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OFL Statement for International Day of Persons With Disabilities (December 3, 2010)

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Dec. 2, 2010) – Fri., Dec. 3, marks the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities and gives prominence to issues of access, inclusion and equality. It also shines a spotlight on the need for urgent government action in support of the full involvement of persons with disabilities.

More than 1.85 million Ontarians, 15.5% of the population, have a disability and this number is quickly rising as society ages.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires the province to become fully accessible to persons with disabilities by 2025. But
the government’s lack of action on key recommendations of Charles Beer’s February 2010 report is placing this in jeopardy.

Beer’s report, Charting a Path Forward: Report of the Independent Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 called for immediate action. Some of the main recommendations included:

  • the appointment of a full-time deputy minister with responsibility for all government accessibility initiatives;
  • a bold new public education campaign on accessibility; and
  • substantial improvements to the way the government develops accessibility standards under the AODA, including an arm’s-length advisory body to review and develop standards.

“Fifteen years is far too long for anyone to wait for their basic human rights,” says OFL President Sid Ryan. “We need strong standards and immediate progress on access to public transportation, employment, information and communication. We are mystified as to why something as simple, for example, as posting fully accessible information on government websites would take eight years. It’s unacceptable.”

“Mainstreaming disability will not happen if the McGuinty government does not keep its promise to transform Ontario into a truly accessible province for all Ontarians. We need strong, visible leadership and pro-activity,” says OFL Executive Vice-President Terry Downey.

The OFL represents one million workers in 54 unions. It recently negotiated a substantial funding increase from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board for disability prevention, training and advisory services for the OFL’s Occupational Disability Response Team (ODRT). The project is currently conducting workshops in 17 Ontario communities.

“December 3 allows us to recommit to working with people with disabilities, and their organizations, to ensure that Ontario becomes a province in which all people are able to play a full role. The province must be accessible, supportive and welcoming to all,” says Downey.

For more information, please contact

Ontario Federation of Labour
Sid Ryan
416-209-0066 (mobile)


Ontario Federation of Labour
Terry Downey
Executive Vice-President
416-578-3230 (mobile)

Reproduced from