Ontario Human rights Reform - A call to Action

Public hearings on controversial bill 107 to resume in Toronto Nov. 15 - book your time slot to present now!

November 3, 2006

SUMMARY

An important new phase has begun in our campaign to prevent the weakening of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and our human rights system. The Ontario Legislature's Standing Committee on Justice Policy has announced that it will resume public hearings on the controversial Bill 107 on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 in Toronto. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you call the Standing Committee NOW to schedule a time to make a presentation, whether you are part of an organization, or appearing as an individual. (See the Standing Committee's contact information at the bottom)

Bill 107 is the McGuinty Government's widely-criticized proposed new law that would strip the Ontario Human Rights Commission of most of its power to enforce the Human Rights Code. The Human Rights Code bans discrimination in access to things like employment, goods, services and facilities on grounds like physical or mental disability, race, religion, sex, and many other grounds.

The Legislature's Standing Committee has announced that the public hearings on the Bill will be held on Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 noon at least until the Legislature goes on its winter break. The Standing Committee is now booking time slots for individuals and organizations to make presentations. Call now to book your slot. Their staff are very helpful. Organizations will be given 30 minutes to present. Individuals will be given 20 minutes each.

Even if you haven't previously told the Standing Committee you'd like to make a presentation at the public hearings, it is not too late to ask. Contact the Standing Committee to make this request. People and organizations who haven't yet put their name on the sign-up list still have until December 15, 2006 to sign up!

Although these hearings will be in Toronto at the Legislature's building at Queen's Park, they are not restricted to only hear from presenters who live in Toronto. If you are from outside Toronto, ask the Standing Committee whether you can arrange to make your presentation either over a video hook-up or even over the phone, or whether the Standing Committee will help cover transportation costs.

We are told the Standing Committee is now contacting those already on their sign-up list to book time slots for presentations to the Standing Committee, on a "first come, first served" basis. However, even if you haven't been contacted, don't wait! We strongly encourage you now to contact the Standing Committee. If you have previously told the Standing Committee you want to make a presentation to the Bill 107 public hearings, book your time slot as soon as possible. This also includes, among everyone else, those people and organizations that asked for a time slot at last summer's Ottawa, London or thunder Bay hearings, but who weren't given a time slot to make a presentation there. If you haven't yet put your name on their sign-up list, do so now!

It is vitally important that every individual and organization that wants to make a presentation be assured a slot at the public hearings. Our human rights system is important to every Ontarian. The Ontario Government was wrong not to hold an open public consultation before bringing forward Bill 107. It has left it to these public hearings to give people a chance for such input. Unfortunately these hearings are taking place only after the McGuinty Government already came forward with the seriously flawed Bill 107. The door shouldn't be slammed in anyone's face now.

There isn't enough time before the Legislature rises some time in December for the Standing Committee to receive presentations from all the 200 or more presenters who have already signed up to present at the Standing Committee . We understand the Standing Committee is considering the possibility of holding more hearings in the winter, if the Legislature gives it authority to do so. So far, we have no assurances. ,

We will update you on recent developments and will provide more information to help you prepare your presentation to the Standing Committee over the next days and weeks. For some helpful tips, visit:

http://www.aodaalliance.org/reform/update-073106.asp

To learn more about Bill 107 generally, and the AODA Alliance's serious concerns about it, visit:

http://www.aodaalliance.org/reform/default.asp

If you have booked a time slot at the public hearings, let us know. If you want more information on how to make your presentation to the Standing Committee, let us know. You can email us at:

aodafeedback@rogers.com

Please be patient if you email us. We are volunteers, and try our best to respond to emails.

At the first three days of public hearings on Bill 107 last August in Ottawa, London and Thunder Bay, the presenters who opposed the seriously-flawed Bill 107 substantially outnumbered those supporting it by more than 2 to 1. We expect that the small vocal group (mainly some lawyers) who support Bill 107 will be active trying to get others to go to the Standing Committee to support their cause. If you are concerned about Bill 107's impact on your human rights, don't leave it to others to tell the Standing Committee -- Go to the Standing Committee and tell them yourself!


STANDING COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE POLICY NEWS RELEASE

Attention News Editors:

Public hearings of the Standing Committee on Justice Policy on Bill 107, Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2006
TORONTO, Oct. 31 /CNW/ - The Standing Committee on Justice Policy will meet to consider Bill 107, An Act to amend the Human Rights Code.

The Committee intends to hold public hearings in Toronto commencing on Wednesday, November 15, 2006.

The Committee intends to hold additional public hearings in the winter on dates and in locations to be determined.

Interested people who wish to be considered to make an oral presentation on Bill 107 must contact the Committee Clerk by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 15, 2006.

Those who do not wish to make an oral presentation but wish to comment on the Bill may send written submissions to the Committee Clerk at the address below by the end of public hearings on the Bill.

Copies of the Bill may be purchased through Publications Ontario at 1-800-668-9938, or at (416) 326-5300 in Toronto. An electronic version of the Bill is also available on the Legislative Assembly website at: www.ontla.on.ca.

Videoconferencing or teleconferencing arrangements may be made for those unable to appear in person.

Vic Dhillon, MPP
Chair of the Committee

Collect calls will be accepted.

Ces renseignements sont disponibles en franšais sur demande.

For further information: Anne Stokes, Clerk Room 1405, Whitney Block,
Queen's Park, Toronto, ON, M7A 1A2, Telephone: (416) 325-3515, Facsimile:
(416) 325-3505, TTY/ATS: (416) 325-3538