ODA Major News
January 5, 2001
GOVERNMENT POLL SHOWS STRONG
PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR A
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
2001 is starting off on a great foot for the battle for a strong,
effective ODA. On Friday, January 5, 2000, the Toronto Star
reported that a public opinion poll, conducted for the Ontario
Government, found that there is strong public support for an
Ontarians with Disabilities Act which is mandatory, and which
covers the private sector as well as the public
sector. The results show public recognition that the Harris
Government is not really committed in this area. Also,
significant percentages of people recognize that voluntary
efforts by business will not solve the problem of barriers facing
Ontarians with disabilities. The Star article is set out below.
This is extraordinary, wonderful news. It shows that the public
is on our side, and that the efforts at the grass-roots across Ontario
by individuals and organizations who support a strong ODA have
been a real success!
This is the product of the efforts of every person right across
Ontario who has helped get the word out to friends, family, and
the broader public. Last fall, we launched our "Ontarians Do
Care" campaign to show that the public does support us in this
effort. This poll proves that Ontarians do care! It also shows
more than ever that Premier Mike Harris must finally agree to
meet with us, so we can work together and so he can at last do
what the public obviously wants - develop and pass a strong,
We will provide more information on this as soon as possible. We
wanted to get this information to you right away. Please do what
you can to spread the word on this great news to friends, family,
the broader public, and the media.
Friday, January 5, 2001
Barriers to disabled incur wide wrath Province should force
private sector to remove them: Poll
by Theresa Boyle
Queen's Park Bureau
Most Ontarians believe the private sector should be forced to
remove barriers to the disabled, a public opinion poll reveals.
The survey, tabled in the Legislature Dec. 22, shows some 77 per
cent of 801 respondents surveyed by Ipsos-Reid (formerly Angus
Reid) in June last year believe the province should regulate
private industry. And 71 per cent of those polled say
disabilities legislation should be "mandatory rather than
voluntary, regardless of cost or impact."
The poll cost $62,500.
"This polling data reveals that there is strong public support
for the kind of legislation we are seeking and not for the
government's plan to give us weak and ineffective legislation,"
said David Lepofsky, chairman of the Ontarians With Disabilities
Act Committee. The province should heed the advice of its own
polls and introduce strong disabilities legislation, he said.
Lepofsky was thrilled with the survey results, charging that they
fly in the face of the government's rationale for bringing in
He said the results validate what he and other advocates have
long been arguing for.
"After the government has stalled and delayed for over half a
decade on its promise to deliver effective legislation to remove
the barriers that 1.5 million Ontarians with disabilities face
every day, this poll should be a wake-up call," he said.
While campaigning for the 1995 election, Premier Mike Harris
promised he would pass an Ontarians With Disabilities Act during
his first term. In 1998, then Culture minister Isabel Bassett
introduced a three-page bill that was subsequently withdrawn
because of criticism that it was woefully inadequate.
In the 1999 provincial election, Harris again promised to
introduce disability legislation. But cabinet documents obtained
by the Liberals last October stated that the government had
considered but rejected the idea of making it mandatory for the
private sector and broader public sector to reduce barriers to
the disabled in services and jobs. The Ipsos-Reid poll said that
61 per cent of respondents feel the government is not committed
to introducing the legislation. Other findings:
66 per cent of respondents feel the current level of services for
the disabled is insufficient.
91 per cent say the province should regulate the broader public
sector, including hospitals and municipalities, so that they are
more accessible to the disabled.
About 45 per cent believe businesses will never voluntarily make
their premises accessible to persons with disabilities
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Last updated January 5, 2001