Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities Web: https://www.aodaalliance.org
June 30, 2021
There are now three different public consultations going on at the same time on the content of new accessibility standards to be enacted under the AODA. The first, ending on August 11, 2021, concerns the disability barriers facing patients with disabilities in Ontario hospitals. The second, ending on September 2, 2021, concerns the barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario schools between Kindergarten and Grade 12. The third, which ends on September 29, 2021, and which we are focusing on in this Update, concerns the barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario colleges and universities.
The AODA Alliance will be taking part in all three consultations. We urge you to do so as well. We will say more over the next weeks about each of them.
The AODA Alliance campaigned for over half a decade to get the Ontario Government to agree to develop and enact accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in each of these three areas. The door is now wide open for your input. These opportunities don’t often come along. We will make public tools available to make it easier for you to have your say. The Ontario Government has not enacted a new accessibility standard under the AODA in fully nine years.
1. Send Us Your Feedback on the Initial Report and Recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee
What needs to be done to tear down the many barriers that impede students with disabilities in college and university programs? The Ontario Government has promised to develop a Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard to address these barriers under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Since 2018, the Government-appointed Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee has been coming up with recommendations for the Ontario Government on what should be included in the promised Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard. On March 12, 2021, it submitted its initial or draft report and recommendations to the Ontario Government.
Three and a half months later, on June 25, 2021, the Ford Government made that initial report public. The public can send feedback on it. Feedback is invited until September 29, 2021. You can send your input to the Government by writing postsecondarySDC@ontario.ca
That feedback will be shared with the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. That Committee will then finalize its recommendations and submit them to the Government.
You can download the initial report and recommendations of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PSE-SDC-Initial-Recommendations-Report_June-25-2021.docx
You can download the initial recommendations on student transitions, prepared jointly by the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee and the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee, by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/MSAA-NP-K-12-SDC-Sub-Committee-Transition-Report-FINAL-EN.docx
You can download the Ford Government’s survey form for giving the Government feedback in this area by visiting the Government’s website, or by visiting https://www.aodaalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Postsecondary_Education_Standards_Initial_Recommendations_Survey-June-25-2021.docx
The AODA Alliance will be making submissions on this initial report and its initial recommendations. We also welcome your feedback as we prepare our brief to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. Write us at email@example.com
Don’t confuse the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that we are discussing here with the promised new accessibility standard to address barriers facing students with disabilities in schools between Kindergarten and Grade 12. That would be addressed in the promised K-12 Education Accessibility Standard.
We will have more to say in the coming weeks about the initial report and recommendations by the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee. Stay tuned.
You can learn more about this topic by looking at the draft framework for the Post-Secondary Education Accessibility Standard that the AODA Alliance sent to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee in March, 2020. You can learn more about our years of advocacy to make all parts of Ontario’s education system accessible for students with disabilities by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s education page.
2. The AODA Alliance’s Video Summarizing the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s Initial Reports and Recommendations is Now Captioned
The AODA Alliance’s new online video that summarizes the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report and recommendations is now captioned. Please encourage educators and parents of students with disabilities to watch this video. It gives you all the information you need in order to take part in the current public consultation on the barriers that confront students with disabilities in K-12 education in Ontario schools.
If you know anyone that sits on a school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee or a municipality’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, urge them to watch this video. It is available to one and all at https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8
If you just want to watch part of that video, you can jump to any of the topics it covers, by using these links:
1. Start of the video: https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8
2. What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act? What is an accessibility standard? (3:30 minutes) https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=210
3. What is the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee? (4:45 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=285
4. What is the current public consultation? (6:45 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=405
5. What can an accessibility standard include? (7:35 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=455
6. Why do we need an Education Accessibility Standard? (8:10 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=490
7. How to have your say. Different ways you can give your feedback to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee up to September 2, 2021 (11 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=660
8. What did the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee recommend in its initial report? Review of the 20 major themes in the initial recommendations of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee (13:20 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=800
9. Tips on what you can do right now to use the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s initial report, in order to press for action to help students with disabilities (43 minutes): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=2580
10. Conclusion and further resources for more information and to help you give feedback (46:50): https://youtu.be/yjQgOjRTZJ8?t=2810
3. The Ford Government’s Delay on Accessibility Drags on as the 2021 Summer Begins
For three years, we have been urging the Ford Government to develop a detailed plan on accessibility, to lay out how it will get Ontario to the AODA’s mandatory goal of becoming accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. It has never done so.
On January 31, 2019, the Government received the final report of the David Onley Independent Review of the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. Minister for Accessibility Raymond Cho publicly said on April 10, 2019, that David Onley did a “marvelous job.”
The Onley report found that Ontario is still full of “soul-crushing” barriers impeding people with disabilities. It concluded that progress on accessibility has taken place at a “glacial pace.” It determined that that the goal of accessibility by 2025 is nowhere in sight, and that specific new Government actions, spelled out in the report, are needed.
However, in the 881 days since receiving the Onley Report, the Ford Government has not made public a detailed and comprehensive plan to implement that report’s findings and recommendations. The Government has staged some media events with the Accessibility Minister to make announcements, but little if anything new was ever announced.