ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE
c/o 40 Orchard View Boulevard, Suite 255, Toronto, Ontario M4G 1B9 Telephone (416) 482-8255 (416) 482-1254 (TDD) Fax (416) 482-2981
May 21, 1996
Premier Michael Harris
Room 281 Legislative Building
Dear Premier Harris:
RE: Ontarians with Disabilities Act
I am writing on behalf of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. As you know, you promised us in writing during last year's election that if elected, your government would pass an Ontarians with Disabilities Act within its first term, and would work together with our committee towards the drafting of such legislation. Until now, you have declined to meet with us, as has your Minister of Citizenship since you took office.
As you also no doubt now know, on Thursday, May 16, 1996, the Ontario Legislature unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Government to keep its promise to enact an Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and to work together with us towards that end. That resolution provides as follows:
In the opinion of this house, since persons with disabilities in Ontario face systemic barriers in access to employment, services, goods, facilities and accommodation; and
since all Ontarians will benefit from the removal of these barriers, thereby enabling these persons to enjoy equal opportunity and full participation in the life of the province;
therefore the government of Ontario should keep its promise as set out in the letter from Michael D. Harris to the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee dated May 24, 1995 to:
a) enact an Ontarians with Disabilities Act within its current term of office; and
b) work together with members of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, amongst others, in the development of such legislation.
We are writing as a follow-up to that resolution, which was supported by all opposition and government members alike. We wish to ascertain what prompt and concrete steps you will be taking to act upon this resolution and the schedule which your government intends to follow to comply with it and with your written election promise to us. We also wish to request that you meet with us as soon as possible to discuss this. In the face of a unanimous vote from the legislature on May 16, we feel that a meeting with the premier is a vital and well-deserved step. We respectfully request that you not again simply direct all inquiries on this subject to the Minister of Citizenship without responding substantively to them yourself, as you have in response to our previous inquiries concerning the proposed Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Given the delay and the lack of action in this area, and its government-wide significance, this is a matter which requires leadership from the premier. As well, any and all of our past written requests as a committee for a meeting with the Minister of Citizenship have been denied or delayed indefinitely.
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience regarding a meeting with you, and to the government taking immediate steps to act upon the strong message which the unanimous vote of the legislature signifies.
Co-chair, Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
cc: Marilyn Mushinski
Bud Wildman, Acting NDP Leader
Ms Marion Boyd