March 21, 2007 – Watch the McGuinty Government’s 2007 Budget for Disability Funding Commitments


March 21, 2007


On Thursday, March 22, 2007, the McGuinty Government will hand down its last
provincial budget before this October’s provincial general election. It will be
important to see what new funding commitments this budget will include for the
over 1.5 million Ontarians who have a disability.

As but two examples, it will be important to see what new commitments the budget includes for funding the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which the McGuinty Government passed into law almost two years ago. What new funding will it include for the Ontario Government to itself identify and remove barriers within the provincial government? What new funding will it include to help others act to implement the AODA? What funding will it include to help accelerate the process of developing strong and effective
provincial accessibility standards across all sectors of society, which the AODA
was said to deliver?

As well, it is important to see whether this budget includes sufficient new
funding to keep the Ontario Government’s commitments regarding the
implementation of bill 107. bill 107 is the McGuinty Government’s controversial
law that privatized human rights enforcement in Ontario. For background on this
bill, visit:

For example, will the budget include sufficient new funding to keep the
Government’s commitment that under bill 107, every human rights complainant will be able to get a hearing on the merits of their discrimination case before the
Human rights Tribunal within one year of filing their complaint? The Tribunal
now handles a tiny percentage of the cases which it will be responsible for when
Bill 107 is proclaimed in force.

As well, will the budget enable the Government to keep its commitment that every human rights complainant will be entitled to a free, independent,
publicly-funded legal counsel to represent them at the Human Rights Tribunal.
Will the Government also provide enhanced funding (not reduced funding) for the chronically-under-funded Ontario Human rights Commission so that it can bring a substantial number of public interest discrimination cases before the Human Rights Tribunal, and intervene in a substantial number of cases at the Tribunal that private individuals bring forward? Ontario’s human rights enforcement system has been under-funded for years. The AODA Alliance, and its predecessor the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, were leading voices for years in calling for increased funding for Ontario’s human rights enforcement system.

Of course, there are also other pressing funding needs from a disability
perspective that many will wish to watch for in the upcoming budget, such as
needed increases to the Ontario Disability Support Plan.

It is not enough for us all to just watch what the McGuinty Government says on
these issues. It will also be critical to watch for the position of the
opposition NDP and Conservatives, as the next provincial election rapidly

We will welcome your feedback on the budget. Email us at:

Let the media and the parties in the Legislature know what you think of the
forthcoming budget’s commitments on these issues.

On another note, we will shortly be sending you the AODA Alliance’s new
Discussion Paper On Options for the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal’s
Implementation of Bill 107. Please read it and circulate it widely.