Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities
December 4, 2015
Back on November 9, 2015, the Wynne Government posted for public comment a short summary of amendments that it proposes to make to the 2007 Customer Service Accessibility Standard and the 2011 Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation. On December 3, 2015, the AODA alliance sent the Government a detailed submission on these proposed amendments. You can download the AODA Alliance’s December 3, 2015 submission on the Government’s proposed amendments to the Customer Service Accessibility Standard and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation by visiting http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/dec-3-2015-aoda-alliance-finalized-response-to-ont-gov-proposed-customer-service-and-IASR-amendments.docx We thank everyone who sent us feedback on the draft of this submission that we circulated on November 25, 2015. The changes to the submission include minor text editing and a few added ideas, without changing the substance of our position.
Here is a summary of what our submission says:
1. The Government’s proposed changes to the 2007 Customer Service Accessibility Standard are far too inadequate to meaningfully improve that weak accessibility standard. As well, they include unwarranted cutbacks that are both harmful to people with disabilities, and violate the Government’s promises to people with disabilities.
2. The Government does not even say it aims to strengthen the weak and inadequate 2007 Customer Service Accessibility Standard. Its goals here are far too tepid.
3. The Government’s proposal would break Premier Wynne’s promise never to weaken AODA provisions or protections. This is because some of the Government’s proposed revisions would further weaken an already-weak accessibility standard.
4. The Government wrongly proposes to perpetuate an unlawful provision in the Customer Service Accessibility Standard, a provision which instead should be removed.
5. The Government improperly proposes changes to the 2011 Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation without following the AODA’s mandatory legal accessibility standard amendment process for which we fought so hard, and won in 2005. It is trying to slip through in 2015 the same amendments it tried in 2012 without following the AODA’s mandatory process for amending an accessibility standard. It wisely backed down in 2012, after we raised this concern. It should not try again in 2015 what it wrongly tried in 2012. The AODA provides a proper and workable way to make the changes the Government wants to consider.
6. The Government proposes a counter-productive backwards step regarding customer feedback on accessibility barriers in an organization’s goods, services or facilities.
7. The Government Proposes cosmetic packaging changes that will make no difference for achieving accessibility for people with disabilities, or whose impact is insufficiently clear to be assuredly harmless.
8. The Government proposes some minor improvements that, though helpful, won’t significantly strengthen the Customer Service Accessibility Standard.
9. The Government should reconsider and make needed improvements to the Customer Service Accessibility Standard that it so far has disregarded or rejected.
10. The Government should now launch a short, focused and inclusive consultation with stakeholders from all sectors, meeting together to develop meaningful improvements to the 2007 Customer Service Accessibility Standard.
We urge as many of you, both individuals and organizations, to email the Government to express your support of the AODA Alliance’s December 3, 2015 submission. You can email the Government at this address: Stephanie.VanLaeken@ontario.ca
If you don’t want to write more, all you need to say in your email is as follows:
I support the feedback on the Government’s proposed changes to the Customer Service Accessibility Standard and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation that the AODA Alliance included in its December 3, 2015 submission.
Of course, feel free to instead express your views in your own words. Add whatever detail you wish. We have tried in our submission to build on feedback we have received over the years about the Customer Service Accessibility Standard.
It is very important to now voice your support for the AODA Alliance’s submission. Unfortunately, the Government unfairly timed this consultation period to include the December holiday season, when most are not focused on reading Government proposals and writing submissions to the Government. The Government invites input up to December 31, 2015. We have told the Government time and again to ensure that its consultations don’t overlap periods when many are on holiday or otherwise can’t take meaningful part.
Please widely circulate this Update. Urge your friends, family members and community organizations in which you are involved, to also support the AODA Alliance’s submission.
Let us know what you can do to help. You can always email us at email@example.com
We know that there are more the AODA Alliance Updates this week than is typical for us. Don’t worry! We will be going radio silent after this weekend until the New Year.
You can always send your feedback to us on any AODA and accessibility issue at firstname.lastname@example.org
To sign up for, or unsubscribe from AODA Alliance e-mail updates, write to: email@example.com
We encourage you to use the Government’s toll-free number for reporting AODA violations. We fought long and hard to get the Government to promise this, and later to deliver on that promise. If you encounter any accessibility problems at any large retail establishments, it will be especially important to report them to the Government via that toll-free number. Call 1-866-515-2025.
Please pass on our email Updates to your family and friends.
Why not subscribe to the AODA Alliance’s YouTube channel, so you can get immediate alerts when we post new videos on our accessibility campaign. https://www.youtube.com/user/aodaalliance
Please “like” our Facebook page and share our updates: https://www.facebook.com/Accessibility-for-Ontarians-with-Disabilities-Act-Alliance-106232039438820/
Follow us on Twitter. Get others to follow us. And please re-tweet our tweets!! @AODAAlliance
Learn all about our campaign for a fully accessible Ontario by visiting http://www.aodaalliance.org
Please also join the campaign for a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act, spearheaded by Barrier-Free Canada. The AODA Alliance is the Ontario affiliate of Barrier-Free Canada. Sign up for Barrier-Free Canada updates by emailing info@BarrierFreeCanada.org