ODA Action Tip
October 17, 2001
What We Need the ODA to Include
A Handy New 1 Page Pamphlet
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee is delighted to provide you with a new one-page pamphlet below. It summarizes what the forthcoming Ontarians with Disabilities Act needs to include to be strong and effective.
This pamphlet is based on the 11 principles for the ODA which the ODA Committee has adopted. The Ontario Legislature and a number of municipal councils around Ontario have passed resolutions which have adopted these principles for the ODA.
We encourage you to:* Print up copies of this pamphlet. Circulate it widely to members of the public and the media now, even before the Government brings forward its ODA bill.
* Meet now with the nearest MPPs in your community, and especially those in the governing Conservative Party. Urge them to press their Government to make sure that the ODA includes the core ingredients listed in this pamphlet.
* When the Ontario Government introduces its new ODA bill, expected any day now, use this pamphlet to assess that new bill. What we are looking for is an ODA that is strong and effective; one which 1.5 million Ontarians with disabilities deserve after waiting six and a half years.
WHAT THE ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ODA) NEEDS TO INCLUDE
1. Does the proposed ODA include protection for all disabilities, physical, mental and sensory, be the disability visible or invisible? The ODA Committee believes that the ODA's definition of disability must be similar to the broad definition in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
2. Does the proposed ODA cover the removal and prevention of barriers in all aspects of life in Ontario whether in the public or private sector, such as: in employment and the enjoyment of goods, services and facilities e.g. transportation, health care, education and training, communication and access to information? The ODA Committee believes that for people with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of a barrier-free Ontario society, the ODA must require that the barriers they face be removed and prevented in each of these areas.
3. Will the proposed ODA require that detailed standards be set for the removal and prevention of barriers through a consultative process with key stakeholders including people with disabilities, business, and others in the specific sectors affected? The ODA Committee believes that everyone benefits from having clear, specific standards that apply to everyone rather than having to fight against each barrier, one at a time, on a case by case basis through human rights complaints. These standards should be set along reasonable time lines by an independent, accountable public agency with expertise in disability barriers.
4. Does the proposed ODA provide a process for ensuring that barriers are removed and prevented in a timely manner? The ODA Committee believes that unless there is an enforceable requirement that barriers be removed and prevented, we will continue to live in a society with significant barriers. The timelines can be developed through the ODA's consultative process for setting standards. The standards should be sensitive to the different practical circumstances of big businesses and other organizations as compared to smaller businesses and other organizations. Organizations covered by the ODA should be required to develop and implement effective barrier-free plans which are consistent with the ODA's standards. Barrier removal and prevention should not be optional or voluntary.
5. Does the proposed ODA establish an effective mechanism beyond individual complaints to enforce these new standards? The ODA Committee believes that everyone benefits when the enforcement mechanism does not depend solely on complaints, but provides for proactive measures, prompt, effective systemic remedies and help for those who need to remove and prevent barriers. The ODA should make a substantial difference in the daily lives of Ontarians with disabilities.
6. Does the proposed ODA reduce existing rights of people with disabilities? The ODA Committee believes that the ODA must guarantee that nothing in it reduces any rights which Ontarians with disabilities now have.
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Last updated October 17, 2001