Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update
United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities
Attend CNIB’s July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall on Dangers that Electric Scooters Pose for People with Disabilities if London Ontario Allows Them – and— Please Fill Out an Important Online Survey About Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Courts
July 22, 2021
Here’s a buffet of recent news from the trenches of the battle for accessibility for people with disabilities:
- Please come to CNIB’s July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall between 5 and 7 pm local time to discuss the dangers that e-scooters pose if the City of London Ontario allows them. Read on for details on how to register to take part.
- Please complete an important online survey before September 30, 2021 about disability barriers you have experienced in Ontario’s Courts. See below for more information on this.
- What do you think of the initial reports of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee or the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on what needs to be done to tear down the many disability barriers that impede students with disabilities in Ontario? Let us know! Once again, read on for more about this.
Believe it or not, 903 days ago, the Ford Government received the blistering final report of the Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. It called for urgent action to speed up and strengthen the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. Since then, the Ford Government has still announced no comprehensive plan of action to implement that report. Numbering at least 2.6 million, Ontarians with disabilities deserve better.
1. Come to CNIB’s July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall on Dangers to People with Disabilities if London, Ontario Allows E-Scooters
It is very troubling that London, Ontario is considering allowing e-scooters. After an incredibly tenacious effort, people with disabilities managed to convince the City of Toronto not to allow e-scooters because they endanger people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. Now it is time to mount a similar campaign in other cities in Ontario that are thinking of creating the same danger for people with disabilities.
London, Ontario is now actively considering the possibility of conducting a “pilot project” with e-scooters. The corporate lobbyists for the e-scooter rental companies are unquestionably behind this, as they were in Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor and elsewhere.
We are thrilled that on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 from 5 to 7 pm local time, CNIB will be hosting an on-line Virtual Town Hall for people with disabilities to discuss concerns about the possibility of London allowing e-scooters and to explore what you can do about this danger. Please plan to take part! To register for this event, contact Larissa Proctor Larissa.Proctor@cnib.ca and let her know if you have any accommodation needs.
For background you can check out our short, widely viewed, captioned online video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky about the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities. It formed part of our successful campaign against allowing e-scooters in Toronto.
Toronto City staff did a comprehensive job of documenting the dangers that e-scooters pose for people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. That research led Toronto City Council to unanimously defeat a proposal to allow e-scooters, which was heavily backed by the e-scooters corporate lobbyists. We call on all other Ontario cities to show the same wisdom and concern for the safety of people with disabilities and others.
To learn all about our campaign over the past two years to protect Ontarians with disabilities from the dangers that e-scooters pose, visit the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooters page.
Why are we having to fight this battle one city at a time? Sadly, this is all due to Premier Doug Ford refusing to listen to us about this while listening instead only to the e-scooter corporate lobbyists. Two years ago, e-scooters were not allowed in public places in Ontario, thanks to Ontario law. As the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooters page amply documents, the Ford Government decided to change all that in 2019. It passed a harmful regulation that let each municipality conduct a pilot project if they wished with e-scooters over a 5-year period. We tried to convince the Ford Government not to do this, because of the dangers posed to people with disabilities and others. The Ford Government decided, however, to give in to the corporate lobbyists and to entirely reject our concerns.
People with disabilities won this uphill battle against the corporate lobbyists in Toronto. We can do the same in London and elsewhere, with your help. Please register to take part in the July 27, 2021 Virtual Town Hall to get involved.
2. Please Take Part In an On-Line Survey About Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Court System
Have you had experience encountering any disability barriers in any court proceedings in Ontario? Here is an amazing chance for you to anonymously share your experience and help with an ongoing effort to make Ontario’s courts barrier-free for people with disabilities by 2025, as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires.
In 2007, a major official report, the Weiler Report, mapped out actions needed to make Ontario’s courts fully accessible for court participants with disabilities. It was prepared by a group including representation from the courts, the Government, the legal profession and the disability community. That group was appointed by Ontario’s then Chief Justice Roy McMurtry. It was chaired by then Court of Appeal Justice Karen Weiler. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky was a member of that group.
Among other things, the Weiler Report recommended that a permanent committee be established to monitor and oversee progress in this area. This led to the creation of the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee (OCAC), which has been in action since then. A successor to the Weiler group, OCAC also includes representatives from the courts, the Government, the legal profession and the disability community. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky has also been a member of that committee since it began.
To help OCAC with its ongoing work, an online survey is underway until September 30, 2021. It gives you a chance to give your input without sharing your identity. Please take part in the survey. Please publicize it to others, and urge them to take part as well.
The online survey about disability barriers in Ontario’s courts is available in English at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OCACSurveyEN and in French at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OCACSondageFR
To learn more about the AODA Alliance’s advocacy for accessibility in Ontario’s courts, visit the AODA Alliance website’s courts accessibility page.
3. Reminder to Send Us Input to Help Us Give Feedback on Barriers in Ontario Schools, Colleges and Universities Facing Students with Disabilities
As we earlier announced, we are preparing briefs to submit to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee on its initial report and to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee on its initial report. These reports address barriers facing students with disabilities in schools, colleges and universities respectively. Send your input to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to help us with the preparation of our briefs.
We will also very shortly be sharing with you a draft of the brief on disability barriers in the health care system facing patients with disabilities, to see how you like it. That brief, once finalized will be shared with the Health Care Standards Development Committee.
It is extremely rare that people with disabilities get a chance to have input into such important issues. They are all happening at the same time. Let’s take advantage and be sure we all have our say.
To help you, we have made available a captioned online education video that summarizes the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report. Check it out. We have also made available for you an Action Kit on how to take part, as well as a 15-page summary and a 55-page summary of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee initial report. Choose which of these offerings is the most helpful for you.
Learn more about our advocacy efforts in the area of education for students with disabilities by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s education page.