TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – March 9, 2015)
The provincial government’s announcement they will conduct fewer compliance audits under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is a betrayal of Ontarians with disabilities, says Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.
“AODA passed unanimously in 2005, and the government set out a 20-year timeline for compliance. At the time, we thought it was a ridiculously long time. But at least it was a timeline to increasing equality for 1.8 million Ontarians with disabilities,” said Hahn. “It is unacceptable for the government to turn back the clock and deny people the equality we all deserve.”
Under AODA, businesses with more than 20 employees were required to file a compliance audit, but nearly two-thirds have failed to do so. Rather than crack down on non-compliance, the government has drastically reduced compliance audits.
“As a worker with disabilities, when the AODA came in, I was very pleased. Finally, I thought, I know that my daughter will not face all the same barriers I have in my life,” said Jayne Warner, a school board worker and chair of CUPE Ontario’s Workers with Disabilities Committee. “But that fight clearly is not over. I’m not just disappointed, I’m angry that the government is turning its back on us once again and condemning another generation to exclusion.”
CUPE Ontario supports full implementation of AODA and has a proud history of advocating for fairness and equality, including for accessible and harassment-free workplaces.
CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with members providing quality public services we all rely on in every part of the province every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.