by Victor Schwartzman
May 13, 2013
The Ontario Government has announced a new construction project in response to criticism it has failed to adequately implement and enforce AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005).
Criticism includes the Government’s failure to provide even fundamental information on how it has enforced AODA. For example, no one, perhaps even in the Ontario Government, appears to know how many AODA compliance forms have been received. And with respect to reading the 100,000+ forms, it is not clear anyone has looked at them.
The Government states that it is concerned about the criticism. The new construction project is its response. Over the next several months, the Government will dramatically improve the stone wall around the Legislature.
Problems for the Government began when the existing wall developed cracks. It is an old wall that has been in place a long time, after all. Through those cracks community concerns reached the Government. The new project will seal the cracks. The wall will also be thicker and higher. Although when completed the Legislature will no longer have direct sunlight, Cabinet agreed it was not a problem as it preferred working in the dark.
250 stone masons will be hired. All qualified stone masons who have a disability are invited by the Government to apply, although they must submit special AODA forms.
AODA was created following community consultation and pressure for positive change for people who have disabilities. To assist the Government with future consultations, the project will include the creation of new Mini-Walls on wheels. Cabinet members facing a community consultation in the future will be able to step inside a Mini-Wall, lock it up and then wheel it outside the Legislature for meetings with the public.
Next: Ontario Government Improves Transparency by Sealing the Legislature In Clear Plastic Wrap.