February 13, 1998
Ms. Isabel Bassett
Minister of Citizenship, Culture and
77 Bloor Street West, 6th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2R9

Dear Ms. Bassett,

Re: Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Our coalition's membership from across Ontario is deeply concerned about the ongoing lack of any meaningful progress towards an Ontarians with Disabilities Act.  In the letter you sent to us last December, you anticipated that the government would have worked out directions for a consultation process by this past January.  It is now mid-February.  We have still heard nothing from you on the timing, directions or plans for the public consultations.  Your Ministry has now had that consultation on the drawing board for as much as a year and a quarter.  We wish to respectfully suggest that it is time to stop planning the public consultation, and time to start consulting with the public.

Our  membership remains firmly committed to the view that the public consultation process must be open and accessible and that people be given adequate time to prepare. With your mandate quickly passing we are frequently hearing that people find it hard to accept your Government's stated commitment to keep its promises to us, particularly in the absence of any meaningful action to match that rhetoric.

In order to allay the concerns of our membership that the government is  wavering in its commitment to people with disabilities, we would appreciate it if you could now tell us about the time frame for the  public consultation, and renew your predecessor's commitment that the consultation will be open, accessible and free of preconditions.

Could you also let us know  when funding will be restored to the Human Rights Commission, and when your Government will keep its election promise to increase that agency's funding.  Now that you have been in office for over four months, you undoubtedly have had sufficient opportunity to look into these matters.   The longer your government delays, the fear grows that your government will only deliver hollow, ineffectual legislation, rather than the meaningful new law "with teeth" that was promised by your predecessor.  We look forward to hearing from you in the very near future.

Yours sincerely,

M. David Lepofsky, Co-Chair
cc Hon. Mike Harris
Dalton McGuinty
Dominic Agostino
Gilles Morin
Howard Hampton
Marion Boyd
Frances Lankin
Naomi Alboim