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
ODA Committee Update


ODA Issue Keeps Coming Up In The Ontario Legislature
This Spring

June 24, 2002




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 long
break since last December while the Conservative Party chose a new leader
and provincial Premier.

As indicated in previous announcements, the ODA issue has been raised
during debates over the Conservative Government's bill amending the Ontario
Building Code. It has also been raised during debates over NDP Disability
Critic Tony Martin's bill, seeking to give cost of living increases to ODSP

Here, we show you the other times when it has come up, including:

* On May 13, 2002, the Legislature was informed that the Ontarians with
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 that the
first 5 members who the Government appointed to the Accessibility Advisory
Council included no women. The Minister answered that he wanted the rest of
the Act proclaimed as soon as possible and plans to have it proclaimed in
the fall. Below is also a news release from Liberal Ernie Parsons on this

* On May 29, 2002, Liberal Disability Critic Ernie Parsons made a statement
honouring National Access Awareness Week. He called on the Government to
proclaim in force the rest of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001.

* On June 5, 2002 (during debates on a Government "Time Allocation" or
"closure" motion on a bill regarding hunting and fishing rights)
Liberal MPP Michael Brown highlighted barriers facing persons with
disabilities in the proposed legislation dealing with access to hunting and
fishing sites.


Ontario 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.


Ontario 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 hard and
long for the new, wonderful, softer, kinder Premier. They have not yet
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. While
he was with Comsoc, Minister Baird and his staff on average, every month,
billed the taxpayers $930.95 for bar and restaurant tabs. An Ontarian on
disabilities receiving the absolute maximum receives $930 for
accommodation, for food and for clothing. There's no money in there for
restaurants. Your government jammed through the Ontarians with Disabilities
Act in December. It was so urgent to get it through that there was very
limited public consultation. Your wonderful clause on the parking fines was
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 where
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 and
comprehensive legislation for disabled people. Key portions have been
proclaimed. They were proclaimed in February 2002. We plan to proclaim the
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 the
minister to establish the Ontarians with disabilities Accessibility
Advisory Council. Now, Minister Jackson made some commitments on that. He
said that the disabled community would have input into the process. They've
not had that. You have appointed five Ontarians to that committee -- great
people, but very limited disabilities. You have not given them input into
it. You have appointed zero women to the advisory committee -- not one.

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 seat.
They're still trying to hitchhike a ride on this vehicle. They've got lots
of rhetoric. They need some action. Will you appoint a full cross-section
of individuals and will you give the disabled community some input into it?
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 and
all the necessary supports, such as the council and the Accessibility
Directorate of Ontario. That's what we have done in the first phase we
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.

The legislation is the first in Canada to put persons with disabilities at
the forefront of change, with their majority representation on the new
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.


Ontario Hansard
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 for
us as a Legislature to recognize the accomplishments that are made by so
many people in this province who pay a far higher price than the average
person does for their accomplishments. In many senses, they serve as
wonderful role models and heroes for us.

However, this 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. We
can work to ensure that the disabled community has the same access to
public transportation as everyone else in the province. We can work to
ensure there are far more services, including government services,
available to those individuals who are deaf and blind. We need to work for
families who are living with a family member with mental illness to ensure
there are more proper and adequate services and supports available for
them. We need to ensure that the special education students in our province
start to receive the funding they need, so that they can maximize their
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.

This government, which rushed through the Ontarians with Disabilities Act
in December last year, could do the right thing and finally proclaim that
bill, weak as it is, to show that we pay more than lip service, that we
truly care and we recognize the needs of those who require special access.


Ontario Hansard
Wednesday, June 5, 2002

(During debates 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 my
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 exclude
all motorized vehicles except snowmobiles will discriminate against the
elderly and the disabled who must use a truck to get to their fishing or
hunting site." In the case of West Nipissing, snowmobiles were being
allowed; I should make that point. The group went on to say -- and this is
Mr Alfred Levac, who is from Sturgeon Falls -- "If this regulation takes
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 were and
remain very concerned that they can't access those seven lakes, lakes that
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 they
have a right when they know full well that they can't access those lakes.


Queen's Park
May 23, 2002


For Immediate Release

QUEEN'S PARK – 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.

"Despite 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 that the
Minister has completely failed to create a Council that accurately reflects
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 of
Community and Social Services billed the Ontario taxpayer more each month
for restaurant and bar bills than the ministry programs provide for those
on disability support pensions. Far too many disabled Ontarians are forced
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
this fall.

- 30 -

For further information please contact: Ernie Parsons (613) 848-5696


back to ODA Bill 125 Index page



Top of Page



Website maintained by Barbara Anello

Please email your feedback on the website.

Last updated June 24, 2002

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