ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE
ATTEND THE TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION'S MAY 19, 2011 PUBLIC FORUM ON BARRIERS TO ACCESSIBILITY IN PUBLIC TRANSIT
May 13, 2011
We encourage those in the Toronto area to attend the Toronto Transit Commission's fourth annual public forum on barriers to accessibility on the TTC. It will be held on Thursday, May 19, 2011 from 7 to 9:30 pm. Details are set out below in TTC's announcement of this event.
We regret that we received such short notice of this event. TTC only provided this announcement yesterday to David Lepofsky, AODA Alliance Chair. Ironically, TTC only provided it in an accessible PDF format.
Please circulate this announcement widely. This forum will give you a chance to address barriers on TTC’s conventional transit services as well as its para-transit service, Wheel-Trans.
In 2007, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ordered TTC to hold these public forums annually for three years. This is one of the remedies David Lepofsky won, in his case where TTC was ordered to announce all bus and streetcar route stops.
During the first three annual forums, from 2008 to 2010, TTC was required to have in attendance all its senior managers and all TTC Commissioners (the politicians who serve as TTC’s board of directors). They were required to hear the feedback from passengers with disabilities. At the 2007 Lepofsky Human Rights Tribunal hearing, TTC opposed being ordered to hold these public forums.
This is the fourth year in which TTC will hold this forum. The Human Rights Tribunal order in the Lepofsky case only required TTC to hold these forums for three years. TTC's former Chair commendably announced some years ago that TTC would continue to hold these public forums each year after that Tribunal order on point expired. This 2011 forum will be TTC's first voluntarily-held public forum of this sort.
The evidence at the Lepofsky v. TTC Human Rights Tribunal hearings showed that over several years, a number of complaints and concerns that passengers with disabilities emailed and phoned in to TTC had never reached senior managers or the TTC Commissioners. These public forums are intended to be a positive avenue to ensure that those who lead TTC are more aware of and responsive to the front-line experience of riders with disabilities, by hearing from them directly and in person.
This public forum is distinctive because it focuses solely on problems experienced by TTC passengers with disabilities. The AODA Alliance has recommended to the Ontario Government that the forthcoming Integrated Accessibility Regulation, to be enacted under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, should create similar opportunities for riders with disabilities to give direct input to those who manage other public transit authorities around Ontario.
A strong turnout at this May 19, 2011 TTC event can help press for more accessible transit services. At previous TTC public forums, TTC officials unfortunately used up a significant part of the time making speeches about how much it is doing on accessibility. This cut down the time available for passengers with disabilities to express their concerns at the public forum. Over the past years, David Lepofsky asked TTC not to take up any of the limited time available with TTC speeches about its accessibility plans. This is because the purpose of the event is for TTC senior management to hear from passengers with disabilities.
Urge others to attend this event. Call your local media and encourage them to cover this event. It is a great chance for the media to let the public know what persons with disabilities experience when they try to use our public transit services in Canada's largest city.
TTC PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT
2011 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit
You are invited to give us ideas on how to make the Toronto Transit Commission's (TTC) services and facilities better for people with disabilities.
The TTC and the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation (ACAT) need your input on how to improve TTC accessibility.
Thursday May 19, 2011 7:00pm to 9:30pm Queen Elizabeth Exhibit Hall Exhibition Place 180 Princes' Boulevard
An accessible shuttle bus service will operate from accessible Bathurst Station to the Queen Elizabeth Hall starting at 6:00pm. Return buses will start at 9:30pm.
Regularly scheduled accessible bus service is also available on the 29 Dufferin Route.
ASL, captioning and attendants will be available.
If you cannot attend, but would like to contribute suggestions about TTC conventional and Wheel-Trans services, call 416-393-3030 (TTY at 416-481-2523) Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
www.ttc.ca 416-393-INFO (4636)