August 7, 2013
On August 6, 2013, the AODA Alliance wrote the recently-appointed membership of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council of Ontario (ASAC). We congratulated them on their appointment to this Council. We also requested an opportunity to meet with them at their next meeting.
ASAC has existed since 2005. Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, ASAC was created to advise the Government on issues concerning the implementation and enforcement of the AODA.
Last year, the Ontario Government announced that it would also assign ASAC with responsibility for developing detailed recommendations for any new accessibility standards that the Government decides to create. The Government also assigned ASAC with responsibility to review existing accessibility standards that have been in force for five years.
So far, the Government has inexpicably not directed ASAC to develop any new accessibility standards. We have been pressing the Government for many months to develop new accessibility standards in the areas of education, health care, and residential housing.
The Government unjustifiably delayed for a half a year before appointing the new membership of ASAC this summer. In other words, for over half a year, Ontario had no ASAC, despite the fact that the AODA mandatorily requires that this Council must exist.
In other accessibility news, an unacceptable 67 days have passed since the legal deadline for the Ontario Government to appoint an Independent Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The Government is still violating that law. It is continuing to set a terrible example for other organizations that have to obey that law. You can read our May 31, 2013, guest column in the on-line edition of the Toronto Star on the Government’s failure to appoint an Independent Review of the Disabilities Act by the May 31, 2013, deadline by visiting http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/05312013.asp
An inexcusable 194 days have passed since we wrote the Ontario Government to ask for its plans to keep its pledge to effectively enforce the AODA. We have received no substantive public response to that inquiry. To learn more about our request for the Ontario Government’s plans to enforce the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, visit http://is.gd/XdwlVG
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Text of the AODA Alliance’s August 6, 2013 Letter to the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council
ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
1929 Bayview Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Email email@example.com Twitter: @aodaalliance www.aodaalliance.org
August 6, 2013
Via Email: Alfred.Spencer@ontario.ca
Mr. James Sanders, Chair Accessibility Standards Advisory Committee,
All Members of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council of Ontario
c/o Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
777 Bay St
Suite 601A & 601B
Re: Ensuring Ontario Becomes Fully Accessible to All People with Disabilities by 2025
The AODA Alliance extends to all members of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council (ASAC) our congratulations on your appointment to this important Council. The Ontario Government has designated ASAC as the public body with lead responsibility for developing strong and effective new accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and with reviewing existing accessibility standards.
The AODA Alliance is a province-wide non-partisan voluntary community coalition. We seek to achieve a fully accessible Ontario for all people with disabilities as soon as possible, through the prompt and effective implementation and enforcement of the AODA. We are the successor to the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. It campaigned for a decade from 1994 to 2005 to get the AODA enacted.
We are recognized by all political parties in the Ontario Legislature as the community voice spearheading efforts to get the AODA effectively implemented and enforced. When Ontario political parties have made election commitments concerning the AODA’s implementation and enforcement, they have done so in letters addressed to the AAODA alliance. We have played an important role from the disability perspective during the development of accessibility standards enacted to date.
In 2007, we secured from the Government important commitments to strengthen and balanced the process for developing accessibility standards. Our advocacy efforts led the Government to give ASAC the new mandate that you will now be fulfilling.
We are eager to help ASAC fulfil its new mandate. As a first step, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you at your next ASAC meeting. It has been several years since the prior occasion when ASAC met with us. For example, we could offer you practical ideas on how to discharge your mandate, e.g. when conducting the mandatory review of the Customer Service Accessibility Standard.
We would be pleased to make public any information that you wish circulated to the broader disability community. We have forged a strong network for reaching many people, using the web, email and social media.
We encourage each of you to sign up for our AODA Alliance Updates. New Updates are typically sent every few days or weeks. They will keep you posted on recent developments on the accessibility issue. Send a request for these updates to firstname.lastname@example.org
We also encourage you to follow us on Twitter. Our Twitter handle is @aodaalliance If you don’t use Twitter, but do use Facebook, you can get all our tweets by “liking” our Facebook page. It is under the name “Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance”. Our Twitter/Facebook postings give a broader sampling of bite-size accessibility news from Ontario, across Canada, and around the world.
We recommend that you review the contents of our website at www.aodaalliance.org It contains all our prior AODA Alliance Updates. These tell the ongoing story of our efforts to help get the AODA effectively implemented and enforced. On our website you will see a good number of briefs that we have submitted to the Ontario Government, to the Legislature, to various Standards Development Committees, and to other public bodies. In our briefs we always try to offer workable and constructive proposals.
In addition, the earlier history of the ten-year campaign to get the AODA enacted is documented in detail at www.odacommitee.net
ASAC can and should now develop detailed recommendations for several strong and effective new accessibility standards needed in a number of important areas of life in Ontario. Ontario has fallen well behind schedule for achieving full accessibility by 2025 the mandatory deadline that the AODA sets. The accessibility standards that have been enacted to date, while helpful, are not sufficient to ensure full accessibility by 2025 in the areas they address.
Ontario has less than 12 years to catch up and reach the 2025 deadline. Ontario has much to do to achieve this. We are eager to roll up our sleeves and sit down with ASAC to share constructive ideas on how this can be achieved.
We hope and trust that you will be open to meeting, and to doing so as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you, and to working with you on our shared goal of full accessibility in Ontario by 2025.
David Lepofsky, CM, O. Ont.
Chair, AODA Alliance
cc: Premier Kathleen Wynne, email@example.com
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Tilford, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment email@example.com
Ann Hoy, Assistant Deputy Minister, Accessibility Directorate, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Hudak, Leader of the Official Opposition, email@example.com
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the New Democratic Party firstname.lastname@example.org