Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee

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Please Support a Strong & Effective ODA



October 23, 2000

Today, the ODA Committee launches a new campaign. A leaked secret cabinet document showed that the Harris Government decided in late August to introduce a new bill this fall that will not remove the barriers that face 1.5 million Ontarians with disabilities. It will include no new rights and no new enforcement mechanisms. At most, it may raise fines for illegally using a disability parking spot.

This document suggests that the Harris Government plans to introduce its bill any time now, between October and December of 2000. Its strategy is to sneak this bill through with as little public attention as possible, to avoid public criticism. We expect that the Government will introduce its do-nothing bill by November 23 or even sooner, to take advantage of the fact that the media will be busy covering the federal election. They may hope that there will be little media coverage of the fact that they have betrayed Ontarians with disabilities by breaking their promises.

The next 4 to 8 weeks are absolutely critical for us. The leaked Cabinet document reveals the Harris Government's cold thinking. They believe, based on some public opinion poll, that the Ontario public may not be interested, and not care about an effective law to remove the barriers we face. The purpose of our new campaign is to directly respond. We want to show that Ontarians do care about the needs of persons with disabilities, and about having a strong law to make Ontario barrier-free for us. It's Mike Harris who does not care.

We are calling this our "Ontarians Do Care" campaign. Our goal is to get as many members of the public as possible to show Premier Harris, and the public, that they do care and they do support us. We want to get as many people without disabilities, as well as persons with disabilities, to join in this campaign as possible.

Over the next days, we will circulate action tips with ideas on how you can participate in this campaign. We encourage you to use these tips, to come up with your own ideas, and to share them with us.

To get started right away, here's our first action tip of this "Ontarians Do Care" campaign: Please expand on our successful, ongoing "Call Mike" action.

Many people have already called Premier Harris at his Toronto office at (416) 325-1941 to ask why the ODA is taking so long. We encourage you to call him now, and if you have called before, to call again.

  • Tell him or his staff that Ontarians do care about persons with disabilities, and about the need for a strong Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
  • Tell him to reject his Cabinet's leaked plans for a do-nothing ODA.
  • Tell him not to introduce the toothless bill they plan to present on November 23. Ask who ever answers the phone for a direct answer.
  • Don't let them transfer you to Citizenship Minister Helen Johns.

Get as many people as you can to call the Premier, including people without disabilities as well as persons with disabilities. Arrange a "Call Mike" party where friends can call. Tell us how it goes!

We will have more action ideas for you soon. Please circulate this announcement and the upcoming action tips to one and all.


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Last updated October 23, 2000