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The Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario Calls On the Wynne Government to Agree to Create an Education Accessibility Standard Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities

August 23, 2016

SUMMARY

Yet another major voice has joined our call for the Wynne Government to agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. On August 10, 2016, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario wrote Ontario’s new Accessibility Minister, Tracy MacCharles, to support our request that the Ontario Government create an Education Accessibility Standard. This new accessibility standard is needed to tear down the many barriers that impede students with disabilities in Ontario’s education system.

We set out the CUPE Ontario letter below. This letter describes the many people working in Ontario’s education system that CUPE Ontario represents:

“The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario represents more than 55,000 education assistants, school library workers, administrative assistants, custodians and tradespeople, early childhood educators, instructors, nutrition service workers, school safety monitors and social workers in schools and board offices of Ontario’s public, Catholic, English and French boards. We also represent more than 30,000 workers in academic and support roles at Ontario universities, including people in security, parking, skilled trades, clerical and administrative positions, caretaking, food services, groundskeeping, research, technical and library workers, sessional instructors, teaching assistants and post-doctoral students.
Our members work on the front lines of education and see firsthand the disparity students with disabilities face within our education system.”

The AODA Alliance has been pressing the Ontario Government for over half a decade to agree to create an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA. Some 13 years ago, the Ontario Human Rights Commission amply documented that Ontario’s education system is replete with barriers that impede students with disabilities. To read the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s 2003 report entitled “The opportunity to succeed: Achieving barrier-free education for students with disabilities,” visit http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/opportunity-succeed-achieving-barrier-free-education-students-disabilities Now there are some 334,000 students with special education needs in Ontario’s public and Catholic schools. Even more students with disabilities are in Ontario’s colleges and universities, or would like to be. They continue to face too many recurring barriers.

At the present rate, Ontario’s education system will not become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025, the AODA’s deadline. To date, the Wynne Government has never agreed to create an Education Accessibility Standard. It is still under study within the Ontario Government.

We thank CUPE Ontario for adding its voice to the call for the Wynne Government to develop a much-needed Education Accessibility Standard. The Government has already heard the same message from other major organizations that speak for a great many of those who work on the front lines of Ontario’s education system, including the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations OCUFA, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario ETFO, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation OSSTF, and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association OECTA. Those who work on the front-lines of Ontario’s education system are in a great position to know how much Ontario needs an Education Accessibility Standard.

Days ago, we learned that the Government had hired the KPMG firm to review barriers in Ontario’s education system. We have asked the Government to release the 2015 KPMG report that it received on this topic. We have not yet received that report from the Government.

We encourage you to contact your member of the Ontario Legislature. Ask them to press the Wynne Government to agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. For your MPP to get more background on this issue, urge him or her to watch the captioned interview which AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky gave earlier this year on The Agenda with Steve Paikin, on the barriers that students with disabilities face in the school system, and the need for Ontario to create an Education Accessibility Standard, by visiting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p00EN6Z7GOM

Help us get other organizations to endorse our call for the Government to develop a much-needed Education Accessibility Standard.

To read the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association’s endorsement of our call for an Education Accessibility Standard, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/06282013.asp

To read the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario’s endorsement of our call for an Education Accessibility Standard, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/07162013.asp

To read the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation’s letter, endorsing our call for an Education Accessibility Standard, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/09032013.asp

To read the Ontario English Teachers Association’s letter to the Wynne Government, supporting our call for the Education Accessibility Standard, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/01292014.asp

You can always send your feedback to us on any AODA and accessibility issue at aodafeedback@gmail.com

Have you taken part in our “Picture Our Barriers campaign? If not, please join in! You can get all the information you need about our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign by visiting http://www.aodaalliance.org/2016

To sign up for, or unsubscribe from AODA Alliance e-mail updates, write to: aodafeedback@gmail.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 proud to be the Ontario affiliate of Barrier-Free Canada. Sign up for Barrier-Free Canada updates by emailing info@BarrierFreeCanada.org

MORE DETAILS

Text of the August 10, 2016 Letter from CUPE Ontario to Ontario Accessibility Minister Tracy MacCharles

The Honourable Tracy MacCharles
Minister Responsible for Accessibility
10th Floor, Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1E9
August 10, 2016

Dear Minister MacCharles,

Congratulations on becoming Ontario’s first standalone Minister responsible for making the province accessible to all people with disabilities. We look forward to working with you.

As you know Ontario has a growing population of children with disabilities yet we do not have standards in place to ensure these children have equal access to education. We are writing to you today to call on you in your new role to prioritize the development of an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario represents more than 55,000 education assistants, school library workers, administrative assistants, custodians and tradespeople, early childhood educators, instructors, nutrition service workers, school safety monitors and social workers in schools and board offices of Ontario’s public, Catholic, English and French boards.We also represent more than 30,000 workers in academic and support roles at Ontario universities, including people in security, parking, skilled trades, clerical and administrative positions, caretaking, food services, groundskeeping, research, technical and library workers, sessional instructors, teaching assistants and post-doctoral students.

Our members work on the front lines of education and see firsthand the disparity students with disabilities face within our education system.

CUPE Ontario shares the AODA Alliance’s commitment to developing, enacting and enforcing an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, addressing barriers facing students, instructors and staff at Ontario schools and post-secondary institutions. Establishing such a standard under the AODA would benefit all Ontarians.

It is important for the Ontario government to begin work on the development of the Education Accessibility Standard now to ensure that Ontario’s public education system is barrier free and fully accessible for all by the year 2025. Given our experience within the education system CUPE Ontario is interested in participating in the development of such a standard.

Sincerely,

Fred Hahn, President Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer

CC: Kathleen O. Wynne, Premier of Ontario
Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education
Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development David Lepofsky, AODA Alliance Chair
SJ/KJM: COPE491

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario Calls On the Wynne Government to Agree to Create an Education Accessibility Standard Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

August 23, 2016

SUMMARY

Yet another major voice has joined our call for the Wynne Government to agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. On August 10, 2016, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario wrote Ontario’s new Accessibility Minister, Tracy MacCharles, to support our request that the Ontario Government create an Education Accessibility Standard. This new accessibility standard is needed to tear down the many barriers that impede students with disabilities in Ontario’s education system.

We set out the CUPE Ontario letter below. This letter describes the many people working in Ontario’s education system that CUPE Ontario represents:

“The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario represents more than 55,000 education assistants, school library workers, administrative assistants, custodians and tradespeople, early childhood educators, instructors, nutrition service workers, school safety monitors and social workers in schools and board offices of Ontario’s public, Catholic, English and French boards. We also represent more than 30,000 workers in academic and support roles at Ontario universities, including people in security, parking, skilled trades, clerical and administrative positions, caretaking, food services, groundskeeping, research, technical and library workers, sessional instructors, teaching assistants and post-doctoral students.
Our members work on the front lines of education and see firsthand the disparity students with disabilities face within our education system.”

The AODA Alliance has been pressing the Ontario Government for over half a decade to agree to create an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA. Some 13 years ago, the Ontario Human Rights Commission amply documented that Ontario’s education system is replete with barriers that impede students with disabilities. To read the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s 2003 report entitled “The opportunity to succeed: Achieving barrier-free education for students with disabilities,” visit http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/opportunity-succeed-achieving-barrier-free-education-students-disabilities Now there are some 334,000 students with special education needs in Ontario’s public and Catholic schools. Even more students with disabilities are in Ontario’s colleges and universities, or would like to be. They continue to face too many recurring barriers.

At the present rate, Ontario’s education system will not become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025, the AODA’s deadline. To date, the Wynne Government has never agreed to create an Education Accessibility Standard. It is still under study within the Ontario Government.

We thank CUPE Ontario for adding its voice to the call for the Wynne Government to develop a much-needed Education Accessibility Standard. The Government has already heard the same message from other major organizations that speak for a great many of those who work on the front lines of Ontario’s education system, including the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations OCUFA, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario ETFO, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation OSSTF, and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association OECTA. Those who work on the front-lines of Ontario’s education system are in a great position to know how much Ontario needs an Education Accessibility Standard.

Days ago, we learned that the Government had hired the KPMG firm to review barriers in Ontario’s education system. We have asked the Government to release the 2015 KPMG report that it received on this topic. We have not yet received that report from the Government.

We encourage you to contact your member of the Ontario Legislature. Ask them to press the Wynne Government to agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. For your MPP to get more background on this issue, urge him or her to watch the captioned interview which AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky gave earlier this year on The Agenda with Steve Paikin, on the barriers that students with disabilities face in the school system, and the need for Ontario to create an Education Accessibility Standard, by visiting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p00EN6Z7GOM

Help us get other organizations to endorse our call for the Government to develop a much-needed Education Accessibility Standard.

To read the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association’s endorsement of our call for an Education Accessibility Standard, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/06282013.asp

To read the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario’s endorsement of our call for an Education Accessibility Standard, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/07162013.asp

To read the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation’s letter, endorsing our call for an Education Accessibility Standard, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/09032013.asp

To read the Ontario English Teachers Association’s letter to the Wynne Government, supporting our call for the Education Accessibility Standard, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/01292014.asp

You can always send your feedback to us on any AODA and accessibility issue at aodafeedback@gmail.com

Have you taken part in our “Picture Our Barriers campaign? If not, please join in! You can get all the information you need about our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign by visiting www.aodaalliance.org/2016

To sign up for, or unsubscribe from AODA Alliance e-mail updates, write to: aodafeedback@gmail.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 proud to be the Ontario affiliate of Barrier-Free Canada. Sign up for Barrier-Free Canada updates by emailing info@BarrierFreeCanada.org

MORE DETAILS

Text of the August 10, 2016 Letter from CUPE Ontario to Ontario Accessibility Minister Tracy MacCharles

The Honourable Tracy MacCharles
Minister Responsible for Accessibility
10th Floor, Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1E9
August 10, 2016

Dear Minister MacCharles,

Congratulations on becoming Ontario’s first standalone Minister responsible for making the province accessible to all people with disabilities. We look forward to working with you.

As you know Ontario has a growing population of children with disabilities yet we do not have standards in place to ensure these children have equal access to education. We are writing to you today to call on you in your new role to prioritize the development of an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario represents more than 55,000 education assistants, school library workers, administrative assistants, custodians and tradespeople, early childhood educators, instructors, nutrition service workers, school safety monitors and social workers in schools and board offices of Ontario’s public, Catholic, English and French boards.We also represent more than 30,000 workers in academic and support roles at Ontario universities, including people in security, parking, skilled trades, clerical and administrative positions, caretaking, food services, groundskeeping, research, technical and library workers, sessional instructors, teaching assistants and post-doctoral students.

Our members work on the front lines of education and see firsthand the disparity students with disabilities face within our education system.

CUPE Ontario shares the AODA Alliance’s commitment to developing, enacting and enforcing an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, addressing barriers facing students, instructors and staff at Ontario schools and post-secondary institutions. Establishing such a standard under the AODA would benefit all Ontarians.

It is important for the Ontario government to begin work on the development of the Education Accessibility Standard now to ensure that Ontario’s public education system is barrier free and fully accessible for all by the year 2025. Given our experience within the education system CUPE Ontario is interested in participating in the development of such a standard.

Sincerely,

Fred Hahn, President Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer

CC: Kathleen O. Wynne, Premier of Ontario
Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education
Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development David Lepofsky, AODA Alliance Chair
SJ/KJM: COPE491