Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update
United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities
The AODA Alliance’s 2022 Year-End Report to Our Many Supporters
December 22, 2022
This 92nd AODA Alliance Update this year is our final one before 2023. Let’s take a quick look back on the year that was! We list some of the major highlights.
We applaud all our supporters for your help, encouragement and social media “likes”, “shares” and retweets that help our non-partisan accessibility campaign. We also thank everyone, many who cannot be named, who work so hard within government and private organizations to tear down disability barriers. May you all have a safe, healthy, happy and barrier-free holiday season and New year.
“Stunningly poor” is an accurate way to describe the Ford Government’s record in 2022 of fulfilling its duty under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act to lead Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. That deadline is only 741 days from now.
There have been a jaw-dropping 1,421 days or almost 4 years since The Ford Government received the
Final report of the third Independent Review of the implementation of the AODA conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. Yet the Government still has announced no effective plan of action to implement its recommendations.
The Ford Government has been sitting on the final reports of the Transportation Standards Development Committee, the Employment Standards Development Committee and the Information and Communication Standards Development Committee for years. It has been sitting on the final reports of the Health Care Standards Development Committee the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee and the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee for months. Among the most recent of these, it received the final report of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee fully 328 days ago. The Ford Government has announced no plan of action to implement any of these important reports.
The Ford Government is also in flagrant, ongoing contravention of the AODA’s requirement that it appoint a new Standards Development Committee to review the sufficiency of the Customer Service Accessibility Standard. It was required to do that no later than June 6, 2021, some 564 days ago.
Premier Ford has never met with us in his entire four and a half years in office as premier. We did not get a chance to speak with his Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho at any time in 2022.
We remain undaunted by this. We are used to taking on seemingly impossible uphill challenges. We’re ready for doing that in 2023.
The AODA Alliance is now going into stasis, shutting down all electronic and other contact with the outside world. We’ll be back in full flight, re-energized and full of good trouble and even hopefully some helpful surprises some time in January 2023. Stay safe!
Another Busy Year of Volunteer Advocacy
Each year in our non-partisan campaign for a barrier-free society for all people with disabilities is full of new and surprising challenges. Some of this year’s events could not have been predicted back on the last New year’s Day. Other developments feel like a visit to the filming stage for the famous Ground Hog Day movie.
In no particular order, this year’s highlights included:
- The Ford Government made public the final reports of three important Standards Development Committees, the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee, the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee and the Health Care Standards Development Committee. We have campaigned for over a decade to get the Ontario Government to enact new accessibility standards in the areas of education and health care. These new reports were very good. It is not good that the Ford Government has announced no action to enact the promised Education Accessibility Standard and/or Health Care Accessibility Standard in the months since it received those reports. Find out more a the AODA Alliance website’s education page and health care page.
- During the 2022 Ontario provincial election, we waged another non-partisan campaign to raise disability issues. We got election commitments from all of the major parties except Doug Ford’s Tories. We also secured media coverage of our issues.
- After the Ford Government was re-elected in June, 2022, we separately wrote Premier Ford and re-appointed Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho to offer our help, list priorities for them, and ask to meet. Neither have answered us. We have not heard a peep from the Premier’s or Minister’s offices.
- During the October 2022 municipal elections, we also launched non-partisan blitz to raise disability issues at the municipal level.
- We expanded our efforts in coordination with other disability advocates to battle against the dangers that electric scooters pose for vulnerable people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. This included appearances before committees of the municipal governments of Ottawa, London, Brampton and Mississauga. Learn more at the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooters page.
- We unleashed a concerted effort to strengthen the weak Bill C-22, the proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act. This included AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky’s November 14, 2022 testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, and spearheading an open letter to Parliament co-signed by fully 41 community organizations. Find out more on the AODA Alliance website’s Bill C-22 page.
- On the 28th anniversary of the birth of Ontario’s grassroots campaign for a strong provincial disability accessibility law, we unveiled our updated compendium of 78 online videos that cover a wide range of disability issues with which we are connected. Taken together, these videos have been viewed over 100,000 times. Check them out by dropping in on the AODA Alliance website’s videos page.
- As we often have done in the past, we popped up in any number of media reports on disability issues. You can find these on the AODA Alliance website’s media page.
- We did our best to oppose the wrong-headed decision of the Ontario Government’s Mohawk College to abruptly cancel its Accessible Media Production program, and brought this issue to the media.
- In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky had to resort to filing a court application against the Ford Government because its online process for renewing an expired Ontario Health Card discriminates against people with disabilities like himself who cannot get a driver’s license, due to their disability. Within two weeks, the Ford Government capitulated. It was inexcusable that it was necessary to bring this court proceeding.
- We cranked out a number of briefs on topics important to our disability accessibility campaign. All our briefs can be thumbed through on the AODA Alliance website’s briefs page.
- We again pressed for strong and effective action by the Ontario Government to address the many barriers that people with disabilities still face in the built environment. A quick look at the AODA Alliance website’s built environment page let’s you know the scoop.
- We have offered our help and input to the Fourth Independent Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act which the Ford Government appointed Rich Donovan to conduct. In early 2023 we will present him with a brief suggesting the findings and recommendations he should make in his final report. Send us your ideas!
- As we do year after year, we kept our supporters posted on what the Ontario Government is doing, or sadly, is not doing, to fulfil its legal duty to lead Ontario to become accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. The AODA Alliance website’s “What’s New” page has it all!