May 10, 2001
Minister of Citizenship
400 University Avenue, 6th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2R9
Re: Ontarians with
Thank you for meeting
with us on Monday, May 7, 2001 to discuss the
Ontarians with Disabilities Act. We very much appreciated the
chance to begin to get to know you, and to have a thorough,
extensive, frank discussion about the steps needed to achieve the
goal of the enactment of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
We share your view
that it is important to work together toward
finding common ground between the various stakeholders who have an
interest in this initiative, such as people with disabilities, the
business community, and municipal governments. We believe that the
best way to do this would be for you to bring us
together with these other stakeholders for a full and frank
exchange of ideas. We would welcome the opportunity to
participate in such a process, and would be pleased to do what we
can to help make it happen. We and people with disabilities across
Ontario are experts on our needs and on the barriers we face.
Let's get all of us at the table together.
We shared with you
our view that members of your caucus would
really benefit from the chance to learn from us directly about what
we need to make the Ontarians with Disabilities Act a
strong, effective and successful new piece of legislation. Our
members and supporters across Ontario have been active in trying to
meet with MPPs across Ontario to educate them on this issue on a
one-by-one basis. We would be delighted to have the
opportunity to present our views to your caucus as a whole, to
answer any and all probing and challenging questions your
colleagues may have, and to allay any concerns that they might
entertain about our proposals.
We recognize that
you have been busy since you assumed
responsibility for this initiative, meeting with individuals and
groups, including those from the disability community. We
encourage you to continue with this, and to expand your efforts by
holding and attending open public meetings or forums. Any MPP who
has attended such events can attest that they are positive,
constructive and informative.
As you were aware,
we continue in our efforts to get a meeting with
the Premier. We would welcome any assistance in this regard that
you can provide. During our discussion, you made it clear that you
are taking a very "hands-on" approach to this project. This
important to us. We believe deeply that the Premier's direct
involvement through a meeting with us would enable him to add to
your efforts by providing leadership from the very top.
Finally, we were pleased
to have the chance to begin to discuss in
a general way the substance of the legislation we seek. If you
compare the Blueprint for the ODA which we presented to the
Government in 1998 with the Ontario Human Rights Commission's
recently released disability policy guidelines and public transit
discussion paper (Commission initiatives which you have
applauded), you will find that important common ground on the
substance of the legislation we seek is already within reach.
Once again let me
thank you on behalf of the ODA Committee for this
first opportunity to meet. We were encouraged by this exchange.
We look forward to meeting with you again to follow up on the work
that has to be done.
David Lepofsky, C.M.
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
cc: Hon. Mike Harris
Norman Sterling 326-2913
Dalton McGuinty 325-9895
Dwight Duncan 325-2201
Steve Peters 325-7262
Ernie Parsons 325-4757
Howard Hampton 325-8222
David Christopherson 325-3189
Marilyn Churley 325-3252
Tony Martin 325-3720