August 28, 2016
On August 20, 2016, the AODA Alliance wrote the Liberal, NDP and Conservative candidates in the Scarborough-Rouge River September 1 by-election, to seek their commitments on disability accessibility. That letter is set out below. The AODA Alliance does not support or oppose any party or candidate. We have done this in a number of previous provincial by-elections.
It is the aim of our non-partisan campaign to ensure that whomever gets elected to the Ontario Legislature in any election or by-election is a strong supporter of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and of achieving accessibility for all Ontarians with disabilities. to see the AODA Alliance’s Action Kit for raising disability accessibility issues in the September 1, 2016 Scarborough-Rouge River by-election.
We asked the candidates to answer these questions:
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 oppose any efforts to weaken it or measures under it?
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?
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 plans for enforcing this important law?
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?
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?
6. Have you ensured that your campaign office has full disability accessibility?
We asked the candidates to respond by August 26, 2016, since the September 1, 2016 voting day is fast approaching. Only the NDP candidate, Neethan Shan, answered. We set out the NDP candidate’s accessibility commitments below.
We are deeply concerned that the standard-bearers for Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals and for Patrick Brown’s Conservatives have not answered. Neither has committed to support the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Neither has pledged to oppose any efforts to weaken it, or measures taken under it. This is especially troubling since this past June, Premier Wynne broke her promise to never weaken provisions or protections that we had won in or under the AODA. To learn about Premier Wynne’s breaking her promise to never weaken gains we’ve made on accessibility.
It is not too late for the Liberal and Conservative candidates to answer our inquiry. We will make responses public, even if they are received after the August 26, 2016 time line that we shared with all candidates.
It is reasonable for us to expect candidates to answer our inquiry. In addition to writing the candidates on August 20, 2016, we have tweeted the same questions to each candidate several times during the by-election campaign.
We urge you to raise disability accessibility issues in this by-election. Contact the Liberal and Conservative candidates at the addresses or email addresses set out below, in the AODA Alliance’s August 20, 2016 letter to the candidates. Urge them to answer the AODA Alliance’s questions, and to make the disability accessibility commitments we seek. Attend any all-candidates debates in the riding to press them to make the commitments we have sought. Circulate this AODA Alliance Update widely.
Even if you don’t live in that riding, let the Liberal and Conservative Parties know you want them to answer, and to make strong accessibility commitments.
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
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.
Please pass on our email Updates to your family and friends.
Why not subscribe to the AODA Alliance’s YouTube channel, so you can get immediate alerts when we post new videos on our accessibility campaign.
Please “like” our Facebook page and share our updates.
Follow us on Twitter. Get others to follow us. And please re-tweet our tweets!! @AODAAlliance
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