August 26, 2016
The AODA Alliance has finalized its august 26, 2016 brief to the Wynne Government on accessibility barriers in Ontario’s health care system. We submitted it to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario as part of its “Pre-Consultation.” We set out this 14-page brief below.
It would be great if you could email the Government to say if you support our brief. Send your email to the Government by writing to email@example.com
You can just send in one sentence. Feel free to say more, if you wish. Of course, if you write the Government, add any other accessibility barriers in the health care system that we may have missed.
Please encourage other people to do this too. If you are part of a community organization, encourage your organization to send in an email to the Wynne Government indicating if the organization supports our brief.
The Government set the deadline for feedback as August 31, 2016. However, even if you write the Government after that date, it will still help us.
We thank everyone who sent us examples of barriers and who also gave us feedback on the August 18, 2016 draft of this brief that we earlier circulated for your feedback. This finished brief includes everything that was in our earlier draft brief. It adds a few additional points. Those points all come from input from our supporters.
Once the Government appoints the Health Care Standards Development Committee that will develop recommendations on what the promised Health Care Accessibility Standard should include, we will prepare an expanded brief. We welcome your input at any time on accessibility barriers in the health care system.
Our brief mentions a 226 page study on health care barriers that the KPMG firm conducted for the Wynne Government on accessibility barriers in the health care system. Click here to download the 2015 KPMG health care accessibility study in MS Word format.
Here is a summary of our brief:
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 will be able to 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. It would be grossly inadequate for the Health Care Accessibility Standard to set a weaker and less specific goal, e.g. to “improve accessibility” in the health care system.
d) The Health Care Standards Development Committee should start its work 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. Then the Standards Development Committee should develop the measures needed to ensure that that vision becomes a reality by 2025.
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 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 to receive services in the health care system;
viii) Barriers in the health care system facing people with developmental disabilities, identified in the Ontario Ombudsman’s August 24, 2016 report on Ontario developmental services, entitled “Nowhere To Turn”.
ix) 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 consider or include accessibility features in health care facilities or services.
You can always send your feedback and ideas to us on this and 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
To sign up for, or unsubscribe from AODA Alliance e-mail updates, write to: email@example.com
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