MINISTER RESPONDS TO ODA COMMITTEE'S
JANUARY 31, 2002 LETTER
On March 4, 2002,
the ODA Committee received a letter from Citizenship Minister
Cam Jackson. His letter was dated February 21, 2002.
was responding to our letter
to him dated January 31, 2002. We
had written to the Minister asking for details of his plans to implement
ODA 2001, urging it prompt proclamation in force and effective implementation,
and offering to work together with him and to have extensive input
Our letter stated,
among other things: "We urge the Government to develop
regulations as quickly as possible to set strong standards for barrier-removal
and prevention for both the public and private sectors, to fix timelines
results, to provide details on the contents of accessibility plans,
create effective enforcement mechanisms. We are eager to learn about
Government's plans for developing strong and effective regulations
guidelines under this legislation. What are your time frames for developing
these? How do you plan to go about consulting with the disability
to bring all stakeholders to the table to plan together for these
In our letter
we urged the Minister to establish an open process for selecting
members of the new Disability Access Advisory Council. We stated:
important that you open up this process for people to apply and to
members, and for the disability community to have a say or input into
selection. For this Council to be successful and to have the confidence
disability community whom it is to serve, this Council should be made
membership that has a strong commitment to mandatory removal and prevention
You have committed
to put the disability community in the driver's seat
regarding this legislation, and have pointed to this new Council as
one of the
ways you will do this. We would therefore welcome any specifics on
Government's plans on how the membership of this Council will be selected.
will the Government ensure that the broad disability community as
across Ontario has a real voice in the selection of its membership?"
We also asked
about the Government's plans to develop and provide technical
assistance to organizations who seek to comply with the ODA 2001,
and when the
Government will make this assistance available to the public.
Please review the letter below to see what the Minister says in response
inquiries and offers to assist. We note that three months after this
legislation received Royal Assent, the Government has still not proclaimed
force the majority of the provisions of the ODA 2001, including the
provisions empowering the Government to make regulations. Of interest,
November 27, 2001, during exchanges in the Legislature about the ODA
Minister Jackson commented on the Government's plans in this regard.
the following in response to a friendly question from a Conservative
"I want to
remind members of the House that the bill contains, in section 22,
10 specific clauses with respect to regulatory and regulation-making
put in the hands of the disabled community, who will advise the government
making those regulations. It's the seventh principle of the eleven
of the ODA resolution stated in this House. These regulations will
by the disabilities community. We hope that this will be proclaimed
by the end
of the year and hopefully then the first elements to be proclaimed
legislation will be the regulatory power and the new --"
The Speaker cut
off the Minister here in mid-sentence, calling time.
As always, we
welcome your comments. Send them to:
c/o Ms. Marg Thomas
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto ON M4G 3E8
Dear Mr. Lepofsky:
Thank you for
your letter enquiring about the implementation phase of the
Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001. You have raised a number of
questions, and I appreciate the opportunity to address these.
of certain key sections of the act took place on February 7,
permitting the establishment of the Accessibility Advisory Council
and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.
You have asked
about our plans to consult with the disability community.
Section 22 (1.1) of the act requires that no regulation may be made
draft has been published in the Ontario Gazette, and interested persons
had an opportunity to make comments to the Accessibility Directorate
Ontario. This provision will allow the disability community and all
persons the opportunity to provide input into any proposed regulation.
As well, members
of the disability community will be invited to become part of
the provincial and municipal governments' advisory councils on accessibility.
Persons with disabilities must make up the majority of both the provincial
municipal advisory councils. The act requires that, at the direction
Minister, the Accessibility Advisory Council shall advise the Minister
implementation of the act and on the preparation of the regulations
You have also
asked about time frames for developing regulations. The act
provides a wide scope of regulation-making authority. The development
regulations will be an ongoing process, and specific time-frames are
You may expect that one priority will be the development of a regulation
identifying organizations that will be responsible for preparing accessibility
On the issue of
membership selection for the Accessibility Advisory Council of
Ontario, we have welcomed nominations from the disability community
that are received will be considered on their merits.
to government agencies must provide for a fair and equitable
representation of the people of Ontario. In addition, section 19(2)
legislation requires that a majority of the members of the council
persons with disabilities. For the Advisory Council, this will mean
with a range of disabilities will be included as the majority of members
council. Other selection criteria will include such factors as geographic
age, gender, sectoral representation, and individual skill sets.
I am impressed
by the high calibre of nominations that have been received to
date, many nominated by members of the Ontarians with Disabilities
Committee, and am confident Advisory Council members will bring an
expert knowledge to serve the people of Ontario.
You have also
asked about our plans to develop and provide technical assistance
to organizations concerning the act and its contents. There are a
ways that assistance will be provided.
As mentioned above,
the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario was established on
February 7. It will be in a transitional period to begin with, but
confident that it will be a source of specialized knowledge, research
support to all sectors, and will encourage accessibility initiatives
partnerships, public education and information. The directorate will
with organizations that must prepare accessibility plans and policies.
We will be also
planning for the development of guidelines under the
legislation. These will be developed in consultation with persons
disabilities and others, which could include, for example, the Ontario
Corporation, architects and other professionals. Organizations with
may also choose to contact directorate staff directly with their questions.
I am always interested
to receive comments from the Ontarians with Disabilities
Act Committee, and have benefited greatly from the experience and
your members have shared with me in past meetings.
Once again, thank
you for writing.
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