ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

Sign Up for AODA Alliance Updates by writing: aodafeedback@gmail.com
Learn more at: www.aodaalliance.org
United for a Barrier-Free Ontario

Call the New Ontario Government Toll-Free Line to Report AODA Violations We Campaigned Over Two Years to Win This Toll-Free Number!

March 23, 2015

Summary

The Ontario Government only has 9 years, 10 months and 8 days left to lead Ontario to become fully accessible to 1.8 million Ontarians with disabilities by 2025, as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires.

The Ontario Government has at last established a toll-free phone number for the public to report violations of the AODA. This is an interim victory for us, on the long road of our ongoing effort to get the Government to keep its promise to effectively enforce the AODA.

Use this line if you encounter an organization in Ontario which you believe is violating the AODA. In this Update, we explain how to use this line, and summarize the background to the long campaign to get the Government to establish it. For those who want the whole story, we then give you more details on how this phone line came about, and the problems with it that we urge the Ontario Government to address.

To report an AODA violation to the Government, call 1-866-515-2025.
TTY: 1-800-268-7095

Take the steps we describe here, and then tell the Government operator you reach the specifics of the AODA violation, including what happened and when, and the name of the organization that violated the AODA.

When you call this number, it is not immediately clear from the Government’s audio announcement that this is the number to call to report AODA violations to the Government. Stick with it!

To reach a human being in order to report a violation of the AODA, first press 1 for English or 2 for French. The automated phone system will then offer to press 1 if you are an individual, or 2 for a business. Press 1, if you want to report an AODA violation.

You will then hear a longer audio announcement. At any time during that audio announcement, just press 0, to reach an operator. Tell the operator you want to report a violation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

The first operator you reach does not take that information down from you. Instead, that first operator is supposed to then connect you with a second operator, one who works at the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, located at the Economic Development Ministry. That second operator is the person to whom you can report an AODA violation.

We encourage you to:

* Call this toll-free number if you know of a situation where an obligated organization is violating the AODA, or any accessibility standards under it.

* Ask the Ontario Government operator you reach what the Government will do with the information you give them. Ask them to be sure that the obligated organization is notified that you have contacted the Government with this report of an AODA violation.

* It is not necessary to yourself first notify the obligated organization of your concern that it has violated the AODA. However, it is quite worthwhile to first let that obligated organization know about the accessibility problem. When you call the Government’s toll-free number, you can include in your report any information on your efforts to get the obligated organization to fix the problem, and the response you received from the obligated organization.

* Encourage your friends and family members to also use this toll-free number to report violations of the AODA.

* Widely publicize the availability of this toll-free number. Include it in newsletters, letters to the editor, Facebook pages, etc.

Let us know what happens when you call this number. You can give us your feedback on your experience by emailing us at aodafeedback@gmail.com

The rest of this Update describes how we have campaigned for this toll-free number since at least 2012. As a result, in the spring 2014 Ontario election, Premier Wynne promised us in writing to establish this toll-free line, and to publicize it.

After that, it took the Government more than another half a year just to establish this line as a place for the public to report AODA violations and to tell us about it. The first notification we received that this line was designated for that purpose was in the February 19, 2015 letter to the AODA Alliance from Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid, which we quote below. He has lead responsibility for implementing and enforcing the AODA.

As also explained further below, within minutes of receiving that letter, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky called that number to report an AODA violation. The audio announcement he heard over the phone gave no indication at all that this phone line had been established for that purpose. The operator he reached told him that this phone line is NOT for reporting AODA violations. Working from what sounded like a prepared script, she invited him to instead consider filing an individual human rights complaint with Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal.

A few days later, he tried that same number a second time. A different operator said that he could provide information on AODA violations over that phone line.

As a result of these events and the AODA Alliance’s efforts, we appreciate that in recent days the Government has improved the announcement on this line. However, it still lacks the clarity callers deserve. It also gives troubling, inaccurate information about AODA enforcement. We delve into this further below, and give you a transcript of what the Government says on that announcement.

So far, we have seen no Government effort to publicize this number as a place for the public to report AODA violations. Premier Wynne promised in last year’s election both to establish this line, and to publicize it. By sending you this Update, we appear to have done much more to publicize this toll-free line than has the Government.  

It is essential that it be widely publicized, so that the public can learn about it, and make effective use of it. Moreover, if obligated organizations know about this phone line’s existence, as a result of that Government publicity, it can help give them another reason to take more action to comply with the AODA. In an excerpt that we set out below, the final report of the Mayo Moran AODA Independent Review emphasized to the Government last fall that it is important to both establish and properly publicize this phone line.

At the same time as the Government is cutting back on AODA enforcement this year, it will appear to many that the Government is reluctant to ensure that the public knows about this toll-free line, as a place for reporting AODA violations. It also seems that the Government may be trying to lower your expectations of what it will do with information you provide over this phone number.

It is our understanding that the Government is to use the information you provide over this phone line when deciding what enforcement steps it will take under the AODA, including which obligated organizations it will inspect or audit, or address with other enforcement measures. We have never expected that the Government would immediately send out inspectors every time a report of an AODA violation is received. However, reports that the Government receives over this line should play an important role as the Government decides what resources to devote to AODA enforcement, which sectors of the economy, which recurring barriers and which obligated organizations should be priorities for AODA enforcement, and when action on enforcement should be launched.

The Government should also use information received over this phone line as it decides what reforms are needed to current accessibility standards, and which new accessibility standards should be developed. For example, the Government is now deciding what measures should be enacted to strengthen the current weak Customer Service Accessibility Standard that it enacted in 2007. Reports over this phone line of barriers to accessible Customer Service can help inform those reforms. The Government should make public summaries of information it receives over this phone line.

As we discuss further below, the Government unfortunately keeps emphasizing that the AODA does not create a process for members of the public to file AODA complaints. We have repeatedly responded that this is a red herring. The AODA need not include specific provisions for filing complaints or reporting AODA violations, for the Government to receive such information from the public and to act on that information when enforcing the AODA. Nothing in the AODA forbids the Government from receiving reports from the public about AODA violations, and in acting on that information when taking enforcement steps.

At the end of this Update we provide links to important background on this, and on our ongoing struggle to get the Government to keep its promises to effectively enforce the AODA.

Send your feedback to us at aodafeedback@gmail.com

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

Please pass on our email Updates to your family and friends.

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

MORE DETAILS - Our Long, Frustrating Campaign to Get the Ontario Government to Establish and Publicize a Toll-Free Phone Number for the Public to Report AODA Violations

1. Why We Want the Government to Establish and Publicize a Toll-Free Line for the Public to Report AODA Violations

For over five years, we have been pressing the Ontario Government to implement strategies to keep its promise to effectively enforce the AODA. In our ongoing effort to be positive and constructive, we have offered the Government reasonable, cost-effective ideas.

An idea we have pressed since at least 2012, has been our proposal that the Government establish and publicize a toll-free number for the public to report AODA violations to the Government. The Government will of course only have a limited number of public officials doing AODA enforcement. It seemed obvious to us that the Government would benefit from hearing from members of the public about AODA violations they have witnessed. Moreover, obligated organizations would be more likely to take the AODA seriously if they know that members of the public have a convenient and effective way to alert the Government to AODA violations.

This is an easy measure for the Government to implement. The Government has a network of technology for the public to call, to deal with a wide range of needs, from driver’s licences to tax questions.

2. Trying to Get the Government to Agree to Establish a Toll-Free Number to Report AODA Violations

Regrettably, we kept hitting a brick wall when we tried to get action on this proposal. The Government would not commit to take this simple step. It gave no reasons for its unwillingness to do so.

Therefore, in the fall of 2012, we launched a short term blitz to try to get the Government to act. On October 15, 2012, when Dalton McGuinty was still Ontario’s premier, we announced a short term blitz. We called it Our “Dial Dalton” campaign. Because the Government would not designate a phone number for reporting AODA violations, we invited members of the public to call the office of Premier McGuinty to report AODA violations.

We selected a symbolically important day to kick off our Dial Dalton Campaign. We invited the public to do this starting on October 29, 2012. Fourteen years earlier, on October 29, 1998, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed a landmark resolution. It called for a disability accessibility law to be enacted in Ontario that fulfilled the 11 principles which Ontarians with disabilities had formulated to ensure that this legislation was strong and effective. It was then-opposition Liberal MPP Dwight Duncan who had tabled that resolution in the Legislature on behalf of Ontario’s Liberal Party.

We announced our Dial Dalton Campaign two weeks before it was set to take place. We hoped that this might lead the Government to launch the toll-free number for the public to report AODA violations to the Government. We let the Government know that we would call off this Dial Dalton Campaign, if the Government gave us a number to call to report AODA violations. Regrettably, the Government still did not take up our proposal.

To read the AODA Alliance’s October 15, 2012 announcement of the Dial Dalton Campaign.

The need for this toll-free number became more pressing as the duties of obligated organizations under the AODA started to go into effect between 2011 and 2013. This was amplified in November, 2013. The AODA Alliance then made public Government records that showed the Government was not effectively enforcing the AODA, even though it knew of rampant AODA violations among private sector organizations with at least 20 employees.

After that revelation, the Government promised to ramp up AODA enforcement. However it still did not accept our proposal to set up this toll-free number.

3. Making Progress – Premier Wynne Promises a Toll-Free Line for Reporting AODA Violations as Part of AODA Enforcement

In the spring 2014 Ontario election, the AODA Alliance asked all political parties to commit to strengthen the AODA’s enforcement. Among other things, we asked each party to pledge that if elected, it would establish a toll-free number for the public to report AODA violations to the Government.

During that campaign, Premier Wynne promised that if re-elected, her Government would establish and publicize the toll-free number we had sought. In her May 14, 2014 letter to the AODA Alliance, setting out the Liberal Party’s disability accessibility election pledges, she wrote:

“B. Ensure that all enforceable requirements under the AODA are effectively enforced

4. The Ontario Liberal Party is dedicated to pursuing compliance and enforcement action to bring more private sector organizations into compliance with AODA. To speak to our track record, 99 per cent of Designated Broader Public Sector Organizations have submitted their reports by the deadline to date. If I am elected, I will see to it that this becomes 100 per cent.

We will ensure that organizations that fail to comply with AODA requirements are met with monetary penalties and be subjected to prosecution, where necessary. Under my government, we issued the first monetary penalties. I am committed to using all enforcement provisions under the AODA to ensure that organizations that do not comply with the law are penalized and to encourage compliance. To date, my government has issued over 500 Notices of Director’s Orders and we will continue to send more out monthly. Paired with enforcement activities, we are actively reaching out to businesses and not-for-profit organizations to help them understand and follow their obligations under the AODA.

5. With respect to additional enforcement activities, we commit to investigating the possibility of having government inspectors and investigators enforce the AODA within the context of existing resources and as training capacity exists.

6. We will make a detailed plan on all enforcement activities available, along with establishing and publicizing an accessible toll-free phone number to report violations of AODA requirements. Unfortunately, communication of the enforcement plan is on hold during the writ period. I look forward to releasing it promptly should we win the honour of re-election.

7. To ensure increased transparency going forward, we will make an annual report publicly available on levels of compliance including the effectiveness of our enforcement measures.”

4. Campaigning to Get the Wynne Government to Keep Its 2014 Election Promise Regarding the Toll-Free Line

After the Wynne Government won the 2014 Ontario election, we promptly approached it, urging it to keep its accessibility election pledges. We drew the Government’s attention to its promise to establish this toll-free line. Despite this, we saw no action on this front for months.

On November 15, 2014 (almost one year to the day after we made public the Government’s lack of effective AODA enforcement despite the Government knowing of massive AODA violations), the Government posted a short document on line about AODA enforcement and other topics. It has since claimed that this document is its comprehensive plan for AODA enforcement.

However, our careful analysis of that document showed that it told us very little about the Government’s detailed plans for AODA enforcement. It contained little if anything new. Significant to the issue that this Update addresses, it said nothing about keeping the Government’s promise to establish a toll-free phone line for the public to report AODA violations.

Around the same time, in November 2014, the Wynne Government received the final report of the Mayo Moran AODA Independent Review. It had conducted an inquiry into the effectiveness of the Government’s implementation of the AODA.

In its final report, which the Government did not make public until February 13, 2015, Professor Moran endorsed the need for the promised toll-free line to be established and effectively publicized. Among other things, she said this about that topic:

“It is clear from the consultations, and from a review of best practices, that ensuring meaningful and well-publicized feedback mechanisms will be important to the enforcement plan. Premier Wynne’s recent commitment to establish an accessible toll-free phone number to report AODA violations would undoubtedly be a great step forward in accomplishing this and I support rapid implementation of this commitment. Moreover, I would suggest broadening this tool to enable online as well as mail-in reporting, to provide the public with a choice of feedback options.

The enforcement plan should explain clearly what will be done with this feedback. Because the AODA is not a complaints-based system, the use of the information will naturally be general and not specific. Reporting of violations usually will not lead to the investigation of individual cases. However, it is essential to communicate that the feedback will be used in a meaningful way, such as focusing enforcement activities as well as informing educational and outreach activities.”

As 2015 got underway, we still saw no action on this issue. At a time when we did not know what Professor Moran had recommended, we wrote Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid earlier this year, to inquire into the Government’s efforts on the AODA’s enforcement. Our January 21, 2015 letter to Minister Duguid included, among other things, the following:

“2. On May 14, 2014, Premier Wynne made a written election promise to establish and publicize a toll-free phone number for the public to report AODA violations. When will this phone number be established and announced? What steps have been taken to date to establish it?”

In response, Minister Duguid said this in his February 19, 2015 letter to the AODA Alliance:

“In response to your question about a phone number to report AODA violations, the ministry already has a system in place to answer questions through its call centres. The call centres use a toll-free number where the public can also submit feedback and lodge complaints. This information can be used to inform public education and outreach activities. The toll-free number is 1-866-515-2025.

As I have repeatedly stated in the past, the act is not complaints-based legislation — the goal is to promote the proactive removal and prevention of accessibility barriers through implementing and enforcing standards. Individuals who believe their rights have been violated can file an application with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.”

This letter was the first that we had heard of the establishment of this phone line. Yet Minister Duguid’s letter gave the impression that this toll-free line has nothing to do with AODA enforcement. It said nothing about using the public’s reports of AODA violations in the context of AODA enforcement. This was troubling. Premier Wynne’s election promise regarding this toll-free number was specifically tied to the issue of AODA enforcement.

We fear that the Government has again forgotten why it enacted the AODA. The Minister’s saying that people with disabilities can file individual human rights complaints was problematic. The very reason we sought the AODA’s enactment was so that people with disabilities would not have to individually fight human rights complaints, one organization at a time, and one barrier at a time.

By comparison, if a person has been the victim of a crime, they can and do call police. Police don’t refuse to take those calls because our criminal laws don’t specifically provide for the public to call police to report crimes.

5. The AODA Alliance Reveals Problems with the Toll-Free Line

Within moments of receiving Minister Duguid’s letter, AODA Alliance chair David Lepofsky decided to try using that phone number, to report an AODA violation. Here is his first-person account of what happened:

“Around 3:50 pm on Thursday, February 19, 2015, I decided to call the phone number set out in Economic Development Minister Duguid’s letter, to report an AODA violation. I called 1-866-515-2025. After selecting English, and making the choice as a caller who is an individual, and not an organization, I got a pre-recorded message. It simply described to me the fact that there are five accessibility standards, and that accessibility changes would later be coming to the Ontario Building Code.

That made it seem to me that the message was a very old one, since the Ontario Building Code was actually amended to include new accessibility requirements over one year ago, in December 2013. It did not seem that this was established to fulfil an election commitment that Premier Wynne would not make until some five months after that.

The recording said nothing about using this toll-free number to report AODA violations. It also did not say that one could press any number to reach a human being. However, when the recording finished, I decided to press 0, and see if I could reach a human being.

It worked. A pleasant operator answered within a very short time, and identified themselves as being with Service Ontario. I said that I wanted to report a violation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Before I could even start to say what the AODA violation was, the operator said that she doesn’t do that. She offered me a phone number for filing a human rights complaint under the Ontario Human Rights Code. In other words, there was no effort to get from me the information I was planning to give, either for enforcing the AODA, or even for the Government to simply receive and monitor feedback on AODA violations.”

Four days later, on Monday, February 23, 2015, David Lepofsky again called the toll-free number. This time, he had a better experience, once he got past the audio announcement that still gave no hint that one could use this line to report AODA violations. He summarized his experience as follows:

“On Monday, February 23, 2015, just after 10:30 a.m., I tried again to call the toll-free number for reporting AODA violations that the Economic Development Minister had told us about in his February 19, 2015 letter to the AODA Alliance. On the menus presented over the phone, I again selected English, and selected information as an individual not a business.

I again heard the same recorded message which appears to be at least one year, if not more, out of date. At no point from the moment the call begins up to and including this recording does it ever say that this line is for reporting AODA violations.

After hearing the entire recorded message, I pressed 0 to get an operator, an option that is offered (without saying that this is for reporting AODA violations). A woman “Victoria” answered. I told her that I would like to report a violation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This time, I was not told that they don’t do this, nor was I told to file a human rights complaint. Instead, I was told they would connect me with a specialist. It rang through. The recording indicated that it was the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.

I waited a short time, and an operator, “Gene” answered. I told him I wanted to report a violation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. He took down the information I related about a barrier I experienced when the Government initially posted the final report of the Mayo Moran AODA Independent Review in an inaccessible format on February 13, 2015. He read back the information, and I corrected a minor error in his transcription of my information (about which I have no complaint). He told me this incident seems to relate to the information and communication requirements which he sounded like he looked up. (Which I know to be correct).

I asked what is to be done with this information. He told me that it informs audit decisions. I opted to make the report anonymous. Had I not known that this number was for report in AODA violations, and had I not selected to press 0 to reach an operator, I would never have known from this that one uses this number to report AODA violations. Had I not specifically asked to report an AODA violation, nothing in this process offers any option to do so.”

6. The Toronto Star Reports on Problems with the Toll-Free Line

The Toronto Star’s February 25, 2015 edition included an article that revealed that the Government planned to cut back on AODA enforcement, despite its knowing that 60% of private sector organizations were still violating the AODA. In that article, the Star addressed our concerns regarding the promised toll-free line.

The Toronto Star’s February 25, 2015 article entitled “Ontario to ease crackdown on accessibility law; Fewer businesses will face inspection despite report urging more action” included the following:

“Lepofsky is also angry that Duguid's letter is the first time he heard the government has set up a long-awaited toll-free phone line to report AODA violations.” This is something we have been calling for since 2012 and which Premier Wynne promised in the 2014 election," he said.

A toll-free AODA line (1-866-515-2025 FREE) has been operating for at least four years to answer questions, hear feedback and raise awareness of the legislation, Forgione said Tuesday.

But Queen's Park has been improving the line since last fall to reflect the premier's campaign promise and Moran's recommendations from her review released Feb. 13, he said.

The recorded message will be updated by the end of the week to make it clear that individuals are welcome to comment and lodge complaints, Forgione said.”

The Toronto Star’s February 25, 2015 article on AODA enforcement.

The Government’s response, as reported in the Toronto Star, is problematic. It gives the impression that this toll-free number for the public to report AODA violations has been available to the public for some four years. Had that been the case, the Government would surely have told us this long ago. The Government knows we have been campaigning to get this established since at least 2012.

The Government would certainly have told us prior to the launch of our October 29, 2012 “Dial Dalton Campaign,” described earlier in this Update, that there is no need to dial the Premier’s office to report AODA violations, since this toll-free number already exists. The Government had no reason to conceal it from us.

Moreover, if that number had existed for that purpose for four years, why would Premier Wynne promise in her May 14, 2014 letter to us to establish it. Why didn’t she simply tell us that unbeknownst to us, it has been available for years?

Moreover, if the Government had been operating this number as a way for the public to report AODA violations for four years, we expect that the Government would have publicized that fact. The AODA alliance, which leads the campaign to get the AODA effectively implemented, would have heard of it by now.

Finally, if the Government had been offering that line for four years to enable the public to report AODA violations, it would have had an outgoing announcement on that phone line that told callers that fact. As indicated earlier in this Update, as of February 19, 2015, there was nothing said on that phone line’s recorded announcement that gave a caller any hint that that number could be used for reporting AODA violations.

7. The Government Moves to Improve the Toll-Free Line’s Audio Announcement

After these events, the Government revised the outgoing audio announcement on this toll-free line. As of about March 6, 2015 a caller would hear the following:

“Hello. Thank you for calling Service Ontario. For service in English, please press 1. (Repeated in French)

After pressing 1.

For services for individuals, press 1. For services to businesses, press 2.

(After pressing 1)

Welcome to the contact centre for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. To speak to a customer service representative at any time, press 0.

The goal of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, also known as the AODA, is to make Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. Under the Act, Ontario has developed accessibility standards to break down barriers in key areas of everyday life, including Customer Service, transportation, information and communication, employment, and the design of public spaces. Enhancement to accessibility in buildings have been addressed through amendments to Ontario’s Building Code. As of January 1, 2015, any new construction and major renovations in buildings will be subject to updated accessibility requirements.

The AODA accessibility standards are mandatory rules that businesses and organizations across Ontario must follow to be accessible for people with disabilities. The Government has developed a variety of tools to help businesses and organizations to understand the standards and comply with their requirements. To find these tools and learn more about the AODA requirements, please visit Ontario.ca/accesson

If you are calling to file a complaint against an organization regarding their accessibility, you are encouraged to first contact the organization directly, using their official feedback process. The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario does welcome any feedback you wish to offer.

While the AODA does not provide for the Government to take direct action against an organization, based on an individual complaint, any feedback collected will be used to inform official reviews, as well as outreach and compliance activities.

If you still wish to speak to a Customer Service representative, please press 0 now.”

8. Despite Improvements, the Government’s Audio Announcement Still Has Easily-Fixable Problems

We appreciate that the Government has tried to improve this toll-free number’s audio announcement. However it still has problems. These are easy to fix.

A member of the public who knows nothing about this would not take from the audio announcement’s current wording, even after recent improvements, that this is where one goes to report an AODA violation, to help with the AODA’s enforcement. At no time during this audio announcement does the Government specifically and clearly say that this is the phone number for the public to report a violation of the AODA.

The audio announcement’s wording avoids ever using the word “enforcement” or referring to reporting a violation of the AODA. This parallels the fact that for years, despite our efforts, the Government was very reluctant to ever talk about enforcement of the AODA in public statements.

At most the phone announcement says later in the narrative that the caller can press zero to give “feedback.” That vague reference, contrasted with the announcement’s reference to calling an organization to file a “complaint,” is at best, very unclear. At worst, it will lead a caller to think that this government phone number is where one might simply convey general thoughts about the AODA.

We ask that the announcement be amended to explicitly state, in language that is clear and unequivocal, and as early in the announcement as possible, the following or words to this effect:

“To help with enforcement of the AODA, the Government has established this toll-free line for members of the public to report to the Government any violations of the AODA. If you wish to report a violation of the AODA of which you are aware to the Government, please press zero and an operator will be available to get this information from you.”

This announcement is inaccurate where it tells a caller:

“While the AODA does not provide for the Government to take direct action against an organization based on an individual complaint…”

The announcement risks creating in a caller’s mind the inaccurate impression that the Government is not allowedto use reports of AODA violations that it receives from a caller, for any enforcement purposes. Yet, under the AODA, it is entirely open to the Government to receive any information about AODA violations. Nothing in the AODA forbids this.

The AODA gives the Government powers to audit, inspect, investigate, and take enforcement actions against an organization, such as issuing a compliance order and imposing monetary penalties. Nothing in the AODA forbids the Government from taking such enforcement action based on information from a member of the public, who calls the toll-free number for reporting AODA violations.

The AODA does not have to include an explicit provision that provides for a member of the public to file some formal legal document or oral report with the Government, which might be called a “complaint,” for any of this to be possible under the AODA.

This potentially misleading impression is made all the more likely where the announcement goes on to say:

“…any feedback collected will be used to inform official reviews, as well as outreach and compliance activities.”

The glaring exclusion of the word “enforcement” in that line, and indeed, throughout this audio announcement, reinforces the idea that any feedback delivered over that phone line is not to be used in any way in connection with the AODA’s enforcement.

9. Premier Wynne’s Unkept Promise to Publicize this Toll-Free Way to Report AODA Violations

As indicated earlier, we have found no Government efforts to effectively inform the public that this toll-free number is available for reporting AODA violations. The main Government web page that refers to this phone number only describes it as a place for obligated organizations to call to learn more about how to comply with the AODA’s accessibility standards.

Here is what the Ontario Government Website included on point as of March 20, 2015, originally posted at http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/customerservice/Over20.aspx

“Accessible Customer Service for organizations with 20 or more employees

It's easy and we're here to help …

Ontario's Accessibility Standard for Customer Service is not about physical changes to your premises — it's simply about providing good customer service to everyone. Chances are, you're already making the effort to ensure your organization is providing accessible customer service to people with disabilities.

Find out what you need to do

Accessible customer service came into effect on January 1, 2012 for all Ontario businesses and organizations with one or more employees.

There are four things you need to do:

• create your plan
• train your staff
• put it on paper
• let us know how you’re doing.

Step 1: Create your plan

Here's a guide to get you started and a template you can fill in.

Step 2: Train your staff

Get tools to help you train staff who serve customers or create customer service plans.

Step 3: Put it on paper

Keep a written copy of the plan on accessible customer service that you created in Step 1 and let your customers know that it's available. If they ask, provide it in an accessible format like large print.

Also, keep a training log of the training you provided in Step 2. Keep track of who you trained, on what and when.

Step 4: File your report

Tell us that you've met the standard. Use our accessibility compliance reporting tool to file your report online. You have until December 31, 2014 to file your report.

Step 5: Find out what else you need to do

New accessibility requirements come into force on January 1, 2015. The accessibility compliance wizard will help you find out what you need to do to comply with Ontario’s accessibility laws.
 
Your Customer Service Toolkit

Have you already gone through the steps?

Here's a shortcut to the tools you need.

Questions?

Call: 1-866-515-2025 FREE

TTY: 1-800-268-7095”

10. Key Links to Other Helpful Information on this; Topic

To read the AODA Alliance’s January 21, 2015 letter to Economic Development Minister Duguid, seeking current information on the AODA’s enforcement.

To read Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid’s February 19, 2015 letter to the AODA Alliance.

To read Premier Wynne’s May 14, 2014 letter to the AODA Alliance.

To read our November 18, 2013 revelation that the Government was failing to effectively enforce the Disabilities Act despite knowing of rampant private sector violations, and funds on hand for enforcement.

To read the Government's February 20, 2014 pledge to publish in "short order" its plan for enforcing the Disabilities Act.

To read the Government’s May 14, 2014 election promise to establish a toll-free line to report disability accessibility barriers.

To read the AODA Alliance’s February 13, 2015 news release, responding to the final report of the Mayo Moran AODA Independent Review.

To read the AODA Alliance’s February 13, 2015 brief summary of key findings in the final report of the Mayo Moran AODA Independent Review.

To download the final report of the Mayo Moran AODA Independent Review in MS Word format, posted on our website.

To read our analysis of the Government’s paltry November 7, 2014 web posting on the AODA’s enforcement.