ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

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New democratic party releases package of amendments to bill 231 it will present to the standing committee on April 14, 2010

April 13, 2010

SUMMARY

We set out below the proposed amendments to Bill 231 that the New Democratic Party has tabled with the Legislature’s Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly. (About 20 pages) These will be debated at the Standing Committee on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 in Room 151 at the Legislature Building at Queen’s Park from noon to 3 pm.

We have not had time to prepare an analysis of these amendments. We want to make them public as quickly as possible. We will separately circulate the proposed amendments that the governing Liberal Party and the Conservatives each table, as quickly as we can after we receive them.

If you want to read the text of Bill 231 to see how these amendments fit in, click on:
http://www.aodaalliance.org/docs/1209-Bill-231.doc

If you want to compare these proposed amendments to the recommendations that we presented to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly, you can find them in our brief, available by clicking here:
http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/03172010.asp

Send your feedback to us at:
aodafeedback@gmail.com


NDP PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO BILL 231

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Motions package draft 2

Bill 231
An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act
NDP Motions
NDP Motion

Bill 231
An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act
Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 1.1 of the Bill (section 1.0.1 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

1.1 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Application of accessibility provisions to municipal elections

1.0.1 The provisions of this Act that relate to accessibility for persons with disabilities apply, with necessary modifications, in respect of municipal elections.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 1.2 of the Bill (section 1.2 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

1.2 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Publication on website

1.2 In this Act, any information that is required to be published on a website on the Internet shall be published in one of the following accessible formats:

1. A format that complies with the W3C WCAG 2.0 Level AA standard.

2. A format that complies with a standard that results in more accessibility than the standard referred to in paragraph 1, if such a standard has been prescribed.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 4 of the Bill (Section 4.4 of the Election Act)

I move that subsection 4.4 (4) of the Election Act, as set out in section 4 of the Bill, be amended by adding the following paragraph:

4. Any requirements under this or any other Act relating to accessibility for persons with disabilities.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 4 of the Bill (section 4.4 of the Election Act)

I move that section 4.4 of the Election Act, as set out in section 4 of the Bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:

Limitation

(4.1) No modification may be directed under this section unless the Chief Electoral Officer has certified that the modification will result in accessibility, which at a minimum fulfils the accessibility requirements set out in the Human Rights Code, for electors and candidates with disabilities.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 4.1 of the Bill (section 4.5 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

4.1 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Chief Electoral Officer responsible for accessibility

4.5 The Chief Electoral Officer is responsible for ensuring that each election is fully accessible to electors and candidates with disabilities for the purpose of promoting their full participation in the election.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 5.1 of the Bill (section 9.0.1 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

5.1 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Accessibility plan

9.0.1 (1) The Chief Election Officer shall make public, on a website on the Internet and by such other means as he or she considers advisable, by January 1 in each year in which a general election is held under clause 9 (2) (b), a proposed plan for ensuring accessibility of the general election to be held in that year, including but not limited to the planned steps to,

(a) ensure the accessibility of all polling places;

(b) ensure the accessibility of ballots and of voting procedures, including the right to independently mark ballots and to verify the voter’s choice;

(c) ensure the accessibility of all returning offices; and

(d) ensure the accessibility of any other services and facilities to be offered by or on behalf of the Chief Election Officer during the election.

Consultation with public

(2) The Chief Election Officer shall request comments from the public, including persons with disabilities, on the proposed accessibility plan and shall make public, no later than June 1 in the same year, a summary of the comments received and the additional steps, if any, it plans to add to its proposed accessibility plan.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 8 of the Bill (section 14 of the Election Act)

I move that section 14 of the Election Act, as set out in section 8 of the Bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(8.1) The returning officer shall also ensure that the time period during which the mobile poll will be available at each institution is widely publicized in accessible formats and media that are likely to reach electors with disabilities.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 20.1 of the Bill (section 31.1 of the Election Act)

I move that the Act be amended by adding the following section:

20.1 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Candidate’s duties re accessibility

31.1 Every candidate and registered party shall,

(a) select locations for campaign offices that are accessible to persons with disabilities;

(b) ensure that campaign websites are published in a format that complies with the W3C WCAG 2.0 Level AA Standard;

(c) make available as soon as reasonably possible, on request, all campaign literature in accessible formats, including large print, Braille and accessible electronic formats; and

(d) ensure that any television advertisements for the purposes of the campaign include captioning for persons with hearing loss.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 20.2 of the Bill (section 31.2 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

20.2 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

ACCESSIBILITY OF CANDIDATES’ DEBATES

Accessibility, candidates’ debates

31.2 (1) Any candidate who participates in a debate for the purposes of an election shall ensure that the debate is held at a location that is accessible to persons with disabilities and that measures are taken to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to fully participate in the debate by asking questions of the candidates.

Complaints

(2) A person who is of the opinion that subsection (1) has been contravened may lodge a complaint to the Chief Electoral Officer in accordance with the regulations.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 20.3 of the Bill (section 34.1 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

20.3 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Large print on ballots

34.1 All ballots shall be printed or displayed in large print in accordance with the regulations in order to enable as many voters with low vision as possible to mark the ballots independently.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 22 of the Bill (section 44 of the Election Act)

I move that section 22 of the Bill be amended by adding the following subsection:

(5) Section 44 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(8) The Chief Electoral Officer and the returning officer shall also ensure that the time period during which an advance poll will be open is widely publicized in accessible formats and media that are likely to reach electors with disabilities.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Subsection 23 (1) of the Bill (subsection 44.1 (1) of the Election Act)

I move that subsection 44.1 (1) of the Election Act, as set out in subsection 23 (1) of the Bill, be struck out and the following substituted:

Accessible voting equipment, etc.

(1) At an election, the Chief Electoral Officer may direct that accessible voting equipment and related vote counting equipment be used in accordance with this section and shall give that direction for an election that is no later than the general election held in 2015.

Same

(1.1) In giving a direction under subsection (1), the Chief Electoral Officer shall comply with the following rules:

1. The direction shall apply to all elections held in or after 2015.

2. The direction that accessible voting equipment be used shall not direct the use of equipment that includes automated vote counting equipment unless it would otherwise be impossible to count votes cast using the voting equipment.

3. The direction shall require that,

i. the option of using accessible voting equipment is made available at every polling place, or

ii. options that are comparable to accessible voting equipment are made available for all electors with disabilities at every polling place, which options allow for voters to vote independently and privately and to verify their choices and which may include voting by means of the telephone or the Internet.

4. The direction shall not direct that only paper ballots may be used if it is possible to produce a verifiable electronic record of votes cast that does not identify voters.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Subsection 23 (1) of the Bill (section 44.1 of the Election Act)

I move that section 44.1 of the Election Act, as set out in subsection 23 (1) of the Bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:

Consultation

(1.2) The Chief Electoral Officer shall consult with persons with disabilities to determine their needs before making a determination of which accessible voting equipment and related vote counting equipment to use and shall make public the proposal to use the equipment no later than the prescribed number of days before polling day.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Subsection 23 (1) of the Bill (subsection 44.1 (2) of the Election Act)

I move that subsection 44.1 (2) of the Election Act, as set out in subsection 23 (1) of the Bill, be amended by adding at the end “and shall ensure that the accessible voting equipment will enable a person with vision loss, motor limitations or any other disability that prevents him or her from using a paper ballot to vote independently in privacy and to verify his or her choice”.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Subsection 23 (1) of the Bill (subsection 44.1 (3) of the Election Act)

I move that subsection 44.1 (3) of the Election Act, as set out in subsection 23 (1) of the Bill, be amended by striking out “and” at the end of clause (a) and adding the following clause:

(a.1) make public by means of websites on the Internet and other media the availability and location of accessible voting equipment; and

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Subsection 23 (1) of the Bill (paragraph 2 of subsection 44.1 (7) of the Election Act)

I move that paragraph 2 of subsection 44.1 (7) of the Election Act, as set out in subsection 23 (1) of the Bill, be struck out.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Subsection 23 (1) of the Bill (paragraph 7 of subsection 44.1 (7) of the Election Act)

I move that paragraph 7 of subsection 44.1 (7) of the Election Act, as set out in subsection 23 (1) of the Bill, be struck out.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Subsection 23 (1) of the Bill (paragraph 8 of subsection 44.1 (7) of the Election Act)

I move that paragraph 8 of subsection 44.1 (7) of the Election Act, as set out in subsection 23 (1) of the Bill, be amended by striking out “before the paper ballot is printed” at the end.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Subsection 23 (1) of the Bill (paragraph 9 of subsection 44.1 (7) of the Election Act)

I move that paragraph 9 of subsection 44.1 (7) of the Election Act, as set out in subsection 23 (1) of the Bill, be amended by striking out “after the paper ballot is printed but before casting his or her vote”.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Subsection 23 (1) of the Bill (paragraph 10 of subsection 44.1 (7) of the Election Act)

I move that paragraph 10 of subsection 44.1 (7) of the Election Act, as set out in subsection 23 (1) of the Bill, be amended by striking out “The equipment must have” at the beginning and substituting “If the equipment produces a paper ballot, the equipment must”.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Subsection 23 (1) of the Bill (subsection 44.1 (8) of the Election Act)

I move that subsection 44.1 (8) of the Election Act, as set out in subsection 23 (1) of the Bill, be struck out.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Subsection 23 (1) of the Bill (section 44.1 of the Election Act)

I move that section 44.1 of the Election Act, as set out in subsection 23 (1) of the Bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:

Consultation after use of equipment

(9.1) When accessible voting equipment and related vote counting equipment are used in an election under this section, the Chief Electoral Officer shall consult with persons with disabilities after the election and make public the nature of the comments received and any proposed changes to be made with respect to the equipment as a result of the consultation.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 23.1 of the Bill (section 44.2 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

23.1 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Accessible polling places

44.2 (1) The Chief Electoral Officer shall ensure that every polling place in every election is accessible to electors with disabilities and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, that the following minimum requirements are satisfied:

1. There is level access to a plainly visible public entrance to the building in which the polling place is to be located, without a voter needing to ascend or descend any stairs, and that there is unobstructed level access within not more than 25 metres from the road to that entrance to that building.

2. There is level unobstructed access from the accessible entrance to the building to the polling place within the building, without a voter needing to ascend or descend any stairs.

3. Any doorway from the outside of the building, and inside the building on the route to the polling place within the building, is sufficiently wide to enable a person using a mobility aid to pass through.

4. A building where a polling place is to be situated is, to the extent feasible, located within not more than 100 meters of a regular route stop for an accessible public transit vehicle on a conventional bus route, and within 100 meters of designated accessible parking for persons with disabilities, whether permanently designated or designated for that purpose while voting is taking place with proper signage showing that designation.

5. An elector need not travel more than 50 meters after entering the building to reach the polling place within the building.

6. Any walking route to access the polling place is unobstructed, including being free of any signs, snow, ice or other obstruction.

7. The polling place has sufficient lighting to accommodate the needs of persons with low vision.

8. To the extent feasible, the polling place is operated to minimize exposure to artificial fragrances.

Prohibition

(2) No person shall do anything that directly or indirectly causes a polling place to be located in a place that is inaccessible to persons with disabilities.

Parking spaces

(3) For the purposes of paragraph 4 of subsection (1), the Chief Electoral Officer or a person designated by the Chief Electoral Officer may designate a prescribed portion of existing parking spaces on public roads and publicly accessible parking spaces near a polling station as designated parking spaces for the use of persons with disabilities while voting is taking place.

Regulations

(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall, not later than the end of March 2011, make regulations prescribing additional accessibility requirements for polling stations after consultation with the public, including electors with disabilities.

Same

(5) The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall, after consultation with the public, including electors with disabilities, after the 2011 general election, amend the regulations to prescribe appropriate changes to the requirements set out in subsection (1) or in the regulations made under subsection (4).

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 23.2 of the Bill

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

23.2 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Accessibility report, polling places

44.3 (1) The Chief Electoral Officer shall,

(a) make public, by publishing on a website on the Internet and by other means, not less than six months before the date fixed for an election, the proposed locations for polling places and specific steps taken to ensure accessibility,

(b) invite the public to comment on whether the proposed locations are sufficiently accessible;

(c) establish and widely publicize an elections accessibility telephone hotline during the six month period before and during voting day for electors and candidates with disabilities to comment on the proposed locations and to comment on any accessibility problems;

(d) review the proposed locations in light of comments received and make a final determination of the location of polling places, not later than 60 days before the election; and

(e) publish the determination made under clause (d) on a website on the Internet and by other means.

Same

(2) If the Chief Electoral Officer decides not to change the location of a proposed polling place despite objections to it having been received on grounds of accessibility, he or she shall forthwith make public the reasons for refusing to alter the location by publishing the reasons on a website on the Internet and by other means.

Appeal

(3) A person who objects to the location of a proposed polling place on the grounds of accessibility concerns and who lodges a timely complaint with the Chief Electoral Officer about the proposed location may appeal the refusal to alter the location in the manner prescribed by the regulations.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 23.3 of the Bill (section 44.4 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

23.3 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Accessibility of returning office

44.4 Every returning office shall be accessible to persons with disabilities and shall provide TTY services for callers with hearing loss.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 25 of the Bill (subsection 45.3 (1) of the Election Act)

I move that clauses 45.3 (1) (a) and (b) of the Election Act, as set out in section 25 of the Bill, be struck out and the following substituted:

(a) it may be impossible or unreasonably difficult for the elector to attend at a returning office and the elector needs assistance with making an application to vote by special ballot, because of a disability or because of inability to read or write; or

(b) the elector is a person with a disability that affects his or her mobility or vision.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 25 of the Bill (subsection 45.3 (2) of the Election Act)

I move that subsection 45.3 (2) of the Election Act, as set out in section 25 of the Bill, be struck out and the following substituted:

Same

(2) The returning officer shall verify that the elector resides in the electoral district.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 25 of the Bill (section 45.3 of the Election Act)

I move that section 45.3 of the Election Act, as set out in section 25 of the Bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:

Appeal rights

(7) If a returning officer refuses a request for a home visit, he or she shall promptly provide the elector with reasons for the refusal and the elector who made the request may appeal the refusal in the manner prescribed by the regulations.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 25 of the Bill (section 45.5 of the Election Act)

I move that section 45.5 of the Election Act, as set out in section 25 of the Bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(2) A special ballot kit and the voting procedures for special ballots must enable electors with disabilities to independently mark their ballot in privacy and verify their choice.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 25.1 of the Bill (section 55.2 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

25.1 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Report on website

55.2 Every report mentioned in section 55.1 shall be published on a website on the Internet.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 25.2 of the Bill (section 55.3 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

25.2 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Report by Chief Electoral Officer after general election

55.3 No later than four months after a general election is held, the Chief Electoral Officer shall make public a report by publishing it on a website on the Internet and by such other means as he or she considers advisable, regarding the identification, removal and prevention of barriers that affect electors and candidates with disabilities, including the following:

1. The steps that the Chief Electoral Officer took to ensure that the election was accessible for electors and candidates with disabilities.

2. The results of an independent survey of electors and candidates with disabilities on any barriers or difficulties experienced when taking part in the election.

3. A summary of any complaints or feedback received from electors or candidates with disabilities during the election regarding the accessibility of the election and a summary of steps taken to address any complaints.

4. Recommendations of any steps that need to be taken to ensure that the next election will be accessible to electors and candidates with disabilities.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 25.3 of the Bill (section 55.4 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

25.3 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Independent review

55.4 (1) No later than four months after each of the 2011 general election and the 2015 general election, the Attorney General shall appoint a person to perform an independent review of the effectiveness of legislation in Ontario and any actions taken under that legislation to ensure that elections are accessible to voters and candidates with disabilities.

Same

(2) The person performing the independent review under subsection (1) shall consult with the public and in particular with persons with disabilities and shall make public a report on the results of the review within 9 months after his or her appointment.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 32 of the Bill (subsection 114.4 (1) of the Election Act)

I move that subsection 114.4 (1) of the Act, as set out in section 32 of the Bill, be struck out and the following substituted:

Studies by C.E.O.

(1) The Chief Electoral Officer shall conduct one or more studies on methods of improving the voting process and facilitating voting by persons with disabilities.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 32 of the Bill (subsection 114.4 of the Election Act)

I move that section 114.4 of the Election Act, as set out in Section 32 of the Bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(1.1) For the purposes of conducting a study mentioned in subsection (1), the Chief Electoral Officer shall investigate options for facilitating voting by persons with disabilities that have been undertaken in other jurisdictions, including the United States of America.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 32 of the Bill (section 114.4 of the Election Act)

I move that section 114.4 of the Election Act, as set out in section 32 of the Bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:

Studies to be made public

(2.1) The results of a study mentioned in subsection (1) shall be made public.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 32 of the Bill (section 114.4 of the Election Act)

I move that section 114.4 of the Election Act, as set out in section 32 of the Bill, be amended by adding the following subsection:

Funding for studies

(2.2) The costs of funding a study mentioned in subsection (1) shall be paid out of funds appropriated for such purpose by the Legislature.

NDP Motion

Bill 231

An Act to amend the Election Act and the Election Finance Act

Motion to be moved in Committee

M

Section 39.1 of the Bill (section 118 of the Election Act)

I move that the Bill be amended by adding the following section:

Regulations, accessibility

118. The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall make regulations on or before January 1, 2013 in respect of anything referred to in this Act that is in respect of accessibility for persons with disabilities and that is referred to as being prescribed or as otherwise dealt with in the regulations.