ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE
The AODA Alliance Writes Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid to Request Important Information Regarding the Wynne Government’s Consultation on its Problematic Proposal to Establish a Private Accessibility certification Process in Ontario –And – The AODA Alliance Goes Radio Silent for the Holidays!
December 5, 2015
1. Asking the Wynne Government for Important Background on the Deloitte Firm’s Consultation Regarding the Government’s Proposal to Create a Private Accessibility Certification Process
On December 5, 2015, the AODA Alliance wrote Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid to request important background information on its current consultation on a proposal to create a private accessibility certification process in Ontario. We set out that letter below.
In this letter we ask, among other things, for the Government to clarify whether it has already decided to establish a private accessibility certification process. We inquire why it has hired the private Deloitte firm to conduct this consultation, rather than simply having the Government’s Accessibility Directorate of Ontario do it.
We seek details on the retainer with Deloitte, and for any research or background papers Deloitte prepares for the Government. We want to know what the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario has had to say about this proposal.
We also want to know what the Government has budgeted for a private accessibility certification process. We ask whether public funding for it would come from new money, or from funds diverted from AODA enforcement and from the creation of new accessibility standards.
The Government has only 9 years and 26 days left to lead Ontario to full accessibility for people with disabilities.
2. Wishing All a Great Holiday Season
As of today, the AODA Alliance is going off-line for the holidays. We will be off-line, and not responding to emails, tweets or even messages dropped by carrier pigeons until after the holidays.
We thank you so very much for your ongoing help and support of the accessibility cause. We wish one and all a very happy holiday season, and a barrier-free new year.
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.
Please pass on our email Updates to your family and friends.
Why not subscribe to the AODA Alliance’s YouTube channel, so you can get immediate alerts when we post new videos on our accessibility campaign.
Learn all about our campaign for a fully accessible Ontario.
Please also join the campaign for a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act, spearheaded by Barrier-Free Canada. The AODA Alliance is the Ontario affiliate of Barrier-Free Canada. Sign up for Barrier-Free Canada updates by emailing info@BarrierFreeCanada.org
ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
1929 Bayview Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @aodaalliance
December 5, 2015
Via email: email@example.com
Hon. Brad Duguid, Minister
Economic Development, Employment & Infrastructure
900 Bay St, 8th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 2E1
Re: Proposal for a Private Accessibility Certification Process
On November 16, 2015, your Government announced a public consultation on the possibility of a private accessibility certification process being established in Ontario. The Government announced that the private firm Deloitte has been retained to conduct this consultation for the Government. We are preparing our input into that consultation.
We ask you for important information that should be made public in connection with this consultation. Where this involves providing us with any documents, we would ask for them in an accessible MS Word format, and most definitely not in a PDF format.
1. Government statements about the scope of this consultation are somewhat unclear. Some Government statements make it sound as if you have already decided on establishing a private accessibility certification process, and are merely trying to decide what it should look like, and who should get the contract to operate it.
We ask you to clarify this. Has the Government already decided that a private accessibility certification process will in fact be established? What specifically has the Government decided as of now? Is this consultation only about how such a private accessibility certification process should be designed? Or is the consultation also to explore whether a private accessibility certification process should be established at all?
2. Please provide us with any terms of reference or other instructions to Deloitte about the scope of this public consultation, such as what questions or issues the Government is asking Deloitte to consult and/or report on.
3. Please provide any Request for Proposal (RFP) that the Government issued, and the dates of any RFP posting process, in connection with this private accessibility certification process consultation and/or research.
4. Please provide any contract or retainer with the Government and Deloitte in connection with the private accessibility certification process consultation and research.
5. How much is the Government paying, and to pay Deloitte for the conduct of this consultation?
6. Why did the Government retain a private company (i.e. such as Deloitte) to conduct this consultation, rather than having the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario conduct this consultation?
The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario is part of the Economic Development Ministry. It is the Government’s centre of expertise in advancing accessibility. It is the lead agency responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
7. When speaking in the Legislature on November 17, 2015 about the proposal to establish a private accessibility certification process, you referred to the LEED program and said that what you are looking at is “…similar to the way that the LEED program works, with gold, platinum and bronze.” You also said “A LEED-like program in Ontario would be a first in Canada and something that we're working very closely on with the likes of Rick Hansen to achieve.” We gather that the LEED initiative involves some sort of private certification of buildings for environmental considerations.
Is your proposal for establishing a private accessibility certification process aimed solely or predominantly at built environment barriers in buildings?
8. When the Deloitte organization recently spoke with me, its representative advised me that last summer; Deloitte prepared some sort of research paper or backgrounder on this issue, including a scan of such initiatives elsewhere. We understand that this research document was provided to the Government.
Could you please give us any research papers or documents that Deloitte has submitted to the Government on any aspect of the proposal to establish a private accessibility certification process. We wish to request in advance that any future papers or documents that Deloitte submits to the Government on the results of its consultations, any research on the idea of a private accessibility certification process, and/or any recommendations be provided to us.
9. Please provide us with any research, advice or recommendations prepared by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario on the idea to establish a private accessibility certification process.
10. The Government has had a focus on budget restraint and deficit control. As a result, we would expect that the Government would not spend public funds on Deloitte to conduct a public consultation on establishing a private accessibility certification process, unless the Government was prepared to invest public money in the creation and/or operation of such a certification process.
Your Government has indicated that it anticipates any private accessibility certification process to be self-funding. Are you considering expending public funds to create or contribute to this process? If so, what budget has been approved for this? If not yet approved, what amount of public spending are you contemplating?
Would any such expenditure come from a new appropriation, or are you considering diverting existing budget from other accessibility functions, like the creation of new AODA accessibility standards, reviewing and enforcing existing AODA accessibility standards, etc.
To make the fulfillment of this request an easy process for your officials, may I clarify that these requests only relate to documents that date back to November 1, 2014 and up to the present.
Premier Wynne has commendably pledged that your Government would be the most open and transparent government in Canada. As such, we hope and trust that this request for information will be fulfilled expeditiously. We would ask that if certain of the information we request can be quickly provided, please don’t hold it back until all other items are collected.
May I take this opportunity to wish you and the officials in your Ministry a great holiday season and a happy new year.
David Lepofsky CM, O.Ont.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
Premier Kathleen Wynne, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Giles Gherson, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, email Giles.gherson@Ontario.ca
Ann Hoy, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Accessibility Directorate, email email@example.com