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Charles Sousa is Fifth Ontario Liberal Party Leadership Candidate to Make Disability Accessibility Commitments

ONLY ONE CANDIDATE STILL TO COMMIT AND – WATCH AODA ALLIANCE CHAIR’S JANUARY 16 2013 INTERVIEW ON TV ONTARIO’S “THE AGENDA WITH STEVE PAIKIN” PERMANENTLY AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE

January 17, 2013
SUMMARY

1. Sousa Accessibility Pledge

Mr. Charles Sousa is the fifth candidate for leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party to make disability accessibility pledges in response to our November 1, 2012 open letter to all candidates for that leadership role. We set out the text of his January 17, 2013 letter to the AODA Alliance below.

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 had 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

Sandra Pupatello was the first candidate for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party to make a commitment on making Ontario fully accessible to over 1.7 million Ontarians with disabilities. Sandra Pupatello’s commitments on disability accessibility, which the AODA Alliance received on November 29, 2012, can be viewed by visiting http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/11292012.asp

On December 3, 2012, Kathleen Wynne became the second leadership hopeful to answer our requests. You can read Kathleen Wynne’s December 3, 2012 written commitments to the AODA Alliance on disability accessibility by visiting http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/12032012.asp

On December 19, 2012, Eric Hoskins was the third leadership candidate to make written commitments to us. On December 27, 2012 Gerard Kennedy was the fourth leadership candidate to make accessibility commitments to us. The Eric Hoskins and Gerard Kennedy disability accessibility pledges are available at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/01072013.asp

We commend Mr. Charles Sousa for joining the four others, and for making these accessibility commitments. Now, Mr. Harinder Takhar is the only candidate for the Ontario Liberal Party leadership who has yet to make commitments on disability accessibility. We urge him to do so now.

2. Youtube Link to AODA Alliance Chair’s Interview on TV Ontario

On January 16, 2013, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky appeared on TV Ontario’s flagship public affairs program “The Agenda with Steve Paikin.” That interview is now permanently available to watch on Youtube. Youtube offers automated captioning as an option. We cannot comment on the quality of that captioning.

To watch the January 16, 2013 interview by David Lepofsky on “The Agenda with Steve Paikin on Youtube, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHWxUCzhTsU

This 20-minute interview addresses our ongoing campaign for a fully-accessible Ontario, the Dalton McGuinty legacy on this issue, our efforts during the leadership race in the Ontario Liberal Party, and our future priorities.

We commend TV Ontario for addressing this topic. Please encourage your local media to also cover these issues.

Send your feedback to us at aodafeedback@gmail.com

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

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TEXT OF THE JANUARY 17,2013 EMAIL FROM CHARLES SOUSA TO THE AODA ALLIANCE

Charles Sousa
Mailing: 465 Yonge St,
PO Box 73075
Wood St PO,
Toronto, ON M4Y 2W5
In Person: 70 Carlton Street,
2nd Floor, Toronto, ON M5B 1L6
Phone (416) 507-6519
Fax (416) 352-5441
www.VoteSousa.ca
Charles@VoteSousa.ca

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?

– As Premier I will remain committed to the implementation of the AODA 2005. I believe firmly in the goal of achieving a fully accessible Ontario.

I am proud to have served as a fundraiser, volunteer and past-Director of the Luso Canadian Charitable Society, a community-based organization that supports families and adults living with disabilities to reach their full potential. I understand fully the important contribution that these organizations make and I am proud that our government recently provided substantial financial support to the LCCS for their new respite centre.

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

– Ontario serves as an example to other jurisdictions and I am committed to building on previous efforts to ensure that all Ontarians have the opportunity to live and work without facing barriers.
In my recent capacity of Minister Responsible for the Pan/Parapan American Games I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the remarkable abilities of our Parapan athletes. I am pleased that we will be welcoming Parapan athletes from around the Americas to Toronto and I am committed to ensuring the Pan/Parapan Am Games are fully accessible.

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?

– I will continue to honour the spirit and the letter of the AODA.
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?

– Yes

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?

– I will be pleased to continue Premier McGuinty’s practice of meeting with the AODA Alliance. It is important for all members of the Legislature to be fully aware of the challenges and I look forward to sitting down with Ontarians with disabilities across the province.