ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

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United for a Barrier-Free Ontario

Send Us Your Feedback on a New Discussion Paper that Offers Ideas on What the Promised Canadians with Disabilities Act Could Include

March 15, 2016

SUMMARY

We are delighted to share with you a new Discussion Paper on what the Canadians with Disabilities Act, promised to Canadians by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, should include. This Discussion Paper draws on experience with accessibility laws in Ontario and Manitoba, and elsewhere around the world. It is built on the 14 principles for the Canadians with Disabilities Act which Barrier-Free Canada has put forward, on Canada’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and aon feedback from our supporters.

Below, we set out a summary of this 48-page Discussion Paper. You can download the new Discussion Paper on What the Canadians with Disabilities Act Should Include, in an accessible MS Word document.

This Discussion Paper was written by Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David Lepofsky, to help Barrier-Free Canada and others across Canada come up with ideas on what the Canadians with Disabilities Act should include.

We encourage you to:

* Send us your feedback on this Discussion Paper. Do you agree with the ingredients for the Canadians with Disabilities Act that it proposes? Are there other things you think should be included in the Canadians with Disabilities Act?

Send your feedback to us at info@barrierfreecanada.org

Please try to get us your feedback by the end of May 2016. We will use your feedback as Barrier-Free Canada formulates its full brief on what the promised Canadians with Disabilities Act should include, that we will send to all political parties.

* Please widely circulate this Discussion Paper. Send it to friends, family, community organizations, and religious communities in which you are involved. Encourage as many people as possible to send us feedback and ideas. Use it to help build support in the community for a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act.

* Send this Discussion Paper to your Member of Parliament. Talk to your MP about what you would like a strong Canadians with Disabilities Act to include.

* Please encourage your MP to support Barrier-Free Canada’s proposals on how the Federal Government should hold open, inclusive and accessible public consultations on what the Canadians with Disabilities Act should include.

Back on January 12, 2016, we wrote Canada’s new Disabilities Minister, Carla Qualtrough. We offered her ideas on how she should consult with Canadians on the contents of the Canadians with Disabilities Act. Prime Minister Trudeau has assigned to her the responsibility to lead the development of this legislation. So far, she has not answered our letter, and has not, to our knowledge, announced any consultations on the Canadians with Disabilities Act.

To read Barrier-Free Canada’s January 12, 2016 letter to Minister Qualtrough.

To read Barrier-Free Canada’s 14 principles for the Canadians with Disabilities Act.

We will keep you posted on any new developments. To read a time line of major events to date on the road to a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/01212016.asp

Summary of the March 15, 2016 Discussion Paper on What the Canadians with Disabilities Act should Include

By Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David Lepofsky

  1. The purpose of the Canadians with Disabilities Act should be to ensure that, as far as Parliament can achieve this, the Federal Government should lead Canada to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by a deadline that the law will set. It should effectively implement the equality rights which the Charter of Rights and the Canada Human Rights Act guarantee to people with disabilities, without their having to battle accessibility barriers one at a time, and one organization at a time, by filing individual human rights complaints or Charter claims.
  2. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that all federally-regulated organizations provide accessible goods, services, facilities and employment.
  3. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should put the Government of Canada in charge of leading Canada to full accessibility.
  4. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should create an independent Canada Accessibility Commissioner, reporting directly to Parliament, that will lead the Act’s implementation and enforcement.
  5. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should establish a clear, broad, inclusive definition of “disability.”
  6. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require the Federal Government to create the mandatory, enforceable accessibility standards that will lead Canada to full accessibility.
  7. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure a prompt, effective and open process for developing and reviewing Federal accessibility standards.
  8. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure the effective enforcement of the Canadians with Disabilities Act.
  9. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure strong centralized action on disability accessibility among Federal Regulatory Agencies.
  10. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that the strongest accessibility law always prevails.
  11. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that public money is never used to create, perpetuate or exacerbate accessibility barriers.
  12. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that no Federal laws authorize or require disability barriers.
  13. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that Federal elections become fully accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities.
  14. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure a fully accessible Federal Government.
  15. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure full accessibility of all courts within federal authority.
  16. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should mandate a national strategy for expanding international trade in Canadian accessible goods, services and facilities.
  17. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should establish initial and interim measures to promote accessibility pending development of Federal accessibility standards.
  18. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should ensure that efforts at educating the public on accessibility under the Canadians with Disabilities Act don’t stall or delay needed implementation and enforcement action.
  19. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should mandate the Federal Government to assist and encourage Provincial and Territorial Governments to enact comprehensive, detailed accessibility legislation.
  20. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should mandate the Federal Government to create national model Accessibility Standards which provinces, territories and other organizations across Canada can use.
  21. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should set time lines for Federal Government action on implementing the Canadians with Disabilities Act.
  22. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should require periodic Independent Reviews of progress under the Act.
  23. The Canadians with Disabilities Act should be meaningful, have teeth, and not be mere window-dressing.