ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

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United for a Barrier-Free Ontario

Progressive Conservative Party and Green Party Candidates in the Ottawa Vanier and Niagara West-Glanbrook November 17, 2016 By-elections Answer the AODA Alliance's Accessibility Questionnaire

November 15, 2016

SUMMARY

We have just received the responses to the AODA Alliance's accessibility questionnaire from the Progressive Conservative Party's and the Green Party's candidates in the November 17, 2016 by-elections in the Ottawa Vanier and Niagara West-Glanbrook ridings. We set these responses out below.

We should note that we had not sought commitments from the Green Party, as we had focused on the three major parties. The Green Party reached out to us, and offered to answer our questionnaire. We very much appreciate that. The AODA Alliance is non-partisan, and does not support or oppose any party or candidate.

We have now received and made public commitments on accessibility from the candidates in both by-elections for the Liberal, PC, NDP and Green parties. To read the commitments from the NDP candidates in both ridings, and Liberal Niagara candidate Vicky Ringuette.

To read the commitments by Ottawa Liberal candidate Nathalie Des Rosiers.

We know that so many AODA Alliance Updates in one week is far more than our usual, but we want to keep you up-to-date as the November 17, 2016 by-election approaches.

 You can always send your feedback to us on any AODA and accessibility issue at aodafeedback@gmail.com

Have you taken part in our "Picture Our Barriers campaign? If not, please join in! You can get all the information you need about our "Picture Our Barriers" campaign by visiting www.aodaalliance.org/2016

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We encourage you to use the Government's toll-free number for reporting AODA violations. We fought long and hard to get the Government to promise this, and later to deliver on that promise. If you encounter any accessibility problems at any large retail establishments, it will be especially important to report them to the Government via that toll-free number. Call 1-866-515-2025.

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Learn all about our campaign for a fully accessible Ontario by visiting
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Please also join the campaign for a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act, spearheaded by Barrier-Free Canada. The AODA Alliance is proud to be the Ontario affiliate of Barrier-Free Canada. Sign up for Barrier-Free Canada updates by emailing info@BarrierFreeCanada.org

MORE DETAILS

Text of the November 15,2016 Letter to the AODA Alliance from Ottawa Vanier PC Candidate Andre Marin

AODA Alliance Questionnaire

André Marin, Ontario PC Candidate for Ottawa-Vanier
November 15, 2016

1. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires the Ontario Government to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. Do you support that law, and its goal of full accessibility by 2025, and will you personally oppose any efforts to weaken it or measures under it?
The Ontario PC Party believes that every Ontarian has the right to lead his or her life to its fullest potential - regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Whether addressing standards for public housing, health care, employment or education, we have a responsibility to remove the barriers that prevent those with disabilities from participating more fully in their communities. 
As a result, we support the goal of the AODA to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025. As the Official Opposition, our goal is to hold Premier Wynne accountable to her commitment to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025. 
2. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Ontario Government to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to make Ontario's education system fully accessible to students, parents, and education staff with disabilities, including the 334,000 students with special education needs in Ontario-funded schools?
The Ontario PC Party is currently undergoing the largest and most inclusive policy consultation process in our Party's history. We want to hear from those involved on the ground floor - including the AODA Alliance - about how to build a better province. We are open to any and every idea to bridge society's gap regarding persons with disabilities, and better employ and support persons with disabilities. 

3. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to act now to keep its promise to effectively enforce the Disabilities Act, and to reveal its detailed plans for enforcing this important law?
The Ontario PC Party supports the push for an Ontario that is accessible for persons with disabilities. We hope the government takes this matter seriously and leads by example by ensuring that all government buildings and institutions are accessible. As the Official Opposition, our goal is to hold Premier Wynne accountable to her commitment to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025. 

4. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to now implement effective action to ensure that public money is never used to create new barriers against people with disabilities, or to perpetuate existing barriers?
The Ontario PC Party believes that no new public money should be used to create new barriers against people with disabilities, or to perpetuate existing barriers. As MPP, I would work tirelessly to ensure the Liberal Government is not creating further obstacles for my constituents in Ottawa-Vanier

5. Will you promise not to attend any all-candidates debates unless they are in an accessible location for voters with disabilities to attend and take part?
All-candidates debates are an important forum for the exchange of ideas, and serve an important purpose in informing voters about the important ballot issues.  We believe that everyone, regardless of their disability, should have the right to participate in important community town hall discussions. If an Ontario PC Party candidate is informed that a town-hall location isn't accessible to those with disabilities, we will take appropriate action to ensure they can still participate in the discussion. We commit to raising concerns about any debate locations that are not accessible and will push to have them moved to other locations that meet accessibility requirements.

6. Have you ensured that your campaign office has full disability accessibility?
Our office, and bathroom, is wheelchair accessible. We will also make every effort to accommodate all volunteers and guests and to ensure that staff are available during office hours to assist.  

Text of the November 15,2016 Letter to the AODA Alliance from Niagara West-Glanbrook PC Candidate Sam Oosterhoff

AODA Alliance Questionnaire
Sam Oosterhoff, Ontario PC Candidate for Niagara West-Glanbrook
November 15, 2016

1. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires the Ontario Government to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. Do you support that law, and its goal of full accessibility by 2025, and will you personally oppose any efforts to weaken it or measures under it?
The Ontario PC Party believes that every Ontarian has the right to lead his or her life to its fullest potential - regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Whether addressing standards for public housing, health care, employment or education, we have a responsibility to remove the barriers that prevent those with disabilities from participating more fully in their communities. 
As a result, we support the goal of the AODA to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025. As the Official Opposition, our goal is to hold Premier Wynne accountable to her commitment to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025. 

2. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Ontario Government to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to make Ontario's education system fully accessible to students, parents, and education staff with disabilities, including the 334,000 students with special education needs in Ontario-funded schools?
The Ontario PC Party is currently undergoing the largest and most inclusive policy consultation process in our Party's history. We want to hear from those involved on the ground floor - including the AODA Alliance - about how to build a better province. We are open to any and every idea to bridge society's gap regarding persons with disabilities, and better employ and support persons with disabilities. 

3. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to act now to keep its promise to effectively enforce the Disabilities Act, and to reveal its detailed plans for enforcing this important law?
The Ontario PC Party supports the push for an Ontario that is accessible for persons with disabilities. We hope the government takes this matter seriously and leads by example by ensuring that all government buildings and institutions are accessible. As the Official Opposition, our goal is to hold Premier Wynne accountable to her commitment to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025. 

4. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to now implement effective action to ensure that public money is never used to create new barriers against people with disabilities, or to perpetuate existing barriers?
The Ontario PC Party believes that no new public money should be used to create new barriers against people with disabilities, or to perpetuate existing barriers. As MPP, I would work tirelessly to ensure the Liberal Government is not creating further obstacles for my constituents in Niagara West-Glanbrook.

5. Will you promise not to attend any all-candidates debates unless they are in an accessible location for voters with disabilities to attend and take part?
All-candidates debates are an important forum for the exchange of ideas, and serve an important purpose in informing voters about the important ballot issues.  We believe that everyone, regardless of their disability, should have the right to participate in important community town hall discussions. If an Ontario PC Party candidate is informed that a town-hall location isn't accessible to those with disabilities, we will take appropriate action to ensure they can still participate in the discussion. We commit to raising concerns about any debate locations that are not accessible and will push to have them moved to other locations that meet accessibility requirements. Each and every debate that we have attended has been accessible for voters with disabilities.

6. Have you ensured that your campaign office has full disability accessibility?
Having our office fully accessible was important to us. Our campaign office is in fact fully accessible for those with disabilities.

Text of the November 15,2016 Letter to the AODA Alliance from the Green Party Candidates Raphael Morin (Ottawa-Vanier) and Donna Cridland (Niagara West-Glanbrook) 

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update
Responses on behalf of GPO candidates Raphael Morin (Ottawa-Vanier) and Donna Cridland (Niagara West-Glanbrook)

1. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires the Ontario Government to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. Do you support that law, and its goal of full accessibility by 2025, and will you personally oppose any efforts to weaken it or measures under it?
The Green Party of Ontario (GPO) and our candidates support the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the goal of full accessibility by 2025.

2. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Ontario Government to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to make Ontario's education system fully accessible to students, parents, and education staff with disabilities, including the 334,000 students with special education needs in Ontario-funded schools?
Yes we support the call. The GPO advocates for merging the separate Catholic and public school boards into one public school system with English and French boards. Savings from removing duplication in administration will be reinvested in the classroom: including providing much needed additional special education funding in the classroom. We encourage your organization to consider this policy (supporting a one school system) to learn more about how it would benefit our schools, students, parents and teachers, including those with disabilities.

3. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to act now to keep its promise to effectively enforce the Disabilities Act, and to reveal its detailed plans for enforcing this important law?
Yes, we will hold the government to account on its promises.

4. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to now implement effective action to ensure that public money is never used to create new barriers against people with disabilities, or to perpetuate existing barriers?
Yes, absolutely.

5. Will you promise not to attend any all-candidates debates unless they are in an accessible location for voters with disabilities to attend and take part?
This is a very important question. While most debates and all candidates' meetings are wrapping up for this election, I will strongly encourage organizers in future elections to ensure an accessible space for all candidates' meetings.

6. Have you ensured that your campaign office has full disability accessibility?
As an organization, we strive to ensure our public and private events are always held in accessible locations. Our current local campaigns do not have an office.