By Victor Schwartzman
April 27, 2015
If nothing else, when it comes to implementing its own access legislation, the Ontario Government continually proves itself inventive.
Consider how it has used The Moran Report. In November, 2014, Mayo Moran delivered the second independent reviewer’s report on the implementation of the AODA access legislation. Briefly, Moran found that implementation had stalled and urged the Government to show leadership.
How did the Government react to these findings? Did it follow the respected Report’s recommendations? Turns out, the Government has many uses for the Moran Report. Here is one: the Government renamed an existing information phone line as an AODA complaint line, stating that people could phone the line with complaints about access problems. The toll free number is 1-866-515-2025. A Government spokesperson justified the complaint line by stating it was following Moran Report guidelines.
That was one remarkable use of The Moran Report! Did it recommend that the AODA Complaint Line not take complaints but instead refer callers to the Ontario Human Rights Commission? Well, no. That went against the whole idea of AODA. But the Government could point to a recommendation in the Report about a free complaint phone line, enabling it to justify its non-complaint complaint line which was called a complaint line even though it would not take complaints. The recommendation was for a complaint line and the Government delivered.
I don’t want to use the word “complaint” again but that was very bad political behaviour. And the Government used the Report to enable it. Does that mean Mayo Moran is an enabler?
No. That is not remotely fair. There is no way of knowing how the Government will react when one writes a mandated report recommending changes in how the Government operates. Actually, that last sentence (don’t look back!) is not correct. There is every way of knowing what will happen when a Government gets a mandated report criticizing it: NOTHING. Moran had a job to do and did it very well, even while knowing it would almost certainly lead to nothing. Sometimes it is important to have nothing on the record. Certainly the Government has nothing on the record about a timely implementation of AODA.
Using the Moran Report to justify the non-complaint complaint line is only one example of how the Government has used the Report. For your edification, here are:
THE TOP TEN USES THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT HAS FOR THE MORAN REPORT
(a) TOP FIVE JUSTIFICATIONS
In addition to the non-complaint complaint line:
10 The Government justified its implementation of the Moran Report by stating implementation was completed. After all, it had printed and distributed the Report, and that was pretty good. Everyone got to see it who wanted, before it was forgotten.
9 The Government stated that if you look carefully at the Moran Report recommendations, there are no details dates and budgets or forms to be used, for example. The Government has justified waiting on the recommendations until they are more specific. That the work on the Report is complete is a technicality the Government says it has considered.
8 The Government used the Report to justify its claim that Ontario is a world leader on access because no other jurisdiction has a Moran Report criticizing its failures.
7 The Government admitted it has never read the Moran Report, and that was why it could not implement the recommendations. It justified not reading the report by stating that when Mayo Moran delivered the Report she said it was self-explanatory.
6 The Government developed justifying its approach to the Moran Report by importing a consultant: U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens from the reality tv show “Justified.” Givens stated that “They brought me up here but I’m not sure they understand what justified means. Or maybe they understand too well.”
There are other justifications but those were the first which came to mind. In addition, the Ontario Government has developed other uses for the Moran Report. These uses are not especially new, granted:
(b) TOP FIVE PRACTICAL USES
5 Improving the foundation of the Government. Printed copies of the Moran Report have been used to prop up faltering beams in the Legislature basement.
4 The Government was concerned about the number of empty brochure and display cases, which like carrier pigeons could lead to their extinction. Putting the Moran Report into empty cases saved them. In addition, it gave people something to look at on access while keeping it safely under glass.
3 People need places to live. Printed copies of The Moran Report have been very helpful in solidifying landfill for new residential subdivisions.
2 Shelves in the Legislative offices are often unbalanced, with potentially disastrous consequences. A shelf could tip over and a pile of laws fall on someone! Now copies of the Moran Report have been placed on the ends of all shelves, ensuring stability. The Report has also been useful in keeping doors to the Government open, at least when placed on the floor.
1 The Moran Report has saved the Government a significant amount of money because the Legislature has many washrooms and always needs toilet paper.
Next: To Implement AODA, Minister Duguid Wants Not The Avengers But Ultron!
Victor Schwartzman contributes this weekly satirical column to Accessibility News and the AODA Alliance. Buy the first nine chapters of his current satirical fantasy novel, King Of The Planet, for .99 on Kindle at http://www.amazon.ca/King-The-Planet-Victor-Schwartzman-ebook/dp/B00NE0CCRC or read the whole thing, including current polished chapters, for free on the King Of The Planet Facebook page. It has a “4 out of 5 star” review!
His graphic novel The Winnipeg Weakly Herald (where each chapter is one issue of a community newspaper) is serialized on the great Canadian lit site, http://www.redfez.net. He has had poetry and short fiction published, has edited novels and volunteers. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.