Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update
United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities
Now that The Ford Government Received David Onley’s Independent Review Report on the AODA, the AODA Alliance Has Called on Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho to Immediately Lift the Government’s Freeze on the Work of the Health Care and Education Standards Development Committees
February 7, 2019
1. The Ford Government’s Stated Reason for Maintaining its Freeze on the Work of Ontario’s Education and Health Care Standards Development Committees has now Vanished –It’s Time for the Government to Lift that Freeze
On January 31, 2019, David Onley submitted the final report of his Independent Review of the implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act to The Ford Government. The Ford Government had said it was waiting for that report before it would make a decision on lifting the seven-month freeze it has maintained on the work of the Education and the Health Care Standards Development Committees. Those committees were appointed under the AODA to recommend which barriers in Ontario’s education system and health care system should be removed or prevented. The freeze on those committees has dragged on for 231 days.
On February 6, 2019, the AODA Alliance wrote Ontario’s Minister for Accessibility and Seniors, Raymond Cho. In that letter, set out below, we call on the Government to:
* Now let the Education and Health Care Standards Development Committees get back to work.
* Immediately make public the final report of the David Onley AODA Independent Review, in an accessible format, and
* Table the David Onley report with the Ontario Legislature immediately upon its resuming its sittings on February 19, 2019.
2. Let Us Know What Disability Barriers You Have Faced in Ontario’s Health Care System
In the hope that we will succeed in getting the Ford Government to lift its freeze on the work of the Health Care Standards Development Committee, we are working, together with the ARCH Disability Law Centre, to prepare a joint brief to that Standards Development Committee. We plan to spell out in that brief what an AODA Health Care Accessibility Standard should include.
We need your help. Let us know about disability barriers you have had to face in Ontario’s health care system. Give concrete examples. We don’t need the names of specific patients, doctors, or other health care providers. We won’t make public any names or identifying details.
We would also appreciate receiving your suggestions on what health care facilities can do to provide barrier-free health care to patients with any kind of disability. Good success stories can help with this effort.
Send your feedback to us at [email protected]
As you think about what to suggest to us, we recommend that you take a look at an earlier introductory brief on health care barriers that the AODA Alliance submitted to the Ontario Government on August 26, 2016.
Text of the AODA Alliance’s February 6, 2019 Letter to Minister for Accessibility and Seniors Raymond Cho
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update
United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities
February 6, 2019
To: The Hon. Raymond Cho, Minister of Accessibility and Seniors
Via Email: [email protected]
Frost Building South
7 Queen’s Park Cres
Toronto, ON M7A 1Y7
Re: The Need to Now End Your Government’s Freeze on the Work of AODA Standards Development Committees in the Areas of Education and Health Care
We write to ask you to now end your Government’s 7-month freeze on the important work of the AODA Standards Development Committees that have been appointed to develop recommendations on the disability barriers that need to be removed and prevented in Ontario’s education system and Ontario’s health care system. On December 20, 2018, you wrote the chairs of the two Education Standards Development Committees and, we believe, the Health Care Standards Development Committee, to say that you were awaiting the final report of David Onley’s Independent Review of the implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act before deciding on this issue.
We understand that on Thursday, January 31, 2019, your Government received the final report of the David Onley AODA Independent Review. As such, you are now in a position to know what Mr. Onley recommended in this regard. As such, we ask you to immediately lift your Government’s freeze on the work of those Standards Development Committees. Let them get back to their important work.
You have had our request to end this freeze on your desk as Minister for Accessibility for over seven months. The media has reported on it. You have had briefings on it. Moreover, the topic is not new to your Party. When in opposition, the Ontario Conservative Party helped us by pressing the former Government to agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA. Your party criticized The former Government for dragging its feet before appointing an Education Standards Development Committee to recommend what the Education Accessibility Standard should include.
It is also very important for the public, including Ontarians with disabilities to know what David Onley has found and what he has recommended regarding the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. We therefore ask that you immediately make public the report that the David Onley AODA Independent Review has rendered to the Government. We also ask that pursuant to s. 41 of the AODA, you file that report with the Legislature immediately upon the Legislature’s resuming its sittings on February 19, 2019. Nothing in the AODA restricts your Government from making Mr. Onley’s report public now, before the Legislature resumes sitting. Section 41(4) of the AODA provides:
” (4) The Minister shall submit the report to the Lieutenant Governor in Council and shall cause the report to be laid before the Assembly if it is in session or, if not, at the next session.”
Please be sure that Mr. Onley’s report is made public in an accessible format. PDF format is insufficient for that purpose. Please make sure that when it is released, it is simultaneously available in an accessible format such as MS Word. When The former Government released the last AODA Independent Review report, prepared by Mayo Moran, it did so in PDF format. We had to intervene to get this accessibility barrier corrected. It was illustrative of the many preventable disability barriers that people with disabilities continue to face in Ontario.
We look forward to working with you on the implementation of Mr. Onley’s report.
David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont
Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
cc: Premier Doug Ford [email protected]
Marie-Lison Fougère, Deputy Minister of Accessibility, [email protected]
Ann Hoy, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Accessibility Directorate, [email protected]