August 18, 2016
We welcome your feedback on the AODA Alliance’s draft brief to the Wynne Government on its “Pre-Consultation” on accessibility barriers that patients with disabilities face in Ontario’s health care system. We set out our draft brief below. It is 13 pages long.
We ask you to respond quickly. We need to hear from you by Wednesday, August 24, 2016, so that we can finalize our brief and submit it by the Government’s August 31, 2016 deadline. Send your feedback to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a summary of what our draft brief says:
a) The Ontario Government should not impose any prior restrictions on the health care accessibility barriers in the health care system that the forthcoming Health Care Standards Development Committee can consider for action in the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard.
b) People with disabilities are the best experts in knowing what accessibility barriers they face.
c) The goal of the Health Care Accessibility Standard should be to ensure that Ontario’s health care system becomes fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. It should require Ontario’s health care services and facilities to be designed and operated based on strong accessibility principles of universal design. For the Health Care Accessibility Standard to set a weaker and less specific goal, e.g. to “improve accessibility” in the health care system, would be grossly inadequate.
d) The Health Care Standards Development Committee should start by developing a clear vision of what a fully accessible and barrier-free health care system would be like. Our brief offers such a vision.
e) The promised Health Care Accessibility Standard must cover all parts of Ontario’s health care system.
f) If the Health Care Standards Development Committee identifies a recurring accessibility barrier in Ontario’s health care system, it should address recommendations about it, even if there is an existing health care regulation or statute that may already apply in whole or in part.
g) the Health Care Standards Development Committee should identify the barriers that need to be fixed, the measures to be required to remove and prevent them, and the time lines for action.
h) the Health Care Standards Development Committee must address both the removal of old barriers and the prevention of new ones.
i) This brief offers of examples of accessibility barriers that the Health Care Accessibility Standard needs to address, including:
i) Barriers impeding people with disabilities from getting to health care services;
ii) Barriers to getting into and around facilities where health care services are provided;
iii) Barriers in diagnostic equipment;
iv) Barriers to health care information;
v) Barriers to effective communication with health care providers;
vi) Barriers in other technology in the health care system;
vii) Barriers in provision of support services needed in the health care system;
viii) Other sundry barriers.
j) The Health Care Accessibility Standard must set detailed requirements for specific accessibility action. It is not sufficient for this accessibility standard to impose requirements for health care providers to make plans and policies on accessibility, or to vaguely require obligated organizations to include accessibility features in health care facilities or services.
Don’t worry if you don’t have time to give us feedback now. This is just the first round – a very preliminary round. Once the Wynne Government appoints the required Health Care Standards Development Committee to develop recommendations for what the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard should include, we will develop a more detailed brief. We will welcome your feedback on health care accessibility barriers, whether now or later.
Remember that here we are only addressing disability accessibility barriers to services provided in Ontario’s health care system. There are many other problems with the health care system, which are not addressed here, because they are not accessibility problems as the AODA defines them.
This preliminary brief is just our starting point. We thank all of you who shared examples of accessibility barriers with us. This made a huge difference in helping us prepare this draft brief.
We learned during a Government “pre-Consultation” meeting back on July 26, 2016 that the Government had hired the KPMG consulting firm to prepare a study of accessibility barriers in the health care system and a review of good practices. We also learned to our consternation that the KPMG did not ask people with disabilities about the barriers they face in Ontario’s health care system. People with disabilities are in the best position to know.
We immediately asked the Government to provide us with a copy of the KPMG Report. We just received it a few days ago. It is 226 pages long. We have not had enough time to study it, in order to fully address it in this brief. We have posted this study on line. Click here to download the 2015 KPMG health care accessibility study in MS Word format.
If you have the time to look at the KPMG report, now or later, we welcome your feedback on it. Send your thoughts to us at email@example.com
From a quick read of the KPMG report’s executive summary we discovered that the Wynne Government had also hired the KPMG firm to do similar studies regarding transportation accessibility barriers, and regarding barriers in the education system. This was the first we had heard of these studies.
We immediately asked the Wynne Government to give us these reports as well. The Government has not yet said that it would. If the Government gave us the KPMG health accessibility report, there can be no good reason why it would not also give us KPMG’s companion transportation accessibility report and education accessibility report. We will keep you posted on this.
You can always send your feedback to us on any AODA and accessibility issue at firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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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.
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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