Our Campaign for Strong, Effective Implementation of the AODA

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

ATTEND AN ALL-CANDIDATES DEBATE ON DISABILITY ISSUES

September 16, 2007

SUMMARY

Several All-Candidates’ debates are being held in this Ontario election which will have an added focus on disability issues. We urge you to try to attend them. Encourage others to do the same.

Raise important disability issues, including the need to repeal Bill 107’s privatization of human rights enforcement, and the need to strengthen the AODA’s implementation.

To learn more about these events, see the news release below, regarding three fully accessible All-Candidates Debates.

See also the announcement below about an additional debate in Toronto on September 18, 2007.

Urge the candidates in your riding to ensure that All Candidates’ Debates in your riding are fully accessible to persons with disabilities. The AODA alliance commends all those who worked so hard to arrange these events.

Send us feedback on events you attend. Write us at:

aodafeedback@rogers.com

*******

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2007

Contact: Adrienne Clarke
CHS, Manager, Public Relations
aclarke@chs.ca
Tel: (416) 928-2500, Ext.284
TTY: (416) 928-2545

First-ever Accessible All Candidates Meetings to be Hosted in 3 Ontario Ridings

Toronto, ON - For the first time in a provincial election, All Candidates meetings accessible to people with disabilities are being held in the ridings of Don Valley West (Toronto), Ottawa South, and Niagara Falls Centre.

The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS), in partnership with CNIB, The Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario (CPA Ontario) and the Ontario March of Dimes (OMOD) have invited candidates in each of the three ridings to address their constituents with the provision of sign language interpreting, real-time captioning/computerized notetaking, assistive listening devices, deaf-blind intervening services, and attendant services.

Nearly 1.5 million voters in Ontario have a disability. Although there have been many positive changes to the election process, barriers remain that prevent the full and equal political participation of all people before they go to the polls

“People with hearing loss – indeed people with any disability – are often excluded from the democratic process as there are so many barriers in directly accessing their candidates,” said Gary Malkowski, CHS’s Special Advisor to the President, Public Affairs. “Many candidates’ offices don’t have TTYs (text telephones) and interpreters and captioners are rarely, if ever, provided for direct interaction.”

In addition to the All Candidates meetings, the partner organizations of CHS, CNIB, CPA Ontario and OMOD along with the Government of Ontario have created Count Us In: Removing Barriers to Political Participation, a series of three reference guides developed to increase accessibility in the 2007 provincial election campaign.

The guides provide information about how candidates, campaign organizers and those who support them can increase the engagement and participation of Ontarians with disabilities by removing barriers to political participation. The Guides can be accessed at the Ministry of Community and Social Services website at http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/ accessibilityOntario/planning/election.html

The details of these groundbreaking All Candidates meetings are as follows:

Riding: Don Valley West
Contact: Karen Madho, Karen.madho@cnib.ca
Tel: (416) 486-2500 x.7685
TTY: (416) 928-2545
Date and Time: Sept. 17, 7 – 9 PM
Location: CNIB Centre, 1929 Bayview Avenue
Candidates: TBA (Conservative); Adrian Walker (Green); Hon. Kathleen Wynne (Liberal); Mike Kenny (NDP)

Riding: Ottawa South
Contact: Philippe Ramsay, pramsay@ottawa.chs.ca
Tel: (613) 521-0509
TTY: (613) 521-0634
Date and Time: Sept. 25, 7 – 9 PM
Location: R.A. Centre, 2451 Riverside Dr., Outaouais Room B
Candidates : Richard Raymond (Conservative); John Ford (Green); Madeleine Meilleur (Liberal); Edelweiss D’Andree (NDP)

Riding: Niagara Falls Centre
Contact: Steven Christianson, schristianson@dimes.on.ca
Tel: (416) 425-3463 x. 7326
Date and Time: Oct. 4, 6 – 8 PM
Location: Niagara Falls Centre
Candidates: Rod Bodner (Conservative); TBC (Green); John Mastroianni (Liberal); Peter Kormos (NDP)

About CNIB – www.cnib.ca
CNIB is a nationwide, community-based, registered charity committed to public education, research and the vision health of all Canadians. CNIB provides the services and support necessary to enjoy a good quality of life while living with vision loss.

About the Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario (CPA Ontario) – www.cpaont.org
CPA Ontario is a provincial organization dedicated to assisting people with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities to achieve independence, self reliance and full community participation.

About the Ontario March of Dimes (OMOD) – www.marchofdimescanada.ca
Ontario March of Dimes is the largest community-based rehabilitation and advocacy organization for people with physical disabilities in the province. Our goal is to enhance the independence and community participation of people with physical disabilities every day through a wide range of programs and services across the province.

About The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) – www.chs.ca
The Canadian Hearing Society is the leading provider of services, products, and information that remove barriers to communication; advance hearing health; and promote equity for people who are culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing.

*****

ONTARIO VOTES 2007

ALL-PARTY DEBATE
On
POVERTY AND DISABILITY

Alumni Hall, Old Victoria College, University of Toronto

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

INVITED SPEAKERS: (To be confirmed)

MODERATOR: Dr. Dan Andreae, Institute of Doctors in Social Work

MEDIA PANEL MEMBERS: (To be confirmed)

IMPORTANT: Alumni Hall is a wheelchair/ scooter accessible facility. All reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate persons with special needs. Please call 416-XXX-XXXX by September 12 to advise organizers of special needs and obtain relevant information.

Co-sponsoring organizations:
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
ARCH Disability Law Centre
Canadian Pensioners Concerned (Ont. Div.)
Coalition for Social Justice
Faculty of Social Work Alumni Assoc.
HouseLink
Income Security Advocacy Centre
Institute of Doctors in Social Work
ODSP Action Coalition
Ontario Assoc. of Social Workers (Ontario Branch)
Street Health