Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario, 520 Sutherland Drive, Toronto, Ontario M4G 3V9 Tel: (416) 422-5644 Fax: (416) 422-5943 Contact: Diana McCauley or Vicky Williamson
Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Association of Ontario, 35 McCaul Street, Suite 310, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1V7 Tel: (416) 979-5514 Fax: (416) 979-0894 Contact: Steve Kean
December 4, 1996
The Hon. Marilyn Mushinski
Minister of Citizenship, Culture & Recreation
77 Bloor Street West, 6th Floor
RE: ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
Dear Ms. Mushinski:
I am writing on behalf of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. I am writing to request that you provide us with some clarification of a statement that you made in the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday, November 19, 1996. When asked during Question Period when you would be introducing an Ontarians with Disabilities Act as Mike Harris promised during the 1995 election, in response you gave no date other than to repeat that your commitment was to pass it during your first term. However, you went on to state: "I am working and consulting with the disabled community to ensure that we develop the appropriate framework Mr. Speaker that is meaningful for the disabled." We wish to know with whom you have been "working and consulting."
It would be inaccurate to state that you are now working and consulting with the ODA Committee, the broad-based cross-disability coalition with whom Mike Harris promised to work, and with whom you were called on to work by a unanimous resolution of the Ontario Legislature on May 16, 1996. You refused to meet with us for your first year in office.. Only after the unanimous May 16, Legislative resolution was passed did you agree to an introductory meeting. Since then, you have failed to keep your commitment to respond by mid-summer to our proposals on public consultations. You have declined to answer our three subsequent letters to you dated July 25, October 3, and October 31, 1996, respectively. When you spoke at the ARCH Annual General Meeting at the end of September 1996, you publicly declined to give an affirmative answer to my request that we meet again within three weeks of that meeting.
If you are now working with some other groups in the disability community in connection with the proposal for an Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and not with us, we would like to know with whom you are working, so we can collaborate with them. If you are not working with other groups in the disability community on the proposal for an Ontarians with Disabilities Act, we respectfully request that you inform the Legislature that the answer that you gave during Question Period on November 19, 1996, is not correct.
We also continue to await your response to our unanswered letters to you referred to above.
M. David Lepofsky, C.M., LL.B., LL.M.
cc The Hon. Mike Harris, Premier
Dalton McGuinty, Leader of the Official Opposition
Dominic Agostino, MPP
Howard Hampton, Leader of the New Democratic Party
Frances Lankin, MPP
Marion Boyd, MPP