ODA Committee Update
dated February 18, 2004
posted March 12, 2004
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE UPDATE
ONTARIO GOVERNMENT CONTINUES WITH ITS ODA PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS
February 18, 2004
As earlier announced, the Ontario Government's new public consultations on how to strengthen the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 are now underway. Be sure to get involved. Make your views known.
* The Ontario Citizenship Ministry's news release announcing the February 19, 2004 ODA Public Consultation forum in Hamilton Ontario. Encourage people you know in Hamilton to get involved;
* The Toronto Star column by Helen Henderson published on Saturday, February 7, 2004 reporting on these consultations.
If you need more information on how to get involved in these consultations, contact the Ontario Citizenship Ministry, or email the ODA Committee at:
Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
Media Advisory - McGuinty government seeks public input on accessibility
HAMILTON, ON, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and MPP for Hamilton Mountain, Dr. Marie Bountrogianni, is holding public consultations across the province to identify ways to increase the effectiveness of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA).
The consultations are part of the McGuinty government's commitment to make the ODA stronger through legislative and non-legislative initiatives. The public is invited to an open discussion with Dr. Bountrogianni and her Parliamentary Assistant, Dr. Kuldip Kular, in Hamilton. Anyone wishing to attend should call to register:
Location: Student Centre, McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Date: February 19, 2004
Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, visit www.gov.on.ca/citizenship http://www.gov.on.ca/citizenship
For further information:
Feb. 7, 2004
Help Ontario clean up its disability act
Minister seeking input from public
If you were a provincial lawmaker, what would you do to make Ontario a truly accessible province, one in which people with disabilities can get the education and experience they need to contribute their talents to an enhanced quality of life for all?
What would you do to tear down the barriers that ostracize anyone who moves, communicates or processes information in a unique way?
What are your top three suggestions to make the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA), brought in by the former Conservative government, more meaningful?
These are not trick questions. The people in power at Queen's Park these days say they really want to know.
Specifically, Citizenship Minister Marie Bountrogianni, who is responsible for disability issues, and her parliamentary assistant, Dr. Kuldip Kular, who initiated a series of round-table discussions on the subject last month.
Bountrogianni has a lot on her plate in addition to immigration and disability issues. As children's minister, she is responsible for working with the federal government to improve child care. She has promised by March to come up with a solid plan to help kids with autism and other special needs. She has put forward a plan to bring all young offenders under the aegis of Children's Services "so we can have more flexibility for prevention programs."
Still, in the space of a few months she has started a dialogue with disability advocates her Conservative predecessors took years even to acknowledge as necessary.
In January, the round-table sessions with chosen representatives of the disability community paved the way. This month and next, in hearings throughout the province, Bountrogianni and Kular want to hear from ordinary people like you and me.
By fall, Bountrogianni says she aims to introduce new legislation.
The Ontarians With Disabilities Act, hastily introduced in the dying premiership of Mike Harris, has long been criticized as little more than ill-conceived lip service.
Unlike its U.S. predecessor, hailed as breakthrough legislation, it does not cover private-sector companies and contains no mandatory changes, no deadlines for accomplishing anything and no means of enforcement.
During the public forums, Bountrogianni is soliciting suggestions from everyone about how to make the legislation stronger.
There's no limit to the number of suggestions or comments you can submit but to simplify the process, the ministry suggests boiling things down to your top three suggestions for making the ODA more meaningful.
"These can be changes to the ODA itself or suggestions for things that be done without changing the law," it says.
So get going. The whole point is to include everybody.
There's no reason to hold back.
Write: Helen Henderson, Life Section, Toronto Star, One Yonge St., Toronto, Ont. M5E 1E6. Please include your telephone number. E-mail: hhenderson @thestar.ca.
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