Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities
March 12, 2018
On March 12, 2018, the AODA Alliance wrote the new leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party and Leader of the Official Opposition, Doug Ford. He won this leadership position this past weekend. We set out this letter below.
In this letter, the AODA Alliance introduces ourselves to Mr. Ford and congratulates him on his new role. We request a meeting with him, to bring him up to speed on vital issues concerning accessibility in Ontario for some 1.9 million Ontarians with disabilities. Each of the past three leaders of the Ontario PC Party has met with AODA Alliance leadership. We are eager to continue this tradition.
As we often emphasize, the AODA Alliance is a non-partisan coalition. We don’t support or oppose any party or candidate. We raise accessibility issues with all parties, and offer our briefings, feedback and recommendations to all parties. This new letter is written in that spirit.
As in past Ontario elections, we are now busily working on our forthcoming letter to all political parties, seeking their commitments on disability accessibility. Let us know if you have any ideas. We also welcome your ideas for a new Twitter hashtag for raising disability issues in the June 7, 2018 election. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Below, as always, you can find links to key background information on the non-partisan campaign for accessibility in Ontario, including how to sign up for or unsubscribe from these AODA Alliance Updates.
Text of the AODA Alliance’s March 12, 2018 Letter to New Leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, Doug Ford
ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
1929 Bayview Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Email email@example.com Twitter: @aodaalliance www.aodaalliance.org
March 12, 2018
To: Mr. Doug Ford, Leader – Official Opposition
Via email: Doug@fordnation.ca
Room 381, Legislative Building
Re: Ensuring Ontario Becomes Accessible to Ontarians with Disabilities by 2025
Congratulations on becoming the leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party. I write on behalf of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance. Our non-partisan grass-roots community coalition, the AODA Alliance, an unfunded volunteer coalition, seeks the achievement of a fully-accessible Ontario for people with disabilities, through the prompt, effective implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005 (AODA). Our efforts have been recognized and commended by all parties in the Ontario Legislature.
We write to reach out to you, and to offer to work together with you, on important issues regarding accessibility for people with disabilities in Ontario. Even in 2018, some 1.9 million Ontarians with disabilities still face too many disability accessibility barriers when they try to get an education or a job, to ride public transit or use our health care system, or buy and use the goods, services and facilities that are offered to the public. Among them, over one third of a million students with disabilities face too many disability accessibility barriers in Ontario’s education system. Job-seekers with disabilities face unemployment rates that are substantially higher than the national average. This all hurts Ontarians with disabilities, Ontario’s businesses and Ontario’s economy. It puts Ontario at a real competitive disadvantage in the world economy.
It was a very important step in 2005 when all parties in the Ontario Legislature voted to unanimously pass the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005. That legislation requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to become fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. It lays out the steps the Ontario Government must take to lead Ontario to that destination. Our coalition’s predecessor, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, led the decade-long campaign for that legislation. Our successor non-partisan coalition leads the campaign to get that law effectively implemented and enforced.
Over thirteen years after it was passed, Ontario is behind schedule for reaching the mandatory goal of full accessibility for people with disabilities by 2025. Our coalition has worked with each of the political parties in the Ontario Legislature, offering our advice and constructive ideas and recommendations on what is needed to get Ontario back on schedule.
Accessibility for people with disabilities benefits everyone and hurts no one. Disability barriers ultimately hurt everyone. This is because disability eventually touches everyone’s life. Everyone has a disability now, or is bound to get one later, as they age.
In the lead-up to the June 7, 2018 Ontario general election, our coalition will soon be writing the leaders of all the major parties, seeking specific election commitments on disability accessibility. We have done this in every Ontario election since we were founded in 2005. Our predecessor coalition did so in each prior election back to 1995. In every Ontario election since 1995, any party pledges on disability accessibility have been made in the form of letters from the party leader to us, or to our predecessor coalition. As a non-partisan coalition, we do not endorse or oppose any party or candidate. Raise accessibility issues and encourage all voters, including over one million voters with disabilities, to be aware of these issues.
In anticipation of this, we would welcome a chance to meet with you, as the new leader of Ontario’s PC Party, and the leader of Ontario’s Official Opposition. Each of the past three leaders of your party has done so in the past. We are eager to continue that important practice.
We welcome a chance to brief you and your team on this topic, to secure the support of your party in the Legislature on our issues over the last weeks leading to the commencement of the election campaign, and to offer our non-partisan feedback. We have been doing so with each of the parties in the Legislature.
We realize that you are operating under tremendous time pressures, with the PC leadership campaign just behind you, and a provincial election coming up in June. Yet the vital needs of over 1.9 Ontarians with disabilities, and all the others who will later acquire a disability, make these issues pressing and substantial. We are ready to meet on very short notice, for as much or as little time as you can muster, and to do what we can to assist you, and indeed any and all political parties, as they craft their platforms for the upcoming Ontario election.
David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont
Chair, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance For More Information About the AODA Alliance
To sign up for or unsubscribe from Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Updates, send your request to us at firstname.lastname@example.org In late December 2017, our email list for these Updates unfortunately crashed. We have rebuilt it. In case you fell off the list but want to return, just email to ask us to sign you up. In case you had wanted to be removed from the list, but were accidentally restored to it, just email us to ask to be removed! Sorry for any inconvenience.
You can always send your feedback to us on any AODA and accessibility issue at email@example.com
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.aodaalliance.org/2016
To sign up for, or unsubscribe from AODA Alliance e-mail updates, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Check out our new and expanded collection of online videos about the history, strategies and accomplishments of Ontario’s non-partisan grassroots accessibility campaign, available at:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/the-aoda-alliance-launches-part-2-of-its-series-of-online-videos-on-the-campaign-for-accessibility-to-mark-the-23rd-anniversary-of-ontarios-grassroots-campaign-for-disability-accessibility/ 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. https://www.youtube.com/user/aodaalliance
Please “like” our Facebook page and share our updates: https://www.facebook.com/Accessibility-for-Ontarians-with-Disabilities-Act-Alliance-106232039438820/
Follow us on Twitter. Get others to follow us. And please re-tweet our tweets!! @AODAAlliance
Learn all about our campaign for a fully accessible Ontario by visiting http://www.aodaalliance.org