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On the Eve of the 2018 Ontario Election Campaign, the Wynne Government Made Public the Weak Final Recommendations of the Transportation Standards Development committee For Revisions to the 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard

Reflecting an Impoverished Approach to Ontario’s Disabilities Act, The Wynne Government Said It is Not Seeking Public Input on those Recommendations

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

May 29, 2018

SUMMARY

On May 2, 2018, just days before the official 2018 Ontario election campaign began, the Wynne Government made public the final recommendations of the Government-appointed Transportation Standards Development committee. Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the Government had appointed that Committee to consult the public and to make recommendations on any revisions needed to the 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard, which was enacted under the AODA. The Transportation Accessibility Standard is supposed to ensure that transportation services in Ontario become fully accessible to people with disabilities.

The Transportation Standards Development committee had submitted its final recommendations to the Wynne Government some weeks earlier. The Government traditionally only posts these recommendations on its website for 45 days. In contrast, the AODA Alliance posts these permanently on our website. We believe they should be permanently available to the public.

To read the final recommendations of the Transportation Standards Development committee, visit:
https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/read-the-government-appointed-transportation-standards-development-committees-final-recommendations-for-revisions-to-the-2011-aoda-transportation-accessibility-standard/ This is very important for the current Ontario election. The final recommendations of the Transportation Standards Development committee are very weak. They would not ensure that transportation becomes fully accessible to passengers with disabilities by 2025, or ever. They would not substantially improve the limited 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard. That standard needs substantial improvement.

The Transportation Standards Development committee did not accept many if not most of the advice in the detailed 106-page brief that the AODA Alliance and the ARCH Disability Law Centre submitted to the Transportation Standards Development committee on July 31, 2017. We made an in-person presentation on that brief to the Transportation Standards Development committee on November 15, 2017. No member of that Standards Development Committee asked us a single question about our 59 detailed recommendations.

The Transportation Standards Development Committee’s final recommendations are modestly better than the Committee’s even-weaker earlier draft recommendations, on which the AODA Alliance /ARCH July 31, 2017 brief had commented. However, most of the deficiencies in the Transportation Standards Development committee’s earlier draft recommendations have not been fixed.

In its final recommendations to the Government, the Transportation Standards Development Committee commendably recommended that the Government should strengthen the stated goal of the Transportation Accessibility Standard. However, none of the other Transportation Standards Development committee recommendations would significantly strengthen the Transportation Accessibility Standard, in the ways needed to achieve that goal.

The Transportation Standards Development committee proposes a number of modest changes to the 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard itself. These largely focus on more education, more consultation, and imposing requirements to report on progress. A strong, effective accessibility standard must go much further. It must spell out which disability barriers must be removed and by when in transportation services.

One of the important disability accessibility issues that the AODA Alliance has raised in the 2018 Ontario election is the fact that the Ontario Government has been building new public transit stations with serious accessibility problems. Our new online Youtube video, which amply shows this, has gotten over 2,000 views in the first 12 days after we posted it on line. Check it out!

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

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

The Transportation Standards Development committee made a very weak recommendation in this area. It merely recommended:

“The Transportation Standards should be changed to require municipalities and transit providers to report on and show progress made to improve accessibility at transit facilities, stops and shelters, based on their service offerings and community need, as part of the annual status report on their multi-year accessibility plans.”

Ontario needs a Transportation Accessibility Standard that spells out specific accessibility requirements for public transit stations. The Ontario Government has hundreds of new public transit infrastructure projects coming, or already in progress. We cannot afford more accessibility blunders like those we expose in our new Youtube video.

The Government that the public elects on June 7, 2018 will have to decide what revisions to enact, to strengthen the limited 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard. Sadly, the Transportation Standards Development committee’s final recommendations are not much of a help. If the Government implemented all of that Standards Development Committee’s recommendations, we would have no assurance that the serious transportation barriers, shown in our recent video, would be removed or prevented in existing or future public transit stations or projects.

In contrast to the final recommendations of the Transportation Standards Development committee, the AODA Alliance/ARCH July 31, 2017 brief is far more detailed. It includes much stronger recommendations. We encourage all voters with disabilities to raise these issues with candidates during this election. Check out our 2018 Ontario Election Action Kit for tips on how to do this.

It is very troubling that the Transportation Standards Development committee disregarded so many of our proposals. It is also very troubling that in its last days before the current election campaign, the Wynne Government took an impoverished approach to public consultation in this area. In the past, when the Government has received a Standards Development Committee’s final recommendations, it has posted it on line, for purposes of affording the public, including the disability community, a chance to give the Government its feedback on the Committee’s final recommendations. Over the past decade, the AODA Alliance has submitted detailed briefs to the Ontario Government, analyzing the final recommendations of most of the Standards Development Committees, and offering our own recommendations.

In sharp and disturbing contrast, the Wynne Government, as represented by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, now takes the position that it is not seeking any public feedback on the final recommendations of the Transportation Standards Development committee. In a May 3, 2018 email to AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, The Assistant Deputy Minister for the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, Ann Hoy, wrote as follows:

“To clarify, the final report and recommendations of the Transportation Standards Development Committee has been submitted to the Minister, and is currently posted for information. We are not seeking public comment at this time.”

In response, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky took exception to this, writing on May 3, 2018 to Ms. Hoy:

“The whole purpose for public posting of a final recommendation from a Standards Development Committee is for the Government to receive public input on it. Why is the Government not seeking or inviting public input on the final recommendation of the Transportation Standards Development committee?”

Neither Ms. Hoy nor anyone else from the Government responded to this. The full exchange of emails is set out below.

The AODA Alliance will be preparing a brief to submit to the Ontario Government, whether or not the Government is seeking any feedback. The public transit sector has been very active in trying to keep this accessibility standard as narrow as possible. We are certain that the public transit sector will be pressuring the Government not to significantly strengthen this accessibility standard. We want to be sure that the disability perspective is fully at the table when the Government deliberates on this.

We welcome your feedback on the Transportation Standards Development committee’s final recommendations. Send your thoughts to us at: aodafeedback@gmail.com
We also encourage you to send your feedback to the Ontario Government, even if the Government is not inviting your feedback.

We call on the next Ontario Government to invite public feedback on the final recommendations of the Transportation Standards Development committee, before it decides what revisions to make to the 2011 Transportation Accessibility Standard.

MORE DETAILS

Key Exchange of Emails Between the AODA Alliance and the Ontario Government on Whether the Government is Seeking Feedback on the Final Recommendations of the Transportation Standards Development committee

May 3, 2018 Email from AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky to Senior Officials at the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario

From: David Lepofsky
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2018 11:03 AM
To: ‘Bartolomucci, Mary (ADO)’; wintermd@lao.on.ca
Cc: ‘Paulin, Christopher (ADO)’; ‘Simeon, Phil (ADO)’; Ann Hoy; Marie-Lison Fougere; Ed Steel; Janeiro, James (OPO) Subject: RE: Review of the Transportation Standards

Thanks for this. We regret that the Government has disregarded the advice in our recent letter to the Minister, and has overlapped the consultation periods for the Employment Accessibility Standard and the Transportation Accessibility Standard. We had asked that the Government space out these consultation periods and not overlap them.

We ask that you extend the deadline for input on the Transportation Accessibility Standard, to eliminate the impact of this overlap.

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

May 3, 2018 Email from the Assistant Deputy Minister for the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario to AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky

From: Hoy, Ann (ADO) [mailto:Ann.Hoy@ontario.ca]
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2018 11:49 AM
To: David Lepofsky Bartolomucci, Mary (ADO); wintermd@lao.on.ca
Cc: Paulin, Christopher (ADO); Simeon, Phil (ADO); Fougère, Marie-Lison (MSA); Steel, Ed (MGCS); Janeiro, James (OPO) Subject: RE: Review of the Transportation Standards

Good morning, David,
To clarify, the final report and recommendations of the Transportation Standards Development Committee has been submitted to the Minister, and is currently posted for information. We are not seeking public comment at this time.

As you know, the Employment Standards SDC initial recommendations are currently posted for public comment until May 7.

I hope this helps.

Ann Hoy

May 3, 2018 Email from AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky to Assistant Deputy Minister for the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, Ann Hoy

From: David Lepofsky
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2018 12:21 PM
To: ‘Hoy, Ann (ADO)’
Subject: RE: Review of the Transportation Standards

Dear Ann,

The whole purpose for public posting of a final recommendation from a Standards Development Committee is for the Government to receive public input on it. Why is the Government not seeking or inviting public input on the final recommendation of the Transportation Standards Development committee?

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’s 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