By Victor Schwartzman, with the assistance of Stephen Hawking November 11, 2014
Ever notice the “clock” on the front page of the AODA.ca website? It counts down the days towards the deadline for AODA implementation. This clock is based on regular time, not a politician’s time–which in this case we will call AODA Savings Time. If you are worried about the slow pace of AODA implementation, that is because you are in real time, not AODA Savings Time.
In Minister Brad Duguid’s recent statement about implementing AODA he wrote that it is still “early.” This was an excellent example of AODA Savings Time in action. Here is the quote: “The implementation of the AODA is still in the early stages. Achieving an accessible Ontario requires a significant, long-term societal shift that can be linked to other shifts such as wearing seatbelts, anti-smoking and recycling. Improving accessibility in Ontario is a 20 year journey, and 2015 will mark the 10th anniversary. This year, we have asked employers, large and small, to create a multi-year plan to remove accessibility barriers in their organizations.”
You and I use normal time. We go to meetings or movies or cook meatballs based on normal time. Some people use twelve hour clocks, some twenty-four, but it all adds up to the same time. For non-politicians, time is real and measurable.
However, politicians have a different time sense, acquired as soon as they are elected. For a politician, being ten years into a twenty year process which “requires a significant, long-term societal shift” is still “early.” To the rest of us, it is less “early” and more “half gone.”
As an aside, the statement raises other concerns about time. The Ontario Government is asking “employers, large and small, to create a multi-year plan to remove accessibility barriers in their organizations” Multi-year plans take time to create and implement. To date, many businesses won’t even fill out forms. How long will it take for them to create their own access plans and implement them?
For those of us in real time, it is not “early” but “late.” Achieving complete accessibility by 2025 is certainly possible, but it will require hard work and a commitment previously lacking.
However, that would be looking at it from our sense of time, not a politician’s.
AODA Savings Time is not based on Greenwich Mean Time or Angry Time or any of those other Times. It is based by politicians on Government Time. And we all know what Government Time means: not only is AODA Savings Time slower than real time, it can be retroactively adjusted if deadlines are missed.
AODA Savings Time is calculated using real time weighed against the proximity of the next election. It was created to explain the slow implementation. Politicians found they could not explain the slow implementation using regular time. Minister Duguid mentioned AODA Savings Time in a recent media conference during which he announced the involvement of David Onley.
“The former Lieutenant Governor has a lot of good ideas, like AODA should be implemented and we should do it now. That’s a lot to swallow, but I am proud to have brought him into this. We are in the early stages of AODA implementation. By AODA Savings Time it is still three or four elections away. That sounds like plenty of time to me, but Mr. Onley has impressed on me that we must actually do something, and now. Twenty years of implementation must be compressed into ten! We have to speed up. In fact, Mr. Onley already has told me I am not up to speed. So I’m definitely listening to him sometimes.
“But, my friends, just involving Mr. Onley was not enough. While by AODA Savings Time it is early, I appreciate that some people worry it is almost too late. And the Ontario Government does worry, I assure you, about not meeting election promises voters remember.
“Realizing we must be faster, I am therefore proud to announce that we are in negotiations to speed up implementation of AODA by hiring The Flash!
“Yes, The Flash! The fastest man on earth! Once he finishes taping his tv show, The Flash would come to Ontario on December 31, 2024 to ensure that AODA would be fully implemented by January 1, 2025. He could do it all, in one day!
“Therefore we don’t have to do more than we have done for the last ten years, which is easy because it isn’t anything. Our implementation strategy is set if he signs the contract, because we will do it all in one day with The Flash!” Minister Duguid said. “The breakthrough in my thinking came when I watched his reality tv show and thought, wow, we should hire him! I never saw anyone move that fast!
“And I am following up on that thinking to see if we can hire this Dr. Who guy. Think of how much easier it would be to implement AODA if we could go back in time and have some other Minister be responsible!”
Next: This Column Has Ignored Local Elections, But Local Elections Have Ignored AODA
Victor Schwartzman contributes this weekly column to Accessibility News. Buy the first nine chapters of his current satirical fantasy novel, King Of The Planet, for .99 on Kindle at http://www.amazon.ca/King-The-Planet-Victor-Schwartzman-ebook/dp/B00NE0CCRC or read the earlier drafts and current chapters for free, on the King Of The Planet Facebook page. It has a “4 out of 5 star” review already!
His graphic novel The Winnipeg Weakly Herald (where each chapter is one issue of a community newspaper) is serialized on the great Canadian lit site, http://www.redfez.net. He also contributes to http://www.targetaudiencemagazine.com. He has had poetry and short fiction published, has edited novels and hosts two writers’ circles. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.