Image of black text with drop shadow that reads: Ontarians With Disabilities Act Committee
Windsor-Essex ODA Committee Event; The ODA Committee is a voluntary coalition of individuals and community organizations who have united to secure the passage in Ontario of a new law which would achieve a barrier-free society for persons with disabilities.

Here is a report on the ODA Committee's Windsor Essex Region event on Tuesday, February 8, 2000 written By Carolyn Williams, who is the Secretary ODA Committee Windsor-Essex Region. Contratulations to our Windsor Essex Region for such a wonderful success!

February 8th, 2000

A large Barrier Wall was erected today in the cafeteria of Catholic Central High School, Tecumseh Road in Windsor, Ontario to dramatise the barriers that the population of people with disabilities in the Province of Ontario face each day without an effective ODA legislation.

Some Barriers listed were: Health Services, Communication Barriers, Stigma, Premier Mike Harris, transportation, education, attitudinal, housing and the list went on with more than two barriers listed for each of the 25 one foot by two foot styrofoam bricks.

Dean La Bute the local region's ODA Committee Chairman welcomed our distinguished guests. They included Liberal MPP Disability Critic Steve Peters who initiated the November 23rd, 1999 ODA debate in the Ontario Legislature for a strong and effective ODA , and local MPP's Dwight Duncan from Windsor-St. Clair and Sandwich West MPP Sandra Pupatello. Jean Knight, one of the ODA Committee London Region's regional contacts, was also present as well as media and fifty to sixty guests, members of the Windsor disability community including three guide dogs and two new families of children with disabilties.

Vice-chairs Mike Lawson and Sandra Friessen presented the MPP's with over 1000 signatures from the Windsor -Essex region calling upon the Harris government to keep its broken promise and enact an effective ODA as soon as possible.

Each of our guests chose a symbolic brick that they could take back to Queen's Park. Dwight Duncan chose the "Premier Mike Harris" brick while Ms. Pupatello held her "Health Services" brick high over her head and waved it!. Steve Peters chose the "Transportation" brick and Jean Knight, ODA chair for London chose the "Communication Barriers" brick which will be placed in London's Barrier Wall when it is erected!

As the Barrier Walls are erected in each city we encourage the ODA Committee regional contacts to pass on a brick from their wall to the next city. In this way the symbolic Barrier Wall will be continuous throughout Ontario.

Dwight Duncan said he would take the petitions to Queen's Park and that they would not stop fighting for the one and half million disabled citizens of Ontario. Sandra Pupatello announced that the fight had just begun at Queen's Park but with the strong local support they received from their constituents, it made the fight easier. Steve Peters announced his open consultation tour of Ontario in March, beginning with Mike Harris's own city, North Bay and ending in Windsor on March 20th.

Dwight Duncan was quoted as saying,"The movement is gaining momentum across Ontario, and we won't stop until we can tear the wall down!"

Graeme Davies, editor of our e-zine newsletter, "The Crutch Politic", announced today that the e-zine will be sent to all MPP's and any person or agency that has a fax or an e-mail address that requests a copy. Articles are welcome about the barriers you face and will be posted in the Crutch Politic.

Windsor is blazing a trail for the 17 other (and counting) ODA Committee regions in Ontario and our kick off Millenium Event was a grand success!!!

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