ODA Committee Update
dated February 10, 2005
posted March 9, 2005
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE UPDATE
Launching the Next Quick Round of Our Campaign for a Barrier-Free Ontario - Rapid Grassroots Blitz to Email the 3 Parties to Support ODA Committee's Proposed Amendments to Bill 118
February 10, 2005
Here are the latest developments in our campaign for a barrier-free Ontario:
* The Standing Committee on Social Policy's public hearings on Bill 118, the
proposed Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, have now been
completed. You can view and listen to them on the Ontario Legislature's
website where they will be archived for the month of February.
A huge congratulations and thank you is offered to all who took the time to
make oral and/or written presentations to the Standing Committee. The
presentations were excellent. They were thoughtful, heart-felt, informative
and constructive. The Standing Committee received many good ideas on how to
strengthen Bill 118. We are especially delighted that so many presenters
endorsed the proposals of the ODA Committee, and augmented them with
additional ideas as well.
The unprecedented gavel-to-gavel province-wide TV and world-wide internet
coverage of these hearings, plus the great media coverage they obtained over
the past two weeks, has yet again brought our message effectively to the
broader public. The expanding consensus in support of our agenda has been
given yet another boost.
* With the hearings now behind us, the deadline has now passed for sending
in written submissions to the clerk of The Standing committee. However, the
deadline has NOT passed for our next blitz in support of amendments to
strengthen Bill 118. We officially here launch the next short round in this
Now the three parties must pour over the input they received during the
public hearings, and decide what specific amendments they will table with
the Standing Committee. This is a most critical phase in the legislative
process. We don't yet know what the deadline is for the parties to table
amendments. We assume it will be reasonably soon.
In this next short round in our campaign, we urge you to take a couple of
minutes to email or otherwise contact all three political parties, as soon
as possible. Urge them each to put forward and to support the amendments to
Bill 118 that the ODA Committee proposed in its written brief and oral
presentation to the Standing Committee on Social Policy. You need not send
in anything lengthy or complicated. It can just be one or two sentences!
We encourage you to focus on our clear, simple but important message. Also,
get others to do the same.
You can email the three parties at these email addresses:
Liberals: Dr. Marie Bountrogianni
Conservatives: Cam Jackson
NDP: Rosario Marchese
Let us know what you do. You can always email us with this information, and
with any other feedback. You can also request a copy of our brief and oral
presentation if you wish, all by contacting us at:
Please note that the ODA Committee's email service will be off-line and won't
be picking up or responding to emails from February 11 to February 21.
Let's make this next round in our campaign at least as effective and
successful as we were in the last round i.e. during the public hearings!
* ODA Committee chair David Lepofsky today wrote the Standing
Committee on Social Policy in response to the proposed motion brought by
Conservative MPP Cam Jackson before that Committee, to bring the ODA
Committee chair back before the Standing Committee for a further
presentation and to comment during clause-by-clause debate. The Standing
Committee has not yet voted on or discussed that motion.
In this letter, the text of which is set out below, the invitation in the
proposed motion is respectfully declined. The recognition of the ODA
Committee's contribution to the issue of disability accessibility, reflected
in MPP Cam Jackson's bringing this motion, is very much appreciated, as the
letter explains. That recognition is due to all the hard work that so many
of you have been doing at the grassroots across Ontario during our
decade-long campaign, as typified by the excellent presentations to the
Standing Committee by so many. It is hoped that that recognition of the ODA
Committee's contribution translates into the Conservatives, and indeed all
three parties, tabling and supporting the amendments to Bill 118 which we
As the letter also makes clear, we intend to work with each of the three
parties as they develop and present proposals for amendments. As one
example, we appreciate that Cam Jackson has already been in touch to arrange
such a meeting.
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE
c/o Marg Thomas
1929 Bayview Avenue, Toronto ON M4G 3E8
Tel: (Voice direct) 416-480-7686
Voice mail: 416-480-7012
TTY: c/o Susan Main 416 964-0023 ex. 343
Web site: www.odacommittee.net
February 10, 2005
To: Ann Stokes, Clerk, Standing Committee on Social Policy
Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A2.
Dear Ms. Stokes,
Re: Bill 118, the Proposed Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
On February 1, 2005, right after the ODA Committee's presentation to the
Standing Committee on Social Policy during its public hearings on Bill 118,
the Honourable Cam Jackson, MPP, brought a motion calling for me, as chair
of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, to be allowed to give a
"technical briefing" to the Standing Committee, and further that I be given
standing to comment during clause by clause consideration of Bill 118. I am
writing in connection with that motion. Please share this letter with all
members of the Standing Committee.
This motion honours, in a very flattering way, the contribution of the
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. However, having now had time to
consider the motion, I am writing to let the Standing Committee know that I
am not seeking to participate in the Standing Committee's proceedings as
proposed in the motion and indeed, would prefer not to do so.
We very much appreciate the opportunity we had to make our presentation to
the Standing Committee on February 1, 2005 as requested. We did not request
any additional time, since our brief was comprehensive. We also appreciate
the opportunity that we have had before the hearings to meet respectively
with the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and with the new leader of
the Progressive Conservative Party, John Tory, to discuss our proposals for
strong, effective disability accessibility legislation. We have similarly
had many good discussions with the New Democratic Party.
The ODA Committee has always emphasized the importance of the Legislature
hearing all perspectives from the disability community. If the Standing
Committee were to decide that it had time to open up its schedule to further
hearings beyond the extensive hearings already held, it would be far
preferable to make that time available for individuals and groups who didn't
get an opportunity to present because the hearings schedule was full.
In our commitment to non-partisanship, we will be pleased to speak with each
of the parties as they develop and then present amendments to Bill 118. We
hope that all three parties will propose and support the amendments that the
ODA Committee has recommended.
It is hoped that by this letter's responding to Mr. Jackson's motion now,
the Standing Committee can focus its time on working on the bill itself,
without having to deal with collateral procedural issues. Our prime concern
is that the Standing Committee promptly and thoroughly consider all the
important issues and ideas that all individuals and groups so passionately
and eloquently raised in their oral and written submissions to the Standing
Committee on how to strengthen Bill 118.
David Lepofsky, CM
Chair, Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
CC: The Hon. Dr. Marie Bountrogianni
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