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ODA Issue in the 2003 Ontario Provincial Election Campaign
NDP's 2003 Election Campaign Pledge
on the ODA
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE UPDATE
ONTARIO NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY UNVEILS PROVINCIAL ELECTION PLATFORM INCLUDING COMMITMENT TO ENACT STRONG, EFFECTIVE ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT WITHIN ONE YEAR OF TAKING OFFICE
March 1, 2003
With a provincial election widely expected this spring, the Ontario NDP today unveiled its election platform. It includes specific commitments to enact a new, strong, effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act that fulfils the ODA Committee's 11 principles, within one year of taking office. It pledges to hold open, accessible public hearings and consultations.
The NDP leader also commits that his Government would work with the ODA Committee to develop the legislation, and that as premier, Howard Hampton would personally meet with representatives of the ODA Committee.
On March 1, 2003, the Ontario NDP unveiled its formal election platform, called "publicpower: Practical Solutions for Ontario, " That platform, whose passage on the ODA is set out below, includes a specific commitment on the ODA, to "work with people with disabilities to enact a strong Ontarians with Disabilities Act within the first year of government that sets enforceable guidelines and timelines for all sectors."
Elaborating on that platform, NDP leader Howard Hampton also sent a letter to the ODA Committee on March 1, 2003 that includes more details on his party's commitment. That letter, set out below, commits that an NDP Government would:
* pass a strong and effective ODA within one year, that will fulfil all 11
principles that the ODA Committee has put forward, and which the Ontario
Legislature adopted by resolution unanimously back on October 29, 1998. It
will include specific standards, timelines, and effective enforcement. It
will build on amendments to the Conservatives' ODA which the ODA Committee
proposed, to the Legislature and which the NDP tabled but the Government
defeated back in the fall of 2001.
* hold a barrier-free consultation, to develop the new ODA, including
accessible public hearings with Ontarians with disabilities, and Howard
Hampton, if Premier, will meet with ODA Committee representatives.
* take steps to make this provincial election barrier-free.
* take steps to remove the barriers in the Ontario Disability Support Plan,
including linking ODSP benefits to the cost of living.
This upcoming provincial election will be another important phase in our
campaign for a barrier-free Ontario. The ODA Committee (which does not seek
to elect or defeat any party or candidate) commends the New Democratic
Party for making these commitments. This is the first election platform
addressing the ODA to be announced in this lead-up to the forthcoming
We will announce any commitments that are made by the Conservative and
Liberal parties concerning the ODA. We plan to raise the ODA issue in the
upcoming provincial election, to inform voters about its importance to all
of us, and to encourage voters to take this issue into account in making
their voting decisions.
The ODA Committee welcomes your feedback on this announcement. Email us at:
NDP PROVINCIAL ELECTION PLATFORM MARCH 1, 2003
From "publicpower: Practical Solutions for Ontario," available at
Practical Solution 3: Ensure fairness for people with disabilities by
passing laws with real teeth.
Everyone has an interest in ensuring people with disabilities are treated
fairly. There are over 1.9 million people in Ontario with disabilities and
if you or a family member does not have a disability now, you likely will
in the future. publicpower means that people with disabilities should have
the same rights to get good jobs, good education, access good health care,
travel by public transit, live in affordable housing and be safe without
Last year the Conservatives finally passed a watered down Ontarians with
Disabilities Act, but people with disabilities are still waiting for
regulations and standards. People with disabilities have waited long enough
Howard Hampton and the NDP would move quickly to:
* Link Ontario Disability Support Program payments to the cost of living.
Too many people with disabilities are forced to live below the poverty
* Overhaul the current complicated and frustrating process of applying for
Ontario Disability Support Program assistance.
* Ensure that 10 per cent of new affordable housing in urban areas and 5
per cent of new affordable housing in rural areas is built fully
accessible, while making sure all accessible units have subsidies available
* Ensure prompt assessment of special needs children and education supports
they need within the public school system.
* Ensure that post-secondary grants are available to accommodate the extra
time many disabled students need to complete their college and university
* Dedicate a portion of increased transit funding to fully accessible
* Audit and catalogue all programs and services for people with
disabilities and create a single coordinating body for easy access to
programs and information.
* Move toward flexibility and choice in funding and provision of services
that work for the individualized needs of people living with disabilities,
such as home care.
* Work with people with disabilities to enact a strong Ontarians with
Disabilities Act within the first year of government that sets enforceable
guidelines and timelines for all sectors.
* Ensure fairness with a Charter of Rights for Persons with Disabilities
that would include specific commitments to accessible public transit and
accessible and affordable housing.
March 1, 2003
Ontarians With Disabilities Act Committee
c/o Marg Thomas
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto ON M4G 3E8
Attn: David Lepofsky, Chair
Dear Mr. Lepofsky:
Thank you for the opportunity, on behalf of Ontario New Democrats, to renew
our commitment to the rights of Ontarians with disabilities. This letter
elaborates on our platform and is part of our election commitment to the
people of Ontario. Our election platform, publicpower: Practical Solutions
for Ontario, includes: linking ODSP payments to the cost of living;
overhauling the frustrating ODSP application process; building accessible
and affordable housing; and passing a strong and effective Ontarians with
Disabilities Act with specific standards and timelines for all sectors.
The NDP has committed to fixing the Conservatives' toothless and inadequate
Ontarians with Disabilities Act by passing a strong and effective ODA with
specific standards, timelines, and effective enforcement. Our ODA
legislation will meet all eleven principles adopted in the resolution
passed unanimously by the legislature on October 29, 1998, and we will do
it within one year of being in office. Building on our amendments turned
down by the government to fix the current act, we will engage in a
barrier-free consultation, including accessible public hearings with
Ontarians with disabilities, and produce a strong and effective Ontarians
with Disabilities Act.
In this upcoming election, the NDP is committed to running a barrier-free
campaign. Our campaign main office is accessible and all ridings are
instructed to ensure that their campaign offices are accessible. We
actively encourage New Democrats with disabilities to stand as candidates,
and as a result several have taken up that challenge in the upcoming
election. Our disabilities caucus is active in ensuring that the NDP lives
by its principles, including conducting a post-election audit so that we
can continuously improve our campaign accessibility.
Finally, I want to make it clear that as Premier I would commit to
personally meeting with representatives of the Ontarians with Disabilities
Act committee to discuss implementing our commitments to Ontarians with
disabilities. I look forward to working with the ODA committee and other
stakeholders toward building a barrier-free Ontario.
Howard Hampton, Leader
cc: MPP Tony Martin, NDP Disabilities Critic
ODA Committee Update dd Mar 1, 2003 ODA Committee Issues News Release on NDP Election Pledge to Pass a New, Strong ODA Within One Year
ODA Committee Press Release: NDP Ontario Election Platform Today Pledges To Enact New, Strong Ontarians With Disabilities Act
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Last updated March 1, 2003