The following is the record of the current Ontario government on
its commitments on the Ontarians with Disabilities Act:
On May 24, 1995, Mike Harris committed in writing to
the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee that a Harris
government would enact the Ontarians with Disabilities Act in its
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act was not enacted in
the Harris government's first term, or in the first two-thirds of
the Harris government's second term.
On May 24, 1995, Mike Harris also promised in writing
to the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee that he would
work with the ODA Committee to develop this legislation.
Since 1995, Premier Harris has declined each and every
one of the twenty-seven separate written requests which the
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee has made to meet with
him. His four successive Citizenship ministers have had some
meetings with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee.
However, the ODA Committee has maintained its request to meet
with the Premier throughout this period, given his leadership
role in Government and his written commitment.
All members of the Ontario government in the
Legislature unanimously supported passage of the all-party
resolution of the Ontario Legislature proposed by MPP Dwight
Duncan ((Liberal), passed on October 29, 1998, requiring that the
Ontarians with Disabilities Act comply with the eleven principles
which the ODA Committee had put forward.
Neither Bill 83, a previous bill proposed by the current
government, nor Bill 125, the bill currently before the
Legislature, complies with the eleven principles. Bill 83
complied with none of those principles. As documented in this
Brief, Bill 125 fulfils only one of those principles and falls
substantially short on the others.
In the October 22, 1999 Throne Speech, the Ontario
government committed to bring forward an "action plan" on
development of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act within that
session of the Legislature.
No action plan on the development of the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act was brought forward either in that session(which
continued for some fifteen months) or afterwards.
On November 23, 1999, the Ontario Legislature
unanimously passed an all-party resolution proposed by MPP Steve
Peters (Liberal) requiring that a strong and effective Ontarians
with Disabilities Act be passed into law no later than November
As of November 23, 2001, no Ontarians with Disabilities
Act was passed into law. Bill 125, now before the Legislature,
was not passed by that date and is not strong and effective.
According to current Citizenship minister Cam
Jackson, the Ontario government had promised that no new tax
money would be spent in creating new barriers against persons
with disabilities, in a statement in the Legislature during
second-reading debate (November 8, 2001). "We believe it fulfils
our promise that we will not create new barriers with taxpayers'
money, something that the disability community has said makes no
sense -- using their own tax dollars to create environments that
create barriers for them."
Over its six and a half years in office leading up to the
introduction of Bill 125, the Ontario government announced no
initiative requiring that no new barriers be created with Ontario
tax funds. The Ontario government eliminated a provincial policy,
instituted in the early 1990s, which required that all new
municipal buses whose purchase involved provincial tax funds be
accessible. As well, ODA Committee members and supporters have
experienced a range of barriers which have been created over the
past six and a half years with Ontario tax dollars.