April 11, 2001
Conservative MPP Asks for Input on His Proposal to Introduce a Private Member's Bill
At a public forum on the Ontarians with Disabilities Act held in London on March 4, 2001, a Conservative member of the Ontario Legislature, Mr. Bob Wood, the MPP for London West, announced that he was thinking about introducing a private member's bill regarding persons with disabilities.
A few days ago, Mr. Wood contacted me to ask whether the ODA Committee would endorse his bill. He explained that it was not intended to replace the Ontarians with Disabilities Act which we are seeking.
He said that he saw his proposed bill as an opportunity to help move forward the public discussion and action on this issue. He said that he was considering proposing this as a private member, and was not purporting to speak on behalf of the Government.
I explained to him that I could not endorse the proposed Bill on behalf of the ODA Committee without extensive consultation, however, I did offer to circulate his proposal to the membership and to encourage anyone who was interested to provide feedback directly to him, if he wished. This is similar to what we did with the Liberals, when they proposed to do a public consultation tour on the Ontarians with Disabilities Act last year.
Below is the letter that Mr. Wood has asked me to circulate, along with the text of the bill that he is thinking of introducing. This bill is only a draft and has not yet been introduced into the Legislature. You will see that it includes a few editorial remarks by Mr. Wood or his staff. You can send him feedback at the following addresses:
Bob Wood, M.P.P. London West
Queen's Park Office
80 Grosvenor Street
Tel (416) 325-4925
Fax (416) 325-4926
312 Commissioners Rd. W. Unit 3
Tel (519) 657-3120
Fax (519) 657-0368
I encourage you to send your thoughts on this bill to Mr. Wood. It would be great if you would also send a copy of your feedback to us at the following addresses:
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE
c/o Marg Thomas
1929 Bayview Avenue
Fax: (416) 480-7014
In responding, you may want to keep in mind that Mr. Wood has said that this is not being put forward as an alternative to an ODA, but rather as one possible mechanism for moving the discussion forward. You may want to comment on the content of the Bill, pointing out the parts that you agree with, those you don't, and providing suggestions for improvement. You may also comment on the process and give suggestions for what steps you think should be taken to achieve our goal of achieving a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Please note that a private member's bill, unlike a bill put foward by the Government, is not allowed to spend any money.
Here is what Mr. Wood wrote in his covering letter:
April 5, 2001
Mr. David Lepofsky
Enclosed please find a copy of the Access for Ontarians Task-Force Act, 2001. This bill is intended as a means for moving forward the issue of access for Ontarians generally and in particular those with disabilities. It is modeled on how the Ontario Red Tape Commission is set up. That Commission has been very successful in cutting red tape and promoting good regulation in Ontario. I believe that if the government got behind a similar body for access issues that it could lead to the solution of quite a few, if not all, outstanding problems.
I am considering whether or not to formally introduce this draft as a bill in the Legislature with a view to encouraging further discussion. Would you be kind enough to circulate the draft for comment among your members and report to me their responses? The Ontario Legislature will resume sitting April 19, 2001 and it will be possible to introduce the bill shortly after that date.
Bob Wood, M.P.P.
Here is the text of Mr. Wood's proposed private member's bill.
Access for Ontarians Task Force Act, 2001
The Bill allows the Lieutenant Governor in Council, by order in council, to establish a task force to be known as the Access for Ontarians Task Force. The Task Force is required to survey Ontarians, in particular Ontarians with disabilities, with respect to the access of persons with disabilities to jobs, housing, goods or services offered to the public and facilities open to the public. The Task Force is also required to report the results of the survey to the provincial Cabinet, to receive complaints with respect to the matters covered in the survey and to recommend solutions.Bill 2001
An Act respecting access to goods and services by Ontarians
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
1. In this Act,
"disability" means any of the reasons set out in the definition of
"because of handicap" in subsection 10 (1) of the Human Rights
"Task Force" means the Access for Ontarians Task Force that the
Lieutenant Governor in Council may establish under section 2.
("groupe de travail")
Task Force established
2. (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may by order in council
establish a task force to be known in English as the Access for
Ontarians Task Force and in French as Groupe de
travail sur l'accs pour les Ontariens.
Not a regulation
(2) An order in council made under subsection (1) is not a
regulation within the meaning of the Regulations Act.
3. (1) The Task Force shall consist of as many members, not fewer
than five, as the Lieutenant Governor in Council may
Term of appointment
(2) The members shall be appointed during the pleasure of the
Lieutenant Governor in Council for a term of not more than three
4. (1) The objects of the Task Force are,
(a) to survey Ontarians, in particular Ontarians with
disabilities, with respect to the access of persons with
disabilities to jobs, housing, goods or services offered to the
public and facilities open to the public;
(b) to report the results of the surveys mentioned in clause (a) to
the Lieutenant Governor in Council; (c) to recommend to the Lieutenant Governor
in Council whatever
solutions that it deems appropriate for problems that are
disclosed in the surveys mentioned in clause (a), which solutions
may include proposed legislation, regulations and policies that the
Government of Ontario could adopt to deal with the problems;
(d) to receive complaints from the public with respect to the
access of persons with disabilities to jobs, housing, goods or
services offered to the public and facilities open to the public;
(e) with the consent of the persons involved, to investigate the
complaints mentioned in clause (d) and to attempt to resolve them
(f) on its own initiative or at the request of the
Lieutenant Governor in Council, to recommend to the Lieutenant
Governor in Council solutions, including proposed legislation,
regulations and policies, that the Government of Ontario could
adopt to deal with the complaints mentioned in clause (d); and
(g) at the request of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, to assist
the Government of Ontario in implementing the solutions mentioned
in clause (c) or (f).
(2) In carrying out its objects, the Task Force shall
consider the interests of all Ontarians and not duplicate the work
of the Crown in right of Ontario or any of its boards, commissions,
corporations or agents or any municipality,
including a regional or district municipality and the County of
Oxford, or any of its local boards.
5. (1) The Task Force has the powers of a natural person for the
purpose of carrying out its objects, except as limited in this
* Comment: It is necessary to specify what powers the Task Force
has. This section would not give it any powers that a natural
person does not have. For example, without statutory authority, a
natural person does not have the power to enter and inspect
premises or to compel a person to answer questions or produce
(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may issue directives in
writing to the Task Force on matters relating to the exercise of
its powers and the Task Force shall comply with the directives
promptly and efficiently.* Comment: This subsection provides the Lieutenant
Council with a means of ensuring that there is no conflict
between the work of the Task Force and that of other Crown agents
and entities in accordance with subsection 4 (2).
Chair and vice-chair
6. (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall designate one of
the members of the Task Force as chair and one of the members of
the Task Force as vice-chair.
Term of appointment
(2) The chairs and vice-chairs shall hold office for the length of
time that the Lieutenant Governor in Council specifies.
(3) If the chair of the Task Force is absent or unable to act, or
if the office of chair is vacant, the vice-chair shall act in the
place of the chair and shall have the powers of the chair.
(4) A majority of the members of the Task Force constitutes a
Employees and contractors
7. (1) The Task Force may employ or contract for the
services of persons whom the Task Force considers necessary for the
proper conduct of its affairs.
(2) Employees of the Task Force are Crown employees.
* Comment: In order not to contravene the money bill
restriction on Private Members' Public Bills, I have not said
anything about payment of remuneration or expenses to members,
employees or contractors of the Task Force. Payments will have to
be obtained out of appropriations made to the Ministry of the
Minister who becomes responsible for the administration of this
8. The Task Force is an agent of the Crown and may exercise its
powers only as an agent of the Crown.
9. (1) No action or other proceeding for damages shall be
instituted against any member or employee of the Task Force or any
person engaged by the Task Force for any act done in good faith in
the execution or intended execution of the person's powers or
duties or for any neglect or default in the execution, in good
faith, of the person's powers or duties.Crown liability (2) Despite subsections
5 (2) and (4) of the
Proceedings Against the Crown Act, subsection (1) does not
relieve the Crown of liability in respect of a tort committed by a
person mentioned in subsection (1) to which it would otherwise be
10. Except with the consent of the Task Force, no member or
employee of the Task Force be required to testify in a civil
proceeding or in a proceeding before a tribunal respecting
information obtained in the discharge of the person's duties under
this Act or any other Act.
* Comment: Sections 8 to 10 are standard for Crown agents. See
sections 8 to 10 of the AgriCorp Act, 1996.
11. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal
12. The short title of this Act is the Access for Ontarians Task
Force Act, 2001.
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