ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

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ATTEND JUNE 17 2010 TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION PUBLIC FORUM ON BARRIERS FACING PASSENGERS WITH DISABILITIES

June 4, 2010

SUMMARY

On Thursday, June 17, 2010 from 7 to 9:30 pm, the Toronto Transit Commission will be holding a public forum in Toronto on the barriers and problems that passengers with disabilities face on TTC services. It will be held at Queen Elizabeth Exhibit Hall, Exhibition Place, 180 Princes’ Boulevard. See the TTC announcement below, including available transit services to get there.

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 for the disability community, in his case where TTC was forced to announce all bus and streetcar route stops. TTC is required to have in attendance at this forum all its senior managers and all TTC Commissioners (the politicians who serve as TTC’s board of directors). They are required to come to hear the feedback from passengers with disabilities. At the 2007 Lepofsky Human Rights Tribunal hearing, TTC had opposed being ordered to hold these public forums. This is the third year in which TTC will hold this forum. Its Chair announced previously that TTC will continue to hold these public forums each year.

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 the front-line experience of riders with disabilities, by hearing from them directly and in person.

Over the past months, there has been a great deal of media coverage on problems with customer service at TTC. TTC has held some public forums for passengers generally to voice their concerns. 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 Transportation Accessibility Standard, to be enacted under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and for which we are still waiting, should create similar opportunities for riders with disabilities to give direct input to those who manage other public transit authorities around Ontario. On this point, our brief to the Ontario Government recommends that:

“44. The Standard be amended to require that public transit authorities providing conventional and/or paratransit services be required to hold, at least once annually, an open, accessible, advertised public forum, for passengers with disabilities to give feedback directly to the transit authority's senior management and Board of Directors.”

To see our entire brief to the Ontario Government regarding the final proposed Transportation Accessibility Standard, visit: http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/04082009.asp

A strong turnout at this June 17, 2010 TTC event can help press for more accessible transit services. At previous TTC public forums, held due to the orders which David Lepofsky obtained against TTC, TTC officials unfortunately used up a significant part of the time making a speech 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. David Lepofsky has asked TTC not to take up any of the limited time available at this upcoming public forum 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, not for passengers with disabilities to be made to wait to voice their concerns until TTC finishes its speeches.


TTC ANNOUNCEMENT

2010 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 June 17, 2010
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.