ADVOCACY RESOURCE CENTRE FOR THE HANDICAPPED
40 Orchard View Boulevard, Suite 255
Toronto, Ontario M4R 1B9
(416) 482-1245 (TDD)
(416) 482-2981 (FAX)
July 20, 1995
BY FACSIMILE - ORIGINAL BY MAIL
Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation
77 Bloor Street West
Dear Mr. Mushinski;
I am writing as counsel for the Ontarians With Disabilities Act Committee. The Committee is a broad coalition of individuals with disabilities and organizations concerned with the rights of persons with disabilities. It was formed to pursue new Ontario legislative policies which will remove the barriers that impede the equality of opportunity of persons with disabilities seeking to fully participate in all aspects of Ontario society. We wish to congratulate you on your appointment to Cabinet, and to offer our Committee's assistance in the implementation of an election promise which your Party made during the recent election campaign.
In your Party's May 5, 1995 press release entitled MIKE HARRIS AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY we were heartened to read that your Government was committed to "help employers develop plans to ensure equality of opportunity in their workplaces and remove any systemic barriers to employment, particularly for persons with disabilities". A similar commitment led President Bush to enact the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.
On May 24, 199S, Mike Harris responded to correspondence from our committee with the commitment that "A Harris Government would be willing to enact an Ontarians With Disabilities Act in the first term of office within the economic goalposts of The Common Sense Revolution."
Finally in the response to our Committee's questionnaire Mr. Harris indicated that your government would review the enactment, by regulation, of the Ontario Human Rights Commission's Guidelines on the Accommodation of Persons with Disabilities Within 60 days of forming the Government.
We are writing to request a meeting with you and with representatives of such others within the Government as you consider to be appropriate. We welcome the opportunity to share with your Government our expertise in the disability field and in the development of these important new initiatives. By such efforts, we hope to achieve me goal of a barrier-free society in Ontario for persons with disabilities by the year 2000. Please have your staff contact my office to arrange a meeting. We would appreciate being advised of a contact person with whom we should deal in making any necessary arrangements.
cc: Michael D. Harris, Premier of Ontario
Dave Johnson, Chair, Management Board of Cabinet
Naomi Alboim, Deputy Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation
Karen Cohl, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation
Rosemary Brown, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission