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New ODA Bill 125
Correspondence with Government on Bill 125
Letter to the Hon. Janet Ecker from Peter Kormos, MPP Niagara Centre
dated November 9, 2001
November 9, 2001
Dear Ms. Ecker:
On behalf of the New Democratic Party caucus, I write to request that your government hold fourteen days of public hearings, including ten days of travel on Bill 125 - Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
It is essential that people with disabilities across Ontario have a chance to respond to this bill, which falls far short of expectations. To adequately cover each region of the province, I ask that the committee travel to Ottawa, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Hamilton, St. Catherines, Kingston, Kenora and London. I also request that you hold four days of hearing in Toronto.
To show its commitment to a barrier-free Ontario, this government must ensure that public hearings on Bill 125 are fully accessible to everyone. In order to allow people with disabilities time to make paratransit arrangements, I request that you provide two weeks advance notice by advertising through local media outlets and by informing disability stakeholders of the dates and locations of public hearings in each community. I demand that you guarantee that all accessibility needs will be met in every location, including ensuring locations are fully wheelchair accessible, and by providing American sign language interpretation and copies of documents in audio and Braille. I further request that you provide attendants to assist people who wish to address the committee. I also request that your government provide two weeks advance notice of the dates and ensure the same accessibility for clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 125.
Your government's decision to introduce this legislation at such a late date and your attempt to force it through the House before Christmas has backed people with disabilities into a corner. The disability community wants this legislation to do what it purports to do - to eliminate barriers across Ontario. They demand that the entire legislative process be made accessible to those people whose lives will be most affected by the changes proposed in Bill 125. These hearings are your government's opportunity to hear from them. I insist that you do the right thing and make every effort to include people with disabilities at every stage in the life of Bill 125 - Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
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