Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee

ODA Committee Homepageblank spaceFactsheet; the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committeeblank spaceWhat's New on the ODA Committee websiteblank spaceCorrespondence between the ODA Committee and the Ontario Governmentblank spaceODA Committee Press Releasesblank spaceHansard from the Ontario Legislature re: ODAblank spaceODA Committee Action Kits and Tipsblank spaceContact the ODA Committeeblank spaceOrganizational Members of the ODA
Who are we?blank spaceMajor ODA Documentsblank spaceODA News Briefsblank spaceODA Handoutblank spaceODA Pamphletblank spaceODA Postersblank spaceblank spaceRegional ODA Eventsblank spaceblank spaceFree Membership form to Join the ODA Committeeblank space

Please Support a Strong & Effective ODA

follow this link for text-based navigation menu

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

Letter from the Hon. Cam Jackson, Minister of Citizenship
to ODA Committee chair, David Lepofsky

dated February 21, 2002




On March 4, 2002, the ODA Committee received a letter from Citizenship Minister
Cam Jackson. His letter was dated February 21, 2002.

Minister Jackson 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 the
ODA 2001, urging it prompt proclamation in force and effective implementation,
and offering to work together with him and to have extensive input into the
legislation's implementation.

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 for
results, to provide details on the contents of accessibility plans, and to
create effective enforcement mechanisms. We are eager to learn about the
Government's plans for developing strong and effective regulations and
guidelines under this legislation. What are your time frames for developing
these? How do you plan to go about consulting with the disability community and
to bring all stakeholders to the table to plan together for these regulations
and standards?"

In our letter we urged the Minister to establish an open process for selecting
members of the new Disability Access Advisory Council. We stated: "It is
important that you open up this process for people to apply and to nominate
members, and for the disability community to have a say or input into their
selection. For this Council to be successful and to have the confidence of the
disability community whom it is to serve, this Council should be made of
membership that has a strong commitment to mandatory removal and prevention of

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 your
Government's plans on how the membership of this Council will be selected. How
will the Government ensure that the broad disability community as a whole
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 to our
inquiries and offers to assist. We note that three months after this
legislation received Royal Assent, the Government has still not proclaimed in
force the majority of the provisions of the ODA 2001, including the important
provisions empowering the Government to make regulations. Of interest, back on
November 27, 2001, during exchanges in the Legislature about the ODA bill,
Minister Jackson commented on the Government's plans in this regard. He said
the following in response to a friendly question from a Conservative MPP:

"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 authority
put in the hands of the disabled community, who will advise the government on
making those regulations. It's the seventh principle of the eleven principles
of the ODA resolution stated in this House. These regulations will be developed
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 in this
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:



February 21, 2002

David Lepofsky
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 concerns and
questions, and I appreciate the opportunity to address these.

The proclamation of certain key sections of the act took place on February 7,
permitting the establishment of the Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario
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 until a
draft has been published in the Ontario Gazette, and interested persons have
had an opportunity to make comments to the Accessibility Directorate of
Ontario. This provision will allow the disability community and all interested
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 and
municipal advisory councils. The act requires that, at the direction of the
Minister, the Accessibility Advisory Council shall advise the Minister on the
implementation of the act and on the preparation of the regulations (Section

You have also asked about time frames for developing regulations. The act
provides a wide scope of regulation-making authority. The development of
regulations will be an ongoing process, and specific time-frames are not set.
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 and all

All nominations that are received will be considered on their merits.

All appointments to government agencies must provide for a fair and equitable
representation of the people of Ontario. In addition, section 19(2) of the
legislation requires that a majority of the members of the council will be
persons with disabilities. For the Advisory Council, this will mean that people
with a range of disabilities will be included as the majority of members on the
council. Other selection criteria will include such factors as geographic area,
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 Act
Committee, and am confident Advisory Council members will bring an extensive
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 number of
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 I am
confident that it will be a source of specialized knowledge, research and
support to all sectors, and will encourage accessibility initiatives through
partnerships, public education and information. The directorate will consult
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 with
disabilities and others, which could include, for example, the Ontario Realty
Corporation, architects and other professionals. Organizations with questions
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 advice that
your members have shared with me in past meetings.

Once again, thank you for writing.



Cam Jackson

back to ODA Bill 125 Index page



Top of Page



Website maintained by Barbara Anello

Please email your feedback on the website.

Last updated March 17, 2002

Web Design Courtesy of Barbara Anello 
of AWS: Anello Web Services 
URL: http://welcome.to/aws