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Ontario Government's
New ODA Bill 125
hansard November 26, 2001


Ontario Hansard Monday November 26, 2001

Mr Ernie Parsons (Prince Edward-Hastings): My question is to the Minister of
Citizenship. I have a constituent who needs to use a wheelchair, not all the
time but much of the time. There is simply no accessible housing for him. He
has to be helped into his house. He can do that by standing up from the
wheelchair, at times, and getting into the home. He has to be helped into the
house because the home and motor vehicle modification program has absolutely no
funding to build a ramp into his house -- $900. When my constituent has
dialysis, he is not able to get up and help himself into the house, so he is
sleeping in his car at nights. He lives in his car for two or three days until
he is able to get enough strength to walk into the house.

When he first heard there was going to be an ODA bill passed, he was excited.
However, examining the details has caused him some concern. Minister, would you
tell me how, when the ODA is passed, it will help my constituent and others
like him who require access to accommodation?

Hon Cameron Jackson (Minister of Citizenship, minister responsible for
First of all, I would hope that the member opposite, understanding
the issues as he has presented them with his
constituent, would have contacted someone in the Ministry of Health, in the
government, to consider looking into the case. That's the first issue, and I
hope you have done that in advance of trying to do something here on the floor
of the Legislature.

Second, I want to reassure the member opposite that if you want to talk about
access to special housing supports, this government will stand by its record,
which has been an extraordinary expansion: brain-injured repatriation from the
United States after the millions and millions of dollars spent by past
governments and sent to the United States. This government made the historic
commitment to repatriate every single brain-injured individual in this
province, to find a program and a home and accommodation for them in our
province, something we're very proud of.

If you want to look at dialysis programs, it wasn't a Liberal government or an
NDP government, it was a Conservative government that expanded the dialysis
program. It started under my colleague the Honourable Jim Wilson and expanded
at unprecedented levels in this province.

Mr Parsons: Minister, you never once mentioned the ODA, but I believe you did
in fact list everything it would do for my
constituent and others like him.

Certainly we were concerned about Bill. We called your home and motor vehicle
modification program, which said they have no money. They said that because
this is almost a life and death situation, they would make him a top priority
next year, in January. We thought, "Wonderful," so we said, "If he applies in
January, does that mean he will be approved and he'll get that $900 ramp and be
able to sleep inside?" They said, "Well, no." Although he's a top priority, the
program is substantially underfunded and they could not commit in any way that
he would get the grant.

Minister, we're not talking the theory of the bill. We're going to put actual
names and faces on these people. The question I ask you is, will your bill help
people get access to accommodation, to their own house, or do they have to
continue to sleep in their car?

Hon Mr Jackson: If the member opposite wishes to read the bill, he'll know that
all social housing in this province is covered under this legislation, under
the ODA, and he may wish to pursue that further. It's very clearly in the
language of the bill. It talks about all new subdivision planning and development,
modifications to the current building code, and all of that will be covered.

I want to remind the member opposite that when housing programs were under
construction in this province, in all the time the Liberals and the NDP talked
about housing for the disabled, housing for seniors and housing for families,
the persons they talked the most about and delivered the least to were, first,
persons with disabilities, who didn't get their fair share out of the billions
of dollars spent in this province and, second, seniors, who were disadvantaged
by those government decisions made by past Liberal and NDP governments.

I remind the member opposite that we have yet to hear one promise from the
Liberal Party about what commitment they'll make to the disabled people of this
province -- not one financial promise, not one commitment for legislation; just



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