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ODA Committee Update
dated Oct. 25, 2004
posted Nov. 22, 2004


ODA Committee Writes Three Parties About The Procedure And Timetable For The Legislature's Debates On Bill 118 The Proposed Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities Act

October 25, 2004


The ODA Committee today wrote to the three Ontario political parties to ask
that steps be taken to ensure that persons with disabilities can fully
observe and take part in the Legislature's consideration of Bill 118, the
proposed Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

In a letter to the three parties' house leaders (who are responsible for
managing the Legislature's agenda and timetable) set out below, the ODA
Committee proposes specific steps to ensure the opportunity for persons with
disabilities to observe and take part. For example:

* We ask for early notice of when Bill 118 will come forward for Second
Reading debates. Back in 2001, despite a similar request, the previous
Conservative Government brought their ODA bill, Bill 125, on for Second
Reading debate with only one day's notice. This was insufficient time for
persons with disabilities to arrange accessible transportation. The Liberals
and NDP, both then in opposition, criticised the governing Conservatives for
doing this. In our current letter, we suggest that two weeks' notice would
be ideal.

* We ask that Bill 118 complete Second Reading before the winter break in
December, so that the bill can go to a committee of the Legislature for
hearings over the winter. We propose January as a possible time for public

* We ask that public hearings be held outside Toronto, that there be
sufficient notice of the dates of these hearings, that measures be taken to
ensure that the hearings are fully accessible, and that special measures be
undertaken to enable persons in small and remote communities to take part.
Back in 2001 the previous Conservative Government held rushed hearings while
giving persons with disabilities as little as 24 hours notice that they
could appear. This prevented some from being able to arrange accessible

Back in 2001, the Conservative Government rushed their ODA bill through the
Legislature in under six weeks, after they delayed over six years before
introducing their bill. At that time, we said that that barrier-filled
process would leave an indelible stain on that legislation. We hope that
this time, the Liberal government will arrange with the opposition
Conservatives and NDP to use a timetable that allows persons with
disabilities to overcome the barriers to participation in the legislative
process. It is our hope that this legislation can be fully considered,
debated and passed into law by May of 2005.

Send us your feedback, including any suggestions for amendments to the
Liberal Government's Bill 118, at:


To see the text of Bill 118, visit:


For a brief history of the 10 year campaign for this legislation, visit:


For an explanation of the steps a bill must take to go through the process
of being debated and passed into law, visit:



c/o Marg Thomas
1929 Bayview Avenue, Toronto ON M4G 3E8
Tel: (Voice direct) 416-480-7686
Fax: 416-480-7014
Voice mail: 416-480-7012
email: oda@odacommittee.net
TTY: c/o Susan Main 416 964-0023 ex. 343
Web site: www.odacommittee.net


October 25, 2004

Dwight Duncan, Government House Leader

Room 223, Legislative Building

Queen's Park

Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A4

John Baird, PC House Leader

Room 436, Legislative Building

Queen's Park

Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8

Peter Kormos, NDP House Leader

Room 115, Legislative Building

Queen's Park

Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A5

Dear Sirs,

Re: Bill 118 the Proposed Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

I am writing on behalf of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
concerning the scheduling of Second Reading of Bill 118, the proposed
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, and legislative hearings
this winter. People with disabilities continue to face many barriers that
will be addressed by this legislation. We are therefore anxious that it
proceed through the legislative process to hearings, so that the legislation
can be passed in the spring.

We urge you, as House Leaders for your parties, to do everything possible to
ensure that the Bill receives Second Reading before the Legislature rises
for the Christmas break so that hearings can be held during the winter
break, preferably in January. We are also hoping that you will agree on a
process that will accommodate persons with disabilities who want to attend
the Second Reading debate. People who rely on paratransit systems face
challenges in booking rides on short notice. Therefore, we are asking that
the public be informed of the dates of the Second Reading debates as early
as possible. Two weeks' notice is ideal..

We also ask that as much notice as possible be given about the dates and
locations of legislative hearings. Because arranging accessible
transportation is such a problem, we urge you to travel to as many Ontario
cities as possible, so that people with disabilities can fully participate.
It is also important that the hearings be barrier-free. This includes
providing American Sign Language interpreters, real-time captioning, and
materials in alternative formats.

We also propose that hearings be broadcast on the Ontario Legislature cable
channel, and that a special hearing also be held through an internet
webcast. This will allow people living in remote and small communities to
participate. This could help some people with disabilities with limited
incomes, who would not otherwise be able to travel to an out-of-town
hearing. This will also help bring these issues to the public.

We would welcome the opportunity to assist you in any way to facilitate the
thorough and timely consideration of this bill, and look forward to hearing
from you.


David Lepofsky, C.M.

Chair, Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee

cc: The Hon. Dalton McGuinty

Dr. Marie Bountrogianni

John Tory

Howard Hampton

Cam Jackson

Rosario Marchese


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