ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE
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UNITED FOR A BARRIER-FREE ONTARIO
ATTEND THE TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSIONS MAY 9 2013 ACCESSIBLE TRANSIT PUBLIC FORUM TO LET TTC KNOW ABOUT ONGOING PUBLIC TRANSIT BARRIERS
April 17, 2013
We encourage everyone in or near the greater Toronto area to attend the TTC’s May 9, 2013 Public Forum on Accessible Transit. We obtained this information on this event from the blog posting of Toronto City Council member Michael Layton.
“TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit Services
Posted on: April 3rd, 2013
You are all invited to attend the TTC’s sixth annual Public Forum on Accessible Transit Services which will take place on Thursday, May 9, 2013 from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm, in the Queen Elizabeth Exhibit Hall at Exhibition Place, 180 Princes’ Boulevard.
The purpose of the Forum is to inform customers of TTC accessibility initiatives, and to hear from customers with disabilities about possible improvements to the TTC’s conventional and specialized services.
For more information regarding the Forum, please contact Mitch Stambler, Head – Strategy & Service Planning, at 416-393-4460.
Event date: May 9, 2013; 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm.”
TTC's governing Commissioners and senior managers are supposed to be present to hear your feedback, including complaints and concerns, from passengers with disabilities. Tell them about barriers you face when using the TTC. Make suggestions on how to fix these barriers. This includes barriers faced by those who ride the para-transit system called WheelTrans, as well as anyone who uses the conventional public transit system in Canada's largest city.
Why is TTC holding this public forum on accessible public transit? In 2007, the Human Rights Tribunal ordered TTC to hold three annual public forums on accessible public transit as part of the remedies in the case of Lepofsky v. TTC #2. That was the case at the Human Rights Tribunal where TTC was found to have violated the human rights of blind people by not audibly announcing all bus and streetcar stops.
In that human rights case, TTC had opposed Lepofsky’s request that these forums be held. It took an order of the Human Rights Tribunal to get TTC to hold the first three forums, in 2008, 2009 and 2010. David Lepofsky had proposed that TTC hold these forums because it became clear from TTC records, revealed at the human rights case, that TTC commissioners and senior managers did not regularly receive reports of problems that passengers with disabilities experienced when trying to use TTC transit services. The aim of the public forums is to require those who run TTC at the top to hear directly from passengers with disabilities.
In 2011, TTC commendably decided that it would continue to hold these annual public forums on accessibility issues, even though the Human Rights Tribunal order did not require these to continue after 2010.
Starting in 2013, every public transit provider in Ontario must hold a comparable annual event under the provisions of the new Integrated Accessibility Regulation that the Government enacted in June 2011 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Section 41 of the Integrated Accessibility Regulation includes:
"41. (1) In addition to the accessibility plan requirements set out in section 4, in their accessibility plan, conventional transportation service providers shall identify the process for managing, evaluating and taking action on customer feedback.
(2) Every conventional transportation service provider shall annually hold at least one public meeting involving persons with disabilities to ensure that they have an opportunity to participate in a review of the accessibility plan and that they are given the opportunity to provide feedback on the accessibility plan.
(3) If the provider of conventional transportation services also provides specialized transportation services, the transportation service provider shall address both types of transportation services in its accessibility plan.
(4) Transportation service providers shall meet the requirements of this section by January 1, 2013."
The AODA Alliance successfully persuaded the Ontario Government to make such annual public forums a mandatory requirement for all public transit providers across Ontario.
At last year’s public forum, AODA Alliance chair David Lepofsky “live-tweeted” reports about the feedback that people with disabilities gave, as they happened. He will try to do so again this year. If you follow us on Twitter, you can track the event live, even if you cannot attend in person. If you do follow us on Twitter, we would appreciate it if you could re-tweet our tweets. Our Twitter handle is @aodaalliance. If you do attend the public forum, and are yourself a Twitter user, we encourage you to also live-tweet the event.
We will be eager to see whether all TTC commissioners and senior managers attend the public forum this year. When these forums were conducted from 2008 to 2010 under the order of the Human Rights Tribunal, all TTC commissioners and senior managers were required to attend. Since that order expired, TTC has evidently not required all commissioners and senior managers to attend. It is important that they all hear directly from passengers with disabilities about their front-line experience riding the TTC.
Please spread the word about this event. Let us know about similar events in your community so we can help publicize them. Encourage friends and family to attend these public forums when they take place in your community.
We are indebted to Toronto City Council member Michael Layton for making public this information about this TTC public forum on accessible public transit. We and others have expressed serious concerns to TTC about their insufficient efforts in past years to effectively publicize these important events.
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