ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

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United for a Barrier-Free Ontario

20 Years of Tenaciously Campaigning to Tear down Barriers Impeding over 1.8 Million Ontarians with Disabilities

November 27, 2014

Summary

1982
Ontario Human Rights Code amended, to make it illegal to discriminate because of physical or mental disability.  Charter of Rights enacted, including right to equality for people with mental or physical disabilities.

Spring, 1994
NDP MPP Gary Malkowski introduces Private Member’s Bill, proposed Ontarians with Disabilities Act. First such bill in Ontario.

November 29, 1994
Public hearings on Malkowski’s bill begin in Ontario Legislature. Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee is formed in meeting room at Ontario Legislature.

May, 1995
Ontario election called. Malkowski’s bill dies on the order paper.

May, 1995
Liberal Leader Lyn McLeod promises to enact Disabilities Act if elected. Conservative leader Mike Harris promises to enact Disabilities Act in his first term if elected. These are in letters to the ODA Committee.

June, 1995
Mike Harris elected Premier of Ontario.

May 16, 1996 
Ontario Legislature unanimously passes resolution presented by NDP MPP Marion Boyd, calling on the Harris Government to keep its promise to pass the Disabilities Act, and to work with the disability community to develop it.

October 29, 1998
Legislature unanimously passes Liberal MPP Dwight Duncan’s resolution calling for Disabilities Act to be passed, that complies with the ODA Committee’s 11 principles to make it strong, effective and mandatory.  Liberal Opposition leader Dalton McGuinty appears at a Queen’s Park news conference with ODA Committee Chair David Lepofsky, to publicly pledge for the first time that, if elected, he will pass a Disabilities Act that fulfils this resolution.

November 23, 1998
Conservative Minister Isabel Basset introduces into the Legislature Bill 83, a three-page proposed Disabilities Act. It required no barriers to be removed or prevented. It dies on the order paper days later, after wide condemnation.

Spring, 1999
Ontario election called. Premier Mike Harris did not enact the Disabilities Act in his first term, despite promising to do so.  In Ontario election, Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty and NDP leader Howard Hampton each promise that if elected, they would pass a Disabilities Act that fulfils the ODA Committee’s 11 principles. These are in letters to the ODA Committee.  Mike Harris Conservatives elected to second term in office.

November 23, 1999
Ontario Legislature unanimously passes resolution introduced by Liberal MPP Steve Peters calling on the Government to enact the Disabilities Act within two years.

November 5, 2001
PC Minister Cam Jackson introduces Bill 125, the Conservatives’ second Disabilities Act bill. It goes to public hearings.

December 13, 2001
Conservatives pass the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001. Liberals and NDP in opposition vote against it as being too weak, not covering the private sector, and lacking enforcement.

Spring, 2003
Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty and NDP leader Howard Hampton promise in the 2003 election campaign that if elected, they would enact a Disabilities Act that fulfilled the ODA Committee’s 11 principles. These are in letters to the ODA Committee.

October, 2003
Dalton McGuinty elected Ontario premier, to head new Liberal Government.

October 12, 2004
Liberal Citizenship Minister Dr. Marie Bountrogianni introduces into the Legislature Bill 118, the Liberals’ proposed Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Fall, 2004
Conservative leader John Tory announces that the Conservative Party will support the mandatory, enforceable Bill 118 – changing party policy from the Mike Harris years.

January-February, 2005
Legislature holds public hearings on Bill 118, first time public hearings were televised while held outside Toronto.

May 10, 2005
Ontario Legislature unanimously passes Bill 118, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. MPPs give standing ovation to this historic event right after this vote.

August, 2005
ODA Committee winds up, having secured enactment of the AODA. It is replaced by its successor coalition, the AODA Alliance, with a mandate to get the AODA effectively implemented and enforced.

Summer, 2007 
Ontario Government enacts the Customer Service Accessibility Standard, the first accessibility standard enacted under the AODA.

September 14, 2007
Premier McGuinty makes written election promises to strengthen the implementation of the AODA during the 2007 election campaign. NDP leader Howard Hampton and PC leader John Tory make election commitments on this topic. All are in letters to the AODA Alliance.

May, 2010
Legislature enacts Bill 231 to modernize Ontario elections. Includes some of the amendments the AODA Alliance sought, to remove voting barriers facing voters with disabilities.

June 3, 2011
Ontario Government enacts the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR), an accessibility standard under the AODA to address barriers in employment, transportation and information and communication.

August, 2011
Premier Dalton McGuinty and NDP leader Andrea Horwath make written election pledges to AODA Alliance to strengthen the implementation of the AODA during the 2011 election.

October, 2011
Premier McGuinty’s Liberals win third term, but as minority Government.

December, 2012
The Government amends the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation to address physical barriers in public spaces e.g. recreation trails, public parking, service areas.

December 3, 2012
Kathleen Wynne, running for leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, promises the AODA Alliance that as premier, she would keep all her Government’s earlier promises on accessibility, and would ensure Ontario is on schedule for full accessibility by 2025.

November 18, 2013
AODA Alliance reveals that Government knew for months that 70% of private sector organizations with at least 20 employees violated AODA without any real Government enforcement. This was despite the Government having ample enforcement powers and unused budget on hand for enforcement.

December, 2013
Government passes limited accessibility amendments to the Ontario building code for new buildings and major renovations, but no accessibility standard under the AODA to address many physical barriers in the built environment.

January 26, 2014
Kathleen Wynne wins Liberal Party leadership and becomes next Ontario Premier.

May, 2014
Three parties make written election pledges to the AODA Alliance during the 2014 election.

June 12, 2014
Liberals under Premier Kathleen Wynne win fourth term in office, now as majority government.
 
September 25, 2014
Premier Wynne writes “Mandate Letters” to each cabinet minister, to set their marching orders and priorities. Many if not most Government promises and duties on disability accessibility are systematically left out of these letters. On May 14, 2014, Premier Wynne had promised the AODA Alliance in writing that she would instruct cabinet ministers and other senior officials on their accessibility promises and duties.

KEY LINKS

To read the Ontario legislature’s October 29, 1998 resolution, adopting the ODA Committee’s 11 principles.

For all the background on the work of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee from 1994 to its dissolution in August 2005.

For all the work of its successor coalition, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, from Fall 2005 to the present.

For a detailed, captioned video series on the 20-year campaign for a barrier-free Ontario for people with disabilities.

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