By Victor Schwartzman
October 14, 2013
Thanksgiving is now over, and now that the turkey is a memory, you may be asking, have I really been given the bird this year? Given AODA? What exactly do I have to be thankful for in the past year, and what about the coming year?
Good questions! Since you are asking, we have prepared the Top Ten Things About AODA To Be Thankful For After Thanksgiving
After a lengthy delay, the Government met its legal requirement to appoint a new Independent Review it will likely ignore as it did the last review, the Beer Report. The new Review will take time, possibly until next Thanksgiving. What can you, Dean Moran (the new Reviewer), politicians expect to dine on this year? Who will eat turkey and who will eat crow? For that matter, who will crow and who will be a turkey?
The following Top Ten Things may provide some clues.
10. Thanksgiving is over. Honestly, this has zero to do with AODA. But aren’t you glad Thanksgiving is over? Now all those relatives you meet once a year have gone home or you have gone home. Either way is good. (“This does not refer to any of the author’s relatives.”)
9. AODA actually became a law. AODA is a law and you can hold it. That AODA became a law was excellent. Otherwise all those years of lobbying and consensus building would have been a total waste. Too bad AODA is still only sitting on paper, waiting to be implemented.
AODA became a real law just like Pinocchio became a real boy—in both cases lies were involved and it did not turn out well. Watch Premier Wynne’s nose during the coming year.
8. Speaking of laws and Thanksgiving, we should mention First Nations Treaties. Technically, Thanksgiving celebrates stealing Canada from the people originally living here. Although ‘stealing’ is really the wrong word as it assumes we believed First Nations people owned Canada to begin with and therefore we had to steal it. “Just moved in” is really more like it. The Government creating false treaties and laws has a long history reaching back to the very foundations of our country. AODA, in its way, is only the latest example.
7. There is a new Independent Reviewer and you aren’t her. The Government chugged straight from the bottle of the Beer Report and then went to the washroom. It won’t be easy for Dean Mayo Moran, the new reviewer. No one wants to start work already knowing it will be a struggle to get any recommendations implemented.
No matter how lousy your own job is, it isn’t Moran’s, so be thankful!
6. If you are a business, service provider or municipal government you still do not have to do anything! 2025 never looked farther away! Violations flourish (every week, Accessibility News runs articles about them) which AODA (or The Human Rights Code) should have eliminated long ago.
Whether the delays were created by incompetence or design or incompetent design, little of AODA has been implemented almost ten years after it was proclaimed.
Plenty to be thankful for here!
5. If you are the Ontario Government, you can do even less than nothing! With the appointment of a new Reviewer, the Government likely will take the position there should be no improvements undertaken until the Moran Report is completed. By appointing a reviewer to determine it has done nothing, the Government has enabled itself to, until the next review, not even do that. Of course, the Government could implement the Beer Report in the interim, and if you think that, please reread the title of this section.
4. If you are the media, there continues to be no pressure on you. There have been virtually no stories yet on the AODA debacle, so the media sees a green light for continuing to ignore AODA into the foreseeable future. This is a lot to be thankful for, because AODA stories would require some research and real work.
However, inspiring stories about overcoming the obstacles AODA should have eliminated are still ok, as long as you don’t mention AODA.
3. Opposition politicians can continue to be thankful no one cares what they think. Waiting out the AODA situation has worked great for opposition politicians in the Ontario legislature. Advocates put little pressure on them because they have no power, focusing instead on the Government.
You would think a politician does not like to be ignored, but sometimes it is golden.
2. Satirists will enjoy a creative gold mine. How often does something like the AODA implementation fiasco come along? Almost ten years and nothing to show for it? Failing to meet a key AODA deadline during National Access Awareness Week? AODA is an unwilling gift to satirists everywhere in Canada.
Unfortunately, satirists do not care about AODA any more than anyone else on this list. Perhaps this AODA situation itself is not funny. However, it is not Canadian to be funny. This does not mean the gold mine is not there, just that no one is interested in digging.
1. If you are a person who has a disability you have another exciting year of AODA entertainment! Life can be so dull but not when it comes to AODA! Something silly and crazy happens almost every month! AODA really is the gift that keeps giving. And you should be thankful that you will continue to face basic challenges such as not being able to cross some streets or get into some buildings. You should be thankful because it is important for you to be inspiring. Also, you can now start to plan the Decade Anniversary of Non AODA Implementation for 2015.
Next week: Top Ten Halloween Disability Tricks and Treats.