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Equal Access Delayed is Equal Access Denied!

By Geof Collis
December 31, 2010

In my ongoing battle for my simple request for getting documentation in an accessible format from my City I was finally treated to a response from the Minister by way of the Accessibility Directorate’s Office.

On Monday December 6, 2010 I sent a letter to the Minister asking her to give the City direction on the matter, they finally responded to me on Friday December 17 at 4:30 in the afternoon2 business weeks later.

One part of the Directorate’s response to me states:

“One of the requirements of the customer service standard is to communicate with a person with a disability in a manner that takes into account his or her disability. The standard does not specify what format to communicate with a person with a disability. Finding a suitable communication method may require consideration of the situation or circumstances of the organization and of the person with a disability. ”

Fair enough! They’re already putting up the format I am requesting in other areas of their website, so where’s the problem?

In a CBC Radio interview Minister Meilleur speaks of Business and Corporations tapping into the disposable income that some Persons With Disabilities (PWD) have and making Ontario Accessible out of the “Goodness of their Hearts”.

Here was a golden opportunity to direct the City of Kawartha Lakes to do the right thing by encouraging them to grant my request for Accessible PDF documentation, instead they were let off the hook, allowing them to hide behind it not being Law and crying the Financial blues.

The Government could have sent a message to Business by setting an example, but instead They’ve given them every opportunity to do the same.

I find it distasteful that the thought of Profiting off of Disabled people would be a reason to make Ontario Accessible, I thought the idea that it is the Right thing to do would be incentive enough and not using Law as a means to deprive Disabled Ontarians of their Human Rights, especially Government.

However, since Profit is a reason to get Business to buy into making Ontario accessible and the Government doesn’t want to have to enforce it, why should they wait until it is Law, the benefits are there right now.

The Industry and World at large already knows what constitutes an accessible PDF and Government and Business are doing it as a matter of daily routine, so why do Ontarians have to wait until it is the Law of the land?

While our Government drags its feet on implementation of the Standard in question, thousands and thousands of inaccessible PDF’s will have been created and the equal access that Ontarians are supposed to be given under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)will be delayed.

Equal Access Delayed is Equal Access Denied!