Ontario Human Rights Commission's Annual Report for 1998-99 addresses the Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Ontario Human Rights Commission's
Annual Report for 1998-99
Ontarians with Disabilities Act
The Ontario Human Rights Commission's Annual Report for 1998-99 addressed the Ontarians with Disabilities Act in two passages which review developments concerning the Commission over the year which the report covers. They are as follows:
- In generally reviewing developments in the year, it stated, among other things:
"The government also held consultations with disability groups on a discussion paper, Preventing and Removing Barriers for Ontarians with Disabilities, a document drafted as a prelude to new legislation. Although the Ontarians with Disabilities Act received first reading in November 1998, it was not passed when the House prorogued in December 1998. The proposed Act garnered significant public and media attention."
- Later in the report, under the heading "KEY OHRC ACCOMPLISHMENTS", among other things, the report stated under the subheading of "DISABILITY":
"In 1998-99, discrimination against people with disabilities remained one of the largest areas of complaints filed with the Commission. Disability was cited as a ground 760 times in complaints filed this year and this represented 25% of all grounds cited.
Government initiatives were introduced for persons with disabilities this year, including the Ontario Disability Support Program from the Ministry of Community and Social Services in February 1999 and the tabling of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) by the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation.
The ODA began with a discussion paper, Preventing and Removing Barriers for Ontarians with Disabilities. This document was drafted as a prelude to new legislation and released in August 1998. The Commission responded to the paper, noting that the Human Rights Code alone has not been enough to achieve equal participation in society by people with disabilities.
The Commission stressed the need for meaningful legislation with "teeth". The Commission recommended that the government implement both regulatory and non- regulatory approaches to removing barriers. Also, barriers should be defined more broadly than those related to physical impediments.
The Commission made a number of specific suggestions related to identifying barriers, removing them, and monitoring progress on their removal. Following consultation on its discussion paper, the government introduced the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Although the Act received first reading in November 1998, it had was not passed when the House prorogued in December 1998. The Minister has stated her intention to reintroduce the legislation in 1999.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission continues to follow these disability issues closely on a number of levels, ranging from processing complaints and presenting cases before boards and courts, to new policy work."
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