November 14, 2016
Earlier today, the AODA Alliance released the answers to the AODA Alliance’s accessibility questionnaire that it had received from any of the November 17, 2016 Ottawa Vanier and Niagara West-Glanbrook by-election by our November 13, 2016 deadline. Since we made those public, the Liberal candidate in the Ottawa Vanier by-election, Nathalie Des Rosiers, sent us her response. We set out her response below.
Therefore, as of now, we have received responses from the Liberal and NDP candidates in both ridings. However, we have not received a letter in response from either of the Progressive Conservative party candidates, André Marin, the PC candidate in the Ottawa Vanier riding or Sam Oosterhoff, the PC candidate in the Niagara West-Glanbrook riding.
In our non-partisan effort to raise accessibility issues during this by-election campaign, we urge these PC candidates to join with their competitors, and to answer our accessibility questionnaire. If they do, we will of course make their responses public.
The newest response, set out below, from Liberal Ottawa Vanier candidate Nathalie Des Rosiers is the same as the one we received over the weekend from Niagara West-Glanbrook Liberal candidate Vicky Ringuette, with one very important difference. When answering our second question, whether the candidate supports our call for the Ontario Government to enact an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Nathalie Des Rosiers said “Absolutely” and then offered other remarks. The Liberal candidate in the Niagara by-election offered the same general remarks but, unlike Nathalie Des Rosiers, did not say she supported an Education Accessibility Standard. Being created.
Premier Wynne and the Ontario Liberal Government have not yet agreed to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA, though they are now actively considering our proposal. Nathalie DesRosiers is stronger on this issue than is her party.
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Text of November 14, 2016 Email to the AODA Alliance from Ottawa Vanier By-election Liberal Candidate Nathalie des Rosiers
Responses by Nathalie des Rosiers, Liberal candidate in Ottawa-Vanier
1. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires the Ontario Government to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. Do you support that law, and its goal of full accessibility by 2025, and will you personally oppose any efforts to weaken it or measures under it?
Our province is a leader in accessibility, with big thanks to efforts of the Liberal government. Building on these efforts, and the success of the AODA, I am fully supportive of the goal to make government accessible by 2025. It’s the right thing to do, and with the potential to add $600 million per year to Ontario’s GDP it makes economic sense too.
2. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Ontario Government to develop an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to make Ontario’s education system fully accessible to students, parents, and education staff with disabilities, including the 334,000 students with special education needs in Ontario-funded schools?
Absolutely. Through the creation of the AODA and the accompanying Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations, including Customer Service and Employment Standards, the Liberal government has made remarkable progress. But there is still much work to do. If elected, I will work together with the Minister of Education, school boards and parents, to ensure that students of all abilities are empowered to reach their full potential in our publicly funded schools.
3. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to act now to keep its promise to effectively enforce the Disabilities Act, and to reveal its detailed plans for enforcing this important law?
Increasing awareness about the Act, and the importance of building a more inclusive and accessible province is a key piece in the adoption of the AODA and its standards. If elected MPP, I will work with local businesses to help spread the word about the economic benefits of removing barriers so that we can find untapped talent to help strengthen Ontario’s workforce.
4. Will you support the call by people with disabilities for the Government to now implement effective action to ensure that public money is never used to create new barriers against people with disabilities, or to perpetuate existing barriers?
I believe it is crucial to ensure new government policies and programs are reviewed with an accessibility lens to make sure that they don’t generate new barriers or perpetuate existing ones.
5. Will you promise not to attend any all-candidates debates unless they are in an accessible location for voters with disabilities to attend and take part?
I will only attend all-candidates debates where hosts take the necessary steps to ensure that people of all abilities are able to participate.
6. Have you ensured that your campaign office has full disability accessibility?
My campaign office is wheelchair accessible with a ramp at the main entrance and a main floor washroom. There are members of the campaign team who have completed accessibility training, including the Customer Service standards on site at all times. We also have volunteers available to provide one-on-one support where needed and to transport those with mobility issues.