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Raise Public Transit Accessibility Barriers at the December 13, 2018 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit

and – The AODA Alliance Sends the Ontario Government a Written Submission for the Provincial Consultation on Education in Ontario

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities http://www.aodaalliance.org aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance

December 7, 2018

SUMMARY

1. Your Chance to Alert TTC to Public Transit Barriers in Toronto

Have you run into accessibility barriers when using public transit in Toronto? Here is a great chance to try to press for reforms at TTC.

Below you can find the Toronto Transit Commission’s announcement of its 2018 Annual Public Forum on Accessible Transit. It will be held on the evening of Thursday, December 13, 2018 from 7 to 9 pm. You can come one hour earlier if you want to speak to TTC officials, one on one. We encourage one and all in the Toronto area to come to this event and raise accessibility problems you have experienced on the TTC. It is important to shine the light on accessibility issues that continue to plague people with disabilities on public transit in Canada’s biggest city.

Over two years ago, the Ontario Government appointed a new Transportation Standards Development Committee under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act to review the 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard, and to recommend any needed changes to strengthen it. That Committee’s final reform recommendations are very weak. They won’t significantly improve that very limited accessibility standard.

Please contact your local media and encourage them to attend the TTC forum. Video record or photograph barriers on TTC you have experienced. Send them to the media. Publicize them on social media like Twitter and Facebook. Use the ever-popular hashtag #AODAfail in tweets about these barriers, as part of our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign.

TTC will again stream the event live. This may only be for those who pre-register for this event. Check out details below in the TTC announcement.

This TTC Public Forum originated in 2008 as a result of the 2007 Human Rights Tribunal order in Lepofsky v. TTC #2. Eleven years ago, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ordered TTC to hold one such event per year for the three years after the Tribunal ruled against TTC in Lepofsky v. TTC #2.

After starting to hold these events, to its credit, TTC decided to keep holding these events once per year, even though TTC originally and strenuously opposed David Lepofsky when he asked the Human Rights Tribunal to make this order.

Since 2011, TTC and all public transit providers in Ontario are required by law to hold a similar event each year in your community under section 41(2) of the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation, enacted under the AODA. If you live outside Toronto, ask your public transit provider when they are planning to hold their annual public forum on accessible transit. If your public transit authority has not done so, please contact Raymond Cho, Ontario’s Minister for Accessibility and Seniors. He is the Ontario cabinet minister responsible for enforcing the AODA, to ask that this provision be strictly enforced. That section provides:

“41(2) Every conventional transportation service provider shall annually hold at least one public meeting involving persons with disabilities to ensure that they have an opportunity to participate in a review of the accessibility plan and that they are given the opportunity to provide feedback on the accessibility plan.”

Let us know if your public transit authority in Ontario is holding a similar event this year, or did so last year. Email us at aodafeedback@gmail.com

There has always been a great turnout of hundreds of people at TTC’s public forums on accessible transit. Each wants a chance at the microphone to tell their story. Unfortunately, TTC each year uses up far too much time, as much as a third of the time in some instances, making speeches on what a great job TTC says it’s doing on accessibility. We have urged TTC to keep all of those speeches down to a total of five or ten minutes, maximum, to give as much time as possible to the attendees to speak, since they made the effort to come to this event. We hope TTC will listen to this suggestion this time. They have not done so in the past.

Under the Human Rights Tribunal’s order, all TTC Commissioners were required to attend each public forum. Since that order expired, many if not most TTC Commissioners have skipped these TTC accessible transit public forums. This is wrong. TTC chose the forum’s date well in advance. Its Commissioners should be able to make it. If hundreds of people with disabilities take the time out of their busy day to come to speak to the TTC Commissioners, the least that those TTC Commissioners can do is to themselves take the time to show up to this TTC community event and listen to the front-line experiences of TTC riders with disabilities.

2. AODA Alliance Sends the Ontario Government a Written Submission for the Government’s Current Consultation on Education in Ontario

The Ontario Government is holding a public consultation on how it should reform Ontario’s education system. On December 7, 2018, the AODA Alliance sent the Ontario Government a 34-page written submission.

Our submission makes 14 recommendations. In our submission, we emphasized points we have made time and again. Ontario’s education system has far too many barriers that hurt one third of a million students with disabilities. Ontario’s Ministry of Education needs to be substantially reformed to make it far more responsive to the needs of students with disabilities. the Government needs to lift its 170-day old freeze on the work of Standards Development Committees working on recommendations for an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA.

You can download the December 7, 2018 AODA Alliance brief to the Ontario Government on the Provincial Consultation on Education by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/December-7-2018-AODA-Alliance-Submission-to-Ontario-Government.docx

Please email the Government to support our brief. Write the Ontario Government at: To: fortheparents@ontario.ca

You can find out more about the Government’s consultation by visiting https://www.ontario.ca/page/for-the-parents

You can send in your own submission by emailing the Government at fortheparents@ontario.ca

You can learn lots more about the AODA Alliance’s years of campaigning for accessibility for students with disabilities by visiting www.aodaalliance.org/education

3. It’s Time For a Break!

The time has come for the AODA Alliance to take a short holiday break, after this, our 76th AODA Alliance Update this year. We will be off-line and not answering emails, tweets, or even messages by carrier pigeon, until early in the new year.

We want to wish everyone a happy, safe, healthy and barrier-free holiday season and new year. We thank one and all of our many supporters for their encouragement, support and help over the past year. After a good rest, we’ll be ready to swing into action on the provincial and federal fronts with the same tenacity for which we are reputed. Thanks for being part of this important cause.

more details

TTC Announcement of the 2018 Accessible Transit Public Forum

You are invited to the 2018 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit.

New date: Thursday, December 13, 2018

One-on-One Discussions: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Open Public Forum: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

New location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre
255 Front Street West, North Building
Rooms 205/206 (Main floor)

The purpose of the Forum is to update customers about TTC accessibility initiatives, including the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy, Family of Services, Travel Training Pilot Program, and the Easier Access project, and gather feedback about possible improvements to the TTC’s accessible conventional and specialized services.

Customers can meet one-on-one with TTC staff, management, and the TTC’s Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. The open Public Forum will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The closest subway stations to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre are Union and St Andrew (both are accessible). For assistance in planning your trip using the conventional TTC call 416-393-4636.

Wheel-Trans customers may book trips to the Public Forum starting one week prior to the event. Please note that all return trips will be organized after the event finishes at 9:00 p.m. and will not be scheduled in advance.

ASL, captioning, and attendants will be available. Refreshments will not be provided.

Can’t attend in person? Join our webcast and participate from the comfort of your home. More information on the webcast is available at https://www.meetview.com/ttc20181213/