ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Action Kit “Picture Our Barriers” Action Kit
February 26, 2016
The Ontario Government’s effort to make Ontario fully accessible to over 1.8 million people with disabilities has slowed to a crawl, mired in lethargy and bureaucracy. A widely-respected Independent Review that the Ontario Government appointed reported, over a year ago, that Ontario lags behind schedule for full accessibility for people with disabilities and that, after ten years on the books, Ontario’s accessibility law has not made a significant difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
We need your help to get the Government to roll up its sleeves, show strong leadership, and fulfil its duty to lead Ontario to become fully disability-accessible by 2025. This Action Kit shows great ways you can easily help with this non-partisan blitz to all members of the Ontario Legislature and to the news media. You can make a real difference!
Over 1.8 million Ontarians with a physical, mental, sensory, learning, intellectual or communication disability still face far too many unfair accessibility barriers every day, when they try to get a job, shop in stores, go to school or university, get health care services, find a place to live, eat in restaurants, use a taxi, public transit, or other public services, or deal with their municipal or provincial government. In 2005 the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). It requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to become fully accessible to all people with disabilities by 2025 (twenty years). Fewer than nine years remain.
Ontario is behind schedule for that goal. The Government of Ontario has no comprehensive plan to ensure that Ontario reaches that goal.
It’s not too late for Ontario to get back on schedule for full accessibility by 2025. But we need your help! We must convince every member of the Ontario Legislature (MPP), one at a time, to make this a real priority, and to press Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne for bold new action. We also need to ramp up media coverage of the accessibility barriers that persist around Ontario, and the need for bold new Ontario Government action.
If you have no disability, accessibility barriers still hurt you. You have family members or friends with disabilities. As you get older, you are bound to get a disability. We people with disabilities are the minority of everyone!
We are launching our new “Picture Our Barriers” campaign. To help join in, all you need is a smart phone. They all have a still and video camera! Take photos or videos of accessibility barriers you notice in your community. Post them on line! Tweet, Facebook message or email them to your Member of the Ontario Legislature (MPP) and local news media. Become a “citizen journalist.” This Action Kit shows you great ways to use these examples of accessibility barriers to show why the Ontario Government must speed up action to remove and prevent disability barriers.
Even if you have no smart phone, this Action Kit gives you everything you need to make a huge difference. Even if you have no smart phone, or don’t want to use it in this cause, we give lots of other ways you can help our blitz. This Kit explains the inaccessibility problem. It gives you action tips. It offers points you can make when talking to your MPP, their staff, news media, or anyone else you reach.
Have you never before spoken to an MPP or a news reporter? Is social media something you’ve never used like this? This Action Kit tells you what you need to know. Please read on. Try just one of our action tips. Share this Action Kit with friends and family. Get them to join our non-partisan grassroots blitz.
This Kit tells you about:
* Our goal for immediate action with which you can help.
* Our cool new “Picture Our Barriers” campaign, where we ask you to take pictures or videos of disability accessibility barriers in your community.
* Five ready-to-use action tips on how you can help our non-partisan disability accessibility campaign in Ontario, including using any photos and videos of accessibility barriers that you take.
* Ideas on what you may wish to tell politicians, news reporters, or others about the need for new Ontario Government action on disability accessibility.
* Links to more background information on this issue; and
* How to contact the AODA Alliance, to get more information and to tell us what actions you have taken to help our campaign.
2. Our Goal
We aim to get every Ontario MPP to speak out in favour of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), to press Premier Wynne for this law to be effectively implemented and enforced, and to urge her to keep her disability accessibility promises. We want each MPP to help us ensure that Ontario gets back on schedule for becoming fully accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. We aim to get news media around Ontario to give as much coverage as we can to accessibility barriers people with disabilities face, and to the need for the Ontario Government to ramp up its action on accessibility that has ground down to a crawl.
Many if not most MPPs who voted to pass the AODA in 2005 have left provincial politics. Newer MPPs, their staff and advisors don’t know much about this issue. Just as we convinced MPPs to support the AODA eleven years ago, we aim to do it again now, for a new crop of MPPs. We have done it before, winning the AODA. We can do it again!
As always, our campaign is non-partisan. We do not support or oppose any political party or candidate. We work with all political parties.
3. Use A Smart Phone to Become an Instant Citizen Journalist and Grassroots Barrier-Buster!
If you encounter any accessibility barrier in the community, take a picture or short video of it. You can photograph or video physical barriers, communication barriers, information barriers technological barriers, and, with some clever effort, even attitudinal barriers!
Some barriers impede people with physical disabilities. Others obstruct people with sensory disabilities. Some block those with an intellectual disability, or learning disability, or communication disability, or mental health condition. Some get in the way of a raft of different disabilities. You might wish to pick barriers that are especially easy to fix, and that are obvious.
It could be a single step to get into a store, snow piled in front of a Government office, or elevator buttons with no Braille or with one of those touch-screen controls that many cannot use. It could be an electronic point-of-sale device in a store with a flat screen and no accommodation for people with disabilities, or one that is simply too high for a person in a wheelchair to reach. Instructions for a public service posted that lack plain language? Take a snapshot! If a restaurant or taxi refuses to admit a person with a disability accompanied by a service animal, record it on video! Run into a Government or retail outlet’s website which a screen-reader can’t access, grab a screen shot of it. You’d be amazed at how much influence you can have with that smart phone. More and more, accessibility stories in the mainstream media originate with this kind of citizen journalism.
Some time ago, an individual sent a newspaper a photo of a car, improperly using a disability parking spot. It was a police car, parked in a disability parking spot in front of a doughnut shop! A little person got a friend to video appalling remarks he suffers when in public using his mobility device. A family’s ordeal, initially posted on Facebook, recounted how a young child with a disability was denied access to a play area because she had to wear orthopaedic shoes, while bare feet were expected. These citizen journalism stories went viral and then ended up in the mainstream media!
Even blind people can be photographers, as citizen journalists. They can take photos on an iPhone guided by the VoiceOver screen-reader. Our photos and videos don’t have to be works of art. They just have to show politicians and journalists the accessibility barriers people with disabilities still endure over ten years after the AODA was passed.
Here’s the quick and simple trick that makes these barrier photos and videos instantly become part of our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign, and it’s free! Post these on line, on a website, on YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook, or on all of them. When you do, make sure you include our new “hashtag” (an internet search term) that will point to our campaign. The new hashtag we intended for this is #AODAfail . If you include #AODAfail in a tweet, web posting, Facebook page or Youtube video posting, this will let everyone see all the barriers posted on line as part of our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign. Anyone who does an internet search on “#AODAfail” on the internet will have all postings pop up that use that hashtag.
For example, if you have a Twitter account, or open a new one (they are free), you can post a tweet with a really brief description of a barrier, a link to the photo or video, and then #AODAfail . If anyone searches on Twitter, including people who do not know you, they will see your tweet. Tweets must be no more than 140 characters.
If you take a photo of a step in front of a store, your tweet could include the photo and say:
1 step at (name of store) door = #Accessibility barrier! #AODAfail
On Twitter, if you put a # in front of the word “accessibility,” many will also see it, since many search on the hashtag #accessibility. You can include more than one hashtag term in a tweet, Facebook posting, YouTube video announcement or other web page.
You should also send your barriers photos or videos to your MPP and to the local media, to help get them interested in this issue. Read on for more ideas, on how to use your disability barriers photos and videos as part of our “Picture our Barriers” campaign.
4. Easy-To-Use Action Tips
Action Tip #1: Educate your MPP on the AODA and Get them to Publicly Support Our Call for More Government Action on Accessibility!
* Please visit, phone, email or tweet your local MPP. Educate them. Ask for their support and help. Later in this Action Kit, we suggest things you might wish to talk about. For a list of all MPPs and their contact information, visit our website at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/February-2016-Members-of-Legislative-Assembly-of-Ontario.doc
We must spark revitalized support from every MPP from all political parties. If your MPP is a Liberal, they can mount pressure within the Government. If your MPP is a Conservative or New Democrat, they can demand more Government action on disability accessibility in Question Period in the Legislature, speak out in their public speeches, talk to the media, and press their party to speak out more often and loudly on this issue. In the next part of this Action Kit, we give ideas of what you might want to say. Share your ideas in your own words.
* It's best to meet your MPP in person. If you can’t, then scheduling a phone call is second best.
A letter or email to your MPP telling them about your concerns of course helps, if you can’t reach them in person or on the phone. Any contact with them in any form helps. Letters or emails are better than nothing, but a visit or phone call has more impact.
* To get a meeting, you have to first talk to one of their staff at their local constituency office, or at their Queen’s Park office. Contact information for their offices is all on our MPP List, at the link above. MPPs depend on their staff to fill them in, and help them decide whether to meet you. As a first step, ask to meet with one of the MPP’s office staff in person, or talk to them on the phone. Tell the staffer everything you want to tell your MPP. You would be amazed at the impact that an MPP's staff members can have, working the corridors of power in Government. The staffer can also quietly give you tips that help you present to the MPP.
But don’t stop with meeting a MPP’s staff. The staffer is likely going to tell you that this issue is “very important” for their MPP. This is good to hear, but is not good enough. No doubt they always tell constituents this about their MPP, whatever their message may be. You still need to get face-to-face with the MPP. Make that your core request at this meeting.
* Assume that an MPP and their staff know very little about the AODA and disability accessibility. Ideas later in this Action Kit are a helpful guide of what you might want to say.
* The MPP's office may tell you that you have to send them a letter or email to ask for a meeting. If so, you might wish to write something like this (It is best to use your own words):
“I would like to meet with my MPP in person. I live in the riding. I want to talk about the need for the Ontario Government to do more to ensure that Ontario becomes fully accessible to all people with disabilities by 2025. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires the Government to lead Ontario to full accessibility by 2025. Progress has been too slow. Please let me know when and where we can meet.”
* Here is a great place to make use of our “Picture Our Barriers” blitz. When you meet or talk on the phone with your MPP, or with their staff, share photos or videos of disability barriers in your community. Tell stories of how these barriers hurt you, or people you know. Use these photos and videos to make the experience come alive.
* Urge your MPP and his or her staff to watch the one-hour captioned video of the AODA Alliance’s November 28, 2014 celebration at Queen’s Park of the 20th anniversary of our grassroots campaign for strong accessibility laws. It tells the story of the long, tough uphill battle we have had to fight for two decades. In it, your MPP and his or her staff can hear from us, and from former MPPs who helped along the way. To watch the captioned video of the AODA Alliance’s November 28, 2014 Queen’s Park Celebration of the 20th anniversary of the campaign for the AODA.
* Your MPP and their staff may want to learn more about this issue. You can print up the list of helpful links at the end of this Action Kit and give it to them. You may wish to give them this Action Kit! You can invite them to visit the AODA Alliance website at www.aodaalliance.org Urge them to write email@example.com to ask to sign up for AODA Alliance Updates via email, so they can keep current on this issue.
* These meetings are most effective if the MPP and their staff leave with a concrete “to do” list. Near the end of your meeting, ask your MPP or their staff member to follow up by taking very specific actions. We give examples later in this Action Kit.
Ask them when they will get back to you. After your meeting, send a quick email listing the things they promised to do. If you don’t hear back from them, call to remind them.
ACTION TIP #2: Bring Our Disability Accessibility Issues To your Local Media
* Contact your local newspapers, TV and radio stations. Urge them to cover this issue. Email or fax them this Action Kit. Urge them to cover accessibility issues that concern over 1.8 million Ontarians with disabilities, as well as their families and friends. Remind them that the huge number of persons with disabilities in Ontario is growing even larger, as the population ages. Encourage them to call your MPP, to ask whether your MPP thinks the Government could do more to make Ontario fully accessible to all people with disabilities by 2025.
* Here’s yet another great chance to make use of our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign. Send photos or videos of accessibility barriers to your local media, to urge them to cover this issue. Use email, Twitter or any other internet avenue you can come up with. Send them both to the news organization and to individual reporters that you might be able to interest in this issue.
The media likes a “story” that touches your community, and involves everyday people in everyday situations. They want to know about a specific accessibility barrier in your community and how it hurts you or your family member or friends who have a disability!
* Call to phone-in radio or TV shows to bring our issues to the public's attention. Use this open chance to instantly educate the audience.
* If a party leader or other Ontario MPP is on a TV or radio phone-in program, call to ask them about our disability accessibility issue. Ask them to commit to press Premier Wynne to strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement.
* Have more time? Write a guest column or letter to the editor on our issues for your newspaper. Please cut and paste as much as you want from AODA Alliance Updates and this Action Kit.
ACTION TIP #3: Community Organizations -- Help Spread the Word and Organize People to Contact Their MPPs!
Are you a staff member, volunteer, or board member of a community organization, a religious congregation, or a member of a Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee or a school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee? You are in a great position to help us spread our message! Please get your organization to use its network to spread the word. Send them this Action Kit. Organize a team or committee from your organization to help with our “Picture Our Barriers” blitz.
* Get your community organization to write Premier Wynne to call for action to speed up progress in Ontario towards full accessibility. Use points in the next section of this Action Kit. Add any points your organization wishes to emphasize.
* Encourage people connected with your organization to sign up for AODA Alliance Email Updates. They can send a request to sign up to firstname.lastname@example.org
* Get your community organization to assign a staff member or volunteer to send out our AODA Alliance Updates, or excerpts from them, to its staff, board, clients and volunteers.
* If your organization has a newsletter, include information from our AODA Alliance Updates in that newsletter. Please cut and paste from our Updates, or write your own summaries.
* Urge your community organization to organize people across Ontario to contact their MPPs, to press the Government to speed up progress towards a barrier-free Ontario. Suggest that your organization hold a town hall meeting to discuss barriers against people with disabilities. Contact the AODA Alliance for tips on how to organize an event like this, and to provide a volunteer speaker. Invite your MPP to attend and speak at that event, and to answer questions from the audience. Urge the media to attend this event and report on it. Video this event and post the video on YouTube. It’s free! Let the AODA Alliance know about this event. We can publicize it beforehand, and can publicize the posted video afterwards!
* Widely circulate the AODA Alliance’s new one-page leaflet. Post it on your website and email it to others. It lets people know how to connect with and get involved in Ontario’s campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities. You can download the AODA Alliance’s 1-page leaflet in MS Word format.
* Get your organization to link its website to the AODA Alliance’s website. Make this link directly to: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/default.asp
Your link might say “Learn what you can do to help make Ontario fully accessible for over 1.8 million people with all kinds of disabilities.”
* Many community organizations have developed personal contacts in the news media. Urge your community organization to use those contacts to seek more media coverage on barriers in your community and on the need for the Government to speed up progress towards full accessibility by 2025. Get them to send disability barrier photos and videos to their media contacts as part of our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign.
* Get your community organization to use its social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter, to spread our message. We have more tips on this below.
ACTION TIP #4: Spread the Word Through Social Media Like Twitter and Facebook!
We want to use the incredible power of social media to spread the word on our accessibility issues. In the 2014 federal election Barrier-Free Canada (for whom we are the Ontario affiliate) successfully used Twitter as its main way to campaign for the Canadians with Disabilities Act. What results did we get? A pledge by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pass a Canadians with Disabilities Act!
The AODA Alliance has a large and ever-expanding list of followers and supporters through these social media. On Twitter and Facebook, we daily send out lots and lots of punchy updates about accessibility in Ontario, elsewhere in Canada, and around the world. We are a recognized social media source of news on disability access. We are proud of how many of our posts are re-tweeted on Twitter, shared on Facebook, and “liked” on both social media.
* Sign up for Twitter. It is free. Follow us on Twitter. Urge others to follow us as well. Our Twitter handle is @aodaalliance
Re-tweet our AODA Alliance tweets.
* If you use Facebook, visit our Facebook page. It is called "Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance." Our Facebook page is open to all to visit at https://www.facebook.com/Accessibility-for-Ontarians-with-Disabilities-Act-Alliance-106232039438820/
* Let your Facebook friends know about us. Click on your Facebook page that you "like" our Facebook page. “Share” our Facebook posts with your Facebook friends as often as you can. Urge your Facebook friends to email us at email@example.com to receive our AODA Alliance Updates.
Action Tip #5: Organize a Public Forum or “Accessibility Café” on a Nearby University or Community College Campus
Community colleges and universities are great places to expand grassroots efforts on disability accessibility.
* We are happy to take part in accessibility public forums anywhere. We are focusing increased efforts at college and university campuses. If you are connected to a college or university in Ontario, as a student, faculty, staff member, or alumnus, get them to organize a public forum or “Accessibility Café.” We can provide speakers and the content.
So far, we are delighted that Queen's University, University of Windsor and York University have already held or planned one of these events. These events can be open to the whole campus, and to the nearby community.
* Look for natural allies who will want to lead this effort. That may include a campus’s centre that supports students with disabilities, an organization on campus of students, faculty or staff with disabilities, and the campus’s Accessibility Co-ordinator who works on AODA compliance.
* Encourage the college or university to contact the AODA Alliance for help, with speakers, ideas and publicity. We can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
* At an Accessibility Café, distribute the AODA Alliance’s new one-page leaflet. It lets people know how to connect with and get involved in Ontario’s campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities. You can download the AODA Alliance’s 1-page leaflet in MS Word format.
* Along with an Accessibility Café, it can be great to use a college or university campus to organize a Disability Barriers Scavenger Hunt. When students, faculty, staff and others do this, they can photograph and video disability barriers, and post them online as part of our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign, using our #AODAfail hashtag. Of course, college and university students are especially skilled at using social media.
4. Points You Might Want to Make to Your MPP and Others
Expect that your MPP and his or her office staff know very little about the AODA, and about the many barriers that people with disabilities face. Most current MPPs were not members of the Legislature when we fought from 1994 to 2005 to win the AODA. To many current MPPs and their staff, the AODA is just one of 750 Ontario laws. It may not seem a real priority for them. Some MPPs know about some disability accessibility barriers, if they or a family or staff member has a disability.
Making the Needs of People with Disability for True Accessibility Come Alive
How can you make our accessibility needs come alive for your MPP and their staff? Describe specific accessibility barriers that impede you, your family members or friends, when trying to get a job, ride public transit, get an education or health services, shop in stores, eat in restaurants, find a place to live or use public services. Show how frustrating this is.
Tell them that Ontarians who face barriers include those with a physical disability, a mental disability, a sensory disability, a learning disability, an intellectual disability or a mental health disability. Remind them that we are the minority of everyone. Everyone either has a disability now or gets one later in life. People without a disability today will be the people with disabilities of tomorrow!
Accessibility barriers can be physical barriers (like steps to get into a subway station or doctor’s office), information barriers (like no Braille on elevator buttons in a public building), communication barriers (like no Sign Language interpretation when going to a government office), bureaucratic barriers or even attitude barriers.
These barriers hurt many, many people. They help no one. A study conducted for the Ontario Government reported in 2010 that making Ontario fully accessible is financially good for our economy. It concluded that barriers against people with disabilities are financially harmful for our economy. Accessibility barriers have both a high human cost and financial cost.
Why Did We Need the AODA?
Our non-partisan, grassroots movement was born in late 1994 to make Ontario fully barrier-free for all Ontarians with disabilities. Across Ontario, people with disabilities and their families and friends tirelessly lobbied each MPP one at a time from 1994 to 2005. In 2005, after a tenacious decade of advocating, we achieved an historic victory that many thought impossible. We got all parties and all MPPs to vote to pass a strong, mandatory, effectively enforced law to make Ontario become fully accessible by 2025, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
The AODA was passed so people with disabilities won’t have to individually fight these barriers one at a time, by having to personally sue organizations under the Ontario Human Rights Code or the Charter of Rights, just to remove and prevent each and every individual barrier they face, day after day.
What the AODA Requires the Ontario Government to Do
The AODA requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to become fully accessible by 2025. Under the AODA:
1. The Government must pass a series of laws called “accessibility standards.” These regulations must tell public and private sector organizations what they specifically need to do, and by when, to remove and prevent known barriers, and become fully accessible by 2025. The Government must pass all the accessibility regulations needed to ensure that Ontario reaches full accessibility by 2025.
2. The Government must effectively enforce all AODA accessibility standards. It can and should inspect organizations, audit them, order them to obey the law if they don’t, and even impose monetary penalties for those that still won’t obey. There must be real consequences for organizations that break the law. Otherwise, many organizations won’t take this law seriously.
These are not new accessibility obligations. These barriers have been against the law since the early or mid-1980s. They violate the Ontario Human Rights Code and, in the case of public sector organizations, the Charter of Rights. The problem people with disabilities have faced is that too many obligated organizations didn’t obey the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Charter of Rights. That is why the AODA was needed.
What Progress So Far?
There has been some progress under the AODA since 2005. However, overall the Government is doing a very insufficient job.
After the Government had ten years to implement the AODA, Ontario was not on schedule for full accessibility by 2025. That is the finding of a widely-respected and exhaustive Independent Review of the AODA which the Ontario Government appointed former University of Toronto Law Dean Mayo Moran to conduct.
The Moran Report, which the Ontario Government made public on February 13, 2015, reported that after ten years on the books, the AODA had not made a significant difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
Ontario is certainly not now the world leader on accessibility that the Ontario Government says it is. It is great that some barriers have been removed, but far too few. Yet at the same, time new barriers are still being created.
In 2010, the Ontario government launched the new Presto Smart card for paying public transit fares. It promised it would be accessible. Yet it was originally designed so that you had to be able to read a video screen to know your card balance at a bus, train or subway station. That is just one new barrier for people who can’t read print, like people with vision loss or dyslexia.
The Government has not fulfilled its duty to make all the accessibility standards needed to ensure that Ontario reaches full accessibility by 2025. Years ago, it passed five accessibility regulations. They address barriers in Customer Service, employment, information and communication, transportation and in public spaces like recreational trails.
Even if every organization obeyed all those regulations, Ontario still will not become fully accessible by 2025, or ever. Those accessibility regulations don’t sufficiently address many important barriers we face. They mainly prevent some new barriers from being created in the future. They don’t require virtually any existing barriers to be removed.
For at least five years we have asked the Government to make the next new accessibility regulations to address barriers in three vital areas, education, health care and residential housing. People with disabilities face serious barriers in all three areas.
The Government has dithered for years. It has not said whether it would agree to make accessibility standards to address accessibility barriers in education. In 2009, the Ontario Government committed to work on residential housing barriers via accessibility standards, once certain other work was done. We have seen no action on that promise in seven years.
Over a year ago, the Wynne Government said it would create a Health Care Accessibility Standard. That was belated but great news. However over a year later, it has not taken the first mandatory step needed under the AODA, appointing an independent committee to consult the public and make recommendations.
For at least three years, the Government has been breaking its promise to effectively enforce the AODA. In November 2013, the Government knew a huge 70% of private sector organizations with twenty or more employees were violating the AODA, with no Government enforcement.
Since we revealed that terrible news in November 2013, the Government only took enforcement steps against a tiny fraction of organizations it knows are violating the AODA. The Government briefly increased AODA enforcement in 2013-2014, but then cut that by over one third in 2015. The Government knows that rampant private sector AODA violations continue.
This lax AODA enforcement is not due to budget problems. The Government office with the AODA enforcement mandate has ample unused funds on hand. It has been under-budget every year since the AODA was passed.
In the 2014 election, Premier Wynne promised to direct her cabinet ministers and other senior officials to implement the Government’s promises and duties. Yet she hasn’t done this, almost two years after being re-elected in June 2014. If Premier Wynne doesn’t give her minister these instructions, she and the public can hardly expect her ministers to treat this as a priority.
There are one billion people with disabilities around the world. Ontario is not a receptive accessible tourism destination for them. Toronto hosted the 2015 Pan/ParaPan American Games. The Ontario Government implemented no specific plans to increase the number of accessible restaurants, hotels, taxis and public transit services, so that people with disabilities could fully enjoy the Games and all Toronto has to offer.
The Government says accessibility means more opportunity for people with disabilities, and more income for businesses. Yet it's dropped the ball on leading Ontario to full accessibility.
It is not enough for the Government to say that there has been some improvement in the past eleven years on accessibility. Progress is not fast enough to ensure full accessibility by 2025.
What You Might Ask Your MPP to Do
No matter what party your MPP belongs to, ask him or her if they agree that the Government should do more to get Ontario back on schedule for full accessibility by 2025. Ask them to raise this within their political party, and with the Premier. Ask them to make a statement or ask a question about this in the Legislature, and to send you a copy of what they said.
Let your MPP know you don’t want to just hear that this is a priority for them. You want specific action. It is not enough to just hear a list of all the great things the Government or an opposition party says it is now doing.
If your MPP is a member of the Liberal Party, they may start reading to you from cheat notes that the Government prepares for its MPPs, about all the things the Government has done about accessibility for people with disabilities. You can tell them that we know all about this, and that we have shown it is not enough to ensure Ontario reaches full accessibility by 2025.
You may wish to tell your MPP you want Premier Wynne to:
1. Get her Government to fully and effectively enforce and implement the AODA now.
2. Announce that the Government will create an Education Accessibility Standard to address the accessibility barriers in Ontario’s school system, colleges, universities, and job training programs.
3. Address the many barriers that the AODA has not effectively dealt with, like the accessibility of stores, restaurants and existing buildings.
4. Keep her promise to instruct her cabinet ministers and other senior officials to implement all the Government’s promises and duties on disability accessibility.
Ask for Follow-Up
Ask for specific action to follow-up. Tell your MPP you want to hear back from them on what new they can get done. Ask them what they plan to do, and when you should hear back from them. Ask them to schedule a follow-up meeting with you.
5. Want More Background? Here are Helpful Links
Our website is chock full of useful background on our non-partisan campaign for a fully accessible Ontario for all people with disabilities. Here is a sampling:
Would you like to see exactly what the Government of Ontario has promised on disability accessibility? Here are links to key letters to the AODA Alliance from the Ontario Government, setting out disability accessibility election pledges:
The Ontario Liberal Government's 2014 disability accessibility election pledges are set out in Premier Wynne's May 14, 2014 letter to us.
Would you like to learn all about the history of our two-decade-long campaign to make Ontario fully accessible for people with disabilities? Check out our on-line captioned video lecture series on disability accessibility.
To read the AODA Alliance’s analysis of the final report of the Mayo Moran AODA Independent Review, and
To read our November 18, 2013 revelation of abject Government enforcement inaction despite knowing of massive violations of the AODA.
In the summer of 2014, the AODA Alliance offered the Government a detailed roadmap on how to get Ontario back on schedule for full accessibility by 2025, and to keep its promises on disability accessibility. To read the AODA Alliance’s June 30, 2014 Brief to the Mayo Moran Independent Review of the AODA.
6. How to Contact the AODA Alliance and Get Involved
Contact us, and send your feedback to us at email@example.com
To sign up for, or unsubscribe from AODA Alliance e-mail updates, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We encourage you to use the Government’s toll-free number for reporting AODA violations. We fought long and hard to get the Government to promise this, and later to deliver on that promise. Call 1-866-515-2025.
Please pass on our email Updates to your family and friends.
Why not subscribe to the AODA Alliance’s YouTube channel, so you can get immediate alerts when we post new videos on our accessibility campaign. https://www.youtube.com/user/aodaalliance
"Like" our Facebook page and share our updates.
Follow us on Twitter. Get others to follow us. And please re-tweet our tweets!! @AODAAlliance
Please also join the campaign for a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act, spearheaded by Barrier-Free Canada. The AODA Alliance is the Ontario affiliate of Barrier-Free Canada. Sign up for Barrier-Free Canada updates by emailing info@BarrierFreeCanada.org