ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ontario Liberal Leadership Campaign for Candidate Ted Hsu Responds to AODA Alliance Request for Election Commitments on Accessibility for 2.9 Million Ontarians with Disabilities – Yasir Naqvi is the Only Leadership Candidate Who Has Not Responded by the Eve of the Liberal Party Vote that Starts Tomorrow
November 24, 2023 Toronto: The campaign for Ontario Liberal leadership candidate Ted Hsu has just sent an email to the AODA Alliance, in response to the AODA Alliance’s September 28, 2023 letter which asks all Liberal leadership candidates to make 10 specific commitments to lead Ontario to become accessible to 2.9 million Ontarians with disabilities. The email is not from the candidate himself. It is from a campaign staff member identified as Jill Atkinson, Office Manager Volunteer Coordinator Ted Hsu Leadership Campaign. The text of that email is set out below.
The email indicates that Ted Hsu has not prepared a response to the specific commitments that the AODA Alliance seeks. It sets out prior campaign commitments regarding people with disabilities.
Nate Erskine-Smith and Bonnie Crombie, have earlier written the AODA Alliance with detailed commitments. The AODA Alliance has received no response from the other Liberal leadership candidate Yasir Naqvi or from his campaign. Liberals vote tomorrow and Sunday. If Mr. Naqvi or his campaign sends a response to the AODA Alliance we will make it public as quickly as possible.
The non-partisan AODA Alliance does not support, oppose or endorse any party or candidate. It works with all parties to make as much progress as possible on accessibility to jobs, education, health care, public transit and all that Ontario affords the public. Its goal during the Ontario Liberal leadership campaign is to get all candidates to make strong commitments on disability accessibility. In addition to writing the candidates back on September 28, 2023 to request specific commitments, the AODA Alliance has repeatedly tweeted at the leadership candidates to reiterate that request.
For background, read:
- The AODA Alliance’s September 28, 2023 letter to Ontario Liberal leadership candidates, listing the commitments on disability accessibility that this coalition seeks.
- Nate Erskine-Smith’s November 15, 2023 letter to the AODA Alliance.
- Bonnie Crombie’s November 16, 2023 letter to the AODA Alliance.
- The AODA Alliance website, which documents its efforts since 2005 to get the Ontario Government to effectively implement and enforce the AODA.
- The March 1, 2023 Interim Report of the Rich Donovan 4th AODA Independent Review.
- The January 31, 2019 Final Report of the David Onley 3rd AODA Independent Review.
November 24, 2023 Email to AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky from the Leadership Campaign for Candidate Ted Hsu
As we head into the final day of the campaign and start pulling votes, Ted will not have the time to do his due diligence and review the documentation and commit to a specific course of action. This isn’t something he does lightly. He does however, champion the rights of those with disabilities and I have provided a few specific examples below of how this shows up in his policy.
I am sorry that Ted cannot provide you with the letter you request on this last day before the election, but can assure you that as a caucus member, whether leader or nor, Ted will continue to fight for those living with disabilities and their right to a barrier-free education and workplace, as well as a liveable income.
The AODA plays a central role in accomplishing these goals.
from Housing – Ted Hsu for Leader
Supplement – Housing for people with developmental disabilities
I commit to supporting that 10% of the funding from the Canada-Ontario National Housing Strategy Bilateral Agreement be for housing for individuals with developmental disabilities. About 10% of those waiting for affordable housing have developmental disabilities. I have witnessed a home builder try, in good faith but unsuccessfully, to put together financing for a mixed housing project which included both market and housing for individuals with developmental disabilities. I believe that such a 10% set-aside would have made it easier for the developer, the developmental services agency and the municipality to work together to make that project a reality.
from Party Reform- Ted Hsu for Leader
Accessibility in the Party
As Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party I will take measures so that people with disabilities can participate fully as Party members, including leadership and nomination votes, policy making and other events.
Email addresses will not be required in order to become a member as long as there is another, individually confirmed, method of two-way communication.
Debates and other Party videos will be posted on Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/@OntarioLiberalTV, where closed captioning is available.
Ballots will be printed in large print. Braille ballots will be available on request.
Accessible locations will be booked for business meetings and votes, and personal support workers and service animals will be welcome. Hybrid, in-person/online, meetings will be used, when practical, to make meetings more accessible.
On-line and regular mail voting will be an option, when practical, to make voting on party business more accessible.