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ODA Committee Update
dated Oct. 13, 2004
posted Oct. 14, 2004


More Media Coverage of the Introduction of Bill 118, the Proposed New Disability Accessibility Law

October 15, 2004


Below we set out more media coverage which Bill 118's introduction has received. We encourage you to contact your local media to urge them to cover this issue. Tell them about the barriers you need addressed. As part of our campaign to build as much public support for this bill as possible, you might wish to send a letter to the editor of your local media outlet.

For a list of email addresses for letters to the editor, which is about six months old, visit:


We have also learned that Rogers Cable in London Ontario has kindly agreed to make available video tapes of the four instalments of the September 11, 2004 Michael Lewis Memorial Forum on the ODA, at the reduced price of $86.25 for the whole set. We are advised that you will be able to copy it if you wish, once you have purchased it, but we suggest you confirm that with Rogers when you order a set. To order a set, please call Stacey at Rogers in London, at: 519-660-7522

Show the video at your nearest community organization or to friends. Urge your local cable company to get a copy from Rogers and to arrange to broadcast it.

Below please find the text of the following:

* An article in the October 14, 2004 edition of the London Free Press.

* An article in the October 13, 2004 edition of the Kitchener Waterloo Record

To see the text of bill 118, visit:


To see a 4 page chronology of the 10 year campaign to get this legislation introduced, visit:


Send us your feedback at:



London Free Press Thursday, October 14, 2004

(Note: The article is accompanied by a photo of Minister Bountrogianni sitting beside a child at
school. They were watching a film on epilepsy.)

New law on disabled access welcomed as long overdue

CHIP MARTIN, Free Press Politics Reporter

Ontario's plan to become fully accessible for the disabled within 20 years
is being hailed as "wonderful news" by a London advocate for the physically
challenged. "It's come not a minute too soon," said Cathy Vincent-Linderoos,
who gets around by wheelchair. "I'm very happy."

Her enthusiasm yesterday was shared by Ontario Citizenship and Immigration
Minister Marie Bountrogianni, who was in London to tout the Accessibility
for Ontarians with Disabilities Act tabled a day earlier in the legislature.

"It's the right thing to do, frankly," Bountrogianni told The Free Press
after visiting Community Living London and pupils at St. Mary's Choir

"It's a human right."

The act will replace three-year-old legislation that encouraged public
sector agencies to improve access for those with disabilities, but which
Bountrogianni said has proven ineffective because it had neither standards
nor penalties for non-compliance.

"It has no teeth," she said of the old law in announcing the change.

The new act is intended to improve access to workplaces, customer service,
transportation and communications in public and private sectors.

Standards will be developed while the government consults the disabled,
business and other affected groups.

Once the first standards are in place in three years, individual violators
will face fines of $50,000 and companies $100,000 upon conviction.

Bountrogianni said change was needed because of continuing complaints about
access problems and because baby boomers are aging and one in five Ontarians
will be disabled to some extent in 20 years.

"The baby boomers will still want to travel and have fun," she said. "The
baby boomers are never satisfied with the status quo. And they won't be.
They still want to live."

The about 1.5 million Ontarians living with disabilities have about $10
billion in annual spending power. That's led the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
to endorse the legislation, even though it'll cause extra but relatively
minimal expense to businesses.

"We need the spending power," Bountrogianni said.

An important part of the new law will be uniform standards to ensure things
like braille in elevators and inclines for wheelchair ramps are consistent

Vincent-Linderoos was a member of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Committee, which pushed for change.

"We were really after one set of standards throughout the province," she

The old legislation brought limited changes, but far too slowly, she said.

Simple things such as lifts in doctors' offices to help wheelchair-bound
patients onto examining tables and getting rid of steps to those offices are
still needed, she said.

Aside from new standards and penalties for violations, the legislation calls
for public education, especially in the schools, Bountrogianni said.

"Changing attitudes will be the biggest challenge, absolutely," she

She noted 25 years ago few industries in Ontario had washrooms for female
employees. "It does take time to change those kinds of attitudes."

Emphasis will be on education of children, she said, "so we will have a
generation that won't think twice about accessibility. It will be part of
their everyday thinking. They won't ever complain about the price of a ramp.
In fact, they'll say: 'Can you imagine before 2004, people complained about
the price of a ramp. What were they thinking?'"



Kitchener Waterloo Record October 13, 2004

Ontario promises full access for disabled

TORONTO (Oct 13, 2004)

Premier Dalton McGuinty pledged yesterday to make Ontario fully accessible
to the disabled within 20 years as he introduced legislation covering both
the private and public

Better access for the disabled is "good for our businesses and it's good for
our economy,'' McGuinty said as the Liberals introduced a new Ontarians with
Disabilities Act, the first
piece of legislation of the session.

The legislation calls for separate consultations with large and small
businesses, the manufacturing and retail sectors as well as the disabled to
better determine what standards would
be required and when they would be introduced.

"Before we can declare Ontario fully accessible, it will take 20 years,''
McGuinty said. "We can move forward in many areas long before that.''

McGuinty claimed the 20-year deadline is actually "more ambitious'' than the
goals of other countries considered world leaders in access, noting
Australia set a goal of 30 years and
the U.S. 25 years for the standards.

There are 1.5 million Ontarians living with disabilities, but McGuinty said
that number is expected to double in the next 20 years.

The current disabilities act, introduced by the previous Conservative
government in 2001, "has no teeth,'' said Citizenship Minister Marie
Bountrogianni, who introduced the new bill.

Bountrogianni said the legislation, if passed, would establish mandatory

The new legislation is a big improvement because, unlike the current act, it
applies to the private sector, and will include mandatory regulations, said
one activist for the disabled.

The Tory bill "was only applicable to the public sector and disregarded the
huge private sector where we live most of our lives,'' David Lepofsky

But opposition critics disagreed.

"It's very, very vague,'' Conservative critic Garfield Dunlop complained.
"(McGuinty is) trying to get a very positive story out of what is probably
going to be the beginning of a very, very negative session for this

The New Democrats called the legislation a public-relations exercise and
said the only thing the government is doing is holding more consultations.

Twenty years "guarantees that at least one more generation of Ontarians with
disabilities are going to be denied access,'' NDP house leader Peter Kormos

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce welcomed the phase-in approach, saying
businesses need time to absorb the costs associated with making their
facilities accessible to all.


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