The AODA Clock is Ticking

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AODA Legislative Review Now Scheduling Presentations

For Immediate Release:
February 19, 2014

After great anticipation the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act statutory legislative review is now live for scheduling of presentations across Ontario.

The Institute of Canadian Justice much like its predecessors dedication at Beyond Ability International has already registered and will be providing a robust response and presentation on March 21, 2014 in Toronto to enable Ontario the first province in Canada to meaningfully embrace, education and enforce the charter, human rights and public safety based accessibility legislation.

The time is well overdue for evolution to take place and for decency to prevail for all that live, work, play, visit and invest in the Province of Ontario.

A renewal of commitment to operationally relevant education and enforcement of existing laws.

We look forward to the Provinces leadership and setting a meaningful and inclusive tone and direction towards its commitment of making Ontario accessible by 2025.

We are unfortunately still having trouble having the laws of 1991 enforced. Accessibility in Ontario and Canada is in dire need of the leadership and astute intellect that Dean Moran will bring to this process and its entangled misinterpretations of the transcending law and intent of this very exercise.
Consequently, this is an important opportunity for the public and employee’s to provide much needed information and solutions pertaining to the integration and human rights of people with disabilities and the maturing population in Ontario.

This is your chance and it can also be sent in various inclusive ways and means. Most importantly, in my opinion, is to be able to do so anonymously. This is important because we all know amazing people who want to do what is right and lawful but are prevented for what ever reason AAC co optation, Planning Department failures, refused accessibility training, and or the fear of their job for speaking the truth and most importantly providing astute solutions.

This process is inclusive and very much needs your insight, solutions and ongoing dedication.

Please take the time to circulate this AODA Review information and encourage our friends, family and colleagues to participate and provide their input and solutions. Together we can change minds and hearts….it will however take more education, enforcement and keen leadership to overcome this last frontier of human rights in Canada.

Dean Morans leadership will be of great assistance to such inclusive ends. Likewise, this important work also requires our support, ideas and engagement.
For context the last AODA statutory review summary was done in 2009 and it can be found below.

This is the direct link to the consultation:
http://aodareview.utoronto.ca/?page_id=199?=en
Kindest Thoughts and Expectations,
Gerald Parker
Executive Director
Institute of Canadian Justice
T: 905-493-0272
C: 905-431-0035
Visit Us on FACEBOOK @ Institute of Canadian Justice

Beer Commission 2009 -AODA Issues and Solutions

Beer Commission Deputation
October 14, 2009
Sheraton Hotel, Toronto

As the trainer and pioneer for over two decades in the field of accessible municipalities and tourism around the world, and in Ontario where we live, work and invest, it is of the utmost importance that we engage this vital and timely opportunity to speak and exchange information with you.

Some of our clients include this leading hotel that has been there making goods
and services accessible. That wonderful elevator out there in the lobby saved this hotel millions, gained unending revenue and endearment to a new and existing market of over 100 million. One of the best and brightest without a doubt.

In 2002, I was one of the three founders of the Ontario Network of Accessibility
Professionals and, an adviser to the best and the brightest for over 22 years now,
there is much discussion we can have. Most specifically, to the lack of congruence
and compliance of the Highway Traffic Act, Planning Act, Building Code, Municipal Act, Elections Act as it pertains to accessibility and the Human Rights Code and the Charter itself. This reality remains even with the envisioned legislative
alterations, amendments and the engaged and drafted regulations of the AODA- ODA.

Last week on the panel at the Recreationable Conference, where the Chief of the OHRC and the ACS representative, spoke much discussion revolved around the topic. This was the sentiment….

“Legislation does not change minds it just constraints the heartless” and how important it is that we learn from past experience, change minds first, provide meaningful enforcement of the existing law and surmount our last bastion of human rights affronts. As one person said “forget about the back of the bus we still cannot get on the front”.

As the first Province in Canada, we cannot forget we are the last western country to be engaged in meaningful accessibility legislation. We have many positive and
pragmatic lessons to learn from those that have gone before us. Just like many of the experts before you. As a professional who has advised and engaged the ADA almost twenty years ago and the helped develop the European Commissions accessibility guidelines over fifteen years ago, we know Ontario and Canada is playing catch up to the other economies of the western world- big time. Your time and expertise likewise could not be any more timely and necessary.

As THE ADVISER who has developed AAC’s and Accessibility
Plans etc. and as the Trainer to Municipalities and Provincial Agencies these are our observations and solutions of the
current state of affairs of accessibility law and processes in Ontario:
Compliance
1. The ODA mantra of “No New Barriers” is not being respected by municipal Planning and Building Departments.
2. Municipal, planning, inspections and assumption process failures remain and new barriers are systemically allowed by paid and licensed planning and
building professionals who are required to ensure the enforcement of minimum standards.
3. AAC’s under the ODA are not positioned, conducted or resourced as committee’s “of Council”. list end
4. AAC selections are being screened and pre-selected by staff to avoid input, revelations, expertise and people with disabilities the ODA requires to
include. This is also an act of discrimination and, in some cases, retribution under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
5. Municipal staffs are manipulating council engagement and information dissemination processes to avoid accessibility issues and accountability of legislative and human rights refusals.
6. Annual accessibility plans under the ODA are sparse, in some cases only two pages and not meaningful or scrutinized accordingly by the Province. 7. Site plans under the AODA are being refused.
8. Ongoing implementation and assumption processes by municipalities of the minimum requirements of the transcending legislation the HTA, Planning Act,
OBC, Ontario Human Rights Code and Charter not respected i.e. CBC Radio interview last week. On both public and private projects 9. OHRC still incident based- 50 percent is not acceptable i.e. OHRC Annual 10. OHRC enforcement position not engaged or resourced.
11. Accessibility plans not engaged resourced or informed by AAC’s. In some cases AAC’s not even comprised or advised i.e., first P3.
12. Legislative congruence and primacy of Planning Act-OBC- HTA over the Municipal Act not asserted and acquiesced by the Province. Leadership is by example.

13. Municipalities and public agencies under resourced and misinformed -adds to myth i.e. ADA list end
Enforcement
1. Enforcement is a joke i.e. Dining Out-OHRC i.e. – Tim Horton’s Kandahar vs. Trenton. Companies and Municipalities still treat the human rights code
and this associated legislation with contempt. Even refusing to adhere to Charter and legal agreements with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Organizations
do not voluntarily adhere to transcending legislation and human rights. It is the law. This fact has still been very lost and failed to be list end
enforced or even respected. This reality is still being tacitly condoned by provincial refusals to resolve the immediate and life threatening ramifications at hand.
list end
Solutions
1. Ensure Legislative Congruence in new standards.
1. Provincial leadership needs to be by example i.e. Communications draft standard, 2005 Press Release, Elections Ontario.
2. Examples by the Accessibility Directorate of leadership. Need not be the lowest common denominator. I.e. Disney and Built Environment.
3. Cost of doing business argument needs to asserted and messaged and when not made- tacitly condones politicization and other future implementation issues i.e. January 1, 2012 ACS 429/07.
4. An organizational professional body needs to be supported and funded by the province i.e. Ontario Network of Accessibility Professionals. 5. Accountability and enforcement regime of AODA legislation is paramount. 6. Institute enforcement officer of OHRC mandate i.e. Italian ADM
7. OHRC has to be more proactive and assertive 50 percent incident regime is not acceptable.
8. Ombudsman has to listen and act when municipalities fail to enforce the law and the human rights code and breach the publics trust doing so. This includes the Premiers whose offices are as insulated as can be imagined.
9. Declare provincial stewardship of HTA, OBC, and Planning Act. Most municipalities have failed.
10. Stop allowing municipalities to relinquish to self-regulation and processing of plans and inspections. This is completely counter-productive and contrary to the necessity and purpose of this rights based legislative exercise. 11. Provincial PR campaign i.e. Everybody Needs Somebody.
list end
12. Give credit where credit is due- i.e. create an Accessibility Public Award Regime.
13. Costly mistakes and willful negligence must be avoided and publicized. We call it the SOL List. Want one. The prime offenders. Ask Tim Hortons what this means.
14. Have Accessibility Directorate please clarify 429/07 language and relative needs. Pleas ask for clarification in these important and timely regards.

15. Create review of AODA site plan provisions and AAC review vs. Permitted New Barriers to determine reality and consequent remedial action plan. 16. Rename AAC and extract or change “Advisory”.
17. Provide regulation and selection processes to guard against selection and process manipulation of AAC’s.
18. Provide provincial support and funding to enable accessibility organizations and AAC’s to communicate and gather.
19. Provide regulation, process and resources for the immediate retraining of all provincially licensed Planning and Building officials.
20. Provide regulation and curriculum to meaningfully extend and integrate accessibility education in all primary schools and classrooms.
21. Create private endowment for public education accessibility program for primary schools. Tim Hortons should sponsor this we think.
22. Provide regulation, process and resources to immediately augment and fund post-secondary architectural and specialized programs to be congruent with the AODA legislation and the practicalities of the above.
23. Provide regulation and resourcing for the retraining and professional development of specifically identified professionals such as architects, planners and building officials.
list end
Conclusion
Out front in the concourse across at Toronto City Hall I saw the statute of Winston
Churchill defiantly standing. “We shall never surrender”. And, it is so great so see so many familiar and kind faces today.
We have come along way and I have spoken frankly today. We have much to realize and it is invigorating to see that you are surrounding yourself with information and people that will tell you and the Province of Ontario what you need to hear not what they want to hear. Many people are behind that honourable ends and that ongoing challenge.
I am looking forward to your insight and thoughtful questions. Thank you.
Gerald Parker
President & CEO