ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

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United for a Barrier-Free Ontario

After Violating Ontario’s Disabilities Act for 102 Days, the Ontario Government Appoints Dean Mayo Moran of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law to Conduct Independent Review of Ontario’s Disability Accessibility Legislation

September 10, 2013

SUMMARY

On September 10, 2013, the Ontario Government announced that it has appointed Mayo Moran to conduct a mandatory Independent Review of the implementation and effectiveness of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Mayo Moran is the Dean of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. We set out the Government’s September 10, 2013 news release below.

“We commend the Government’s selection of Dean Mayo Moran to conduct this overdue Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the AODA Alliance, a non-partisan community coalition that advocates for accessibility for people with disabilities. “Dean Moran is widely respected for being very knowledgeable about equality issues, and for being exceptionally bright, open-minded, hard-working and fair. We look forward to presenting constructive ideas to her on how to get Ontario back on schedule for full accessibility by 2025.”

The AODA requires the Government to lead Ontario to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025, by enacting and enforcing accessibility standards across the economy. Under the mandatory terms of the AODA, the Ontario Government was required to appoint this Independent Review no later than May 31, 2013.

The Government has never publicly explained its 102-day delay in obeying its own accessibility legislation, or the poor example it sets for other organizations by its flagrant violation of the AODA. Well in advance, the AODA Alliance had reminded the Ontario Government of its obligation to meet the May 31, 2013 mandatory legal deadline for appointing this Independent Review. To read the AODA Alliance’s February 27, 2013 letter to the Ontario Government.

“We regret that we have had to divert so much volunteer effort just to get the Government to live up to its duty under the Disabilities Act to appoint this Independent Review,” said Lepofsky. For over three months, the AODA Alliance had to wage a tenacious campaign to get the Government to appoint this Independent Review, through both the mainstream media and social media. On Twitter and Facebook, the AODA Alliance has maintained a daily count of the days elapsed since the Government began to violate the AODA. To read the AODA Alliance’s May 31, 2013, guest column in the on-line edition of the Toronto Star on the Government’s failure to appoint an Independent Review of the Disabilities Act by the May 31, 2013 legal deadline.

Back on May 31, 2010, the Government tabled in the Ontario Legislature the report of the previous Independent Review of the AODA, conducted by Mr. Charles Beer. The AODA Alliance endorsed most of the Beer Independent Review’s final report, even though it did not adopt all of the Alliance’s recommendations.

In 2010, Charles Beer found that the Ontario Government needed to revitalize and breathe new life into the implementation of the AODA, and needed to show strengthened leadership on this issue, if Ontario is to reach full accessibility by 2025. Those conclusions remain valid today.

It has taken the Government up to three years to implement some of the Beer Report’s core recommendations. The Government has not adopted some of the other important recommendations of the Beer final report, and has not offered a public explanation for its not adopting them.

To read the Charles Beer Independent Review final report, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/05312010.asp

To read the AODA Alliance’s analysis of the Charles Beer Independent Review’s final report, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/06032010.asp

The AODA Alliance will do all it can to help Dean Mayo Moran reach out to as many people in the community as possible, and consult as widely as possible. We did the same for Charles Beer when he conducted the last Independent Review of the AODA in 2009. To read the AODA Alliance’s Brief to the Charles Beer Independent Review on how to most effectively conduct his 2009 Independent Review, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/07022009.asp

Kathleen Wynne promised the AODA Alliance in writing that she would keep all of Dalton McGuinty’s disability accessibility commitments, and would ensure that Ontario is on schedule for full accessibility by 2025, as the AODA requires. To read Kathleen Wynne’s December 3, 2012 letter to the AODA Alliance, setting out her pledges to Ontarians with disabilities, visit http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/12032012.asp

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Text of the Ontario Government’s September 10, 2013 News Release Announcing the Appointment of Dean Mayo Moran to Conduct the AODA Independent Review

Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment

Dean Mayo Moran to Review Ontario's Accessibility Laws

Legal Expert’s Review Will Help Make Ontario Accessible by 2025

September 10, 2013 9:30 a.m.

Ontario has appointed Mayo Moran, Dean and James Marshall Tory Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, to lead a review of the province's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
Since the AODA became law in 2005, Ontario has established accessibility standards for customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation and the design of public spaces.
The first review of the act was conducted by Charles Beer, former provincial Minister of Community and Social Services and was completed in 2010. Beer's review examined the process for developing accessibility standards, municipal accessibility advisory committees and the government's administration of the AODA.
Making Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025 is the goal of the AODA and will help build a fair society so that everyone can contribute their skills to our economy.

QUOTES

"Ontario is one of the first jurisdictions in the world to mandate accessibility. I’m proud that our efforts will improve the day to day lives of people living with disabilities by making workplaces, stores, buses and communities more accessible. We’re focused on ensuring that Ontarians of all abilities have the chance to contribute to our province’s growing economy. I am excited that Dean Moran’s work will help our efforts to make Ontario an accessible province by 2025."
- Dr. Eric Hoskins
Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment
"Equality is one of our most fundamental values and I am pleased to contribute to making our province a place where everyone has a chance to succeed. That's why I am delighted to lead a review of this very important legislation and I look forward to this significant undertaking."
- Mayo Moran
Dean and James Marshall Tory Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

QUICK FACTS

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Gabe De Roche Minister’s Office
416-325-7569
Brigitte Marleau Communications Branch
416-325-2479