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Please Support a Strong & Effective ODA


ODA Committee Update
dated January 29, 2004
posted March 12, 2004



January 29, 2004


The Ontario Government yesterday publicly announced its plans for extensive, open, province-wide public consultations on strengthening the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001. Details below. We encourage everyone to take part in this consultation, and to urge others to do so as well. In this announcement, the new Citizenship Minister indicates her aim to introduce new ODA legislation this fall.


In a January 28, 2004 news release set out below, Ontario Citizenship Minister Dr. Marie Bountrogianni announced specifics of the Liberal Ontario Government's public consultations on how to strengthen the ODA 2001. Her announcement includes:

* A series of 7 public forums to be held around Ontario in February and March 2004, that are open to all to attend and participate;

* An avenue to given input even if you can't attend one of these public forums(See details below);

* An announcement that the Minister is aiming to introduce new legislation this fall;

* A clear indication that the aim of this entire process is to strengthen the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001;

This is an important and very positive step forward on the road to a strong and effective ODA. You are all strongly encouraged to take part in this consultation process. bring forward your own ideas, whether you present on behalf of a community organization, or on your own personal behalf. Encourage friends and family to take part too.

The Citizenship Minister has already taken steps even in advance of these public forums to get the consultation process going. For example, on January 8, 2004, the Minister hosted a round-table discussion in Toronto on strengthening the ODA. Several disability organizations including the ODA Committee were invited to attend. Also invited were representatives of public sector organizations, such as municipalities, hospitals, universities, and public transit providers, who are covered by the current ODA 2001. At that session the ODA Committee circulated its new Discussion Paper on preliminary measures to strengthen the ODA, referred to below.
This round-table provided a good chance to open up real and positive dialogue with major public sector organizations.

Those who have participated in the ODA movement over the past years should see this new consultation process as an important stride forward, which is clearly the result of your efforts. See how things have changed:

* The previous Conservative Government took fully three years to start any public consultations on the ODA issue. The new Ontario Government got this consultation underway within its first half-year in office.

* The previous Government's ODA consultations in 1998 and then in the first half of 2001 tended to be closed and invitation-only. This new set of consultations are open to all.

* The previous Government's first ODA consultations back in 1998 were constrained by that Government's deciding in advance that ODA legislation should be voluntary, not mandatory. This new consultation focuses on the goal of strengthening the ODA.

* The previous Government refused our proposals that they bring together in one place both persons with disabilities and other stake-holders who would be affected by this legislation. The new Government has made efforts to bring these groups together to seek common ground.

* Even when the previous Government held a form of public consultations in 1998 and in the first half of 2001, they never openly publicized and promoted this via a news release. The new Government has announced its new consultations on the ODA publicly via a news release, set out below.

These are all improvements that the ODA movement has called for for years.

To help you prepare to take part in this consultation process, the ODA Committee has lots of resources that may assist. For example, you might look at:

1. The Ontario Legislature's October 29 1998 ODA resolution unanimously passed, put forward on the ODA Committee's behalf by Liberal Dwight Duncan (now the Minister of Energy) by the Ontario Legislature adopting the ODA Committee's 11 principles for the ODA to make it strong and effective:


2. The Liberals' November 23, 2000 consultation tour report, describing what the Liberal Party said the ODA needs to include. It was prepared by Liberal MPP Steve Peters (now Minister of Agriculture) after he toured the province in March 2000, holding public forums on the ODA issue:


3. Dalton McGuinty's April 7, 2003 letter to the ODA Committee, which sets out their election promises on the ODA:


4. The ODA Committee's detailed blueprint for the ODA, set out in the ODA Committee's 1998 Brief to the Ontario Legislature, prepared after extensive ODA Committee consultations around Ontario:


5. The package of amendments to the Conservatives' weak ODA 2001 that the Liberal Party's Disability Critic Ernie Parsons(now Parliamentary Assistant to the Transportation Minister) put forward on December 10, 2001, at the request of the ODA movement, and that the Liberals have, at a minimum, promised to implement to strengthen the ODA:


You may also want to look at the ODA Committee's recently released"DISCUSSION PAPER ON OPTIONS FOR INITIAL SHORT-TERM LOW-COST ACTIONS TO BEGIN STRENGTHENING OF THE ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT 2001". For a copy of it, email us at:


Let us know what submissions you make to the Government's new ODA consultation. Email us at the preceding email address.

Remember that while this is an important new development, it will mean little if you don't take advantage of this new opportunity to have your say. We must keep up our efforts to make sure that the new legislation the Minister brings forward this fall is strong and effective.



McGuinty government seeks public input on accessibility legislation

Delivering Positive Change Where It Is Needed Most

TORONTO, Jan. 28 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is delivering on its agenda for positive change by launching public consultations to ensure Ontarians with disabilities have an equal opportunity to build a stronger province, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Dr. Marie Bountrogianni announced today.

"Full accessibility benefits all of us," Dr. Bountrogianni said. "I am excited that we are going out into communities to listen to the people who will benefit from strengthened accessibility legislation. This fall, I hope to be in a position to introduce more meaningful legislation for people with disabilities."

As part of a full engagement strategy, Dr. Bountrogianni and her Parliamentary Assistant, Dr. Kuldip Kular will hold public meetings across the province on how to make the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 stronger and more effective. The act was put in place to improve opportunities for people with disabilities.

"These consultations will give us a fuller understanding of the common issues impacting people with disabilities, their family members, care givers and service providers," said Dr. Kular.

The public meetings, as well as meetings with key disability groups and public sector organizations, will be concluded by March 2004. A list of consultation dates and locations is available on the Accessibility Ontario


There are several ways people across Ontario can share their suggestions regarding changes to the act. People who cannot attend the meetings are encouraged to submit ideas and insights online, by phone or by regular mail no later than March 31, 2004:

- http://www.gov.on.ca/citizenship/accessibility
- Phone line: 1-888-325-4957
- TTY: 1-888-335-6611
- Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, 400 University Avenue, 3rd Floor, Toronto, ON, M7A 2R9, Attn: Public Consultations.


List of Public Meetings

All public meetings will be held 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Giovanni Caboto Club
2175 Parent Avenue

Recreational Association Centre
2451 Riverside Drive

Student Centre, McMaster University
1280 Main Street West

Evinrude Community Centre
911 Monaghan Road

SUDBURY - March 17
College Boreal
les Entreprises Boreal
21, boulevard Lasalle

THUNDER BAY - March 25
Victoria Inn - The Kensington Room
555 W Arthur Street
Thunder Bay

GTA - March 23
Location TBD (please check web site)


For further information: Contacts: Treasa Labaj, Communications Branch,
(416) 314-7386; James Ip, Minister's Office, (416) 325-6207


Regional Public Meetings

Seven regional public meetings will be hosted by Dr. Kuldip Kular, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Dr. Marie Bountrogianni. Public input - your input - will play an important role in helping the government to make the Ontarians With Disabilities Act more effective and meaningful.

The following regional public meetings have been scheduled: February 4 Windsor 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Giovanni Caboto Club 2175 Parent Avenue

February 12 Ottawa
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Recreational Association Centre
2451 Riverside Drive

February 19 Hamilton
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Student Centre, McMaster University
1280 Main Street West

February 26 Peterborough
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Evinrude Community Centre
911 Monaghan Road

March 17 Sudbury
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Collège Boréal
Les Entreprises Boréal
21, boulevard Lasalle

March 23 Toronto
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Location TBD

March 25 Thunder Bay
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Victoria Inn
555 W. Arthur Street
The Kensington Room

Share your suggestions

Your input is important to us.

Your suggestions will help the government as it develops viable measures to make the Ontarians with Disabilities Act more effective. Your input will contribute to making Ontario more inclusive and accessible. There are several ways you can contribute.

If you are unable to attend a regional public meeting, please send us your suggestions by March 31, 2004, online, by phone or by regular mail:

* Web form
* Phone line: 1-888-325-4957
* TTY: 1-888-335-6611
* Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
400 University Avenue, 3rd Floor
Toronto ON
M7A 2R9
Attn: Public Consultations


Regional Public Meetings - Web form

Your input is important to us.

We welcome your comments on The Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001. Your input is an important part of the public consultation process now underway.

What are your top three suggestions to make the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA) more meaningful? These can be changes to the ODA itself or suggestions for things that be done without changing the law.

Suggestion and Comment Form
Fields marked * are optional

Your Name *
Your Organization *
Your Municipality *

Suggestion 1
Suggestion 2 *
Suggestion 3 *

If you have trouble sending feedback through this form or if you want to e-mail your feedback directly, please send to ODA@mczcr.gov.on.ca

The Government of Ontario is collecting this information for the purpose of reviewing the ODA. Personal information is collected under the authority of the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture Act, R.S.O. 1990, chapter M.18, section 4.and will be used only for the purposes of determining the scope of our outreach. The government will not use this information for any other purpose. Please direct any questions about the collection of the information to the Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration, 400 University Avenue, 3rd floor, Toronto, Ontario, M7A 2R9.


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