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UNITED FOR A BARRIER-FREE ONTARIO
May 9, 2013
TORONTO: As one billion people with disabilities around the world mark today, the first Global Accessibility Awareness Day with events around the globe, Torontonians with all kinds of disabilities will converge tonight from 7 to 9 pm at the TTC’s Accessible Transit Public Forum at Queen Elizabeth Exhibit Hall, Exhibition Place – 180 Princes’ Boulevard. The media will have its eyes opened wide by watching TTC passengers with disabilities go face-to-face with TTC Commissioners and senior management, sharing their front-line experience facing disability barriers on Canada’s larges urban public transit system.
“We don’t know if it was intentional or just a coincidence that TTC is holding this open forum on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, but it’s a great chance for people with disabilities to seek answers and solutions from TTC’s very top brass,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the province-wide AODA Alliance, the community coalition that spearheads a campaign to make Ontario fully accessible to over 1.7 million people with disabilities. “Hundreds of people with disabilities came to each previous TTC accessibility forum with wrenching stories. We encourage one and all to come to this important event tonight, to try to make “the Better Way” at last become an accessible way for people with disabilities!”
Lepofsky, as an individual, fought and won two Human Rights Tribunal cases against TTC in 2005 and 2007, to force it to audibly announce all bus and subway stops for the benefit of blind passengers like himself. “Measures that make TTC accessible to people with disabilities help everyone,” said Lepofsky. “So many sighted people have said that they love those bus and subway stop announcements, because it’s often hard to see outside a crowded TTC vehicle’s window. They can’t belief TTC opposed me on that issue”
When Lepofsky won his second case against TTC in 2007, he got the Human Rights Tribunal to order TTC to hold three annual public forums on barriers facing passengers with disabilities. TTC initially opposed that order. After TTC learned how helpful these forums can be, it agreed to voluntarily continue to hold them annually after the Human Rights Tribunal’s three-year order expired. Now regulations under Ontario’s Disabilities Act require all Ontario public transit authorities to do the same.
Contact: David Lepofsky, firstname.lastname@example.org Live-tweeting TTC Forum on Twitter @aodaalliance