Ontario Human rights Reform - A call to Action
STILL TIME TO SIGN UP TO PRESENT AT PUBLIC HEARINGS ON THE CONTROVERSIAL BILL 107 FOR THIS FALL IN TORONTO - ACT NOW!
August 22, 2006
Itís more important than ever that as many of you as possible, either organizations or individuals, sign up as soon as possible to make an oral presentation this fall at the continued public hearings on the controversial Bill 107 before the Legislatureís Standing Committee on Justice Policy. Bill 107 is the McGuinty Governmentís proposed new law that will take away from the Ontario Human Rights Commission most of its power to investigate and publicly prosecute discrimination cases. Below we help you with information on how to sign up.
We urge as many of you as possible to now contact the Legislatureís Standing Committee on Justice Policy to ask to make an oral presentation at this fallís resumed public hearings on Bill 107. This is the most important way you can help with the campaign to prevent the weakening of the Human Rights Commission. Details on how to submit your request are set out below.
We still donít know when the Toronto hearings will take place, or how many days of hearings will be held. All we know about the hearings is:
* The Toronto hearings wonít start until after the Legislature resumes sitting on September 25, 2006.
* You can ask to present at the upcoming Toronto hearings even if you are not from the Toronto area. If you are from other parts of Ontario, you might either travel to Toronto to present, or ask to make your presentation over the phone or by video hookup.
* Donít think that it is only important for organizations to make presentations. The Standing Committee has welcomed presentations by individuals as well, even if they donít speak for an organization.
* We donít know if the Standing Committee will allow time to hear from everyone who asks to make a presentation. In its first three days of hearings, held two weeks ago, we understand that time may have been offered to presenters on a ďfirst come, first servedĒ basis.
* In London, and possibly in Ottawa, the Standing Committee had more requests to present than it had time available during the one day of hearings in each of those cities. There has been some indication that at least for those who could not get time to present in London, the Standing Committee may offer a future opportunity to present. That future opportunity may involve another hearing day in London, or a chance to present at upcoming Toronto hearings in person, or a chance to make the presentation to the Toronto hearings via a phone hook-up. We have no information on whether the Standing Committee will cover the travel costs of London presenters or others from outside Toronto who may have to come to Toronto to present.
* To date, the number of presenters at the first three days of the hearings who oppose bill 107 have strongly outnumbered those who supported the bill by more than 2 to 1. This helps convey a strong message to the McGuinty Government that this bill is fundamentally flawed.
* You donít have to submit a written brief in order to make an oral presentation. The Standing Committee will let presenters know in advance how much time each gets to present. At the first three days of hearings, presenters got somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes each. However, you are not obliged to fill all your allocated time if you donít wish.
* The AODA Alliance is happy to make available helpful background information and tips for anyone who signs up to make a presentation. For example, visit:
HOW TO SIGN UP FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS
Itís easy and quick to sign up to ask to make a presentation at the continued hearings! For the steps to take, visit:
The Standing Committee hasnít yet fixed a deadline for requesting an opportunity to make an oral presentation. We have heard word that as many as 80 requests to present have already been made.
AN INTERESTING TWIST AT THE THUNDER BAY HEARINGS ON AUGUST 10, 2006
At the August 10, 2006 Thunder Bay hearings, the Standing Committee passed an important motion, proposed by NDP MPP Peter Kormos, about its upcoming hearings, namely:
ďI move that the standing committee on justice policy invites former chairs/commissioners of the OHRC and current Commissioner Barbara Hall and commission managers and staff to attend before the committee during its consideration of Bill 107, and that they be allowed adequate time for their submissions and responses to questions.Ē
This motion is very significant. Itís important for the Standing Committee to hear not only from politically-appointed commissioners, but also from Human Rights Commission staff to get each of their perspectives on the bill.
WANT TO READ WHAT WAS SAID AT THE FIRST THREE DAYS OF PUBLIC HEARINGS ON BILL 107?
You can read all the proceedings to date at the Standing Committee on Justice Policyís public hearings on Bill 107. visit: