Letter from Howard Hampton
March 15, 1999
Ontario New Democratic Party
Room 381, Main Legislative Building,
Queen's Park, Toronto
Fax: (416) 325-8222
Dear Mr. Lepofsky:
I know you will agree with me that one of the most disturbing spectacles of the last Legislative session was the Conservative government's introduction of Bill 83. This shabby piece of legislation made a mockery of Mike Harris's 1995 campaign commitment to introduce an Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
I am writing today to let your committee - and disabled Ontarians and their supporters - know what you can expect from an NDP government following the next provincial election.
An NDP government will introduce a real Ontarians with Disabilities Act within our first two years of office. We don't need more consultations. We will sit down with the ODA Committee and draft the legislation. It Will meet the following minimum requirements:
- effectively ensure to persons with disabilities in Ontario the equal opportunity to fully and meaningfully participate in all aspects of life in Ontario based on their individual merit, by removing existing barriers and preventing the creation of new barriers
- implementation to begin immediately upon proclamation
- supersede all other legislation, regulations or policies which either conflict with it, or which provide lesser protections and entitlements
- require government entities, public premises, companies and organizations to be made fully accessible to all persons with disabilities within strict time frames to be prescribed in the legislation or regulations
- require the providers of goods, services and facilities to the public to develop detailed implementation plans to ensure that they are fully usable by persons with disabilities and designed to reasonably accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities within legislated timetables
- require public and private sector employers to take proactive steps to achieve barrier-free workplaces within prescribed time limits.
- provide for a prompt and effective process for enforcement outside of the existing procedures for filing discrimination complaints with the Ontario Human Rights Commission
- provide for a process of regulation-making to define with clarity the steps required for compliance with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act
- mandate the Government of Ontario to provide education and other information resources to companies, individuals and groups who seek to comply with the requirements of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act
- require the Government of Ontario to take affirmative steps to promote the development and distribution in Ontario of new adaptive technologies and services for persons with disabilities
- require the provincial and municipal governments to make it a strict condition of funding any program, or of purchasing any services, goods or facilities, that they be designed to be fully accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
- must be more than mere window dressing; should contribute meaningfully to the improvement of the position of persons with disabilities in Ontario.
This is the kind of legislation you can count on the NDP to introduce. Today's NDP is clearly on your side.
Leader, Ontario NDP
Cc: Frances Lankin, NDP Critic
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