With the June Election Fast Approaching, What Will Tomorrow’s Throne Speech at Queen’s Park Offer 1.9 Million Ontarians with Disabilities?

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

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With the June Election Fast Approaching, What Will Tomorrow’s Throne Speech at Queen’s Park Offer 1.9 Million Ontarians with Disabilities?

March 18, 2018 Toronto: Community groups and advocates for the needs of 1.9 million Ontarians with disabilities are poised to scrutinize and respond to tomorrow’s Ontario Throne Speech, to see whether it offers meaningful new action for people with disabilities. They will also be carefully watching the responses from the other parties at Queen’s Park, to see what they have to offer for people with disabilities, in their responses to the Throne Speech.

Tomorrow’s Throne speech is the informal start to this spring’s Ontario election campaign. The AODA Alliance , and before 2005, its predecessor coalition, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, have spearheaded non-partisan grassroots campaigns on accessibility issues in each of the six previous Ontario election campaigns, back to 1995.

“At least one million of Ontario’s voting-age public are voters with disabilities, estimates the non-partisan AODA Alliance,” said AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. “In a hotly-contested election, no party or candidate can disregard voters with disabilities.”

In 2005, after a decade of grassroots non-partisan campaigning by Ontarians with disabilities, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. It requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025.

Yet with less than seven years left before 2025, it is widely recognized that we are not on schedule. Ontarians with disabilities still face too many disability barriers in Ontario when they try to get a job, ride public transit, get an education, use our health care system, buy goods or services or eat in restaurants.

For example, last fall, the AODA Alliance made public an online video that has gone viral. It reveals serious accessibility problems at the new Ryerson University Student Centre, built in the heart of downtown Toronto using millions of public dollars. A year earlier, we also released a similarly disturbing video about serious accessibility problems in the new Centennial College Culinary Arts Centre. Those videos focus on built environment barriers, and not the many other barriers that hurt Ontarians with a physical, sensory mental, learning, intellectual, mental health or other disability.

Ontario needs a comprehensive plan now to get Ontario on schedule for full accessibility in 2025. We are eager to see what comes from Queens’ Park tomorrow.

Contact:  David Lepofsky, aodafeedback@gmail.com

Twitter: @aodaalliance

All the news on the AODA Alliance’s campaign for accessibility in Ontario is available at: www.aodaalliance.org