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2018 Ontario Election Action Kit: Tell Candidates that In This Election, the Disability Vote Counts!

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

#DisabilityVoteCounts
aodafeedback@gmail.com http://www.aodaalliance.org Twitter: @aodaalliance

May 19, 2018

It’s Time for Grassroots Action!

This Election Action Kit gives you quick ways to help our non-partisan campaign to get stronger accessibility pledges from the Ontario political parties. They want our votes in the June 7, 2018 Ontario election. You don’t need to be a veteran community grassroots advocate. You just need to spend a few minutes.

You can make a huge difference in our campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities. We’ve done it before. Let’s do it again! Circulate this Action Kit to others. Get them to do the same!

This Action Kit gives you what you need. It includes:

* our non-partisan disability accessibility goal in this election.

* easy-to-use practical action tips you can use in your community.

* At the bottom, links to great resources for anyone who wants to learn more, e.g. links to the major parties’ letters to us listing their disability accessibility pledges, a breakdown and analysis of those pledges, and other helpful tools that we mention throughout this Action Kit.

We are ready for action! Back in April, the AODA Alliance wrote the Ontario parties to list the disability accessibility commitments we need. We recently secured written commitments from the Greens, NDP, Liberals, Conservatives and NDP. On May 16, 2014, we sent out a news release that made these party promises all public. That news release can be a key tool to help you help our blitz. If you need that news release in MS Word format, email a request to: aodafeedback@gmail.com.

For all these key resources, see the links at the end of this Action Kit.

Now it’s time for voters with disabilities and voters without disabilities across Ontario to swing into action. We have less than three weeks until voting day, June 7, 2018.

We’re mounting a “bottom-up” campaign. We need your help to press every candidate to press their party leaders to promise to do more on accessibility than they have committed to do so far. This Action Kit tells you how. The pledges we’ve already gotten from the parties are just the start, the floor. Let’s get them to do better!

Our many successes over two decades on the road to a fully accessible Ontario come from people like you, using action tips like these. Let us know what you can do. Write us at aodafeedback@gmail.com

Here’s another brand new resource that can really help you. We have made public a new video on Youtube. It shows new and recently-renovated Toronto area public transit stations were created with public money, and that have serious accessibility problems. This video has gotten great media attention and over 1,000 views in its first three days. It is quickly becoming a central part of our 2018 election blitz.

This Action Kit offers tips on how to use that video. But first, take a look at this captioned, audio-described video!

16 minute version:
https://youtu.be/za1UptZq82o

30 minute version:
https://youtu.be/2VZLGGfFg1g

Our Goal

As in the last six elections, our non-partisan coalition does not try to elect or defeat any party or candidate. No matter who is elected, we want Ontario to promptly get back on schedule to become fully accessible by 2025, as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires. You can help us, no matter what party you support, or if you support no party at all.

In this election, the leaders of the Ontario Greens, Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and NDP each made commitments in letters to our coalition. Their commitments vary. The Greens make the strongest commitments. Coming right behind them, making substantial commitments, is the NDP. The Liberals commit to much less. The Conservatives promise the least. Our goal is to get all parties in this election to make strong commitments on accessibility.

We especially aim to get candidates in the Conservative and Liberal Parties to press their leaders to make much stronger commitments on accessibility for people with disabilities. We need to build better support on all sides of the Ontario Legislature, one member of the Legislature at a time.

Help us press candidates, and especially Liberal and Conservative candidates, to go beyond what their leaders have pledged. We want those parties’ back-benches to lead their leaders.

What to Ask the Candidates

Questions for Progressive Conservative Candidates

1. In this election, PC leader Doug Ford has given us the weakest commitments of all the parties. He has not given a commitment that a Conservative Government won’t cut back on disability accessibility regulations, policies, programs or gains that we have made. We want to be sure our gains are not on any party’s chopping block.

Will you personally commit to oppose any cuts to any disability accessibility regulations, policies, programs or gains we have made? Will you commit to urge Doug Ford to do the same?

2. Do you agree that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act should be effectively enforced? Will you commit to urge Doug Ford to pledge to effectively enforce this law?

3. A recent Youtube video shows serious accessibility problems at new Toronto public transit stations. Doug Ford has not promised that under a Conservative Government, no public money would ever be used to create or perpetuate barriers against Ontarians with disabilities. Will you promise to personally oppose public money being used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities? Will you commit to press Doug Ford to promise to do the same?

Questions for Liberal Candidates

1. In this election, Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne has not given a commitment that a Liberal Government won’t cut back on disability accessibility regulations, policies, programs or gains that we have made. We want to be sure our gains are not on any party’s chopping block.

When she was running to lead the Liberal Party in 2012, Kathleen Wynne gave us that promise. But she broke it two years ago, when she cut back on the customer service accessibility obligations of some organizations.

Now she won’t promise in this election that she won’t cut back on our regulations, policies or other gains on accessibility that we have won so far.

Will you personally commit to oppose any cuts to any disability accessibility regulations, policies, programs or gains we have made? Will you commit to urge Kathleen Wynne to do the same?

2. A recent Youtube video shows serious accessibility problems at new Toronto public transit stations. Kathleen Wynne promised in the last election that under a Liberal Government, no public money would ever be used to create or perpetuate barriers against Ontarians with disabilities. After that, we get all these new Toronto area public transit stations, shown in that video to have accessibility problems.

In this election, Kathleen Wynne says a Liberal Government won’t create new barriers using public money. However, she has not promised concrete action to ensure she doesn’t again break that pledge.

Will you promise to personally oppose public money being used to create or perpetuate barriers against people with disabilities? Will you commit to press Kathleen Wynne to promise real, concrete and specific monitoring and enforcement so that public money is never again used to create or perpetuate disability barriers?

Questions for New Democratic Party Candidates

1. The NDP has made stronger commitments on accessibility than the Liberals or Conservatives. There is a possibility that we will have a minority Government. In that case, the NDP can really influence what is a priority in the Legislature. If there is a minority Government, whether the NDP is in Government or is in the opposition, do you personally agree that strengthening the implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act should be a major priority, and will you press Andrea Horvath to make it a major priority?

Questions for Green Party Candidates

1. The Green Party has made the most commitments of all the parties, on disability accessibility. Will you agree to raise disability issues with the candidates from the other parties at each all-candidates’ debate, and to challenge them to meet or exceed the Green Party’s commitments?

Action Tips

Action Tip #1: Raise Our Issues at All Candidates Debates and Other Election Events in Your Community, and Video-Record Candidates’ Answers

As our main or even top strategy, please go to all-candidates debates and other campaign events in your riding. Publicly ask candidates the questions we list earlier in this Action Kit. Ask them to lead their party leaders, and not to just spout their party line!

* If you have a smart phone, video or audio record your question and the candidates’ answers. Ask someone there to help by doing the recording while you are asking your question. Then, share your video or audio recording on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Post it on Youtube. Let us know what you recorded by emailing us at aodafeedback@gmail.com

This citizen journalism gives you a fantastic chance to make a permanent record of what candidates say, and to spread the word. This means that we need not depend on the mainstream media for such exchanges to reach the public.

* Search online to find the all-candidates debates in your riding, so you can arrange to attend them. We are trying to compile a list of all candidates’ debates around Ontario. You can email us to see if we have that list ready. Email us at aodafeedback@gmail.com

Otherwise, call a campaign office for a candidate in your riding to find out when and where there will be candidates’ debates and other campaign events that you can attend. Check out our incomplete list of candidates around Ontario and their contact info.

* Bring many copies of the May 16, 2018 AODA Alliance news release on the election’s disability issues to hand out at these events.

* If you hear that an All-Candidates Debate or other campaign event may be held in an inaccessible location, immediately raise it with the campaigns and with the media. Let us know about it. We have tweeted every candidate on Twitter a call for them to pledge not to attend an inaccessible All-Candidates Debate. Email us if this issue arises in your community, at aodafeedback@gmail.com

* If you have more time to help us, organize an All-Candidates’ Debate in your community on disability issues. National Access Awareness Week will be from May 27 to June 2, 2018. This falls right in the midst of this election campaign. It is a great time to schedule an election event on accessibility.

Action Tip#2: Raise Our Disability Accessibility Issues Directly With the Candidates And Their Campaign Offices in Your Community

Supporting our main action tip described above, please also get our message directly to the candidates in your riding, at their offices or at your doorstep. Press them to make stronger commitments on accessibility. If you have a smart phone, use it to record what you ask and what the candidates say. Post that video on Youtube or Facebook or wherever you can and share it with us and the world. Here again, you can become a citizen journalist, creating a record and sharing it with others!

* Contact the campaign offices of the candidates running in your riding. We have posted a riding-by-riding list of their addresses, email addresses, Twitter handles and phone numbers, where we have them.

Email them the AODA Alliance’s May 16, 2018 news release on the parties’ platforms on disability accessibility. Ask them what their position is on the questions for the parties listed earlier in this Action Kit. Urge them or their campaign workers to support our non-partisan call that the next Ontario Government make faster progress towards full accessibility by 2025, and not cut any gains we’ve made to date. Encourage them to watch our new video on disability barriers at new and recently-renovated Toronto area public transit stations.

Action Tip #3: Widely Circulate to the Public the AODA Alliance’s May 16, 2018 News Release on the Parties’ Platforms on Disability Accessibility, and the AODA Alliance’s New Video on Public Transit Disability Barriers

* Paste the AODA Alliance’s May 16, 2018 news release about the parties’ disability accessibility platforms, into an email to friends, family members and community organizations to which you are connected. In your email’s subject line, you might say “Read About this Election’s Disability Accessibility Issues.” In your email you could suggest that the recipient forward it on to their friends and family, and that, they watch the AODA Alliance’s new public transit barriers video. The links to that video are in that news release, and are set out near the start of this Action Kit.

* Print up copies of the AODA Alliance’s May 16, 2018 news release. Give hard copies of it to your friends and family. Keep a pile in a handy place at home to give to visitors.

* Post a copy of the AODA Alliance’s May 16, 2018 news release, and links to the AODA Alliance’s public transit video, on your Facebook page, or other websites or blogs, or on hard copy bulletin boards (if any of those are still around).

* Bring copies of the May 16, 2018 AODA Alliance news release with you to community organization meetings and social gatherings. Hand them out, or leave them on a table where others make leaflets and other such things available for the public.

* Drop copies of the May 16, 2018 AODA Alliance news release at neighbours’ homes. If you live in an apartment, leave it at neighbours’ doors or in their mail slots.

* If you use public transit, bring copies of the May 16, 2018 AODA Alliance news release to a bus or subway station. Hand it out to passengers while you wait for your bus or subway. If you use para-transit, make copies available in the para-transit vehicle you ride.

Action Tip #4: Bring Our Message to Your Local Media

* Contact your local media. Urge them to cover this issue. Email or fax them the May 16, 2018 AODA Alliance news release and press them to watch the AODA Alliance’s new video on public transit accessibility barriers. Let them know about our grassroots election blitzes that many in the mainstream media often don’t sufficiently cover. Send them the links at the end of this Action Kit. Urge them to cover these election issues that concern over 1.9 million Ontarians with disabilities, as well as their families and friends. Remind them that the number of persons with disabilities in Ontario is growing as the population ages. There are at least 1 million voters with disabilities in Ontario right now.

* If you know any reporters, columnists or editors in your community, urge them to cover this.

* Call in to phone-in radio shows. Bring our issue directly to the public. Educate the audience. This Action Kit gives you all you need.

* If a candidate or party leader is on a phone-in program, call to ask the questions for the parties we list earlier in this Action Kit.

* Write a guest column or letter to the editor on our issue for your local newspaper. Feel free to cut and paste as much as you want from this Action Kit, our AODA Alliance Updates, and our website.

Action Tip #5: Use Social Media like Facebook and Twitter to Spread the Word

* If you use Facebook, visit our Facebook page. It is called “Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.”

* Click on your Facebook page that you “like” our Facebook page, so your Facebook friends will learn more about us.

* Click on your Facebook page that you “like” our specific postings on the Ontario election and click to share them with your Facebook friends.

* Post a direct link on your Facebook wall to our new public transit accessibility video, and our May 16, 2018 news release. Use the key links at the end of this Action Kit.

* If you use Twitter, be sure to follow us. We are at @aodaalliance. Our chair David Lepofsky is at @davidlepofsky. We use both addresses to share the same updates. Following either will ensure that you get the latest news. In addition to tweeting our AODA Alliance Updates that you can also get via email, we also use Twitter to share other quick bits and bytes of information about this election’s disability issues, and about disability issues around the world, that may not find their way into our email AODA Alliance Updates.

* Of great importance, please re-tweet as many of our AODA Alliance tweets as you can, and especially those which we address to candidates in this election.

* Follow the new search term or “hashtag” we’ve invented for this election. #DisabilityVoteCounts. Include it in your tweets.

* Encourage others to follow us on Twitter.

Action Tip #6: Community Organizations — Spread The Word Through Your Networks!

* If you are a staff member, volunteer or board member of a community organization, or are on a Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee or school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee, please use their networks to spread the word on this election’s disability accessibility issues.

* Get your organization to link its website to ours. Make this link directly to: www.aodaalliance.org

Your link might say, “Learn about the non-partisan grassroots campaign to make Ontario fully accessible for 1.9 million people with disabilities.”

* Get your organization to take the steps we list earlier regarding social media.

Links to Key Resources to Help You Join Our Election Campaign Blitz

To read the AODA Alliance’s May 16, 2018 news release, unveiling the Ontario parties’ disability accessibility pledges, visit: https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/news-release-major-disability-coalition-unveils-the-parties-2018-election-pledges-on-accessibility-for-1-9-million-ontarians-with-disabilities/

For a list of all the candidates, riding by riding, and their email addresses, phone numbers and Twitter handles that we could find, visit:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/riding-by-riding-list-of-contact-information-for-the-major-parties-candidates-in-the-june-7-2018-ontario-general-election-as-of-may-2-2018/ To read the Ontario Green Party’s May 4, 2018 letter to the AODA Alliance, setting out its election pledges on accessibility, visit:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/read-the-may-4-2018-letter-from-the-green-party-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2018-election-commitments-on-accessibility/ To read the Ontario NDP’s May 5, 2018 letter to the AODA Alliance, setting out its election pledges on accessibility, visit:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/read-the-may-5-2018-letter-from-the-new-democratic-party-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2018-election-commitments-on-accessibility/ To read the Ontario Liberal Party’s May 14, 2018 letter to the AODA Alliance, setting out its election pledges on accessibility, visit:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/read-the-may-14-2018-letter-from-the-liberal-party-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2018-election-commitments-on-accessibility/ To read the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party’s May 15, 2018 letter to the AODA Alliance, setting out its election pledges on accessibility, visit:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/read-the-may-15-2018-letter-from-the-progressive-conservative-party-to-the-aoda-alliance-setting-out-its-2018-election-commitments-on-accessibility/ To read the AODA Alliance’s analysis of each party’s commitments on accessibility, visit
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/the-aoda-alliances-party-by-party-analysis-of-the-2018-election-disability-accessibility-commitments-of-the-major-ontario-political-parties/ To read the AODA Alliance’s April 2, 2018 letter to the party leaders, listing the disability accessibility commitments we seek, visit:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/aoda-alliance-writes-ontarios-major-political-parties-seeking-their-election-pledges-on-accessibility-for-1-9-million-ontarians-with-disabilities/ To read the AODA Alliance’s issue-by-issue breakdown of the commitments of each party on accessibility, visit
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/the-aoda-alliances-issue-by-issue-party-comparison-of-the-major-parties-election-commitments-on-disability-accessibility/ For more background on the AODA Alliance’s non-partisan campaign for accessibility in this election, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/2018vote/

To learn more about the AODA Alliance’s efforts to ensure that the voting process is fully accessible to voters with disabilities, visit: https://www.aodaalliance.org/category/ontario-election/

To learn more about the AODA Alliance generally, visit
http://www.aodaalliance.org