Letter from Carl Defaria
dated August 20, 2002
In the following August 20, 2002 letter to us from Citizenship Minister Carl DeFaria, the Minister updated us on the steps which the Government had then taken to implement the ODA 2001, and the steps it was planning to take over the next period of time.
August 20, 2002
Dear Mr. Lepofsky:
Thank you for your most recent letter, dated July 15, regarding the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA).
I was pleased to announce the upcoming proclamation of remaining sections of the ODA. Staff at the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario has been working hard since February preparing to provide the necessary supports to organizations that will have obligations under the act.
Our government believes that it needs to give those parties with obligations under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act the time and tools to fulfil their obligations. The Accessibility Directorate is working to provide resources to municipalities and broader public sector organizations to ensure they understand and fulfil their obligations under the ODA. We are encouraging them to demonstrate forward planning and shared responsibility, with an emphasis on implementation at the local level.
For example, we recently
posted on our Web site
The Ontarians with Disabilities Act also gives the government the authority to make regulations for further barrier removal, such as time periods for compliance or adoption of codes, standards or guidelines for accessibility.
Thank you for the proposed ODA Implementation Workplan that you enclosed in your letter. We will take it into consideration as we continue with our work to implement the act.
Our priorities for the development of regulations remain those that are required for the ODA to come fully into effect. Specifically, as required under s. 23(2), you can expect that the ministry will be seeking public comments on draft regulations for the definition of "agency," "significant renovation," "new lease," and "internet accessibility" for government Web sites.
Our priorities for the first year of the Accessibility Directorate are the development of partnerships, resources and tools that will help organizations understand their obligations under the ODA. Accessibility Directorate staff will continue to work with key representatives in the transportation, health and education sectors in the development of resources and strategies for effective accessibility planning.
The directorate's Education and Partnerships Unit will continue to foster important partnerships with the private sector, which has produced a wide variety of tools for promoting accessibility. Staff is currently working with partners in the hospitality sector to develop accessibility self-audit checklists and methods of addressing barriers in physical premises, as well as voluntary standards and codes of practice programs.
projects have created customer service training for employees serving
customers with disabilities in the hospitality sector, and have developed
customer service standards for people with disabilities (with the Canadian
Standards Association). These standards are available to the public from
As announced previously, I am working to finalize further appointments to the Accessibility Advisory Council of Ontario. I thank you and your committee members for the many excellent nominations we received.
c. The Honourable
The Honourable Chris