What is the Ford Government Doing to Effectively Enforce the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act?

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

What is the Ford Government Doing to Effectively Enforce the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act?

September 21, 2020

            SUMMARY

The Ford Government has the responsibility to effectively enforce the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Today, the AODA Alliance wrote the responsible Minister, Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho. We asked him for important and specific details on what The Government is doing to effectively enforce the AODA. We also asked for information on how many obligated organizations  are complying with the AODA. We set out our letter below.

Over the past decade, the AODA Alliance has been in the lead in trying to get the Ontario Government to effectively enforce the AODA. In past years, our efforts have revealed that there have been rampant violations of the AODA, known to The Government, and yet The Government was doing far too little to enforce this important law. Two successive Government-appointed Independent Reviews of the AODA found that there has been a troubling lack of effective AODA enforcement despite The Government knowing of rampant AODA violations. See the 2014 final report of the Mayo Moran AODA Independent Review and the 2019 final report of the David Onley AODA Independent Review.

The prior Governments of Premier Dalton McGuinty and Premier Kathleen Wynne were responsible for the earlier legacy of poor compliance and AODA enforcement up to the middle of 2018. Today’s letter seeks to find out what has been happening with AODA compliance and enforcement from 2018 to the present.

To learn more about our efforts on this issue, take a peak at the  AODA Alliance website’s Enforcement page. You can also learn a great deal by looking over the  AODA Alliance’s April 18, 2018 5-year report on AODA compliance and enforcement.

There have been 599 days since the Ford Government received the ground-breaking final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has announced no comprehensive plan of new action to implement that report. That makes even worse the serious problems facing Ontarians with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis.

There have been fully 180 days, or almost six months, since we wrote Ontario Premier Doug Ford on March 25, 2020 to urge specific action to address the urgent needs of Ontarians with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis. He has not answered. The Premier’s office has not contacted us. The ordeal facing Ontarians with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis is worsened by that delay.

We invite your feedback. Email us at aodafeedback@gmail.com

            MORE DETAILS

September 21, 2020 Letter from the AODA Alliance to Ontario Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

September 21, 2020

To: The Hon Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility

Via email: raymond.cho@ontario.ca

College Park 5th Floor

777 Bay St

Toronto, ON M7A 1S5

Dear Minister,

Re: The Ontario Government’s Enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Your Ministry is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). We write to request specific data in the Government’s possession or control on levels of compliance with and enforcement of the AODA to supplement information your Ministry provided in the past.

This information is readily available to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario with minimal effort. The information we seek will be helpful for you in your work overseeing the AODA’s implementation and enforcement.

We would welcome as prompt a response from you as possible. As you know, the January 1, 2025 deadline for the Government to lead Ontario to become accessible to Ontarians with disabilities is fast-approaching. The January 31, 2019 final report of the Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation and enforcement conducted by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley found that Ontario remains full of barriers impeding people with disabilities, and that progress on accessibility has been occurring at a “glacial” pace. You have commended Mr. Onley’s report, stating that he did a “marvelous job”.

We request the following information:

  1. In each of several past years, your Ministry has made public an annual plan and report regarding enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Has the Government prepared an AODA Accessibility compliance and enforcement report for 2018, 2019, 2020 and/or 2021? Have any or all of these been made public? If so, please provide them to us in an accessible MS Word format. If not, when will they be made public?
  1. By December 31, 2017, private sector organizations in Ontario with at least 20 employees had to file a third AODA Accessibility Report with the Government under s. 14 of the AODA.
  1. a) As of the time you answer this letter, how many private sector organizations that were required to file an AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2017, had still not filed the required 2017 AODA Accessibility Report?
  1. b) What percentage of the total number of private sector organizations which had been required to file an AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2017 had not filed one as of the date of your response to this letter?
  1. c) As of the date of your response to this letter, how many private sector organizations that were required to file an AODA accessibility report by December 31, 2017, had failed to do so, and had also failed to file a required AODA accessibility report either by December 31, 2012 or by December 31, 2014 (i.e. two-time violators)? Please state this as a number of organizations, and as a percentage of the organizations which were required to so file.
  1. d) As of the date of your response to this letter, how many private sector organizations that were required to file a first AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2012, a second AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2014, and a third AODA accessibility report by December 31, 2017, had not filed any of these three required reports (i.e. three-time violators)? Please state this as a number of organizations, and as a percentage of the organizations which were required to so file.
  1. Designated public sector organizations were all required to file an AODA Accessibility Report by December 31, 2017.
  1. a) What number and percentage of all designated public sector organizations had filed their most recent AODA compliance report by December 31, 2017?
  1. b) As of the date of your response to this letter, if all had still not filed them, how many have not filed them? And what percent of designated public sector organizations that were required to file then?
  1. When after 2017 were public or private sector organizations next required to file an accessibility report? If that date has passed, we repeat the same inquiries as are set out in Questions 1 and 2 above, for reports due by that more recent deadline.
  1. In 2018, 2019 or 2020 (broken down by year), how many private sector organizations had their place of business subject to an on-site inspection under the AODA by or on behalf of the Ontario Government? Of those:
  1. a) How many had under 20 employees?
  1. b) How many had 20-49 employees?
  1. c) How many had 50 or more employees?
  1. In 2018, 2019 or 2020 (broken down by year), how many private sector organizations were subject to an audit under the AODA by or on behalf of the Ontario Government, but with no on-site inspection of their place of business? Of those organizations:
  1. a) How many had under 20 employees?
  1. b) How many had 20-49 employees?
  1. c) How many had 50 or more employees?
  1. In 2018, 2019 or 2020 (broken down by year), how many public sector organizations were subject to an audit under the AODA by or on behalf of the Ontario Government, but with no on-site inspection of their place of business?
  1. In 2018, 2019 or 2020 (broken down by year), how many public sector organizations had their place of business subject to an on-site inspection under the AODA by or on behalf of the Ontario Government?
  1. In 2018, 2019 or 2020 (broken down by year), for how many obligated organizations has all or part of their website been audited or inspected by or on behalf of the Ontario Government for compliance with AODA accessibility standards?
  1. a) for private sector organizations with under 50 employees
  1. b) for private sector organizations with 50 or more employees, and
  1. c) for public sector organizations
  1. In 2021, at the place of business of how many obligated organizations does the Ontario Government plan to conduct an on-site AODA inspection?
  1. In 2021, how many obligated organizations does the Ontario Government plan to audit for AODA compliance, without conducting an on-site inspection of the organization’s place of business?
  1. In 2018, 2019 and 2020 (broken down by year), how many compliance orders were issued under the AODA? For what specific kinds of AODA violations?
  1. In 2018, 2019 and 2020 (broken down by year), how many monetary penalties were imposed under the AODA? What were their amounts? How many were against private sector organizations? How many were against public sector organizations? For which AODA violations?
  1. In 2018, 2019 or 2020 (broken down by year), how many times were AODA compliance orders or monetary penalties appealed to the License Appeal Tribunal?
  1. In 2018, 2019 or 2020 (broken down by year), how many AODA compliance orders, monetary penalties or other enforcement efforts were appealed to court? Please provide specifics of any such case or links to accessible postings of any decisions. How many such appeals or court proceedings are pending?
  1. In 2018, 2019 or 2020 (broken down by year), how many times has an AODA compliance order or an administrative penalty order been filed with a local Registrar of the Superior Court of Justice under s. 23 of the AODA?
  1. As of now, what are the numbers of:
  1. a) Directors appointed under s. 30 of the AODA working within the Ontario Government or under its authority?
  1. b) Inspectors appointed under s. 18 of the AODA employed in or on behalf of the Ontario Government?
  1. c) Inspectors the Government plans in the next six months to appoint under s. 18 of the AODA?
  1. d) Directors that the Government plans to appoint in the next six months under s. 30 of the AODA?
  1. What is the budget that was appropriated for the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario for the fiscal year 2017-2018? 2018-2019? 2019-2020? 2020-2021? Broken down by year, how much of that appropriated budget amount did the Directorate spend in the relevant year? In the case of 2020-2021, please let us know the actual expenditure up to the date of your response to this letter.

We remain happy to do whatever we can to make it as easy as possible for you to promptly provide answers. If some questions can quickly be answered, and others will take more time, we would welcome receiving the requested information in stages, rather than having to wait until it is all assembled before we see any answers.

Sincerely,

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont

Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

CC: The Hon. Premier Doug Ford premier@ontario.ca

Denise Cole, Deputy Minister of Accessibility, Denise.Cole@ontario.ca

Mary Bartolomucci, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Accessibility Directorate, Mary.Bartolomucci@ontario.ca