Image of black text with drop shadow that reads: Ontarians With Disabilities Act Committee

Letter from the Hon. Mike Harris
Premier of Ontario

November 25, 1998

Mr. David Lepofsky
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
1929 Bayview Avenue
M4G 3E8

Dear Mr. Lepofsky:

Thank you for your November 24th letter. I appreciate your bringing the concerns of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee to my attention.

As I'm sure you know, this legislation, if passed, would be the first of its kind for Canada. The bill requires government to systematically review its legislation, programs, policies, practices and services to increase accessibility for disabled individuals. Government ministries would be required to review more than 600 pieces of provincial legislation and thousands of other government activites which affect millions of Ontarioans. With this legislation, our government has gone further than any previous Ontario government to increase access for persons with disabilities.

In addition to introducing this legislation, we have announced several related new initiatives: an $800,000 Incentive Fund to encourage barrier removal projects; a Committee on Employment for Persons with Disabilities; an Information and Referral Service for the private and public sectors; and a consultation by the Minsitry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to improve barrier-free design standards in the Ontario Building Code. We also announced an enhancement of the Community Transportation Action Program to help communities meet the transportation needs of people with disabilities, imporovements to the Ministry of Education and Training's Job Connect Program and an expansion of the Ministry of Education and Training's Literacy and Basic Skills Program.

Together, the legislation and compainion initiatives represent a comprehensive package to address the needs of, and increase accessibility for, disabled individuals. At the same time, I would like to assure you that I recognize and appreciate your concerns with respect to elements of the legislation. As the bill proceeds through the legislative process, there will be opportunities for input and amendments. I encourage you to continue to direct specific suggestions to Minister Bassett, who you know is responsible for this legislation.

Again, thank you for writing.


Michael D. Harris, MPP

c:  The Honourable Isabel Bassett

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