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Ontario Government Sued For Causing Disabilities In Advocates

By Victor Schwartzman
December 2, 2013

Some members of the National Football League have sued the NFL for brain damage and other problems related to concussions suffered while playing pro football. Law suits have also been filed against the National Hockey League for similar problems suffered by pro hockey players. Following this lead, advocates associated with the AODA Alliance have filed a class action law suit against the Ontario Government for having forced a manner of playing with it which creates disabilities.

“The injuries suffered by professional athletes are very serious,” a media release from the advocates stated. “They have tragically altered lives. We do not wish to make light of those difficulties. Rather, the actions of professional sports players to change the situation has inspired the people who advocate with the Government. It is time for the injuries the Government creates as a condition of working with it to stop!”

Forty-three advocates across Ontario have signed up for the suit alleging that they have suffered disabilities, including concussions from repeatedly hitting their heads against politicians’ walls. The suit alleges the injuries began with the consultation process for creating AODA, although for many advocates the injuries began years earlier during their work with the Government.

The injuries continued during the almost ten years since AODA was proclaimed. Within the past few weeks, the injuries hit the highest levels recorded when the Government finally released under pressure the information that 70% of eligible Ontario organizations had missed their AODA filing deadline and that the Government had done nothing about it.

(There have been no reports of AODA related injuries among either politicians or the Ontario organizations which did not file the required forms. The Government refused to release information on injuries to bureaucrats who as part of their jobs must work with politicians.)

Among advocates, long term AODA injuries include headaches over what politicians promised then and say now. There is also disorientation and confusion over why the $24 million budgeted for AODA enforcement has not been spent. Short term memory loss was feared, but it turned out that that the advocates’ memories were not impaired, it is politicians who have short and long term memory loss. Memory loss is natural to politicians.

Advocates’ short term challenges include repetitive strain injury from typing reports and statements to the Government. Long term disabilities include impaired optimism, or, to use a current phrase, becoming “hope challenged.”

The Government refuses to recognize these developments as disabilities. Instead, the Government considers them benefits. Next year, the Government’s approach will be expanded to environmental advocates. However, advocates in that area advise the new approach will actually differ little from the old approach. For years the Ontario Government has been practicing a form of working with advocates which disables many of them. It was ongoing concerns about suffering disabilities while advocating to the Government which led to the law suit.

To support the law suit, advocates site a research study. The study looked at advocates who worked on disability issues over the past twenty years in Ontario. As a control group, the study used both the bureaucrats and politicians with whom the advocates worked.

The result? 63% of the advocates suffered one or more disabilities caused by working with the Government. In comparison, only 23% of bureaucrats suffered a disability, and 0% of the politicians. Advocates who stopped working with the Government enjoyed a remission of the symptoms. Within six months of no government contact, those advocates were healthy. The 23% of bureaucrats showed no sign of change after six months, however, as they all continued to work for the Government.

“Normally,” the advocates’ media release stated, “we do not publicly challenge the Government in this manner. We worry about losing our funding or damaging contacts. But the funding won’t make any difference if we can’t keep doing this work. And damaging contacts won’t matter if the contacts are useless on AODA. Although there are several civil servants we are really sorry for and worried about.”

Next: The AODA Ten Days Of Christmas

Victor Schwartzman contributes this weekly satiric column to Accessibility News–nothing in these columns is true except what they are about. His graphic novel (where each chapter is one issue of a community newspaper) is serialized on the great Canadian lit site, www.redfez.net. He also contributes a monthly poetry review to the online magazine, Target Audience (www.targetaudiencemagazine.com.), has had poetry and short fiction published (by someone else), and has edited novels.