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All Ontario Liberal Leadership Candidates Have Now Made Disability Accessibility Pledges

HARINDER TAKHAR IS FINAL CANDIDATE TO MAKE DISABILITY ACCESSIBILITY COMMITMENTS

January 18, 2013

SUMMARY

We are delighted to report that we have now received disability accessibility commitments from each of the six candidates for leadership of the Ontario Liberal party. Late on January 17, 2013, the AODA Alliance received an email, setting out disability accessibility commitments, from Harinder Takhar, the final candidate to send such commitments to us. The text of his written commitments is set out below.

It is important to read the commitments that each candidate has given in response to our requests for disability accessibility commitments. All their letters to us, setting out these commitments, will be posted on our website at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/default.asp

We appreciate Mr. Takhar making disability accessibility commitments and commend him for doing so.

Where do these commitments come from? On November 1, 2012, we made public an open letter to all candidates for leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party. It requested five specific commitments on disability accessibility. We also subsequently emailed and tweeted this request to each Ontario Liberal leadership candidate. The person whom the Ontario Liberal Party selects as its next leader will become Ontario’s next premier. The AODA Alliance’s open letter to all candidates for leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party is available at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/11022012.asp

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Learn all about our campaign for a fully accessible Ontario by visiting http://www.aodaalliance.org

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ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE QUESTIONNAIRE

Attention: David Lepofsky
Chair, AODA Alliance

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dear David,

As Minister of Government Services I have had the opportunity maintain and advance the implementation of AODA 2005 and the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001. In early 2012 we were proud to launch an online resource designed to help businesses become compliant by established deadlines, and Ontario’s public spaces are on track to be fully accessible by 2015.

As part of my deficit elimination plan, I have proposed a central government procurement agency that will not only reduce costs while freeing up funds for front line services, but will also make it simpler to ensure accessibility compliance. All potential government suppliers will have to meet accessibility requirements in order to be considered. It is time to re-prioritize spending and re-imagine government for the future prosperity of Ontario.

Harinder Takhar
MPP, Mississauga-Erindale

QUESTIONNAIRE

1. Under your leadership, will the Liberal Party fully maintain the implementation of the AODA 2005 and the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001, and not weaken or reduce any provisions or protections in that legislation or regulations enacted under them, or any policies, practices, strategies or initiatives of or within the Ontario Government that exist to implement them or achieve their objectives?

Yes. If I am elected leader, the Liberal party will fully maintain the implementation of the AODA 2005 and the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001, ensuring Ontario is accessible for all Ontarians. We are on the right track, and as Premier I will make sure that we continue to build on the progress that we have already made.

2. Will you stand by and fully honour the past commitments that your Party has made to Ontarians with disabilities regarding disability accessibility?

Yes. For me, disability accessibility is not just a promise made to Ontarians. It is the right of every Ontarian to live in an accessible Ontario. I will stand by and fully honour the commitments we have made in the past.

3. Will you ensure that Ontario is on schedule for full accessibility for persons with disabilities no later than 2025, the deadline that your Government’s AODA requires?

Yes. During my tenure as the Premier, I will make sure that continued progress is being made so that we can meet our targets for 2025.

4. In Ontario elections, will you continue the practice of the last two Ontario Liberal Party leaders, of making specific election commitments to us on the issue of achieving a fully accessible province for persons with disabilities, in letters to us?

Each policy that my campaign has proposed is intended to make Ontario a better place to live and raise families – for all Ontarians. As Premier, I will keep commitments that I make and will be focusing on the successful implementation of current policies while working with members of the legislature to find new ways to make Ontario accessible for everyone.

5. Among other commitments, Premier Dalton McGuinty agreed to meetings with us to address accessibility issues (in addition to meetings we have had with several cabinet ministers). Will you agree to maintain this practice, of being agreeable to personally meet with us to discuss accessibility issues, in addition to our meetings with your appropriate cabinet ministers?

Yes. I have always tried to maintain an open relationship with the people that have elected me to serve them, and have had the pleasure of meeting with David Lepofsky in my role as Minister of Government Services. It will be an honour to continue to work with organizations like AODA in order to make Ontario a better place for everyone.