September 10, 1998
Mr. M. David Lepofsky
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
c/o Deborah Thynn
271 Spadina Road
Dear Mr. Lepofsky:
Thank you for your letter of August 26, 1998.
Since the release of our discussion paper on July 13th, we have received a wealth of ideas and approaches for preventing and removing barriers for Ontarians with disabilities. We are undertaking a comprehensive policy review of the views expressed at the meetings as well as the written submissions we have received. Before any of the formal submissions or summaries can be released, they also need to be reviewed to ensure the protection of privacy. I would be pleased to share with you what we have heard during the consultation once we have completed our review. I will ask my staff to contact your organization to set up a meeting as soon as possible.
Your Committee is an important stakeholder and contributed significantly to the consultation process. The meetings allowed us to hear from many organizations and individuals as well, including representatives of a wide range of disability groups, municipalities, service providers, business and labour. We will soon be posting on our website a list of all those who participated in the consultation and will let participants know when that list is available.
I understand my staff has sent you the information you requested regarding the Ontario Human Rights Commission budget. The OHRC budget in 1998-99 is 11.2 million, the same operating level as in 1995-96 when the government came into office.
The Chief Commissioner has been instrumental in achieving business improvements at the Commission. The mediation programme, implemented last year, is a success. More than 80 percent of the complaints that went to mediation were settled - most within 90 days. One of the Commission's key goals is to reduce the average time it takes to process a complaint to 12 months by the year 2000. There has also been a significant investment in technology over the past two years to improve client service and productivity. The new Case Management Information System has improved the Commission's ability to streamline the complaints process, track complaints, monitor and project caseload trends and staff productivity, align staff resources Where needed, and reduce delays in commmicating with the parties to a complaint.
I trust this information will be helpful to you. I appreciated your input into the development of legislation that will improve accessability for persons with disabilities in Ontario. I look forward to our next meeting.