ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE

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United for a Barrier-Free Ontario

AODA Alliance Asks the Wynne Government for Updated Specific Information on What It Is Doing to Keep Its Promise to Effectively Enforce the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

June 26, 2017

Summary

Two weeks ago, on June 12, 2017, the AODA Alliance wrote Ontario's Accessibility Minister, Tracy MacCharles. We asked for specific updated data and information on the Government's efforts at enforcing the AODA. The Ontario Government has promised to effectively enforce this law. We set our June 12, 2017 letter out below. It is followed by links to key background material on this issue.

We have sought this kind of information from the Government over the past four years. Sometimes the Government provides it in response to our inquiries. Sometimes in the past we have had to resort to Freedom of Information applications. We have not yet heard back from the Wynne Government in response to our most recent letter.

The Government should be able to quickly and easily retrieve the information we seek. In the past, the Government has agreed that providing this kind of information does not take much time to locate.

From similar past requests over the last four years, we have unearthed and exposed the fact that there have been rampant violations of the AODA among private sector organizations. We unearthed that the Government had done far too little to enforce this law, even though the Government promised its effective enforcement. We also showed that the Government had ample money on hand and unspent, in the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, which could have been used for AODA enforcement.

AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky still has pending a Freedom of Information appeal to the Information and Privacy Commission regarding an earlier request he filed with the Wynne Government over two years ago. He appealed the Government's refusal to waive its $4,250 fee for revealing that earlier request for various information regarding the AODA's implementation and enforcement. In response to that earlier request, the Government has provided him, at no charge, information akin to the information requests in our most recent letter, set out below.

David Lepofsky argued his Freedom of Information appeal before the Information and Privacy Commission back on January 31, 2017. The Commission has reserved judgement and has not yet released its decision. We do not know how long the Commission will take to decide that case. That appeal should not hold up efforts on this new request.

We are eager to learn if there have been any improvements in the AODA's enforcement since the earlier enforcement information we obtained in late 2015. With a provincial election less than a year away, and with only 7.5 years left for the Government to lead Ontario to full accessibility by 2025, the AODA's effective enforcement remains a pressing issue for Ontarians with Disabilities.

MORE DETAILS

Text of the AODA Alliance's June 12, 2017 Letter to Accessibility Minister Tracy MacCharles

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
1929 Bayview Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Email aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance www.aodaalliance.org

June 12, 2017

Via Email Tracy.MacCharles@ontario.ca
The Honourable Tracy MacCharles,
Minister of Accessibility and Minister of Government and Consumer Services
Office of the Minister Responsible for Accessibility
6th Floor, Mowat Block
900 Bay St,
Toronto, ON M7A 1L2
 
Dear Minister,

Re Updated Information on the Government's Enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

We would very much appreciate it if you could send us specific updated data on compliance with and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). In the past, the Government has given us the kinds of data we request below. This is a request to get that information updated.

Specifically, we would welcome the following. It should be readily available to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario with minimal effort. It also should be helpful for you and your staff, in your work overseeing the AODA's implementation and enforcement:

1. By December 31, 2012, private sector organizations in Ontario with at least 20 employees had to file a first Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Accessibility Report with the Government under s. 14 of the AODA.

a) As of the time you answer this letter, how many private sector organizations, that were required to file an AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2012, had still not filed the required AODA Accessibility Report?

b) What percentage of the total number of private sector organizations which had been required to file an AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2012 had not filed one as of the date of your response to this letter?

2. By December 31, 2014, private sector organizations in Ontario with at least 20 employees had to file a second AODA Accessibility Report with the Government under s. 14 of the AODA.

a) As of the time you answer this letter, how many private sector organizations, that were required to file an AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2014, had still not filed the required 2014 AODA Accessibility Report?

b) What percentage of the total number of private sector organizations which had been required to file an AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2014 had not filed one as of the date of your response to this letter?

3. As of the date of your response to this letter, how many private sector organizations that were required to file a first AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2012, and a second AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2014, had not filed either required report? Please state this as a number of organizations, and as a percentage of the organizations which were required to so file.

4. I understand from the Government's AODA toll free line that designated public sector organizations were all required to file their most recent AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2015.

a) What number and percentage of all designated public sector organizations had filed their most recent AODA compliance report by December 31, 2015?

b) As of the date of your response to this letter, if all had still not filed them, how many have not filed them? And what percent of designated public sector organizations that were required to file then?

5. What number of specific enforcement actions has the Government taken in 2015, or 2016, or in 2017 up to now, broken down by year. to deploy its enforcement powers under the AODA, in relation to private sector organizations or in relation to public sector organizations, including how many audits, inspections, compliance orders imposed, or monetary penalties imposed, or other enforcement/compliance efforts (excluding efforts to inform or educate obligated organizations). We are eager to know this:

a) regarding private sector with under 20 employees

b) regarding private sector organizations with 20-50 employees

c) regarding private sector organizations with over 50 employees, and

d) regarding designated public sector organizations.

6. How many AODA audits or inspections did the Government plan to undertake for 2016? For 2017?

7. How many times have any compliance orders or monetary penalties, imposed under the AODA, been appealed to the License Appeal Tribunal, in 2015 or 2016 or in 2017 up to now? We would appreciate a copy in an accessible format or a link to any and all decisions, and a list of the tribunal's decision or order or any settlement that is not confidential.

8. How many AODA compliance orders, monetary penalties or other enforcement efforts have been appealed to court in 2015, or 2016, or up to now in 2017? Please provide specifics of any such case or links to accessible postings of any decisions. How many such appeals or court proceedings are now pending?

9. How many times in 2015, or 2016 or 2017 to date has a compliance order or an administrative penalty order been filed with a local Registrar of the Superior Court of Justice under s. 23 of the AODA?

10. In the years 2016, and up to now in 2017, what are the numbers of:

a) Directors appointed under s. 30 of the AODA working within the Ontario Government or under its authority;

b) Inspectors appointed under s. 18 of the AODA employed in or on behalf of the Ontario Government;

c) Inspectors that the Government plans in the next six months to appoint under s. 18 of the AODA; and

d) Directors that the Government plans to appoint in the next six months under s. 30 of the AODA.

11. What is the budget that was appropriated for the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario for the fiscal year 2014-15? How much of that amount did the Directorate spent in that fiscal year?

We would be happy to do whatever your Ministry may need us to do, to help clarify these questions, and to make it as easy as possible for the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario to promptly provide the answers. If some questions can quickly be answered, and others will take more time, we would welcome receiving it in stages, rather than having to wait until it is all assembled before we see any answers.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont
Chair
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

cc: Premier Kathleen Wynne, premier@ontario.ca   
Marie-Lison Fougère, Deputy Minister of Accessibility, marie-lison.fougere@ontario.ca
Ann Hoy, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Accessibility Directorate, ann.hoy@ontario.ca
Steve Orsini, Secretary to Cabinet steve.orsini@ontario.ca

Links to Key Background Information

To read the AODA Alliance's December 3, 2015 news release, revealing the last updated data on AODA enforcement that the Government gave us.

To read the AODA Alliance's December 2, 2015 analysis of the Government's November 25, 2015 FOI disclosures, and to read the documents that the Government disclosed.

To read AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky's June 4, 2015 Freedom of Information application.

To learn about the AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky's attempts to get the Wynne Government to waive its $4,250 fee for answering all of his June 4, 2015 Freedom of Information application.

To learn about AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky's appeal to the Information and Privacy Commission regarding his June 4, 2015 Freedom of Information.

To read Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid's February 19, 2015 letter to the AODA Alliance, revealing 2015 cuts to AODA enforcement.

To read the 2014 final report of the Mayo Moran 2nd AODA Independent Review.

To read the Toronto Star's February 28, 2015 editorial, blasting the Government's 2015 cuts to AODA enforcement.

To read the Toronto Star's November 19, 2013 editorial, criticizing the Ontario Government's failure to effectively enforce the AODA.

To read the Toronto Star's October 31, 2013 editorial on enforcement of the Disabilities Act.

For the AODA Alliance's response to the Wynne Government's October 5, 2015 announcement of AODA enforcement targeted at retail establishments with at least 500 employees.

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

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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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