The AODA Clock is Ticking

There are until a fully Accessible Ontario! Will you be compliant?

Let our team of experts help with your AODA needs:

  • Website Audits
  • Multimedia
  • Web Design
  • Accessible Documentation

For more details email info@aoda.ca

The Liberal Party’s Candidate in the September 1, 2016 Scarborough-Rouge River By-election Answers the AODA Alliance’s Accessibility Questionnaire

After We Made Public that the Liberals Were the Only Major Party Not to Answer Us.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities http://www.aodaalliance.org aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance

August 30, 2016

SUMMARY

Our tenacity has paid offagain! We now have received answers from the candidates of all three major parties running in the September 1, 2016 Scarborough-Rouge River Ontario by-election. We set them all out below.

In our August 20, 2016 letter to the candidates, we asked for responses to these questions by August 26, 2016:

1. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires the Ontario Government to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. Do you support that law, and its goal of full accessibility by 2025, and will you oppose any efforts to weaken it or measures under it?

2. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Ontario Government to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to make Ontario’s education system fully accessible to students, parents, and education staff with disabilities, including the 334,000 students with special education needs in Ontario-funded schools?

3. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to act now to keep its promise to effectively enforce the Disabilities Act, and to reveal its plans for enforcing this important law?

4. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to now implement effective action to ensure that public money is never used to create new barriers against people with disabilities, or to perpetuate existing barriers?

5. Will you promise not to attend any all-candidates debates unless they are in an accessible location for voters with disabilities to attend and take part?

6. Have you ensured that your campaign office has full disability accessibility?

We asked the candidates to respond by August 26, 2016, since the September 1, 2016 voting day is fast approaching. Only the NDP candidate, Neethan Shan, answered by that deadline. After we made the NDP commitment public on August 28,2016, the Conservative candidate Raymond Cho sent us his response. After we made his response public on August 29, 2016, we today received the Liberal candidate’s response. The entire sequence of events is documented on the AODA Alliance’s website at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/default.asp

The voters in the Scarborough-Rouge River riding can assess the differences between the candidates’ responses and commitments, set out below. As always, our efforts are non-partisan. We neither support nor oppose any party or candidate.

We have sent you more AODA Alliance Updates this week than usual. This is because it is important for us to make this time-sensitive information available to our supporters and the public in a prompt fashion.

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 Governments 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 Alliances 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

1. August 30, 2016 Email to the AODA Alliance from the Liberal Candidate in the Scarborough-Rouge River By-election, Piragal Thiru

Hi there,
In response to your survey, please find below a statement from Piragal. I apologize for the delay in response.
Thank you and kind regards.

Having had personal experience with accessibility policy, regulations, and advocacy, I greatly appreciate the contributions of our community’s passionate and knowledgeable accessibility advocates. For a number of years, I worked as a Planner for Accessible Services for York Region, where I led a department in the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
An accessible Ontario is one where every individual who resides in or visits the province can participate in our society. If elected, I will take my professional expertise to Queens Park to help this government achieve its goal of an accessible province by 2025, and I pledge to be responsive to community advocates who are helping to make Ontario a better, more inclusive place for persons with disabilities.
I fully support the AODA and the goal of an accessible Ontario by 2025. Like our government, I am committed to improving enforcement and compliance efforts as an important contribution to this goal. I pledge to work to assist organizations in removing barriers for people with disabilities and to help prevent the imposition of new barriers. I am proud of the governments work to date, but I know there is more work to be done to improve compliance among obligated organizations and ensure that all public facilities and projects help us fulfill our goal. Enforcement efforts and public education are both critical to this effort.
Premier Wynnes government has begun work to develop a health accessibility standard. With stakeholders and impacted organizations, the government is working to identify and correct barriers within the health care system and make our public system more accessible for all Ontarians. While our education system is not perfect, I know many students are very well served by existing accessibility and special education services. We are committed to continuous improvement of these services going forward.
At our campaign office, we continue to make every effort to accommodate everyone, regardless of ability, and our dedicated team is on hand to offer accessible customer service to everyone who enters the office.
I would also like to recognize the contributions of the AODA Alliance and their ongoing commitment to working alongside the provincial government. Much progress has been made, but there is of course more to be done. While Ontario faces both challenges and opportunities in reaching its accessibility goals, I look forward to the opportunity, if elected, to advocate on behalf of the residents of Scarborough-Rouge River in my role as MPP.
–Piragal Thiru, Ontario Liberal Party Candidate, ScarboroughRouge River

2. August 29, 2016 Response to the AODA Alliance from Progressive Conservative Candidate Raymond Cho

AODA Alliance Questionnaire
Ontario PC Candidate Raymond Cho
August 29, 2016

1. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires the Ontario Government to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. Do you support that law, and its goal of full accessibility by 2025, and will you oppose any efforts to weaken it or measures under it?

The Ontario PC Party believes that every Ontarian has the right to lead his or her life to its fullest potential – regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Whether addressing standards for public housing, health care, employment or education, we have a responsibility to remove the barriers that prevent those with disabilities from participating more fully in their communities.

As a result, we support the goal of the AODA to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025. As the Official Opposition, our goal is to hold Premier Wynne accountable to her commitment to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025.

2. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Ontario Government to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to make Ontarios education system fully accessible to students, parents, and education staff with disabilities, including the 334,000 students with special education needs in Ontario-funded schools?

The Ontario PC Party is currently undergoing the largest and most inclusive policy consultation process in our Party’s history. We want to hear from those involved on the ground floor –
including the AODA Alliance – about how to build a better province. We are open to any and every idea to bridge societys gap regarding persons with disabilities, and better employ and support persons with disabilities.

3. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to act now to keep its promise to effectively enforce the Disabilities Act, and to reveal its plans for enforcing this important law?

The Ontario PC Party supports the push for an Ontario that is accessible for persons with disabilities. We hope the government takes this matter seriously and leads by example by ensuring that all government buildings and institutions are accessible. As the Official Opposition, our goal is to hold Premier Wynne accountable to her commitment to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025.

4. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to now implement effective action to ensure that public money is never used to create new barriers against people with disabilities, or to perpetuate existing barriers?
The Ontario PC Party believes that no new public money should be used to create new barriers against people with disabilities, or to perpetuate existing barriers. As MPP, I would work tirelessly to ensure the Liberal Government is not creating further obstacles for my constituents in Scarborough-Rouge River.

Ontarios New Democrats strongly support the principle that public money should never be spent to create additional barriers for people with disabilities.

5. Will you promise not to attend any all-candidates debates unless they are in an accessible location for voters with disabilities to attend and take part?

All-candidates debates are an important forum for the exchange of ideas, and serve an important purpose in informing voters about the important ballot issues. We believe that everyone, regardless of their disability, should have the right to participate in important community town hall discussions. If an Ontario PC Party candidate is informed that a town-hall location isn’t accessible to those with disabilities, we will take appropriate action to ensure they can still participate in the discussion. We commit to raising concerns about any debate locations that are not accessible and will push to have them moved to other locations that meet accessibility requirements.

6. Have you ensured that your campaign office has full disability accessibility?

Unfortunately the rented space where our office is located does not have an automatic door opener. With that said, we do permanently leave the campaign office door open during office hours to ensure sufficient access. We believe the office to be accessible in all other ways.

3. August 25, 2016 Response to the AODA Alliance from New Democratic Party Candidate Neethan Shan

1. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires the Ontario Government to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. Do you support that law, and its goal of full accessibility by 2025, and will you oppose any efforts to weaken it or measures under it?

Ontarios New Democrats and I fully support the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and its requirement that the Ontario Government become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. Kathleen Wynnes Liberals have been dragging their feet when it comes to fully implementing and enforcing all aspects of the Act and even ensuring that the government itself complies with this legislation. Ontarios New Democrats and I fully understand how important enforcement and compliance are when it comes to removing barriers faced by people with disabilities.

Ontarios New Democrats and I also strongly support the principle that public money should never be spent to create additional barriers for people with disabilities. The government should immediately and fully enforce and comply with the AODA and any public contracts, particularly for those related to infrastructure, should come with a guarantee of accessibility and at the very minimum they should not perpetuate existing barriers. I am committed to do everything in my power to ensure that this happens.

2. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Ontario Government to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to make Ontarios education system fully accessible to students, parents, and education staff with disabilities, including the 334,000 students with special education needs in Ontario-funded schools?

The need for universal, equitable, public education is at the core of the values that Ontarios New Democrats and I most strongly believe in. The education system must be truly accessible to all Ontarians and that includes doing the hard work to remove systemic barriers faced by people with disabilities. The Wynne government has failed to prioritize making education accessible and New Democrats will continue to fight for compliance with the AODA.

3. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to act now to keep its promise to effectively enforce the Disabilities Act, and to reveal its plans for enforcing this important law?

Andrea Horwath and Ontarios New Democrats have repeatedly called on the Wynne government to implement and enforce all aspects of the AODA. The Wynne government has failed to comply with its own legislation and continues to delay on the very important goal of making Ontario truly accessible. As your MPP I would be committed to doing everything in my power to push the Liberal Government to action on this important issue.

4. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to now implement effective action to ensure that public money is never used to create new barriers against people with disabilities, or to perpetuate existing barriers?

Ontarios New Democrats strongly support the principle that public money should never be spent to create additional barriers for people with disabilities. The government should immediately and fully enforce and comply with the AODA and any public contracts, particularly for those related to infrastructure, should come with a guarantee of accessibility and at the very minimum they should not perpetuate existing barriers. I am committed to do everything in my power to ensure that this happens.

5. Will you promise not to attend any all-candidates debates unless they are in an accessible location for voters with disabilities to attend and take part?

While we cannot make specific promises about individual debates without detailed information about those debates Neethan and Ontarios New Democrats believe that debates must be held at locations that are fully accessible for all Ontarians. We fully commit to raising concerns about any debate locations that are not accessible and will push to have them moved to other locations that meet accessibility requirements.

6. Have you ensured that your campaign office has full disability accessibility?

Unfortunately the building where our office is located does not have an automatic door opener however all of the team members in the office have been alerted to this issue in order to ensure that they are consistently checking to see if someone needs help to enter the building. In addition we do have several regular volunteers who use wheelchairs and they have been able to access the office with little to no difficulty. We believe the office to be accessible in all other ways.