Ontarians With Disabilities Act Committee
40 Orchard View Boulevard, Suite 255
Toronto, Ontario M4G 1B9
Telephone: 416-482-8255 (416) 482-1254 (TDD) Fax: (416) 482-2981
May 8, 1996
Premier Michael Harris
Fax # 326-1687
RE: Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Dear Premier Harris:
I am writing on behalf of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. We are a volunteer coalition of persons with disabilities and organizations concerned with the rights of persons with disabilities. We have come together to advocate for the enactment of an Ontarians with Disabilities Act - a new law to secure the goal of a barrier-free Ontario for persons with disabilities in which all persons with disabilities can contribute and fully participate on a footing of equality. During the last election campaign, you promised our Committee that if elected, a Mike Harris government would enact an Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and would work together with our Committee to that end. I am enclosing a copy of your May 24 1995 letter addressing this issue in your response to an all party survey questionnaire on disability issues during the election which addresses this matter.
To date, you have declined to meet with us, and have instead referred us to the Minister of Citizenship. She as well has declined to meet with us, and has not done any substantive work to fulfil this important election promise.
We understand that at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 16, 1996, Ms. Marion Boyd a member of the Ontario Legislature, will be introducing a resolution for debate and approval which will call on the Government to keep its election promise regarding the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. We understand that the proposed resolution is worded as follows:
"In the opinion of this House, since persons with disabilities in Ontario face systemic barriers in access to employment, services, goods, facilities and accommodation; and since, all Ontarians will benefit from the removal of these barriers, thereby enabling these persons to enjoy equal opportunity and full participation in the life of the province:
a) enact an Ontarians with Disabilities Act within its current term of office; and
b) work together with members of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, amongst others, in the development of such legislation."
We are writing to ask you what position you and your Party will take on this resolution, and to urge that your Party commit to support and vote for this resolution. As Ms. Boyd is a member of your party, we hope that you and your other caucus members will support her in this important endeavour. Please notify me as soon as possible what position your Party will take on this resolution. We hope that this will be seen as a bipartisan issue, as we all share in the desire for persons with disabilities to be able to live in a barrier-free society. Also, on conclusion of the debate over Ms. Boyd's resolution at 12:00 noon on May 16th, the ODA committee will be holding a press conference to address this matter at the Media Studio at Queen's Park. We wish to invite each political party to send an elected representative as their spokesperson to attend this press conference and to be available to answer questions. Could you please notify me as soon as possible whether your party will be sending a representative, and if so who.
Executive Committee, O.D.A. Committee
c.c. Marion Boyd