Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update
United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities
On YouTube, Watch AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky’s Latest Interview on TVO’s “The Agenda With Steve Paikin”, and Then Write Premier Ford, Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho to Insist that They Take New Action to Tear Down Barriers in Schools Impeding Students with Disabilities
March 29, 2023
On YouTube, please take 18 minutes to watch AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky’s March 28, 2023 interview on TVO’s “The Agenda with Steve Paikin”, addressing the serious barriers in Ontario schools that hurt students with disabilities. Get others to do the same. Press the Ford Government to take overdue action for one third of a million students with disabilities in Ontario schools.
On the same day that this interview later aired, Ontario’s Education Minister tweeted:
“@SFLecce The best educator. That’s what students deserve.”
We agree. This interview however shows that in an Ontario school system full of disability barriers, that too often is not what students with disabilities now get. This is so due to failed Ontario Government leadership and despite the best intentions and efforts of Ontario’s front-line teachers and other education workers.
Here’s a piece of painful irony. Almost three years ago, on July 8, 2020, in the earliest months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce told the Legislature the following during Question Period:
“You know, Speaker, I actually speak to Mr. Lepofsky quite often. I spoke to him just two weeks ago in advance of our reopening plan.”
That was true, back then. However, since that day, the Minister has never spoken to David Lepofsky or answered any of his correspondence, or accepted any requests to meet.
1. Any Time, Watch the Agenda with Steve Paikin’s March 28, 2023 Discussion with AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on the Many Barriers Still Harming Students with Disabilities in Ontario Schools
You can’t get a good job without getting a good education. Yet for many students with disabilities and their families, getting a good education is an uphill battle.
Did you miss the March 28, 2023 interview with AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, discussing the many disability barriers in Ontario schools that hurt students with disabilities? This interview appeared on Ontario’s flagship public affairs program “The Agenda with Steve Paikin”.
You can watch it online any time you want, on your computer, tablet, smart phone or smart TV! If you want to cut and paste the link to share with others, it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0ikc7C31kY
TVO posts a transcript of interviews like this within a few days. TVO eventually includes captioning in the video itself.
We resoundingly applaud Steve Paikin and the staff of The Agenda for continuing to be a strong leader in the media by focusing coverage on disability issues like this. We need all members of the media’s Queen’s Park press corps to do the same.
2. Take Action to Help Students with Disabilities
Premier Doug Ford should not be given a free pass on his Education Minister’s and Accessibility Minister’s failure to effectively implement the January 2022 K-12 Education Standards Development Committee report and recommendations which his Government received 424 days ago.
Please email Premier Doug Ford, Ontario’s Education Minister and Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho today. Tell them to immediately implement the January 2022 K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s final report. Get others to do the same. Tell the Government what you think of their failing to act.
Write Premier Ford at email@example.com
Write Ontario’s Accessibility Minister at Raymond.firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Helpful Background for You
Here are some helpful resources, if you want to learn more:
- In this interview, David Lepofsky referred to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s final report. It documents the serious barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario schools and makes detailed recommendations for reform.
- Instead of reading that entire report, you can learn about its reform roadmap by watching a captioned video by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky that summarizes it.
- During the interview, David Lepofsky talked in part about serious barriers impeding students with vision loss. He has extensive first-hand experience with those barriers. You can learn more about those by visiting the Ontario Parents of Visually Impaired Children website’s advocacy page.
- David Lepofsky told Steve Paikin that the Ontario Parents of Visually Impaired Children has twice written Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce, asking him to direct his Ministry to take action on the unfair barriers facing students with vision loss. The Minister has not answered either letter. This is just one illustration of the many barriers facing students with disabilities. You can read OPVIC’s April 6, 2021 letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce, and OPVIC’s January 29, 2023 letter to Stephen Lecce.