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Ontario Government's
New ODA Bill 125
ODA Committee Update



July 16, 2002





July 16, 2002


The ODA Committee has again written to Citizenship Minister Carl DeFaria.
We indicate that we are pleased that he has announced his timetable for
proclaiming in force most of the rest of the ODA over the fall. See the
text of our letter below.

In this letter we again offer to work together with him and his Government
on implementing the ODA, and point to certain specific actions on that
front that are especially important as priority items.

On the same day, and by coincidence, the ODA Committee had received a
letter from the Citizenship Minister (See text below). These letters
crossed in the mail.

In his letter the Minister says that the ODA Committee's proposed ODA
Implementation Workplan will be reviewed and taken into consideration by
the Ministry. He also indicates that he hopes to appoint the remaining
members to the provincial Government's Accessibility Advisory Council


c/o Marg Thomas
1929 Bayview Avenue, Toronto ON M4G 3E8
Tel: (Voice direct) 416-480-7686
Fax: 416-480-7014
Voice mail: 416-480-7012
email: oda@odacommittee.net
TTY: c/o Susan Main 416 964-0023 ex. 343
Web site: www.odacommittee.net

July 15, 2002

The Honourable Carl DeFaria
Minister of Citizenship
400 University Avenue,
6th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2R9

Dear Minister,

Re: Ontarians with Disabilities Act

We were pleased to see your July 4, 2002 announcement that you will be
proclaiming most of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act's unproclaimed
provisions in force on September 30, 2002, with the provision regarding
accessibility of Ontario Government websites to come into force on December
31, 2002. This is a real step forward in the implementation of this

We are eager to hear when your Government intends to proclaim in force the
one remaining provision which is not scheduled for proclamation, namely
section 21. Section 21 imposes a fine on an organization which fails to
make an accessibility plan or policy, if the organization is required to do
so under the ODA 2001. That provision also makes it an offence for a
municipality with a population over 10,000 to fail to establish a
disability accessibility advisory committee.

Of course there is much to be done to fulfil your Government's commitments
made to Ontarians with disabilities in the fall of 2001. We hope that our
proposed ODA Implementation Workplan that we sent to you last month is
helping you and your Ministry develop a comprehensive plan of action for
the next 12 months.

We are eager to hear more about your plans. We especially are eager to
learn whether you will be acting on our proposal that the Government
identify four areas for public consultation, leading to the enactment of
mandatory regulations within the next year to set standards and time lines
for removing and preventing barriers in four important areas. Those areas
are public transit, education, health and access to goods and services in
chain retail establishments. Our recommendation of these priority areas
corresponds with the Ontario Human Rights Commission's current recognition
of their importance in three of the four cases. In the fourth, health care,
your Government has identified this as a priority area for Government
activity generally in your Government's most recent Throne Speech and

We know that your Government co-sponsored the development by the Canadian
Standards Association of proposed standards for organizations to meet the
needs of customers with disabilities. We hope that your Ministry will take
steps to ensure that these guidelines are fully available to Ontarians with
disabilities. It would be helpful if we had the opportunity to provide
comments on them to the Accessibility Advisory Council and to your Ministry
as a possible starting point for developing mandatory regulations under the
ODA 2001. Those regulations could establish mandatory standards for removal
and prevention of barriers in the retail sector.

We also look forward to your appointing the last seven members of the
Ontario Accessibility Advisory Council. Our Workplan includes suggestions
on areas on which they can promptly set about broadly consulting with the

The Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee and its broad membership
across Ontario is eager to work together with the Government on the
implementation of this legislation. We believe that we are especially
equipped to help make a difference. We look forward to hearing from you in
this regard.


David Lepofsky, C.M.
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee

cc: The Hon. Ernie Eves 325-7578
Chris Stockwell 325-7755
Dalton McGuinty 325-9895
Dwight Duncan 325-2201
Steve Peters 325-7262
Ernie Parsons 325-4757
Howard Hampton 325-8222
Peter Kormos 325-7067
Marilyn Churley 325-3252
Tony Martin 325-3720
David Shannon, Chair, Ontario Accessibility Advisory Council
Nadia Temple, Director, Ontario Accessibility Directorate

Ministry of Citizenship
6th Floor
400 University Avenue
Toronto ON
M7A 2R9

July 15, 2002

David Lepofsky
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto ON M4G 3E8

Dear Mr. Lepofsky:

Thank you for your letter and attached work plan.

I know that the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee (ODAC) has shared
information and expertise with the Ministry of Citizenship on many previous
occasions. Our work on the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 has
benefited from the information that ODAC and others have provided.

We will be reviewing your action plan with interest, and taking your
comments into consideration.

I am pleased to advise you that the majority of the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA) will come into effect by the end of the year.

As well, ongoing work is being undertaken by the Accessibility Directorate
of Ontario to develop tools and guidelines for use by municipalities and
other organizations that will be required to make accessibility plans. The
Accessibility Directorate is also working with municipalities to develop
tools and resources to assist them in establishing municipal accessibility
advisory committees, where these are required under the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act. The government is taking active steps to ensure its
compliance with the act upon proclamation.

My predecessor, the Honourable Cam Jackson, appointed five outstanding
candidates to serve on the Accessibility Advisor Council of Ontario,
effective May 1. I hope shortly to announce the appointment of the
remaining members.

Thank you again for writing and for sharing your ideas on the
implementation of the act. I am always interested to hear your comments.


Carl DeFaria




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