ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

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Learn more at: www.aodaalliance.org
United for a Barrier-Free Ontario

Watch AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on TVOntario’s “The Agenda with Steve Paikin” Tonight at 8 or 11 PM or Later on YouTube, Talking about the Need for the Wynne Government to Create an Education Accessibility Standard – and – Insufficient Government Action on Accessibility Comes up During Budget Debates in the Ontario Legislature

March 3, 2016

SUMMARY

1. Watch AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky’s Twenty-Minute Interview Tonight at 8 or 11 PM on TVO’s “The Agenda With Steve Paikin” Or Later on YouTube

Please encourage friends, family and total strangers to watch Ontario’s leading public affairs TV program, “The Agenda with Steve Paikin”, tonight at 8 or 11 pm, or within the next few days, on YouTube. Steve Paikin interviews AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky for twenty minutes on troubling accessibility barriers facing students with disabilities in Ontario, and the need for the Wynne Government to at last decide that it will create and enact a much-needed Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

That the AODA Alliance has gotten great airtime on this influential public affairs program is a real credit to all our tenacious supporters across Ontario who press accessibility issues in your communities.

Why not use this interview to help our cause? Urge your MPP and your local media, and your local school board officials to watch this program. Press your MPP to agree to support our call for the Wynne Government to create an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA.

If your MPP, local media or school board officials miss the actual broadcast, tell them to watch it when it is available on YouTube in the next few days. We will let you know the Youtube link to it when it becomes available.

You can also use several earlier interviews by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on “The Agenda with Steve Paikin” on disability accessibility in recent years. Just go to YouTube and search on “David Lepofsky and Steve Paikin.”

As a cruel irony, the Government is taking far longer just to decide whether to create an Education Accessibility Standard than it takes to actually develop an accessibility standard. Tell your MPP that our call for the Wynne Government to develop and enact an Education Accessibility Standard has been supported by a number of organizations that speak for many of those on the front lines in our schools and universities who teach students across Ontario?

Are you a member of a school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee SEAC in your community? Please encourage all your SEAC members to sign up for AODA Alliance Updates. Tell them to just email aodafeedback@gmail.com and say “Sign me up!”

To read the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association’s endorsement of our call for an Education Accessibility Standard.

To read the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario’s endorsement of our call for an Education Accessibility Standard.

To read the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation's letter, endorsing our call for an Education Accessibility Standard.

To read the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association’s endorsement of our call for an Education Accessibility Standard.

2. Our Accessibility Campaign Comes Up During Debates in the Legislature on the Ontario Budget

During the February 29, 2016 debates in the Legislature on the new Ontario Budget, NDP MPP Percy Hatfield’s speech included the following remarks. This refers to recent AODA Alliance Updates:

“While we’re playing the shame game, let’s talk about this new budget and what it means to people with disabilities in this province. That will be a very short conversation because there’s very little of any consequence in these 350 pages that deals in any way with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. In fact, one of the brightest guys I’ve ever met, David Lepofsky, just reminded me about that on Friday. The Liberals brought in the ODA more than 10 years ago and yet he says the act “has not made a significant difference in the lives of people with disabilities.”

There are 1.8 million people in Ontario with a disability—nearly two million. The goal is for the province to be fully accessible by 2025. David Lepofsky has been practising law in Ontario for 35 years. He’s one of the most recognized and respected disability activists in Canada, and when he speaks, the members of this chamber should be listening.

He called out the Liberals last week, saying, “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.”

David Lepofsky says the Liberals have no comprehensive plan to ensure that we will reach the 2025 goal of a barrier-free Ontario. The document, the so-called Jobs for Today and Tomorrow—that budget document is a snow job, not a jobs plan.

Let me remind you what a great Canadian once said. A man who recently served us as Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, David Onley, was speaking about the problems that people with disabilities have in finding suitable employment. Our former Lieutenant Governor said that massive disability unemployment isn’t just a national crisis; it’s a national shame.

Well, you can take those words to the bank. I wouldn’t be taking this Jobs for Today and Tomorrow book to the bank unless it was a snow bank, because, as I said, it’s more of a snow job pretending to be a blueprint for a better tomorrow. I guess you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool most of us with this one.”

3. Remember to join in the AODA Alliance’s “Picture Our Barriers’ Blitz

Help us get more people involved in our new “Picture Our Barriers” blitz. If you search on #AODAfail on Twitter or on the internet, you can see we already have some wonderful early adopters!

To help that blitz, you need a smart phone. Take photos or videos of accessibility barriers 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. Include our new search term or “hashtag” #AODAfail so others will find what you post.

Be a “citizen journalist.” Our “Picture Our Barriers” Action Kit shows how to use these examples of accessibility barriers to show why the Ontario Government must speed up action to remove and prevent disability barriers.

If you don’t have a smart phone, or want to reach out to your MPP and local media the old-fashioned way, our Action Kit has lots of great ideas for you.

Everything you need to take part in our “Picture Our Barriers’ campaign can be found at www.aodaalliance.org/2016. Check it out from time to time, as we are adding new helpful resources there for you, when we can. There you can find

4. Don’t Forget the Opportunity to Learn More at Upcoming Community Accessibility Forums and Panels

To find out the details about the March 3, 2016 accessibility café at the Windsor Law School, the March 7, 2016 accessibility forum at York University and the accessibility panel to be held on March 12, 2016 at Ryerson University, including how to RSVP. Sign language is booked for each of these events. 

You can always send your feedback to us on any AODA and accessibility issue at aodafeedback@gmail.com

To sign up for, or unsubscribe from AODA Alliance e-mail updates, write to: aodafeedback@gmail.com

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. If you encounter any accessibility problems at any large retail establishments, it will be especially important to report them to the Government via that toll-free number. 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.

Please "like" our Facebook page and share our updates.

Follow us on Twitter. Get others to follow us. And please re-tweet our tweets!! @AODAAlliance

Learn all about our campaign for a fully accessible Ontario by visiting http://www.aodaalliance.org

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