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Today is The Ford Government’s Troubling Three Year Anniversary of Inaction On the Onley Report, Which Had Urged Bold New Action on Accessibility for 2.6 Million Ontarians with Disabilities


January 31, 2022 Toronto: Today is the three year anniversary of the day when the Ford Government received the blistering final report of the Independent Review of the Implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley. In the 1,096 days since then, Premier Ford announced no comprehensive plan to implement Onley’s report. Onley found that progress towards Ontario becoming accessible to 2.6 million people with disabilities was “glacial”, and that Ontario remains full of “soul-crushing barriers” impeding people with disabilities.

The Onley report concluded that Ontario needs the Premier to show strong new leadership on disability accessibility. In the 2018 Ontario election, Doug Ford pledged to Ontarians with disabilities that:

“Your issues are close to the hearts of our Ontario PC Caucus and Candidates, which is why they will play an outstanding role in shaping policy for the Ontario PC Party to assist Ontarians in need.”

Yet, the Ford Government’s record on making Ontario accessible for people with disabilities is abysmal. It initiated a few slow, halting, and inadequate actions on accessibility. However, on balance, it made things worse for people with disabilities. Here are examples:

* Last week, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky launched an urgent court application because The Ford Government requires a driver’s license to renew an expired Health Card online. This discriminates against blind people like Lepofsky. The Government won’t accept its own official Ontario Photo ID Card.
* The Government allowed a Critical Care Triage Protocol to be embedded in Ontario hospitals which would discriminate against some patients because of their disabilities in access to life-saving care, if critical care must be rationed during the pandemic. * The COVID-19 vaccine process has been replete with disability barriers.
* The Ford Government is spending half a billion dollars on building new schools, and major additions to existing schools, without requiring them to be designed to be accessible to people with disabilities.

“Last November, we wrote the political parties, requesting specific election commitments on accessibility for people with disabilities. We’ll let the public know what each party promises, as our movement has done in every Ontario election since 1995,” said chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance. “The Ontario Government has less than three years to meet the Disabilities Act deadline to lead Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities by 2025, and we want to know what each party will do to speed things up.”

Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, Twitter: @aodaalliance
For background, visit the AODA Alliance website.