ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE UNITED FOR A BARRIER-FREE ONTARIO
September 24, 2014
As the Wynne Government sets its priorities for its new term in office, we have now written ten cabinet ministers with key areas of responsibilities to identify major disability accessibility priorities for their ministries. We also capped off this effort, by writing Premier Kathleen Wynne on September 19, 2014. We set out that letter below.
In our letter to the Premier, we set out priority actions that Ontarians with disabilities need the Premier to take. We asked the Premier to:
1. issue a written direction to the Secretary of the Cabinet, and to all cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and associate deputy ministers, that all your Government’s accessibility commitments since taking office in 2003 are official Government policy and are to be fulfilled.
2. designate which Minister and Ministry has responsibility for each Government commitment on accessibility.
3. direct the Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Minister to immediately make public, implement and publicly report on the results of a comprehensive plan to effectively enforce all AODA obligations in connection with all obligated organizations.
4. direct the Government’s other ministries with inspectors, auditors and other enforcement officials under other legislation, to cooperate with a plan, to be implemented now, to cross-designate those inspectors, investigators and other enforcement officials to also serve as AODA directors and inspectors.
5. direct the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure to immediately direct the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council (ASAC) to develop proposals for new AODA accessibility standards to address barriers in education, in health care, and in residential housing.
6. direct the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure to develop all other AODA accessibility standards, needed to ensure that Ontario reaches full accessibility by 2025, and to announce an action plan and timetable to ensure that this is achieved during this term of the Government.
7. direct the cabinet to develop, implement, enforce and widely publicize effective across-the-board policies and practices to ensure that the public’s money is never used to finance barriers against persons with disabilities, especially in the areas of infrastructure, procurement, research, innovation or other business grant or loan spending. This effort should be led by the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, the Minister of Government and Consumer Services, the Minister of Research and Innovation, and the Treasury Board President. The secretary of the Cabinet should be directed to devise an action plan to ensure that this is embedded across the Ontario Public Service.
8. direct the Minister responsible for the Pan/ParaPan American Games, working together with the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, to immediately implement and widely publicize a strong plan for an enduring legacy of substantially improved disability accessibility, for the 2015 Toronto Pan/ParaPan American Games. This should include, among other things, strategies to substantially improve the range of accessible tourism and hospitality services, to educate school children on accessible sports, and to substantially increase accessible athletics and sport opportunities for persons with disabilities of all ages.
9. designate one cabinet minister, apart from the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, to be responsible for keeping all your Government’s accessibility commitments and fulfilling all its accessibility obligations (apart from the Government’s duty to develop and enforce AODA accessibility standards).
10. direct the Secretary of the Cabinet to implement effective strategies to ensure the Ontario Public Service becomes a fully accessible employer and service provider, and to ensure that disability accessibility is embedded in all vital Government decisions.
11. create a full time deputy minister or associate deputy minister position, with lead responsibility for ensuring that the Ontario Public Service becomes a fully accessible workplace and service provider.
12. direct the Secretary of the Cabinet to require each Ministry’s Accessibility Lead be made a full time position, reporting to the deputy minister of that Ministry, with needed accessibility expertise.
13. direct the Attorney General and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister to prepare and introduce an omnibus bill to address barriers impeding voters and candidates with disabilities in provincial and municipal elections, after designating one of those ministers with responsibility to lead this project.
14. Direct the Attorney General and the Government and Consumer Services Minister, who are jointly responsible for this review, to dramatically speed up the promised review of all Ontario statutes and regulations, to make public a work plan for completing this entire review by the end of 2015, and to bring forward an omnibus bill to the Legislature at the beginning of 2015 to address barriers found in any laws reviewed to that point.
We have now set the table. It is time for the Government to come to it, and work together with us. For this, we need the help of everyone across Ontario who supports our call for a barrier-free Ontario for all persons with disabilities.
A good number of the members of the Ontario Legislature, and indeed several cabinet ministers to whom we have written, were elected after our long ten year battle to win the enactment of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. That campaign ran from November 1994 to May 2005. We need as many people as possible to visit their local MPP, and urge them to get the Government to act on the priorities that we have listed for the Premier and the cabinet. Let us know what you can do to help with this grassroots effort.
Here is how to find our other letters to the Government that we earlier made public:
To read the AODA Alliance’s August 14, 2014 letter to Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Brad Duguid, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/08142014.asp
To read the AODA Alliance’s August 28, 2014 letter to the 2015 Toronto Pan/ParaPan American Games Minister Michael Coteau, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/08282014.asp
To read the AODA Alliance’s September 12, letter to the Government and Consumer Services Minister David Orazietti, visit http://www.aoda.ca/aoda-alliance-writes-new-ontario-government-services-minister-to-urge-action-to-make-the-ontario-public-service-a-fully-accessible-workplace-and-provider-of-public-services/
To read the AODA Alliance’s September 16, 2014 letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/09172014.asp
To read the AODA Alliance’s September 16, 2014 letter to International Trade Minister Michael Chan, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/09192014.asp
To read the AODA Alliance’s September 16, 2014 letter to Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/09192014.asp
To read the AODA Alliance’s September 16, 2014 letter to Treasury Board President Deb Matthews, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/09192014.asp
To read the AODA Alliance’s September 16, 2014 letter to the Minister of Education Liz Sandals, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/09222014.asp
To read the AODA Alliance’s September 16, 2014 letter to the Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Reza Moridi (who is also responsible for Training and Innovation), visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/09222014.asp
To read the AODA Alliance’s September 16, 2014 letter to the Minister of Health Eric Hoskins, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/09222014.asp
Let’s check in with the accessibility clock. A worrisome 310 days have now passed since we revealed that the Ontario Government was not enforcing the AODA, and that there have been rampant AODA violations in the private sector. The Government still has not made public its promised plan for the AODA’s effective enforcement. Two hundred and sixteen days have passed since the Toronto Star reported on February 20, 2014 that the Government would be publicly posting that new enforcement plan “in short order.”
To read our November 18, 2013 revelation that the Government was failing to effectively enforce the Disabilities Act despite knowing of rampant private sector violations, and funds on hand for enforcement, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/11182013.asp
To read the Government’s February 20, 2014 pledge to publish in “short order” its plan for enforcing the Disabilities Act, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/02202014.asp
As well, 392 days have passed since the Government unveiled its plans for the legacy of the 2015 Toronto Pan/ParaPan American Games. Yet it has still not released details and specifics of a comprehensive disability accessibility legacy for the Games. Only 289 days remain until the 2015 Games begin. Time is running out!
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Text of the AODA Alliance’s September 19, 2014 Letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne
ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: www.aodalliance.org