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Ontario Government's
New ODA Bill 125
Correspondence with Government on Bill 125

November 19, 2001


November 19, 2001
The Honourable Cam Jackson
Minister of Citizenship
6th Floor, 400 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2R9
Dear Minister:
The community agencies listed below would like to initiate a dialogue with you
about the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which you introduced on November 5,
2001. The Bill is now in second reading and public hearings are about to
begin. We view Bill 125 as a framework for effective legislation and a first
step in this process. Most of us met with you over the past few months and
felt that you truly do understand the need to systematically remove barriers
that currently prevent people with disabilities from participating as true
citizens in all aspects of life in Ontario.
In our view, in many important respects, Bill 125 still falls significantly
short of the goal you have been championing. This is particularly the case for
people who are blind, deaf or hard of hearing, or for those with intellectual
disabilities or disabilities caused by mental illness. For them, we fear the
legislation, in its current form, will make very little difference.
Today, together as organizations representing the full range of ambulatory,
mental, intellectual and sensory disabilities, we want to advise you that we
wish to work with you through the committee public hearing process to bring
about comprehensive, strong legislation that effectively includes and benefits
While each of our agencies will be submitting specific amendments during the
committee hearing process, we do want to outline important common concerns:
§ Currently, the bill lacks a significant role or authority for the Advisory
Council and the lack of an effective mechanism for meaningful disability input
into all standards to be made under the bill.
§ There is a lack of specific legislated time frames for the creation of
effective regulations that will remove barriers across all sectors.
§ There is a lack of any real enforcement or mandatory barrier removal and
prevention requirements other than for parking violations under the Highway
Traffic Act.
We look forward to presenting you with specific amendments to make this
legislation totally effective in making Ontario the first barrier-free society
for people with disabilities in Canada.
In addition, we hope you will ensure there is sufficient time and opportunity
within the legislative process to prepare, present and fully consider the
necessary amendments and to ensure the final legislation meets the 11
principles our organizations endorsed as members of the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act Committee and indeed the entire Ontario legislature,
unanimously endorsed on October 29, 1998. The legislative timetable should not
become a barrier itself. 
We would be very pleased to meet with you to discuss these issues in more
detail and to suggest amendments to strengthen this important legislation.
Thank you for your leadership and commitment in bringing this important
legislation forward.
Yours sincerely,
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Ontario Division
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division
Canadian Hearing Society
Muscular Dystrophy Society of Canada
Canadian Paraplegic Association, Ontario
Ontario Association For Community Living
Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Association of Ontario
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
The Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf

Updated November 20-01



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