May 2, 2002
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE UPDATE
Ontario Government Appoints 5 Members To The Ontario Disability Accessibility Advisory Council
May 2, 2002
The Ontario Government circulated a news release late afternoon yesterday. It announced that it has appointed five people to the Ontario Disability Accessibility Advisory Council. In this news release, set out below, the Government names the persons it has selected.
We hope that this Council will voice a strong public commitment to the mandatory removal and prevention of barriers against persons with disabilities in all sectors. The ODA Committee looks forward to working together with the new Council on developing strong and effective regulations to remove and prevent barriers against persons with disabilities in the public and private sectors.
We encourage this new Council to begin an open consultation process as soon as possible across Ontario with persons with disabilities on what those regulations should include. We also encourage the Council to make its proceedings and deliberations open to all.
The ODA Committee is eager to work together with the new Advisory Council, the new Citizenship Minister and the new Premier to help the Government keep the 13 important commitments it made to Ontarians with disabilities last fall.
We also urge the Ontario Government to appoint the rest of the Council. The Government has not indicated when it plans to appoint the Council's remaining members. Under the ODA 2001, it was the Ontario Government which selected these Council members. This Council is not selected or elected by the Ontario disability community. The Government did not consult with the ODA Committee on the choice of Council members.
By way of some background, on January 31, 2002, the ODA Committee wrote then
Citizenship Minister Cam Jackson, asking that an open process for selecting the
Council be established. We also asked that the disability community have a say
into the selection.
Minister Jackson wrote us back on February 21, 2002. In his letter, he said
this on the Government's criteria for selecting Council members: "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."
The government's news release also indicates that the Government is planning
for the rest of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 to take effect this
fall. At present, the majority of the Act's provisions have not been proclaimed
in force. Passed last December, the Government proclaimed in force the power to
appoint members to this council last February. We ask the Government to
announce details of its timetable for proclaiming in force the ODA 2001's
remaining unproclaimed provisions.
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Ministry of Citizenship News Release
First appointments made to key Accessibility Advisory Council
TORONTO, May 1 /CNW/ - Ontario's drive to achieve full accessibility for
persons with disabilities received a major boost today with the announcement of
the first five members of the Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario, a key
body that will advise Citizenship Minister Carl DeFaria on improving access,
independence and opportunity for people with disabilities. Thunder Bay lawyer
and disability rights activist, Dave Shannon, will be the council's first
Chair, and Brampton Olympian and Paralympian, Jeff Adams, will be Vice-Chair,
"We are moving forward and keeping our promise to the 1.9 million people in
Ontario with disabilities," the Minister said. "The Accessibility Advisory
Council will play a critical role in achieving a province where existing
barriers are removed and no new ones are created."
Three other members were also appointed: Dean La Bute, of Windsor; Barry
McMahon, of Ottawa; and Duncan Read, of Ajax. These individuals were selected
for their broad range of skills relating to disability matters. Each will bring
a strong background of experience and sensitivity to the issues facing
Ontarians with disabilities.
"I think I speak for everyone when I say how excited we are to be at the
forefront of change," said Mr. Shannon. "We look forward to working with the
minister to achieve greater accessibility, independence and opportunity for
persons with disabilities."
The Accessibility Advisory Council was established following the February 2002
proclamation of the landmark Ontarians With Disabilities Act, 2001. Under the
Act, a majority of Council members must be people with disabilities, chosen for
their broad range of skills and experience in, and sensitivity to, disability
The Council will advise the Minister on implementing the Act and preparing
regulations, as well as provide input on programs of public information related
to the Act and the accessibility for persons with disabilities to services
provided or funded by the Government of Ontario.
Minister DeFaria commended those who had submitted their names to serve on the
Council. Further appointments to round out the Council's membership are
pending, he said.
The minister also noted that implementation of the Act itself is progressing
according to plan.
"It is not unusual for a complex piece of legislation to be proclaimed in
stages," DeFaria said. "We need to put the tools, structures and all necessary
supports such as the Council and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario in
place first to make sure that obligations are successfully met. We have made
great progress and our plan is to have the balance of the Act take effect by
The Minister noted that the Council will be supported by the Accessibility
Directorate of Ontario, located within the Ministry of Citizenship. The
Directorate, which was created by the Act, will work with municipalities, the
Ontario Public Service, school boards, public transportation providers,
hospitals, colleges and universities as they prepare to start their annual
accessibility planning, as required by the Act.
The Directorate will also work with standard-setting organizations, the
disability community and the private sector on best practices to continually
prevent and remove barriers.
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 is Canada's most far-reaching and
comprehensive legislation for people with disabilities. It builds on the
government's multi-billion dollar commitment to programs and services for
people with disabilities, including $1 billion in new funding announced since
The Act will require municipalities, universities, colleges, school boards,
hospitals, public transit organizations, transportation providers, and the
Ontario Public Service to develop plans to make their buildings, programs and
services more accessible to people with disabilities. It also allows for
regulatory codes and standards for the private sector.
Alternative formats available upon request
For additional information:
Tel: (416) 325-4957 Toll-Free: 1-888-325-4957
TTY: (416) 326-0148 TTY Toll-Free 1-888-335-
Disponible en franJais
For more information visit www.gov.on.ca/mczcr <http://www.gov.on.ca/mczcr>
For further information: Contacts: Mike Campbell, Communications Branch, (416)
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Last updated May 18, 2002