24, 1995 - Mike Harris makes written election promise
enact the ODA in his first term and to work personally with the
ODA Committee to develop it.
16, 1996 - Ontario Legislature unanimously passes first
three resolutions. Sponsored by NDP MPP Marion Boyd, resolution
calls on Harris Government to keep its ODA election promise.
- ODA Committee delivers comprehensive brief to
the Legislature including a detailed blueprint for mandatory,
strong and effective legislation.
13 to September 1998
- Ontario Government conducts closed,
invitation-only consultations in 8 cities on what to include in the ODA.
Read the letter from the Minister of Citizenship accompanying
the Ontario Government's Discussion Paper on the Ontarians
Disabilities Act first released July 13, 1998
22, 1998 -
Citizenship Minister Bassett presents
results of her consultations, using overhead slide presentation,
to ODA Committee representatives, three of whom are blind or
vision-impaired. When ODA Committee was later forced to resort to
the Freedom of Information legislation to compel disclosure of
documents from consultation process, it discovers that the
Minister's presentation was inaccurate and misleading.
29, 1998 - Ontario Legislature unanimously
second of three ODA resolutions. Sponsored by Liberal MPP Dwight
Duncan, resolution calls for ODA to be passed which embodies 11
principles to make it mandatory, strong and effective.
- Citizenship Minister Bassett introduces
Bill 83, a 3-page bill which was completely voluntary,
only to the Ontario government and did not require any barriers
ever to be removed.
- Bill 83 dies on the order paper after first
reading, after being widely condemned across Ontario.
- Pre-election Throne Speech announces Bill 83
will not be re-introduced due to criticisms of it. New
consultation promised before new bill to be introduced.
- June 3, 1999
- Ontario election Campaign - Harris
Government promises strengthened ODA after more consultations.
Liberals and NDP promise strong and effective ODA complying with
Legislature's October 29, 1998 resolution.
- ODA Committee presents proposal, prepared
at request of Citizenship Minister Helen Johns, that new ODA
public consultation take the form of an all-party Select
Committee of the Legislature to hold public hearings before a
bill is drafted.
- London Free Press quotes Citizenship
Minister Johns stating that a new strong disabilities act is a
"huge priority for me."
- NDP and Liberal Parties accept proposal
for Select Committee on the ODA to hold province-wide public
hearings. Government never responds to this proposal.
21, 1999 - Throne Speech says Government's
"goal" is to
introduce a "new action plan" this session and that consultations
- On first anniversary of Bill 83's
introduction, Legislature unanimously passes third
resolutions. Sponsored by Liberal Steve Peters, resolution calls
for a "strong and effective" ODA to be passed no later than
November 23, 2001.
January, 2000 -
Minister Johns reveals during meeting with
Liberal MPP Steve Peters that she is already conducting
consultations, claims to be meeting weekly with disability
groups. Her personal calender, later produced when compelled
under Freedom of Information Act, contradicts this.
- Liberal Disability Critic Steve Peters
announces that because the Government will not hold open hearings
on what to include in the ODA, the Liberal Party will hold a
province-wide ODA public consultation tour.
Liberals hold public,
accessible hearings in 15 cities in March
25, 2000 -
Minister Johns states on London TV that her
Government had agreed to bring forward ODA action plan by June.
No action plan is announced in June.
8, 2000 -
Minister Johns meets with ODA Committee
delegation. She states she is open to considering all options,
for inclusion in ODA and is still holding consultations on ODA.
4, 2000 - Liberal leader McGuinty reveals in
Legislature a leaked draft Cabinet document detailing
plans to introduce weak, toothless ODA this fall, and Government
strategy to avoid adverse media coverage. Leaked document's
August 28, 2000 date suggests Government's intentions were
determined before Minister John's September 8, 2000 meeting with
- Premier's office again refuses ODA
Committee's request to meet with the Premier. Premier Harris
refused all previous requests.
- Year ends with no ODA bill introduced.
ODA Committee succeeded in getting Ontario Government to back off
its leaked timetable to introduce another weak, toothless bill by
5, 2001 - Toronto Star reveals Ontario Government's
June 2000 public opinion poll, showing strong public
mandatory ODA covering public and private sectors.
8, 2001 - Premier Harris shuffles Cabinet, removing
Helen Johns from Citizenship Minister post, and appointing
Jackson as the fourth Citizenship Minister in 5.5 years.
2, 2001 - Premier Harris Prorogues Ontario Legislature, bringing
legislative ssession to an end, without releasing his promised action plan
on the ODA. This breaks the Government's October 22, 1999 Throne Speech
commitment to release an action plan on the ODA in that session of the
- April 19, 2001 - Throne Speech commits to introducing disability
in this session to address barriers facing persons with disabilities.
No date for its introduction is given. No commitment is given that this
legislation will be strong and effective, or that it will be passed into law
in this session, or ever.
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updated May 24, 2001 3:34 pm