DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE UPDATE
ODA Issue Keeps
Coming Up In The Ontario Legislature This Spring
June 21, 2002
Even after the
Ontario Legislature finished debating the ODA last fall, the
ODA issue remains a live and important issue on the floor of the Ontario
Legislature. The Legislature resumed sitting in early May, after a
break since last December while the Conservative Party chose a new
and provincial Premier.
As indicated in
previous announcements, the ODA issue has been raised
during debates over the Conservative Government's bill amending the
Building Code. It has also been raised during debates over NDP Disability
Critic Tony Martin's bill, seeking to give cost of living increases
Here, we show
you the other times when it has come up, including:
May 13, 2002, the Legislature was informed that the Ontarians
Disabilities Act 2001 was given Royal Assent on December 14, 2001.
* On May
23, 2002, Liberal Disability critic Ernie Parsons asked the new
Citizenship Minister Carl DeFaria when the remaining unproclaimed
provisions of the ODA 2001 would be proclaimed in force, and noted
first 5 members who the Government appointed to the Accessibility
Council included no women. The Minister answered that he wanted the
the Act proclaimed as soon as possible and plans to have it proclaimed
the fall. Below is also a news release from Liberal Ernie Parsons
* On May
29, 2002, Liberal Disability Critic Ernie Parsons made a statement
honouring National Access Awareness Week. He called on the Government
proclaim in force the rest of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act
* On June
5, 2002 (during debates on a Government "Time Allocation"
"closure" motion on a bill regarding hunting and fishing
Liberal MPP Michael Brown highlighted barriers facing persons with
disabilities in the proposed legislation dealing with access to hunting
Hansard Monday May 13, 2002
The Speaker (Hon
Gary Carr): I beg to inform the House that on December 14,
2001, in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, Her Honour the Lieutenant
Governor was pleased to assent to certain bills of the previous session.
Clerk at the Table
(Mr Todd Decker): The following are the titles of the
bills to which Her Honour did assent: ...
Bill 125, An Act
to improve the identification, removal and prevention of
barriers faced by persons with disabilities and to make related amendments
to other Acts.
Hansard Thursday, May 23, 2002
Mr Ernie Parsons
(Prince Edward-Hastings): My question today is to the
Minister of Citizenship. Ontarians with disabilities have searched
long for the new, wonderful, softer, kinder Premier. They have not
found him. In fact, the search has been fruitless.
Since 1990, Ontarians
with disabilities have received exactly the same
number of dollars for their disability pension -- not a penny more.
he was with Comsoc, Minister Baird and his staff on average, every
billed the taxpayers $930.95 for bar and restaurant tabs. An Ontarian
disabilities receiving the absolute maximum receives $930 for
accommodation, for food and for clothing. There's no money in there
restaurants. Your government jammed through the Ontarians with Disabilities
Act in December. It was so urgent to get it through that there was
limited public consultation. Your wonderful clause on the parking
not proclaimed; 95% of that bill has not yet been proclaimed.
Minister, my question
to you is, now that the public show is over, when
will you proclaim the Ontarians with Disabilities Act?
Hon Carl DeFaria
(Minister of Citizenship, minister responsible for
seniors): I would like to thank the member for the question. The Ontario
government is committed to fully proclaiming the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act as soon as possible. We are committed to an Ontario
no new barriers are created and existing ones are removed, to ensure
greater accessibility and enhanced independence for all persons with
disabilities. We passed the legislation. Last December the government
passed its Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Canada's most far-reaching
comprehensive legislation for disabled people. Key portions have been
proclaimed. They were proclaimed in February 2002. We plan to proclaim
remaining sections of the act in the fall of this year.
Mr Parsons: In
the fall of this year? What was the rush to get it through
before Christmas, then? You have proclaimed the title, which was really
what the object was, and you have proclaimed the portion allowing
minister to establish the Ontarians with disabilities Accessibility
Advisory Council. Now, Minister Jackson made some commitments on that.
said that the disabled community would have input into the process.
not had that. You have appointed five Ontarians to that committee
people, but very limited disabilities. You have not given them input
it. You have appointed zero women to the advisory committee -- not
I'm asking you,
Minister, if you will adhere to the commitments. You
promised that you would put the disabled community in the driver's
They're still trying to hitchhike a ride on this vehicle. They've
of rhetoric. They need some action. Will you appoint a full cross-section
of individuals and will you give the disabled community some input
At least keep your promise on that.
Hon Mr DeFaria:
I again thank the member for his follow-up, but I reject
the premise he puts forward. Complex pieces of legislation are often
proclaimed in stages. We need to put the tools in place, the structures
all the necessary supports, such as the council and the Accessibility
Directorate of Ontario. That's what we have done in the first phase
proclaimed. I recently announced the appointment of the chair, the
vice-chair and three additional members of the Accessibility Advisory
Council. Further appointments will be made shortly.
is the first in Canada to put persons with disabilities at
the forefront of change, with their majority representation on the
council and on municipality advisory committees. The ODA is an important
part of Ontarians' right to full accessibility, but it's not the only
element. The act builds on an already multi-billion dollar annual
commitment for people with disabilities and a strong government commitment
to continue to move forward.
Tuesday, May 29, 2002
Mr Ernie Parsons
(Prince Edward-Hastings): I am pleased to rise today on
the occasion of National Access Awareness Week. This is an opportunity
us as a Legislature to recognize the accomplishments that are made
many people in this province who pay a far higher price than the average
person does for their accomplishments. In many senses, they serve
wonderful role models and heroes for us.
week is also a reminder to those of us who do not have a
disability that we can do more; we can do much more to provide access.
can work to ensure that the disabled community has the same access
public transportation as everyone else in the province. We can work
ensure there are far more services, including government services,
available to those individuals who are deaf and blind. We need to
families who are living with a family member with mental illness to
there are more proper and adequate services and supports available
them. We need to ensure that the special education students in our
start to receive the funding they need, so that they can maximize
development and be full citizens. In short, we need to take down the
barriers to ensure that we provide equal services and equal opportunities
to those who require access to special services.
which rushed through the Ontarians with Disabilities Act
in December last year, could do the right thing and finally proclaim
bill, weak as it is, to show that we pay more than lip service, that
truly care and we recognize the needs of those who require special
Wednesday, June 5, 2002
on a Government "Time Allocation" or "closure"
motion on a
bill regarding hunting and fishing rights) Liberal MPP Michael Brown
stated, among other things: A second example -- because it's not just
riding -- when the committee that was dealing with the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act actually met in Sudbury, we had a group from West
Nipissing who came to talk about this very issue and said the following:
"New regulations by the Ministry of Natural Resources that would
all motorized vehicles except snowmobiles will discriminate against
elderly and the disabled who must use a truck to get to their fishing
hunting site." In the case of West Nipissing, snowmobiles were
allowed; I should make that point. The group went on to say -- and
Mr Alfred Levac, who is from Sturgeon Falls -- "If this regulation
effect, it will make it virtually impossible for the elderly or the
disabled to enjoy their traditional rights of hunting and fishing."
You know what?
I agree with Mr Alfred Levac about the case in West
Nipissing, just as I agree with my constituents in Nickel Belt who
remain very concerned that they can't access those seven lakes, lakes
they used to access for years and years with their families. If the
government truly wanted to enshrine rights to hunt and fish, the government
would deal with this issue, because you can't tell those people that
have a right when they know full well that they can't access those
May 23, 2002
GOVERNMENT FOR TREATMENT OF DISABLED
Today in the Legislature, Ernie Parsons, MPP for Prince
Edward - Hastings and Liberal Critic for Persons with Disabilities,
challenged the Minister of Citizenship on his government's lack of
commitment to Ontarians with Disabilities.
the Torys' ridiculous rush to ram the Ontarians with Disabilities
Act through before Christmas, over 95% of the Bill has not been
proclaimed," said a disgusted Parsons. "Their priority has
been to try to
fool the public into believing that they care about disabled and vulnerable
people living in this Province."
Parsons also questioned
the government's commitment to a legitimate Ontario
Disability Accessibly Council as required in the Act. He believes
Minister has completely failed to create a Council that accurately
the diversity of the disabled community.
"It is time
for Ernie Eves to do more than pay lip service to being `kinder
and gentler'," declared Parsons. "There has been no increase
in the Ontario
Disability Support Program benefits since 1990. The former Minister
Community and Social Services billed the Ontario taxpayer more each
for restaurant and bar bills than the ministry programs provide for
on disability support pensions. Far too many disabled Ontarians are
to live a life of abject poverty."
In response to
Parsons question, the new Minister of Community and Social
Services said the Ontarian's Disability Act would be proclaimed sometime
- 30 -
For further information
please contact: Ernie Parsons (613) 848-5696
to ODA Bill 125 Index page