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Use Our List of Provincial Candidates’ Contact Info to Press them for Strong Commitments on Accessibility

Watch Online the May 16, 2018 Provincial Candidates’ Debate on Disability Issues and Other News

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 11, 2018

SUMMARY

Here is a short grab-bag of important information on the accessibility front, which has accumulated as our AODA Alliance email server woes have been getting resolved. We let you know about

* how to use our new list of provincial candidates’ contact information, so you can tweet, email or phone them to press them for strong commitments on disability issues, like accessibility for people with disabilities.

* The chance to watch online the May 16, 2018 provincial all-candidates’ debate on disability issues.

* How to help us by letting us know the date, time and location of any all-candidates’ debates in your riding, on any topic.

* Your chance to organize a disability issues candidates’ debate in your community.

* The troubling decision by Mr. David Onley not to invite the AODA Alliance to take part in his May 2, 2018 community consultation on how to conduct the third Independent Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which the Wynne Government appointed him to conduct.

* Links to helpful background information on our non-partisan campaign for accessibility for people with disabilities.

Please expect more than the usual number of Updates from us over the next little while. The election campaign is upon us, with important accessibility issues to share. As well, there have been some important developments over the last weeks of the current term of government.

MORE DETAILS

1. Please Reach Out to Candidates Now to Press for Strong Election Commitments on Disability Issues, Including on the Implementation and Enforcement of the AODA

Now that Ontario’s election campaign is underway, please reach out to candidates, whether you are doing so as individual voters or as community organizations. Press them to make strong commitments on accessibility for people with disabilities, and on any other disability issues you wish to raise. Our forthcoming Election Action Kit will offer you tips on how to do this. But here is a new resource that will help you get started right now.

The AODA Alliance has posted on line a list of all the nominated candidates in each riding that could be found, along with their Twitter handle, website, email address and phone number. We extend a huge thank-you to our volunteers who spent hours putting this together. You can find this list at:

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/ This list is incomplete. Some candidates were still not nominated. Some did not have all the information available that we wanted to list.

You should phone, email, or tweet candidates to press them for their commitments. Let them know that in this election, disability vote counts! For that matter, use our new hashtag term in your tweets. It is: #DisabilityVoteCounts

Please also re-tweet the tweets you find that use that hashtag term, including those by the AODA Alliance. This helps amplify our message.

For those who use Twitter (and everyone should sign up to do so during this election), here’s another great short-cut that can help you. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky has, attached to his personal Twitter handle, a list of all the Ontario election candidates he could himself reach on Twitter. Go to his Twitter feed @davidlepofsky and look for his list entitled “Candidates”. You can then quickly use that list to tweet to the candidates on that list. It is incomplete, and will get more names on it over time.

Many candidates follow tweets addressed to them. It is a way for them to find out what voters consider to be priority issues. Especially when the mainstream media is pre-occupied with other issues, we find that social media is our most effective way to reach candidates and the public.

Stay tuned for our Election Action Kit.

2. Let Us Know About the Date, Time and Location of Any All-Candidates Debates in Your Ontario Riding

In our forthcoming Election Action Kit, we will be encouraging you and everyone to go to all-candidates debates in your riding, so you can ask the candidates for strong commitments on disability issues. In preparation for this, we would love to get any information we can on the dates, times and locations, riding by riding, of any all-candidates debates. These are not centrally listed anywhere.

We need your help. Please contact the candidates in your riding. Use our list of nominated candidates and their contact information. Ask them for the dates, times and locations of any all-candidates debates. Email the information you get to us at aodafeedback@gmail.com We will try to accumulate this information and make it available at a few key points during the weeks of the election campaign.

It would just take you a few minutes to reach out to one or more of the candidates’ campaign offices in your riding. Any help is really appreciated.

3. Watch the Live-Streamed of the May 16, 2018 All-Candidates’ Debate in Toronto on Disability Issues

We encourage you to use a computer, smart phone, tablet or smart TV to tune in and watch live the Wednesday, May 16, 2018 provincial all-candidates’ debate on disability issues that a number of community organizations have arranged. It is taking place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. eastern time. Tickets are all gone for attending the event in person, but it is going to be streamed live.

You can tweet questions for the candidates! In your tweet include this hashtag: #disabilitydebate2018

Here is the link to watch the event live:
https://ryecast.ryerson.ca/72/live/1807.aspx

The event’s co-Moderators are Mark Wafer and Michelle McQuigge. According to the organizers’ website, the following candidates/representatives are confirmed to attend:

Progressive Conservative Party Christine Elliott, Newmarket-Aurora

Green Party Dr. Teresa Pun, Toronto-St. Pauls

Liberal Party (to be confirmed)

New Democratic Party – Monique Taylor, Hamilton Mountain

ASL English Interpreting, real time captioning and attendant services will be provided at the event. Do not attend the event in person unless you have already secured a ticket. Tickets are all gone.

4. Organize An All-Candidates Debate on Disability Issues in Your Community

We encourage community organizations to organize a disability issues all-candidates’ debate in communities around Ontario. If you arrange to live-stream these events, then you can reach even more people. If you organize such an event, let us know. We’d be happy to help publicize it. Contact us if you want some helpful tips on how to organize an event like this. If you want to arrange one, you need to get started right away! Contact us at aodafeedback@gmail.com

5. David Onley’s Third Independent Review of the AODA’s Implementation and Enforcement Did not Invite the AODA Alliance to Take Part in a Consultation Meeting on How the Review Should Be Conducted

Earlier this year, the Ontario Government appointed David Onley to conduct the third Independent Review of the implementation and enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The AODA requires the Government to appoint an Independent Review of this law, on a fixed schedule, which works out to be about every four years.

We have learned that on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, Mr. Onley invited a number of community representatives to a consultation meeting, to give him input on the focus of this Independent Review, and on how this Independent Review should be conducted.

It is good that Mr. Onley reached out to the community for this input. However, Mr. Onley did not invite the AODA Alliance to take part in that community consultation. This is deeply troubling.

It is well-known that the AODA Alliance plays a leading role in advocacy on accessibility in Ontario, including on the implementation and enforcement of the AODA. In every election since 2003, political parties have made their election pledges on this topic in letters to the AODA Alliance. In the case of both prior AODA Independent Reviews, the 2010 review by Charles Beer and the 2014 review by Mayo Moran, we were included in any such community consultation. Indeed both of those earlier Independent Reviews recognized the AODA Alliance’s role in the community on this issue. We played a central role in giving those earlier reviews advice on how to conduct their reviews.

We understand that as part of this consultation meeting, Mr. Onley played the AODA Alliance’s video on accessibility problems at the Ryerson University Student Learning Centre. We appreciate this implicit recognition that the AODA Alliance has something worthwhile to say in this area. However, it makes it even more troubling that we were not invited to take part in this consultation meeting.

The AODA Alliance raised serious concerns when the Wynne Government appointed Mr. Onley to conduct this AODA Independent Review earlier this year. We recognized that Mr. Onley has a great deal of experience with accessibility issues and a strong and passionate commitment to accessibility. However, we concluded that it was inappropriate for him to conduct this AODA Independent Review, because he was a clear and highly visible part of the Wynne Government’s AODA strategy, from late 2014 to late 2017.

Throughout those three years, he worked for the Wynne Government as the minister’s special advisor on accessibility. In that capacity, he was able to advise the minister on the AODA’s implementation and enforcement. He also gave a good many speeches to public groups, conferences and meetings, on the topic of accessibility, as part of the Government’s public education strategy. He should not in effect be reviewing his own work.

We have never said or implied that we would not take part in this AODA Independent Review. No matter who is conducting it, we have every intention of doing so. Our exclusion from this event was inappropriate and should not have taken place.

6. More Information About the AODA Alliance

We are now using a new email server. 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.

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

To sign up for, or unsubscribe from AODA Alliance e-mail updates, write to: aodafeedback@gmail.com

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