Every four years, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario appoints someone to review the AODA. This reviewer spends time meeting with the public, especially people with disabilities, discussing possible improvements the AODA might need. Based on this public feedback, the reviewer writes a report about how effective the AODA and its mandates are. In addition, the reviewer recommends steps the government can take to improve the Act. The reviewer then submits this report to the Minister in charge of the AODA. The third review of the AODA became public in 2019.
The Third Review of the AODA
The Honourable David C. Onley, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, wrote the third review of the AODA. In this review, he outlines many barriers that Ontarians with disabilities encounter every day. Moreover, Onley states that the current AODA does not do enough to remove or prevent barriers. In short, Onley states that the current AODA will not meet its goal of making Ontario fully accessible by 2025. However, he recommends many changes the government can make that will help the AODA become better law. In addition, Onley recommends how changes to our culture can help people understand disability more clearly. As a result of this clearer understanding, Ontarians may be more willing to create a barrier-free province.
Furthermore, Onley outlines steps that the first and second reviewers of the AODA have recommended. In many cases, the government has not yet taken these steps. Therefore, some of the steps Onley recommends repeat suggestions that other reviewers have already made. Nonetheless, these suggestions are still important for the government to follow. In fact, they may be more important, because people with disabilities have waited for them for almost ten years.
Our next series of articles will explore Onley’s recommendations in the third review of the AODA. We will outline the steps that Onley recommends to make the AODA better and make Ontario truly accessible.