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Pinto Human Rights Code Review Restores Cancelled Thunder Bay Public Hearings After AODA Alliance Gets CBC to Cover its Earlier Cancellation

THUNDER BAY PUBLIC HEARINGS WILL BE APRIL 4, 2012
March 19, 2012

SUMMARY

The Review of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, which the McGuinty Government appointed Toronto lawyer Andrew Pinto to conduct, has announced that it has scheduled public hearings for its Review in Thunder Bay, to be held on April 4, 2012. We set out below The Pinto Review’s announcement. It gives details on the public hearings’ time and place, and how to arrange to attend to make a presentation or just to watch.

The Pinto Review originally scheduled those public hearings for February 23, 2012. It later cancelled them. We commend the Pinto Human Rights Review for acting on our call for these Thunder Bay public hearings to be restored.

We encourage northwestern Ontarians to make presentations at these public hearings, and to spread the word about them. We also encourage one and all, whether in Thunder Bay or elsewhere in Ontario, to email the Pinto Review to indicate if you support our March 1, 2012 brief on how to fix Ontario’s system for enforcing human rights.

MORE DETAILS

Last August, the McGuinty Government appointed Toronto lawyer Andrew Pinto to investigate the effectiveness of Ontario’s system for enforcing human rights. Ontario’s new human rights enforcement system went into operation on June 30, 2008 with the passage of the McGuinty Government’s controversial Bill 107. Bill 107, which we opposed, privatized human rights enforcement in Ontario. Rather than letting the Human Rights Commission continue with responsibility for publicly investigating and publicly prosecuting discrimination cases, Bill 107 now requires discrimination victims to investigate and prosecute their own cases themselves before the Human Rights Tribunal. Learn more about the background to the Pinto Review and to Bill 107 by visiting http://www.aodaalliance.org/reform/default.asp

Originally, the Pinto Review announced by email and web posting back on the afternoon of Friday, December 23, 2012 that it would hold public hearings around Ontario in mid February 2012. This announcement included Thunder Bay public hearings to be held on February 23, 2012. The Pinto Review’s Original announcement, scheduling its February 23, 2012 Thunder Bay hearings, is preserved on our website at: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/0109022012.asp

On February 7, 2012, the Pinto Review announced by a web posting that it was cancelling the Thunder Bay public hearings, due to so little interest being shown in taking part in those public hearings. It did not then suggest that these hearings would be rescheduled. We have preserved that posting on our website. To read about the Pinto Review’s cancelling its original February 23, 2012 Thunder Bay public hearings, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/02082012.asp

We criticized the Pinto Review for cancelling those public hearings. We thought the Pinto Review had done a poor job of publicizing its public hearings. Many likely didn’t even know they were going on. To announce such an event solely by an email and web posting on the eve of the December holidays was not a good way to ensure that the broad public hears about them. We had urged the Pinto Review to better publicize its public hearings.

We then spearheaded an effort to get the Pinto Human Rights Review to restore its Thunder Bay public hearings. We took this issue to the Thunder Bay media. On February 20, 2012, CBC Radio in Thunder Bay covered the issue. In that CBC Radio report, Andrew Pinto was quoted as being open to restore the cancelled Thunder Bay public hearings. You can read the CBC Radio Thunder Bay’s February 20, 2012 report on the cancellation of the February 23, 2012 Pinto Review Thunder Bay public hearings by visiting: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/03022012.asp

The most recent development took place late on Friday, March 16, 2012. The Pinto Review issued an email and web posting that announced the restoration of the cancelled Thunder Bay public hearings. It gave details on taking part in that event, to be held on April 4, 2012. See below. We hope that this time, the public hearings will be better publicized.

We urge anyone interested in human rights in the Thunder Bay area to attend the Pinto Review April 4, 2012 restored public hearings. Make a presentation! Even if you don’t want to make a presentation, attend to see what others have to say and to show support! Please spread the word to others in the Thunder Bay area. Encourage others to attend and take part. If you are part of a provincial organization with offices or involvement in northwestern Ontario, urge your local representatives to take part.

Don’t be reluctant if you have never before made a presentation on this topic. We can make it easy for you. Here are some suggestions:

* If you present to the Pinto Review at the Thunder Bay public hearings, we encourage you to let the Pinto Review know if you support the AODA Alliance’s March 1, 2012 brief to the Pinto Review. You can read a summary of our concerns, findings and recommendations in our March 1, 2012 brief to the Pinto Review by visiting: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/03012012.asp

* You can download our March 1, 2012 brief to the Pinto Review in MS Word format by clicking here: http://www.aodaalliance.org/docs/march%201%202012%20entire%20final%20aoda%20alliance%20brief%20to%20andrew%20pinto%20human%20rights%20code%20review.doc

* We also offer you helpful tips on how to make an effective presentation to the Pinto Review, which you can find at: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/02092012.asp

This is not the first time the Pinto Review has acted after we criticized its process for consulting the public. On January 9, 2012, we wrote the Pinto Review to urge it to extend its deadlines for signing up for its public hearings, and for requesting a Stakeholder Meeting with the Pinto Review. We also urged the Pinto Review to extend the time within which it would hold its Stakeholder Meetings. In its February 7, 2012 web posting, it took those actions. We cannot say that the Pinto Review took those actions because of our advocacy efforts. You can read our January 9, 2012 letter to the Pinto Review at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/0123022012.asp

The Pinto Review has not publicly extended its March 1, 2012 deadline for sending in written submissions. Despite this, because the Pinto Review has scheduled its restored Thunder Bay public hearings on April 4, 2012, we believe that this creates a short added window when the Pinto Review still may be potentially open to receiving written submissions.

We therefore encourage one and all to email the Pinto Review to let it know if you endorse our March 1, 2012 brief on how to fix Ontario’s system for enforcing human rights. Email the Pinto Review at chair@ontariohumanrightsreview.org Even a one-line email can be very helpful to our cause.

We always encourage you to send feedback to us at: aodafeedback@gmail.com

*****

MARCH 16 2012 POSTING TO ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS CODE REVIEW WEBSITE
AVAILABLE AT THE TIME OF THIS UPDATE AT: http://www.ontariohumanrightsreview.org/human-rights

Public Meeting in Thunder Bay – April 4, 2012
The Review will be conducting a meeting in Thunder Bay on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the:

Victoria Inn
555 West Arthur Street,
Thunder Bay, Ontario
P7E 5R5
Phone: 807-577-8481

A light lunch will be provided.

If you wish to speak and/or make a presentation at the public meeting, please contact the Review by email at chair@ontariohumanrightsreview.org or by fax to (416) 593-4923 and provide the following information:

• Name
• Organization you are associated with, if any
• E-mail address
• Phone
• Accommodation requirements, if any

You are welcome to attend and observe the meeting even if you do not wish to speak at or participate in the meeting. However, please advise the Review of your attendance as we require this information for room arrangement purposes. Please also advise if you have any accommodation needs.

Please review the Consultation Paper on the Review’s website for further information about the mandate of the Review.

If you don’t now receive our updates directly from us, sign up for AODA Alliance e-mail updates by writing to our new email address: aodafeedback@gmail.com
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