Letter To Premier Harris
April 6, 1999
April 6, 1999
The Hon. Michael Harris
Rm. 281 Legislative Building
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Harris,
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee has been working towards the achievement of a barrier-free Ontario for the one and a half million Ontario voters who have a disability, through the enactment of a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act. We are writing in anticipation of a provincial election in the next months. With an Ontario election upcoming, we wish to make sure that all voters with disabilities can fully participate in this vital part of our democratic process. Our goal is a barrier-free election.
We have written to the Chief Elections Officer requesting him to take all the steps he can within his jurisdiction to ensure that there are no barriers to voters with disabilities. We are asking you to do the same not only in relation to the process of voting, but vis a vis the entire election campaign process.
You are in an important if not a unique position to help to make this a barrier-free election campaign by taking a number of steps. We offer the following as just some examples:
- ensuring that your campaign written material is available, on request, in alternative formats, such as Braille and large type, for those who cannot read conventional printed materials, and that all of your campaign offices are aware that this material is available. The public should be made aware of the availability of this material.
- installing TTY devices at your campaign offices so that voters who are deaf, deafened and hard of hearing can communicate with you and your local candidates
- ensuring that all of your campaign meetings and events are in accessible locations. This means not only that there are no stairs, but that there are accessible washrooms and parking located nearby.
- providing accommodation for people who are deaf and hard of hearing at your campaign events. This could include real-time captioning and sign language interpreters. In addition, campaign ads and television appearances should be close captioned while printed information appearing on the screen should be read aloud for the benefit of those who cannot read print.
- offering accessible transportation assistance to voters with disabilities who need such assistance to get to the polling stations.
- having your campaign offices publicly offer do everything possible to accommodate other requests that may be made by people with disabilities
There are 1-1/2 million people with disabilities who will be watching to see what message you send, not only by what you say, but what you do. We hope that we can count on you to plan ahead to make this a barrier-free election.
cc: The Hon. Isabel Bassett
Dalton McGuinty, MPP
Howard Hampton, MPP
Frances Lankin, MPP
Marion Boyd, MPP
Gilles Morin, MPP
Dwight Duncan, MPP
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