In the third review of the AODA, the Honourable David Onley recommends needed improvements to the Act. One of these improvements is a renewal of government leadership to implement the AODA. During the public meetings Onley held while preparing his review, attendees requested more government commitment to the AODA. Attendees value the new government department of Seniors and Accessibility. However, attendees believe that the government needs to recommit to implementing the AODA.
Renewal of Government Leadership to Implement the AODA
The Ontario government is required to ensure that the province is accessible in 2025. Therefore, some review meeting attendees suggest that the government should plan the steps needed to reach this goal. Furthermore, the government should make this year-by-year plan public and include deadlines for each of the steps. Moreover, attendees also suggest that changes to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO) could help enforce the AODA.
All-Government Approach to Accessibility
In addition, Onley’s review recommends that all government departments must take more responsibility for making the government accessible. In other words, attendees believe that the Premier and Cabinet should promote accessibility in every sector of the government. For instance, the Premier’s mandate letters to ministers should include requirements to make accessibility a priority in their sectors.
Moreover, Onley’s review states that the government once promised to examine existing laws and make note of any accessibility problems they contain. Therefore, Onley recommends that the government make a plan to complete this examination. Likewise, the plan should include how the government will ensure that new laws do not create new accessibility problems.
In short, Onley’s review recommends that every person in government should take more responsibility for accessibility. The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility is an important new department of the government. Nonetheless, every government department and decision should have accessibility in mind. Moreover, both previous reviews of the AODA, in 2010 and 2014, have made a similar recommendation. In other words, Ontarians with disabilities have waited at least ten years for renewal of government leadership to implement the AODA.