Read the May 4, 2018 Letter from the Green Party to the AODA Alliance, Setting Out Its 2018 Election Commitments on Accessibility

David Lepofsky, CM, O.Ont.

Chair, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

1929 Bayview Avenue

Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8

Dear Mr.Lepofsky:

Thank you for giving the Green Party of Ontario an opportunity to speak about issues of

importance to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance. We have read over your list of election commitments and are supportive of all your requests. Please see our comments below.

a) Foster and Strengthen Our Ongoing Relationship with Your Party

We are committed to a transparent government and welcome open communication with your association, including meetings with Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, candidates, and shadow cabinet. The Green Party looks forward to continued consultation on disability and accessibility issues with your organization and improving access to government services for all Ontarians.

b) Substantially Strengthen Implementation of the AODA 2005

The Green Party of Ontario is fully committed to a government that encourages citizens to actively participate in their community and have a say in decisions that affect them. We support strong implementation of the AODA 2005 and will not weaken or repeal any legislation that has already been passed.

c) Ensure that All Requirements under the AODA are Effectively Enforced

We support fully implementing the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by preparing an enforcement plan, allocating resources for enforcement, and supporting a public awareness campaign.

d) Develop the New Accessibility Standards under the AODA Needed to Achieve Accessibility by 2025

We are committed to working with the public following the June 2018 election on new accessibility standards to ensure that Ontario becomes fully accessible by 2025.

e) Take Overdue Steps to Ensure the Accessibility of the built Environment, Including Residential Housing

We support accessibility as an essential component of any new building project or retrofit. Training in accessible design should be a requirement across all licensing and educational institutions in Ontario, and all new building projects should meet standard accessibility requirements before approval. A strategy must be developed both to increase the supply of accessible housing within Ontario and to undertake the retrofitting of existing buildings in order for them to meet accessibility standards.

f) Substantially Reform How the Ministry of Education Deals with the Needs of Students with Disabilities

The Green Party is committed to changing outdated and restrictive terminology related to students with disabilities in the province’s Education Act so as to be inclusive of the full range of disabilities covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code. In addition, funding for students with disabilities should be determined based on the actual number of students within a particular school board.

g) Reform and Speed Up the Process for Developing and Reviewing Accessibility Standards

We support the creation of a non-governmental body to develop and review accessibility standards in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code so as to quicken this process and render such information more easily available to the public.

h) Establish Free Independent Technical Accessibility Advice for Obligated Organizations Akin to Successful US Programs

The Green Party supports the development of publicly-funded initiatives to offer high quality knowledge related to accessibility to the public.

i) Ensure Taxpayers’ Money is Never Used to Create or Perpetuate Disability Barriers

The Green Party will not use taxpayers’ money to create, perpetuate, or exacerbate barriers against persons with disabilities. To this end, we will ensure that our plans meet the accessibility standards set out in the Human Rights Code and make sure that independent contractors are aware of these standards.

j) Make Provincial and Municipal Elections Truly Accessible to Voters with Disabilities  

We support enforcing strict accessibility standards at voting locations to ensure that people with physical disabilities or other mobility issues are able to vote without barriers. We also need to increase the number of mobile polls at hospitals and residences for seniors and people living with disabilities who have difficulty leaving their homes.

k) Substantially Improve How the Ontario Public Service Works to Make its Services, Facilities, and Workplaces Accessible to Customers and Employees with Disabilities

We support the development of a plan to ensure the full accessibility of the Ontario Public Service’s services, facilities, and workplaces, including the creation of new governmental positions in order to properly implement such a plan.

l) Speed Up and Complete the Promised Review of All Ontario Laws for Accessibility Barriers

We support an immediate and thorough review of legislation and regulations as quickly as possible. The Green Party supports ensuring there is a specified team with clear responsibility for addressing disability and accessibility issues.

m) Reform the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario

The Green Party supports a review of the operations of the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario and the public disclosure of recent reviews of this body.

n) Ensure Effective Independent Reviews of the AODA’s Implementation and Enforcement

To ensure effective independent reviews of the AODA’s implementation and enforcement, we agree that no review of the AODA should be conducted by an individual who worked for the government on any aspect of accessibility or the AODA during the time period of the material under review.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any further questions or clarifications.


Samantha Bird
Director of Operations
Green Party of Ontario