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More on the pressing Need for Ontario’s Next Government to Enact Strong New Laws to Ensure that Ontario’s Built Environment Becomes Accessible to 1.9 Million Ontarians with Disabilities

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities http://www.aodaalliance.org aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance

June 4, 2018

SUMMARY

With the June 7, 2018 Ontario election fast approaching, last weekend Premier Wynne conceded that her party will not form Ontario’s next Government. The time will come for a fuller reflection on the 15-year legacy of the Ontario Liberal Government on accessibility for people with disabilities, under Premier Dalton McGuinty and later under Premier Kathleen Wynne. However, in advance of the election, we want to ensure that our Updates let you know of all the final steps that took place on accessibility for people with disabilities under their watch.

The need for strong new laws, effective enforcement and other Government action in Ontario to ensure that Ontario’s built environment becomes fully accessible to 1.9 million Ontarians with disabilities has been emphasized in the current Ontario election campaign. We brought this into sharp focus by our recent, widely-viewed online video that reveals serious accessibility problems at several new and recently renovated Toronto area public transit stations.

In this Update, we bring you up to date on the issue of the pressing need to ensure that Ontario’s built environment becomes fully accessible to Ontarians with disabilities by 2025, as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires. We had earlier reported to you that on March 19, 2018, the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario convened a forum of experts to gather advice on what should be done to address accessibility in the built environment. We were delighted that the Government acted on the idea to hold such a forum, which we had presented to the Government months earlier.

We have written Accessibility Minister Tracy MacCharles several times about this issue during her two years in office as the minister. We have written the previous ministers in that role as well about this topic. Most recently, we wrote Minister MacCharles on April 3, 2018 to summarize the key points raised at that forum, and to urge her to take action on this issue before the spring election campaign got underway.

Since then, the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario has released its summary of the discussion at the March 19, 2018 forum on the built environment. We set it out below.

A number of the points in the Accessibility Directorate summary are accurate. Our April 3, 2018 letter to Accessibility Minister MacCharles provides a more thorough summary of concerns and advice presented at that forum.

There are two particularly troubling problems with the Accessibility Directorate’s summary. These imply that the Directorate, or the Government which oversees it, were focused on exaggerating the good and downplaying the deficient.

First, the summary substantially dilutes and downplays the single most important point that was presented to the Government, and which the Government should by then have already known. Ontario’s laws detailing accessibility requirements in the built environment, including AODA accessibility standards and the Ontario Building Code, are too weak. A building can fully comply with these laws and yet have real and serious accessibility problems. Our videos on accessibility barriers in the new Centennial College Culinary Arts Centre and the new Ryerson University Student Learning Centre are compelling examples.

We and a good number of others at this built environment forum called for a comprehensive accessibility upgrade of those laws. No one at the forum spoke to the contrary, or disputed our assessment of how weak those laws now are.

Second, the Government’s summary includes this clear exaggeration of progress to date on accessibility in the built environment in Ontario:

“While there have been many successes in the accessibility of the built environment with leading edge facilities all over Ontario, there continue to be ongoing challenges.”

Much to the contrary, expert speakers at this forum emphasized that if anything, newer construction in Ontario is at times less accessible than older construction. The rosy image that the Directorate’s summary creates of “leading edge facilities all over Ontario” is certainly not one which the consensus presented to the Government at this forum.

Also relevant to this issue are the Ontario Government’s current plans to build a new courthouse in the heart of downtown Toronto. Our Updates have in the past months made public serious accessibility concerns with the proposed design of that courthouse which the Ontario Government had selected through a competitive bidding process.

In earlier correspondence on that topic, Ontario’s Attorney General Yasir Naqvi told us to follow up on our concerns with Assistant Deputy Attorney General Dante Pontone. Below we set out emails to that Assistant Deputy Attorney General from AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on May 31, and June 1, 2018. These will bring you up to date. They emphasize the need for the Government to take further action on accessibility at the New Toronto Courthouse, as well as the need to make public and consult people with disabilities on plans for accessibility at a new Peel courthouse, and in courthouse accessibility standards that are now under development.

The next Ontario Government that is elected on Thursday will need to give this issue a serious re-think. We will call on the new Government to do a top-to-bottom review of accessibility at these planned new courthouses.

We will be ready to offer our advice and assistance. Ontario’s next Government will not only need to fully review the deficient plans for the New Toronto Courthouse. More broadly, it will also need to substantially strengthen the Ontario Building Code and AODA accessibility standards, as they relate to the accessibility of the built environment. It is high time that a comprehensive, strong and effective Built Environment Accessibility Standard is enacted under the AODA — one which goes much further than the very narrow Public Spaces Accessibility Standard that was enacted in 2012.

Learn more about the AODA Alliance’s multi-year campaign to get the Ontario Government to enact a strong and effective Built Environment Accessibility Standard. For more background on this election’s disability accessibility issues and for links to other key information, including on how to sign up for or unsubscribe from these Updates, check out the resources we list at the end of this Update.

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MORE DETAILS

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Accessibility Directorate of Ontario Summary of the March 19, 2018 Forum on Accessibility in the Built Environment

Built Environment Forum Event Summary

Purpose of the event:
On March 19th, 2018 the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, with its partners at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Housing hosted a full day forum to engage with people with disabilities and sector experts on issues related to accessibility and the built environment.
With broad representation of persons with disabilities, key experts, obligated sector representatives and other accessibility stakeholders, there were rich and meaningful discussions. Participants heard about successes and challenges across communities of all sizes, and about leading practices in creating interactive design for users of all abilities.
The following is a summary of the key messages and themes identified by participants.

Accessibility must be at the forefront of planning
Participants identified that accessibility planning and consultation, including consultation with municipal accessibility advisory committees, occurs too late in the planning process. This can result in confusion about needs and expectations as well as result in unintended barriers.

Working with design teams very early on in the process to help translate the needs of persons with disabilities into building plans is crucial to accessible built environments.
Participants suggested engaging early and often on accessibility helps to manage costs associated with any changes in design and helps ensure design guidance and advice is properly interpreted into building plans.

Holistic and comprehensive policy guidance
Participants from businesses and municipalities identified that they are struggling to identify and locate clear guidance for their projects. Legislative requirements are sometimes vague and lack the interpretation of best practice guidelines to support a clear understanding of obligations and how to apply them across various projects.

In addition, the many layers of standards and regulations, including but not limited to, the Ontario Building Code, Canadian Standards Association B651, the AODAs Design of Public Spaces Standard, the Planning Act, etc. and the numerous municipal accessibility guidelines result in confusion and overlap of guidance. It is not always clear why guidance varies or what guidance provides the highest level of accessibility. While the Ontario Human Rights Code sets a high standard for accessibility it is not always clear exactly what that means for building and design specifications.

Participants from municipalities noted that they often respond to these gaps and overlap often by creating their own resources and design guidance. There was a strong desire from all participants for a repository of information and guidance that is publicly available. This could be used to support both formal and informal learning for businesses, municipalities, accessibility advisory committees and the public at large.

Education for designers, planners, and implementers
Participants identified that the various design professionals and planners critical to the design and construction of buildings are often neither educated nor informed on accessible or universal design.

New graduates are entering the field keen to understand accessibility but have not been provided formal education to develop these skills. Participants noted that a strong understanding of accessibility in the built environment should be an integrated part of educational curricula for design professionals. Some participants argued this education should be mandatory for graduating or licensing.

In absence of this expertise for both established and new professionals errors are often made even with the best of intentions. There is a strong community of industry leaders who are working to teach one another but more resources are needed. Participants noted that these resources and supports should be available to both students and existing professionals.

Change needs greater enforcement
Participants noted that enforcement is key to ensuring compliance with accessibility in the built environment. Enforcement activities should also include education and awareness activities.

This can be further supported by incentivizing activities wherein best practices are recognized and encouraged for their successes.
Participants noted that accessibility should be better accounted for in licensing and permitting processes.

Retrofits
Participants also discussed how retrofits must be a part of reducing barriers. Existing buildings, including public, commercial and housing lack accessibility features key to navigating the built environment. Participants discussed potential solutions to this issue such as regulatory change and incentive programs.

Remain focused on the goal for a barrier free Ontario
While there are many challenges on the road ahead participants noted that government must stay focused on the goal of a barrier-free Ontario. This includes continuing to improve standards under the AODA to remove barriers as well as working to ensure new barriers are not created.
This requires government at all levels and communities across Ontario to work together. While there have been many successes in the accessibility of the built environment with leading edge facilities all over Ontario, there continue to be ongoing challenges. Projects sometimes occur in silos and there remains much work to be done to link infrastructure and surrounding communities to create a fully accessible network for Ontarians to visit and experience in their daily lives.

How these findings may be used:
The event provided a valuable opportunity for government to hear about the accessibility issues faced by both community members and implementers in the built environment. The findings from this event will inform governments understanding of the issues on accessibility across the built environment from an all of government perspective.

This information will support pre-consultation work for the Design of Public Spaces review which is scheduled, as per the AODA, to be reviewed in 2018.

This information will be provided to the Third Legislative Reviewer. Ontario has appointed the Honourable David C. Onley to conduct the third review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Housing would like to thank all of the participants in this engaging and valuable day.

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May 31, 2018 Email from AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky to Assistant Deputy Attorney General Dante Pontone Re Accessibility in New Courthouse Projects

To: Dante Pontone, Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Ontario From: David Lepofsky, Chair, AODA Alliance
Date: May 31, 2018

Thank you so much for attending the May 24, 2018 meeting of the Disability Sector Advisory Group that the Government convened this spring to get input on accessibility issues in the design of the New Toronto Courthouse. Construction of that courthouse is expected to commence sometime next year. We need your active assistance and intervention to ensure that accessibility is properly included in this project.

It was helpful to know that the courthouse design team is considering feedback that the Advisory Group had given at our earlier March 20, 2018 meeting. At the March 14, 2018 meeting we had identified serious accessibility problems in the design of the New Toronto Courthouse that the Government had selected in the competitive process. I want to summarize a few of the key points that the disability sector representatives made at the May 24, 2018 meeting.

* At the May 24, 2018 meeting, the information that the design team gave our Advisory Group revealed that in troubling ways, it appears that the private company that is building this courthouse is giving the building’s aesthetics an improper priority over ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities, with the Government’s evident agreement or silence. I offer two examples from this meeting.

First, back at the March 20, 2018 meeting, we had pointed out that the use of “open risers” in the feature staircase in the courthouse’s main lobby presents an accessibility and safety problem for people with vision loss, among others. The Government’s specific requirements for this building preclude the use of open risers. Yet EllisDon, whom the Government selected to build this courthouse, disregarded this, and included open risers in the building design. The Government selected that design in the competitive bid process, despite its direct contravention of this accessibility requirement in the Government’s Project Specific Output Specifications (PSOS).

At the May 24, 2018 meeting, we were told that the project design team is considering “options” for dealing with this issue. We asked what options are being considered. We did not get a direct answer. They did not want to say what options were being considered. We don’t understand why this was being withheld from us.

Moreover, one of the design team members in effect asked us at the May 24, 2018 meeting if there was no way that open risers could be included in the building. We said “no”. We explained there that they were treating aesthetics as more important than accessibility.

Second, we had indicated at our March 14, 2018 meeting that the three-storey atrium design of the building created several accessibility problems. There would be inconsistent lighting and glare during the day, creating problems for those with low vision. The acoustics present problems for people who are hard of hearing, or people with vision loss who use echo-location to help navigate. People with sensory integration problems, include some with autism, also experience sensory overload in such environments. Eliminating this atrium design would eliminate these problems and create more useable floor space.

At the May 24, 2018 meeting, the project team’s solution appeared to be to keep the atrium design, but to consider canopies, overhangs and blinds to control lighting, and some acoustic protections to reduce acoustic problems. We were told about sound and lighting studies being conducted to look into these effects.

We responded that the aesthetic tail appears again to be wagging the dog. If blinds must be adjusted throughout the day to regulate the light in the building, there is the real risk that this will not always happen. We won’t know that these palliative measures will work until the building is built, by which time it is too late. The acoustic studies did not explore the impact of the acoustic measures on echo-location for navigating the building. We could only be satisfied that these palliative measures all worked if we could now visit a comparably-designed building that includes all these lighting and audio features, to test to see if they are reliable and consistently effective.

* At the May 24, 2018 meeting, we were not shown the layout for any of the non-public secured areas of the building, but were assured that they would be accessible. We asked to be able to see those designs, on an undertaking of confidentiality if necessary, so we can give feedback. We appreciate that the project team agreed to look into this.

* We were told at the May 24, 2018 meeting that the seating area that was proposed for people with disabilities who are waiting for Wheeltrans would be inside the vestibule, just inside the main doors. The disability sector representatives identified several problems with this.

That seating location only has a direct line of sight to half of the pick-up spots where vehicles would arrive. There is an obstructed view to the rest of those drop-off spots. In addition, this seating is placed between the doors to the outside, and the doors to the main floor. As such, people sitting there will have to endure regular blasts of cold air when waiting during the winter, and hot air during the summer, each time the doors open and close.

* We noted that placing Court Services on the third floor presents real problems. This can be the first stop for many who arrive at the courthouse. They must clutter up the elevators to get there, and then head up from there to their destination. This first stop should be on the main floor.

* We understand that there is no location planned to situate the courthouse’s disability accessibility and accommodation coordinator on the ground floor. We emphasized that they should be readily available on the ground floor, to be a first contact, where needed, for court attendees with disabilities.

* We were told that the public was to be told by way of posted signs about the availability of disability services. We emphasized that this was insufficient, as it will not accommodate those with vision loss or dyslexia. I would add that this would not accommodate those with literacy issues.

* At our earlier March 14, 2018 meeting, we were told that only one interview room per floor would be accessible. At the May 24, 2018 meeting we learned that this information had been incorrect. We were told on May 24, 2018 that all of the interview rooms are accessible, but only one room per floor will accommodate a scooter. We were still not able to learn how these rooms are to be assigned, to ensure that they are not simply used by people who don’t need that accessibility feature.

* We learned at the May 24, 2018 meeting that some important accessibility concerns that we raised at our earlier meeting have not been corrected at all. The problematic layout of the six public elevators has not been changed, despite the accessibility concerns. There has also been no change to the plan to have a universal washroom on only eight of the building’s seventeen floors, and not on every floor. No reason for this was given.

* For some of the other concerns we had raised at the March 14, 2018 meeting, we were told that it is now too late in the planning process to change certain aspects of the building’s design. This demonstrates that it was wrong for the Government not to consult on accessibility some three years ago, at the design process’s outset.

We look forward to further meetings with the disability sector advisory group, to ensure that the accessibility concerns with this building are all effectively addressed.

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June 1, 2018 Email from AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky to Assistant Deputy Attorney General Dante Pontone

To: Dante Pontone, Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Ontario From: David Lepofsky, Chair, AODA Alliance
Date: June 1, 2018
Re: Accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities in New Courthouse Construction in Ontario

Thank you for taking the time to speak to me today about the future actions needed to ensure accessibility of the New Toronto Courthouse, about accessibility of the forthcoming new Halton Peel Courthouse (at an earlier stage of design) and about the development of a new Government accessibility standard for new court construction. Here are the key items which we requested and those to which you agreed. If I have anything incorrect, please let me know as soon as possible.

Re the New Toronto Courthouse

I asked that you continue to attend any upcoming meetings of the Disability Sector Advisory Group regarding the New Toronto Courthouse. Your oversight is critically important, in our view. Thank you for being agreeable to this.

We have not been told how many future meetings the Government plans for this Advisory Group regarding the New Toronto Courthouse. I recommended to you that this Advisory Group continue to meet with the Government and its contractors until all the accessibility concerns regarding this courthouse have been effectively resolved. I understood you to be supportive of this.

I explained that it is important in this project, and in each future project, that the Government directly retain the accessibility consultant, retained on these projects, and that this consultant report their accessibility advice directly to the Government. Otherwise, as at present, it appears that their accessibility advice is given to the private architecture firm or other private organization that hired them. What the Government and the public learn about that accessibility advice is only that which the retaining private organization chooses to pass along. The public is paying for that advice. The Government should receive that advice directly, and in its entirety. The public should be able to see this advice as well. I understood that you are going to consider this.

The Halton Peel Courthouse

I understand that the accessibility requirements for the future new Halton Peel courthouse have not yet been finalized. The Project Specific Output Specifications PSOS for that project are still under development.

I recommended that the Government now get advice from the disability community, e.g. from the Disability Sector Advisory Group, as these are being formulated, and certainly long before they are finalized. No longer should we ever be told that it is too late in the design process to take into account an accessibility concern. I understood you to be agreeable to and supportive of this.

I therefore asked that the Government now show us these accessibility requirements at whatever stage they have now reached. Even if they are at a draft or preliminary stage, it would help to see what has been developed so far, so that we can give our feedback. As the New Toronto Courthouse experience revealed once again, the earlier in the design development process this consultation occurs, the better will be the end product.

New Accessibility Standard for Future Courthouses

As we discussed, Bob Topping told the Disability Sector Advisory Group at our inaugural March 14, 2018 meeting that his accessibility consulting firm, DesignAble Environments, was working on a new accessibility standard for new court consultation. Corresponding to this, the lead architect for the EllisDon firm told us at that meeting that when they designed the plans for the New Toronto Courthouse, they used the old accessibility standard that the Ministry has had going back many years.

As a result, I asked you to find out who else, if anyone, is working on this new courthouse accessibility standard, beyond DesignAble Environments? We asked to see that standard in its present state of development. We also proposed that the disability community be consulted on this, as early as possible, in its development. I urged you to contact Mr. Topping to follow up on this and to get more information, since it was he who told us about this work at the March 14, 2018 Advisory Group meeting. You agreed to look into this, including speaking to Mr. Topping. Thank you for agreeing to get back to me on this.

In conclusion there is a clear long term need for problems such as these to be resolved on a Government-wide basis. However, in the meantime, resolving the accessibility needs of Ontarians with disabilities in these courthouse projects cannot await a resolution of broader Government-wide deficiencies in how it deals with planning for the accessibility of new infrastructure construction.

I look forward to hearing from you on the important issues we discussed, and especially on those listed in this letter.

David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont
Chair Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance

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Excerpt from the AODA Alliance’s May 16, 2018 Issue-By-Issue Summary of the Parties’ Commitments on Disability Accessibility in the 2018 Ontario Election

Take Overdue Steps to Ensure the Accessibility of the built Environment, Including Residential Housing

Commitments the AODA Alliance Requested

#16. To publicly recognize that there is now a problem with the inaccessibility of the built environment in Ontario, and to launch a comprehensive strategy that will address both new consultation and the retrofit of existing buildings that are undergoing no major renovations.

#17. To ensure that the accessibility of the Built environment is fully and effectively addressed by requirements enacted under the AODA, e.g. by developing and enacting a comprehensive Built Environment Accessibility Standard under the AODA, and to ensure that it effectively addresses accessibility retrofits in existing buildings, as well as accessibility in new construction and major renovations.

#18. To direct each Standards Development Committee now in operation to make recommendations on standards for the built environment as it relates to the area that that Standards Development Committee is studying. For example, the Transportation Standards Development Committee should be directed to make recommendations for accessibility in public transit stations and stops.

#19. To ensure that a new and comprehensive Built Environment Accessibility Standard will include accessibility requirements for elevators.

#20. To create a Residential Housing Accessibility Standard under the AODA, and within six months of taking office, to appoint a Standards Development Committee to make recommendations on what it should include.

#21. To announce a comprehensive strategy on accessible housing (apart from an AODA accessibility standard), within six months of taking office, after consulting the public, including people with disabilities. This strategy should aim to effectively increase the supply of accessible housing in Ontario, including supportive housing.

#22. To require that before a building permit and/or site plan approval can be obtained for a project, the approving authority, municipal or provincial, must be satisfied that the project, on completion, will meet all accessibility requirements under the Ontario Building Code and in any AODA accessibility standards.

#23. To require that post-project completion inspections include inspecting for compliance with accessibility requirements in the Ontario Building Code and AODA accessibility standards.

#24. To require professional bodies that regulate or licence key professionals such as architects and other design professionals, to require adequate training on accessible design to qualify for a license, and to require existing professionals, where needed to take continuing professional development training on accessible design.

#25. To require, as a condition of funding any college or university that trains key professions, such as design professionals (like architects), that they include sufficient training on meeting accessibility needs, in their program’s curriculum.

#26. To substantially reform the way public sector infrastructure projects are managed and overseen in Ontario, including a major reform of Infrastructure Ontario, to ensure that accessibility is addressed far earlier, and more effectively in the project. This should include a requirement that accessibility advice be obtained on all major projects starting at the very beginning, with input being required from the outset obtained from people with disabilities. Any accessibility advice from people with disabilities or accessibility consultants should be promptly made public. Any decisions by the Government or by project teams it hires to reject any accessibility advice should promptly be publicly reported, identifying who made that decision, and the reasons for it. The accessibility requirements for any infrastructure should be made public as soon as possible, and well before a bidding competition is closed.

#27. To require that when public money is used to create public housing, principles of universal design will be employed in the design of that public housing.

#28. To create a fund to increase the number of accessible public premises, which would be available to public buildings that agree to make their property available to the public, in the case of emergency.

NDP

* In December, we called on the government to immediately establish the as-of-yet undelivered Built Environment Standards. These will include recommendations for retrofits, major renovations, transit and elevators. An NDP government is committed to implementing these recommendations.

* There is an accessible housing crisis in Ontario. To begin to address this, we will earmark affordable housing units for Ontarians with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Our investment in 30,000 units of supportive housing will give adults who have developmental disabilities access to housing that ensures they can live rich lives with more independence.
We are proponents of universal design and will ensure that accessibility standards are considered and met before, during, and after any major reforms or infrastructure projects are undertaken by the government.

Liberals

* A re-elected Liberal government will build on this progress by: exploring and determining next steps for preventing and removing accessibility barriers in the built environment

* We intend to continue the reviews already underway and continue the work of developing standards in the areas of health care and education. We would welcome advice from these committees on built environment issues and look forward to making the process more open and transparent to ensure all voices are heard without compromising necessary privacy and accountability measures.

Beyond ongoing work, we know that there are barriers in the province that need to be addressed through standards. Earlier this year, former Minister Tracy MacCharles publicly stated that the standards governing the built environment need to be strengthened to achieve our goal. That’s why she convened a summit on the subject attended by many impacted stakeholders, including the AODA Alliance. We will use the feedback gleaned from this summit and further consultation with stakeholders to determine the best path forward as we track toward the mandated review of the standard. Given the complexity of housing construction, building modification, and renovation, we will also work with builders, developers, architects, and other experts before committing to a path forward on residential housing and retrofits.

Getting to an accessible Ontario requires that we also ensure that the professionals most connected to design and construction know about accessibility. To this end, we will work with regulatory bodies, colleges, universities, and professional organizations to ensure that accessibility is included throughout the process.

Standards for AFPs differ project to project, but all Project Companies are required to comply with all legislation on AFP projects, including the AODA and accessibility requirements in the Ontario Building Code. This is the de facto minimum standard. Issues related to accessibility in AFP projects are therefore related to the content of the standards. On built environment issues specifically, that’s why we have committed to working with stakeholders toward the next review of the standard.

Greens

* We support accessibility as an essential component of any new building project or retrofit. Training in accessible design should be a requirement across all licensing and educational institutions in Ontario, and all new building projects should meet standard accessibility requirements before approval. A strategy must be developed both to increase the supply of accessible housing within Ontario and to undertake the retrofitting of existing buildings in order for them to meet accessibility standards.

Conservatives

* Ontario needs a clear strategy to address AODA standards and the Ontario Building Code’s accessibility provisions. We need Ontario’s design professionals, such as architects, to receive substantially improved professional training on disability and accessibility.

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More Information About the AODA Alliance and Accessibility Issues in the 2018 Ontario Election

Please take steps to ensure you can receive our AODA Alliance Updates. Put updates@aodaalliance.org in your contact list. Check your spam filter so it does not treat our emails from that new email address as spam.

To sign up for or unsubscribe from Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Updates, send your request to us at aodafeedback@gmail.com 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.

For the AODA Alliance tips to all voters with disabilities on how to try to avoid facing any disability barriers when trying to vote in the 2018 election, visit:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/aoda-alliance-urges-all-ontario-voters-with-disabilities-to-vote-at-advance-polls-to-avoid-the-risk-of-running-into-accessibility-barriers-on-voting-day-june-7-2018-here-are-helpful-action/ To watch the new AODA Alliance video on serious accessibility problems at new and recently renovated Toronto area public transit stations, visit:

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

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

To read the AODA Alliance’s May 16, 2018 news release that unveiled the commitments on disability accessibility from the major Ontario parties, 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/

To read the new AODA Alliance 2018 Election Action Kit, in order to get ideas on how to raise disability accessibility issues in the June 7, 2018 Ontario election campaign, visit:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/use-and-widely-circulate-our-new-election-action-kit-full-of-tips-on-how-to-raise-disability-accessibility-issues-in-this-ontario-election/

For a riding-by-riding list of all the candidates’ contact info 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/ For a list of all the all-candidates’ debates we could find around Ontario, visit:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/list-ofall-the-2018-ontario-elections-all-candidates-debates-we-could-find-ask-the-candidates-to-make-strong-commitments-on-accessibility-for-1-9-million-ontarians-with-disabilities/ 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 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/

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 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/

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/

You can always send your feedback to us on any AODA and accessibility issue at aodafeedback@gmail.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

We encourage you to use the Governments 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 Alliances 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