The committee met at 0904 in room 151.
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2001
LOI DE 2001 SUR LES PERSONNES HANDICAP6ES DE L'ONTARIO
Consideration of Bill 125, An Act to improve the identification,
prevention of barriers faced by persons with disabilities and to make
amendments to other Acts / Projet de loi 125, Loi visant " am1liorer
rep1rage, l'1limination et la pr1vention des obstacles auxquels font
personnes handicap1es et apportant des modifications connexes "
The Chair (Mr Marcel Beaubien): If I can get your attention, I'd
like to bring
the standing committee on finance and economic affairs to order. There
couple of items that I would like to point out for the record. Copies
bill are available in Braille. There are audiotapes, diskettes or
large print copies. The bill is also available in French. They are
the back of the room.
This is the third day of the hearings. Tomorrow we will be meeting
Toronto. On Thursday we will be in Thunder Bay and on Friday, in Sudbury.
GREATER TORONTO HOTEL ASSOCIATION
The Chair: I would ask our first presenter this morning, the Greater
Hotel Association, to please come forward. Please state your name
record. On behalf of the committee, welcome. You have 20 minutes for
presentation this morning.
Mr Rod Seiling: Good morning, Mr Chair. My name is Rod Seiling, and
president of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association. I want to thank
you for the
opportunity to appear before you and your committee today and for
the time to speak to you about Bill 125, the Ontarians with Disabilities
The Greater Toronto Hotel Association is the voice of Toronto's hotel
It represents about 135 hotels with over 33,000 guest rooms and more
30,000 employees. We were founded in 1925, and I am not going to bore
the rest of who we are. You can read just as well as I can.
From the outset I want to assure you that the GTHA and its members
provided and continue to provide quality service to persons with disabilities.
We do it not just because it is the right thing to do but also because
believe it is good business. Our members recognize that accessibility
relates to accommodations is a prerequisite to a healthy tourism industry.
destination marketing organization, Tourism Toronto, with the unanimous
concurrence of our members, has a stated objective of making Toronto
destination of choice for persons with disabilities.
There are more than 100 million disabled persons in the United States,
and Canada, Toronto's prime tourism markets. Approximately 25% of
population regularly travel for either business or leisure. A recent
of Canada study pegged the potential spending power of Canadians with
disabilities at $25 billion.
Americans with disabilities who will visit Canada will spend seven
amount, or $175 billion. That is $200 billion worth of spending power
would suggest, it is a very powerful incentive.
It is estimated that there are approximately 1.5 million Ontarians
disabilities. In addition, seniors, many of whom have or will soon
similar service needs, form an already large and growing travel market.
GTHA's members recognize the inherent value of these two large demographic
groups. These travellers expect, and are entitled to receive, services
appropriate to their need.
The GTHA supports the provisions contained in Bill 125 as they relate
private sector. We are confident they can and will work. In fact,
suggest that we are proof that the private sector can and will do
The GTHA has been working with the Ministry of Citizenship for some
this very important area. The work has consisted of both participating
ongoing consultations and as a partner in the development of programs
improve the quality of service we provide to all our guests. I might
we have worked with various disabled groups to develop these programs
so as to
ensure we are delivering what they both expect and deserve.
I show you this binder here. I'm going to talk about it next. Guest
that Work For Everyone is a sensitivity training program. It's something
and our association are very proud of. It is the first step in our
Change initiative. This program is designed to raise the awareness
of the needs
of persons with disabilities within our industry. The goal is to make
employees comfortable in helping guests with visible and invisible
disabilities. We see it becoming ingrained within the corporate culture
hotels as they integrate it into their ongoing training programs.
The second phase of our Enabling Change project, again working in
with the Ministry of Citizenship, is the hospitality checklist. The
its members recognize that accommodation accessibility goes hand in
service in order to create an accessible hospitality-tourism industry.
Our industry spends millions of dollars annually on renovations.
To the dismay
of many hoteliers, despite their best intentions, these renovations
guarantee accessibility. Currently there are no standards on accessibility
hotels in the province, with information scattered in many areas.
I want to
point out that many hotels are already accessible. Nevertheless, they
to upgrade their services and facilities in order to provide an even
The objectives of this stage of the project are: (1) to provide the
with a self-assessment tool to evaluate the accessibility of a property
identify potential changes which will remedy barriers in order to
accessibility for persons with disabilities to hotel properties in
by extension, across Ontario; (2) to facilitate accessibility by providing
materials with clear, specific and easy to implement remedies and
(3) to provide information regarding cost and acquisition of products
to create accessible premises.
The benefits of this program, I must point out, will not just accrue
hotel industry as the modular scope of the initiative will allow many
industries to utilize it. This means, for example, that restaurants
the food and beverage module. Health clubs, laundries etc will all
be able to
utilize the respective module for their business.
From the hotel perspective, we see a number of benefits. It will
hoteliers to be better able to respond to accessibility problems on
properties. It will provide the tools and resources to hoteliers in
create more accessible facilities and better serve guests with a wide
disabilities. Persons with disabilities and seniors will benefit by
experiencing fewer barriers to access accommodation facilities. The
will benefit economically, as it will experience higher demand from
with disabilities and seniors' market.
Retrofit is a very costly undertaking. We firmly believe that this
produces a win-win situation for everyone. There is a business case
to make for
sectors to become more accessible and, based on what we have witnessed
with our members, they will.
We fully expect to be setting targets and levels of accessibility.
Stage 2 of
our Enabling Change project will provide us with the tools we require.
will be able to build into their capital improvement projects the
are necessary. We have already made the internal changes, from an
standpoint, as a result of the introduction of Bill 125. Accessibility,
already was a priority issue, has been moved to our operations committee,
it will now be actioned as soon as this legislation receives third
reading. This committee has already met to discuss the processes our
will undertake to implement Bill 125. We see it as an opportunity
the returns for our industry, as our industry is already implementing
In conclusion, I would say that we will not only talk the talk, but
walk that talk.
The Chair: Thanks very much. We have approximately three minutes
I'll start with the government side.
Mr Joseph Spina (Brampton Centre): Thank you, Mr Seiling. It's good
to see you
again. It was pleasant to hear the comments and to hear about the
that have been taken by the accommodation industry. I was happy to
this kind of legislation would really set a standard. Did I understand
Mr Seiling: As we read the legislation, what we are preparing to
action is that
we will work our way through stage 2 of the Enabling Change project.
meet, and we will start to set levels of accessibility. We will gradually
the bar. We'll work our way through it and allow hotels to build on
capital improvement program. As I said earlier, retrofit is a very
enterprise. But even more important, to the dismay of many hoteliers,
they try to do the right thing and find out after the fact that they
because the information wasn't available, the supplies weren't available,
standards weren't there. We'll now be able to do that: set the standards
raise the bar as we work through the project.
Mr Spina: One of the things we've been faced with from many of the
and constructive critics of this bill -- because I don't know that
anybody who's really opposed to it -- was the phase-in time or the
for implementation, and whether that should be in the bill.
With regard to your program that you talk about, the Enabling Change
do you have any time frames over the next two years, five years? Is
kind of a time frame or guideline that the industry is trying to work
Mr Seiling: Our committee has already met. My committee chair, a
manager representing one of the larger hotel chains across the province,
of being able to have some standards in place by the second year.
What we see as most advantageous out of this bill is not taking an
disabilities act approach, where there was a large mandate and countless
millions of dollars and resources were wasted on legislation -- not
legislation, but litigation. We see it as an opportunity. We believe
business case is there, and we believe we're living proof, because
want to do it. We can't be the destination of choice for persons with
disabilities if we can't provide the service, if we can't deliver.
So we intend
to be there. We believe, and have from day one, that there is a business
While you can't document it, because you can't take stats in this
numbers I quoted are powerful incentives to want to do something.
If we can
capture a fair share of that market, there's a huge return for us
to be there.
It's a very competitive market and one that we certainly want to grab
share of. We believe we can do that, but the only way we can do it
implementing and actioning.
The Chair: Now to the official opposition.
Mr Ernie Parsons (Prince Edward-Hastings): My first question is frivolous.
you play hockey?
Mr Seiling: I stand accused.
Mr Parsons: You probably don't remember when I played pro hockey.
Mr Spina: But you remember when he played.
Mr Parsons: Yes, I do. I applaud you for this action, both for the
for the business. It's a great action. Where I'm curious is, your
group is the
only group that has come forward in Ontario to voluntarily do it.
In fact, it's
not the hotel industry of all of Ontario; it's the industry of Toronto.
great thing. What caused your group to see the light and do it? Do
you have any
sense of why the rest of Ontario is not voluntarily following it?
Mr Seiling: Very simply, we've said from day one that the best way
progress is to educate, not legislate, and education is part of making
business case. I happened to witness yesterday, at the launch of the
new Web site, which I think is tremendous, that in there Bill Wilkerson
published a document talking about the business case. Quite frankly,
part of it
is for people to learn what business opportunities are there. The
sector always reacts most positively to the opportunity to earn a
their investment. We believe there is an opportunity to do that and
confident that we can, at the end of the day, demonstrate that it
the right thing to do, but it makes good business sense to do it,
why we're doing it.
In terms of across the province, I should point out that we work
provincial hotel association. They're following in our footsteps in
projects. They are starting to move these across the province. They
starting the training. It's a train-the-trainer program. This has
basically through our hotels across the GTA now. It's starting to
across the province, and they will be participating in stage 2 of
Change project as well. I believe in this very much. We'll be speaking,
have spoken already, to other groups because we believe it's the right
go. To coin a phrase, it's easier to catch flies with molasses than
vinegar. We think we can show people that if you do the right thing,
profit by it as well as feeling very good about it.
Mr Parsons: You're saying with hotel rooms there's a payback for
come. The challenge I'm hearing from the disability community is,
people in Toronto will be able to get into a hotel room but not into
apartment. Apartments are running at less than 1% vacancy, so there
financial incentive for apartments to be made accessible, as opposed
industry, which has a lower vacancy rate and is astute enough to say,
increase the usage." What would you say should be the proposal
owners to make their buildings accessible?
Mr Seiling: First of all, I wish we were running at a 1% vacancy
rate. I'm not
qualified to speak on that. All I can talk about is our industry and
that I still believe there are ways and means, whether it's through
or whatever; that we have watched and we have involved not only people
disabled community in coming to where we are, but we've also involved
our members who've had experience in the development of the ADA and
the negatives. We've learned from that and tried to incorporate that
what available resources there are, are put to a productive use rather
litigious use, where no one wins except the lawyers.
We believe very strongly that over the coming years we will raise
we're going to set those target levels. My committee chair is already
that in two years he wants to have the first level set. What we need
to do in
advance is to get out there and give people the tools so they can
coming and build the changes in those capital programs, so they don't
tomorrow and find they have this huge bill to pay, so they were building
capital. People want to do the right thing, and it's much easier to
to understand why they have to commit those dollars if they see that
return for them in the long term.
Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): Thank you for coming this morning.
appreciate the commitment you're making on behalf of your organization.
just a couple of questions. At the bottom of the first page, you say
support the provisions contained in Bill 125 as they relate to the
sector. Many who have come before us have said that in fact there's
the bill that relates to the private sector; there's a lot of moral
wishing in the bill that relates to the private sector.
First of all, how much of what you're doing in the hotel industry
is driven by
the Americans with Disabilities Act because you're part of a chain
headquarters in the US?
Mr Seiling: First of all, we're not part of a chain; we are a Canadian,
organization. We have no relationship, business or otherwise --
Mr Martin: You're a member --
Mr Seiling: I have some members who are. Many of my hotels are already
compliant, but it's not germane to the issue. I have a lot of Canadian
who have no relationship. This is unanimous support for doing the
In terms of the reason to comply, it's our understanding that there
the bill provisions for review committees to look at it, and we believe
groups which do not make some progress run the risk of having these
back to the government to ask for certain levels to be set arbitrarily.
course, the ultimate is that this bill is up for review in five years.
suggestion would be that those groups which don't do the right thing
risk of being mandated or legislated five years hence. I would think
persons who think sanely and rationally will want to ensure that they
that heavy hand thrown at them five years hence, that they will have
along in a fairly good way.
As I said earlier, we've seen, and have no reason to doubt, that
people do want
to do the right thing. I said earlier I believe very strongly that
are presented with the information and the facts that show that there
business case to be made, it's much easier to get people to invest.
Mr Martin: I appreciate as well the comment that it makes good business
to be accessible to the disabled, and indeed it does. The other side
equation for me is, how much effort is being made in your organization?
have any statistics to indicate employment of disabled people? What
doing to your workplace, because it is a significant workplace, for
are disabled so that they can come in and work for your members?
Mr Seiling: We're very proactive. Up until this year, we have run
a program I'm
very proud of called HELP, the hotel employment leadership program.
with two specific areas; one was street youth and the other was persons
disabilities. We ran it in partnership with the ministry and with
the city of
Toronto. We were able to take individuals off the street, and also
had been left behind because they had a disability. It ran in partnership
Goodwill and the Ontario Tourism Education Council. Goodwill gave
skills, OTEC gave them new specific skills and we guaranteed employment
them in the industry for six months.
Unfortunately, due to the events of 9/11, we've had to cancel that
year because we've had massive layoffs. With the unionization of the
and the layoffs, we couldn't guarantee those jobs. But I'm hopeful
year, if things have turned around, we can reinstitute that program.
proactive. As an industry that up until 9/11 had a severe shortage
we've now come to have an over supply. We looked at that as being
untapped tool for quality employees.
The Chair: I have to bring the debate to an end. On behalf of the
thank you very much for your presentation this morning.
The Chair: Our next presentation this morning is from Tourism Toronto.
ask the presenter to please come forward and state your name for the
behalf of the committee, welcome. You have 20 minutes for your presentation
Ms Catherine Smart: Thank you, Mr Chairman. My name is Catherine
Smart. I am
the director of product innovation with Tourism Toronto, Toronto's
and visitors' association. It is a privilege to be invited here to
on behalf of the tourism industry in Toronto with regard to Bill 125,
Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
First, let me begin by congratulating both the ODA Committee as well
ministry for finally reaching a benchmark that will only become stronger
time goes on. Bill 125 is good news. It represents a beginning for
have fought long and hard for equal access. It also represents guidance
support for organizations and businesses that want to do the right
may not currently know how.
Tourism Toronto is the official destination, sales and marketing
arm of the
city of Toronto. Tourism Toronto focuses on promoting and selling
the city as a
destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travellers.
Officially operating as a not-for-profit agency, Tourism Toronto has
850 members in the greater Toronto area and is a partnership of the
private sectors. In other words, our job is bringing tourism to Toronto.
Prior to joining Tourism Toronto one year ago, I spent the majority
career developing programs and providing services for persons with
disability. Most recently I spent close to 14 years working with the
March of Dimes as the manager of recreation and integration services.
during that time I was presented with the opportunity to assist with
development of the Guest Services that Work for Everyone training
which made me realize both the scope and potential of the tourism
relation to providing equal access to persons with a disability.
My primary role as director of product innovation is to promote a
city, both physically as well as attitudinally. Not only was this
brand new to Tourism Toronto one year ago, but it was new to all convention
visitors' associations across Canada. This is an important point to
that this role reflects both the commitment as well as the vision
tourism industry has embraced to further adopt accessibility as part
SATH, which is the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality
based out of
New York City, estimates that 39 million Americans have a disability
capacity to travel. The average income ranges from $19,000 to $38,000
depending on education. Since the inception of the ADA -- the Americans
Disabilities Act -- American visitors arrive in Ontario with a certain
expectation with regard to access.
As Mr Seiling noted, over 15% of Canadians have a disability, and
by the year
2010, 25% of the population will be over 65, otherwise known as the
traveller. These statistics clearly indicate the scope and potential
that is and will be available to serve persons with a disability and
the years to come.
I would like to share with you some of the successes the Tourism
accessibility program has experienced over this past year.
The development and initial presentation of the Tourism Toronto Jeff
Access Award of Excellence: this prestigious award is presented once
a year to
a member who has demonstrated a sound commitment to providing increased
The first recipient of this award was the Toronto Hilton managed by
The development and distribution of the Accessible Toronto brochure:
one of the
many things Tourism Toronto is committed to is providing up-to-date,
information to tourists visiting this city. The Accessible Toronto
lists accessible hotels, restaurants, tours, transportation and attractions.
This brochure is updated regularly and is also available on the Tourism
There was the development of the product innovation accessibility
which is comprised of persons representing many sectors of the disability
community. In addition, members also include individuals representing
tourism industry as well as consumers who are committed to promoting
We're a member of the Canadian Standards Association with the barrier-free
design and customer service for persons with a disability committees.
worked in the disability field for many years, the subject matter
familiar. However, what is particularly important is to have a person
representing the tourism sector, therefore bridging a potential gap.
I share a few of the past year's successes with you to demonstrate
committed the tourism industry is to further promoting a barrier-free
The response thus far has been extremely positive. However, there
is a lot of
work yet to be done. The current resources that are in place -- such
Guest Services that Work for Everyone training package, the Paths
Opportunities Web site, along with the upcoming Hospitality Checklist
clearly provide the tools required to assist the tourism industry
accessibility as part of the fabric of everyday business.
Given that the current bill does not provide specific guidelines to
sector, there is little incentive for businesses to thoroughly embrace
The fact that amendments are available is a positive step that could
opportunities for the government to consider programs to further encourage
private sector to adopt barrier-free access as part of their mission.
incentive programs could include financial support for pilot projects
demonstrate success, or possibly a province-wide recognition program.
As previously mentioned, Tourism Toronto is committed to attracting
Toronto. Furthermore, Tourism Toronto is committed to attracting persons
disability, their families and friends to enjoy this fantastic city.
important for our organization and members is that we can promote
our city to
the disabled community with confidence.
The announcement of Bill 125 is good news. Although not perfect,
this bill will
pave the way for greater things to come for persons with a disability,
living in and visiting Toronto and the rest of Ontario.
The Chair: We have three minutes per caucus. We will start with the
Mr Parsons: I applaud you for it. I note that in the second paragraph
"reaching a benchmark that will only become stronger as time
goes on." I
couldn't agree more. Every presenter to this stage has said there's
the bill, so anything, of course, will be stronger.
I note on your last page "does not provide specific guidelines
to the private
sector." The comments we have heard to this time from the presenters
not that they can't get a hotel room, not that they can't get in as
but that they can't get in the grocery store or they can't get to
There's no one to interpret for them when they're at a doctor's or
hospital. They can't get a place to live.
You're actually the first group that's come forward -- it just strikes
ironic that what you're doing is great for the people from the US
who are used
to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Clearly it must have worked
because they're used to it and they've found it everywhere. But for
citizens of Ontario, the frustration is getting into the mall and
an apartment building.
How do you see it being made so there is an assurance that a person
accessible accommodation or accessible doctor's care? I appreciate
industry -- and bless you for it -- has made the decision to go forward
own, but what would you suggest we do to make the rest of the private
Ms Smart: I think we're a really good role model. I think what we're
the more we do with regard to providing additional opportunities in
the area of
tourism for persons with a disability, will only influence others
Mr Parsons: What would your reaction have been had it been mandatory
industry be accessible?
Ms Smart: I feel it's really important to have choice and I really
there have already been, as Mr Seiling indicated, some tremendous
stories out there, and the snowball is getting larger. I believe it's
for our province and the people in our province to recognize the need
than being forced at this stage.
Mr Parsons: I also believe it's important that the community of the
have choice, that they have choice whether to stay home and choice
go to a doctor. They don't have that choice, and if the phasing-in
takes -- I'm
coming on much stronger than I want to -- another five years, we're
saying to some people, "If you can wait five years to get to
a doctor, we might
have something available for you." That's the frustration we're
hearing out of
the rest of the communities.
Mr Martin: Thanks for coming this morning. I appreciate the crossover
own experience from the March of Dimes to working for the private
the sensitivity that would bring with it.
I want to focus for a second on your third-to-last paragraph where
think, very frankly and honestly say that the bill doesn't provide
guidelines, so there's little incentive, and your hope is that there
amendments that may come forward that would improve the bill. Also
you speak of
incentives. Would you care to elaborate on what amendments and what
you might be speaking of?
Ms Smart: Right. I think I mentioned actually, further down in that
a couple of examples. As I mentioned earlier, they could include financial
support for pilot projects to demonstrate success or possibly a province-wide
recognition program. Given that there is a lot of volunteerism with
this act currently, this industry may take note or may come forward
greater impact if there was an incentive program included.
Mr Martin: Do you have any suggestions as to amendments we might
would improve the act and make business embrace it more fully?
Ms Smart: I would suggest that time frames are really important,
in terms of
being clear, in terms of certain benchmarks that need to be put in
certain time frames that go along with those benchmarks, so there's
vision for people to follow.
Mr Martin: I asked this of Mr Seiling as well. In terms of employment
industry, what's going on there and will this act make it more helpful
with disabilities to get employment within your industry?
Ms Smart: I absolutely think there are all sorts of possibilities.
In terms of
possibilities currently, Tourism Toronto is setting the foundation
to encouraging further access, both physically as well as attitudinally,
current staff in the industry and with actual buildings. What will
that there certainly will be a spinoff.
Having worked with the Ontario March of Dimes for years, I was very
involved with the employment services program there and intend within
year to see if we can create some possibilities and some partnerships
include tourism as a possibility for people going through that program.
Mr Ernie Hardeman (Oxford): Thank you very much for the presentation.
clarification, is Tourism Toronto an organization that is part of
Toronto or is it an association of the tourist industry?
Ms Smart: We're a not-for-profit organization that's an arm of the
Mr Hardeman: You have no connection with the city proper, government
Ms Smart: That's right.
Mr Hardeman: As you will be aware, the act has advisory committees
municipalities over 10,000 on suggestions, on approaches to meet the
the disabled in the municipality. Could you give me some idea of how
work within your membership? Would such a committee be helpful or
believe your members are in a position to be able to do that for themselves?
Seiling mentioned earlier that the industry itself was moving ahead,
moving ahead faster than an advisory committee would ask that they
do. Do you
see that the same with all your members?
Ms Smart: I do. We have representation from our board with regard
particular program and the board speaks to these issues regularly.
Also, as I
mentioned earlier, I've developed a product innovation accessibility
that is quite proactive with regard to speaking to various issues
to tourism and accessibility in the city. I'm not sure if I'm really
Mr Hardeman: Do you believe we need another body to help the industry
the goals you've set? As an organization, do you do enough of that
to make sure
all your members are moving along at the same speed and are going
the goal you've all set?
Ms Smart: I think we're actually doing a pretty good job currently.
We send out
regular communication. We really encourage the membership via many
communication to get out and consider possibilities with regard to
program. We also work very closely with the Greater Toronto Hotel
which as you heard earlier is doing tremendous work in this area.
So I feel
that at this stage of the game we're in a good position.
Mr Hardeman: The other thing coming forward quite strongly is that
industry, because it's the good business thing to do, and obviously
business of the disabled well warrants making business establishments
accessible to them -- what is it in this act that would encourage
you to go
further? Obviously the industry is moving ahead with that because
right thing to do, but also because it's the good business thing to
will this act do that will make that move better or faster, or will
it in fact
have an impact on the industry?
Ms Smart: I think this act is an historic piece. It speaks very clearly
province moving forward and providing opportunities for persons with
disabilities. It can only reinforce what we're already doing and will
to do. That's why this act is so important.
The Chair: With that, we've run out of time. On behalf of the committee,
you very much for your presentation this morning.
FOR COMMUNITY LIVING
The Chair: Our next presentation is from the Toronto Association
Living. I would ask the presenter to please come forward. On behalf
committee, welcome. You have 20 minutes for your presentation this
Mr Fred Peters: My name is Fred Peters and I am the president of
Association for Community Living. I would like to thank you for allowing
opportunity to address this committee on Bill 125, the proposed Ontarians
The Toronto Association for Community Living provides supports and
over 5,000 individuals with an intellectual disability and, as well,
We, like so many others, anxiously awaited legislation that would
persons with disabilities have equal opportunity to full and meaningful
participation in all aspects of life in Ontario. We hoped the government
take advantage of input from the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee,
from individuals with disabilities and from various agencies to effect
groundbreaking legislation that would significantly benefit persons
disability in this province.
Unfortunately, we were disappointed. The act, as proposed, falls
far short of
providing the effective protections required by the disabilities community
in particular, those with an intellectual disability. The act does
the involvement of the private sector. It defines no timelines for
or removal of barriers, and permits exemption in the government and
sector without rationale. It establishes an advisory committee, but
little opportunity to educate or to influence decisions around disability
issues. The act does not define timelines for prevention or removal
and provides for virtually no enforcement or penalty.
However, we feel that with appropriate amendments there is still
for Bill 125 to meet the expectations of the disability community.
suggest the following revisions:
(1) That the language in Bill 125 indicate a clear intent to effect
11 principles developed by the ODA Committee and adopted by the Ontario
Legislature in 1998 contained strong, definitive language such as
that," "require that," "comply with" and
"will mandate." This language has been
diluted with phrases like "shall have regard to," "shall
seek advice from,"
"may establish" and "where technically feasible."
(2) That the proposed accessibility advisory committee have a mandate
only advises the minister, but also promotes the development and creation
opportunities for greater independence for individuals with disabilities;
reviews policies and program issues on disabilities in government
community; identifies and addresses major issues related to disability
such as health, education, and physical and attitudinal barriers;
emerging issues such as lack of housing and employment opportunities;
advice or comment on specific matters affecting all persons with disabilities;
and provides representation to external committees, government or
non-governmental, on disability issues.
(3) That, if the committee is to be credible, at least half of its
appointed by the community, including the disability community. This
representation would also specifically include individuals with an
(4) That the bill include the private as well as the public sector.
unlikely that "encouraging" the private sector will be enough
to ensure that
barriers are eliminated or prevented.
(5) That specific deadlines for identifying, removing and preventing
be stated and that effective methods of compliance and enforcement
The ODA committee has developed a brief which includes a detailed
effective amendments which have wide support from the disabilities
We would encourage you to review these amendments and respond positively
The potential for Bill 125 is there. With the suggested changes,
you have an
opportunity to enact legislation which allows Ontario to play a leadership
in ensuring that persons with disabilities achieve full participation
society and to fulfill the government's commitment of "a promise
promise kept." Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We have approximately three minutes
I'll start with Mr Martin.
Mr Martin: Thank you very much for coming forward this morning and
obvious effort that went into putting together this brief.
As you know, this is our third day. We've been on the road for a
days, and much of what you present we've heard from other organizations
the province. You've stated I think very clearly here that your hopes
been met in terms of the bill and that it lacks in some very significant
meaningful ways. However, you're not going so far as to say that this
is a bill
that is completely unredeemable. Is that correct?
Mr Fred Peters: I don't recall having used the word "unredeemable."
It seems to
me that I did make reference in my remarks to the extensive brief
the ODA Committee and to the 11 principles which were adopted by the
Legislature in 1998.
It seems to me that using those two documents as a reference point,
amendments could be made which would satisfy the intent of the brief
the ODA Committee as well as the 11 principles previously adopted
Mr Martin: If there are no amendments made, if no suggestion that
brought forward is accepted by the government as making an improvement
bill, how effective will the bill that's presently tabled be in achieving
of what you had hoped and is needed?
Mr Fred Peters: It's difficult to forecast the impact of a bill yet
determined. Our view would be that the bill would not move the yardsticks
enough down the field, as the 11 principles initially intended, that
amendments proposed, we think we would have a better piece of legislation
would significantly improve the opportunities for the disabled community
Mr Martin: This bill is being hurried through, as I think you can
It will be done, for all intents and purposes, by next Tuesday. We
preferred to take the time in the intersession, which is the normal
way we do
things around here -- January, February, March -- to have full and
comprehensive hearings and to have the time to work together with
groups, including those who support this, to make necessary amendments.
the short timeline and the limited opportunity we will have on this
support and encourage the government in terms of amendment, what would
priority for you if change was to be made?
Mr Fred Peters: I would think, in the first instance, move away from
statements of intent to specific desired outcomes. As I mentioned,
in one of
the four proposed areas for amendment, the language had been moved
from rather strong, in my view, actionable statements to broad statements
as "encourage the intent" and so on and so forth.
My second view would be that there should be specific outcomes which
mandated. There should be obviously a way of measuring those and there
be some compliance and enforcement mechanism.
Mr Hardeman: Thank you very much, Mr Peters, for your presentation.
quickly -- my colleague Mr Spina wanted to ask a question too -- in
number 2 of
your presentation, things the advisory committee would have a mandate
beyond what is suggested in the bill, I think about the second and
bullets, "identifies and addresses," and the other one is
"responds to emerging
issues": I wonder if you could tell me how you would see the
address, as a committee, problems that would be identified in the
you address by mandating that they could force others to do it or
would actually be in the business of doing it?
Mr Fred Peters: My sense would be that the advisory committee is
advisory committee, but yet, as it became aware of issues, it should
to the attention of the government through its mandate as an advisory
committee. Advisory committees traditionally have not enjoyed any
authority but they have been very effective, at least in my experience,
bringing issues to the government and in some cases providing suggested
remedies to the issue. So I think it would be more in the context
of being able
to respond to issues in a local community that in their judgment affect
Ontarians with disabilities --
Mr Hardeman: So you're inferring that it should be a very good communications
system between the appointer of the advisory committees and the advice
Mr Fred Peters: And my sense is that the advisory committee would
this case, the minister with informed advice on what would be an appropriate
response to an emerging issue. I think that's the context in which
Mr Spina: Thank you, Mr Peters. What I wanted to bring to your attention,
it's a brief question, actually, that you referred to in the third
your fourth page, is that if the committee is to be credible, it would
specifically include individuals with an intellectual disability.
That falls in
line I think also with the other definitions of the number of disabled
who ought to be specifically identified.
Also, with respect to Mr Martin's comment, we fully anticipate that
have some 75 personal presentations to the committee over these six
hearings, and probably we'll have doubled that just with submissions
been sent to us. From that, we will be making amendments, likely,
to the bill.
But they make it sound as if, once the bill is passed, everything
is done and
that's it, which is not the case, in fact, because with any legislative
there are regulations that are to be created afterwards to implement
We just have to make sure that the clauses in the legislation allow
regulations to be created. We've been assured by the minister's office
there will be stakeholder consultation in the creation of those regulations
that items like timelines, the adoption of codes, contents of the
policies and criteria to identify agencies preparing some of the accessibility
policies can all be laid out in the regulations. The stakeholder groups
have a further opportunity to input to the minister's office at that
guess I'm asking, what group would you recommend to be consulted as
that regulatory process?
Mr Fred Peters: I think the very various groups that have come before
committee would be an ideal group of agencies and individuals from
solicit comment and/or participation on the drafting of appropriate
I would, though, like to respond to one point that you made in your
that clearly one cannot do by regulation that which is not allowed
by the act.
So the act obviously provides a statutory framework which governs
of regulation. It seems to me, for the sake of discussion, that if
contains broad-based statements that, while encouraging, do not speak
outcome or result, including a timeline enforcement penalty, then
the regulations will be equally high-level and will probably, I would
more process-based around how these certain activities will take place
opposed to saying that the act allows for the imposition of a penalty
non-compliance against a mandated service. A penalty could be established
regulation. So while there's obviously a proud history in Ontario
regulation through a broad-based consultative approach, the content
regulation is informed by what's in the statute. If it's essentially
process-based statute, then by definition the regulations, however
based in terms of consultation, will not solve the problem at least
of some of
the issues I have raised in the brief.
Mr Spina: Thank you. We appreciate that.
The Chair: I have to go to Mr Parsons.
Mr Parsons: Yes, you're quite correct: the regulations cannot change
one bit of
the bill. There is a craziness in that the consultation on the bill
very hurried and we're hearing from people who simply weren't able
to get a
presentation in place, yet there may be a much longer consultation
regulations, which can't change the bill.
You're an optimist and I admire you for that, but I guess the concern
heard so far, and a concern I have personally, is that the government
have chosen to follow the 11 principles and did not. The government
chosen to incorporate the private sector and did not. They could have
put funding in for this and they did not.
If in the very short time allowed the government does not allow any
amendments or suggestions that you've included, if they do not include
them and simply pass the bill as presented or with some very minor
it then help the community you work with or does it hinder, by giving
appearance to the public, "There's now a bill; what's the problem?"
non-amended bill a good thing or a bad thing?
Mr Fred Peters: That's a rather difficult question to answer. Clearly,
government has decided that the area requires some legislative intervention.
our view, the 11 principles adopted by the Legislature in 1998 established
conceptual framework which in our judgment should drive the drafting
The government has chosen a different way. My sense, to be frank,
legislation of this type deals with rights, so any legislation that
reinforce or expand the rights of the disabled community I don't think
fairness can be described as a hindrance. My only view is that it
is not, as it
should be, to fully establish those rights in what I would define
well-understood and integrated system of statutory provisions governing
and accessibility issues for the disabled. As I mentioned in my remarks,
bill can be improved and we have proposed areas where in our judgment,
consistent with the 11 principles, amendment could be made I think
The Chair: With that, we've run out of time. On behalf of the committee,
you very much for your presentation this morning.
INSTITUTE FOR THE BLIND
The Chair: Our next presentation is from the Canadian National Institute
the Blind. I would ask the presenter to please come forward and state
for the record. On behalf of the committee, welcome. You have 20 minutes
your presentation this morning.
Dr Penny Hartin: Good morning. My name is Penny Hartin and I'm the
director for the Ontario division of the CNIB. Don't worry, this isn't
as it looks. It's very large print.
The Chair: You have 20 minutes.
Dr Hartin: Yes, that's right. There are only four words per page,
so it should
be fine. I have provided you with a copy of my document but I'll just
with you, if I might.
As the principal service organization providing a wide range of specialized
rehabilitation and support services to some 50,000 blind, visually
deaf-blind Ontarians of all ages, the Canadian National Institute
for the Blind
would like to thank Minister Cam Jackson, Minister of Citizenship,
government of Ontario for the initiative you have taken to begin to
barriers faced by persons with disabilities in Ontario.
The introduction of the proposed Ontarians with Disabilities Act,
Bill 125, is
an important first step in the identification of barriers and the
of measures to remove and prevent new barriers. We feel that the bill
present form does have a number of shortcomings. However, we also
an effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act, together with some of
excellent programs that are already in place, such as the assistive
program, will position Ontario as a progressive leader in addressing
issues faced by persons with disabilities in this country. Of course,
also want to ensure that present services and programs are maintained
enhanced as part of the process of achieving a barrier-free Ontario.
The CNIB acknowledges that some helpful measures are contained in
legislation that have the potential to address many present and future
in the identification, removal and prevention of barriers, such as
requirement for published accessibility plans, the creation of advisory
councils and the commitment to ensure that all new government facilities
Our agency does, however, have some significant concerns that we
to be addressed as amendments to the legislation in order to ensure
bill will address the needs of persons who are blind, visually impaired
deaf-blind. Some of our concerns relate to how the legislation will
remove and prevent barriers for our blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind
consumers. We will deal with these first in our submission. We will
forward some general concerns about the legislation in terms of its
coverage, implementation and overall effectiveness. In these cases
offer wherever possible suggestions for changes or amendments that
would strengthen the bill's effectiveness.
We also wish to express our support for the ODA coalition, of which
we are a
member and have been an active participant. While our CNIB submission
focus primarily on our specific comments and recommendations, we share
concerns and endorse the proposed amendments that have been set out
in the ODA
Clearly we understand that it is neither possible nor practical to
legislation that purports to remove all barriers in all sectors immediately
even in the short term. There are many factors that dictate a staged
to implementation would be more effective. It is, however, important
that these changes and amendments that are necessary to address both
long-term issues with the bill are incorporated into the legislation.
Some of our proposed amendments that would improve the removal of
persons who are blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind: it's important
recognize that accommodations that remove barriers for persons who
visually impaired or deaf-blind can vary depending on the nature and
visual impairment or deaf-blindness. As a consequence, it is important
consider the differences as well as the common needs of each of these
when implementing solutions. For example, signage needs to be both
visible in terms of size and contrast, as well as tactile or Braille
so that it
can be accessed both by persons who are blind as well as those who
Furthermore, the removal of barriers for persons with visual impairments
only partially addressed by the removal of physical barriers. Access
information in the delivery of goods and services is of equal importance
persons with vision impairments. Such access to information will be
in a variety of ways, including intervention services for persons
deaf-blind, or the provision of materials in the alternative format
person's choice. It is important to understand that formats required
depend on the extent of vision and/or hearing loss.
We believe it is crucial that there is an understanding of these
issues and the
factors, including degree of vision loss and/or deaf-blindness, demographics,
availability of technology, geography and so forth, that must be considered
accommodating the unique needs of persons who are blind, visually
deaf-blind. We believe this is critical because these factors will
need to be
considered when plans are developed and implemented to remove barriers
buildings or in accessing goods and services. It is the position of
that the removal of barriers must include the removal of physical
impede access for blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind persons,
as well as
the removal of barriers to access goods and services.
The following are some specific concerns and/or suggestions for changes.
In section 2, dealing with the definitions for Ontario government
we are concerned about the restrictions implied within the definition,
publications of a "scientific, technical, reference, research,
nature" would not be included in publications that would be available
alternative formats if requested.
It is our view that government publications that would be made available
members of the general public should also be made available to persons
vision impairments, if requested, in the format of their choice. Given
technology will now allow, virtually all documents would be technically
feasible to be produced.
In section 4, government buildings, structures and facilities, we
"regulations" would be stronger than "guidelines"
in terms of their
enforceability. Also, given that the Ontario Building Code Act, 1992,
seriously lacking in its provisions for accessing the built environment
persons who are blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind, we would recommend
the new CSA standard B651 -- to be released in June 2002 -- be used
minimum standard, as it addresses much more effectively the access
persons with vision impairments.
In section 4, dealing with new leases, we're concerned that government
departments need only have regard to the building's accessibility
when making a
decision to occupy the building. We believe that compliance with the
regulations, or at a minimum a plan for renovation so that the building
compliance, is critical if new barriers are not to be created.
In section 6, government Internet sites, the act requires that "where
technically feasible," government Internet sites be made accessible.
guidelines for the design of Internet sites now exist that make it
feasible to make all Internet sites accessible. Therefore, the words
"technically feasible" should be removed and it should be
required that all
government Internet sites be made accessible. Indeed, it's our view
requirement would be appropriate for other sectors as well, including
private sector, since the technology now exists to do this at reasonable
In section 7, government publications, we believe a specified time
be set for the provision of publications in alternative formats, say,
The term "reasonable time" could have many interpretations.
We are also
troubled, as I mentioned before, with the qualification that materials
only be made available if "technically feasible." Since
most materials are now
produced on a computer, the production of alternative formats is now
easier than in the past. The expectation should be that exclusions
based on clear criteria established in the regulations with the standard
on undue hardship.
The sections dealing with "Duties of Municipalities" and
"Duties of Other
Organizations, Agencies and Persons": there are no provisions
in these duties
to require that publications be made accessible in alternative formats
there are also no provisions that require accessibility of Internet
of these issues are important to the removal of barriers for persons
vision impairments and should be incorporated into the legislation.
In section 14, public transportation organizations, within the development
their accessibility plans, public transportation organizations in
with municipalities should be required to develop strategies to address
transportation issues in non-urban centres, as lack of transportation
is a very
significant barrier for persons with vision impairments who live in
areas of the province.
In section 29, the Municipal Elections Act, while the proposed changes
helpful in ensuring that polling stations will be physically accessible
that voters will receive assistance, there is no provision to deal
accessibility of the ballots themselves. Given that during the last
election persons with vision impairments were not able to vote independently
and secretly due to the unavailability of accessible ballots in most
municipalities, an amendment should be included that requires ballots
accessible and understandable to persons who are blind, visually impaired
deaf-blind. This in fact is the case for both federal and provincial
where the balloting is now accessible.
I have some general comments I'd like to make regarding provisions
in the act
and suggested amendments. While Bill 125 has made some important strides
recognition of barriers that exist and in developing measures that
assist in the removal of these barriers and the prevention of future
we believe the bill would be stronger and more effective with certain
Purpose of Bill 125: we believe the stated purpose of the bill should
removal of all barriers for persons with disabilities in Ontario to
participation. While we recognize this cannot be achieved overnight,
require long-term commitment from all sectors, we should still maintain
Applicability of the bill: while we understand it is the government's
make the bill applicable in all sectors over time, this is not clear
proposed legislation. The bill would be strengthened by specifying
for the inclusion of the various sectors.
Accessibility plans: we believe the development of these plans is
a good step
in helping to identify barriers and action plans to address these.
concerned, however, that measures are not included to ensure these
implemented. Amendments should be included to address implementation
Government power to exempt organizations: while we recognize there
may be times
when it will be appropriate for the government to exempt organizations
can demonstrate undue hardship, this should be a very rare occurrence
exemptions should be time-limited. Consequently the legislation should
amended to include strict parameters regarding the rationale, process
frame for the granting of exemptions.
Participation of persons with disabilities: the creation of provincial
municipal advisory committees is a good step in ensuring input of
disabilities in the process. We believe it is important that the individuals
selected to serve on these committees represent groups of or for persons
disabilities, and that there be a requirement they consult with their
While the legislation states that a majority of members must be disabled
persons for the provincial advisory council, this is not specified
municipal councils, nor is there a provision for representation from
various disability sectors on these councils. We believe this broad
representation is important, given the committees' potential involvement
advising on guidelines, standards, plans and so forth, and that the
persons with different disabilities can be diverse. We also believe
the role of
the provincial advisory committee needs to be clarified in terms of
mandate and authority.
Prevention of new barriers: a fundamental objective of the Ontarians
Disabilities Act has been to ensure that no new barriers are created.
believe provisions in the bill need to be strengthened so that this
may be upheld. This should include new capital projects, leases, purchase
goods and services, and exemptions to be granted only when undue hardship
The foregoing comments and suggestions for amendments are intended
the government of Ontario in enacting legislation that we believe,
would have the potential to make a significant difference for disabled
Ontarians. Persons with disabilities have a wealth of skills, expertise
enthusiasm that they are eager to share with the government and with
fellow citizens of Ontario. By enacting strong and effective legislation,
province will be providing the impetus, the vision and the tools for
with disabilities to take their rightful place as fully participating
in the life of the province.
The Chair: We have approximately one minute per caucus. I'll start
Mr Spina: Thank you, Ms Hartin; we appreciate it. On page 7 of our
indicated that you recognize that the aim of removing all barriers
achieved overnight, and will require long-term commitment." There
question, I think we all agree that we should maintain that ultimate
you have an opinion on the time frame for implementation? It can be
enough to say, "Every building built from here on out should
accessibility," but what about a time frame for implementation
of retrofits or
something like that?
Dr Hartin: I think it would depend on the sector. Clearly the government
should show leadership, and then municipalities. The private sector
It's important to recognize that it isn't just building retrofits;
it will also
be the provision of goods and services. It will be ensuring that application
forms are made accessible or, for example, that university calendars
available. It's not just the building, the physical accessibility;
ensuring that other barriers to access be looked at as well.
I suppose that within the development of the accessibility plans,
it's a matter
of looking at what could be done quickly in terms of retrofit at relatively
minimal cost and then putting the plans in place.
We're probably looking at a time frame of five to 10 years, I would
have incorporated all the measures that need to be in place to ensure
removal of barriers.
Mr Parsons: You've obviously spent a great deal of time going through
bill. The title of the bill says it's An Act to improve the identification,
removal and prevention of barriers. In your first perusal of this
you identify immediately barriers that you could see that this bill,
as it now
stands, would remove for visually impaired, blind and deaf-blind individuals?
Dr Hartin: Certainly the commitment to make government Internet sites
accessible was a good step, as well as making sure that most publications
be accessible, although, as indicated, we have some concerns with
Mr Parsons: There weren't a lot that jumped out at you?
Dr Hartin: To be honest, it was rather confusing when talking about
accessibility, because it tended to focus on physical accessibility
whereas persons who are visually impaired require a range of accommodations.
could include features such as the lighting, the signage and markings
as well as some of the other physical barriers. It wasn't clear that
regulations would be broad enough to ensure those barriers would be
incorporated as well.
Mr Martin: Thank you very much for coming this morning and for your
detailed presentation. As you're aware, the government is intent on
this bill through before Christmas. As a matter of fact, it will be
done by next Tuesday. The obvious required amendments that are necessary
we're to respond to the people we've heard from over the last couple
of days --
and I'm sure today, tomorrow and for the rest of the week -- indicate
a whole lot of work needed to make sure this bill actually does what
minister claims it is going to do.
You've laid out quite a number of very important amendments that
need to be put
in place. What would your priority be?
Dr Hartin: I think it's important to ensure the legislation be effective
strong. If that means we need to take some additional time to ensure
amendments that are appropriate get inserted into the bill, then I
should be the priority.
Mr Martin: That we should take more time, that we should take whatever
necessary or required to make sure we do this right?
Dr Hartin: Yes.
Mr Martin: I'm not sure that's going to happen. I am heartened somewhat
the parliamentary assistant is claiming there will be consultation
various communities on the regulations. If that's the only opportunity
provided, I would suggest that you and your group and others make
government lives up to that commitment. We've heard it on a couple
here over the last two or three days. We're hoping it's not just more
platitudinous weasel-word type language that we see in the bill and
obviously guided the government to this point. I would guess that
organization would be willing to participate with the government in
drafting of regulations, if asked.
Dr Hartin: Our organization would be very happy to provide any assistance
could to assist the government in ensuring that the legislation is
effective and that it would address effectively the needs of our consumers.
The Chair: We've run out of time. On behalf of the committee, thank
much for your presentation this morning.
ONTARIO BRAIN INJURY ASSOCIATION
The Chair: Our next presentation is from the Ontario Brain Injury
I would ask the presenter or presenters to please come forward. On
the committee, welcome. You have 20 minutes for your presentation
Mr Howard Brown: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, ladies and
my name is Howard Brown and it is an honour to speak before the committee
on a subject that is very important to our province. I'm here representing
18,000 Canadians, one third of them here in Ontario, who receive an
I am chair of the government relations committee of the Ontario Brain
Association. I am pleased to have with me John Kumpf, the executive
the Ontario Brain Injury Association, and Helen Sieber, whose son
Steven is a
brain injury survivor who today is on life support at Humber River
Hospital here in Toronto.
A few facts about brain injury: acquired brain injury is the leading
death and disability in Ontario for those under 45. A brain injury
like a broken arm or leg. The results may last a lifetime. So if you
the thousands injured each year, you begin to get an idea of just
people live with these effects every day in this province. Brain injury
occur as a result of motor vehicle collisions, falls, assaults, diseases,
tumours, aneurysms. In fact, motor vehicle collisions are the cause
approximately half of all brain injuries and falls are particularly
among the elderly and toddlers.
Brain injury does not distinguish itself by age, gender or socio-economic
status. It can happen to any one of us here in this room -- at work,
playing field or even as we drive home from this meeting. Chances
are at least
one person that you work with, know or love has experienced the effects
injury, and the effects are devastating. No two brain injuries are
alike and may range from very mild to very severe.
Brain injury cuts across all disability groups. Because our brain
of our functioning, people with brain injury may also have visual,
speech impairments. They may have mobility difficulties requiring
the use of a
wheelchair or walker. It is very hard for family members, friends
employers to understand the personality changes that make it difficult
organize thoughts and remember things that once came so easily. These
changes present huge challenges to the survivors of acquired brain
The Ontario Brain Injury Association was formed in 1986. Today, we
to 24 community groups across the province, with memberships totalling
thousands. Our 20-member board of directors is made up of survivors
brain injury, family members, professionals, service providers and
people from every corner of the province.
We are here today because we are deeply concerned that all Ontarians
opportunity to participate as fully as possible in all aspects of
Ontario. Like many other individuals and advocacy groups, we would
much more comfortable with an ODA that laid out explicit timelines
removal of specific barriers. It would have been comforting to have
that these timelines would be effectively enforced.
It is also imperative that the terms of reference for the advisory
address the following: representation from a full range of disabilities,
obviously; the length of term of service; a requirement that all reports
made public; and that the advisory councils be given authority to
and all barriers.
We would also recommend that local advisory councils include in their
reports the barriers they have to achieving their goals. If additional
supportive housing or home care or Wheel-Trans are the identified
needs of a
community, there should be an ability for municipalities to say the
funding is preventing them from implementing their plan. Do municipalities
the ability to fund additional home care, additional supportive housing
additional Wheel-Trans? That is a question that needs to be addressed
elaborate plans become another disappointing intergovernmental funding
squabble. The challenge of dealing with communities with populations
10,000 could be addressed on a regional basis.
However, we want to focus the committee's attention on the barriers
those living with the effects of acquired brain injury. Brain injury
unique disability category. It is not limited to any one specific
impairment. People with acquired brain injury can live with physical,
cognitive and emotional impairments; in some cases, they may live
with all of
these. We urge the committee to recommend that acquired brain injury
included in the definition of "disability" in the act.
People with physical impairments must contend with limited access
buildings, businesses, transportation and recreational facilities
on a daily
basis. These barriers are readily identifiable. The proposed ODA attempts
address the issue of physical barriers. Similarly, barriers for those
sensory impairments such as vision and hearing are addressed in the
the use of alternative formats.
However, the barriers that are faced by people living with cognitive
emotional impairments are much more difficult to identify and address.
of attitudinal barriers that often exclude those living with these
leaving them isolated and open to ridicule and abuse.
We recognize that it is very difficult -- I'm not sure it's impossible
legislate attitudes and values. But it is possible to have an ODA
encompasses a comprehensive program of public awareness and education
would move society toward understanding, acceptance and accommodation
with cognitive and emotional impairments.
I have a few other comments, but I'd first like to turn over the
mike to Helen
Sieber to tell the story of her son Steven.
Ms Helen Sieber: Good morning. My son Steven was 21 and a half years
June 1977 when he was hit by a car while crossing the street to catch
a bus. He
was in a coma for three and a half months in Humber Memorial and Queen
Elizabeth hospitals. When he awoke from the coma, he was transferred
Baycrest Hospital for rehabilitation, where he spent two years.
He was going into third year at the University of Toronto in computer
He had a summer job at Solway's hot dog factory in North York. His
has affected his speech, personality, temper and balance, and he still
stand or walk. He lives on the income from the insurance settlement
totally run out in about two and a half years. His father is 75 years
old and I
am 67 years old and arthritic.
For the last seven years, Steven has lived on his own in a self-contained,
non-profit disabled apartment. He got around on a scooter. Steve is
now 45. For
the last couple of years, his lack of balance has caused him to fall
deal. Last Thursday was the worst. He had agreed to come and speak
committee. He never got a chance.
We had arranged for him to have a homemaker who comes in once a week
for him. She found him on the bathroom floor, face down, unable to
slurring his words very badly to the point that no one could understand
The right side of his face was terribly swollen and his right eye
closed. An ambulance took him to Humber River Regional Hospital, where
Yesterday, he was having trouble breathing and last night he was
put on life
support. If he survives, he will not be able to live on his own any
will need 24-hour assistance and should be placed in a group home,
they have for people like him.
Up till now, he was able to do his own banking, shopping and heating
up of his
own food, but that will not happen now. All I want to know is, can
we get him a
place to live with the support and care he needs? He's too young for
Westpark Hospital is totally rehabilitation, so they won't take him.
know where to turn. I laughed when I heard the only specific regulation
ODA bill was an increase in fines for disabled parking spots. I can
won't do much to help my son.
I wish you luck in your deliberations. It may be too late to help
Steven, but I
hope my words will inspire the committee to do some serious thinking
the ODA could be amended to truly meet the needs of disabled people
province. I hope the municipal and provincial committees will have
to address the long-term well-being of disabled people.
Mr Brown: I think what Helen said helps put a picture to the words.
many issues that brain injured people live with every day. In Steve
case, living with such a severe injury illustrates his need for appropriate
housing, home care and support. For many others, their disability
is not so
obvious, leading to misunderstandings that impact daily on their lives.
effectively limit the disabled person's participation in family life,
activities and employment opportunities.
We recognize that there are no simple or quick solutions to removing
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act attempts to address physical
by those with disabilities. It falls short of its goal of supporting
of every person with a disability to live as independently as possible,
enjoy equal opportunity and to participate fully in every aspect of
through the removal of existing barriers.
As a preamble, the ODA would be wise to include the 11 principles
set out by
the ODA Committee as goals of the act. We have not had enough time
analyze this bill and consider all of its implications, but after
consideration we can recommend the following: (1) that the definition
"disability" must include brain injury in its description;
(2) that explicit
timelines be prescribed for the removal of specific barriers; (3)
that the bill
have an effective mechanism for enforcement; (4) that the role and
the advisory councils be clearly defined, its reports obviously made
that the disability community have real, meaningful input; and (5)
bill make provisions for the allocation of resources to raise public
and education of the issues faced by those with disabilities. The
goal would be
to foster greater understanding, influence attitudes and work toward
reduction of attitudinal barriers.
A barrier-free community is a minimum goal to full participation
disabled in society. Through effective regulation and mandated co-operation
with both the private and public sectors, the Ontarians with Disabilities
could help deliver broad public awareness, understanding of cognitive
mental disabilities and eliminate barriers for disabled persons in
of the province.
The Ontario Brain Injury Association, along with many other disability
organizations, stands prepared to assist the government through the
councils outlined in the ODA to develop the ways and means necessary
attitudinal barriers. We look forward to this challenge. The disabled
Ontario are looking for leadership on this issue. Please don't let
The Chair: We have one minute per caucus, and I'll start with Mr
Mr Parsons: I'm trying to find the right words to phrase this and
I guess my question to Helen would be, as a parent, one of your greatest
concerns, if not the greatest, must be that if you and your husband
your son have the highest-quality life possible for him.
Ms Sieber: Exactly, yes.
Mr Parsons: Does the bill, as presented, give you some assurance
that that will
happen or not?
Ms Sieber: I don't know. I really don't know. I have not had that
much time to
think about it because we're so concerned with him right now. I'm
going to the
hospital from here. So I don't think I can answer the question.
As far as my husband and I are concerned, that is a great worry with
us: if we
go first, what will happen to him? The government will have to take
Mr Parsons: The government has to meet the incredibly high standard
parenting that you have established.
Ms Sieber: That would be nice, yes.
Mr Parsons: I don't think it should even be nice; I think it should
obligation on the part of the government.
Ms Sieber: Yes.
Mr Parsons: I personally am concerned. My wife and I are in a situation
somewhat similar to yours. The number one concern is what happens
gone. I need the assurance, and you need the assurance that your son
Ms Sieber: Yes, that's correct.
Mr Martin: I have to tell you, I'm struggling with this bill and
why it is that
the government, on one hand, would say such wonderful things and lead
believe they were going to do some things that would provide the kind
and opportunity that it indicates it wants to, and, on the other hand,
specific timelines and requirements in the bill. The only thing I
can come up
with is that because in either the public sector or the private sector
bottom line seems to be money, will there be the resources available
actually meet the timelines or the specific requirements?
Trying to put this in some context, we have a government here that
is bound and
determined to deliver corporate and personal tax breaks to people,
and we know
that every time they do that, they take money out of the public pot
be going to providing the kind of housing and support services that
needs and that so many of the brain-injured across this province need
they're going to participate in as fulsome and complete a way as possible.
you had an opportunity to speak to this government, as you have this
around that issue, the provision of resources, and they're making
now as they move toward a budget for next year whether they actually
tax breaks to corporations and people or put more money into the provision
public services for some of the people you represent, what would your
Mr Brown: I'd like to hear from John. John has had the chance to
province and talk to families, but I think generally our constituency
let's put it into the resources we need for supportive housing, home
Wheel-Trans, whatever, to make sure these things are addressed. I
know it's not
addressed in the act, and it is of great concern to us. I don't think
have a lot of arguments from our constituency that that's where they
money to go. Maybe, John, you could comment on it as well.
Mr John Kumpf: Certainly. As I travel around the province and talk
of brain injury and their families, we know there are an awful lot
who are still looking for treatment. They are still looking for services.
are long lines waiting for services, particularly where those services
available through the CCACs.
I think the issue Mr Parsons has brought up about aging caregivers
is one in
which we are seeing an absolute explosion in terms of the numbers
we're getting to our office from people who are saying, "We are
our will and it suddenly dawns on us, what happens to Bill, what happens
when we are gone?" For some of them, I ask, "Are you connected
services through a CCAC?" For those who can answer positively,
you at least
know there is somewhere that person is appearing on someone's radar
For a great number of them, I have to tell you that they have been
in their homes for years, and dozens of years, by caring parents and
to me, "What's a CCAC?" They are getting no services. There
is a great
population of disabled people out there who've been cared for by loving
families and they're going to become someone else's responsibility
in a very
short time. It's a major issue that is not addressed either by this
bill or in
any other way that we can see.
Mr Hardeman: Thank you very much for your presentation. I think it
is a major
problem, particularly for a mother coming forward, speaking about
a son with
the problem. I would say that isn't a problem just for the brain-injured;
a problem for all adult children who have aging parents. When they
we all thought we would live forever, and all of a sudden now that's
case. I think that's also why the Minister of Finance put a considerable
money -- and I don't have the numbers here -- in the budget last spring
and deal with adult children of aging parents. We hope that will assist
dealing with that issue for Steven.
I want to say, in my community we have similar problems with adult
one whom I've been quite actively involved with just recently, and
I know it's
not an easy problem.
We've had a number of presentations from the Ontario Brain Injury
in previous hearings and the one item that comes forward every time
definition of "brain injury" in the act, and it makes a
lot of sense. My
question on that one would be, can we define it? As you mention in
presentation, there are so many affiliated or associated problems
exist with it where they would fit another category. Can you define
injury" as a category of need as opposed to a contributor to
a category of
The Chair: Question? We're running out of time.
Mr Hardeman: The other question is, how would you put forward the
to try and get the public to understand this as a medical problem
to, as you almost indicate, shunning the issue? How would we go about
that in legislation?
Mr Brown: John, do you want to take that?
Mr Kumpf: I think, first of all, we have the accessibility advisory
These councils could be given some scope to devise these things, with
from specific organizations such as the Ontario Brain Injury Association.
would suggest to you that it's a much broader question than just brain
when we're trying to attack attitudinal barriers. I think people who
concerned about mental health, people who are concerned about developmental
issues and so on, all face the same kind of attitudinal barriers,
and until we
remove those, ladies and gentlemen, the removal of physical barriers
to be a very limited response to the needs of the people of Ontario
living with disabilities, particularly those that are cognitive and
The Chair: On behalf of the committee, thank you very much for your
presentation this morning.
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND: ADVOCATES FOR EQUALITY
The Chair: Our next presentation this morning is from the National
of the Blind: Advocates for Equality. I would ask the presenter to
forward. On behalf of the committee, welcome. You have 20 minutes
presentation this morning.
Mr Gordon Dingle: My name is Gordon Dingle and I'm delighted to be
would like to thank the Chair and the committee for this opportunity
addressing the matter of Bill 125, the proposed Ontarians with Disabilities
Act, and of submitting this presentation to you.
As citizens, we place a high value on the principles of democracy.
we are concerned with what substance and weight the government will
our input and that of our colleagues and peers.
The NFBAE, National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality,
national organization of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians.
mission is to achieve full inclusion of visually impaired Canadians
in terms of
achieving a quality of life and equality of life that is accorded
Canadians. Pointedly, because of the unique nature of the needs and
our community, it is essential that we, as consumers, as citizens,
participants in the decision-making processes, in contributing to
development of appropriate and acceptable strategies intended to redress
shortcomings of current systems and/or policies.
It is not unreasonable to suggest that the largest proportion of
are blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted reside in Ontario. For
we are here before you. Today Ontario is under the lens of her sister
and all disabled Canadians. Unfortunately, Bill 125 in the current
significantly short of effecting full inclusion of Ontarians with
We would, as do others, reaffirm the need for mandatory and enforceable
legislation with the necessary sanctions to ensure full compliance.
Society has failed to provide all citizens equal access and/or participation
the maximum extent possible. To many in the disabled community, their
and their friends, there is the question, what agenda is driving governments?
Is it an economic one or a democratic one? Which carries more weight,
What will it take? The notion of inclusion, which surfaced some years
different shapes, has matured and is socially acceptable publicly
even more so
today, as evidenced through levels of participation and support in
polls. What is the greatest obstacle? The redefining of priorities,
accessibility and participation, and the lack of political will.
Governments, as signatories, have embraced inclusion of Canadians
disabled as pre-eminent in the social agenda. Moreover, the inclusion
apply, relative to needs, to all segments of society. Integral to
this is the
development of legislation not only promoting lofty principles, but
entrenchment of regulations and standards as societally collective
including those related to employment in the private sector and enhanced
supports. Some of the finest minds in jurisprudence in Canada have
said it must
be so. It must be acknowledged that voluntary measures are an anachronism.
This initiative and the Ontario government's accountability could
in its correlation to implementing the values and principles espoused
social union agreement and the emerging frameworks of proposed models
achieving full inclusion and participation of disabled Canadians.
Ontario is a
signatory to this. Does the proposed act fulfill the commitment to
disability agenda? Certainly the framework is there. In our view,
it is a shell
of what it truly needs to be.
Given the time and resources, we could offer historical evidence
that a proactive, as opposed to passive, commitment has always effected
positive societal change. It is also worth noting that Canada is signatory
number of international agreements addressing social issues. These
been scrutinized with a view to Ontario formalizing some of the elements
contained in those commitments within Bill 125, as a precursor to
Accepting Bill 125 as the foundation, the proposed legislation needs
amended to strengthen the responsibilities, role, and authority of
provincial council and, to a lesser degree, of the municipal advisory
committees as vehicles through which these collective obligations
The NFBAE in principle endorses the amendments put forward by the
in most respects; in particular, as they pertain to the development
regulations, standards, clarifications and additions as defined in
submission of the ODA Committee. Our own views on a few are presented
In the matter of the barrier-free council and the directorate, we
these bodies should be established within six months of enactment
In the matter of the development of regulations, standards and timelines,
should be established no later than 18 months from the enactment of
legislation, or no later than one year from the formation of the council
In the matter of provision of goods and services, and how sections
5, 6 and 7
and/or any other section may be interrelated or independent, and not
relevant provincial regulations with regard to procurement policies,
propose an additional clause to section 5, and it would have a relationship
"The government, in adhering to the principles of procurement
for employees, shall ensure that any/all aids, devices or materials
universal in design, so as to be usable by anyone."
We would also propose the following be included specifically under
"In any procurement or service provision process, bids from
departments, municipal entities, and any organization subsidized by
of government or holding any type of tax-exempt status should not
These `public' organizations should not compete with the private sector
a policy to the contrary exists. Exemption: when the private sector
is not able
or willing to undertake the work."
In section 19, we propose the inclusion of the following under clause
"2(b) Any person(s) directly or indirectly an employee of the
government -- exception, ADMs -- (as defined in amended section 8),
organization(s) or person(s) directly associated with said organization(s)
receive direct sustaining
grants/subsidies/contracts are ineligible for formal membership to
(exemption, the Trillium Foundation). Said person(s) or organization(s)
serve, provided the council is comprised of a two-thirds majority
from representative consumer organizations.
"By invitation of the minister, representation from consumer
shall be determined by said organizations.
"2(c) A quorum of the council is constituted when the majority
members with disabilities."
Under "Purpose of the council," we concur with the amendments
put forward by
the ODA Committee, items (a) through (h).
Under "Remuneration and expenses," we propose to delete
"may" and replace with
"shall" so that it now reads:
"(3) The minister shall pay the members of the council the remuneration
reimbursement for expenses that the Lieutenant Governor in Council
Finally, we would concur with the proposed amendments of the ODA
Quite candidly, the process in the development and fruition of this
been flawed. Why? Because there have been woefully inadequate formal
consultations, or any kind of forums with the disabled community,
formulation by the government. The fact that these hearings are being
fast-tracked and are of limited time and scope denies the disabled
opportunity to carefully assess the merits and implications of the
Bill 125. Worse, it denies the disabled community the necessary time
formulate and/or assess the implications of any amendments that may
forward from any sectors.
Ontario has always prided itself on being in the forefront as leaders
great country. Before you today, as our elected leaders, you have
unparalleled opportunity of shaping the future not only of Ontario
Canadian society, establishing a benchmark for all our sister provinces
even for the federal government. At the risk of incurring the ire
government and our colleagues, we urge the government to postpone
We would ask the government to apply the necessary resources to sponsoring
assembly of representatives from the disabled community from across
This would be a forum where both sides could present their positions
hopefully achieve a consensus in the bringing forward of an acceptable
Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
On a final note, I was speaking last night with a colleague of mine
Canadian Council of the Blind, who is president of the Ontario division.
unfortunately will not be able to make a presentation due to not getting
with a confirmation in time. He has asked me to express their concurrence
many of the views we have expressed here.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We have approximately two minutes
Mr Martin: I'll start at the end of your presentation. Regarding
the forum you
suggest and the bringing forward of an acceptable Ontarians with Disabilities
Act, are you saying this bill is not acceptable?
Mr Dingle: The framework is there but it needs to be strengthened.
No, it's not
acceptable in its current form.
Mr Martin: I appreciate your comment regarding the time, the hurrying
thing through, the fact that a number of people won't be able to participate.
believe there was a long list for Toronto today and tomorrow of people
would have liked to have appeared, but they're not going to make the
because there are just too many. It has had to be pared down and that's
I want to go back to one of your recommendations, if you don't mind,
on page 4,
because I'm not sure exactly what it is you're getting at. It's the
recommendation, where it talks about procurement. I'm just wondering
want to accomplish with that.
Mr Dingle: I believe that was in reference to section 7, which is
of publications. That is an attempt to protect the business sector.
One of the
initiatives that has been undertaken is to develop within the disabled
community an entrepreneurial ethic. Many disabled persons have started
their own businesses and are in a position to offer services that
available to the government and do not need to be in a competitive
non-profit charitable organizations.
Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): Thank you for the presentation and
thoughtful comments you have in there. I'm curious if you can maybe
enlighten me on the difference -- there's the Canadian Council of
the Blind and
there's also the Canadian National Institute for the Blind -- on the
two play to assist our blind disabled people.
Mr Dingle: The distinction between the two organizations is that
Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality and the Canadian Council
Blind are two of the largest consumer organizations in Canada. For
and purposes, and to use an old clich1, we are the blind helping ourselves.
are a self-help organization. The Canadian National Institute for
the Blind are
service providers, and in effect, in the type of bill we would hope
government would bring forward, they would be subject to the same
and terms under the regulations and standards developed within such
The Chair: You have time for a very quick question, Mr Spina.
Mr Spina: Thank you, Mr Dingle. Even with the criticism of the short
frame, you brought forward some very specific amendments and I congratulate
for that. I would make only one suggestion: if we don't get third
Christmas, we run the risk of losing this bill and not setting the
you indicate we could set to our sister provinces.
We appreciate your input and remind you that there will be a number
where stakeholders will have the opportunity to have input into the
regulations, which can better define the implementation processes
and do what
we hope, as you suggested, strengthen the bill.
Mr Dingle: Could I just comment?
Mr Spina: Sure.
Mr Dingle: My concern is that those regulations are not there at
this point in
time. If, through this committee, amendments go forward to the House
fact will implement the various proposals and amendments put forward
I suspect we could have a better bill.
Mr Parsons: I continue to marvel that we're going to spend more time
on the regulations than we're spending on the bill itself.
What I have learned over the last year on an almost daily basis is
how little I
know about the individual challenges faced by Ontarians with disabilities.
have found your presentation helpful. I found the individual contacts
me over the last year helpful.
My question to you: for individuals who are visually impaired or
deaf-blind, is the number one challenge or barrier facing you attitudinal
it physical? Is it the services offered in buildings, the arrangement
and streets and sidewalks, or is it an attitudinal problem in society?
Mr Dingle: I would have to say it's a combination of both. It's access
kinds of information we need that would allow us to contribute as
citizens. It's access to information in formats through the government
would enable us to be independent and contributing citizens. Certainly
attitudinal, but given the kinds of materials we need through our
and the support of our government, we ourselves, within our own communities,
are working to break down those barriers. Certainly those attitudinal
Mr Parsons: But without your amendments, you don't see the barriers
Mr Dingle: No, I don't.
The Chair: With that, we've run out of time. On behalf of the committee,
you very much for your presentation this morning.
The Vice-Chair (Mr Doug Galt): The next delegation to come forward
Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario, William Adair and Michael
behalf of the committee, welcome. You have a total of 20 minutes for
presentation, and whatever is left over of that 20 minutes after your
presentation will be divided among the three caucuses. The time is
Mr Michael Clarke: My name is Michael Clarke. I am the chair of the
division of the Canadian Paraplegic Association.
Mr Harley Nott: Good morning, Mr Chair and committee members. My
name is Harley
Nott. I'm the past chairman of the board of directors of the CPA,
division, and the present chairman of the national CPA. You mentioned
William Adair as well. He's the chief executive officer of the CPA
and he is
just behind us in the room right now.
The Vice-Chair: He can join you at the table, if you like. It was
just a name I
had on my list here. That's why we ask for name clarification as well.
Mr Clarke: We -- that is myself, Michael Clarke, and my colleague
-- are here to make a few comments about the ODA Bill 125 on behalf
Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario, otherwise known as CPA Ontario.
would like to thank Minister Jackson and the government of Ontario
providing the opportunity for us to do so.
I am at present the chairperson of the board of directors of CPA
Harley, as we said, is the past chairperson but is still an active
the board and the executive committee. Harley is also the chairman
In a nutshell, the mission of CPA Ontario is to assist persons with
injuries and other physical disabilities to achieve independence,
and full community participation. We do this through providing peer
rehabilitation counselling, vocational and employment services, community
advocacy, case management, information services and attendant services.
We were founded by young veterans of the Second World War who came
spinal cord injuries. Because they found communities, environments
prejudices often unsuited and unwelcoming to life lived in a wheelchair,
became pioneers in breaking down such barriers. They had no legislation
often no political will to assist them. However, they persevered,
lives and provided a legacy which removed barriers and paved the way
legions of adults with mobility disabilities who came after them.
We've come a long way since then. That is the CPA history. But now
government of Ontario has made history and set a precedent in Canada
introducing legislation such as the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
progress and CPA Ontario welcomes it wholeheartedly.
The act is a foundation of law which says that barrier-free access
with disabilities is a right, not a privilege. It requires government
provide access to its buildings, to its jobs and to its services.
municipalities to analyze where they do and do not provide access
and create a
plan to address these issues. While it does not bind the private sector
time, it is hoped that this legislation will provide more impetus
private sector by having the public sector lead by example. Perhaps
sector access becomes completely commonplace, then lack of access
private sector will become, by contrast, archaic and embarrassing,
motivating the private sector to catch up with the community and the
CPA Ontario is pleased to lend its support to this historic legislation.
new legislation, untried by the people it affects and untested in
in courts of law. Because it is so new and unprecedented, it would
unrealistic to expect it to be perfect or to address every need and
every person or group of persons with disabilities. Is there room
improvement? Of course. There has to be, for the reasons just stated.
Suggestions for improvement or amendment, however, do not need to
be and should
not be construed as criticism of the act. Amendments and improvements
the most good for Ontario as a whole can be achieved through co-operation
effectively than confrontation. It is in this spirit that CPA Ontario
extend a sincere offer to co-operate with the government and Minister
on this legislation to lend whatever assistance it can to help make
In this spirit, then, of welcoming this major step toward ultimately
a barrier-free Ontario and in the spirit of co-operation, CPA Ontario
the following suggestions for amendments which are consistent with
and the letter of the legislation.
Mr Nott: I will summarize the amendments. I should maybe depart from
for a moment to say that at first glance we were tossing around ideas
fundamental amendments: make the act binding on the private sector,
put an onus
on people to provide disability -- show cause, why not, and institute
complaints and appeal process. However, it's our view that this act
advisedly and intends what is said in it. The amendments we're offering
within the parameters of the legislation as it sits right now and
fundamental rewritings of the legislation. They tend more toward enhancing
communication and consultation within the act to make it work better
the way it
was drafted, in our respectful submission.
The first amendment we would suggest is with regard to the advisory
their parent organizations. We would suggest that the Accessibility
Council of Ontario should be expressly included in subsection 4(1)
as a body to
be consulted in the development of barrier-free guidelines by the
The government has a duty to develop barrier-free guidelines and it
sensible that they should consult a body with expertise in that area
and a body
that has the mandate and powers to consult with those who have suggestions
The Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario and people with disabilities
should be expressly included in subsection 10(1) as a body to be consulted
the development of barrier-free guidelines by the ministry. The inclusion
people with disabilities in that is significant. That is not presently
The act should have an explicit onus on municipalities in subsection
consult with the Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario and people
disabilities in the preparation of their accessibility plans. This
preparation requirements of the government's plan as well. The government
required to consult, and we're suggesting that the municipalities
do so as
The following three suggestions are along the same vein as that,
consultation suggestion, but applying to different sections.
The act should have an explicit onus on public transportation organizations,
subsection 14(1), to consult with the accessibility advisory council
with disabilities in the preparation of their accessibility plans.
should have an explicit onus on scheduled organizations, which are
subsection 15(1), to consult with the accessibility advisory council
with disabilities in the preparation of their accessibility plans.
And the act
should have an explicit onus on agencies, in subsection 16(1), to
do the same.
The next suggestion, number 2 in the document handout, is that in
of the new and innovative nature of the legislation, the review of
should be performed after three years rather than five. If this act
some effect or experiencing some difficulties, that should become
within three years, and three years is a period of time which allows
government to institute remedies for any difficulties before they
endemic, as they might after a five-year period.
To ensure that the legislation accomplishes its goals, the description
accessibility advisory council in section 19, the duties and powers
council, should be amended to include an explicit requirement. We
that would be clause 19(4)(f), which does not presently exist, to
review of the implementation and effectiveness of the current barrier-free
guidelines in force. What that is: the government develops guidelines,
annually the accessibility advisory council reviews empirical evidence
information, drafts a report commenting on the effectiveness and the
implementation of those guidelines and provides that report to the
This will ensure that issues do not slide between the cracks, that
government is current on the operation of the legislation. It seems
something that's consistent with the existing powers and duties of
council and consistent with the spirit of the legislation.
To ensure public accountability, first, the description of the advisory
in section 19 should be amended to include an explicit requirement
subsection 19(6), we would suggest, to engage in public consultation
preparation of its reports and advice. This relates back to the previous
suggestion that if the council is going to prepare reports, then there
also be public consultation with not only people with disabilities
who have an interest in this: government, people in the private sector,
business, anybody who might have an interest.
Second, the description of the accessibility advisory committees
municipalities in section 12 should be amended to include an explicit
requirement in subsection 12(4) to also engage in public consultation
preparation of its reports and advice.
But as you can see, these are not major, fundamental revisions suggested
act. We're not suggesting that you draft a new act. Rather, in our
they're common sense and they're some fine tuning of the act, the
which is to enhance and ensure communication and consultation as this
precedent-setting legislation goes into effect. There's going to be
transitional phase. Everybody knows from experience that such phases
confusing and that issues can get lost along the way. So the suggestions
putting forward are hopefully to ensure that everybody is going to
current understanding of how the act is working; that issues that
brought to the government's attention are; and that the government
also has a
current body of information to refer to when it's making any decisions
the act. This should improve communication between the advisory council,
community access committees, the public and the government. In our
the suggestions for amendments are consistent and within the parameters
act and should help to achieve its purpose.
Again, we thank you for the opportunity to make our comments and
government for holding these hearings. We'd welcome any questions
you may have
at this point. If anything needs to be repeated, we'd be happy to
do that as
well. We'd like to let you know that the Canadian Paraplegic Association
Ontario is ready and willing and pleased to assist the government
Jackson in any way it can in the implementation of what is historic
legislation. We'll do this in any way we can. Thank you for your time.
The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. We have
minutes per caucus, starting with the government side.
Mr Hardeman: Thank you very much, gentlemen, for your presentation
particularly your suggestions. It would seem to me, particularly as
off with your suggestions, that they primarily are things I would
were automatic, without writing in that when a ministry prepares a
would consult with the advisory group that was created to help in
initiative. I think it makes good sense to look at that and say if
perceived to be automatic, then maybe we should be looking at making
it is explicit, that that's what the committee should be doing for
The other one, renewing the review in three years, as opposed to
five: I agree
with you that as you start implementing it, the major shortcomings
we say, wash out likely in the first three years. But do you not recognize
do you not support the wording of within five years, that in fact
it could be
done in three? In government circles, three years is not a very long
time when you look at the fact that it took six years to get here.
If you were
going to do as thorough a review of the legislation as was done to
legislation, it wouldn't even be done in the five years. Is there
that we can't get it done in three years?
Mr Nott: Just to flip to the other side of that coin, three years
may be a
short period of time in government circles. However, for people with
disabilities and other people who have a stake in this legislation
been waiting many, many years for it, if something within the act
working or if there's something pretty important missing from the
three years can be a long time to wait. An extra two years on top
of that can
be a very long time to wait for that even to be reviewed, even to
be looked at.
Mr Parsons: I spent half a day in a wheelchair in a community in
was surprised at the number of places that were not accessible to
me. So I'm a
little bit surprised at your presentation.
I have two sisters who are Korean. If someone said to them or to
me, "You can't
go in that store because you're Korean, but maybe five years from
now you can
go in" -- if there was one store in town or one apartment they
because they were Korean, I would be up in arms, as would the rest
So I am intrigued that you're not asking for the rights that every
citizen has to have access to private facilities, to have access to
residential, to have access to business, to have access to doctors.
to tell me, because I just can't figure out why you don't believe
sector should be involved in this to give you rights that every other
Mr Clarke: We do look forward to a day where the daily life of someone
mobility impairment is not vastly different from the daily life of
without it. By that, I mean that you don't have to maintain a checklist
head when you're going to a restaurant or visiting somewhere that
The comment about the private sector I think is quite fair. The private
makes up the largest part of the life of anyone in this province with
disability. Certainly, we look forward to a day when that level of
the needed level of access is available everywhere we go, public or
feel that the government has made a sincere effort to bring forward
a piece of
legislation that they'll be able to move forward with rapidly and
that by doing
so, we can dispel some of the fears and misconceptions around access
cost of access in the private sector. There is I think a fairly widespread
that it's going to cost the earth, the sun and the moon to allow people
wheelchairs to get into whatever buildings they want to get into.
believe that is true. But to legislate that level of access at this
seems to be something that governments have been reluctant to do for
20 years. So what we see at this moment is an opportunity to move
Mr Parsons: But going into a building isn't a privilege; it's a right.
Mr Clarke: I completely agree with you, and we anticipate being able
exercise those rights in the future. We also realize that this process
get started somewhere, and this is a useful start.
Mr Martin: I appreciate the tenor and the tone of your presentation
respect with which you approach government and seem to want to go
a distance to
try to understand why they're not being more aggressive in this. Is
acceptable to you that the private sector should simply follow the
sector because it's the right thing to do, as opposed to actually
some very hard and fast guidelines and rules and requirements of the
sector to actually do something significant here?
Mr Clarke: Again, I would prefer to live in a society where it wasn't
to legislate people into providing a reasonable level of access for
who wants to visit their facilities. We have watched successive governments
over the past 20 years promise to bring forward legislation and fail
to do so.
This, we believe, is a step forward and an important piece of legislation
will form the basis of legislation that will someday allow people
disabilities in Ontario to use --
Mr Martin: So it's acceptable for you that because governments in
the past have
not done it, this government should now also renege on its responsibility?
Mr Clarke: We believe that the government is sincere in its desire
legislation that people with disabilities can use to increase their
kill this bill because it doesn't address every issue that we believe
important I think is short-sighted. I believe that waiting for a perfect
of legislation will rob us of the opportunity to move forward at this
Mr Martin: You make the point that --
The Vice-Chair: We've run out of time. On behalf of the committee,
very much for coming forward. We appreciate your presentation and
The Chair: Our next presentation is from Anna Germain. I would ask
presenter to please come forward and state your name for the record.
of the committee, welcome. You have 15 minutes for your presentation
Ms Anna Germain: I'll hang on to the handouts until I'm done so that
reading, you'll listen.
My name is Anna Germain. While I address this committee as a lone
can assure you that at the very least hundreds more across Ontario
by me in agreement if they could.
Months ago, when I met David Lepofsky and Tony Coelho in Ottawa,
I became very
interested in an Ontarians with Disabilities Act. After some discussion,
concluded that this would be of significant benefit to all. I saw
a good ODA as
a progressive idea and thought that it was about time, so I set out
any developments and stayed in touch. Quite a while went by before
government seemed to pick up on it. We have before us the sum of Minister
Why is an ODA a good idea?
The charter has highlighted a need for respect, equality and access
discrimination. But these are not just handed over or readily incorporated
the daily life of all people who have a disability, particularly a
developmental disability. There are human rights and talk of accommodation,
it is often up to individuals to fight a battle to obtain the basic
access to all areas of life. An ODA must protect peoples of all disabilities.
Developmental disability must no longer be stigmatized.
I thought that all individuals were valued in Ontario. Barriers are
all aspects of life; they prevent Ontarians with a disability from
participating in the mainstream of Ontario life. How can you participate
without adequate transportation, health services, a real education
properly supported and a real job, for example?
The proposed ODA, Bill l25, presented by Minister Jackson talks of
What on earth does that have to do with taking down barriers? Either
you do it
or you don't. There is no need for an occasional gate in a continuous
"Disability" does not equal mobility disability. "Barrier-free"
does not mean
parking fines and door buttons; it is about access, respect and dignity.
shameful to even dwell at this late date on parking and door buttons.
very slim pickings. It reminds me of envelope funding, which this
so fond of. This is like envelope thinking: put just a little in,
quickly and watch it leak and underserve.
I have observed the predicament of various individuals trying to
get to their
destinations. Just imagine yourself having to order your cab a day
waiting for it for any length of time and at times being scolded because
were not there ten minutes earlier. I suspect that most would rebel
good access to transport and dignified treatment too much to ask?
Why an Ontarians with Disabilities Act? To effectively ensure to
disabilities in Ontario equal opportunity to fully and meaningfully
in all aspects of life in Ontario based on their individual merit,
barriers confronting them and by preventing the creation of new barriers.
There are so many problems with Bill 125. The bill talks of providing
opportunities. Such language is light years from ensuring equal opportunity.
The only requirement of the bill is for new buildings and new occupancies,
while it ignores various needs. It does not ensure removal and prevention
further barriers in all aspects of life. Annual plans without requirement
implement are nothing at all. It sounds like envelope planning.
Inaction can speak as loudly as actions. Bill 125 will send a message
people with a disability need not be taken too seriously, nor be properly
supported or respected. It could easily propagate discrimination.
It seems that the government has redefined Ontarians as units of
rather than individuals valued as human beings. Ontarians' hearts
ripped out. Tell us, to be valued now in Ontario, what standard must
with a disability live up to?
The government would be able to grant exemptions from a bill that
has no teeth.
Overkill, don't you think?
This government loves consulting with stakeholders. As observed,
stakeholders are carefully picked to exclude real advocacy and actual
and their families. How can standards be devised without the truest
stakeholders, actual clients?
I wonder if the government will also entertain implementing a medical
in education funding, by labelling and categorizing people by disability.
This toothless bill has no requirement to make regulations, real
access and has no time frames. It has only guidelines and process.
the envelope; empty envelopes.
The bill asks provincial and municipal governments to "have
regard" to issues
of accessibility. Stop regarding and do something. There are no provisions
appeals, no accountability, nothing to account for, no consequences.
As far as consultations with persons with disabilities, if these
consultations and this ramming through of a bill are any indication,
the term "consultation" -- or has this term been redefined
About the "Accessibility Directorate": stakeholders are
chosen by the minister
"to develop codes, codes of conduct, formulae, standards, guidelines,
and procedures." Wow, I just had to pinch myself. I thought I
was reading about
the education underfunding formula. Now there is an example to behold.
The auditor's report has just shown -- and I quote from pages 9 and
concluded that neither the school boards we visited nor the ministry,
in the process of implementing a multi-year plan to strengthen accountability
for special education grants and services, had the information and
processes in place to determine whether special education services
delivered effectively, efficiently, and in compliance with requirements.
observations included the following....
"Neither the ministry nor the boards had established quality-assurance
processes to ensure that suitable programs and services were delivered
students with special needs.
"School boards do not collect and report sufficient, appropriate
their special education expenditures and service delivery to support
decision-making by management and to enable effective oversight by
ministry, trustees, and parents."
What do these and numerous statements in the audit mean? Lack of
accountability; lack of efficiency and compliance; the funding formula
fourth year of failure. The experts are in the dark. It's quite a
for monetarists, would you not say? Are we to expect that the same
will be full of wisdom with this bill?
A minister's advisory council sounds good, but in practice it's a
street going the wrong way. It will not put persons with a disability
driver's seat. You cannot drive from the rear.
The bill has no enforcement mechanism or any duty to accommodate.
invokes the code, it does not invoke its duty to accommodate. There
must be a
penalty for violations thereof; that is, if there were teeth to this
Since the government loves US models, Tony Coelho, who was a House
representative, got an American disabilities act passed in 1990. I
about key strategies he had used to accomplish this. He responded,
"Collaboration throughout with the business community."
The business community
was a proactive and happy partner and made appropriate accommodations.
the Ontario business community is being underestimated or kept out
partnership. Or perhaps all that is wanted is an empty envelope. Tony
also showed how many of the accommodations made for persons with a
have benefited society and the able-bodied even more.
So many have waited at least five years for the fulfillment of the
an ODA. Is this all the government can come up with, a planning exercise
may give an illusion of doing good? What a shame. This bill is a slap
face to all who waited for real help with dignity and equity. It is
to all who, through no fault of their own, have a disability. Why
years of extensive work that went into David Lepofsky's submissions?
government think that it would do better in a few short weeks, with
only a hint
of consultation? Such presumption.
This bill will force the disabled to file human rights complaints
completely fails them. The evidence in Bill 125 raises the question
there is any interest in truly improving the lives of people with
Is there only a will to appear to have wonderfully saved them all?
probably receive a $6-million flyer to tell us about it too.
Why all this rush and inadequate treatment of serious issues? You've
to address it. Why shove it through in such a rush? Perhaps waiting
would have given it too much air time. It could get uncomfortable
election year. It could afford electoral brownie points.
This bill is inadequate. It is an offence and a potential injury.
withdraw it. We are all better off with nothing. Please scrap this
and let the next government treat it with the respect that all people
It is better not to have an ODA rather than this mangled and gutted
does nothing to make life better for the disabled.
The Chair: On behalf of the committee, thank you very much. You've
CANADIAN MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION, ONTARIO DIVISION
The Chair: We'll ask the next presenter to please come forward. The
presentation is from the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Mr Martin: On a point of order, Mr Chair.
The Chair: I'll get to you in a minute once I'm done. On behalf of
committee, welcome. You have 20 minutes for your presentation this
Mr Martin on a point of order.
Mr Martin: So far throughout this consultation, we've been flexible
have come close to their time or even gone over and you've given us
at least a
minute each to ask a question. I'm wondering why in this instance
done the same thing and allowed the last presenter an opportunity
to respond to
at least some brief comment or question.
The Chair: Mr Martin, I think if you check the record I pointed out
presenter had 15 minutes. The presenter started at 11:23, and the
ended at 11:39. That is 16 minutes. She went over one minute for her
presentation. It's not a point of order.
Mr Martin: Well, I would suggest to you, Chair, that if you put the
to everyone yesterday --
The Chair: You're not on a point of order. You're out of order, Mr
I ask the presenter to please step forward.
If you want to take the time off, if you want to recess for 10 minutes
let the presenter make their presentation -- you're out of order,
I would ask the presenters to please present.
Mr Martin: You're not living up to the spirit of the agreement.
The Chair: Would you please start with your presentation.
Mr Steve Peters (Elgin-Middlesex-London): Welcome.
Ms Barbara Everett: Thank you. Great beginnings.
Mr Martin: The hammer must come down.
Ms Everett: It has.
Mr Martin: We've been waiting two days for it to come down.
Ms Everett: My name is Barbara Everett. I'm the chief executive officer
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario division. With me is Patti
our director of programs.
The Canadian Mental Health Association has an honoured 85-year history
Ontario. We have 33 branches throughout the province, and we serve
people per year who have what is often called an invisible disability.
very interested in the kinds of discussions we're going to hear on
accommodation and attitudinal barriers.
I'd like, at this point, to turn it over to Patti to hit the high
points on her
Ms Patti Bregman: Thank you very much for giving us this opportunity.
got a copy of our brief; I'm not going to read it.
There are a couple of really critical points that I think need to
be made this
First, mental health is a disability that should be covered by this
legislation. I understand that for some people who have been travelling
the province there has been some question about that. I think the
makes it clear and I think the Human Rights Code makes it clear that
critical that with this legislation -- which, to be honest, appears
on its face
to be primarily directed toward physical barriers -- it's essential
don't lose sight of the fact that mental illness creates psychiatric
disabilities that have the same effect as having a step. I'm a lawyer
training, and I can't tell you the number of calls I've gotten from
are able to work, willing to work and had barriers put in front of
With that said, I'm going to spend one minute talking a little bit
experience, because I think it's important for you to know what CMHA
doing on its own accord on barrier removal with the private sector,
will inform our recommendation that the private sector should in fact
covered. Through funding from the Minister of Citizenship, we've got
called Mental Health Works, which is to develop education and training
materials to assist the private sector in removing barriers in the
We are on the verge of signing an agreement with Dofasco and we've
other private sector partners, but that alone isn't going to remove
We've also part of two formal partnerships that have existed for
a year now,
which are cross-disability, with CIBC and Scotiabank. They are signed,
collaborative relationship agreements. They're there because those
have decided to put a high priority on removing barriers. We're about
into two more agreements with CN and TD. But I can also tell you --
had this discussion with them -- the reason these agreements came
about was not
simply, "We're going to do the right thing following the voluntary
It's because at the federal level you've got a federal Employment
that requires compliance, and the banks are currently being reviewed
commission. You've got a federal commission that's very proactive.
to us that the reason we were able to get the highest level of the
engaged has to do with their legal obligations. It started as a legal
obligation; it has now moved to something much bigger than that.
But in listening to all these submissions, we're making a false dichotomy
we say it's either voluntary or by legislation. There is nothing inherent
enforceable mandates on the private sector that precludes voluntary
participation. In fact, our experience is that it's those mandates
encourage people to come to the table. We're not looking to litigate,
are looking to have barriers removed.
To move on to our key recommendations, I want to start by saying
we endorse the
recommendations made by the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee.
you'll find they're quite comprehensive and focus on issues of particular
importance to people with mental illness, and that's where our focus
The first recommendation is on definitions, and we are actually making
specific recommendation about definitions. It's on pages 9 and 10.
in the recommendation that what we're trying to do is propose a definition
doesn't require labelling. People with mental illness are often labelled,
people who are not mentally ill are often labelled inappropriately.
only disability that is defined in a way that suggests you need a
definition or diagnosis to come under the act, and we think that's
inappropriate. That, in and of itself, is stigmatizing and will leave
We're also recommending that you add, as you have in the Human Rights
provision that reflects the fact that there's discrimination because
has had a mental illness in the past. There's a huge amount of stigma
society. It makes a lot of misassumptions about people with mental
whether or not they currently have that mental illness, so it's critical
the definition of "barrier removal" incorporate the need
to remove those
barriers that affect people who have a mental illness, who have had
one or, in
fact, where there is a perception of having one, because mental illness
something you see; it's something that comes from within. That's our
The second recommendation relates to the definition of "barrier."
that we are recommending this change is that what you've got in there
kind of an odd definition that I haven't seen before -- says that
barrier if it's not an obstacle to somebody who doesn't have a disability.
if the intention is to say you don't want everybody in the world to
be able to
use the fact that it's a barrier to come and take advantage of this
-- of the
Human Rights Code or this legislation -- that's fine. But if you leave
as it's worded -- an awful lot of barriers that affect people with
illness affect a lot of other people -- what you're effectively doing
most of these barriers will never be affected or removed by this legislation.
We think it's a very serious problem in the definition; it's one that's
to cause you a lot of litigation down the road. We've proposed some
which we think may assist you in making an inclusive definition of
and which goes with the intent of the legislation.
The next set of recommendations relate to the plans. I want to say
outset that the minister's language has been very good. We are really
to see language that is inclusive, that recognizes that barriers exist
and that they need to be removed. Our recommendations are aimed at
to those statements. Right now, as we read the legislation, it's inconsistent
with what the minister himself is saying is both the goal of the legislation
and with what the vision statement of the government is.
First, it needs to cover all sectors of society. There is absolutely
for not including everybody at the beginning. The way the legislation
to be set up, you've got organizations, you've got the government,
agencies. What we think the solution is, is not saying that on day
single organization in Ontario is going to have to do a plan. What
saying is that you need to have regulations at the outset that say
such-and-such a date organizations in this class or in this sector
need to have
a plan. If we don't do that now, it will never happen. I've been around
enough and I've watched the Human Rights Commission sit with guidelines
years that could have been made into regulations and never have been.
think it's really critical that we address this now and not wait.
The second point we want to make -- as you're going through all of
-- is to keep in mind that the goal of all of this is barrier removal.
we have to watch getting so bogged down in plans that we forget what
are about. In the back of your mind, the plans may look very complicated
technical. I'm not going to spend any time on them, because I don't
what they look like if they remove the barriers. I think we need to
that goal remains at the forefront.
We do have some difficulty with the fact that the minister can remove
exemptions and do a number of other things without public accountability
certainly would recommend that you look at our recommendations in
this area, at
the recommendations of the ODA Committee in this area.
The next area has to do with the regulation-making process. I've
this quite closely, and I keep hearing that the regulations will be
able to fix
a lot of this, and to some extent that may be true. One of the problems,
our perspective, with regulation making is that it's done in private.
heard that there is a real willingness to have involvement and consultation
the regulation-making process, so our recommendation is that you amend
to actually incorporate that into the legislation itself. It's consistent
what you're saying. It's consistent with what you want. If you don't,
tends to happen is that people say, "Oh well, that's a secret
process. We can't
disclose." We know that with the Red Tape Commission you have
process. I was one of the original members of the Health Professions
Advisory Council, which has a public consultation mandate and can
We'd really urge you to put into the legislation something like the
commission has that says we will have public notice and comment time
regulations -- anybody who wants to, all of the stakeholders, not
with disabilities but people who will be affected by it. It's essential
that be in the legislation itself.
The other area that I gather the regulations will deal with has to
enforcement and accountability. As a lawyer, I honestly don't think
you can do
it as it's currently drafted. I think you need to put something in
legislation that specifically gives you regulation-making authority
enforcement and accountability. I'd urge you, as you're going through
clause-by-clause, every time you come to a paragraph that says, "The
shall," identify who in the government shall, who will be accountable
the consequences are if it doesn't happen. That's what true enforceability
means in legislation, both accountability of everybody knowing who
it is that
they can go to if it doesn't happen and what the consequences will
Finally, I wanted to move on for a minute to the issue of public
It's something that the CMHA, Ontario division, feels quite passionate
You'll see in our brief that we actually are doing some public education
northeastern Ontario as part of a partnership with the Centre for
Mental Health and with the Ministry of Health. Underlying the effectiveness
this legislation will be good public education and good technical
Our recommendation is that both of them be addressed in this legislation
also in government policy through adequate resources.
The area of technical education is similar to what we're doing with
Health Works. It's making sure that employers understand and businesses
what to do. I think you need a formal recognition in the legislation
government sees this as something critical to do. One of the things
the ADA successful in the States is the availability of technical
This isn't easy stuff. The work we're doing with the banks -- the
they're so enthusiastic about our partnership is that we're not telling
how to run their business. They are running their business, they're
us on that. We are telling them how to help make their business barrier-free,
and I think that's a really critical component.
On the public education side we're dealing with stigma, and you'll
see in our
brief that I've referred to a number of studies recently that really
stigma and the barriers it creates as a significant problem. It's
that in the UK the regulatory body for physicians has actually initiated
five-year education plan directed at health care providers. They see
it as a
barrier to effective health care services. Similarly, this is part
project in the northeast. We've got the Surgeon General in the US
this is one of the critical problems. The World Health Organization
sees it as
What we would like to see in the legislation that might address this
couple of things. One is a specific requirement that in the barrier-free
they address the issue of stigma and attitudinal barriers. As I said
beginning, one of our concerns with the legislation is that as much
everybody says these are the barriers that cover everybody, it's really
physical barriers. The language accessibility is about physical barriers.
like to see that every section of the legislation specifically recognizes
all of these plans need to address, implement, carry out and remove
attitudinal barriers in a timely way. We can't wait 10 years. We can't
wait five years. We really need to start that process now and recognize
will take an ongoing, sustained effort and commitment from the government,
the private sector and from the broader public sector. We're quite
participate in anything we can do to assist you in going down that
I'm going to stop in a second, just so you do have time for questions.
guess what we want to say is that you really take seriously the recommendations
that are being made by us, by the Ontarians with Disabilities Act
the other organizations, that will truly make what the vision says
legislation should be. It needs to identify and require the full range
barriers to be removed and prevented. It's got to apply to all of
To a person facing a barrier that prevents full participation, it
matter who has created the barrier. Often they may not know whether
is coming because it's a building code requirement, because the government
done something or just purely out of ignorance -- people didn't know
was. You shouldn't force the person facing the barrier to have to
time trying to figure out where it came from and trying to figure
responsibility it is to make it go away. We see this legislation,
encouraging litigation, as being the alternative, as opening doors
forcing people with mental illness, who already face stigma, having
disclose that they have a mental illness and file a human rights complaint.
That process in and of itself is hard for people with mental illness.
We see this legislation as tantalizing. We see it as offering the
doing something real and progressive. What we don't see yet is the
core. We see things that exist in the past that are being brought
the advisory council; that's not a bad thing. But I guess what we
would like to
be able to say is that the tantalizing smell that is coming from this
legislation is actually a reality that everybody in Ontario at the
end of the
day could celebrate.
As a final request, I really would urge you to rethink a little bit
frame for some of this. We appreciate the fact you're having hearings
listening to amendments. I will just tell you from our experience
on Bill 68,
where we publicly congratulated the government for having very extensive
hearings on the Mental Health Act amendments, where we participated
number of our amendments were adopted -- I've been out on the road
for the past
year; it's a year now since the legislation came into effect. What
I can tell
you that we've learned and I think the message the government has
is that two
things happened with that legislation that I think you can avoid here.
that they amended it and passed it within a week, and the result is
are some amendments in that legislation that don't work. People cannot
out what to do with it. For example, if you're trying to enforce a
a strong body of opinion, not just mine, that thinks that ends the
is obviously not what the intention was. It's a drafting thing, because
don't draft that quickly. I'm worried that if you adopt the recommendations
we're making, and we truly hope you will, you may find yourself in
position, if you try and go so fast that you don't give people a chance
what the amendments are. I think that would be a really tragic mistake
road. It will end up taking a lot longer.
The second lesson we've learned is that if you don't do and have
in place an
implementation strategy and comprehensive education, you'll have a
We're one year from the date of proclamation of Bill 68; it's still
implemented in many parts of the province because there was no implementation
plan, it went so quickly that nobody had a chance to do it and there
formal education process that is comprehensive. Without that, it's
going to be
hard to make the best legislation in the world effective. I understand
to move quickly. We would really strongly urge you to think seriously
taking the time after the hearings to look at the amendments, to make
they're right and to make sure you've got it right when you go out
it, because I think we'd all like to be there celebrating the day
when we get a
truly strong, effective act.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We have a minute and a half per caucus
start with the official opposition.
Mr Parsons: Your training as a lawyer would probably put you in the
position of anyone to analyze this bill. How long did it take you
Ms Bregman: It took me a long time. I'll be honest: I'm still analyzing
bill. I've been through this a couple of times. Some of my colleagues
audience have listened to me as I've gone through it. It's a complicated
of legislation, in a funny way; it looks simple. It could use some
more time to
really think through some of the pieces.
Mr Parsons: So with the way the hearings are fast-tracked -- indeed,
people had about 24 hours -- without the legal training there were
Ms Bregman: I've been hearing about barriers. I have to tell you,
from people who have a mental illness, I've heard from our branches
out in the
regions, that while people would like to present, they're just not
position to prepare. They did not feel able to come forward.
Mr Parsons: It seems terribly ironic.
Ms Everett: May I say also, Mr Parsons, that I have a PhD and I couldn't
made head nor tails of it. So I'm glad I had Patti to help.
Ms Bregman: It's also, to be honest, hard for organizations. As you
know, I had
a long involvement in this legislation before I was at CMHA, so I
kind of knew
what was coming. But I had to put our board in the position of educating
and approving a position, because I'm not speaking for my position,
speaking for the board of a provincial organization. For most provincial
organizations to come and be able to approve a position that is really
is extraordinarily difficult. You're probably not getting the best
of what you
could be getting and I think that's unfortunate. There's an awful
knowledge and expertise out there that could have helped.
I should add that it goes with our campaign too about mental illness
of it. We were probably the only group not consulted by the minister
this. We never met with him. We asked to meet. We were not part of
any of the
subsequent discussions. We somehow seem to have been kind of tossed
side. This is actually our first opportunity to have any formal input
Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): Howdy. The next time somebody starts
badmouthing lawyers, you'll remind them of this conversation, right?
Ms Bregman: Coming from another lawyer, I understand.
Mr Kormos: I read with interest pages 7 and 8, and followed you as
going through it, where you referred to the core principles. We all
those. Those core principles are so fundamental: (1) inclusiveness
flexibility, (3) "must cover the public and private sectors,"
(5) "In addition
to mandatory legislation, there should be ... financial incentives
To me, those are among the core of the core principles, that little
Then I refer to your analysis of the legislation, following that
appreciate you've been very generous in saying it provides a framework.
where I come from, laws either prohibit certain things or they make
things mandatory: either "Thou shall" or "Thou shalt
not." It's biblical. I
don't find the "Thou shalls" and the "Thou shalt nots"
in this legislation.
Ms Bregman: I'll tell you what I see. There are some "Thou shalls,"
goes to my comment about how it doesn't really mean a lot to say "Thou
unless you know who "Thou shall" is. This is "Thou
shall" as the government,
and that's very unusual in legislation to say it is the government.
Who do I go
to? Do I go to the Premier? Do I go to Management Board?
There is also no "What if thou does not?" and that's a
real problem. I would
not call that mandatory legislation.
There are also not "Thou shalls" where we would like to
see them, where we
think it's essential, and that is, "Thou shall pass regulations
months to say that all sectors are covered and here are the timelines
they are covered," and what happens with those "Thou shalls."
I think that has
to be fixed in this legislation for it to truly be called mandatory.
They've done it with parking fines. I think if we look at the proportionality,
if you can pay $5,000 because you've parked inappropriately, there
has got to
be a proportional consequence for a "Thou shalt" when you
don't do something.
We've recommended, if there is no other option, giving Management
authority, for example, if the ministry does not put in a plan that
criteria that we think need to be in place, to impose a plan, to hire
to put a plan in; that the Ontario Human Rights Commission be given
authority to issue directives saying, "Thou shalt do X, and if
you don't do X,
we will do it for you," which is very similar to how other legislation
Mr Hardeman: Thank you very much for your presentation. Unfortunately,
suppose, for me, I'm not a lawyer so I won't be in the group. But
that if a piece of legislation says "Thou shalt" and it
doesn't define who
"thou" is, it is in fact the minister who is responsible
for that act. I think
"Thou shall" means, in this case, Cam Jackson. So send him
whatever it might be. I say that in fun, but that's just my understanding.
I really would like to get your opinion on the removal of the invisible
barriers that you spoke of that is presently being done through the
Rights Commission. If you put that in the disabilities act, is there
danger that people would not be able to approach the way it is presently
done? It would seem to me that generally they are arbitrary. The employer
one person says, "I didn't do that at all," and the disability
"But you did." Isn't that an arbitrary decision that someone
has to make, other
than just being able to define it in the act and say that it's black
that those are almost like judicial hearings that have to be held?
Ms Bregman: There are two pieces. We're not suggesting that you eliminate
Human Rights Code for individual complaints where somebody has said,
something discriminatory." But there are a huge number of invisible
For example, employment policies: what kind of questions you can ask
interview; a question of whether or not you allow somebody to lower
have frequent meals because they are taking medication that requires
These are policies that apply to the entire workplace, and those are
we're working on now in fact with the banks that we think can be put
The other piece is the removal of attitudinal barriers that I talked
terms of ensuring there is public education, that there are non-harassment
policies in place; in other words, that there is a framework within
workplace that does not permit these barriers to continue to exist
removed. So it's no different really than saying, "We're generically
remove the physical barriers but you can still file a human rights
you have a particular issue that needs adjudication." We don't
Legislature to adjudicate specifics. But there are a huge number of
and one of the things we think is really critical is to make sure
explicitly addressed. I think it's part of the education process to
they are explicitly addressed so people understand that they have
obligation, that it's not sufficient to allow these things to continue.
It's like the physical disabilities: there are two pieces to it.
There is the
systemic piece that says, "Everybody does this. Everybody operates
way." I'll give you an ODSP example. ODSP now pays for transportation
to go to
doctors' appointments. Many people with a mental illness don't go
practitioners for their treatment. This is through, for example, the
community treatment teams. They may see a social worker. They may
see a group
home worker. They don't get their transportation paid for. That's
that affects people with one kind of disability, or maybe all, that
see being removed and being covered by this. That's the type of lens
want to look at the world through. For example, tax credits that you
employers remove physical barriers: they should be applied to barriers
face people with a mental illness as well.
There are a number of areas in which I think it's really important
voices be heard and that people recognize they have the same obligation
do to remove the physical barrier.
The Chair: On behalf of the committee, thank you very much for your
presentation this morning.
This committee is recessed until 4 o'clock this afternoon.
The committee recessed from 1207 to 1610.
CANADIAN HEARING SOCIETY
The Chair: Good afternoon, everyone. If I can get your attention,
the standing committee on finance and economic affairs back to order.
presentation this afternoon is from the Canadian Hearing Society.
I would ask
the presenters to please identify yourselves for the record. On behalf
committee, welcome. You have 20 minutes for your presentation this
Mr David Allen: Good afternoon. My name is David Allen, and I'm the
and chief executive officer of the Canadian Hearing Society.
The Canadian Hearing Society is a non-profit charitable organization
incorporated in 1940. We provide health and social services that enhance
independence of deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing people, and we
prevention of hearing loss. The Canadian Hearing Society has 27 offices
Ontario. Ten per cent of the general population experiences hearing
In general, the Canadian Hearing Society is pleased that the government
moving forward with Bill 125, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
much that is valuable in this bill.
(1) Government ministries are required to develop annual accessibility
address the identification, removal and prevention of barriers for
deafened and hard-of-hearing persons -- this would encompass legislation,
policies, programs, practices and services -- and these accessibility
will be made public.
(2) The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario and the Accessibility
Council of Ontario are being established to advise government. These
organizations will be responsible for programming and partnerships
develop a public education campaign to overcome attitudinal barriers.
(3) The bill encourages the active participation of various sectors
creation of accessibility standards.
However, we have several concerns about specific wording in the bill,
as the limited time frame in which it is being processed through the
For the public consultation process to be accessible, deaf, deafened
hard-of-hearing consumers require more lead time to arrange support
such as sign language interpreters and real-time captioners. These
services enable deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing people to prepare
submissions and presentations and to express their ideas in their
or by a means accessible to them. Limited literacy levels mean that
consumers require more time to read and understand Bill 125.
The Canadian Hearing Society is a member of the consumer and agency
called the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, or the ODA Committee.
wholeheartedly endorse the ODA Committee's submission on Bill 125.
recommendations we put forth in this presentation support those contained
position papers being sent to the standing committee on Bill 125 by
Committee. For example, the ODA Committee is calling on government
to make the
following amendments: (1) assign a more significant role for the advisory
council and a more effective mechanism for meaningful disability input
standards to be made under the bill; (2) provide specific legislated
frames for the creation of effective regulations that will remove
across all sectors; (3) expand upon the enforcement mechanisms and
barrier removal requirements beyond simply for parking violations
Highway Traffic Act.
Our presentation today, however, will focus specifically on the needs
persons who are deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing.
Bill 125 places far too much emphasis on building design and capital
The authors of the bill seem to have a limited perspective on the
community. Not all disabled people have mobility problems and use
For deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing Ontarians, accessibility means
provision of human services like sign language interpreters and real-time
captioners. In turn, the provision of human services requires setting
for professional qualifications, service delivery models and the supply
resources. Currently, no such standards exist. Bill 125 needs to specify
more detail how the standards for qualifications, service delivery
the supply of resources will be established and monitored. For Bill
125 to be
silent on this issue is like having a health act that makes no mention
College of Physicians and Surgeons and how health care will be delivered
funded, or like an Education Act that makes no reference to the Ontario
of Teachers and how education will be delivered and funded.
The needs of our consumers will get lost if left in the current general
sections of Bill 125 under goods and services. Our consumers are not
widgets or employing people from a large, unskilled labour pool.
Minister Cam Jackson has assured our consumers that standards for
qualifications, service delivery and supply of resources will be developed
later, if necessary, as regulations or guidelines, but our consumers
skeptical that these regulations and guidelines will come to pass
meaningful way. They point to landmark decisions such as the ruling
Supreme Court of Canada in Eldridge v British Columbia guaranteeing
health care for disabled people. They point to the Canadian human
settlement with the Tax Court of Canada in which the court established
to ensure access for deaf and hard-of-hearing lawyers. They point
Ontario Human Rights Commission's new Policy and Guidelines on Disability
the Duty to Accommodate. Regrettably, these landmark decisions have
difference in the lives of our consumers because accessibility measures
voluntary and violations must be fought through the courts on a time-consuming
and costly case-by-case basis.
In particular, our consumers recall Bill 4, passed in 1993, that
American Sign Language and la langue des signes qu1b1coise as official
languages of instruction in the school system. Regulations for Bill
4 have yet
to be written, so Bill 4 has made no difference in the lives of deaf,
and hard-of-hearing Ontarians. Our consumers worry that Bill 125 will
same route: quickly passed, then quickly forgotten.
The wording in Bill 125 is filled with qualifiers such as "with
"where technically feasible" and "guidelines are not
regulations." Even the
word "plan" in the phrase "accessibility plan"
implies something that will not
necessarily be implemented. In short, while Bill 125 is a step in
direction, as it currently stands it has no teeth and no guarantee
that it will
move forward with meaningful regulations after it is enacted.
Gary Malkowski, director of external affairs at the Canadian Hearing
will now elaborate on the landmark rulings I referred to earlier as
specific examples of how various ministries within the Ontario government
denied responsibility for providing deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing
Ontarians with access to essential publicly funded services. He will
do this to
make the point that it is naive and/or misleading for the Ontario
suggest that the voluntary measures outlined in Bill 125 will make
difference in the lives of our consumers.
Mr Gary Malkowski: Hello. I will have somebody read from my text.
highlights of the legal cases that David Allen referred to.
Supreme Court of Canada, October 1997: in Eldridge v British Columbia,
court ruled unanimously that deaf Canadians are entitled to equal
equal benefit under the Human Rights Code. All services funded directly
indirectly by government must be equally accessible and of equal benefit
deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing Canadians as they are to hearing
The principle that discrimination can accrue from a failure to take
steps to ensure that disadvantaged groups benefit equally from services
to the general public is accepted in the human rights field.
Tax Court of Canada, September 2000: in an out-of-court settlement,
Court announced a landmark policy that acknowledges and accepts responsibility
for arranging and paying for accommodation for deaf, deafened and
hard-of-hearing lawyers, articling students and any parties they represent.
This policy also confirms that the needs of persons with disabilities
accommodated if we are to ensure equal participation for everyone
society. A fundamental human right is acknowledged with this policy:
justice is not the exclusive prerogative of able-bodied Canadians
but of all
The Ontario Human Rights Commission's new Policy and Guidelines on
and the Duty to Accommodate, November 2000: accommodation with dignity
of a broader principle, namely, that our society should be structured
designed for inclusiveness. This is to ensure equal participation
for those who
have experienced a disadvantage from society's benefits. The duty
accommodate persons with disabilities means accommodation must be
provided in a
manner that respects the dignity of the person, meets the individual's
promotes integration and full participation, and ensures confidentiality.
Despite these legal developments, violations of basic human rights
throughout the Ontario government. Very few in the Ontario government
responsibility for providing our consumers with access. For example,
Ontario Works and the Ontario disability support program continue
deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing consumers to arrange to have their
interpreters. Neither program will cover the cost of interpreters
who need communication assistance to understand and complete the application
process. Staff of provincial and municipal government offices are
to the needs of people with hearing loss and do not provide alternatives
voice mail and voice recordings of information at points of entry
The Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Dianne Cunningham,
letter of September 20, 2000, to CHS stated that her ministry "has
authority to require [private vocational] schools to provide sign
interpreters and real-time captioners, free of charge, to their students."
is a copy of that letter, and I've highlighted that statement.
A November 8, 2001, letter from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term
regarding the Back on Track program for drivers convicted of drinking
driving stated that "no government money would go into funding
Deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers are responsible for the cost of
language interpreters when attending the program. This is a copy of
I received from that ministry.
Deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing consumers across Ontario continue
denied access to MPPs' constituency and Queen's Park offices. Most
offices do not have TTYs, nor do they provide sign language interpreters
real-time captioning for constituents who need these services in order
communicate with their elected representatives. Letters to the Speaker
raised these issues, but to date they have remained unresolved.
A Ministry of Education letter of September 6, 2001, advised CHS
ministry is not responsible -- and this is a copy of that letter --
standards for sign language interpreters or criteria for minimum qualifications
of interpreters in elementary, secondary and post-secondary educational
settings. Furthermore, the Ministry is not responsible for setting
for sign language competency and communication skills for teachers
of the deaf.
On November 26, 2001, the Divisional Court of the Ministry of the
General failed to provide sign language interpreters for applicants
and hard-of-hearing members of the public so they could follow the
proceedings regarding the Ministry of Health's decision to delist
services from OHIP, which in itself discriminates against deaf, deafened
CHS strongly endorses the need for establishing a strong and effective
Ontarians with Disabilities Act immediately. However, our experience
that voluntary measures do not work. The legislation needs to have
and be suitably funded so that the proper systems can be set up to
enforce the legislation.
Bill 125 will clearly be inadequate unless amendments, as recommended
ODA Committee, are made before third reading. Bill 125 falls significantly
short of what is needed to remove and prevent barriers across Ontario.
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act must establish standards for
municipal governments, the broader public sector and the private sector
intentional or unintentional practices of discrimination against persons
disabilities, including children and seniors.
Mr Chair, I have copies of all those letters referred to in my presentation
The Chair: Thank you very much. That leaves about a minute per caucus.
start with Mr Martin for questions.
Mr Martin: That was quite a presentation and, in my view, quite a
not only the bill but the process we're using here to get this bill
You indicated that there are some things in the bill as it now stands
worth supporting. If we don't see significant amendments to respond
to some of
the things you've put on the table here today, which frankly we've
the last couple of days out in Ottawa and Windsor -- if those amendments
made and accepted, is this bill still worth supporting?
Mr Allen: We remain hopeful that amendments will be made. We're not
recommending that the legislation be thrown out, but we are flagging
that as it stands, it is not going to be very effective. We're hopeful
work with government in convincing them to make amendments.
Mr Galt: Thank you for your presentation. It's most interesting.
your comments: a step in the right direction, and concern about a
time to get it right.
I'm curious. Mr Malkowski brought in a bill in 1994, it's my understanding.
wondering why the government of the day did not support his bill at
Mr Allen: I don't think that's something for us to respond to here
representing the Canadian Hearing Society. Gary Malkowski right now
employee of the Canadian Hearing Society, so that is irrelevant to
discussion at this time.
Mr Galt: I was just curious.
Mr Parsons: One thing that has caused me great concern is that I've
that in my community, among the deaf and hard-of-hearing there's about
to 90% unemployment rate. I have met with young people, brilliant,
young people, who have post-secondary education, a university degree,
they're unemployed -- not unemployed because they didn't impress the
the interview; they couldn't get an interview. They can't get into
interview. What needs to be in the act to solve what is a terrible,
waste of some talent?
Mr Malkowski: This is an obvious result of the repeal of the employment
legislation. That has caused the critical level of unemployment that
seeing in the province. We need, within this legislation, some amendment
will make sure we can improve the situation as it stands. We need
to make sure
there is strong enforcement, make sure there is accountability, make
students and recent graduates can manage to apply on a fair and equitable
for employment. Again, voluntary practices and voluntary measures
will not help
those youth receive employment. We need to make sure they can receive
accommodations they need to be able to get their foot in the door
interviews. I think that that's where we can save that talent pool.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We've run out of time. On behalf
committee, thank you very much for your presentation this afternoon.
EASTER SEAL SOCIETY
The Chair: The next presentation is from the Easter Seal Society.
I would ask
the presenter or presenters to please come forward and state your
name for the
record. On behalf of the committee, welcome. You have 20 minutes for
presentation this afternoon.
Ms Charlotte Gibson: My name is Charlotte Gibson. I'm the president
and CEO of
the Easter Seal Society. Our commitment for almost 80 years: we've
over 20,000 children and young adults in the province of Ontario live
physical disability in their striving for independence, acceptance
achievement. We've been helping these children and young adults by
access to the tools they need. We're dedicated to helping them achieve
full individual potential and future independence. Easter Seals is
creating solutions and changing lives.
Let me begin by saying that we at the Easter Seal Society are very
of both the Ministry of Citizenship and the process underway to bring
into legislation. Easter Seals has enjoyed a positive and productive
relationship with the ministry and truly values this association.
In terms of the process, we understand and believe that the draft
before us is
a starting point. It is now time to gather input from stakeholders
and make the
necessary revisions so that the final document is the most meaningful,
progressive legislation possible.
For almost 80 years, we've served Ontario's population of children,
young adults with physical disabilities, and it is with this dynamic
in mind that we ask questions today and submit recommendations for
to this bill.
Some of you may be aware that Easter Seals has undergone a significant
transition over the past three years. We've literally changed the
way we do
business, and one of the keys to our success has been the development
district councils across the province. These community-based volunteer
are the backbone of the Easter Seal Society. They raise dollars, awareness,
ensure that children, youth and young adults with physical disabilities
considered at every level within their own communities.
The advisory committee model proposed in Bill 125 is similar. Experience
taught us that these groups are only as strong as the individual volunteers.
is therefore essential that organizations within the disability community
assume the responsibility of proposing qualified candidates. To this
Easter Seals has already proposed two candidates for the provincial
Accessibility Advisory Council that will ensure that children and
physical disabilities have a voice. Our hope is that the provincial
municipal governments will give serious consideration to such recommendations
and ensure a balanced representation on the Accessibility Advisory
on each advisory committee.
We have also learned that these committees don't develop overnight.
first year of this process, Easter Seals chartered nine councils.
In 2001, an
additional 20 have been chartered. We project 30 new councils in 2002
80 at the end of five years. It is a building process, and while certainly
achievable, expectations must be managed, as it will take several
develop effective advisory committees across Ontario.
Easter Seals strongly supports this community-based approach. Our
volunteers are ready and willing to act as a resource and provide
the development of advisory committees in their communities.
With regard to areas for improvement, we see four main issues that
considered for this legislation to have meaning for children, youth
adults with physical disabilities. In establishing our position, we
input from youth and young adults with physical disabilities, as well
The first issue is demographics. Baby boomers have the political
knowledge to advocate for what they want. As they age, their demand
government and community supports will increase substantially. Parents
children with special needs have limited networks, limited resources
limited energy to lobby for what their children need. Understanding
proposed legislation addresses all persons with disabilities, what
will be put in place to ensure that the needs of children will not
overshadowed by the increasing needs of adults?
The second issue we see is that of education. Each school is a community
itself and the focus of its students' lives. To participate fully,
must have full access to their school and all of its programs, curricular
extra-curricular. Without addressing barriers that exist in schools
physical, attitudinal and program -- this legislation will have little
to children and youth with physical disabilities. The legislation
specific reference to the requirement for school boards to submit
accessibility plans. Will consideration be given to the funding required
retrofit schools as an outcome of this bill?
The third issue is one of transition to post-secondary education
employment. While most students make post-secondary education decisions
on the quality of the program, students with disabilities are forced
choices based on accessibility and availability of supports. Similarly,
with disabilities are often forced to settle for an employment opportunity
can accommodate their needs instead of pursuing the career they desire.
cannot access the full range of educational programs or gain meaningful
employment experience that will advance their careers, how can they
with people who can?
Transition issues involving community involvement: children, youth
adults with physical disabilities must have access to a full range
activities within their own communities, from recreation to grocery
health supports. As they move to increase their independence, necessary
modifications to homes and vehicles become essential. Our hope is
outcome of Bill 125 will be access to government funding programs
such as home
and vehicle modification for parents of children with physical disabilities.
The final issue is one of transportation. We've kept our issues focused
issues that face the Easter Seal Society and the children and young
we support. Transportation is one of the most frustrating issues facing
with disabilities on a daily basis. It severely limits their ability
function within the community. Present options require long-term planning,
which makes spontaneous decision-making impossible. For example, our
spokespeople who were to be present today were unable to make transportation
arrangements on short notice. They have therefore missed the opportunity
heard. While we may have been able to make special arrangements, this
everyday reality for people with disabilities. Frustrations that are
considerable within urban centres can increase substantially in rural
Considering the issues raised today, it is clear that the most significant
in the proposed legislation is the removal of existing barriers, both
and attitudinal. While the prevention of new barriers is important,
it is the
existing barriers that impact the lives of children, youth and young
with disabilities today.
In closing, Easter Seals acknowledges and appreciates the government's
integrity and commitment to improving opportunities for people with
disabilities. However, society is governed by legislation, not intent.
that the questions, concerns and recommendations expressed throughout
hearing process will be given serious consideration, and we look forward
reviewing an amended Bill 125.
The Chair: We have approximately three minutes per caucus. I'll start
Mr Spina: Thank you, Ms Gibson, for your presentation. The opposition
question; we ask this question. It's not intended to be political
in nature, so
I'm trying not to make it sound that way. The question that has been
is this bill worth putting through now or should we run the risk of
for the purpose of making it that much better? I guess what I'm asking
we running the risk of losing at least a beginning to getting a bill
the field, into the marketplace to assist these people?
Ms Gibson: We would endorse the bill going through now and working
it. We need a base. We've been too long with nothing.
Mr Spina: OK. The government, as well as opposition members and the
that have come to see us, have brought forward some general and some
specific amendments to strengthen the bill. We fully acknowledge that.
also an opportunity over the next few months, if we are able to get
through, to define some of the implementation procedures -- the timelines
so forth -- through the regulation process. The minister has assured
there will be some consultation with stakeholders -- in other words,
disabled community -- in the process of implementing those regulations.
Ms Gibson: I know we have a strong community of young adults who
willing and able to be heard and make recommendations. My feeling
is that we
have the community that is not going to stop with an inadequate bill.
Mr Parsons: I appreciate your presentation. It has struck me, though,
there's any group we should be listening to in these hearings it's
the two young people you indicated who couldn't make it here today.
So in fact
rushing this through has created a barrier to people in the disabled
to come and talk with us.
Your presentation is a little bit different from some of the others
come to us, so I have to ask you, because I'm sure you debated it.
suggested amendments, there was no reference to involving the private
to extend it to cover the private sector. Can I ask why or what the
Ms Gibson: Possibly because we support children up to the age of
18, 19, but at
the age of 19 they really move under the auspices of the March of
Dimes. So in
terms of the private sector, we're really dealing with children. We
about transition programs in terms of transitioning into the employment
but we're already working in that area. I'm not sure if that answers
Mr Parsons: It confuses me a little bit, because as foster parents
fostered children who have been involved with your organization. We
to take them to restaurants, we've wanted to travel and use hotel
wanted to go into the mall, we've wanted to go to doctors' offices.
they were under 18, they needed to have involvement with -- I'm intrigued
more by your response, because although they're under 18, they still
access to services and to quality of life.
Ms Gibson: Correct. I guess my response would be that you have to
somewhere. This is just a beginning point and I'm willing to accept
it as a
beginning point, definitely not as a refined bill or a bill that will
test of time but one that definitely needs input. As I mentioned very
my presentation, in terms of developing district councils across the
we were faced with exactly the same rough vision that needed refinement,
look to stakeholders right across the province for input into the
bill to gain
that refined vision.
Mr Martin: Just to follow up somewhat on that line of questioning,
we had a
group yesterday in Windsor who suggested that if we pass this bill
as it is, it
takes away some of the protections the disabled now have under the
Human Rights Commission, for example. This was a legal clinic out
Windsor-Essex area that suggested that. We're looking into that, and
it may be
something you might want to consider in terms of your support of this
it stands now.
I want to comment and ask a question on a couple of other things.
Some of the
stuff you focused on was an issue of funding: schools and the resources
need to make sure every child has access to special education resources,
of the vehicle and home modification. We're talking money. It seems
to me --
and maybe you could respond to this -- that some of the reticence
on the part
of the government in terms of this bill not to put in stuff that is
terms of timelines and enforcement and that kind of thing is that
it's going to
cost money. You can't do this without it costing money. Without doing
at all, the government has within its purview to spend the money that
to make sure some of these folks get what they need to be all they
can be and
to participate. But they've chosen another priority, which is to give
breaks to corporations and other individuals. What would your recommendation
to this government if you're really serious about what you put on
here today, which is around the question of funding?
Ms Gibson: The funding is needed. I'm not sure that I'm going to
give you a
really good answer on either/or. Yes, you're right, I did focus a
funding: funding within the education sector, home renovation and
modification. That funding is available for adults with disabilities.
sure if you're aware that it's not available for children with disabilities.
Mr Martin: You've made us aware today. What you're saying is that
resources. This bill is not going to be effective unless we have the
to make sure that kind of facility is available to the children.
Ms Gibson: My hope is that the advisory councils across the province,
addition to the district councils that the Easter Seal Society and
organizations have that are province-wide, will raise awareness of
the need for
funding not just for children but for all persons with disabilities.
the key is that we need to raise awareness within each and every community,
because people want to be serviced within their community. They don't
have to move to a larger centre because those opportunities are there
within their community.
The Chair: With that, we've run out of time. On behalf of the committee,
you very much for your presentation this afternoon.
CITY OF TORONTO
COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
ON DISABILITY ISSUES
The Chair: The next presentation is from the City of Toronto Community
Committee on Disability Issues. I would ask the presenters to please
forward and state your names for the record. On behalf of the committee,
welcome. You have 20 minutes for your presentation.
Mr Joe Mihevc: Thank you very much, Mr Chair. My name is Joe Mihevc.
I'm a city
councillor for ward 21, St Paul's, of the city of Toronto. I have
of being one of the co-chairs of the City of Toronto Community Advisory
Committee on Disability Issues.
Attending with me are Janice Martin, the community co-chair; Roger
the city's Community Advisory Committee on Disability Issues; and
people, Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, Tim Rees and Catherine Leitch. Others
committee itself also wanted to come, but the short notice prevented
getting the accessible transportation that they need. We only found
our ability to speak to the committee yesterday.
On behalf of the committee and on behalf of Toronto city council,
I thank you
for the opportunity to respond to Bill 125, the Ontarians with Disabilities
Act. A full copy of this submission is before you.
The city of Toronto is particularly concerned about a strong and effective
Ontarians with Disabilities Act, because a disproportionate number
with disabilities live in Toronto. While an estimated 17% of people
Ontario have some form of disability, estimates of up to 45% of that
reside in this city, Toronto.
The city of Toronto has a strong foundation of commitment to addressing
needs of persons with disabilities. The city, in both policy and practice,
believes in an inclusive, accessible and equitable society. Reflecting
commitments, the council of the city of Toronto unanimously passed
a motion in
March 2001 that any legislation applying to the prevention and removal
barriers for Ontarians with disabilities be mandatory and applied
sectors, public, private and non-profit. A further motion in November
unanimously adopted by city council, reiterated this commitment to
a truly barrier-free city by 2008 and again reiterated the call for
effective and mandatory Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Does this bill before you achieve this? No, it does not. In fact,
the city of
Toronto is very disappointed with the bill in its current form. Having
so long, so many years, for a strong and effective Ontarians with
Act, the disabled community has been failed by what appears to be
than a disabled parking fines act. Ensuring accessible parking is
to dismantling physical and attitudinal barriers in education, communications,
housing and the workplace.
It is somewhat ironic that this week, when we recognize the United
International Day of Disabled Persons, proclaimed to reinforce the
to improve the integration of persons with disabilities into the wider
and to celebrate achievements in advancing the rights of persons with
disabilities, the Ontario government is trying to push through with
a long-promised but really hollow and toothless Ontarians with Disabilities
With an estimated 45% of the 1.6 million Ontarians with disabilities
Toronto, the establishment of a strong and effective act is clearly
interest and concern to the city of Toronto. Of any institution most
by this bill, it is the city of Toronto.
Because of the barriers they face, persons with disabilities are
forced into poverty, unemployment and social isolation. As a community
and as a
society we cannot tolerate this. We must ensure that persons with
can exercise their civil, political, social and cultural rights on
basis with other persons.
In 1990, in the United States, the former Bush administration passed
Americans with Disabilities Act. It established a series of deadlines
changes in both the public and private sectors. It also stipulated
those who didn't measure up. It is an act that is working.
Why should we have to be embarrassed by a provincial government that
learn from this experience, that refuses to establish mandatory --
"mandatory" -- requirements, that refuses to establish timelines
accomplishing anything and refuses to establish mechanisms for enforcing
The government of Ontario first promised an Ontarians with Disabilities
1995. An earlier bill, Bill 83, was introduced in 1998 and was withdrawn
widespread criticism that it failed to apply to all sectors, impose
requirements, establish enforcement mechanisms and, lastly, provide
Other than requiring provincially legislated public sector agencies
accessibility plans and establish advisory committees, the same weakness
generally be applied to this bill. In other words, the city of Toronto
both the intent and the content of the bill to be so modest as to
unacceptable. The purpose is to merely "improve opportunities
for persons with
disabilities and to provide for their involvement in the identification,
removal and prevention of barriers to their full participation."
The purpose of
this bill, therefore, needs to be far more emphatic, purposeful, achievable
enforceable. The provisions of the bill as it now stands do not begin
actually provide protection and removal of barriers to persons with
disabilities. It merely creates structured processes by which something
happen in the future.
Promised since 1995, we are not happy at this point in time with
how little is
in this bill. The bill does not cover the removal and prevention of
all aspects of life, nor does it even begin to detail in any holistic
the roles and responsibilities of the public sector, let alone the
voluntary sectors, and its role as an employer, a service provider,
regulator, a purchaser of services and goods or a provider of grants.
fails to provide the necessary leadership that would encourage, support
strengthen the commitment and efforts of other institutional sectors,
the city of Toronto and other municipalities, in addressing the needs
Let me give you some examples. The Minister of Citizenship has suggested
the bill puts persons with disabilities in the driver's seat through
establishment of a new Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario and
and other public agency advisory committees. While the democratic
structures, as they're called, are an important mechanism of citizen
think the minister has an overly optimistic expectation that such
groups are in a position to direct, monitor, control or attain a barrier-free
society. Imposing the onus on the disability community itself to achieve
is an unfair burden and a false expectation.
The major thrust of the bill's provisions focuses on barriers faced
with physical disabilities, particularly as they pertain to the design
newly acquired or leased government buildings. The bill requires that
the standards of the 1992 Building Code Act. Given that these standards
exist, these provisions in the bill would therefore seem to be redundant.
addition, the disability community has expressed concerns for some
the requirements of the building code are themselves minimal and need
In addition to strengthening the accessibility requirements of the
Building Code Act, it is also recommended that subsection 15.1(3)
of the act be
amended to authorize municipal authorities to pass bylaws prescribing
for accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities.
To conclude, in summary this is a hollow, weak and ineffective bill.
Substantial amendments are required to address the needs of the disability
community, to address the needs of the city of Toronto and even to
meet the Ontario government's own shared vision and goal. As a member
city's Community Advisory Committee on Disability Issues commented,
is an empty truck. To have any meaning and purpose, we have to fill
it up with
As this piece of legislation presently reads, one worries that the
responsibilities for ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities
treatment and equal opportunity are being downloaded by the province
disabled community itself and to organizations like municipalities,
simply do not have the financial capacity to implement the necessary
effectively and as quickly as they would like.
Rather than being such a begrudging, limited and long-delayed bill,
be seen as a positive opportunity to achieve a barrier-free society.
Let us use
this opportunity to embrace in unequivocal terms the inclusion of
disabilities as fully participating members of our society.
The Chair: We have approximately two minutes per caucus, and I'll
the official opposition.
Mr Parsons: I appreciate your presentation. There is a misconception
public that this bill applies to the 1.6 million Ontarians with disabilities.
My experience has shown, though, that it applies to everyone. We have
in a wheelchair, and there are some restaurants that have no table
accommodate him, so none of us go to those restaurants, and we lose
experience. There are certain theatre productions and that, which,
wife cannot hear, none of us go to. So it affects everyone, and it
everyone in Toronto.
If the government chooses to use its majority and does not pass any
what does the bill as it stands do to improve the quality of life
citizens of Toronto?
Mr Mihevc: In its current form, I would say it does practically nothing
than increase the fines for parking in spaces where there are disabled
signs. My own view is that if the bill goes forward unchanged, I'd
the bill than let it go forward in its present form. I think at least
be very clear out there to the Ontario public that we don't see disability
issues as something that is mandatory and something that needs to
I think it would just give more credence to the argument that a shell
being played. People have waited so long; the disabled community has
long for this bill and has worked so hard to get it to this point.
doesn't have any teeth, at least from the point of view of our committee
had a long debate on this last week, and this included people with
impairments, sight impairments, people in wheelchairs etc, and the
feeling was that it's better to start from scratch than to pretend
we have an
Ontarians with Disabilities Act in place when we really don't.
Mr Martin: Just to follow up on that, you may have heard earlier
that we had a
group before us yesterday in Windsor who suggested that it's even
this bill in fact removes stuff that's already in the Human Rights
Code, and if
something isn't done, then the disabled will be even worse off with
We had a very eloquent woman before us this morning, Anna Germain,
suggested that Bill 125 is inadequate, it's an offence and a potential
She said, "Please withdraw it. We're all better off with nothing.
this awful bill and let the next government treat it with the respect
people deserve. It's better not to have an ODA rather than this mangled
gutted bill." Does that reflect the sentiment of your committee?
Mr Mihevc: Absolutely it does. As I mentioned in answering the last
we met last week. We had a copy of the bill before us, and we did
it. These are not folks who are politically charged. They just want
effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Certainly, with all the
leading to the announcement of the bill, for the first week people
took it in
and tried to read it and give it its best face. They really did try
to see that
this had some weight and some meaning to it. But then, I think, as
it, integrated it and asked, "OK, what does this actually mean
on the ground in
the day-to-day life of people with disabilities?" they found
that it really was
a toothless tiger.
What it's actually done is have the reverse effect. Rather than building
that initial excitement that finally something had come forward, now
starting to feel more and more angry. I'm an able-bodied person, but
the disability community that is in touch with the city of Toronto
"This just doesn't cut it." There's a growing sense of pessimism
and even anger
that they're being used in this process. That's the honest truth.
The Chair: I have to go to the government side. Mr Spina.
Mr Spina: Thank you, Mr Mihevc and company, for joining us. You clearly
that if the bill was to go through without any amendments, don't bother.
understanding that correctly?
Mr Mihevc: That's correct.
Mr Spina: OK. I know there are a myriad of items that have been brought
forward. If you were to choose three general elements -- the top three,
just three -- that in your opinion or on behalf of the community would
strengthen this bill, what would they be?
Mr Mihevc: One, I would make it mandatory for public, private and
not-for-profit sectors. No institution, public, private or not-for-profit,
could get off the hook and not put in place an accessibility plan
to that institution. So, one, it has to be mandatory.
Two, there have to be timelines. There has to be a sense that we
are moving in
the right direction, and that by such-and-such date, something will
be in place
so that we can say, "At such-and-such date, Ontario is a barrier-free
a barrier-free society."
Three, there has to be some money put into this. We have the support,
example, of Tourism Toronto. We're there doing niche marketing around
with disabilities. You have two people with disabilities who can't
get into a
particular hotel; that hotel loses out to Seattle. It doesn't make
sense. The business community in Toronto is starting to see that,
regularly send a representative to the Toronto committee. So a little
investment, a little bit of education and push from the provincial
to allow the private sector and the public sector to initiate and
carry out these plans, I would say, is the third priority.
So mandatory, timelines, and you've got to throw some money at this.
The Chair: On behalf of the committee, thank you very much for your
presentation this afternoon.
TORONTO POLICE SERVICE
The Chair: Our next presentation is from the Toronto Police Service.
ask the presenter or presenters to please come forward. Could you
name for the record, and on behalf of the committee, you have 14 minutes
Mr Brian Keown: Thank you very much, Mr Chair and members of the
allowing the Toronto Police Service an opportunity to come and speak
bill, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
We've heard it referred it to as a disabled parking bill. I think
we do a great
disservice to this piece of legislation to deal with it just as a
One of the things that I think is very important for us to recognize
persons with a disability is that we need to look, first of all --
and I will
be speaking specifically to the issues of the disabled parking --
but we need
to look at disabled parking. It's not about vehicle warehousing. It's
just parking vehicles. It's actually about barrier-free access. It's
allowing people with disabilities the opportunity to fully participate
community. If we recognize parking as an integral part of the overall
chain, then we'll recognize the importance that it plays in the life
person with a disability. We can design policies, we can identify
can do everything we can to fix the bricks-and-mortar issues, and
we can look
at changing attitudinal barriers, but if we can't get people to the
all for naught. So it does play a very, very important role in what
legislation is trying to do.
Having said that, you've heard some indication here today about the
of the population -- 17% to 20% is a consensus as to the number of
the Toronto area -- with disabilities. We recognize also that the
persons with a disability is that much higher in the Toronto area
the good services, education and employment opportunities that are
persons with a disability.
We formed a disabled liaison unit in response to the needs in the
The Toronto Police Service put it in place and it became operational
February 2000. One of the first things that we did as the disabled
working on behalf of the Toronto Police Service was to invite stakeholders
the community -- that was persons with disabilities, various branches
government -- to come together and work in partnership to help identify
the problems that are impacting on people with disabilities in the
The message that came through loud and clear very quickly was the
were associated with the disabled parking.
The disabled parking basically breaks down into two key issues. There
marked, designated disabled parking spaces, which are governed by
bylaws, and then there are the issues with respect to the use of the
person parking permit, and that is governed by the Ministry of Transportation
and the Highway Traffic Act.
This act here today, this Bill 125 that's coming forward, has taken
pieces of that puzzle. With municipal parking, there are amendments
Municipal Act that will see set fines for the offence of parking illegally
raised to a minimum of $300 in municipalities that have disabled bylaws.
just one very important piece of the puzzle. The other part of the
maintaining the integrity of the disabled person parking permit program.
are the little placards you see that are issued by the province to
There is a host of problems with that system, but part of the problem
is an apparent lack of integrity in the system. The system was put
in place in
the late 1980s, when there was a lack of digital technology. It was
to high-end print shops etc, but to the average person, the day-to-day
the technology wasn't available. A lot has changed and I would have
the government for recognizing in this legislation that they're trying
restore some of the integrity to the disabled permit program. What's
proposed here isn't going to do it in its entirety. There's an education
component needed and there are components needed in restoring integrity
terms of document protection and anti-counterfeiting measures.
But what we're dealing with here today as proposed in this legislation
good start. What it's going to propose with amendments to the Highway
Act is it has recognized the amount of rampant abuse that's out there
photocopies, illegal reproductions and people loaning permits, so
amendments to the Highway Traffic Act that set out offences for those.
also recognized the seriousness of the offence in that it has raised
minimum fines, which will go from, I believe, $60 now to $300 and
it will raise
the maximum for the misuse of a disabled permit up to $5,000.
I've heard a lot of people, and we've had calls -- it gets their
really quickly: $5,000 for a disabled parking fine. But when you start
consider the amount of money that's involved -- and I'll give you
an example in
downtown Toronto. At the Royal Bank Plaza it's $28 per day to park.
We have a
lot of abuse in the downtown core. These are people abusing permits,
them on the black market, using them and parking their vehicles in
Toronto. They're saving in excess of $500 per month, after-tax dollars.
take that on the life of a permit and you're saving $6,000 a year
years of parking -- the life of a permit -- you could stand to save
$30,000, after-tax dollars. It's the equivalent of the cost of a car.
see there's a great financial incentive.
Typically, what we're seeing when we go to court are fines in the
range of $50
to $100. It's a lot of work. A lot of time and energy is spent investigating
these matters and, quite frankly, to go into court and get a $100
fine at the
end of the day is just a cost of doing business. So again, I have
the government for recognizing this and at least putting some teeth
legislation that will deal with the misuse of disabled permits and
designated disabled parking spots.
We've heard a lot of discussions. I'm not in a position to talk about
aspects of the ODA. One thing I will comment on is that I like to
things and see them as opportunities. I believe we have an opportunity
We've put forward the disabled liaison unit, the steering committee
of community volunteers, and we've looked at this as an opportunity
that if the
fines are going to go to $300 in the municipalities specifically for
illegally in disabled spots, then we take that and put a proposal
append it to the submission. What it proposes is that we create a
and access awareness fund for the city of Toronto. It would collect
those fines that would be levied to go toward access and awareness
the city of Toronto to help identify and remove barriers. Based on
enforcement over the past three years, it averaged about 5,000 parking
year, and at $300, it worked out to an income stream of about $1.5
The reason I wish to share this with the committee is that if we
mindset that instead of always looking punitively in terms of compliance,
look at rewards, here's an opportunity now for the city to develop
stream based on offenders that's no different from what's in place
under the Provincial Offences Act, the victim fine surcharge you see
offences. This would apply to the municipalities, and it's an opportunity
them to basically achieve two things. It's a fine that's in place
that will act
as a deterrent to those offending, but also, for those who do offend,
money is not just going into general coffers but in fact will go to
awareness and access for the people with disabilities who are, of
displaced when people park in these positions.
In closing, I would do a disservice to this issue if I were to come
say it's a Toronto-centric kind of universe or a Toronto-centric problem.
not, in fact; it's a province-wide problem. Part of the problem we've
barrier-free access is that there's a certain familiarity in smaller
communities, so we're not getting complaints about the barrier-free
because oftentimes, by ways and means, people are looked after in
communities. But what we are finding in smaller communities is that
who have been issued permits, a lot are being stolen from these people
become victims -- and the permits in fact are being used in downtown
That is not uncommon.
So I would suggest to the committee that this problem is province-wide,
the initiatives that are being put in place will help maintain the
the provincial system and that the parking fines -- it may be considered
first thought that $300 is fairly steep -- are in keeping with other
jurisdictions stateside. Quite frankly, this is good legislation.
It's going to
set the pace. It's good for now, 2002, and I think it's very good
for what we
can have in the future, because by the year 2010, my understanding
is that the
population of seniors in the province will practically double within
eight years. So it's good that we tool up now and look toward the
The Chair: We have approximately two minutes per caucus.
Mr Martin: It indeed is a more complicated issue than I would guess
blush: just simply increase the fine and everything's going to be
made some reference to some of the other attendant concerns that are
It seems to me that this piece of this act, and maybe you can let
would be dealt with better as a bill coming out of the Solicitor General's
office. For one thing, enforcement is a problem, and if I'm correct,
fewer police officers out there now than we've had, and that complicates
issue. This kind of thing, when you consider everything else, has
a tendency to
have a lower priority where police forces are concerned, so I'm told
disabled folks. In fact, whether simply raising the fine or not is
going to do
the whole thing is also beyond me.
Having said that, I guess the question is, is this an issue that
be stand-alone and should be dealt with more appropriately out of
Mr Keown: My answer to the committee on that question is, the perspective
seen that has come out of this bill is they've recognized disabled
this component of it as a barrier-free access and a human rights issue.
would have to argue that it's not inappropriate that it's being dealt
this bill in that they've recognized, like I said, that as a human
barrier-free access issue, it's not inappropriate; as an enforcement
strictly, it could be argued that perhaps it should be done by the
I will report to the committee that, as we speak, there are other
ongoing concurrently with the Ministry of Transportation. We are also
with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Citizenship
matters that are relevant to the disabled permit program. So this
part of it
with respect to fines, this part with respect to the permits and the
of the extra offences, I think, as being included in the ODA, is an
part of helping achieve it. If the goals are to identify and eliminate
in the province, then I see this has a certain natural affinity.
Mr Spina: One of the elements that has been brought forward has to
enforcement. If amendments were brought forward that would make various
mandatory in one way, shape or form, or timelines were put into place
compliance, one of the concerns that has been expressed to us is the
enforcement. From your perspective, would a bylaw enforcement unit
sufficient to be able to enforce that sort of thing or would you need
special type of body?
Mr Keown: Just so I'm clear on your question, are you talking with
the disabled parking or are you talking with respect to compliance
terms of identifying barrier-free access?
Mr Spina: In the broader scale; in the broader spectrum. Clearly,
you've identified that with the parking issue, police officers and
enforcement unit can do it now. But if we expanded the enforcement
compliance to be other elements of enforcement, do you think they
would be able
to handle that? I guess that's the real question.
Mr Keown: I don't know if it would be appropriate for law enforcement
to be getting into the jurisdiction of human rights. I think there
and mechanisms in place, such as the Ontario Human Rights Commission,
at some of these issues. If you look at the five key areas of service
for policing, whether it be crime prevention, law enforcement, victim
assistance, public order maintenance or emergency response, in any
of those key
areas I really can't see where you would have, in terms of policing,
of legislation when it goes out. If you look at the city of Toronto
example, they have their own property standards, and they go out and
the bylaw issues with respect to property. That may be a more appropriate
branch, as opposed to a policing service.
Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): Thank you, Sergeant. Brian
and I go
back 25 years, we coached hockey together for 20 years, so he's a
friend. He not only knows this area but he's the expert on youth gangs
Toronto Police Service, so he's someone who really understands a lot
different issues. I'm glad to see you here today.
In terms of the response, was this proposal for the use of the fines
with the city of Toronto? Did you have a chance to take it to council
and did they express any views on it?
Mr Keown: Not as yet. If you notice on the document, it's a draft
discussion purposes. We're looking at feasibility. It has also been
down to the
disabled advisory committee to look at the issue. Our next step: we'll
to council, through our police services board, to look for the feasibility
implementation that will be done.
Mr Phillips: In terms of the integrity of the stickers -- and you
point out the
immensity of the problem -- in your mind, does the bill provide the
steps that will allow the system to be relatively foolproof in terms
preventing counterfeit and identifying stolen permits?
Mr Keown: No. The reason I say that, and I'll have to qualify that,
this is done right at the very back end. This legislation deals with
end of the enforcement. From what I see here, it's not intended that
cure the problems with respect to the misuse of disabled permits.
What it will
do is allow us, at the end of an investigation, to have something
with a little
more teeth in it at the adjudication process.
What is going on right now, concurrently, with both the Ministry
Transportation and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing,
is that the
document protection issues are being looked at. A person has come
the community, through a contact at City-TV, who has offered to the
the anti-counterfeiting measures that could be implemented into this
and they're better than currency grade. That's being worked on. So
other issues; you're absolutely right.
There are other issues also with respect to permit issuance, but
these are all
ongoing. The province did commit, back in the fall of 2000, to do
a full review
of the disabled persons parking permit program, so that is ongoing.
part here with respect to the fines and the addition of these extra
gives us a little bit of extra teeth at the enforcement end, which
The Chair: On behalf of the committee, thank you very much for your
presentation this afternoon.
LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES TASK FORCE
The Chair: Our next presentation is from the Learning Disabilities
of Ontario. I would ask the presenter to please come forward and state
name for the record. On behalf of the committee, welcome. You have
for your presentation this afternoon.
Ms Eva Nichols: Actually, my presentation this afternoon is not on
the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario, although I do quite
a bit of
work for them, but instead on behalf of the Learning Opportunities
which is a government initiative to support people with learning disabilities.
We work very closely with the Learning Disabilities Association but
you will be
hearing from them tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.
My name is Eva Nichols. I have been working in the field of learning
disabilities for the past 18 years, for the Learning Disabilities
and in a number of other areas, but today I would like to speak on
the Learning Opportunities Task Force.
This is an initiative that was established by the government of Ontario
1997 budget, essentially to improve the situation of students with
disabilities within the post-secondary education sector. We proceeded
by establishing some pilot projects, and we currently have 10 institutions
the province that run special programs for students with learning
Regrettably, I'm in the uncomfortable situation of being funded by
government but coming here to suggest to the government, very respectfully,
that this bill simply does not do anything very much or anything very
for people with learning disabilities. I recognize that many of you
not as aware of learning disabilities as you are of other more obvious
visible disabilities, but in fact the population I work with and represent
the single, largest group of people with disabilities, albeit their
is invisible so you can't simply pick them out in a group of people.
you look at the educational system, both elementary and secondary,
post-secondary, more than 50% of the students who are participating
are students with learning disabilities.
When the previous versions of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act
we expressed our expectations of an Ontarians with Disabilities Act
talked about the fact that we were looking to have an elimination
to full participation for people with learning disabilities; a recognition
all disability groups and their diverse needs; access to not just
also financial program and service delivery issues; mandatory compliance
the public and the private sector; accountability; and both incentives
penalties for compliance and implementation.
What we have here is a bill which focuses almost exclusively on physical
access. I would not like to suggest for a second that that isn't very
or that in some way you should eliminate that part of it. I merely
express to you that for the kinds of people I work with, physical
simply not enough.
There is nothing mandatory in this act other than the writing of
is no real accountability. There are no incentives or penalties. In
are really afraid that the requirement for developing plans without
and without accountability components will simply result in service
being spent on writing plans, either individually or jointly, but
necessarily resulting in any changes whatsoever. This is particularly
organizations like school boards, colleges and universities.
Those of you who have been involved with the Legislature for a long
recall that in 1992 there was a report of an interministerial working
that had been looking at the situation of people with learning disabilities
Ontario. At that time it was identified, and this was a government
the government of Ontario discriminates significantly against people
learning disabilities and that inequality was the current reality
with learning disabilities in Ontario in 1992. Regrettably, some of
not changed. Yes, we have the Learning Opportunities Task Force and
learning a tremendous amount about how we can improve situations in
post-secondary system. We have high hopes that the government will
implement our recommendations when they are finally tabled in full.
But there were two significant access issues identified for people
learning disabilities in 1992, neither of which has been addressed
so far and
which this current Ontarians with Disabilities Act still doesn't address.
first one and probably the more important is the issue of assessments.
don't have a decent assessment diagnosing the learning disability
recommending the programming, service and accommodations that these
need, then they are simply not going to be successful. Learning disabilities
are still the only disability area where any of the health insurance
simply don't cover assessments, because it is psychologists who diagnose
learning disabilities and not medical practitioners.
Most private sector benefits have cut back on their support for psychological
assessments. While the school boards certainly do assessments, the
changes to the funding formula have really meant that they are essentially
diagnosing for the greatest amount of dollars that they can get, so
cases students with learning disabilities are left out. Our pilot
the last four years have shown that over 85% of students arrive at
university with inadequate or inappropriate documentation or diagnostic
There are ways of paying for an assessment, of course, in a college
university system. There is the bursary for students with disabilities.
fact, this last year the federal government finally allowed a special
dispensation that the bursary could be utilized for learning disability
assessments. However, here in Ontario it is still tied totally to
eligible for the Ontario student assistance program, and in practice
that the majority of students who arrive at college or university
inappropriate documentation, inappropriate assessment, also can't
bursary, which is a taxable benefit, so really they should be able
the learning disability cannot be seen, more than any other group
with disabilities, people with learning disabilities are frequently
demands for reverification to prove that they still have the disability
which they were born and which they will have till the end of their
The other issue that is almost as important is the fact that in the
report, it was identified that the assistive devices program of the
Healthy by policy has excluded and continues to exclude people with
disabilities. If you have any other kind of disability, you can have
assistive devices -- maybe not enough, maybe not right, but you can
access. For people with learning disabilities, that doesn't exist.
board funding for adaptive technology and assistive devices only funds
equipment that can be used in the school. The students can't take
it home and
therefore simply can't utilize it. This has a major impact for education
also has an impact for employment. There are many people who will
say that if
you have to have a learning disability, this is a good time to have
disability because we have such wonderful technology. It really is
too bad that
so many people don't have access to it because they can't purchase
it through a
bursary and they are not eligible for the assistive devices program.
In the brief I distributed to you I have actually made some very
recommendations on behalf of the task force about sections of the
bill, but I
felt that I needed to highlight these issues as really being the fundamental
components of where the barriers for people with learning disabilities
would respectfully request that you really consider the situations
with invisible disabilities, and learning disabilities in particular,
the requisite amendments to this bill so that we end up with an Ontarians
Disabilities Act which is meaningful, which does include all people
disabilities, including those who have learning disabilities, and
eliminates the kinds of barriers, not just physical ones, which so
with disabilities face. Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We have approximately two minutes
and I'll start with the government side.
Mr Spina: Thank you, Ms Nichols, for coming. Learning disabilities:
to bridge it, so if you don't mind, help me. I'm familiar with it;
to figure out how that may or may not be able to be bridged as part
act. In some elements we have seen people who have, either from birth
acquired, brain injuries which would result in a learning disability.
we can see that visual or hearing impairments or a total lack would
learning disability. I'm wondering if you could expand on perhaps
disabilities and how they might be able to be bridged in the application
Ms Nichols: If you will forgive me, visual and hearing impairments
traditionally considered learning disabilities in and of themselves,
many people who have those problems also have learning disabilities.
in this bill where you could in fact improve things for people with
disabilities: when you discuss access and you talk about such things
communication, for example, there is no requirement in this bill that
be in alternative formats when they are developed. There is no requirement
implement all kinds of recommendations that have come to the government
access to print materials for people who are print-disabled. It is
recognized that in addition to people who are blind, people with dyslexia
print-disabled and would benefit from that.
The issue around assessment: if I could rewrite this bill, I would
define "access" in a much broader sense in recognition of
the fact that
physical access is important, but it's only the first step. Second,
mandate that the plans that organizations, institutions, agencies
prepare should have some common elements and should specify exactly
should contain in terms of timelines and in term of compliance, in
accountability measures. I would specify that when organizations develop
implement such plans, they mustn't use service dollars and take it
the people who are supposed to be benefiting from the service just
plans. I would say that I would establish a process for reviewing
the plans and
having people report on a regular basis, not just on what is in the
how they have implemented it and how people with disabilities have
from the work that has been done. If all those changes occurred, then
we would have the beginnings of a good Ontarians with Disabilities
You didn't ask this, but I would like to add that one of the things
personally are very happy about is that you didn't model things on
Americans with Disabilities Act, because that particular piece of
significantly discriminates against people with learning disabilities
because of some of the issues around not understanding what people
learning disabilities need. So we are glad about that piece, at least.
The Chair: Thank you very much. I'll go to the official opposition.
Mr Ted McMeekin
(Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot): As one who has been involved
my life in education, particularly students with special needs, I'd
interested to hear from you about access points. If I'm reading between
lines correctly, I think we're talking about accessing opportunities.
We hear a
lot about speech therapy and access to speech therapy, and IEPs in
what have you.
Can you help us a bit with how we might modify the act to not only
do what you
want to do, broaden the scope, but also to help us understand where
special learning needs might be able to access opportunities they
Ms Nichols: The barriers for people with learning disabilities, if
I may come
at it that way, are certainly not physical access, nor have we ever
through the work of the Learning Opportunities Task Force that standards
be lowered so that people should get into college or university with
marks than other students.
However, once they get there they absolutely have to have access
that is appropriate. South of the border there is a lot of work being
universal instructional design, which is not just for people with
disabilities or even special needs, but a way of teaching so that
has any kind of non-traditional needs can access this.
It consists of such things as adaptive technology and access to accommodations,
which are certainly mandated by the Human Rights Code, but currently
our colleges and universities can certainly deny accommodation and
academic freedom as the reason for not allowing a student to tape-record
lecture or not allowing a student to utilize a computer when writing
There are those kinds of access issues. A particular one that is
problem, and you probably won't hear from anybody else about this,
is that in
spite of the fact that this province has some wonderful things happening
education, we rely on the United States to provide many of the professional
entrance exams, things like the law school admission test, the LSAT,
the graduate records exam. They apply their legislation and, as a
students with learning disabilities attending an Ontario university
attending an Ontario law school can't actually get the kinds of accommodations
that our Human Rights Code mandates because the United States legislation
doesn't allow for that.
That's a very peculiar issue to people with learning disabilities,
but I think
that education in Ontario has come of an age where really we should
some of this for ourselves and not allowing other people's legislation
create barriers for our students.
Mr Martin: Thank you very much for coming today and challenging us
you always do when you come before us. You make reference to two points
wanted to ask you about. You mention in your brief the Human Rights
and the Human Rights Code. We had people before us in Windsor yesterday
suggested that the act as it now stands would in fact remove some
rights of the
disabled where the Human Rights Commission is concerned. This was
clinic out of Windsor which suggested that -- so it doesn't just not
anything, it in fact takes away.
The other issue is the issue of learning disabilities. It seems to
me that at
the bottom of all of this is lack of resources, lack of funding for
boards to do the kinds of things they know they need to do and want
to do, but
the priorities they choose are different, unfortunately, in some instances.
This government has chosen priorities. It has chosen to spend money
breaks for corporations and individuals, which effectively removes
the public pot for this kind of thing. Without the resources attached
bill, it seems to me it just makes what you're requiring undoable.
Ms Nichols: Just very quickly to respond: in terms of taking away
from what the
Human Rights Commission provides, I think that an institution could
legitimately under this bill refuse accommodations at a given time
grounds that their plan doesn't call for this to happen until next
year or the
year after. So in that regard -- perhaps unusual circumstances --
actually imagine the Human Rights Code sort of being overridden by
a plan of a
Without commenting on the government's priorities in funding or anything
that, which I don't wish to, there certainly is a major issue around
area of special education and how special education is funded. It's
particular issue in the north where you come from, partly because
of money but
also because of qualified professionals who are not available there.
I would not look to this bill to address all of those issues by any
in terms of the plans and how school boards will work on their accessibility
plans and how that will improve things for students with learning
I cannot see.
The Chair: With that, we've run out of time. On behalf of the committee,
you very much for your presentation this afternoon.
COALITION FOR LESBIAN AND GAY RIGHTS IN ONTARIO
The Chair: Our last presentation this afternoon is the Coalition
and Gay Rights in Ontario. I would ask the presenter or presenters
come forward and state your name for the record. On behalf of the
welcome. You have 20 minutes for your presentation.
Mr Nick Mul1: I'm Nick Mul1 and I'm a spokesperson and one of the
the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario, also know as
for inviting me this evening.
As a member organization of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee,
support the 11 principles set forth by the committee toward making
this act a
strong and effective one. We urge the government to incorporate these
principles in the bill in order to strengthen an otherwise insubstantial
proposal we have before us, from merely creating opportunities to
barriers to actually achieving barrier removal for all people.
Some general concerns regarding the bill: the bill focuses too heavily
improving opportunities for persons with disabilities by creating
barriers and coming up with ideas on how to remove them. This may
be a step in
the process of achieving a barrier-free Ontario, but a preliminary
one at best,
as there is a long history of Ontarians with disabilities facing barriers.
would better be spent by having the government tap into the expertise
currently exists among the 1.6 million people with disabilities who
this province. In other words, the emphasis should be placed on barrier
and prevention, rather than exploration, at this point.
Although it is proposed that a provincial disability advisory committee
struck, its powers are extremely limited, to the point of not being
the development of regulations or standards under the bill.
In addition to the provincial disability advisory committee is a
disability directorate. Although welcome concepts, they represent
ones, for both have at one time existed in this province, only to
if not altogether abolished. Today we are presented once again with
concepts, whose viability is being questioned due to the limited mandate
The time it has taken for this government to come forward with this
exacerbates the disappointment experienced due to the bill's lack
of teeth. It
provides next to no mandatory changes. It provides for no timelines.
provides for no means of enforcement. For the most part it places
responsibility for the implementation of changes on to municipalities,
less than 10,000 at that.
The private sector is not addressed as equally as the public sector,
which is a
serious concern given the alarming rate of unemployment among the
The role of the voices of persons with disabilities in eliminating
preventing barriers is advisory at best and at worst government-appointed.
These raise serious concerns about the effectiveness and broad-based
representation of these voices.
Some specific concerns regarding sexual minorities with disabilities:
gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and transgendered people -- for short
refer to them as sexual minorities -- with disabilities as a population
barriers on two levels, their disability and their sexual orientation
gender identity. Visibility may or may not be a factor in either or
the fact that both are the person's reality presents a double set
in a society that expresses discomfort around disabilities and heterosexism
homophobia toward those who do not identify as straight. All aspects
living can be compromised by these two factors, from housing, employment,
transportation and means of communication to receiving goods and services.
underscores the restrictions and limitations faced by sexual minorities
disabilities is the insidious attitudinal barrier.
In a province-wide study we conducted on addressing the health care
service needs of sexual minorities in Ontario, we found 20% of survey
respondents described themselves as having a disability or chronic
of male respondents in this category reported being HIV-positive;
72% of all
respondents with disabilities were receiving social assistance; 67%
with disabilities did not come out to their health care providers,
that to do so would negatively affect the way they were treated; 48%
were unable to pay for counselling or therapy.
Some anecdotal reports included: negative attitudes by special transportation
drivers when transporting an individual to a gay-identified venue;
expressed by home care workers when visiting a lesbian, gay or bisexual's
upon realizing the relationships, literature or artwork in the home;
attendant care providers refusing to work with lesbian, gay or bisexual
who are in need of such services; great difficulty in accessing lesbian,
and bisexual literature and other affirming materials, particularly
in institutional settings; health care and social service professionals
have difficulty accepting that people with disabilities are sexual
alone lesbian, gay or bisexual; gender-based shelters dealing with
homelessness, addictions or mental illness were ill-equipped to deal
trans populations; and the need to seek out private services that
gay, bisexual and trans-positive, rather than face discrimination
public service system, and then struggling to find the funds to afford
We put forward some recommendations, the first of which is, given
Ontarians with Disabilities Act would impact on all provincial government
ministries, it is imperative that cultural sensitivity training inclusive
sexual minority issues be undertaken at all provincial government
In the absence of employment equity legislation, efforts must be
the Ontarians with Disabilities Act to address barriers to obtaining
maintaining employment to both address the disproportionate rate of
in this population as well as those who are specifically marginalized
this population, such as sexual minorities. This must be applied equally
both the public and private sectors.
Health care and social service organizations serving those with disabilities
chronic illnesses must ensure that their facilities are fully barrier-free,
train their staff to expect clients -- patients -- who are lesbian,
bisexual, transsexual or transgendered and acknowledge that their
patients may have sexual, loving same-sex relationships.
Health care and social service organizations must conduct research
degree of hostility, discomfort or receptiveness of those providing
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or transgendered people with disabilities
or chronic illnesses, as well as the varying degrees of visibility
of chronic illnesses or disabilities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual
transgendered people. Research methods must not force disclosure of
orientation or make unrealistic demands on stamina or mobility.
Publicly funded producers of sex information and sexuality-training
for people with disabilities must include information for and about
transsexual, transgendered people and people of all sexual orientations.
Finally, residential facilities for people with disabilities must
policies and procedures acknowledging that they have lesbian, gay,
transsexual and transgendered clients and accommodating their special
In concluding here, the issue that we are bringing forth is one very
attitudinal barriers, and we feel that's a piece that's missing in
this act. It
is an act that focuses specifically on people with disabilities, and
to be first and foremost, but what we are bringing across is that
disabilities are more than just people with disabilities. Groups that
marginalized within that population, be they women, the elderly, children,
multiple disabilities, class issues, sexual orientation, ethnicity,
many things -- have to be taken into consideration. Attitudinal change
difficult, but at the same time if we're only working on attitudinal
around how we work with people who have disabilities, we have to take
consideration that there's more to them than just that.
That concludes my presentation.
The Chair: We have approximately three minutes per caucus, and I'll
Mr George Smitherman (Toronto Centre-Rosedale): Nick, for a long
time you and
CLGRO have been involved in the struggle within the broad gay community
full equality have and witnessed many different steps along that path.
people who have been before this committee take the view that this
than nothing, and they seem satisfied. That's not the majority view,
disabled groups have spoken to that. From your standpoint, with the
of the gay community on the road to full equality, which we're still
down, how much better than nothing is this, in your opinion?
Mr Mul1: This is why I said in terms of my conclusion, what's presented
certainly won't go far enough for the sexual minority communities.
It may, on
the front of disability issues, provide some things, although I started
saying there's a lot to be done with this act if it's going to have
teeth in it to do what it needs to do for people with disabilities.
It will not
go far enough in terms of taking into consideration the specifics
marginalized group like the sexual minority communities. They are
double barriers, in essence:first, having the disability, and second,
they can be out about their sexual orientation. That comes up in many
daily living, like I mentioned, in terms of transportation, employment,
housing, many areas like that.
The other thing, to respond to that as well, is our community, like
communities, is on the road to equality, but at the same time, at
we fight very hard for being on the road to equity as well. That's
what this is about. It's not just so much to be the same as everyone
to take into perspective and to take into consideration the specifics
exist. We are not all exactly the same, and this is what we want people
sensitive to. Oftentimes people go with the majority, which in our
happens to be heterosexual. We're asking people to step back a bit
into consideration that there's more to a person than just their disability,
and it just might be their sexual minority status.
The Chair: With that, we've run out of time. Mr Martin?
Mr Martin: Thank you for coming. On the first page you list a number
disappointments that you see in the bill, and most of them have been
over the last few days by others. The one that's missing is the lack
resources. I guess I tie that to another issue that you raise here,
has been raised before but I think has particular relevance in your
and that's the issue of attitudinal barriers.
First of all, I would guess that you probably recognize that we need
if we're going to do some of the education stuff that you're suggesting,
are there any other things that we could do with this bill that would
that area of the attitudinal barriers that exist out there?
Mr Mul1: I think something needs to be stated in the bill with regard
addressing that as a concern and going that next step of talking about
attitudinal changes with regard to disabilities, but what the person
disability brings forward as well, that they may be female, they may
multiple health problems, they may have issues of poverty. There are
things that need to come forward, and what I'm representing today
is the issue
around sexual minority issues. So something needs to be stated in
there in that
Your other point around resources is a very good one, and that's
why it's part
of our recommendations, that resources need to be put in place around
educational materials. Activities have to be put in place in terms
be it governmental staff, as well as service providers who are working
people who have disabilities, employers out there. And it goes without
that doesn't come without a cost. Money has to be put into this if
to even begin to address the huge task of attitudinal change.
The Chair: The government side?
Mr Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): Thank you for your presentation. You're
suggesting that the gay community would expect disabled within the
community to be treated differently under this act. What I think I
saying is that you've got an additional issue, the attitudinal one,
somehow needs to be dealt with, and I would think on a broader level,
Are you suggesting, though, that there should be something actually
into this legislation to deal with that? If so, I guess I get back
question of, how do you legislate attitudinal change?
Mr Mul1: It's a good question. Yes, I think we would like to see
the act that's actually written out. A starting point -- again, I'm
representing one particular population of sexual minorities, but the
Rights Code lists many characteristics that each of us have our rights
protected on, so it's that philosophical premise that I'm coming from
I don't know that you can actually legislate attitudinal change,
something that's a start. If I speak in particular to the area of
provision that some of our recommendations address in health care
services, a lot of the professionals in those fields are operating
of ethics in their own respective professions that take a lot of this
consideration but don't necessarily follow it. To have this piece
legislation is another reminder to them that this is being taken seriously
we all need to be sensitive to this; it's not just a matter of the
on disabilities, which is important, but there are other factors that
be taken into consideration to see the person as a whole person.
The Chair: We've run out of time. On behalf of the committee, thank
much for your presentation.
This committee will reconvene at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning in this
The committee adjourned at 1801.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Chair / Pr1sident
Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex PC)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Pr1sident
Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland PC)
Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex PC)
Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton West / -Ouest ND)
Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland PC)
Mr Ernie Hardeman (Oxford PC)
Mr Monte Kwinter (York Centre / -Centre L)
Mr John O'Toole (Durham PC)
Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt L)
Mr Joseph Spina (Brampton Centre / -Centre PC)
Substitutions / Membres remplaJants
Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale PC)
Mr Frank Klees (Oak Ridges PC)
Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie ND)
Mr Ted McMeekin (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot L)
Mr Ernie Parsons (Prince Edward-Hastings L)
Mr Steve Peters (Elgin-Middlesex-London L)
Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes
Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre / -Centre ND)
Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt L)
Mr George Smitherman (Toronto Centre-Rosedale / Toronto-Centre-Rosedale
Clerk / GreffiMre
Ms Susan Sourial
Staff / Personnel
Ms Elaine Campbell, research officer, Research and Information Services
Tuesday 4 December 2001
Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001, Bill 125, Mr Jackson /
Loi de 2001 sur les personnes handicap1es de l'Ontario, projet de
loi 125, M.
Greater Toronto Hotel Association F-521 Mr Rod Seiling
Tourism Toronto F-524
Ms Catherine Smart
Toronto Association for Community Living F-526 Mr Fred Peters
Canadian National Institute for the Blind F-529 Dr Penny Hartin
Ontario Brain Injury Association F-532 Mr Howard Brown
Ms Helen Sieber
Mr John Kumpf
National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality F-535
Mr Gordon Dingle
Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario F-538 Mr Michael Clarke
Mr Harley Nott
Ms Anna Germain F-540
Canadian Mental Health Assocation, Ontario division F-542
Ms Barbara Everett
Ms Patti Bregman
Canadian Hearing Society F-547
Mr David Allen
Mr Gary Malkowski
Easter Seal Society F-549
Ms Charlotte Gibson
City of Toronto Community Advisory Committee on Disability Issues
Mr Joe Mihevc
Toronto Police Service F-554
Mr Brian Keown
Learning Opportunities Task Force F-557 Ms Eva Nichols
Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario F-559 Mr Nick Mule