November 4, 2000
We have obtained news which can really help you with your
efforts during this week, ODA Action Week, November 3 to 10, 2000.
We are encouraging you, your friends and family to visit or phone
your nearest Conservative member of the Ontario Legislature. They
are in their constituancy offices this week because the Legislature
is on a short break.
We have learned that some Conservative MPPs appear to be now
starting to hold at least some small, low-visibility, closed,
invitation-only consultation meetings on the ODA in their ridings.
This past Friday, November 3, 2000, Niagara Conservative MPP Bart
Maves along with the Citizenship Minister's Parliamentary
Assistant, Conservative Guelph MPP Brenda Elliott, held just such
a meeting in Niagara Falls. It was evidently arranged on four
days' notice, and was not publicized in advance.
This shows that in the face of the pressure from the community
supporting the ODA, Conservative MPPs are belatedly taking hesitant
steps. While we have always called for any consultations to be
open and public, not invitation-only and closed, we nevertheless
suggest that you:
- Contact your nearest Conservative MPP now. Ask if they are
holding consultation meetings on the ODA. If they are, ask to
attend. If they are not, urge them to do so.
- Let as many others as possible know about such meetings.
- If they are not holding such a meeting, ask for a chance to visit
them yourself. If the MPP won't meet you, arrange to visit or
speak with their staff about the need for a strong ODA.
- At any such group or individual meetings, explain why we need a
strong, mandatory ODA. Bring materials that you find helpful from
our web site at www.odacommittee.net or ask for such materials to be
Emailed to you by writing firstname.lastname@example.org
We obtained a copy of the agenda which the two Conservative MPPs
gave to those who managed to get invited to last Friday's meeting
in Niagara Falls. It tries to focus discussion on things to include
in the ODA which appear to be voluntary and which do not require
the removal and prevention of barriers facing persons with
disabilities. It does not make any mention of including the 11
principles which the ODA Committee has proposed, and which the
Legislature unanimously adopted by resolution on October 29, 1998.
We can send you a copy of that resolution if you wish.
At any meetings or discussions with a Conservative MPP or their
staff, you should not feel restricted in any way by that agenda.
Discuss whatever you want included in the ODA.
You will see that this agenda, set out below, talks about a
Canadians with Disabilities Act. For your information, in our
October 30, 2000 letter to Citizenship Minister Helen Johns, ODA
Committee Chair David Lepofsky said the following about this topic:
"We note that you have recently questioned whether provincial
legislation is necessary and whether this issue should be
addressed by federal legislation, pointing out that the
Americans with Disabilities Act is federal legislation.
While the enactment of a strong federal Canadians with Disabilities
Act would be beneficial for people with disabilities, the reality is
that most of the barriers faced by persons with disabilities fall
within provincial, not federal jurisdiction.
Unlike the U.S model, a national Canadians with Disabilities Act
would not remove the barriers that a strong and effective
Ontarians with Disabilities Act would.
Whatever the Federal Parliament may do, we need a strong and
effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to which your Government
Ontarians with Disabilities Act - Consultation
Friday November 3, 2000
6995 Ailanthus Avenue
Facilitators: Brenda Elliott - MPP Guelph-Wellington
Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Citizenship Culture and
Recreation Bart Maves - MPP Niagara Falls Parliamentary Assistant
to the Minister of Community and Social Services
Irene Kis Disability Issues Advocate Niagara Falls
1. Welcome and Introductions - Bart Maves, MPP
2. Purpose of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act - Brenda Elliott
and Bart Maves
3. Discussion Questions
- Do participants prefer to use the term "accessibility" or
"barrier-free?" * Should the ODA require that the government
monitor and evaluate the progress of initiatives and programs to
assist the disabled and if so how?
- Should the ODA encourage partnerships among service providers
within the disabled community?
- Should the ODA require a single point of access where people with
disabilities can contact for information? If so how would such a
service be implemented and coordinated?
- Do you think the Federal Government should adopt a Canadians with
4. Other questions or remarks - Bart Maves, MPP
5. Closing remarks
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