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ODA Committee Update
dated Dec. 1, 2004
posted March 3, 2005


Legislature's Standing Committee Decides On Dates And Cities For Public Hearings On Bill 118

December 18, 2004


The Ontario Legislature's Standing Committee on Social Policy, which will be studying Bill 118, the proposed Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, has confirmed the approximate dates and locations for public hearings on that bill. The hearings will take place during the weeks of January 31 and February 7, 2005, and will likely be held between January 31 and February 8, 2005. They will occur in Toronto, Ottawa, London, Thunder Bay and Niagara Falls. There will be 2 days of hearings in Toronto, and 1 day in each other city.

We have been advised that the dates on which the Committee will be in any particular city are still being finalized. When we learn more, we will let you know.

We strongly encourage one and all, both organizations and individuals, to immediately ask to make a presentation before this Standing Committee. You don't need to be part of an organization to make an individual presentation. We will provide more information over the next weeks on how to make a presentation, including suggestions on issues you might wish to address.

It is ABSOLUTELY VITAL that as many people and organizations as possible come to these hearings, let the Standing Committee know what you think of Bill 118, and suggest ways in which the bill could be improved.

We have heard that requests to appear before the Standing Committee must be submitted by 5 p.m., January 12, 2005. We therefore strongly encourage you to contact the Standing Committee immediately to ask to be able to make a presentation on Bill 118.

Nothing formal or fancy is needed. A short letter or email will do. In your letter or email you should:

* Give your name, address, and other contact information e.g. phone number and email address

* State that you want to make a presentation to the public hearings on Bill
118, the proposed Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

* If you are making a presentation on behalf of an organization, state the
name of the organization in question. If you are part of a local branch of
that organization, you should specify this. If you are making a
presentation as an individual rather than on behalf of an organization,
state this.

* State in which city you want to make your presentation.

* If you have any disability accommodation needs to ensure that you can
fully participate in the hearings, let the Committee know.

* If you are submitting your request via email, ask the Clerk to confirm
receipt of your email. Don't trust the internet to always deliver email!

To contact the Standing Committee, use the following information:

Standing Committee on Social Policy
Care of: Anne Stokes, Clerk
Room 1405, Whitney Block
Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario

M7A 1A2

Email: anne_stokes@ontla.ola.org

Oral presentations will be no longer than 15 minutes each. However, if you
need more time due to your disability, we encourage you to bring this
accommodation need to the Clerk's attention. Even if you don't want to make
a presentation in person, you can send in a written submission. We will have
more to say on that over the next weeks. Written submissions may be
submitted to the above address. They must be in by the end of the oral
hearings. It isn't necessary to send in a written submission if you are
making an oral submission. Of course people making oral submissions are
also free to send in a written submission as well.

The ODA Committee has led the charge for years for these kinds of public
hearings. This gives you a chance to have your own say, and to let the
politicians know about the barriers you face. Public hearings give our
movement yet another chance to win public support for strong effective
accessibility legislation. Last but not least, the Citizenship Minister has
said that she is open to amendments to this bill to help improve it. This is
your chance to take her and the Government up on that important offer.

Let the ODA Committee know if you have made a request to appear before the
Standing Committee, and what response you get. Encourage others to take part
in this process. There is no assurance that there will be enough time for
everyone who wants to, to make a presentation. Act now!


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