ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

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Read the September 1, 2011 Letter to the AODA Alliance from the Ontario Green Party Setting Out its 2011 Election Commitments on Disability Accessibility

September 2, 2011

SUMMARY

David Lepofsky

Chair

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

1929 Bayview Avenue

Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8

1 September 2011

 

Dear Mr. Lepofsky,

Thank you for writing.  I am pleased to respond, on behalf of the Green Party of Ontario, with the smart choice for a sustainable future. Regarding the outlined desired commitments:

 

A.         Generally Strengthen Implementation of the AODA 2005 and ODA 2001

 

The Green Party of Ontario is fully committed to government that encourages citizens to actively participate in their community and have a say in decisions that affect them. We support strong implementation of the AODA 2005 and ODA 2001 and will not weaken or repeal any legislation that has already been passed.

B.         Develop Needed New Accessibility Standards

 

In consultation with stakeholders, we would support developing an accessibility standard and reviewing building codes to ensure all Ontarians should be able to access public buildings.  Health care and education reform are important to us, and we would support the inclusion of accessibility standards in our review of legislation and service delivery.

 

C.         Implement Key Recommendations of the Charles Beer AODA Independent Review

 

We are committed to citizen engagement and an open, transparent and accountable government. We will consult with community stakeholders in all aspects of planning, including the development of accessibility standards.

 

The Green Party will ensure that the ODA’s tools, meant to work toward removing and preventing barriers against persons with disabilities, are met in an improved piece of legislation. We will not repeal the ODA until it is guaranteed that these tools are not weakened.

 

We will implement other recommendations of the Beer Report to the extent of their feasibility, within the context of our existing policy commitments to fiscal responsibility and with continued citizen engagement on this issue.

 

The Green Party believes it is the responsibility of government to address disability and accessibility issues. We will work to ensure that this happens without creating additional government bureaucracy.

 

D.         Improve How the Ontario Public Service Addresses Accessibility

 

We support the streamlining of government to improve efficiency and support a holistic approach to Ontario Public Services. We hope to end any isolation and lack of communication across all departments, including accessibility.  We will work to implement the best possible solutions for addressing disability and accessibility issues, including identifying a lead person responsible for accessibility issues.

 

One of our platform priorities is open and transparent government, and we will strive for effective government that meets accessibility needs.

 

We will not repeal the ODA until its provisions are met in other legislation, and will therefore not abolish the Employment Accommodation Fund.

E.         Fully Implement Compliance and Enforcement of the AODA

 

The Green Party of Ontario supports funding AODA enforcement/compliance provisions within our framework of fiscal responsibility and our deficit reduction strategy.

 

We fully support making AODA enforcement more cost-effective, and will support asking Ontario Government inspectors to include this in their activities, where feasible. If this has an impact on other areas of enforcement, we will work with stakeholders to figure out a cost-effective way of enforcing the AODA.

 

We believe that responsible stewardship of our natural and financial resources requires us to live within our means.  Our fiscal plan is to balance the budget by 2015 so that more of our hard-earned tax dollars are spent on essential public services, not interest payments.  

 

F.         Ensure Taxpayers' Money is Never Used to Create or Buttress Disability Barriers

 

The Green Party will not use taxpayers’ money to create, perpetuate or exacerbate barriers against persons with disabilities. To this end, we will ensure that our plans meet the accessibility standards set out in the Human Rights Code and make sure that independent contractors are aware of these standards.

G.         Ensure Accessibility of Provincial and Municipal Elections

 

The Green Party strongly supports citizen engagement and the democratic process and will work with stakeholders to address accessibility needs for voters in provincial and municipal elections.  We would support provisions for electronic (telephone and internet) voting and citizen engagement. We will work with stakeholders to address accessibility needs in provincial and municipal elections.

Our ongoing commitment to accountable government and citizen engagement will provide channels for stakeholders to provide feedback and input into government decisions. We will be happy to consult with all stakeholders on the siting of/access to polling stations and would support efficiencies such as equipment-sharing with the federal and municipal governments.

 

We are committed to removing all barriers that prevent citizens from being heard, and accessibility barriers are no exception.

H.         Review All Ontario Laws for Accessibility Barriers

 

We would support a thorough review of legislation and regulations as quickly as possible. The Green Party supports ensuring there is a lead person with clear responsibility for addressing disability and accessibility issues. We will work to ensure that this happens without creating additional government bureaucracy.

I.          Launch Better Public Education on Accessibility

 

In consultation with key stakeholders, we support efforts that will enhance public education and the ability of organizations to comply with disability and accessibly legislation.  We are happy to consult with stakeholders in every aspect of all our campaigns.

J.          Effectively Enforce the Ontario Human Rights Code

 

The Green Party fully supports the Ontario Human Rights Code, and agrees that it should be open, transparent and accountable.

 

We encourage citizen engagement with the democratic process, and would seek input from all stakeholders before any changes to the Ontario Human Rights Code are made.

 

We are also committed to making any reviews of legislation through public hearings and/or consultations.

K.         Foster Our Ongoing Relationship with Your Party

 

We are committed to open and transparent government and welcome free communication with your association, including meetings with our Green Party Leader, candidates and shadow cabinet. The Green Party looks forward to continued consultation on disability and accessibility issues with your organization, and improved access to government services for all Ontarians.


Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our office if you would like clarification on any of the points above or have any further questions. You can read more about the Green Party of Ontario and our policies at www.itstimeforgreen.ca.

 

With regards,

 

Emilia Melara

Office Coordinator

Green Party of Ontario