On the 22nd Anniversary of the Birth of Ontario’s Grassroots Accessibility Law Campaign, the AODA Alliance Releases a Striking Video that Shows Significant Accessibility Problems at the Brand New Centennial College Culinary Arts Centre

November 29, 2016


1. A Video You Must Watch

The AODA Alliance today makes public a striking 18-minute video, and a shorter 6 minute version. These shows significant accessibility barriers in a brand-new public building that was just built with public money, the new Culinary Arts Centre at Toronto’s Centennial College. This video depicts accessibility issues regarding the specific design of such things as door openers, parking signage, outside stairs and ramp to the front door, the parking pay machine, washrooms, elevators, interior signage, and more. Ontario’s community colleges operate under the Ontario Government.

This is an important way to mark today, November 29, 2016. Today is the 22nd anniversary of the birth of Ontario’s tenacious grassroots non-partisan movement for strong Ontario accessibility legislation. Twenty-two years ago today, a group of about twenty individuals ended up together in a meeting room at Queen’s Park. They agreed to form a coalition to campaign for a strong Ontario accessibility law.

The rest is an amazing history. As a result of tenacious grassroots efforts by individuals and community organizations across Ontario, we have clearly made some real progress. We’ve won Ontario accessibility legislation, and several accessibility standards enacted under it. However, this new video shows that we have a long way to go, and that we are not getting back on schedule to reach full accessibility by 2025, the deadline set by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Our non-partisan campaign continues.

2. What This Video Signifies Today

Our new video on the accessibility barriers in the new Centennial College Culinary Arts Centre is striking for several reasons:

* Many think that while older buildings may have accessibility barriers, new buildings are of course reliably designed to be fully accessible. This is yet more proof that when it comes to new buildings in Ontario, accessibility is too often not the rule.

* Among the accessibility barriers in this video are some which violate current AODA regulations. Yet, under the AODA, the Wynne Government has not kept its 2011 election promise to effectively enforce the AODA. Community colleges such as Centennial operate under the Ontario Government. There is an inherent problem with the Ontario Government being relied upon to enforce the law against itself.

* In the 2014 Ontario election, the Wynne Government promised not to create new barriers against people with disabilities using public money. Yet this video depicts new accessibility barriers being created against people with disabilities with public money.

* The Wynne Government says on accessibility, it will lead by example. The accessibility problems in this new building, like those in the new Women’s College Hospital, are not examples Ontarians should follow.

* These accessibility barriers are in a place where Ontarians come for post-secondary education. This is yet more proof why the Ontario Government should agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA. To read the AODA Alliance’s new Discussion Paper on what an Education Accessibility Standard could include, visit:

* The fact that such accessibility barriers recur in new publicly funded buildings show us that Ontario’s laws on building construction, like the Ontario Building Code and accessibility standards under the AODA, are not sufficient. They do not ensure that a new building or major renovation is in fact accessible. These laws need to be strengthened now, to avoid such accessibility barriers happening again.

* There is also a pressing need for design professionals and students in the design professions like architects, to get proper training on disability accessibility. In 2016, no one should be able to practice in these fields in Ontario if they don’t know how to ensure that a building will be designed to be fully accessible.

Over nine years ago, in the 2007 Ontario election, Premier Dalton McGuinty promised to reach out to such professions to advocate for them to establish proper training in this area. We have seen no proof that the Ontario Government has kept that promise over the last nine years.

3. Helpful Links

* To watch the AODA Alliance’s captioned 18-minute video on accessibility issues at the new Centennial College Culinary Arts Centre.

* To watch a shorter 6-minute captioned version of the AODA Alliance’s Centennial College Culinary Arts Centre video.

To watch CITY TV’s Breakfast Television Program’s Facebook stream, on the AODA Alliance’s “AODAfail” Twitter campaign, that focused on accessibility barriers at the new Women’s College Hospital and Ryerson University’s Student Learning Centre, that aired on November 14, 2016 (with captioning).

* To read about the exciting events that took place at Queen’s Park 22 years ago today, that got Ontario’s Disabilities Act movement started.

To read a time line of the key events in the first 20 years of this 22 year accessibility saga.

To watch a captioned one-hour video of the 20th-anniversary celebration for Ontario’s Disabilities Act movement, which the AODA Alliance hosted at Queen’s Park on November 28, 2014.

To watch a captioned video of the AODA Alliance’s news conference held at the Queen’s Park Media Studio on November 28, 2014, right after our Queen’s Park celebration of the AODA movement’s 20th anniversary.

4. How You Can Honour Today’s Important Anniversary

We encourage you to:

* Let your Member of the Ontario Legislature know about the AODA Alliance’s new shorter and longer version of the video about accessibility barriers at the new Centennial College Culinary arts Centre. Tell them this shows why Ontario needs to strengthen its implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Tell them this video helps show the need for the Ontario Government to agree to develop an Education Accessibility Standard.

* Share the links to this new video about Centennial College with your local media.

* On Twitter, tweet the links to the AODA Alliance’s Centennial College video. Post it on Facebook. Use our hashtag #AODAfail to help spread the word.

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

Have you taken part in our “Picture Our Barriers campaign? If not, please join in! You can get all the information you need about our “Picture Our Barriers” campaign by visiting www.www.aodaalliance.org/2016

To sign up for, or unsubscribe from AODA Alliance e-mail updates, write to: aodafeedback@gmail.com

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.

Please pass on our email Updates to your family and friends.

Why not subscribe to the AODA Alliance’s YouTube channel, so you can get immediate alerts when we post new videos on our accessibility campaign.

Please “like” our Facebook page and share our updates.

Follow us on Twitter. Get others to follow us. And please re-tweet our tweets!! @AODAAlliance

Learn all about our campaign for a fully accessible Ontario by visiting http://www.www.aodaalliance.org

Please also join the campaign for a strong and effective Canadians with Disabilities Act, spearheaded by Barrier-Free Canada. The AODA Alliance is proud to be the Ontario affiliate of Barrier-Free Canada. Sign up for Barrier-Free Canada updates by emailing info@BarrierFreeCanada.org