By Victor Schwartzman
August 6, 2014
The last we heard of keeping track of implementing AODA and Ontario becoming accessible by 2025 was last December, when then Premier Wynne (who is still Premier Wynne) announced that Ontario would shorten the International Day on Disabilities by one hour a year until it ceased to exist. We now have the same Premier Wynne (except she is Obi Wynne Kenobi, all powerful because she has won a majority.)
More than one month after the Ontario election, and without all those other parties cluttering things up, the clock is ticking on AODA implementation. It is a reasonable question whether the Government which would not implement AODA when it was a minority will suddenly now implement it because it has a majority. Perhaps we should leave the answer to the philosophers.
But the Government is aware it must do something. A new independent review is currently underway. It will likely report what the first independent review reported that the Government’s actions leave an enormous amount to be desired.
The answer to the question of what actions the new/old Government will now take, came when Minister Brad Duiguid, now responsible for AODA, announced that the Government has created a Countdown Clock on AODA implementation.
Normally, Countdown Clocks, such as the atomic scientists’ Doomsday Clock, start close to midnight, indicating something bad will happen if people do not stop whatever it is they are doing. Since the 1947 Doomsday Clock, Countdown Clocks have become popular. Google has pages of them. The Government downloaded its Countdown Clock as a free app, which is why it occasionally shows advertising and the Government is now receiving emails from people in other countries who have money to give away and only want the Government’s bank account number in return.
At a media conference to unveil the Clock, the Ontario Government called it The Not Yet Disability Clock. Given it is a countdown to when Ontario will become accessible, the Not Yet Disability Clock starts not just before midnight, but one minute after. “This is to give us enough time to complete access,” Minister Duiguid said, “as the Not Yet Disability Clock ticks down the days, months and years to when Ontario finally meets the requirements of AODA.”
Minister Duiguid pointed at the Clock, shown on a video screen. The Clock is digital and will when posted be on the Government’s website. “Perhaps when you first look at the Not Yet Disability Clock, you will think that it is not ticking and the time is not changing. First, it is not ticking because it is a digital clock. Second, the time is changing, but very very slowly. The Not Yet Disability Clock is designed to work far more slowly than a normal clock, so it can realistically register the Government’s progress in implementing AODA. For example, it will take about one month to complete one minute on the Clock.
“And you can set your watches on that, haha! But you probably shouldn’t,” Minister Duiguid added.
For nearly ten years the Ontario Government has done nearly nothing to implement AODA. Remarkably, no one kept track of how many days of nothing passed. Day followed day, with no one counting, for almost a decade. Now the Government at last will be keeping track of the nothing that it is doing.
Next: AODA II: The Column That Will Never Be Written
Victor Schwartzman contributes this weekly satiric column to Accessibility News nothing in these columns is true except what they are about. His graphic novel (where each chapter is one issue of a community newspaper) is serialized on the great Canadian lit site, http://www.redfez.net . He also contributes a monthly poetry review to http://www.targetaudiencemagazine.com . He has had poetry and short fiction published, and has edited novels. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.