the ACA’s implementation is swift, strong and effective, including: making needed accessibility standard regulations within four years, effectively enforcing the ACA, establishing a single unified process for cases, ensuring that nothing done under the ACA cuts back on disability rights, and ensuring that public money is never used to create disability barriers.

We await answers. As for their published platforms, the NDP makes some helpful commitments on point, though not enough. The others offer thin gruel.

In the 2019 election, the Liberals promised the ACA’s “timely and ambitious implementation.” It pledged to use a disability lens for all government decisions.

Since then, Trudeau’s actions weren’t timely or ambitious. There’s been no appreciable improvement in disability accessibility.

No national accessibility standards have been enacted to require specific actions to remove and prevent disability barriers. The federal government has not even hired the national accessibility commissioner or the chief accessibility officer, pivotal to lead the ACA’s implementation.

There was no disability lens when the federal government released the ArriveCan app for people entering Canada, replete with accessibility barriers for blind users. The federal government pours billions into infrastructure projects without requiring their disability accessibility. It enacted no comprehensive, mandatory up-to-date national standards under the ACA for the accessibility of such projects or of the built environment generally.

Instead, the Liberals doled out up to $7.5 million to a private accessibility certification program, run by a third-party non-profit that doesn’t work. Due diligence would show that the foundation’s training program for its inspectors is not sufficiently comprehensive. It green-lights some buildings that aren’t really accessible. Premier Ford similarly announced $1.3 million on the same private process two years ago, with no resulting increase in accessibility to show for it. It’s an easy way for governments to try to claim they’ve accomplished something on accessibility.

Voters, demand strong accessibility commitments from all parties.
David Lepofsky is chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance and visiting professor, Osgoode Hall Law School.




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After Winning the Battle in Toronto Last Spring, AODA Alliance and Other Disability Advocates Now Call on London City Council Not to Endanger People with Disabilities, Seniors and Others by Allowing Electric Scooters


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

August 30, 2021

SUMMARY

Will it ever end? Now It’s London Ontario that is considering the possibility of legalizing electric scooters (e-scooters). Due to the Ford Government, we must fight this battle in one city after the next. It was the Ford Government that gave municipalities the power to allow e-scooters. Premier Ford ignored all disability concerns and acted instead at the behest of the e-scooter corporate lobbyists.

With this issue now rearing its ugly head in London Ontario, the AODA Alliance and other disability advocates are now hitting the ground running, in an effort to avert this danger to people with disabilities, seniors, children and others who live in or visit London. On Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at noon, this issue is an agenda item on the City of London’s Civic Works Committee. The AODA Alliance is one of the disability organizations that have sent in written submissions to that Committee, asking London to say no to e-scooters. The AODA Alliance’s August 27, 2021 brief to the London Civic Works Committee is set out below.

We understand that London’s Accessibility Advisory Committee has commendably recommended that London say no to e-scooters. Earlier this year, the AODA Alliance and several other disability organizations and advocates convinced the Toronto City Council to unanimously say no to e-scooters. We are now trying to convince London to do the same thing, without burdening people with disabilities with the hardship of having to mount another hard-fought campaign to protect our safety and accessibility. We need London City Council to stand up for people with disabilities, seniors and others, and to stand up to the e-scooter rental companies’ corporate lobbyists.

We have asked London’s Civic Works Committee to allow for a deputation by the AODA Alliance at its August 31, 2021 meeting. We understand that no final votes on the e-scooters issue are expected at that meeting.

You can watch the August 31, 2021 London Civic Works Committee meeting live-streamed on Youtube on the City of London’s Youtube stream at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmRugRQ2sUo

For more details on the battle that people with disabilities have fought in Ontario over the past two years to avert the danger that e-scooters pose for them, visit the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooter page.

Riding Electric Scooters in London is Dangerous and Must Remain Banned — AODA Alliance brief to the City of London Civic Works Committee August 27, 2021
Via email: [email protected]

On its agenda for its August 31, 2021 meeting, the Civic Works Committee of London City Council has an agenda item regarding the possibility of allowing electric scooters (e-scooters) in the City of London. The AODA Alliance submits this brief to London’s Civic Works Committee on that agenda item, and requests an opportunity to make a presentation or deputation at that meeting via whatever virtual platform is being used.

In summary, London City Council must not unleash dangerous e-scooters in London. Riding e-scooters in public places in London is now banned and remains banned unless City Council legalizes them.

The non-partisan AODA Alliance has played a leading role in raising serious disability safety and accessibility concerns with e-scooters. To learn more about the AODA Alliance’s advocacy efforts to protect people with disabilities and others from the dangers that e-scooters pose, visit its e-scooters web page.

The AODA Alliance strongly commends the London Accessibility Advisory Committee for recommending that e-scooters should not be allowed in London. The AODA Alliance asks the City of London Civic Works Committee to follow that advice, and to recommend the following:

1. London should not permit the use of e-scooters, and should not conduct a pilot project with e-scooters.

2. If the City of London is going to explore the possibility of allowing e-scooters, e-scooters should not be permitted if they present any risk to the health or safety of people with disabilities, seniors, children or others, or if they are prone to create new accessibility barriers that would impede people with disabilities within London.

3. At the very least, if this issue is not simply taken right off the table, before proceeding any further, City staff should investigate the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. A public consultation on that issue should be held, beyond a purely online digital survey form.

London should benefit from the extensive and commendable work done on this issue in Toronto. This past spring, Toronto City Council voted unanimously not to allow e-scooters, after very extensive consideration of the issue. Toronto City Staff undertook the most thorough investigation of this issue of any Ontario municipality, as far as we have been able to discover.

An initial July 2020 Toronto City Staff Report, supplemented by a second February 2021 Toronto City Staff report, together amply show that e-scooters endanger public safety in communities that have permitted them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people cannot detect silent e-scooters that can accelerate at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmeted fun-seeking riders. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for people with vision loss and an accessibility nightmare for wheelchair users.

It is no solution to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The Toronto City Staff reports, referred to above, document the silent menace of e-scooters continuing to be ridden on sidewalks in cities that just ban them from sidewalks. London would need police officers on every block. Toronto City Staff reported to Toronto City Council last summer that no city that allows e-scooters has gotten enforcement right.

E-scooters would cost taxpayers a great deal. This would include new law enforcement, OHIP for treating those injured by e-scooters, and lawsuits by the injured. London has far more pressing budget priorities.

Especially with COVID still raging, London City Council should not be considering the legalization of dangerous e-scooters. In Toronto, a stunning well-funded behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure by corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies had inundated City Hall with for months. The corporate lobbyists want to make money on e-scooter rentals, laughing all the way to the bank, while injured pedestrians sob all the way to hospital emergency rooms. That the Toronto City Council unanimously said no to e-scooters despite this massive corporate lobbying should signal to London how important it is to stand up for people with disabilities and others endangered by e-scooters.

London City Council should not conduct an e-scooter pilot. A pilot to study what? How many of people living in or visiting London will be injured? We already know they will, from cities that have allowed them. It would be immoral to subject people in London to a City-wide human experiment, especially without their consent, where they can get injured. The call for a “pilot project with e-scooters is just the corporate lobbyists’ ploy to try to get their foot firmly planted in the door, so it will be harder to later get rid of e-scooters.

London, like the rest of Ontario, already has too many disability barriers that impede accessibility for people with disabilities. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires London and the rest of Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. To allow e-scooters would be to make things worse, not better, by creating new barriers impeding people with disabilities.

E-scooters create problems for businesses, as well as for people with disabilities. That is why Toronto’s Broadview Danforth BIA made an April 26, 2021 submission to the City of Toronto, set out below, that urged that e-scooters not be allowed. That BIA includes a part of Toronto that has similarities to downtown London.

Since we allow bikes, why not e-scooters? An e-scooter, unlike a bike, is a motor vehicle. As such, they should not be exempt from public safety regulations that apply to motor vehicles. A person who has never ridden an e-scooter can hop on one and instantly throttle up to race over 20 KPH. A person cannot instantly pedal a bike that fast, especially if they have never ridden a bike. In any event, London already has bikes. It does not need the dangers of e-scooters.

The July 2020 Toronto City Staff Report shows that e-scooters do not bring the great benefits for reduced car traffic and pollution that the corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies claim.

London should now call a stop to its exploration of e-scooters. Its residents with disabilities, its seniors and others should not have to mount an advocacy effort like the one that was necessary in Toronto to prevent the City from exposing its residents and visitors to the proven dangers that e-scooters pose. This is so especially while they along with all others must continue trying to cope with the pandemic.

Please make London easier and not harder for people with disabilities, seniors and others to get around. Protect those who need safe, accessible streets and sidewalks, not the interests of corporate lobbyists.

These references to banning e-scooters do not refer to the very different scooters that some people with disabilities use for mobility devices. Those mobility devices are now permitted and of course, should remain permitted.

Learn more about the dangers that e-scooters pose to people with disabilities, seniors, children and others, by visiting the AODA Alliance e-scooter web page and by watching the AODA Alliance’s short, captioned video on this issue. Read the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 detailed brief to Toronto City Council on e-scooters. Read the January 22, 2020 open letter to all municipalities and to Premier Doug Ford co-signed by 11 disability organization, that oppose e-scooters in Ontario.

Learn more about the AODA Alliance by visiting www.aodaalliance.org, by following @aodaalliance on Twitter, by visiting our Facebook page at www.facebook.com or by emailing us at [email protected]

April 26, 2021 Written Submission to the City of Toronto by the Broadview Danforth Business Improvement Area

April 26, 2021

TO: Infrastructure and Environment Committee Clerk

FROM: The Broadview Danforth BIA

RE: Item: 1E21.7 Pilot Project: Electric Kick-Scooters

I’m writing on behalf of the 355 business members in the Broadview Danforth BIA to support the recommendation being made by the General Manager, Transportation Services to decline the option to participate in O.Reg 389/19 Pilot Project for Electric Kick-Scooters. Our comments below can be shared with the Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting on April 28, 2021.

We have reviewed the components related to this proposed pilot project and have serious concerns that it would be very difficult to implement in a manner consistent with public safety and order.

Following a presentation made by Janet Lo from Transportation Services to BIAs, our key concerns are as follows:
Safety issues related to people with disabilities who use our sidewalks and wouldn’t be able to safely continue doing so if e-scooters were allowed on sidewalks.

Safety issues related to all people using sidewalks the potential of e-scooters being left on the sidewalks or tied to benches, tree guards etc. and falling over will lead to potential tripping hazards.

Lack of clarity on insurance coverage for riders, e-scooter rental companies and the general public who may be injured by e-scooter riders. Lack of City/police resources to enforce any kind of e-scooter laws. At the moment we have cyclists improperly using the roads and bike lanes and enforcement is almost non-existent. It’s impossible to believe that enforcement will be available for e-scooters. Our businesses are fighting for their survival during this pandemic and the last thing we need is for customers to feel unsafe using our sidewalks.

Thank you for your time and consideration of our feedback on this issue.

Albert Stortchak
Board Chair
Broadview Danforth BIA




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After Winning the Battle in Toronto Last Spring, AODA Alliance and Other Disability Advocates Now Call on London City Council Not to Endanger People with Disabilities, Seniors and Others by Allowing Electric Scooters


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

Web: www.aodaalliance.org

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @aodaalliance

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

After Winning the Battle in Toronto Last Spring, AODA Alliance and Other Disability Advocates Now Call on London City Council Not to Endanger People with Disabilities, Seniors and Others by Allowing Electric Scooters

August 30, 2021

        SUMMARY

Will it ever end? Now It’s London Ontario that is considering the possibility of legalizing electric scooters (e-scooters). Due to the Ford Government, we must fight this battle in one city after the next. It was the Ford Government that gave municipalities the power to allow e-scooters. Premier Ford ignored all disability concerns and acted instead at the behest of the e-scooter corporate lobbyists.

With this issue now rearing its ugly head in London Ontario, the AODA Alliance and other disability advocates are now hitting the ground running, in an effort to avert this danger to people with disabilities, seniors, children and others who live in or visit London. On Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at noon, this issue is an agenda item on the City of London’s Civic Works Committee. The AODA Alliance is one of the disability organizations that have sent in written submissions to that Committee, asking London to say no to e-scooters. The AODA Alliance’s August 27, 2021 brief to the London Civic Works Committee is set out below.

We understand that London’s Accessibility Advisory Committee has commendably recommended that London say no to e-scooters. Earlier this year, the AODA Alliance and several other disability organizations and advocates convinced the Toronto City Council to unanimously say no to e-scooters. We are now trying to convince London to do the same thing, without burdening people with disabilities with the hardship of having to mount another hard-fought campaign to protect our safety and accessibility. We need London City Council to stand up for people with disabilities, seniors and others, and to stand up to the e-scooter rental companies’ corporate lobbyists.

We have asked London’s Civic Works Committee to allow for a deputation by the AODA Alliance at its August 31, 2021 meeting. We understand that no final votes on the e-scooters issue are expected at that meeting.

You can watch the August 31, 2021 London Civic Works Committee meeting live-streamed on Youtube on the City of London’s Youtube stream at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmRugRQ2sUo

For more details on the battle that people with disabilities have fought in Ontario over the past two years to avert the danger that e-scooters pose for them, visit the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooter page.

Riding Electric Scooters in London is Dangerous and Must Remain Banned — AODA Alliance brief to the City of London Civic Works Committee

August 27, 2021

Via email: [email protected]

On its agenda for its August 31, 2021 meeting, the Civic Works Committee of London City Council has an agenda item regarding the possibility of allowing electric scooters (e-scooters) in the City of London. The AODA Alliance submits this brief to London’s Civic Works Committee on that agenda item, and requests an opportunity to make a presentation or deputation at that meeting via whatever virtual platform is being used.

In summary, London City Council must not unleash dangerous e-scooters in London. Riding e-scooters in public places in London is now banned and remains banned unless City Council legalizes them.

The non-partisan AODA Alliance has played a leading role in raising serious disability safety and accessibility concerns with e-scooters. To learn more about the AODA Alliance’s advocacy efforts to protect people with disabilities and others from the dangers that e-scooters pose, visit its e-scooters web page.

The AODA Alliance strongly commends the London Accessibility Advisory Committee for recommending that e-scooters should not be allowed in London. The AODA Alliance asks the City of London Civic Works Committee to follow that advice, and to recommend the following:

  1. London should not permit the use of e-scooters, and should not conduct a pilot project with e-scooters.
  1. If the City of London is going to explore the possibility of allowing e-scooters, e-scooters should not be permitted if they present any risk to the health or safety of people with disabilities, seniors, children or others, or if they are prone to create new accessibility barriers that would impede people with disabilities within London.
  1. At the very least, if this issue is not simply taken right off the table, before proceeding any further, City staff should investigate the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. A public consultation on that issue should be held, beyond a purely online digital survey form.

London should benefit from the extensive and commendable work done on this issue in Toronto. This past spring, Toronto City Council voted unanimously not to allow e-scooters, after very extensive consideration of the issue. Toronto City Staff undertook the most thorough investigation of this issue of any Ontario municipality, as far as we have been able to discover.

An initial July 2020 Toronto City Staff Report, supplemented by a second February 2021 Toronto City Staff report, together amply show that e-scooters endanger public safety in communities that have permitted them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people cannot detect silent e-scooters that can accelerate at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmeted fun-seeking riders. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for people with vision loss and an accessibility nightmare for wheelchair users.

It is no solution to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The Toronto City Staff reports, referred to above, document the silent menace of e-scooters continuing to be ridden on sidewalks in cities that just ban them from sidewalks. London would need police officers on every block. Toronto City Staff reported to Toronto City Council last summer that no city that allows e-scooters has gotten enforcement right.

E-scooters would cost taxpayers a great deal. This would include new law enforcement, OHIP for treating those injured by e-scooters, and lawsuits by the injured. London has far more pressing budget priorities.

Especially with COVID still raging, London City Council should not be considering the legalization of dangerous e-scooters. In Toronto, a stunning well-funded behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure by corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies had inundated City Hall with for months. The corporate lobbyists want to make money on e-scooter rentals, laughing all the way to the bank, while injured pedestrians sob all the way to hospital emergency rooms. That the Toronto City Council unanimously said no to e-scooters despite this massive corporate lobbying should signal to London how important it is to stand up for people with disabilities and others endangered by e-scooters.

London City Council should not conduct an e-scooter pilot. A pilot to study what? How many of people living in or visiting London will be injured? We already know they will, from cities that have allowed them. It would be immoral to subject people in London to a City-wide human experiment, especially without their consent, where they can get injured. The call for a “pilot project with e-scooters is just the corporate lobbyists’ ploy to try to get their foot firmly planted in the door, so it will be harder to later get rid of e-scooters.

London, like the rest of Ontario, already has too many disability barriers that impede accessibility for people with disabilities. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires London and the rest of Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. To allow e-scooters would be to make things worse, not better, by creating new barriers impeding people with disabilities.

E-scooters create problems for businesses, as well as for people with disabilities. That is why Toronto’s Broadview Danforth BIA made an April 26, 2021 submission to the City of Toronto, set out below, that urged that e-scooters not be allowed. That BIA includes a part of Toronto that has similarities to downtown London.

Since we allow bikes, why not e-scooters? An e-scooter, unlike a bike, is a motor vehicle. As such, they should not be exempt from public safety regulations that apply to motor vehicles. A person who has never ridden an e-scooter can hop on one and instantly throttle up to race over 20 KPH. A person cannot instantly pedal a bike that fast, especially if they have never ridden a bike. In any event, London already has bikes. It does not need the dangers of e-scooters.

The July 2020 Toronto City Staff Report shows that e-scooters do not bring the great benefits for reduced car traffic and pollution that the corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies claim.

London should now call a stop to its exploration of e-scooters. Its residents with disabilities, its seniors and others should not have to mount an advocacy effort like the one that was necessary in Toronto to prevent the City from exposing its residents and visitors to the proven dangers that e-scooters pose. This is so especially while they along with all others must continue trying to cope with the pandemic.

Please make London easier and not harder for people with disabilities, seniors and others to get around. Protect those who need safe, accessible streets and sidewalks, not the interests of corporate lobbyists.

These references to banning e-scooters do not refer to the very different scooters that some people with disabilities use for mobility devices. Those mobility devices are now permitted and of course, should remain permitted.

Learn more about the dangers that e-scooters pose to people with disabilities, seniors, children and others, by visiting the AODA Alliance e-scooter web page and by watching the AODA Alliance’s short, captioned video on this issue. Read the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 detailed brief to Toronto City Council on e-scooters. Read the January 22, 2020 open letter to all municipalities and to Premier Doug Ford co-signed by 11 disability organization, that oppose e-scooters in Ontario.

Learn more about the AODA Alliance by visiting www.aodaalliance.org, by following @aodaalliance on Twitter, by visiting our Facebook page at www.facebook.com or by emailing us at [email protected].

April 26, 2021 Written Submission to the City of Toronto by the Broadview Danforth Business Improvement Area

April 26, 2021

TO: Infrastructure and Environment Committee Clerk

FROM: The Broadview Danforth BIA

RE: Item: 1E21.7 Pilot Project: Electric Kick-Scooters

I’m writing on behalf of the 355 business members in the Broadview Danforth BIA to support the recommendation being made by the General Manager, Transportation Services to decline the option to participate in O.Reg 389/19 Pilot Project for Electric Kick-Scooters. Our comments below can be shared with the Infrastructure and Environment Committee — meeting on April 28, 2021.

We have reviewed the components related to this proposed pilot project and have serious concerns that it would be very difficult to implement in a manner consistent with public safety and order.

Following a presentation made by Janet Lo from Transportation Services to BIAs, our key concerns are as follows:

Safety issues related to people with disabilities who use our sidewalks and wouldn’t be able to safely continue doing so if e-scooters were allowed on sidewalks.

Safety issues related to all people using sidewalks — the potential of e-scooters being left on the sidewalks or tied to benches, tree guards etc. and falling over will lead to potential tripping hazards.

Lack of clarity on insurance coverage for riders, e-scooter rental companies and the general public who may be injured by e-scooter riders. Lack of City/police resources to enforce any kind of e-scooter laws. At the moment we have cyclists improperly using the roads and bike lanes and enforcement is almost non-existent. It’s impossible to believe that enforcement will be available for e-scooters. Our businesses are fighting for their survival during this pandemic and the last thing we need is for customers to feel unsafe using our sidewalks.

Thank you for your time and consideration of our feedback on this issue.

Albert Stortchak

Board Chair

Broadview Danforth BIA



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Toronto Teacher Who Now Uses Wheelchair Prompts TDSB to Make School More Accessible


More than 50% of TDSB schools have barriers to people with disabilities Talia Ricci , CBC News
Posted: Aug 19, 2021

Toronto teacher Karyn Bugelli says she’s overwhelmed by recent support from her school and neighbours as she adjusts to life in a wheelchair. As Talia Ricci reports, the situation has motivated the TDSB to make the school more accessible – but there’s still a long way to go.

When Karyn Bugelli first learned she wouldn’t walk again, she says one of the first things that came to mind was one of her former students.

“He had something go wrong with his spine and he ended up in a wheelchair. I was instructing him while he waited to get into another school, because Malvern wasn’t accessible,” she said.

Bugelli has worked as both a teacher and a guidance counsellor at Malvern Collegiate Institute in Toronto’s east-end for the past 15 years.

“I remember thinking at the time, what a terrible thing that a Grade 9 student will have to move away from his friends and move to a new school in this day and age.” Now she feels an even deeper connection to that student.

Last October, Bugelli was experiencing what she thought was common back pain – but it wasn’t going away. Tests determined she had a cancerous tumour on her spine. She underwent chemotherapy but eventually had to have the tumour removed. That operation meant she was cancer-free, but would remain paralyzed from the waist down and would have to use a wheelchair.

After being rooted in a school and community she loved for more than a decade, she hoped there was a way she could continue working there, and so did her colleagues. According to data provided by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), more than 50 per cent of its schools are not accessible. Bugelli hopes her situation sparks change so future students and staff can work and learn in accessible buildings.

Bugelli said her principal and colleagues have been very supportive. One even started a GoFundMe to help with renovations to make her home more accessible, which has raised more than $55,000. Multiple messages on the page from former students say Bugelli was their favourite teacher.

“It’s basically overwhelming. It’s an indescribable feeling really. You feel like you don’t deserve it. But you really just can’t believe what people will do to help you out,” Bugelli said. She added that friends, neighbours and colleagues also brought her family meals, offered to walk her dog and continue to send her motivating texts in the morning.

“I think it will be a big learning curve, and I think there’s a lot of barriers I haven’t seen before,” she said.

“But I will now.”

More than 50% of TDSB schools not accessible

In a statement, the TDSB says it has audited all of its schools and created site-specific profiles on their accessibility. During the audit, schools were categorized as either accessible, somewhat accessible, or not accessible.

Accessible is defined as allowing independent access into and throughout the building and providing a barrier-free washroom, while somewhat accessible does not meet the full criteria but provides independent access to the building, a barrier-free washroom on the main level and no level disruptions to entry.

According to the data provided to CBC News, the board found 153 schools are accessible, 114 are somewhat accessible and 276 as not accessible. The TDSB estimates it would cost between $750 million and $1 billion to make all its schools barrier-free to people with disabilities.

Sandy Kaskens, principal at Malvern C.I., says she felt an overwhelming sense of admiration for Bugelli when she received a text from her about whether she’d be able to do her job in a wheelchair.

“Her first communication was about how she can return to work and continue serving the community,” she said. “I thought, ‘Okay, what do I need to do to make sure she can return to Malvern.”‘

Kaskens explained that for Bugelli to get into her office an exterior ramp needs to be installed at the door where the parking lot is located and a stair-lift to access the main floor will also need to be installed. There will also have to be an accessible washroom. Like Bugelli, Kaskens was reminded of students who had to transfer because the high school isn’t fully accessible.

“A process has started, but I am learning that accessibility at TDSB schools is really a massive project. It’s not just Malvern,” she said, adding that she has known for a long time that accessibility needed improvement across the board.

But now the issue feels close to home.

“When someone close to you, someone you’re responsible for professionally, suddenly has accessibility needs, you see the barriers much more.”

Learning how to live in a wheelchair

Bugelli has been staying at the University Health Network’s Lyndhurst Centre. Dr. Anthony Burns, a physiatrist at the facility, says the spinal cord rehabilitation program helps people like Bugelli transition back to home and work, while remaining as independent as possible.

“Here at the centre, as you can imagine it’s an ideal environment, an accessible set-up for people with spinal cord injuries,” he said.

“But it’s a significant transition when they return to the community because, unfortunately, they will encounter barriers, not all of the environments within the home and outside the home will be accessible.”

Burns says part of their program is to help individuals solve problems in these situations.

“When I’m out and about I certainly note people with mobility impairments and some of the challenges they face,” he said.

“I think we have a long way to go, we need to do a better job as a society of increasing access for individuals with impairments to fully engage in the workplace.”

Bugelli says she can’t wait to return to the job she loves. Reflecting on her former student and the road ahead, she says she hopes everybody will be able to attend fully accessible schools in the near future.

“If it starts with me, maybe something good can come out of all this.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Talia Ricci is a CBC reporter based in Toronto. She has travelled around the globe with her camera documenting people and places as well as volunteering. Talia enjoys covering offbeat human interest stories and exposing social justice issues. When she’s not reporting, you can find her reading or strolling the city with a film camera.

Original at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/toronto-teacher-overwhelmed-by-support-1.6143645




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


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

May 12, 2021

SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

MORE DETAILS

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

May 12, 2021

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

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

Dear Mayor Tory and Members of Toronto City Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

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




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


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

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

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

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

May 12, 2021

            SUMMARY

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

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

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

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

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

MORE DETAILS

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

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

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

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

May 12, 2021

To: Mayor John Tory and Members of Toronto City Council

City Hall,

100 Queen St. W.

Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

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

Dear Mayor Tory and Members of Toronto City Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont

Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

Twitter: @davidlepofsky



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New Toronto Star Guest Column Blasts the Ford Government’s Critical Care Triage Plans and the Government’s Harmful Secrecy Surrounding Those Plans


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

May 7, 2021

SUMMARY

Below is an important guest column that ran in the May 7, 2021 Toronto Star in the print newspaper and online, by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. It summarizes the serious problems with Ontario’s critical care triage protocol and plans. Even if the crisis in Ontario hospitals seems to be levelling off for the moment, it is still very important that the Ford Government address these issues which people with disabilities have been raising for over a year.

We encourage you to:

1. Write a letter to the editor at the Toronto Star with your comments on this guest column. Email the Star at: [email protected]

Encourage the Star to give this topic as much attention as possible.

2. Forward this guest column to your member of the Ontario Legislature with your comments.

3. Share this guest column on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Encourage others to read it and to share it with others. The link to post that takes people right to the Toronto Star guest column is https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/05/07/ontarios-triage-protocol-unlawfully-discriminates-against-people-with-disabilities.html

4. Send this guest column to your local media and to any reporters you know. Encourage them to cover this disability issue, which touches the lives of so many Ontarians. Phone in to call-in radio programs to raise this issue. Tell them how you feel about the danger of disability discrimination in Ontario’s critical care triage protocol.

For more background, check out and widely share:

1. The new captioned online video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky that explains the entire critical care triage protocol issue from a disability perspective, for those who don’t know the ins and outs.

2. The AODA Alliance’s February 25, 2021 report that details serious problems with the Ontario critical care triage protocol.

3. The AODA Alliance website’s health care page.

Toronto Star May 7, 2021

Originally posted at: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/05/07/ontarios-triage-protocol-unlawfully-discriminates-against-people-with-disabilities.html Editorial

Triage protocol unlawfully discriminates against disabilities

David Lepofsky Contributor

People with disabilities are disproportionately prone to get COVID-19, to suffer its worst effects and to die from it. Cruelly compounding this, Ontario’s protocol for triage of critical care would explicitly discriminate against some patients with disabilities who need life-saving critical care. People with disabilities deserve better.

If overloaded ICUs can’t accommodate all patients, rationing or “triage” means some patients will die because doctors will deny them needed critical care. We need a lawful protocol to govern such decisions. Ontario’s protocol isn’t lawful in part because of its disability discrimination.

For example, Ontario’s protocol would rank a cancer patient lower depending on their disability’s severity. That’s blatant disability discrimination. As well, patients over 65 with progressive diseases (e.g., MS, arthritis or Parkinson’s) are ranked lower for each of these activities they can’t do independently: get out of bed, eat, shop, use the phone or do finances.

Ontario’s protocol treats you like a blob on a gurney with no due process and no say. Two doctors rank you and give you the bad news.

With your life at stake, you cannot get the decision reviewed, even on a lightning-fast basis.

No wonder the Ontario Human Rights Commission, disability organizations and six bioethicists on Premier Ford’s advisory Bioethics Table all voiced serious objections. Ford’s approach is dangerously wrong. The protocol was developed and sent to hospitals in secret, with no public consultation by the government’s decision-makers. It isn’t on the government website. (We posted a leaked copy on www.aodaalliance.org.)

Some doctors and others are calling the shots in government back rooms. That is unfair to the public, people with disabilities and triage doctors.

Doctors use this protocol at their peril. Premier Ford is tap-dancing in a constitutional minefield. It’s wrong to direct doctors on who lives or dies by memo. Even worse, Ford may try to suspend the requirement that a patient must consent before needed care is discontinued.

Those defending the protocol argue it doesn’t discriminate because it says a patient’s stable disability, like autism, mustn’t be held against them. Yet the protocol discriminates against others based on progressive disabilities.

Government must remove disability discrimination from Ontario’s critical care triage protocol. It must afford due process to patients whose lives are in jeopardy. Instead of hiding and ducking questions, the premier should hold an open debate and pass legislation governing this, with public input.

The government must commit that if critical care triage occurs, it will daily report the number of people who are refused needed critical care due to triage. If Ford sombrely announces that the pandemic emergency requires critical care triage, remember he’s secretly planned for this possibility for over a year.

David Lepofsky is chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.




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New Toronto Star Guest Column Blasts the Ford Government’s Critical Care Triage Plans and the Government’s Harmful Secrecy Surrounding Those Plans


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/

New Toronto Star Guest Column Blasts the Ford Government’s Critical Care Triage Plans and the Government’s Harmful Secrecy Surrounding Those Plans

May 7, 2021

            SUMMARY

Below is an important guest column that ran in the May 7, 2021 Toronto Star in the print newspaper and online, by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. It summarizes the serious problems with Ontario’s critical care triage protocol and plans. Even if the crisis in Ontario hospitals seems to be levelling off for the moment, it is still very important that the Ford Government address these issues which people with disabilities have been raising for over a year.

We encourage you to:

  1. Write a letter to the editor at the Toronto Star with your comments on this guest column. Email the Star at: [email protected]

Encourage the Star to give this topic as much attention as possible.

  1. Forward this guest column to your member of the Ontario Legislature with your comments.
  1. Share this guest column on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Encourage others to read it and to share it with others. The link to post that takes people right to the Toronto Star guest column is https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/05/07/ontarios-triage-protocol-unlawfully-discriminates-against-people-with-disabilities.html
  1. Send this guest column to your local media and to any reporters you know. Encourage them to cover this disability issue, which touches the lives of so many Ontarians. Phone in to call-in radio programs to raise this issue. Tell them how you feel about the danger of disability discrimination in Ontario’s critical care triage protocol.

For more background, check out and widely share:

  1. The new captioned online video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky that explains the entire critical care triage protocol issue from a disability perspective, for those who don’t know the ins and outs.
  1. The AODA Alliance’s February 25, 2021 report that details serious problems with the Ontario critical care triage protocol.
  1. The AODA Alliance website’s health care page.

Toronto Star May 7, 2021

Originally posted at: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/05/07/ontarios-triage-protocol-unlawfully-discriminates-against-people-with-disabilities.html

Editorial

Triage protocol unlawfully discriminates against disabilities

David Lepofsky Contributor

People with disabilities are disproportionately prone to get COVID-19, to suffer its worst effects and to die from it. Cruelly compounding this, Ontario’s protocol for triage of critical care would explicitly discriminate against some patients with disabilities who need life-saving critical care. People with disabilities deserve better.

If overloaded ICUs can’t accommodate all patients, rationing or “triage” means some patients will die because doctors will deny them needed critical care. We need a lawful protocol to govern such decisions. Ontario’s protocol isn’t lawful in part because of its disability discrimination.

For example, Ontario’s protocol would rank a cancer patient lower depending on their disability’s severity. That’s blatant disability discrimination. As well, patients over 65 with progressive diseases (e.g., MS, arthritis or Parkinson’s) are ranked lower for each of these activities they can’t do independently: get out of bed, eat, shop, use the phone or do finances.

Ontario’s protocol treats you like a blob on a gurney with no due process and no say. Two doctors rank you and give you the bad news.

With your life at stake, you cannot get the decision reviewed, even on a lightning-fast basis.

No wonder the Ontario Human Rights Commission, disability organizations and six bioethicists on Premier Ford’s advisory Bioethics Table all voiced serious objections. Ford’s approach is dangerously wrong. The protocol was developed and sent to hospitals in secret, with no public consultation by the government’s decision-makers. It isn’t on the government website. (We posted a leaked copy on www.aodaalliance.org.)

Some doctors and others are calling the shots in government back rooms. That is unfair to the public, people with disabilities and triage doctors.

Doctors use this protocol at their peril. Premier Ford is tap-dancing in a constitutional minefield. It’s wrong to direct doctors on who lives or dies by memo. Even worse, Ford may try to suspend the requirement that a patient must consent before needed care is discontinued.

Those defending the protocol argue it doesn’t discriminate because it says a patient’s stable disability, like autism, mustn’t be held against them. Yet the protocol discriminates against others based on progressive disabilities.

Government must remove disability discrimination from Ontario’s critical care triage protocol. It must afford due process to patients whose lives are in jeopardy. Instead of hiding and ducking questions, the premier should hold an open debate and pass legislation governing this, with public input.

The government must commit that if critical care triage occurs, it will daily report the number of people who are refused needed critical care due to triage. If Ford sombrely announces that the pandemic emergency requires critical care triage, remember he’s secretly planned for this possibility for over a year.

David Lepofsky is chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.



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COVID-19: Toronto woman charged after gatherings reportedly held at Innisfil Airbnb


A Toronto woman has been charged in connection with an Airbnb rental in Innisfil, Ont., after gatherings were reported to be taking place at the address amid the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Ontario’s current emergency orders, short-term rentals are only allowed for people who are in need of housing.

All gatherings are also currently prohibited in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

South Simcoe Police said they received complaints from the community about gatherings at an address in the 25th Sideroad and 9th Line area.

On Wednesday, the Toronto woman and Airbnb renter was served a provincial offences notice under the Reopening Ontario Act.

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